Posts Tagged ‘transcending’

Transcendental experiences during meditation practice – paper published in @AcademyAnnals

January 13, 2014

Overview of research on individuals experiencing higher states of consciousness published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Today, millions of Americans say they practice some form of yoga and/or meditation. It’s become a health fad. Yet the goal of these practices seems unknown or elusive to many practitioners — transcendence.

Dr. Travis, PhD, Director, Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition, Maharishi University of Management

Fred Travis, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management

An article: Transcendental experiences during meditation practice, by Fred Travis, PhD, Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management, provides an overview of research on individuals experiencing higher states of consciousness. It is published today in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences: January 2014, Volume 1307, Advances in Meditation Research: Neuroscience and Clinical Applications, pages 1-8.

The paper is based on a presentation Dr. Travis was invited to give at “Advances in Meditation Research” (AMR), a meeting of the nation’s top meditation researchers, which took place a year ago  at the New York Academy of Sciences New York City.

In his paper Dr. Travis explains that different meditations have different effects, and that meditation can lead to nondual or transcendental experiences, a sense of self-awareness without content.

However, after a search of the scientific literature he reported that physiological measures and first-person descriptions of transcendental experiences and higher states have only been investigated during practice of the Transcendental Meditation® (TM) technique.

TM is an effortless technique for automatic self-transcending, different from the other categories of meditation — focused attention or open monitoring. It allows the mind to settle inward beyond thought to experience the source of thought — pure awareness or Transcendental Consciousness. This is the most silent and peaceful level of consciousness — one’s innermost Self.

This figure, a 2 X 2 table, compares subjective and objective experiences during waking, sleeping, dreaming, and pure consciousness. As seen in this table, waking state contains a sense of self and mental content, thoughts and perceptions. In contrast, during pure consciousness, there is only Self-awareness, without any sense of time, space, and body awareness.

This figure, a 2 X 2 table, compares subjective and objective experiences during waking, sleeping, dreaming, and pure consciousness. As seen in this table, waking state contains a sense of self and mental content — thoughts and perceptions. In contrast, during pure consciousness (Transcendental Consciousness), there is only Self-awareness, without any sense of time, space, and body awareness.

Dr. Travis discusses a study of descriptions of Transcendental Consciousness from 52 subjects practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique and found that they experienced “a state where thinking, feeling, and individual intention were missing, but Self-awareness remained.” A systematic analysis of their experiences revealed three themes: absence of time, space, and body sense.

Specific physiological changes are associated with this subjective experience of Transcendental Consciousness. These include changes in breath rate, skin conductance, and EEG patterns.

Dr. Travis further explains that with regular meditation, experiences of Transcendental Consciousness begin to co-exist with sleeping, dreaming, and even while one is awake. This state is called Cosmic Consciousness, in the Vedic tradition. The paper presents first-person accounts followed by an overview of the physiological patterns associated with Cosmic Consciousness.

Whereas control subjects describe themselves in relation to concrete cognitive and behavioral processes, those experiencing Cosmic Consciousness describe themselves in terms of a continuum of inner self-awareness that underlies their thoughts, feelings, and actions.

In addition, the Cosmic Consciousness subjects showed the EEG patterns seen during Transcendental Consciousness along with the EEG patterns when they were asleep, and during waking tasks. This leads to higher scores on the Brain Integration Scale developed by Dr. Travis.

Dr. Travis suggests that such higher states of consciousness can be seen as normal developments beyond the classic stages described by Piaget. One simply needs a technique to experience transcendence and thereby facilitate the development of these states. The practical benefit of higher states, he says, is that you become more anchored to your inner Self, and therefore less likely to be overwhelmed by the vicissitudes of daily life.

“This research focuses on the larger purpose of meditation practices — to develop higher states of consciousness,” explained Dr. Travis. “This paper is the outgrowth of meetings at Esalen and the Institute for Noetic Sciences to chart the future of meditation research.”

Source: EurekAlert!

The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences is the oldest continuously published scientific serial in the United States and among the most cited of multidisciplinary scientific serials worldwide. Established in 1823, the Annals is the premier publication of the Academy, offering volumes of review articles in special topical areas and proceedings of conferences sponsored by the Academy as well as other scientific organizations. You can find out more about them here: http://www.nyas.org/whatwedo/publications/annals.aspx.

Read the Foreword to Advances in Meditation Research: Neuroscience and Clinical Applications, by editor Sonia Sequeira.

Related: Health India’s Editorial Team says Transcendental Meditation (TM) is taking the world by storm

Medical News Today: Overview of research on individuals experiencing higher states of consciousness during transcendental meditation.

A PDF of the study is now available at ResearchGate.

David Lynch on meditation in the NewStatesman: Heaven is a place on earth

November 1, 2013

This week Russell Brand was guest editor of the UK’s NewStatesman, which came out October 24, 2013. He invited David Lynch to contribute an article on meditation. The diagram looks like it may be the same one David drew during an interview with a French journalist in Paris as he was explaining Transcendental Meditation to her. A large part of the article reads like a transcription of that brilliant explanation, which was woven throughout a documentary film made of David’s 16-country tour, Meditation Creativity Peace.

David Lynch on meditation: Heaven is a place on earth

Transcending is the only experience in life that gives total brain coherence. Any other thing we do utilises different small parts of the brain, this small part for painting, another small part for mathematics, that small part for playing the piano.

By David Lynch Published 31 October 2013 14:45

Mind and matter: Lynch’s diagram of Transcendental Meditation. Image: copyright David Lynch

Mind and matter: Lynch’s diagram of Transcendental Meditation.
Image: copyright David Lynch

What is Transcendental Meditation? What is transcending? Where do you go when you transcend? And what good is it to transcend? To help answer these questions, I’ve done a little drawing and you can refer to it from time to time. You will notice a line at the top of the drawing representing the surface of life. We live on the surface and see surfaces everywhere. This right side represents matter and the left side will represent mind. Mind and matter.

About 300 years ago, scientists started wondering: what was matter, what was wood, what was air, what was water, what was flesh, etc? And they started looking into matter and they began to find things – things that we now learn about in school. They found cells and molecules. They went deeper and found atoms; they went deeper and deeper, all the way down to the tiniest particles – the elementary particles.

They found four forces that act upon the particles. And on a deeper level, they found that the four forces became three. Some unification started. And, on a deeper level, the three forces became two. About 35 years ago, modern science, quantum physics, discovered the Unified Field at the base of all matter. This field is the unity of all the particles and all the forces of creation. This is a field of nothing, but the scientists say that out of this nothing emerges everything that is a thing. This Unified Field is unmanifest yet all manifestation comes from this field.

Ancient Vedic science, the science of consciousness, has always known of this field. Believers say that it is an eternal unbounded ocean of consciousness. And this consciousness has qualities. So this Unified Field, this ocean of consciousness, is a field of unbounded intelligence, unbounded creativity, unbounded happiness, unbounded love, energy and peace.

Transcendental Meditation is a mental technique, an ancient form of meditation brought back for this time by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is a technique that allows any human being to dive within, through subtler levels of mind and intellect, and then transcend – that is experience, that ocean of pure consciousness at the base of all mind and matter – to experience this Unified Field within with those all-positive qualities.

In Transcendental Meditation you’re given a mantra. A mantra is a very specific sound vibration – thought. The mantra that Maharishi gives is like a law of nature designed for a specific purpose and that purpose is to turn the awareness 180 degrees from out, out, out to within, within, within. Once pointed within, one will dive easily and effortlessly. It is easy and effortless because the nature of the human mind is always to want to go to fields of greater happiness.

Each deeper level of mind and each deeper level of intellect has more and more happiness – charm, as they say. So the happiness growing is like a magnet that gently pulls us within. And at the border of intellect, one then transcends and experiences the transcendent, the Unified Field, the ocean of pure consciousness, the kingdom of heaven that lies within – the Tao, the home of total knowledge, being or divine being; Atma, meaning the Self, the Self with a capital “S”.

There’s a line we’ve all heard: “Know thyself.” This is the Self they’re talking about. This field is also known as Brahm, meaning totality. First seek the kingdom of heaven that lies within and all else will be added unto you. All else is totality.

Every time a human being transcends, they infuse some of this all-positive consciousness and they truly begin to expand whatever consciousness they had to begin with. There is a side effect to expanding consciousness, and that side effect is that negativity begins to recede. Things like stress, traumatic stress, anxieties, tension, sadness, depression, hate, anger, rage and fear start to lift away very naturally.

The analogy is: negativity is just like darkness. When this light of consciousness begins to truly expand, it is like being in a dark room with a light on a dimmer. As the light gets brighter, the darkness starts to go. And when the light is full on, there is no darkness. Likewise with the light of unity – consciousness – growing, negativity very naturally starts to recede, automatically and without you having to worry about it. This heavy weight of negativity lifting gives such a joyful feeling of freedom to a human being. So you could say the person practising Transcendental Meditation each day is infusing gold and getting rid of garbage.

Transcending is the key word!!! Transcending is truly experiencing that deepest eternal level of life. It is this experience that does everything good for a human being. Every human being has consciousness but not every human being has the same amount. The good news is, every human being has the potential for infinite consciousness. Every time you experience this ocean of consciousness within, you expand more and more consciousness and you are unfolding your full potential as a human being. The full potential of the human being is called enlightenment – infinite consciousness, infinite happiness, total fulfilment. Totality.

Transcending is a holistic experience, meaning that all avenues of life will start improving. The things that used to stress you will still be out there in the world but they will not be able to hit you so hard. You’ll still be able to feel sadness but the sadness won’t last so long. It will lift away more quickly. The same with anger; the anger will leave more quickly. It won’t stay with you and poison you and the environment. Fears begin to lift – you work in more and more freedom. This is a field of infinite creativity. You will see creativity and problem-solving start to expand. Through research, scientists know that IQ can go up because of transcending each day.

Happiness comes more and more and you feel good in your body and enjoy the doing of things more and more. The field within is a field of universal love. This universal love feeds personal love and relationships improve. This field within is a field of infinite energy. People today are so fatigued and here within each of us is an infinite amount of energy to fuel our work and play. There is infinite peace within and that is deep, deep contentment, harmony, coming up inside the human being. It is so beautiful.

Transcendental Meditation is, as I said, easy and effortless. Many people might think that because it is easy it is not as good as other meditation techniques. This is wrong thinking. Concentration forms of meditation, contemplation forms of meditation, will keep a human being hovering on the surface. There will be no transcending. And it is hard work and it is boring and the reward is not there.

Transcendental Meditation as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is a technique that has been here many times before and it is a blessing. It is the real thing. It works. Brain research scientists have found a wondrous thing. When a human being truly transcends, hooked up to an EEG machine, then the full brain gets engaged in concert. They call this “total brain coherence”.

Transcending is the only experience in life that gives this total brain coherence. Any other thing we do utilises different small parts of the brain, this small part for painting, another small part for mathematics, that small part for playing the piano, and so on. Scientists have always told us before that we use only 5 per cent or 10 per cent of our brain but transcending is an experience that utilises the full brain.

This shows us something of the relationship of the human being to this glorious Unified Field within. The more we transcend, the more this coherence stays with us and this eventually gives rise to higher states of consciousness, culminating with supreme enlightenment. On the EEG machine, Transcendental Meditation meditators are seen to transcend many times in each 20-minute meditation. Those meditators who practise concentration or contemplation forms of meditation do not transcend. They do not get the experience of that ocean of bliss consciousness, the Unified Field.

A ten-year-old child can practise this technique of Transcendental Meditation; a 110-year-old can do it, easily and effortlessly, and they will each get the experience they are yearning for. It is a sublime experience to transcend and feel that rejuvenation and that happiness and all those other all-positive qualities growing.

Transcendental Meditation is not a religion. People from all religions practise this technique and they see there is no conflict with their religion. On the contrary, they say they understand and appreciate their religion more because understanding and appreciation for all things grow by transcending each day. It is a technique for human beings, no matter what walk of life, what religion or where you are from. People who have experienced great suffering have gotten this technique and happily said, “Now I have my life back again.” The real story is: THE NATURE OF LIFE IS BLISS and THE INDIVIDUAL IS COSMIC.

Russell Brand’s article in this paper is about revolution. Revolutions are usually associated with violence or force. Transcendental Meditation leads to a beautiful, peaceful revolution. A change from suffering and negativity to happiness and a life more and more free of any problems. The secret has always been within. We just need a technique that works to get us there to unfold a most beautiful future.

Find out even more about Transcendental Meditation at: davidlynchfoundation.org.uk.

For American readers, visit www.tm.org and davidlynchfoundation.org.

See Russell Brand and David Lynch at LA Premiere of ‘Meditation, Creativity, Peace’ Documentary and related links to other videos and articles. Visit http://meditationcreativitypeace.com to see a preview of the film and where it may be playing.

This is an excellent interview: David Lynch speaks with Alan Colmes about his 16-country tour film Meditation Creativity Peace.

See an earlier article written by David Lynch published in Jane Magazine: Celeb Spiritual Report: One significant day in my life by David Lynch for Jane Magazine (May 2004).

Craig Pearson interview and articles on awakened consciousness, transcendence and enlightenment

February 22, 2013

Since the theme of The Uncarved Blog deals with Transcendental Meditation, consciousness & enlightenment, and poetry, I’d like to introduce someone to you who has been studying these ideas in great people’s lives for some time now and has complied them all in a book.

Craig Pearson-EECraig Pearson, Ph.D., is the author of the forthcoming book, The Supreme Awakening, Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time — And How We Can Cultivate Them. He has spent many years researching the expression of higher states of consciousness in the writings of great philosophers, saints, scientists, artists, and writers. Find out more here: http://craigpearson.mum.edu

Dr. Pearson is the Executive Vice-President of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. He has served the University in a variety of roles over the past 33 years, including Dean of Faculty, Dean of Students, Director of Maharishi University of Management Press, Director of Freshman Composition, and Professor of Professional Writing.

In this interview for Issue 5 of Enlightenment Magazine, Linda Egenes asks Craig Pearson about humanity’s age-old quest for enlightenment. Dr. Pearson highlights his answers with examples of exceptional people throughout history who had described experiences of higher states of consciousness. Here is an excerpt from The Quest for Enlightenment: Transcendence in the Lives of Great Seers and Thinkers.

Enlightenment: What is the relationship of enlightenment and human potential?

Dr. Pearson: Enlightenment is a term that has been used for thousands of years, in traditions east and west, to refer to the most fully developed expression of human potential, far beyond the ordinary.

Enlightenment: How common is it?

Dr. Pearson: Although this extraordinary experience has been described by individuals in different cultures over the millennia and is celebrated in the world’s spiritual traditions, it seems to be exceedingly rare. But obviously it lies within the realm of human potential.

Enlightenment: What has Maharishi contributed to the understanding of enlightenment?

Dr. Pearson: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is often credited with reintroducing the concept of enlightenment in a systematic manner in our modern age. He has put forward a comprehensive understanding of enlightenment that embraces the great traditions and thinkers who have described this experience across time. Maharishi was also the first to promote scientific investigation into enlightenment, bringing the phenomenon of spiritual development into the arena of modern science.

Enlightenment: How does Maharishi describe enlightenment?

Dr. Pearson: For Maharishi, enlightenment is the ultimate development of one’s inner potential as a human being. It means being established in the highest state of human consciousness.

Enlightenment begins with experiencing the reality of your innermost Self as unbounded and eternal and being established at that level. This means the consciousness of an enlightened person is no longer subject to the ups and downs of emotions, mind, and body but steadfast, anchored in inner silence.

Enlightenment brings the ultimate unfoldment of one’s creativity and intelligence. It means living in harmony with all the laws of nature and easily fulfilling your desires. It means being of maximum use to yourself and others and creating a powerfully nourishing effect in one’s environment.

At the highest stage, enlightenment means experiencing the universe as the expression of your unbounded Self. It is a state of perpetual freedom and bliss, supreme fulfillment.

Enlightenment: Can we relate this in any way to our day-to-day experience?

Dr. Pearson: Although this vision of human development may seem idealistic, we have all had experiences in this direction. Some days we just feel happier inside, more appreciative of others—life is easier, fuller, richer, and more rewarding. We may have moments of enhanced mental clarity or heightened levels of creativity, when we surprise ourselves with how quickly the solution to a problem may come. Athletes sometimes experience the zone—periods of peak performance that are effortless and euphoric.

At these times we are using a bit more of our potential. But enlightenment is far, far more than this. It goes far beyond just having a good day. People who have had experiences of enlightenment report that words simply cannot capture the sublimity of the experience.

Enlightenment: You have researched how individuals from different historical epochs and different parts of the world have shared this same experience. Can you talk about that?

Dr. Pearson: In traditions throughout time we find remarkably similar descriptions of this extraordinary experience of human life lived to its fullest—in the writings of great philosophers, religious figures, artists, scientists, and writers, as well as in the great religious traditions of the world. The terminology may vary from tradition to tradition and age to age. But when you have the clear and precise description of enlightenment provided by Maharishi, it becomes easy to appreciate what these people are talking about.

Enlightenment: So the experience is universal?

Dr. Pearson: Yes. And the recognition that many have shared this experience throughout history is not new either. Some scholars have called it the perennial philosophy or the primordial tradition. The perennial philosophy holds that although various spiritual and philosophical traditions appear different on the surface, at their core all traditions share common, universal principles.

Enlightenment: What are these universal principles?

Dr. Pearson: The perennial philosophy has three basic tenets: (1) Underlying the diversity of the world is a field of unity. (2) We can subjectively experience this field of unity deep within us. (3) The purpose of life is ultimately to experience and live this inner, divine reality of life.

This inner field goes by different names. Laozi called it the Tao. Plato called it the Good, the One, and the Beautiful. Aristotle called it Being. The Greek-Roman philosopher Plotinus called it the Infinite. In Judaism it is called Ein Sof, in Christianity the kingdom of heaven within. In more modern times, Ralph Waldo Emerson called it the Oversoul.

These different names are not referring to mere philosophical or spiritual ideals. They point to the inner reality of life—a reality that can be experienced directly and, when experienced, brings fulfillment beyond words.

Enlightenment: How does Maharishi talk about this inner field?

Dr. Pearson: Maharishi characterizes it as an unbounded field of pure consciousness, an all-pervading ocean of creativity, intelligence, and bliss, beyond space and time. Maharishi asserts, moreover, that this field of pure consciousness is identical with the unified field of natural law that modern physics describes mathematically. Thus the inner field that gives rise to all our thoughts and feelings is the same field that gives rise to the entire universe.

Enlightenment: And we can experience this inner field of pure consciousness?

Dr. Pearson: Every human being has the natural ability to experience this field. It simply requires “diving within,” allowing the mind to settle inward, beyond the thinking process. This is called transcending.

People throughout history have described and celebrated this experience. It is a simple and natural experience—but by most accounts seems to be rare and fleeting. People have lacked a technique for experiencing it systematically. This is the gift Maharishi has given us—the Transcendental Meditation technique, a simple, natural, effortless procedure by which anyone can dive within at will.

Until Maharishi started teaching in the West, the understanding of how to transcend had for the most part been lost. The Transcendental Meditation technique, which has its origin in the ancient Vedic tradition, provides direct experience of pure consciousness. It is easy to learn and practice, validated by hundreds of scientific research studies, and practiced by millions of people throughout the world.

Read the rest of this fascinating article, which includes experiences from Rabindranath Tagore; Alfred, Lord Tennyson; Hakuin Ekaku; and a woman known as Peace Pilgrim.

Many other experiences have also been written up by Dr. Pearson and posted on the TM Blog. Here they are, from recent to earlier posts:

‘Freedom and Self-Realization’: Excerpts from Jack Forem’s book on TM
Howard Thurman: Experiencing “the Great Silence” within us
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook: Connecting with the “deep soul”
The Buddha: Rapturous Joy Transcending Any Other
Meister Eckhart: It is in the purest thing that the soul is capable of
D.H. Lawrence: Sitting in a Timeless Stillness
St. John of the Cross: Transcending all knowledge
William Wordsworth: We are laid asleep in body, and become a living soul
Emily Dickinson: The Soul’s Superior instants
Albert Einstein: There is Neither Evolution nor Destiny; Only Being
Zhuangzi: Why don’t you try wandering with me to the Palace of Not-Even-Anything
St. Teresa: A state of great quiet and deep satisfaction
Johannes Brahms: In tune with the Infinite
Rumi: I have passed beyond all thoughts
Plato: And this state of the soul is called wisdom
Jesus: The kingdom of God is within you
Henry David Thoreau: We become like a still lake of purest crystal
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty
Walt Whitman: The luminousness of real vision
Alfred, Lord Tennyson: A state of transcendent wonder
Helen Keller: I feel the flame of eternity in my soul
Laozi: His mind becomes as vast and immeasurable as the night sky

Update: Craig Pearson’s book, The Supreme Awakening, is now available. Executive Vice President Dr. Craig Pearson was interviewed on KHOE’s “A Chat With The Dean” by Dr. Cathy Gorini on his new book, “The Supreme Awakening – Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time, and How You Can Cultivate them.”

Listen to a presentation Dr. Pearson gave in Dalby Hall on the book, which was recorded for broadcast by KHOE.

Listen to Dr. Pearson on KRUU FM, Writers’ Voices recorded Feb 21, 2014.

Listen to Craig Pearson on KRUU FM show, Writers’ Voices, discussing his new book, The Supreme Awakening.

Here is a video of Dr. Pearson’s recent presentation on his book, The Supreme Awakening, in Dalby Hall on the MUM campus seen on the MaharishiUniversity channel.

Craig Pearson has since updated his book with new entries. Here is an informative interview by Jeanne Ball, April 20, 2016, in the Huffington Post: The Supreme Awakening: What Did Buddha, Emerson, Einstein and Saint Teresa Have in Common?

John Hagelin speaks on meditation as a powerful tool for health, education & post-traumatic stress at TEDxWomen 2012

December 6, 2012

Enjoy this powerful, clear and concise talk by John Hagelin at TEDxWomen 2012 in The Paley Center for Media, Washington, DC. The theme of the 2-day conference was The Space Between. Dr. Hagelin’s PowerPoint presentation highlighted meditation as a powerful tool for health, education and post-traumatic stress. He concluded his presentation with a short video of how people’s stressed lives were transformed by the Transcendental Meditation technique. These at-risk groups were able to learn TM through scholarships from the David Lynch Foundation. Dr. Hagelin’s concluding remarks beautifully summed up the saliant point of his talk delivered in Session Two, Saturday morning, Dec 1, 2012, published Dec 4, 2012 by : “The Space Between” –TED Conference Explores the Value of Meditation.

“Medically, scientifically, the most powerful antidote to stress, and the key to optimal brain functioning, is to transcend.” — John Hagelin.

John Hagelin, Ph.D., is a world-renowned quantum physicist, science and public policy expert, educator, author, and leading proponent of peace.

Dr. Hagelin has conducted pioneering research at CERN (the European Center for Particle Physics) and SLAC (the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). He is responsible for the development of a highly successful Grand Unified Field Theory based on the superstring—a theory that was featured in a cover story of Discover magazine.

In addition, Dr. Hagelin is one of the world’s preeminent researchers on the effects of meditation on brain development, and the use of meditation to address critical problems in the field of education, rehabilitation, and post-traumatic stress.

Dr. Hagelin is a recipient of the prestigious Kilby Award, which recognizes scientists who have made “major contributions to society through their applied research in the fields of science and technology.” The award recognized Dr. Hagelin as “a scientist in the tradition of Einstein, Jeans, Bohr and Eddington.”

Dr. Hagelin has appeared often on ABC’s Nightline and Politically Incorrect, NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN’s Larry King Live!, and other programs. He has been regularly featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other major metropolitan newspapers.

TEDxWomen was curated and produced by The Paley Center for Media. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Also see The Power of The Collective, by John Hagelin | John Hagelin — “Only Higher Consciousness Can Transform Our World” — Beyond Awakening Blog | Conscious TV: John Hagelin – The Core of Nature | John Hagelin, Ph.D., Speaks on the Nature of Consciousness and the Universe

Transcending Stress by Norman Rosenthal, M.D. for Decision Magazine

October 1, 2012

Decision Magazine, a UK business publication, featured an article on TM in the Wellness section of the Summer 2012 issue: Transcendental Meditation offers a promising remedy for workplace stress says NORMAN E ROSENTHAL M.D. You can download a PDF of Decision Summer 2012 to see the article laid out with images on pages 48-49.

Transcending Stress by Norman Rosenthal, M.D.

It’s not stress that kills us; it’s our reaction to it. – Hans Selye

It is a matter of broad consensus that stress in the workplace has reached epidemic proportions. So bad has the problem become, that stress is now a more common cause of long-term sick leave than stroke, heart attack, cancer and back problems, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Workplace stress has been labeled “The Black Death of the 21st Century.”

Common causes of workplace stress include excessive workload, poor management style, workplace restructuring, and problems at home. As the great pioneer in stress research, Hans Selye, observed, it is not the stress itself, but how we react to it that affects its impact on our bodies and minds. During economic downturns, such as we are facing at present, ordinary workplace difficulties become more stressful because workers feel insecure about their job stability and fearful of losing their job, especially because it is often difficult to find a new one.

Stress takes a toll on both body and mind. It is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, the number one killer in developed countries. In addition, it predisposes to anxiety and depression, both enormous mental health problems. For those who of us who are concerned about performance and productivity in the workplace, it is crucial to find remedies for toxic work stresses. Such remedies will also lead to healthier workers, with fewer days off sick, lower health care bills, and extra years of productivity. There are many available “stress management” programmes. In this piece, I make the case why a simple but powerful technique, Transcendental Meditation (TM), should rise to the top of the list.

Why Transcendental Meditation?
TM is a simple technique of meditation, taught in a standardized one-on-one way over the course of a week. The instructor gives the student a mantra, along with instructions as to how to use it. TM is simple to learn and easy to practise. Ideally, the practitioner should sit comfortably with eyes closed for two sessions of 20 minutes each per day.

As a researcher and physician, I have been impressed by the scope and extent of research data supporting the benefits of TM (over 330 peer-reviewed articles to date). Much of this research has a direct bearing on the damaging physical effects of stress. For example, controlled studies have shown multiple physical benefits of TM versus controlled treatments, such as: (1) Reduction in blood pressure that is both statistically and clinically meaningful; (2) Actual reversal of arterial narrowing in the carotid arteries which carry blood to the brain; (3) increased longevity over the course of years (a finding that has been replicated). From the point of physical wellbeing alone, TM is worth practising.

But there is more. A meta-analysis of 146 treatment groups found that TM reduced anxiety to a greater extent than other approaches. Likewise, five controlled studies in people not recruited specifically for depression showed that practising TM was followed by a reduction in depression symptoms to a greater extent than control treatments. Evidence suggests that the improved blood pressure seen with TM is mediated by decreased anxiety. In other words, TM seems to be acting as a shock absorber, decreasing the impact of stress on both mind and body.

No other “stress management technique” has anywhere close to this amount of hard data in support of its claims to reduce stress.

Beyond its effects on stress reduction, TM has also been shown in numerous studies to improve levels of self-actualization – a term used to describe the need for people to be the best they can be. This benefit may result from the direct effects of TM on the brain, which include increased brain coherence. Brain coherence means that the firing patterns in different parts of the brain correspond to one another. Higher levels of brain coherence have been associated with higher levels of performance, both in businessmen and athletes.

How do the benefits of TM play out in the workplace?
To begin, let us hear from two leading business people, who are regular meditators and have praised TM’s benefits: Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund in the world; and Oprah Winfrey, media icon and CEO of Harpo Studios. Dalio has said that TM has helped him make up for lost sleep and has made his patterns of thinking “more centered and creative.” With TM, he says, “Life got better and everything became easier.” He reports dealing with challenges in a calm, clear-headed way, which allows him to put things in perspective – “like a ninja.” Winfrey was so pleased with her own personal experience with TM that she provided TM training free of charge to all members of her organization. Her observations: “You can’t imagine what has happened. People are sleeping better. People have better relationships. People interact with other people better. It’s been fantastic.”

Many other CEOs and business leaders have reported similar benefits in their organizations. How can we understand these extraordinary transformations?

How can TM help work-stress?
Let me count the ways. TM results in:
1. Increased brain coherence that is associated with increased levels of accomplishment
2. Reduced stress responses producing more clarity, less reactivity, and better decision-making. As Dalio put it, “I am centered – not hijacked by emotion”
3. Enhanced creativity, even with aging
4. Better physical health
5. Greater harmony

At every level of organization, TM promotes harmony. This applies within the mind of the meditator, between mind and body, and in groups. Once the meditator learns the practice and develops the habit, the 40 minutes spent per day is rapidly repaid in the form of improved performance and efficiency. How wonderful it is to think that this quiet twice-daily practice might turn out to be a remedy for “The Black Death of the 21st century!”

Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D is author of Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation (Hay House, 2012).

An updated reprint edition by Tarcher is available in North America on Amazon.

Click here for more posts on Norman Rosenthal on my blog, and also visit Norman Rosenthal’s website and blog: http://normanrosenthal.com.

For more information on Transcendental Meditation for business executives and companies please visit www.tmbusiness.org.

Words—a poem on the nature of words and mind

February 19, 2012

Ever looked at a legal document and wondered what the heck you just read? Depending on the way we use language, communication can obfuscate or elucidate, confuse or clarify.

Words can mean different things to different people. The English language uses different words to mean the same thing, and different things use similar sounding words. It can get confusing, especially if English is not your first language. Apparently only Sanskrit has a direct one-to-one relationship between a word and its meaning, between name and form, nama-rupa.

One way to use words to create clarity of mind is in meditation, where the mind, if allowed, can refer to its own essential nature. In the case of Transcendental Meditation, a technique that automatically transcends its own activity, a different kind of word, or thought, is employed—a mantra—a suitable harmonious meaningless sound. With the appropriate mantra, and instructions how to use it properly, the mind can effortlessly transcend words, thinking, its own activity, and arrive at the source of mind, a state of pure awareness, the meditator’s inner Self.

Hope this introduction helps you to better understand this abstract poem I wrote in the late 1980’s. For lack of a better title, I just called it, Words.

Words

the mind is of two minds
one listens to the sounds of words
the other follows their meanings
words help the mind to know things

names are the words for things
things are the forms of names
sounds and meanings of names and forms
things are contained within words

when words become things in themselves
then words get contained within words
sounds and meanings within names and forms
names and forms within sounds and meanings

layers of communication get built up create complex structures
and break down under the weight of their own words
too many words hinder the mind’s ability to know things
the mind cannot know its own mind

. . . . .

when words use themselves
to lose themselves
they allow the mind
to experience itself

experiencing itself
losing itself
to the Self
left to its Self

alone
the silent home
where things and words are one
all one

© Ken Chawkin


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