Posts Tagged ‘Transcendental Meditation’

PET scans show Transcendental Meditation with cardiac rehabilitation increases blood flow to the heart

December 5, 2019

EurekAlert! Summary: Study finds coronary heart disease (CHD) patients who include Transcendental Meditation (TM) with cardiac rehabilitation (CR) increased blood flow to the heart by 20.7%. This was the first study to show TM significantly enhanced lifestyle modification in patients, and the first to use positron emission tomography (PET) to measure their effect on cardiac function and rehabilitation. The NIH-funded study was conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in collaboration with the Institute of Prevention Research. See EurekAlert! Press Release.

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Can more be done besides diet and exercise to better recover from a heart attack, a stroke, or to prevent one? Scientists from Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Institute for Prevention Research conducted a study, with and without meditation, to find out.

The study, published in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology, found that patients with coronary heart disease who included Transcendental Meditation (TM) with their cardiac rehabilitation regime increased blood flow to the heart by more than 20%.

Titled “Effects of cardiac rehabilitation with and without meditation on myocardial blood flow using quantitative positron emission tomography”, the pilot study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in collaboration with the Institute for Prevention Research. The research involved 56 patients who had coronary heart disease, including recent heart attack, coronary artery bypass, or angina.

First study of its kind

The project was a groundbreaking proof-of-concept study, in that it was the first to combine Transcendental Meditation with other lifestyle treatment modalities, and the first to use positron emission tomography (PET) to measure the effect of lifestyle mind-body modification on cardiac function.

“This was the first study to show that the cardiovascular benefits of lifestyle modification such as structured exercise and dietary counseling may be enhanced by adding Transcendental Meditation in patients with heart disease,” said Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, co-director of the study and medical director of the Institute for Prevention Research. “It also found that the Transcendental Meditation technique alone was able to reverse the effects of coronary heart disease assessed by PET imaging.”

Considered a gold standard for measuring myocardial flow reserve non-invasively, cardiac PET has diagnostic and prognostic significance in coronary heart disease.

Randomized, controlled pilot study

The researchers randomly divided the subjects into four groups: cardiac rehabilitation, Transcendental Meditation, Transcendental Meditation plus cardiac rehabilitation, or usual care.

The results showed that of the 37 patients who completed posttesting, myocardial blood flow increased by 20.7% in the group that did both Transcendental Meditation and cardiac rehabilitation. Blood flow in the group that practiced Transcendental Meditation alone increased 12.8%. Cardiac rehabilitation by itself showed an improvement of 5.8%. And patients who received the usual treatment showed a decrease in blood flow of -10.3%. Also see graph of Changes in myocardial flow reserves for the combined TM and non-TM groups.

Stress reduction therapies in cardiac rehabilitation

“Although this is a preliminary study, it suggests that managing one’s mind-body connection with Transcendental Meditation can improve the function of the heart in cardiovascular patients,” said Dr. Schneider, who is also dean of Maharishi University of Management’s College of Integrative Medicine.

He said that psychosocial stress is known to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease but that stress reduction therapies aren’t usually included in cardiac rehabilitation.

“More research needs to be done, but this study and previous research strongly suggest that medical professionals should consider utilizing this simple yet effective mind-body intervention in their heart health treatment and prevention programs,” Dr. Schneider said.

Possible mechanism

While it’s not known precisely how Transcendental Meditation would increase blood flow, the researchers speculate that it’s a result of improved endothelial-mediated coronary and arteriolar vasomotor function. That is, reduced levels of stress hormones and possibly inflammation may result in improved function of the endothelial cells that line the coronary arteries. They cite research, which has found that modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease improves blood flow in the heart.

Limitations of the study

While the study suggests that the Transcendental Meditation technique can increase blood flow in cardiovascular patients, carefully conducted clinical trials with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the benefit.

“This was a first pilot study designed to determine the size of the effect and feasibility,” Dr. Schneider said. “Of the 56 original subjects, only 37 were available for the final posttesting of blood flow after the 12-week study period. In addition, compliance with cardiac rehabilitation was average, with attendance at exercise sessions about 60%. Also, the subjects practicing Transcendental Meditation may have received more attention than the rehabilitation group. This initial study paves the way for full scale clinical trials that will more rigorously evaluate these effects.”

Transcendental Meditation also reduces risk factors for heart disease

Earlier studies have shown that the Transcendental Meditation technique reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and insulin resistance. A 2012 study found a 48% reduction in heart attack, stroke, and death.

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Effects of cardiac rehabilitation with and without meditation on myocardial blood flow using quantitative positron emission tomography: A pilot study https://doi.org/10.1007/s12350-019-01884-9.

PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31529385.

The playful joy of effortless creation displayed by Donna Warwick inspired this haiku turned tanka

November 29, 2019

Author, visual artist, and TM teacher Donna Warwick posts digital paintings on her Instagram as @artsfusionist. She created this painting that expresses the effortless mysterious process of creation. The Absolute becoming Relative. BEing BEcoming. To me it looks like the moment of conception, and also the sprouting of a seed idea. Either way, it’s creation. It inspired me to write this haiku, then extend it to a tanka. Read Donna’s description below.

Effortless Creation

Inspired by a painting by Donna Warwick

I AM THAT I AM
I AM ONE — Become Many
BEING Becoming

I AM therefore I Create
An Idea of My Self

®Ken Chawkin
Nov. 29, 2019

Donna added this description for Thanksgiving Day: Thought and Action:
It is the frictionless flow between thought and action that produces effortless achievement in life. One feels the profound connection between the source of thought and the fulfillment of the action. The sweetest thing is that the result of this is the bliss of experiencing something greater than our small selves. For the true source of all success is not the ego. Nor is it the wide assortment of details about one’s personality/individuality. That is why the experience of unity with unbounded pure consciousness is so fulfilling. Consciousness is that which is shared by all. For me, that experience is one of the natural results of my practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. On this Thanksgiving I feel waves of gratitude to my TM teacher.

Because of Transcendental Meditation Nick Cave stopped fearing the end of the world and evolved

November 13, 2019

A friend sent me a special post by a famous rocker writing to a fan about his TM practice on his website. I checked online and found last year’s piece by Russell Cunningham, a production editor on sport for the Guardian. This revealing article serves as an appropriate introduction: Nick Cave is showing us a new, gentler way to use the internet.

During these confrontational times, “the quiet reflections of Cave spread peace and compassion and love through a medium renowned for its ability to spread division. In this growing treasure trove of letters to the world, he is showing how to use the web beyond the hubbub of social media, to engage in more reflective and rewarding conversations. That’s no bad thing.”

In issue #69/November 2019 of Nick Cave’s letters, known as The Red Hand Files, the entry is titled: How do I stop fearing the end of the world? He answers a fan’s question: Do you practice meditation? I’ve never read such a profoundly transparent and lyrical testimonial—how TM has evolved him personally and creatively!

He posts a picture of DEMOCRITUS MEDITATING AT THE END OF THE WORLD 1662, and then this answer.

Do you practice meditation?

MATTHAIS, FRANKFURT, GERMANY

Dear Maia and Matthais,

The filmmaker, David Lynch, described the practice of Transcendental Meditation as catching the big fish. I read that he has been practising it since he had a breakdown around the time of making Eraserhead, over forty years ago. He claims he has never missed a meditation. If that is true, I am greatly impressed. The basics of TM are taught during a three session course, at the end of which your teacher gives you a personal mantra. Anyone can do it. It is effortless and there is nothing to get right or wrong. I have been practicing for around six years and found it to be instantly and radically beneficial. So, to answer your question, Maia, from the first time I meditated, I stopped fearing the end of the world.

I found that it also helps with low-level anger, uncommunicativeness, resentments, impatience, passive-aggression, depression, self-obsession, hatred of the world, blaming others, wanting to murder and maim people and a host of other maladies that I had been dragging around and allowing to define me. Meditation modulated my calamitous internal thinking, and the freaked-out tyrant residing in my head that represented the worst possible version of myself was largely deposed.

I also found those big fish down there in the depths, the deep creative ideas which David Lynch talks about, wild, bright and thrilling; but more importantly, I found a fundamental understanding of the next right thing to do, of making the choice of the least destructive course of action.

Unlike some meditation techniques that focus on a life lived entirely within the present moment, Transcendental Meditation seems to radiate backwards and forwards in time, evoking our common humanity and our deep connection to the earth’s inheritance, as it layers us in meaning. It may not hold back the end of the world, but it reduces the element of fear, allowing us to administer to the world more effectively. TM also implements a kind of mysterious reinstating of the soul, a honeying of life, a merciful acceptance of suffering, and reminds us of the incredible privilege it is to be alive.

Love, Nick

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Visit his website for news, tour dates, music, books, films, videos, lyrics, and more: https://www.nickcave.com.

Lost Civilization Re-Emerges: article by William Hathaway on Maharishi’s restoring the technique of meditation, the basis of Vedic civilization

November 5, 2019

Lost Civilization Re-Emerges

Ancient India created a civilization based on Vedic knowledge, which had a global influence, elevating the other cultures it came in contact with. In “Lost Civilization Re-Emerges,” William T. Hathaway traces its rise and fall, and its current regeneration by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who has re-enlivened it by restoring the technique of meditation upon which it was based. Read Hathaway’s full article published on Trans4mind. https://trans4mind.com/counterpoint/index-new-age/hathaway13.html

Some background on “Lost Civilization Re-Emerges”

When William sent me a short description and link to his article I asked him to explain where this idea had come from and why he decided to write about it. He replied:

On my Transcendental Meditation teacher training course in Majorca 1971 Maharishi was asked, “Why are we the ones who are supposed to revive the Vedic knowledge?”

Maharishi looked at the questioner, a young woman standing at a microphone, and smiled. Then he looked out over the 2000 people behind her in the large hall and said with a gentle shrug, “Because we are the ones who lost it.” He gave the word “we” a slight emphasis to indicate it included him.

Maharishi explained that thousands of years ago Vedic civilization began in India then spread over the globe, generating a high quality of life both materially and spiritually. But eventually the knowledge of effortless transcending, which created and maintained this advanced culture, was lost. The consciousness of the people and the quality of their lives declined until humanity veered to its current brink of self-destruction.

We were part of that whole process — the developing and the losing — in many lives. Now it’s our job to restore it through the authentic technique of meditation and create a global age of enlightenment.

“That’s a pretty big job,” the woman said.

“But it’s the only one worth doing,” he replied.

Maharishi didn’t go into details about the ancient civilization because our purpose there was to learn to be TM teachers, and that would take the full two months of the course. I was fascinated by the idea of it, though, so I later delved into it in my spare time from teaching TM and writing books and articles. I found amazing evidence, ignored by conventional academic scholars, that established the existence of that global civilization. I wrote this article to do what I could to bring that evidence to more people and to show them Maharishi and Guru Dev’s crucial role in restoring the authentic Vedic way of life in India and the world.

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About the Author

A former professor in MIU’s MA in Professional Writing program, William T. Hathaway is the author of eight books and was a Fulbright professor of creative writing at universities in Germany. He and his wife, Daniela, direct the TM center in Oldenburg, Germany. His novel of the climate change, Wellsprings: A Fable of Consciousness, tells of an old woman and a young man healing nature through techniques of higher consciousness. Chapters are posted at https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/cosmicegg-books/our-books/wellsprings. His peace novel, Summer Snow, is the story of an American warrior falling in love with a Sufi Muslim (and TM teacher) and learning from her that higher consciousness is more effective than violence. Chapters are posted at http://shattercolors.com/fiction/hathaway_summersnow01.htm.

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Conscious Life News chose the top photo to go with their publication of William Hathaway’s erudite article. I added photos of Maharishi and William for this post. See previous articles by William Hathaway here.

Award-winning film on leadership features MUM professors F. Travis, R. Schneider and H. Harung

September 28, 2019

I had the pleasure of hosting Silvia Damiano when she visited Maharishi University to interview some of our faculty for her documentary film, Make Me a Leader, a brain-based approach to leadership.

Silvia Damiano is a scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist and filmmaker. Silvia’s scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade-long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. She founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratizing leadership and neuroscience.

Silvia’s recent About My Brain Institute newsletter contained exciting news: My Creative Journey to Hollywood. Our film wins Best Documentary & Best Director! We wanted to share the good news. Here is Jim Karpen’s article published in the Oct 2, 2019 issue, page 4, of The Review. I added links from our faculty’s names to trailers containing some of their input.

Award-Winning Film Presents Faculty Research

Filmmaker Silvia Damiano has her EEG assessed by Professor Fred Travis in the documentary Make Me a Leader.

A documentary on brain-based leadership that includes interviews with Professors Fred Travis and Robert Schneider, and former adjunct professor Harald Harung, recently won Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Director at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards.

The filmmaker, Silvia Damiano, came to campus to conduct interviews.

In his segment, Dr. Travis emphasizes the importance of a leader having a clear mind. Dr. Harung talks about the importance of mind-brain development in becoming a good leader. And Dr. Schneider explains that an optimally functioning brain depends on an optimally functioning physiology. The film, titled Make Me a Leader, also shows Dr. Travis taking Ms. Damanio’s EEG.

A practitioner of the Transcendental Meditation technique, Ms. Damiano is the founder and CEO of About My Brain Institute.

The documentary can be viewed at aboutmybrain.com/makemealeader for $10. A trailer that includes Dr. Harung and Dr. Travis can be viewed on YouTube.

The film describes how to develop the leaders of the future and suggests a new mindset based on science that integrates the entire biological system from the brain down.

Ms. Damiano offers leadership training and wrote in an email, “I am happy I was able to showcase the amazing work of Fred and Harald. I speak about them all the time.”

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Related post: MUM @maharishiuni professors explore secrets of world-class performers in World-Class Brain book, includes links to relevant studies and presentations.

New: Dr. Harald Harung speaks on Higher Brain Integration for Effective Leadership today during a Session on Day 3 at the International Leadership Summit, Nov 5-7, 2019. Around halfway through Harald’s interview with summit organizer Archanna Shetty he describes ways to increase brain integration, which includes the regular practice of TM.

For more posts on Dr Harung, visit The Uncarved Blog.

Why Michael Braunstein meditates using TM, what it is and isn’t, and the benefits, for him.

September 13, 2019

I enjoy Michael Braunstein’s writing style, the way he talks to his readers. It’s simple, direct, and gets to the point, mixed in with a little humor. In his first article, Meditate. Your Mind Wants To., published January 13, 2019, Michael Braunstein shared his fascinating story of how he was inspired to learn Transcendental Meditation. During recording sessions, first with Paul McCartney, later with George Harrison, he became aware of TM’s effect on them. But it was Ron Altbach who inspired Michael to want to learn to meditate. Ron shines in this second TM article as well. Enjoy reading Why I Meditate, published August 24, 2019 in The Reader (Omaha, NB), posted August 27, 2019 in Heartland Healing, and now on The Uncarved Blog, with permission from the author.

Why I Meditate

by Michael Braunstein

My first brush with meditation turned out to be something other than meditation. As a sophomore in high school, our Jesuit theology teacher wanted to teach us and he gave it a go. (I love the Jesuits. They taught me freedom of thought and respect for intuitive knowledge.) After a brief description of some of the benefits, he told us to close our eyes then asked us to imagine a snow-covered frozen lake. At one corner of the lake was a man with a snow shovel and we were to imagine the man slowly walking in a straight line from shore to shore pushing the shovel in front of him. And that was it. My sophomoric high school mind wasn’t impressed. Only years later did I come to realize that he was teaching us more of a visualization than a meditation.

Years later, in April 1983, was the next time I thought about meditation. Living in Hollywood, whenever I stayed at Mimi’s cottage townhouse in Westwood I would find her rising before me early in the morning and sitting in a chair downstairs with her eyes closed. She had told me to expect that she would be meditating in the morning. One day I asked her what kind of meditation she did. She told me she learned Transcendental Meditation and followed with, “If you ever want to learn meditation, learn TM. When you learn TM, you know that you are truly meditating. TM is sort of like the ‘Cadillac of meditation.’” Those words stayed with me.

One year later. Ron Altbach was executive producer of a major live concert album and television broadcast I engineered. It starred the Beach Boys, America, Ringo, Hank Williams, Jr., Julio Iglesias, Three Dog Night and a host of others. It was a complex project and required tremendous technical expertise both on the day of recording and in post-production. Problem-solving techniques often saw me huddling with my techie assistants mulling solutions. As we geniuses bantered about which way to proceed, on more than one occasion, from the back of the room came a quiet and unassuming comment, usually along the lines of, “What if you…? Would that work?” The speaker was Ron. And each time, his solution was a good one.

After two or three of his successful suggestions, I asked him, “Ron, you’re not an engineer or tech. How are you coming up with these solutions? Where’s that coming from?” His answer was simple: “I think because I meditate, I’m able to assess situations more clearly.”

We talked about the meditation he learned, Transcendental Meditation, and it stuck with me. Three months later I learned TM at the Beverly Hills TM Center on 3rd Street. It took four sessions over 5 days and was easy. It wasn’t free or even cheap to learn. But it may go down as the best money I ever spent. Extrapolated over the years since, it’s worked out to about two cents daily. And it’s becoming a better deal everyday.

What it is and isn’t. I often have occasion to talk to people about their meditation. Some say they listen to a recording. Others say they sit and listen for answers. Some stare at candles. Some even say things like, “Mowing the lawn is my meditation;” or “I’m meditating when I’m on the treadmill at the gym.” Well, my comment about that is that listening to a recording is just that: listening to a recording. It’s not meditation. Mowing the lawn, staring at a candle or working out are fine. They are exactly what you say they are but they’re not meditation. Meditation is a specific skill best passed from teacher to student. It’s not a byproduct of another activity. In a simple description, it is intentionally sending the mind toward a state of thoughtlessness; not thinking. It is clearing the mind, releasing it from the random thoughts of the conscious, babbling intellectual mind and seeking to quiet the mind. It is not actively using the mind to request things, hear guidance or watch candles burn. That’s as simple as I can state it. It is experienced, not described.

Benefits of meditation. There is an extensive list of benefits to actual meditation. And, admittedly, there are some minor ones that become available to simple relaxation and focused attention like just resting for a period of time. Descriptions of the many benefits of meditation are easily found in books or online. Transcendental Meditation has been studied more than any other technique and research statistics are plentiful. It’s surprising that it’s not covered under health insurance or Medicare.

For me. I’ve been doing TM daily since 1984, missing maybe a half-dozen days at most. Do I do it for the benefits listed? Maybe. I don’t think about it. Have I experienced TM leading to amazing health benefits for me? I have experienced some examples so I guess you could say so. But there is one overriding reason why I do TM every single day: It feels good. If it didn’t, I’m sure I would stop. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, (who, by the way, does TM everyday,) “Do you want to feel good? Well, do ya?”

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.

The David Lynch Foundation Is Helping Transform Veteran PTSD With Transcendental Meditation

September 5, 2019

Thanks to Cliff Sloan of Phil and Company for this amazing interview: The David Lynch Foundation Tackles Veteran PTSD with Meditation. This is one of the best discussions I’ve heard on the topic! Humane! Inspiring!

Cliff interviews David Lynch Foundation (DLF) CEO and New York Times best-selling author Bob Roth, and retired US Army Ranger and Boulder Crest Retreat (BCR) Executive Director Dusty Baxley on the power of Transcendental Meditation (TM) to transform the lives of veterans suffering with PTSD, suicide, and depression.

Bob explains the uniqueness of TM, how it differs from other categories of meditation, and the research behind it. The Foundation creates star-studded events to raise the funds necessary to teach this effective stress-reduction technique. DLF has made TM available to over 1 million at-risk students around the world, veterans with PTSD and their families, battered women, and other traumatized groups.

Dusty gives a dramatic firsthand account of how TM saved his life. After learning to meditate he could finally sleep and stopped self-medicating. He cleaned up his act, went to a veterans reunion, and learned of fellow veteran suicides and lost lives. (Suicides are now up 30%!) They saw a huge change in him and asked him what he was doing. He told them about TM and they asked him to teach them. He became a certified TM teacher and has been teaching veterans to meditate and reclaim their lives. TM is at the core of BCR’s veteran and first-responders program to develop Posttraumatic Growth.

Listen to this powerful, and sometimes humorous, enlightening podcast.

Related: Celebrities Russell Brand @rustyrockets, @CameronDiaz, @katyperry, and War Veterans Praise #TranscendentalMeditation | #TranscendentalMeditation as good as or better than ‘gold standard’ when treating veterans with #PTSD | Veterans who learn TM find relief from PTSD. New study shows symptoms had reduced by 80% to below the clinical level in one month | Norwich University, oldest private U.S. military college, benefits from Transcendental Meditation.

Maharishi on the nature of a settled, silent mind in the November 1993 Science of Mind interview

August 31, 2019

I remember reading this interview in Science of Mind magazine when it first came out over 25 years ago in the November 1993 issue, pages 32-38. Kathy Juline asked good questions, and Maharishi gave erudite answers. A UK TM website posted it, and this website. The blogger also listed the questions, which link to each answer, a convenient option. I added links and updated relevant information in parenthesis.

Settled Mind, Silent Mind

You developed Transcendental Meditation. What is it, exactly?
What are some of its practical benefits?
Can other kinds of meditation produce similar results?
What gives TM such great potential for positive change?
How is TM different from the various other forms of meditation?
Can you offer us more understanding of the “settled state”?
Being in the “settled state,” is equivalent to transcendence?
TM takes the mind from an active, “unsettled” state to the settled state?
What is the nature of transcendental consciousness?
Is the state of unbounded awareness maintained during the day?
How does a person learn to practice Transcendental Meditation?
When people begin to practice TM, does it involve a painful period?
If TM is a program for the mind, what is its relationship to the intellect?
What new applications are you currently exploring for TM?
What recent successes have you had in applying TM to achieve this goal?


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the worldwide Transcendental Meditation Movement, after graduating from Allahabad University with a degree in physics, studied for thirteen years with Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, the world’s foremost exponent of the ancient Vedic Science of consciousness.

Then in 1955, after spending two years in silence in the Himalayas, Maharishi began teaching his Transcendental Meditation technique. In 1957 Maharishi founded the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement and began the first of his many world tours to bring his technique to people on all continents. He has authored a number of books, including on the Bhagavad-Gita A New Translation and Commentary with Sanskrit Text, The Science of Being and Art of Living, and Love and God.

Science of Mind: Transcendental Meditation, which you developed, has enjoyed phenomenal international success. What is it, exactly?

Maharishi: Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural program for the mind, a spontaneous, effortless march of the mind to its own unbounded essence. Through Transcendental Meditation the mind unfolds its potential for unlimited awareness, transcendental awareness. Unity Consciousness – a lively field of all potential, where every possibility is naturally available to the conscious mind. The conscious mind becomes aware of its own unbounded essence, its infinite potential. Transcendental Meditation provides a way for the conscious mind to fathom the whole range of its existence – active and silent, point and infinity. It is not a set of beliefs, a philosophy, a lifestyle, or a religion. It’s an experience, a mental technique one practices every day for 15-20 minutes.

What are some of its practical benefits?

Scientific experiments with people who practice Transcendental Meditation indicate that it tends to produce normalization in all areas of life. It reduces stress, improves health, enriches mental functioning, enhances personal relationships, and increases job productivity and job satisfaction.

Can other kinds of meditation produce similar results?

They can, of course. However, one advantage of Transcendental Meditation is its extreme simplicity. It is very simple for anyone to learn. In addition, it has been the object of scientific research for over 30 years, and its beneficial effects are well-documented.

What gives Transcendental Meditation such great potential for positive change?

To answer that, we must look at the nature of creation itself. Creation has two sides: intelligence, which is the cause of everything, and the manifestations of intelligence, which are the physical and psychological features of the everyday world. Because Transcendental Meditation directly approaches intelligence, rather than the manifestations of intelligence, it solves problems by introducing harmony and well-being at the most basic level, and not by dealing with problems themselves. That’s why it is so effective.

Consider this example: The gardener supplies water to the root of a tree. That water, that nourishment, then reaches all parts of the tree – leaves, branches, flowers, fruit – through the sap. We can think of the sap as analogous to intelligence and the green leaves or yellow flowers as analogous to the manifestations of the intelligence. The leaves and flowers are the intelligence of the sap, after it has been transformed. So intelligence – like the leaves and flowers of a tree – appears as the many different forms of manifest life. Those manifestations include every aspect of existence, from the material and physiological, through the psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. All of those features of life come from transformations of intelligence. In meditation, we directly meet this essential intelligence. Therefore, we have the possibility of nourishing all of its other levels, and thus all levels of manifestation, in a way that is harmoniously related to the whole universe.

How is Transcendental Meditation different from the various other forms of meditation?

The basic difference is that Transcendental Meditation, in addition to its simplicity, concerns itself only with the mind. Other systems often involve some additional aspects with which the mind is associated, such as breathing or physical exercises. They can be a little complicated because they deal with so many things. But with Transcendental Meditation there is no possibility of any interference. So we say this is the all-simple program, enabling the conscious mind to fathom the whole range of its existence.

Transcendental Meditation ranges from active mind – or performing mind – to quiet mind – or resting mind. In this resting mind, one has purity and simplicity, uninvolved with anything other than the mind, uninvolved with any other practice. In Transcendental Meditation, because we deal only with the mind, we nourish all expressions of intelligence. The mind meditates, gains Transcendental Consciousness and brings about transformation in different fields of manifestation. All fields of life, which are the expression of intelligence, are nourished or transformed and made better through experiencing Transcendental Consciousness.

The mind, of course, is always concerned with other aspects, such as the physiology of the body, the environment, and the whole universe for that matter. But since Transcendental Meditation deals only with the performance of the mind, from its active states to its settled state, it remains unconcerned with those other aspects, though it deals with them all, because intelligence deals with them all.

Can you offer us more understanding of the “settled state”? Why is it so important?

The settled state, as we know from physics, is the state of being from which nature’s intelligence functions and administers the whole universe. The settled state is where we find the principle of least action, through which natural law operates. It is important because it is the fundamental level of life.

And being in the “settled state,” or the state of least action, is equivalent to transcendence?

Yes. Transcendence is the state where the mind has moved beyond everything other than itself. That means it has transcended all kinds of activity, small and big, and it has settled down in its own authority, in its own sovereignty, into the unbounded dignity of its own intelligence. And in this state, Transcendental Consciousness turns out to be a lively field of all possibilities.

So, while the mind usually operates in an active, or “unsettled” state, Transcendental Meditation takes it to the settled state?

Exactly! To understand this process, we must ask: how does the mind work? What does it do? We know the mind is always subject to its own nature, which is to evolve. Evolution is the essential nature of existence. The mind is always searching for more and more and more – more knowledge, more happiness. The mind moves on, always toward more and more.

But the mind has two sides. One side is in the direction of diversity, in the direction of many, many. The other is in the direction of unity, the unified state. Gaining unity means rising to Transcendental Consciousness, the settled state, while gaining diversity means moving toward more and more activity. Unity is on one side, diversity is on the other side. Both sides belong to the nature of the mind.

The mind moves to diversity in search of more and more, and it moves in the direction of unity – a quiet state of unbounded awareness, unbounded consciousness, unbounded intelligence – in search of less and less. The move of the mind from its active state to its quiet state is part of nature. Its potential is unbounded, infinite; it enters the field of all possibilities. When the mind gains its unified state, that is Transcendental Meditation.

What is the nature of transcendental consciousness?

It is unity consciousness, an encounter with the field of unified consciousness. In Transcendental Consciousness, the mind experiences itself, intelligence experiences itself. The mind is the observer of its own reality. In that state, the mind is Transcendental Consciousness.

Just as the quiet surface of the ocean is the source from which all waves arise, so the self-fulfilled state of mind, which we call Transcendental Consciousness, is the unified field of natural law, from which all the different laws of nature emerge and conduct their specific activities in the relative world.

Is the state of unbounded awareness maintained during the day, even after the formal meditation period ends?

As a result of regular practice, it is maintained more and more, The situation is as though we were to take a white cloth and dip it in yellow dye. We bring the cloth out and put in the sun and the yellow fades away. Then we put it back again and again into the color and back again and again into the sun. It keeps on becoming yellow and yellow and yellow, then fading, fading, fading. But over time the color becomes permanent. That happens to the mind through regular practice. That unbounded awareness, that pure consciousness, the field of all the laws of nature, becomes ingrained in all activities of the mind. Then the mind begins to live in Unity Consciousness. That’s how Unity Consciousness becomes a living reality.

How does a person learn to practice Transcendental Meditation?

Through instruction. What happens is that the mind, in its active state, learns to experience its own less active states, experience its progressively minimized active states, until eventually it cognizes the transcendental state of consciousness.

But in learning to do this, we must remember that the mind has usually been allowed to wander around so long in the realm of knowledge or power or the pursuit of happiness that it must be taught how to know itself again. That’s why teaching becomes necessary. After learning Transcendental Meditation one knows what the natural state is. But to realize this, one has to be liberated from unnatural programs, performances and experiences.

Most people have no experience with Transcendental Consciousness, pure consciousness, the pure nature of the mind. They are aware of active mind, which is the waking state of consciousness. They are also aware of the complete forgetfulness of the mind, the sleep state, And they are aware of the middle stage, the dreaming mind. But they are not aware of pure or Transcendental Consciousness. So the experience of that consciousness is taught in Transcendental Meditation, though it’s nothing other that the very nature of the mind.

When people begin to practice Transcendental Meditation, do they experience purging or cleansing effects, when negative things come up? Does moving into the unified state of consciousness involve a painful period?

We think about the cloth again. When the cloth is very, very dirty, you begin to rinse it in soap. You rinse it once and then twice. But as it gets cleaner, soiled patches which didn’t seem to be there before begin to appear. However, if you keep on washing and washing, those patches start to fade away and fade away completely. Similarly, when old habits of stress and straining begin to be neutralized through Transcendental Meditation, a person may feel discomfort as other, more subtle habits of stress come up, but only because the natural state is returning and the stress is leaving, This is part of gaining normality and natural status.

For example, some people may say, “I don’t worry about things like I used to. Does this mean I am losing myself, my identity?” To them, this normalization of the mind feels strange, They have been behaving with boundaries, in space and time, and now they wake up to unbounded awareness. So there is often a feeling of difference and strangeness at first.

You say that Transcendental Meditation is a program for the mind. What is its relationship to the intellect?

Transcendental Meditation does not involve intellect. Transcendental Meditation is an experience of the mind, from the active levels to the unified level. It’s just an innocent experience of active mind and an innocent experience of settled mind, silent mind.

Through certain other meditation practices, however, particularly those in which the intellect seeks God through recalling the qualities or names or virtues of God, the intellect is stimulated and begins to thrive, It does so increasingly in the presence of God in the glory of God, in the dignity of God, in the grace of God, in the merciful nature of God. There may then come a point where intellect is in its natural state and comprehends the unbounded awareness of God, the merciful nature of God, the presence of God. The intellect, through pursuing God intellectually, can recognize its natural status as the mind wakes up to its unboundedness.

The intellect thus leads one to the settled state, a non-intellectual experience of pure being. The intellect can finally be enveloped by all the exalted qualities of God as it arrives at its natural state, the level of fundamental intelligence. That will be the same as Transcendental Consciousness, the union which recognizes the unbounded dignity of the light of God, the feeling of God, the experience of unboundedness, pure intelligence. But such is not the approach of Transcendental Meditation, which does not operate through the intellect.

What new applications are you currently exploring for Transcendental Meditation?

We are working in many directions – dealing with education, community planning, prison rehabilitation, and so on – but our primary focus is on promoting what we call “irreversible world peace.” We are seeking to establish several permanent groups of 7000 advanced Transcendental Meditators in various places around the planet. Their meditations will create a powerful coherent influence in the collective consciousness and neutralize built-up stress and tension in the world, creating an environment of progress and peace.

Our goal is to create Heaven on Earth, and we are taking practical steps to accomplish it.

What recent successes have you had in applying Transcendental Meditation to achieve this goal?

There have been many scientific studies validating the effectiveness of this program. Just now I could mention two recent demonstrations – one from the poorest country in the world and one from the richest.

For the last year, the president of Mozambique, His Excellency Joachim Alberto Chissano, has been organizing instruction in Transcendental Meditation for large numbers of his people. Recently, he credited their practice of this discipline with keeping the peace in Mozambique after many years of civil war. (See Psychology Today‘s article, Can Meditation Change the World? and my response to it.)

During June and July of 1993, in Washington DC, about 4,000 experts in Transcendental Meditation demonstrated the power of this technology to eliminate stress and create more coherence and harmony throughout a society. Scientists now report preliminary statistics from the Washington police showing 13% drop in total violent crime during the demonstration compared to the same period in 1992. New reports show that President Clinton and Congress enjoyed much greater success and appreciation during the demonstration than either before or after it. (It actually turned out to be a drop of 24%. See Noetic Science’s Shift article, The Power of The Collective, by John Hagelin, and the Global Union of Scientists for Peace for the latest developments.)

We feel very fulfilled by these results, and wish to invite every government to establish a coherence-creating group in its capital city. This step will ensure that every government has a neat, clean, pure atmosphere in which to make decisions.

This interview with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is from Science of Mind Journal, Vol. 66 No. 11, Nov. 1993, pages 32-38. Science of Mind Journal is published by the Church of Religious Science, 3251 W. 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90020.

Note: I like this self-referral nature of the mind when it transcends during TM: “The mind is the observer of its own reality. In that state, the mind is Transcendental Consciousness.” It contrasts with a quote from the November 1990 Life Magazine article, when the mind is object-referral: “The sight occupies the seer, transforms seer into sight.” I combined both notions in my poem, Seeing Is Being. Maharishi also gave a clear explanation of this difference in perception, of bondage and liberation, in the June 1968 CBC documentary, Maharishi at Lake Louise. You can see more posts about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on this blog.

Update: On August 30, 2019, India PM Narendra Modi unveiled a commemorative stamp of His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Click here to see 3 photos on Twitter, and here to see the photo and description on Instagram. Below is a scan of it.

‘Dear Prudence’ Bruns in Parade discusses world peace, the ’60s, and why kids love the Beatles

August 9, 2019

Parade’s senior features editor M.B. Roberts interviewed Prudence Bruns for this Aug 9, 2019 article: The Woman Who Inspired ‘Dear Prudence’ Opens Up About World Peace, the Influence of the ’60s and Why Kids Today Love the Beatles. Click the title to see original article with photos. Here is the text.

The Beatles’ muse still believes in world peace.

Prudence Bruns, 71, has several claims to fame. First, she’s the daughter of film director John Farrow and actress Maureen O’Sullivan, as well as the younger sister of actress Mia Farrow. Second, she’s a teacher and passionate advocate of Transcendental Meditation who studied with the TM guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India, back in the late 1960s. It’s at Maharishi’s retreat in 1968 where Prudence’s fellow students included all four members of the Beatles. Third, her behavior during the retreat led John Lennon to write the song “Dear Prudence,” which appeared on the Beatles’ White Album. So, who is the flesh and blood woman behind the song that Rolling Stone named as No. 63 on its list of “100 Greatest Beatles Songs”? And what’s the story behind the famous song? Parade caught up with Bruns to find out.

You met the Beatles at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s retreat in Rishikesh, India, in 1968, where you’d traveled with your sister, Mia, to learn Transcendental Meditation. Were you starstruck?

No, I’d been around famous people before. It wasn’t a big deal to me but I liked them a lot, especially John and George. They came into my room one night to play a song and I could hear them outside on the patio at night playing. But really, I was so focused on getting the most out of my time there. It was my dream to go to India and study with a person who really knew about this meditation. I was pretty extreme.

That’s why John wrote the song, which starts out, “Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play/Dear Prudence, greet the brand-new day.”

Right. People over the years would have these reasons why I was Dear Prudence that were completely off the wall and almost disturbing, like I was a heroin addict or I lost my mind or all these crazy reasons why John wrote the song. It bothered me in a sense but it seemed over my head, like what can I do about it. I’d tell people, well I had to stay in my room. Nobody believed that I didn’t have an affair with him. I couldn’t tell people. But it all came about because I stayed in my room by myself for five days straight. I hadn’t gone to the bathroom or slept. I didn’t eat. I was trying to see where [meditation] would take me.

And you’ve stayed with meditation all these years?

Yes, I’m back teaching now. At Sofitco Studios, a fitness studio in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.

What do you love so much about TM?

TM is a yogic meditation but what’s different about it is that it has been streamlined and simplified for those of us who are busy and can’t give our whole lifestyle over to changing how we are and what we’re doing. It makes it so that in just a short period of time you can go extremely deep inside and tap into a part of the mind that is foundational. It’s just silent. It’s like, the ocean has a surface and as you get deeper it becomes less active. And if you can get incredibly deep, it’s still. So the same with the mind. You can get to this part of the mind that is still, but it’s not inert. It’s actually very creative. And so, it’s wonderful. You can actually experience that. Anybody can.

Your memoir, Dear Prudence: The Story Behind the Song, came out in 2015. Why did you decide to write the book so many years (nearly 50!) after John Lennon wrote that song about you?

It was because of my grandson. We’d moved down to Florida and my daughter lived next door. At a certain point when my grandson was in high school, he came over and said, “OK, Grandma, you have to come to my school and speak to my friends.” It surprised me because at that point, I was getting used to accepting myself as being old and kind of irrelevant. I forgot I was Dear Prudence, because my older daughter and son—they were the generation after the Baby Boomers—and their interest in The Beatles was zip.

But there’s been a revived interest in the Beatles among kids and twentysomethings, don’t you think?

Yes, absolutely. Especially with [the game] Guitar Hero. Then you even have little kindergartners knowing all the Beatles songs. Anyway, being Dear Prudence really never mattered. Then when I went to my grandson’s school, it was like one of the Beatles came to see his friends. There were about 30 kids and they all came rushing up and gathered around me with all this respect. I was completely stunned.

Was it your link to the Beatles they were excited about?

Besides the kids noticing the Beatles and actually knowing every song they did and the words to every song, one of the kids asked a question that stood out. “Why did John and the Beatles think there could be such a thing as world peace?” I mean, they really believed there could not possibly be such a thing! This shocked me. It was sad, but it meant that they were actually listening to us. For us, we didn’t listen to anybody over 30! But grandparents? Forget about it. So that they were actually listening and hearing The Beatles and that message was a real wake-up call.

What was the message?

That there can be world peace. I told them, you’re wrong. Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean we can’t achieve it. I explained to them that if enough of us live more consciously rather than every man for himself, really caring about our culture and our humanity then we can have peace. It was very powerful and that’s when I decided I had to tell my story. I’m Dear Prudence, one of the many that went through the ‘60s. We brought yoga in and the whole perspective of green and organic and all that came in to our culture.

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See this blog post with links to other interviews: Who was Dear Prudence the Beatles sang to in India? What happened to her? Here is her story.

See What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo, published in Parade.

Op-Ed recommends TM for student mental health

August 9, 2019

The Scarsdale Inquirer published an Op-Ed piece by Margo L. Baum, August 2, 2019. Margo and I graduated from the same masters program in education at MUM in Fairfield. She asked if I would share her article. I offered to post it on my blog and added hyperlinks. Here is her story. It is very timely advice given the growing mental health crisis in America!

TM: A simple technique could help Scarsdale student

After reading the article about teen mental health (“Helping teens in affluent communities cope with mental health,” Scarsdale Inquirer, July 26), I wonder, what is mental health? Is it simply the absence of anxiety, depression and stress?

As a Scarsdale High School graduate, I understand the pressure to achieve. However, in my teens I wanted more than aspiring to good grades, attending an Ivy League school and making six figures. I didn’t know what I wanted until I found something that transformed my life.

At age 17, I learned a simple mental technique called Transcendental Meditation, which I have now practiced for 45 years. TM became a source of inner development that created a solid foundation of inner strength and bliss within me. From this experience, I believe the missing component of mental health for teens is inner development. I credit TM for providing me with an inner sanctum of peace and saving my life. Due to my experience, I feel the desire to help others lessen the stress of daily life, especially our youth.

As an elementary school teacher, I have witnessed the stress on students of having to gain knowledge of subjects and yet not be taught how to gain inner fulfillment. We train the mind and intellect of our youth to get into better and better elementary, middle, high schools and colleges. But, having achieved all this, are the students balanced, happy, loving adults? More importantly, is the journey from child to adult filled with love, happiness and a balance of heart, mind and spirit? Or is it a path riddled with stress, anxiety and depression?

I have watched students battling anger, low self-esteem, social troubles and academic issues change through instruction in TM. Students around the world have learned this simple mental technique and have had their lives transformed.

Students at The Thacher School, the oldest coed private boarding school for high school students in California, face many of the same issues that impact students from affluent communities: the stress of standardized tests, the pressure to get into good colleges, massive amounts of homework due daily, the pressure to excel in sports, etc.

Thacher students learned TM and found positive results. Michael K. Mulligan, head of the school, said, “Students today are under more pressure than ever to succeed. Standardized testing and grades play increasingly important roles in secondary and college placement outcomes — and many of our youngsters and teens are showing signs of folding under the stress of homework, grades, testing and parental expectations. Our kids need a break, and Transcendental Meditation is one great answer to helping them find rest, peace and calm. Simple, easy and effective, TM has provided for our students … a critical time-out from the stresses of the day. Our students who learned this technique last year report more peace and silence in their day and more resilience in their activities. It has been a gift and a blessing in their lives.”

The use of meditation as an intervention may seem ridiculous to some. Yet, many of the greatest ideas and inventions of our times started out as seemingly insane. For example, my father, the late Dr. Gilbert Baum, was a pioneer in diagnostic ultrasound. The chief of staff at the Veterans Administration Hospital, where my father did his research, told my dad, “Baum, I thought you were certifiable to think you could use sound to see.” 

A new paradigm in imaging in the health field came about due to my father’s endless zeal to follow what he knew to be beneficial to the world. 

TM has been scientifically validated in more than 600 research studies to reduce stress, anxiety, anger and depression. The research also indicates a greater sense of inner calm develops and a stronger sense of self. In some cases insomnia is alleviated.

The David Lynch Foundation has given TM to veterans, domestic violence victims, and students in schools around the world, transforming the lives of individuals from darkness to light.

Why not give TM to SHS students to develop inner contentment? Why not create a new paradigm of mental health for our youth? When inner development and outer achievement go hand in hand, the result will be true mental health for Scarsdale students.

Margo L. Baum, of Brite Avenue, received her bachelor’s in education from Boston University and her master’s in education from Maharishi University of Management, an accredited university in Fairfield, Iowa. She has taught elementary school and creative writing workshops around the world.


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