Posts Tagged ‘Transcendental Meditation’

David Frawley Remembers the Global Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India Today Insight

December 30, 2021

India Today Insight: From the Archives / Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Global Guru

Mahesh Yogi was the ultimate mystic yogi, mantra guru and meditation master

David Frawley December 28, 2021

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was probably the best known and most influential yoga guru from India over the last 50 years, with millions of followers in every part of the world. His meditation-based teachings have had an enormous impact, including on some of the best educated, most affluent and articulate minds and personalities from the East and West. Maharishi’s influence was extensive in India, in which he redefined the image of the guru, and the corpus of knowledge that the guru was expected to represent. He revived, reshaped and modernised the vast yogic and healing traditions of India and brought them on to the world stage with respect and sophistication, as relevant to everyone. Maharishi became a cult figure in the West—the media face of the yogi, mantra guru, and meditation master.

Yet, in spite of the adulation showered upon him, he did not encourage any personality cult around himself. Instead, he emphasised the higher “knowledge” that was impersonal in nature. He was able to articulate the ancient tradition of Vedic and yogic knowledge in all of its branches for the modern mind to appreciate and revere.

Maharshi was perhaps the first important guru to successfully use modern media and marketing methods, including television and video. He remarkably took the teachings of the old pandits of India—who were looked down in their own country as museum pieces from another era—and through his skillful repackaging gained them global respect in providing the inner keys to universal consciousness, the cutting edge of science and medicine, and the future evolution of humanity.

Maharshi had a deep concern for the state of the world and humanity. He created visionary schemes for new educational institutions, new communities and new cities. He researched how to bring Vedic values and dharmic principles into world governance, including how to protect nature, the Earth and its ecology. True to his universal nature, he was able to draw into his organisation people from all countries, age groups, religions, and cultures.

Maharishi developed a massive worldwide organisation with enormous funds and detailed projects. Naturally, there was much controversy about such a guru figure on the world-stage—particularly from a backward and non-Christian country like India. His notoriety and mass following challenged existing views of religion and of science relative to the nature of consciousness. Not surprisingly, some political and religious authorities felt threatened by his influence, particularly upon the youth. Probably no guru from India has had such an effect upon the world, or faced such relentless scrutiny.

Maharishi’s life story provides few details. He was born in Jabalpur, now in Madhya Pradesh, then in the Central Provinces of British India, under the name Mahesh. He was from the learned Kayastha caste. He studied physics at Allahabad University and graduated in 1942.

Maharishi followed the inspiration of his guru, the venerable Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, Shankaracharya of Joshi Math in the Himalayas, who was one of the greatest enlightened masters of modern India. He met his guru during his university years. He soon became his guru’s close disciple and trusted secretary, an extraordinary honour and responsibility that provided him access to the guru’s unfathomable wisdom, a relationship that continued until Brahmananda’s passing in 1953.

Maharishi began teaching meditation in 1955 as he had learned from his guru, which he refined into simple practical techniques accessible to everyone. His disciples soon honoured him as “Maharishi” or “great seer”. Not content to teach in India, he decided to reach out to the entire world, when few Indian teachers travelled abroad. From his first world tour in 1958 to meeting with the Beatles in 1967, his teachings exploded upon the world stage. His fame quickly spread to the UK, to the US and then to all corners of the globe. He soon developed a world organisation to represent his teachings. From 1991 to his passing in 2008, he lived in the Netherlands, and communicated to his disciples through satellite TV, and his main impact shifted to Europe.

One can go on for pages with the names of the famous people that followed him, starting with the Beatles and the Beach Boys in the 1960s, whose counterculture generation he introduced to meditation and mantra. He inspired great teachers and writers, notably Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has a world stature of his own and carries on similar work, and Deepak Chopra, who has long remained the most popular writer in the field of spirituality and healing in the West. His impact was strong on Hollywood, including on innovative filmmaker David Lynch and actor Goldie Hawn. Yet to be true to Maharishi’s vision, let us examine the ways of knowledge that formed his main dedication.

Yoga, Meditation and Mantra

While yoga today is mainly known as an asana tradition, particularly in the West, it first emerged in the modern world as a spiritual practice, starting with Swami Vivekananda in the late 19thcentury, who coupled yoga with the great philosophy of Vedanta, aiming at self-realisation. Maharishi, as a yogi in the higher sense of the term, like Vivekananda, emphasised the yoga of meditation, including Mantra Yoga and the Raja Yoga of Patanjali. He did not keep yoga confined in physical limitations but opened it up to the highest realms of consciousness, restoring it as a science of meditation. On this basis, he expanded the Vedic and yogic teachings to show their relevance for all aspects of life and all branches of learning. Maharishi’s fame began with his worldwide teaching of meditation. He promoted his Transcendental Meditation (TM) in the West at a time in which the term meditation was not well known and many religious groups were opposed to it.

Today, decades later, meditation in many names, forms and traditions is highlighted throughout the world. Maharishi was the main pioneer who set this process in motion. As his TM meditation approach rests upon the use of special mantras, Maharishi made the term mantra a common word in world discourse. He simplified and streamlined mantra meditation with special bija mantras that have changed the lives of millions.

Ayurveda

Ayurveda was almost unknown in the West when Maharshi introduced it in the 1980s. It was languishing in India, with little support, as a backward if not primitive system of medicine. Today Ayurveda has spread globally as a futuristic mind-body-consciousness system of health and well-being, such as Maharishi revealed it to be. Many Indian yoga gurus today have their own ayurvedic centres and products. This would not have been possible without Maharishi’s global promotion.

Jyotish, Vedic Astrology, Vastu and Vedic Architecture

If one takes up the cause of astrology in intellectual circles one will likely be denigrated as superstitious. Maharshi returned recognition and dignity to the practice of Vedic astrology. He gave the impetus for making jyotish into a global movement, as he did with ayurveda. Jyotish is now practised along with yoga and ayurveda throughout the world. Vastu is the Vedic science of architecture and directional influences that was also largely forgotten. Maharishi brought it back into the limelight, particularly for his numerous building projects.

Vedic Teachings

Maharshi took his teachings back to the Rigveda, the oldest Vedic text, explaining its cryptic mantras as keys to cosmic knowledge, which few modern gurus have done. His support for India and the world reclaiming its Vedic heritage was crucial and changed the image of the Vedas from nature worship to the revelation of cosmic intelligence.

Expanding the Vedic Vision into the Future, Vedic Science and Modern Physics, Vedic Management Maharshi was a proponent of Advaita or non-dualist Vedanta, which his guru taught, and showed how it is integrally linked with all the Vedic sciences. Both Vedic thought and modern physics postulate a unitary field of consciousness to explain the laws of nature. Maharishi showed the concordance between the two. In the study of the brain, Maharishi revealed how Vedic mantras interface with brain functions and can aid in the unfolding higher brain potentials. Maharshi brought in Vedic principles into business management, detailing how higher dharma can uplift the corporate realm and create a new system of dharmic economics. He showed the relevance of Vedic knowledge to all walks of life and all levels of social and intellectual discourse.

Vedic Schools and Pandits, Legacy of Education Maharshi established a number of schools and universities, notably Maharishi International University (MIU) in the US, renamed as Maharishi University of Management(MUM), and Maharishi European Research Institute (MERU) in the Netherlands, as well as several universities in India with state government support. He developed special trainings to empower Vedic pandits in India. His schools have conducted scientific research on the benefits of meditation that are widely studied and quoted.

Expanding Vedic World Some may criticise Maharishi for using the media and marketing to promote yogic teachings. He was certainly an impressive showman when needed. Some of his projects were dramatic, like his yogic flying programme aiming to eventually teach people how to levitate. But these did bring attention to the teachings that he hoped for.

The vast amount of wealth and property his organisation acquired has come under questioning, and not all his projects or centres flourished. But if we look at how he used the immense resources at his disposal, his focus was always on the knowledge. Others criticised his brand naming Vedic teachings with “Maharishi Ayurveda”, “Maharishi Jyotish” and so on, as if his group owned these older traditions. But we should remember that without his modern endorsement many people might not have been willing to study these esoteric teachings from ancient India. Some of his followers found his organisation to be rigid and eventually went their own ways, sometimes with his blessings. Yet his ability to sustain such a global organisation must be admired.

The spiritual renaissance in India and in the world today was to a large extent made possible by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s untiring efforts in many fields of higher knowledge. He created an audience for Indian teachers and doctors to travel to the West that many have benefited by. He gave us an expanded Vedic, mantra and meditation vision of yoga that remains comprehensive, compelling and transformational.

Maharishi made Vedic knowledge into a globally respected teaching of futuristic vision and cosmic insight. His name, picture and mission is widely recognised and will likely be prominent for decades to come. Maharishi marked a new era in how India’s deeper wisdom is presented, the Yoga of consciousness, and how it can guide humanity into a new age of enlightenment.

David Frawley is a Vedic teacher, author and founder of American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, US

For more information on Transcendental Meditation in your country, visit www.tm.org/choose-your-country.

Other posts about Maharishi

A Remembrance of Maharishi by James Powell and Remembrances of Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi International University founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi with links to more articles and videos, like Les Crane interviews Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Watch the 1968 film of Maharishi at Lake Louise.

What if you could give yourself a mental health break every day? @WTHRcom 13News Anchor @JuliaMoffitt13 reports on the benefits of #TranscendentalMeditation

December 21, 2021

Dec 21, 2021: Enjoy this holiday news report from Channel 13 WTHR: Hoosiers find holiday peace with Transcendental Meditation.

The holiday season can be a stressful time for many people, so 13News anchor Julia Moffitt met with an Indianapolis Transcendental Meditation instructor to learn about the technique. One of Julia’s friends had told her about it and suggested she meet with her TM teacher, Paul Wilson.

I was impressed with Moffitt’s report. It turned out to be an excellent presentation on Transcendental Meditation. You can tell a lot of work had gone into the pre- and post-production phases. Paul later told me he “spent weeks planning for the interview, and she (Julia) spent weeks getting it edited down to a little gem.”

They incorporated relevant visuals and video footage to best illustrate and augment the main points of Julia’s interview with Paul. The report also included the testimonials of two local meditators, Wally and Beverly, who described the benefits they received from their twice-daily TM practice.

Paul Wilson explained that “TM, as we call it, is a simple natural effortless mental technique that we do twice a day just seated comfortably in a chair with eyes closed. Takes about 15-20 minutes to do each time, and it provides a state of deep rest on demand.”

Julia Moffit remarked: “So TM is different than other forms of meditation because you don’t have to empty your mind, there’s no mindfulness or concentrating or mind control. As Paul said, anyone can do this, even children.” (She got that right! I never heard anyone explain it so clearly.)

Julia then described to her associates the cross-section of the ocean analogy to show how TM allows us to dive below the surface choppy waves and experience the calm at the bottom deep within the mind. It made sense to them. Along with the importance of people taking time out for self-care on a daily basis.

Julia came away with a clear understanding of what the TM technique is and the health benefits it could offer her viewers.

Enjoy watching this short (3:15) but comprehensive news report on Transcendental Meditation.

Paul Wilson is helping Indianapolis residents take advantage of the various benefits of the “effortless mental technique.”

WTHR.com is the news leader for Indianapolis and Central Indiana. See other cable TV news stations that reported on the health benefits of TM: WTNH New Haven 8, WXYZ Detroit 7, and Spectrum News 1 Rochester.

Visit www.tm.org to find a TM Center near you.

Interestingly, David Letterman is from Indianapolis and always considers himself a Hoosier. He also practices Transcendental Meditation. Enjoy this blog post, which includes Dave’s interviews with Howard Stern and Oprah Winfrey talking about TM. Included are links to other celebrities talking about TM, like this one: Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern share stories about their Transcendental Meditation practice.

Here is a surprising one. When Oprah interviewed Lady Gaga last year, they discovered they had both learned Transcendental Meditation from Bob Roth, aka @meditationbob. Lady Gaga described the tremendous health benefits TM brings her, especially her fibromyalgia pain: “Sometimes I can be in a ton of pain, and meditate and it goes away! It’s amazing!” Bob posted the clip on his Instagram.

Updated December 22, 2021.

Also see Transcendental Meditation benefits those with medical issues, ongoing anxieties, even PTSD.

For more information on Transcendental Meditation in your country, visit www.tm.org/choose-your-country.

Transcendental Meditation benefits those with medical issues, ongoing anxieties, even PTSD

September 22, 2021

Enjoy this excellent article on how Transcendental Meditation is benefitting Canadians, especially those with medical issues, ongoing anxieties and even PTSD. Click here to see photos of the people journalist Kate Wilson interviewed for an Edmonton News story published in the Edmonton and Calgary issues of the Alberta Prime Times.

TM a natural for emotional and physical wellbeing

Transcendental meditation (TM) provides benefits to those with medical issues, ongoing anxieties and even PTSD. 

By: Kate Wilson for AlbertaPrimeTimes.com (Edmonton and Calgary)

At the Edmonton TM Centre, Ami Stadnick helps clients from all walks of life to better manage a range of issues. Photo Kate Wilson.

Wade McKinley recalls the day he first stepped into a class on Transcendental Meditation (TM). As a young man in Vancouver, he’d been experiencing anxiety and depression, and a friend had recommended enrolling.

“I strolled in not knowing anything and said, Hi, I’d like to learn,” said the Calgary resident.

Now 54, McKinley has been practicing TM for 33 years. He says he values the rest it brings to his nervous system and body.

“There are times when distractions interrupt my peace of mind,” he said, but the stability that twice-daily meditation brings stays with him. “I still do TM exactly the way I was taught, but there’s growth in my experience. The quality of silence and settled-ness, it’s expanded into more aspects of my day.”

Setting the mind to rest

TM is a simple technique based on ancient yogic practices from India and renewed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the middle of the 20th century. It aims to bring the body and mind into a settled state of rest, without any concentrated effort.

A 1978 study in Hormones and Behaviour showed TM reduced cortisol–the ‘stress hormone’–by 30 per cent. A 1987 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed TM reduced hospitalizations and doctor visits among seniors, with the biggest reduction–about 70% –in people over 40.

In his 2018 book Strength in Stillness, longtime TM practitioner Bob Roth said the surge in interest in TM is partly due to an epidemic of chronic stress and related illness, and medication’s inability to prevent or cure it. He points to four decades of science showing TM’s capacity for improving brain and cognitive functioning, cardiovascular health and emotional well-being.

Help with medical issues

For Ruth Yanor, TM provides a priceless “reset button”. Seven years ago, she was weathering the debilitating effects of sleep apnea, in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. 

“I was wrung out from poor quality sleep, and pretty close to not being able to function. Nothing was helping,” said the Edmonton resident.

An incident at a cross-walk–where she was hit and dragged by a truck–sent her to the hospital with rib fractures and lung punctures. An allergy to opioids meant Yanor was only given extra strength Tylenol to deal with her pain, so her physician suggested enrolling in a TM program.

“Meditating would clear things. I could keep the pain out of my mind, until someone would ask ‘how’s your pain’,” she said.

Now 63, Yanor concedes that while TM hasn’t corrected her sleep apnea it has been invaluable in allowing her to function over the day. 

“I calm my mind down with TM. It’s so wonderful to have this practice.”

Yanor’s instructor, Ami Stadnick, says the simplicity of TM relies on the mind’s natural capacity to settle, despite its tendency to be distracted.

“It may be a favourite piece of music or a conversation. Our attention, at least momentarily, is (wired) to jump to that,” said Stadnick, a registered psychologist. “We know that if given the opportunity, the mind would rather be in a restful state. TM sets the conditions so the mind will move to finer levels of activity. It is nature at work.”

At the Edmonton TM centre (there are centres across Canada, including in Edmonton and Calgary), Stadnick handles requests ranging from people who need to focus in a stressful workplace, to medical referrals to military veterans wanting a medication-free way to deal with anxiety. As a licensed TM practitioner, Stadnick has continuing access to seminars and follow-up training as needed.

For more information about Calgary and Edmonton TM centres, go to https://ca.tm.org/en/transcendental-meditation-calgary or https://ca.tm.org/en/transcendental-meditation-edmonton.

Veterans benefitting from TM

TM is now being offered to Canadian veterans and their families thanks to the Canadian Women’s Wellness Institute and a grant from Veterans Affairs Canada. As part of an overall initiative to bring benefits to people in at-risk situations or who are suffering from PTSD, a TM pilot program has been offering veterans and their family members TM instruction and a twice-daily home practice, along with follow-up meetings.

“We know veterans are not prone to sharing their experiences,” said Stadnick, a TM instructor in the pilot program. “Their peer group is always looking for a way to treat PTSD in a more natural way.”

A 2021 report on the program showed participating veterans, who averaged 51 years of age, went from higher levels of stress, depression, anxiety and anger to significantly lower ones after only 3 months of TM practice. Family members also experienced significant decreases in stress and anxiety levels.

Out of the 36 participants, half reported improvements in general health, depression and fatigue. About 60% indicated a better relationship with their spouse and family members, while 86% reported a considerable reduction in stress.

The program is now extended into 2023 in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Montreal and Fredericton. If you know any veterans who might like to enrol in the TM program, contact Ami Stadnick at astadnick@tm.org.

. . . . .

Update from Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative on their extended grant from Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada announced their renewed grant for another two years to the Canadian Women’s Wellness Institute on their website: Recipients of the 2021 Veteran Family Well-Being Fund and published a Veteran story: Bruno Guevremont: Changing mind, changing self. In the article, Bruno describes the benefits he receives from his TM practice.

In 2019, he also trained in Transcendental Meditation, a simple mental technique that teaches practitioners how to settle their minds and their bodies, and reinforce the mind-body connection. “I did lots of research into different ways to care for your mental health, and I read that meditation can be good for you,” he recalls. “After meditation, I feel so chill, so incredibly peaceful. It helps you achieve a position of wellness, so that you can make the right decisions in life for yourself,” says Bruno.

See What if you could give yourself a mental health break every day? @WTHRcom 13News Anchor @JuliaMoffitt13 reports on the benefits of #TranscendentalMeditation.

For more information on Transcendental Meditation in your country, visit www.tm.org/choose-your-country.

Penelope Cruz decompresses on film sets, eases stress in her life with Transcendental Meditation

September 8, 2021

Female First published an article about Penelope Cruz and how meditation (TM) has been helping her forget the stresses and struggles in her life. I checked and received verification that she was recently taught Transcendental Meditation in Spain. The article has been picked up by many media outlets.

Meditation is Penelope Cruz’s escape

Penelope Cruz uses transcendental meditation to ease any stress in her life.

5 September 2021

Penelope Cruz

The Oscar-winning actress – who has two children, 10-year-old son Leo and eight-year-old daughter Luna, with her actor husband Javier Bardem – first experimented with meditation when she was a teenager but she started taking the practice seriously to decompress from her film sets and to ease any worries she may have.

She said: “I practiced meditation as a teenager, I stopped for a while, then I took the transcendental meditation courses and I chose to dedicate myself to it.”

I practiced meditation as a teenager, I stopped for a while, then I took the Transcendental Meditation courses and I chose to dedicate myself to it.

Penelope Cruz

Penelope is always busy with her career and her family and wants to devote herself as much as she can to her children, although her own mother Encarna keeps telling her to take more time for herself, despite never taking that advice herself when she was raising the ‘Nine’ star and her siblings.

Speaking to Italian publication IO Donna, she said: “I have a trait that I inherited from my mother, who was equally demanding with herself: she was very busy and yet – very generous – she managed to give everything to her three children. Now she says to me: you have to relax, you have to rest, you have to find time for yourself…”

Penelope – who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 2008 for her performance in Woody Allen’s ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ – will have spent 30 years working as an actress and she has to pinch herself each day that her childhood dream came true.

She said: “Acting was my dream since I was – maybe – two years old. A dream that does not bore: with each role you start from scratch.

“So I think: thank you!”

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It is interesting that Penelope Cruz had dreamed of becoming an actor from such an early age. She’s had an amazing career winning many awards. According to Wikipedia she is the first and only Spanish actress to both be nominated for and win an Academy Award as well as receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Another talented young artist who had a similar dream at a very young age is Angelina Jordan. From around 3 years old she knew she wanted to sing for the world and become a superstar. She has been inspiring millions with her voice. Discover and enjoy the amazing soulful voice of young Angelina Jordan. It is jaw-dropping great!

To find a Transcendental Meditation center in your country, visit www.tm.org/choose-your-country.

Alan J. Steinberg’s debut novel reminds me of the age-old quest ‘To Be Enlightened’ I first read about in Somerset Maugham’s ‘The Razor’s Edge’

July 30, 2021

“The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard.” — Katha-Upanishad.

If you are a seeker, To Be Enlightened by Alan J. Steinberg, MD may inform and inspire you. The theme is reminiscent of Somerset Maugham’s novel, The Razor’s Edge*, which was made into a movie, twice.

In that story, Larry Darrel, traumatized from the war, postpones his marriage to travel, study, and find himself. He goes to Europe, and eventually India, where he meets a guru who prepares him for a profound experience of transcendence. Transformed, he returns to the world he left behind. The post-war economic recession had impacted his friend who is psychologically distraught. His former fiancee is now married to him. Larry later gets involved with an old friend who has suffered much and tries to save her. His ex is not content to have let him go and stirs up trouble. Complications lead to tragedy. In the end, Larry is free to live his life on his own terms; in the world, but not of it.

In this story, the main character, Abe Levy, a philosophy professor, already meditates. Unlike a greater part of the previous century, meditation and yoga have become ubiquitous in the west. But Professor Levy is not content with his twice-daily meditations. He is in a rush ‘To Be Enlightened’ and may risk his marriage and job to try and achieve it. The story has some surprising twists and turns along the way, enough to have kept this reader turning pages.

From the book description:

To Be Enlightened is a cosmic love story that follows Professor of Philosophy Abe Levy as he grapples with what it means to love both his wife, Sarah, and the ocean of silence within. It is also an intellectual exploration of the most intimate of subjects: our consciousness.

Abe Levy’s long tenure as a philosophy professor has motivated thousands of students to ponder age-old questions in light of New Age ideas. Though Abe is passionate about his teaching, he is obsessed with a powerful childhood dream of heaven. To return to that heaven, he must reach enlightenment in his lifetime. Day after day, Abe settles into deep meditation, reaching the very cusp of his goal but unable to cross the threshold. Desperately, he commits to doing whatever it takes, even if it means abandoning his wife for a more ascetic life—a decision that sets off a cascade of consequences for Abe, Sarah, and those he loves the most.

I found it interesting that the theme of each chapter was prefaced with a relevant profound quote from the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, reputed author of the Tao Te Ching and founder of Taoism.

This is Dr. Alan Steinberg’s debut novel, and it is a worthy one. I recommend it for anyone who doesn’t know much about meditation, as well as those with a meditative practice.

The classroom discussions reveal interesting perspectives between western philosophy and the Vedic knowledge brought out by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique. And Abe’s and his wife Sarah’s experiences in and out of their TM practice are very relevant to the story’s unfolding.

The book is an enlightening read. I enjoyed how other readers responded to it and appreciated Susan Miller‘s insights in her San Francisco Book Review. Here is a link to an excellent interview with the author.

You can download the first chapter at his website Alan J. Steinberg, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Dr. Steinberg publishes articles on meditation in Psychology Today. Visit his linktr.ee for links to articles, book reviews, and more.

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*Scroll down in this blog post about my favorite romantic movies to the subheading LEAVING ROMANCE BEHIND TO FIND ONESELF to read more about Maugham’s novel and the two films based upon it.

Another novel about a meditating philosophy professor worth reading is, “The Best Of All Possible Worlds” by B. Steven Verney.

Donovan celebrates 75th birthday, releases video of ‘I Am The Shaman’ produced by David Lynch

May 9, 2021

Donovan celebrates his 75th birthday with the release of a video single ‘I Am The Shaman’ in collaboration with David Lynch and launches an appeal for teaching Transcendental Meditation to students in Ireland.

Photographer : Jamue Caldentey : c Donovan Discs 2021

Donovan, world famous singer songwriter, who shot to fame with his extraordinary folk music in the 1960s and spent time with Maharishi and the Beatles in Rishikesh, India, now celebrates his 75th birthday on May 10th 2021. To mark the occasion Donovan is releasing a new video single with iconic filmmaker David Lynch. 

‘I Am The Shaman’ is available on: www.donovan.ie, Spotify, You Tube, and other platforms after May 10th.

At the same time Donovan is launching an appeal for teaching Transcendental Meditation to students in his native Ireland. If you would like to contribute: paypal.me/donovanleitch.

Also, please consider leaving a birthday greeting on his official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DonovanOfficial.

Donovan, who was inducted to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014, says: “David and I are compadres on a creative path rarely travelled, and we bring Transcendental Meditation to the world. Thanks for all your support!”

How it happened

“It was all impromptu,” Donovan explains. “I visited the studio and David said, ‘Sit at the mics with your guitar Don.’” He continued, “He had asked me to only bring in a song just emerging, not anywhere near finished. We would see what happens. It happened!”

Donovan said he “composed extempore … the verses came naturally. New chord patterns effortlessly appeared. He added, “On another day David ‘sound sculpted’ my Ferrington acoustic guitar ‘Kelly’ and he played his unique Modal Chord Ferrington Guitar textures with ‘effects’.”

The video was released today, May 10 for Donovan’s 75th birthday, in hopes of raising money to help him “give students TM Meditation.” Transcendental Meditation is a type of meditation that is taught to students one-on-one. Lynch is another major proponent of it, and organized a livestream festival benefitting his Meditate America initiative for the David Lynch Foundation. Donovan stated, “David and I are ‘compadres’ on a creative path rarely travelled. And we bring TM Meditation to the world.” 

Some news coverage

wxdmw: This article goes into how the song and video came together in David Lynch’s LA studio: Donovan Enlists David Lynch to Direct New Video for “I Am The Shaman”.

Pitchfork: David Lynch Directs New Video for Donovan Song “I Am the Shaman”: Watch. The song was produced by Lynch and mixed by collaborator Dean Hurley.

Rolling Stone: Donovan Taps David Lynch to Direct New Video for 2010 Song ‘I Am the Shaman’. Filmmaker also co-produced the song, which first appeared on the folk legend’s album, Ritual Groove.

IndieWire: David Lynch Directs Psychedelic Music Video to Celebrate Donovan’s 75th Birthday — Watch. With black-and-white images of stars and skulls and a droning soundscape, “I Am the Shaman” is a very Lynchian affair.

NME: David Lynch directs video for new Donovan song, ‘I Am The Shaman’. “David and I are ‘Compadres’ on a creative path rarely travelled”.

Stereogum: David Lynch Directs Donovan’s “I Am The Shaman” Video.

This news was reported on IMDb and many more places on the internet.

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The last time Donovan was in Fairfield he performed at the Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts and at Fairfest 2016: Sunshine Superman Donovan is a Very Mellow Fellow, a Hurdy Gurdy Man with Loving Vibes.

Transcendental Meditation effective in reducing veterans’ PTSD, sleep difficulties, depression and anxiety symptoms by 50% in 3 months: new study

March 22, 2021

News Release 18-Mar-2021 | EurekAlert! Summary & Press Release

Veterans with PTSD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity, according to a new study published today in Journal of Traumatic Stress. Fifty percent of the meditating veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD after three months compared to only 10 percent of controls. The randomized controlled study also showed significant reductions in veterans’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

IMAGE
IMAGE: Fifty percent of veterans who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique for three months no longer met criteria for PTSD compared to only 10 percent of controls. Meditating veterans also showed significant reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties. This figure shows the unadjusted mean change in PTSD symptoms, based on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), for the Transcendental Meditation group compared to the treatment-as-usual control group (all P values <.05) over the three-month intervention period. Credit: Maharishi International University Research Institute

Transcendental Meditation effective in reducing PTSD, sleep problems, depression symptoms

Veterans with PTSD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity, according to a new study published today in Journal of Traumatic Stress. Fifty percent of the meditating veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD after three months compared to only 10 percent of controls. The randomized controlled study also showed significant reductions in veterans’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

“Transcendental Meditation is a non-trauma-focused, easy-to-learn technique that was found in this study to improve PTSD symptoms, likely through the experience of physical rest,” said Mayer Bellehsen, Ph.D., director of the Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans and their Families, Northwell Health, and study principal investigator. “In contrast to commonly administered therapies for PTSD that are trauma-focused and based on a patient’s recall of past traumatic experiences, this intervention does not require extensive review of traumatic history, which some individuals find difficult to engage in. This intervention may therefore be more tolerable for some individuals struggling with PTSD.”

The randomized controlled trial, conducted at Northwell Health in Bay Shore, New York, assigned 40 veterans with documented PTSD to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) group or treatment as usual control group. The TM treatment provided 16 sessions over 12 weeks, with twice-a-day daily home practice. PTSD symptom severity was assessed with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5), and patient self-report with the PTSD Checklist for DSM -5 (PCL-5).

The results showed large effect sizes, indicating a strong TM treatment impact in reducing trauma symptoms for both PTSD measures. Other factors associated with trauma, such as depression and anxiety symptoms and sleep problems, also showed a strong impact of TM treatment.

“This trial corroborates the findings of a large clinical trial published in The Lancet Psychiatry,” said Sanford Nidich, Ed.D., Director of the Center for Social-Emotional Health at Maharishi International University Research Institute, and study co-investigator. “The current study further supports the effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation as a first-line treatment for PTSD in veterans. The availability of an additional evidence-based therapy will benefit veterans, both by offering them a greater range of options and by serving as an alternative treatment strategy for those who don’t want to engage in trauma-focused treatment or who aren’t responding to a previous PTSD intervention.”

The authors point out in their research paper that TM may positively affect trauma symptom severity through the reduction of hyperarousal symptoms. Previous research has shown that TM practice decreases physiological responses to stressful stimuli. In addition, recent research indicates that TM may improve resilience and positive coping strategies, providing further benefit to both veterans and active military personnel.

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This study was supported by David Lynch Foundation. The article is titled, “A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation as Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans.” Northwell Health, New York University, and Maharishi International University Research Institute collaborated on the trial. Preliminary results had been previously presented at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies conference, November 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Source: EurekAlert!

Northwell Health posted their release on March 22, 2021: New study shows transcendental meditation effective for reducing veterans’ stress. The study, led by Mayer Bellehsen, PhD, showed that the technique resulted in significant reductions in symptom severity.

Many science and international news outlets posted the news, including this excellent report in Medical News Today (PDF). And Jim Dwyer MD produced and tweeted this 60-seconds MediBlurb: Transcendental Meditation for PTSD in Veterans, which airs on regional radio in Arizona.

An unforgettable incident 50 years ago during intermission at a Montreal Place Des Arts concert

February 11, 2021

I remember this incident as if it was yesterday, even though it happened around 50 years ago. I had purchased a ticket to see a well-known rock group perform that evening at Place Des Arts, Montreal’s newest and most beautiful arts center at the time.

I had learned Transcendental Meditation a few years earlier and was conscientious about getting both 20-minute meditations in every day. The morning one was easy, but fitting in the evening session could sometimes be a bit of a challenge depending on where I was.

There was a long intermission between performances, when people could go to restrooms or get refreshments on the mezzanine. As audience members around me got up to leave, I decided to stay and do my evening meditation. I closed my eyes and meditated undisturbed. I could hear the buzz of people socializing on the other side of the closed doors to the concert hall, but it didn’t bother me.

After I finished, I went out to see what was happening. People were milling about and talking. There were several oval-shaped bars located on the floor with a few servers behind them. Some people had formed separate lines on all sides leading up to them to purchase drinks or snacks. I joined one of the lines closest to me. I felt calm, relaxed and refreshed, and was in no hurry.

We were moving slowly. Some people spoke casually among themselves. The lady in front of me was antsy. She kept looking at the barman at the front of our line serving customers, wanting him to hurry up and get to her. Frustrated, she blurted out, “He’s everywhere but in front of him.”

“He’s everywhere but in front of him.”

I looked and noticed the barman taking an order from the person in front of him. He then ran to serve a drink to someone further down the bar. Next, he gave change to a customer who had just paid for their drink from another side. He was all over the place.

After seeing how busy he was, I rearranged her words from a different perspective and said, “But everywhere is in front of him!”

“But everywhere is in front of him!”

She anxiously looked again, and this time noticed that he was quickly trying his best to serve as many people as possible. My observational joke had broken the tension. She laughed and said, “That’s a good one.”

I was just as surprised as her at what had spontaneously come out of my mouth. I smiled and said, “You like it? It’s yours.”

Visibly relaxed, she smiled and thanked me. Good thing I had done my TM! Just goes to show you the effect we can have on each other for good.

(more…)

Cartoon wisdom from Karl Stevens appears in this week’s print edition of The New Yorker

February 1, 2021

When I saw this wise cartoon by Karl Stevens on his Twitter and Instagram feeds I had to share it. I posted comments on both and Karl replied. Turns out there’s a TM connection. See our conversation below.

The New Yorker Cartoons have now also posted it on their Instagram.

I was so taken with this cartoon, I had to share a comment on Twitter and on Karl’s Instagram: “Love this! So funny and so true!!”

Surprisingly, Karl replied to both! Here’s a compilation: “Thanks, Ken! By the way, (You know) I’ve been doing TM for the past 7 years. Completely changed my life for the better! Thanks for all your work.”

I’ve been doing TM for the past 7 years. Completely changed my life for the better!

I had a suspicion this may have been the case when I saw a page from Karl’s forthcoming book, Penny, A Graphic Memoir. Published by Chronicle Books, this colorful graphic novel features the philosophical and existential musings of a cat named Penny.

The original publication date of April 13 was pushed back to April 20, then May 4 because of the shipping crisis, but you can still preorder the book in Karl’s profile @karlstevens from booksellers around the world.

In this frame on his Instagram, Penny says: “No, true transcendence comes from within. There is an oasis of happiness inside of me waiting to be unlocked. I just need to find the right key.” The second frame shows the cover of this new book, his fourth.

I had asked Karl if I could post his cartoons and he replied: “You can absolutely use that Penny comic for your blog. I’ve been meaning to be more vocal regarding my TM practice. Use the links for the Penny graphic novel in my profile, and my IG and Twitter handle,” which I’ve done.

I looked up Karl Stevens’ books on Amazon, and Time Out Boston wrote on the back of his book, Failure, “Karl Stevens may be the closet thing to a Charles Bukowski equivalent working in comic art. Except Stevens is way classier….” I mentioned it to Karl and told him that Charles Bukowski had learned TM later in his life. Karl was excited to learn about this. He said when he was working on Failure, “I was struggling with alcoholism which I think was where the comparison lies. I stopped drinking a couple months before beginning to learn TM. Obviously the practice was crucial to helping me focus on living a cleaner life.”

I stopped drinking a couple months before beginning to learn TM. Obviously the practice was crucial to helping me focus on living a cleaner life.

Karl Stevens is a Boston-based comic strip artist. He’s written four graphic novels, and his comics have appeared regularly in the New Yorker, Village Voice, and Boston Phoenix. His comic strips appeared in the Boston Phoenix between 2005 and 2012. His work has been well received all around, and The Lodger was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist.

Find out more about Karl Stevens at https://linktr.ee/karlstevens, and follow him on Twitter @KarlStevensart and Instagram @karlstevensart.

UPDATE: After reading this blog post my niece found a cartoonist profile on Karl and sent it to me. He mentions his TM practice further down under Misc. It was posted May 22, 2019 on A Case For Pencils. The blog, created/edited/run by Jane Mattimoe, is a peek inside the pencil bags and minds of New Yorker cartoonists, where they talk about their art supplies and drawing process.

Cartoonists sit and concentrate on drawing for long periods of time. In that profile, Karl describes the benefits of exercise and TM. He says:

It’s important to take breaks during the day, especially exercise. At the risk of sounding like David Lynch, I would also recommend learning Transcendental Meditation. I’ve been doing it for five years, and have never felt more creative. Slacking off twice a day for 20 minutes each really does help your mind and body recharge.

Karl also recommended The Winner, published May 23, 2018. He did it after he started TM. He said, “It’s on the lighter side, basically a love letter to my wife Alex.” I took a Look inside at the book preview on Amazon and it’s beautiful! Some of the panels are like miniature paintings. I can see why this book garnered rave reviews.

When I asked Karl what or who inspired him and his wife to learn TM he said that a friend of his had started six months before they did. He also said, “it was because of David Lynch. Well, Howard Stern too. We were/are regular listeners and would hear about the benefits from him too.” I sent him a link to a conversation Howard Stern and Jerry Seinfeld had about their TM practice.

Speaking of slacking off twice a day for 20 minutes to meditate, Jim Carrey, in his 2014 Commencement address at MUM/MIU mentions a similar thing at this point in his talk. Very funny!

Mark Wooding animated some highlights of Jim’s wise advice to the Class of 2014 for his After Skool site, which I’ve also posted, with links to the full talks and news coverage.

Here’s another post on cartoonists: Good cartoons teach us a lot if we’re willing to learn and laugh at our little foibles and neuroses.

UPDATED: April 26, 2021, The New Yorker, Daily Shouts: Penny Rejects the Rules of Man by Karl Stevens.

Asheville TM Center offers free Transcendental Meditation courses to help health care workers find peace during COVID-19 chaos

January 25, 2021

Group tries to help health care workers find peace during COVID-19 chaos by Caitlyn Penter for ABC 13 News. Monday, January 18th 2021

WLOS ABC 13 News, Asheville, NC VIEW ALL 7 PHOTOS

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — Medical experts say health care workers are experiencing higher rates of burnout, exhaustion and even PTSD as they continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

One group is trying to change that.

Tom and Jeanne Ball, directors at the Asheville TM Center, joined the national Heal The Healers Now project to offer free Transcendental Meditation training for health care workers who are experiencing higher rates of burnout, exhaustion and even PTSD as they continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Click to see video of WLOS ABC News 13 Report

Tom and Jeanne Ball, directors at the Asheville TM Center, have joined the national Heal The Healers Now project to offer free Transcendental Meditation training for health care workers. This is happening at a time when those involved in the project said health care workers need it the most.

“We found before the pandemic a year ago, found that half of physicians anyway were reporting significant levels of burnout,” said Dr. Stuart Rothenberg, medical director of the Center for Health and Wellness. “Now, we have 75 to 80% reporting significant burnout,” said Stuart Rothenberg, MD, Medical Director of the Center for Health and Wellness.

Tom Ball said health care workers need a way to do destress.

“Our health care workers that are so overly stressed and overly taxed right now,” Tom Ball said.

He said the Transcendental Meditation technique is a way for them to find peace during the chaos.

“Practice 15, 20 minutes a day, just sit comfortably with your eyes closed,” Tom Ball said.

Jeanne Ball said she’s teaching a nurse right now.

“She’s told me that she’s been able to take a break at the hospital and just sit down and do this,” Jeanne Ball said.

Michael Stephens, an Asheville area doctor, agreed with the technique’s effectiveness. He learned the technique before the pandemic.

“Working in a COVID environment is very suffocating. Wearing protective gear all the time and having to wear masks and gowns and gloves and shields is very suffocating, both physically hard to breath and emotionally,” Stephens said. “The Transcendental Meditation just really gives respite.”

Rothenberg said a national survey found that since the pandemic 76% of health care workers feel emotionally exhausted and 50% said they cry frequently at work, with 67% of nurses saying they cry frequently at work.

“We don’t really see the light at the end of tunnel for our health care workers,” he said. “It’s just an opportunity, twice a day, to get out of that cycle.”

The Balls said the free course they are offering is held over four days with 1.5 hours each day.

For more information click here.

Also posted January 19, 2021 on KCTV 5.


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