Not sure if you have specific questions, so I will comment in general on what I personally know and have read. I do not have the "insider position" of individual(s) who commented in your original post so I can't confirm or deny their information.
I do base my observations and opinions on my own experience of having done TM since 1973. And over the years this repeated practice has in fact improved and enriched many aspects of my life. I also like to stay informed on the scientific aspect of TM and try to follow closely the findings. Thus I read alot and since the advent of the Internet information is so much more readily available.
Whether this Technique is Hindu, I honestly could not say as I frankly don't know exactly what Hindu is.( still trying to figure out what Christianity ( my faith) is :)
Awhile ago I came across this definement on gods on an Indian Site: " In Ancient India the word "god" is used to describe the different forces of nature. Anything which is powerful, effective, friendly and which helps could get the designation of a god. For example, all the five elements of the Prakrti (cosmic substance)-earth, fire, water, air, and space were gods, and so were the stars, planets, trees and rivers. In fact, the millions of gods known from this still-surviving ancient culture denote various forms of energy in nature."
And not long after, hum can't recall if it was over on Mysteries, but someone was correlating all these "gods" to all the findings, such as Atoms, Bozons etc. in Physics.
Personally, I could care less if it is a Hindu Technique, Catholic, something from Ancient Greek or Egypt......heck it could even be Masonic (forgive me Milo :) . I like to take the good things I see or find in life and adopt or incorporate them to improve and enhance my own self and quality of life.
Following is a conversation I was having on another post which share some of my thoughts along the lines of our discussion:
===========My reply to Beezel on another post:
"I also agree with you where you say " one key point is that for some thing to be considered scientifically credible, the papers should be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals in such a way that any researcher (ie. preferrably not an internal 'researcher' with a specific aganda) could duplicate the experiments and see if the same results are produced."
"And this is precisely what has been acheived. As the attached informs, even giving a brief listing of some of the major journals of publication. All of the Independent research findings are available and housed in the M.U. University Library. Not to mention at the 200 independent Universities and research institutes in 30 countries which have done their own testing."
Needless to say the amount of information is massive.....not to mention "dry" reading to a layman such as I. Tho neurophysiologist, physicist, and the like seem to eat-up these graphs and measurments. :)
I do however, find this latest exploration of the fourth state of conciousness exciting and of great interest to me personally. Having a strong curiousity about just what is Enlightenment. And is there really such a thing? Does one have to "drop-out' of life and go sit in a cave to acheive? Struggle and suffer to attain? Can it really be 'real'.
Well you can see my own questions have been quite lengthy. With many answers along the way.
As for it being Religion, no it certainly doesn't fall into any of the established patterns we define as Religion. In fact a funny side note here is back in 1973 when I took TM along with several of my friends we were a little disappointed that it wasn't. We considered ourselves "seekers" so to speak and thought the path to Enlightment was suppose to be arrayed with mysterious doctrine, secret agendas, and altered lifestyles!
How ironic it seems to us now that we can have this opportunity to develope our own consciousness, well right in the comfort of our own home and without any change to the lifestyle of our choice. So much for dreams of wandering the Mountains of India in Samadi (bliss) :)))))))))
Tim, following are 3 articles which give some definition of TM and recent scientific findings. Please pardon the repetition if you have already read. I didn't think you had come back to the original post where we were discussing Education and I had posted these.
I have no conflict with TM being taught in public schools as an optional program any more than I have a conflict with say physical education being taught. In the case of it being required at MUM, they are a private school and they hold it as the very reason for the Educational sucess of their students. And as the " Superkids" article showed there is much in the results to admire and consider.
As for Religion being taught in schools I am coming of an opinon that the lack of any exposure at an early age, to the varieties of Religious beliefs, Creationism and Evolution theories of our world, in some simple introductory form, leaves a child......well uninformed and unaware of the broad scope of individual differences. I don't find it threatening to ones own faith to have an awareness of anothers.
In conclusions, I' ve added an article of an interview of 2 muslim students who practice their own faith at MUM and find TM to not be a religious conflict.
I had to chuckle at the remark in your opening post where the speaker implies TM is a conspiracy to turn meditators into Hindus. Does this mean at some point in time that this technique will cause us to suddenly mutate from whatever one is into a Hindu :) ? If so I sure hope, in my case, it doesn't take place at Christmas, in front of my fellow church members............ohhhhhhhh, so embarassing!!!!
The Transcendental Meditation (TM®) technique is a simple, natural, effortless procedure practiced for 15-20 minutes in the morning and evening, while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. During this technique, the individual's awareness settles down and experiences a unique state of restful alertness. As the body becomes deeply relaxed, the mind transcends all mental activity to experience the simplest form of awareness, Transcendental Consciousness, where consciousness is open to itself. This is the self-referral state of consciousness.
The experience of Transcendental Consciousness develops the individual's latent creative potential while dissolving accumulated stress and fatigue through the deep rest gained during the practice. This experience enlivens the individual's creativity, dynamism, orderliness, and organizing power, which result in increasing effectiveness and success in daily life.
The Transcendental Meditation technique is scientific, requiring neither specific beliefs nor adoption of a particular lifestyle. The practice does not involve any effort or concentration. It is easy to learn and does not require any special ability. People of all ages, educational backgrounds, cultures, and religions in countries throughout the world practice the technique and enjoy its wide range of benefits.
Over 500 scientific research studies conducted during the past 25 years at more than 200 independent universities and research institutes in 30 countries have shown that the TM program benefits all areas of an individual's life: mind, body, behavior, and environment.
The research findings include:
Reduced high blood pressure
Reversal of biological aging
Reduced crime and improved quality of life in society
The research has been published in such major scientific journals as Science, the American Journal of Physiology, Scientific American, Lancet, the Journal of Counseling Psychology, the International Journal of Neuroscience, the Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, the British Journal of Educational Psychology, and the Journal of Conflict Resolution.
Research indicates that TM technique Meditators on average have the biological age of a person 5 to 12 years younger, as well as significantly reduced incidence of illness and risk of heart disease. Studies also show that TM technique Meditators have warmer interpersonal relationships, less anxiety, increased self-esteem and self-confidence, increased problem-solving ability and greater creativity. The individual spontaneously radiates a purifying and nourishing influence of positivity and harmony in society as a whole.
NEW COLOR MOVIES OF BRAIN ACTIVITY DURING TRANSCENDENCE
Dr. Alarik Arenander, Director of the Institute’s Brain Research Institute (BRI), has spent the last two weeks analyzing brain imaging data to create the first-ever 3-D, color movies of changing electromagnetic fields in the brains of subjects experiencing “transcendental consciousness”—an experience leading to what many ancient traditions call “enlightenment.”
Dr. Arenander worked with scientists at the Henry Ford Hospital Neuromagnetism Lab in Detroit, using scientific equipment available in only seven other advanced brain research centers in the United States. Dr. Arenander acquired this remarkable data during a visit to the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, under the sponsorship of the company that manufactures these neuroimaging machines.
The 3-D brain movies being created at the BRI from Dr. Arenander’s data will display the moment-by-moment reconfiguration in the brain of billions of electromagnetic signals during the shift from normal perceptual activity to the experience of transcendental consciousness, the unified field of consciousness. The movies will provide an invaluable research tool to study in detail this transformation in the brain and its effects on human potential.
Dr. Arenander analyzed data from magnetoencephalography (MEG) brain scans of subjects who were experiencing periods of spontaneous breath quiescence during their practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique. Breath quiescence, or breath suspension, is an objective physiological measure that has been scientifically correlated with subjective experiences of “transcendental consciousness” or “unbounded awareness.”
A single frame from a computer-generated, 3-D color movie (top-down view) showing the brain’s electromagnetic activity patterns (in blue) during the experience of the Transcendental Meditation technique. A top-down view showing the distribution of magnetic potentials across the brain during meditation.
“Transcendental experience has been considered mystical by modern science, something beyond rational comprehension,” says Dr. Arenander. “But now we have the technology to help us begin to systematically access and understand this level of human experience—an experience that could be vital in creating a strategy to develop the full potential of the human brain physiology.”
The first landmark research on the nature of transcendental consciousness was published in Science 30 years ago by Dr. Robert Keith Wallace, who identified physiological correlates of the experience and called it “a wakeful hypometabolic state.” Since these first studies, Dr. Fred Travis at Maharishi University of Management and other researchers have been examining autonomic and cerebral changes during meditation. The BRI’s new color movies represent yet another breakthrough in understanding the nature of brain functioning during the experience of transcendental consciousness.
“This is exciting research,” says Dr. Arenander. “It clearly reveals a unique style of holistic, global functioning in the brain. These findings will ignite interest among neuroscientists around the world, boost participation in such studies, and help facilitate an understanding of the link between science, consciousness, and spirituality.
“This research is especially important given the current, fragmented context of brain research associated with the study of consciousness and spirituality,” he added. “Most research on spirituality has not located any holistic basis for such experiences; instead, the research has contributed to an increasingly fragmented viewpoint. A thorough scientific understanding of the nature of consciousness will transform and enlighten the field of neuroscience itself—and will provide dramatic evidence about the fundamental nature of human awareness at the basis of all our thinking, feeling, and behavior.”
The Institute wishes to thank the supporters of the Brain Research Institute and the BRI’s Neuroimaging Research Program. We encourage others to contact the Institute and learn how they can participate in the unfoldment of this landmark research, which will have a profound impact on our understanding of human potential and the neurophysiology of peace.
Landmark Brain Research Gives New Insights into Human Potential
Dr. Alarik Arenander and Dr. Fred Travis
For over a decade, Dr. Fred Travis, Director of the EEG Lab at Maharishi University of Management and a member of the Institute’s Brain Research Institute, has been studying brainwave patterns associated with the experience of “transcendental consciousness”— a “ground state” of human cognitive function that many ancient traditions say is the basis for culturing “enlightenment,” the highest state of human potential.
Dr. Travis’s research has led to many important new discoveries about the nature of human development and the total potential of human brain functioning. His findings indicate that enlightenment, which in the West has often been considered to be an abstract goal outside the scope of systematic scientific investigation, can now be shown to be a natural, attainable human condition that confers many practical benefits in daily life.
Last month, Dr. Travis presented his most recent research at a scientific conference entitled “Science of Consciousness” in Tucson, Arizona. His findings indicate that, during the performance of challenging tasks, subjects who have reported integration of transcendental consciousness with waking and sleeping states exhibit distinct brainwave patterns—specifically, higher frontal EEG coherence, higher global EEG alpha power, and more efficient performance on complex cognitive activities.
“These findings are highly significant,” Dr. Travis said, “because they offer empirical verification of the practical benefits of living enlightenment—greater efficiency in action—and suggest neural mechanisms that may underlie these benefits.”
According to Dr. Travis’s research, the continuous experience of transcendental consciousness—the Self—across the 24 hours of each day is associated with increased coherent functioning of the frontal cortex and with increased global alpha power. Brain researchers consider the frontal cortex to be critical in the control of cognitive activities and especially in the development and maintenance of one’s sense of self. The finding of higher frontal brainwave coherence thus gives empirical support to the description of “enlightenment” as a state of self-realization—a fuller sense of who we really are.
In addition, the increased global alpha power found in these subjects during performance of waking tasks has also been found during deep sleep in other subjects who reported inner wakefulness during the night (see research published by Dr. Lynne Mason in Sleep 20(2): 102-110, 1997). Since global alpha is seen both during experiences of transcendental consciousness alone and during the integration of the transcendental state with waking and deep sleep, this brain activity may represent a fundamental mode by which transcendental consciousness becomes self-sustaining across waking, dreaming, and sleeping states of consciousness.
On the basis of this research, Dr. Travis created an Integration Scale, a new brain-based measure of physiological integration that charts the transformation in cortical functioning corresponding to increased integration of transcendental experiences and waking-state activity (see graph). Dr. Travis combined three cortical measures—EEG coherence, amplitude, and the style of task performance—into a single, composite value for each subject. These values are plotted in the graph, with individuals on the left side of the scale reporting rare or no transcendental experiences and individuals on the right side reporting continuous integration of transcendental and waking experiences. Note in the graph that the upward-sloping line reflects a general trend for individuals who report higher degrees of integrated experience to display higher frontal EEG coherence, higher global EEG alpha power, and more efficient performance on complex cognitive activities.
Integration Scale, showing the relationship between enhanced cortical functioning and the integrated experience of transcendental consciousness and waking state.
“Conference participants from all over the world greatly appreciated the research behind the Integration Scale, as well as the large body of published research on the Transcendental Meditation® technique that supports the growth of coherent brain processes,” Dr. Travis said. “We feel this Scale could be used to explore the contribution of integrative experiences to success in business, arts, and sciences.”
“This landmark research presents the first ever empirical evidence for higher states of consciousness,” said Dr. Alarik Arenander, co-author of the research study and Director of the Brain Research Institute. “Dr. Travis is to be congratulated for guiding this work. The prefrontal cortex is in a position to exert nearly total control over brain function. Development of high levels of prefrontal EEG coherence through TM® practice could result in long-term, beneficial changes in neural functional interconnectedness, which in turn could help establish coexisting brain mechanisms supporting the simultaneous experience of silence and dynamism—total brain functioning or ‘enlightenment.’
Online archives from the Ottumwa Courier. Starting October 1999
October 09, 2001
Muslims in Fairfield keep the faith
By JEAN GRECO, Fairfield bureau chief
FAIRFIELD - Friday is a holy day for the world's 1.4 billion Muslims.
Some of the 60 Muslims residing on the campus of Maharishi University of Management gather at 1 p.m. with rug mats in hand in a general meeting room, at this time set aside for prayers of the Koran and readings of interpretative literature.
Today's "preaching" is about character and personal development.
Contiguous with this structure where the dozen or so meet, is a dormitory where a number of the university's international students reside and the classrooms and offices where they tackle university projects and assignments.
Removing their shoes, the students - all male (women are permitted, but would take a place behind the men's group) - take a place facing northeast, for it is in this direction that the holy city of Mecca, deep in Arabia, would be found. Mecca, a major trading center in the Mideast, is where the prophet Mohammed was born and came to understand at the age of 40 that he was chosen by God to take a code for living to man. It is Mohammed that Muslims revere for the amount of persecution he endured at the hand of non-Muslims. He was by historical accounts a peaceful man and lived a life devoted to the word of Allah.
"For years he was tortured, yet he never retaliated," said Ayman Alsairati, a 29-year-old master's degree student at M.U.M.
Alsairati is among the faithful taking time to observe the Muslim Holy Day.
An Iman, or leader, puts his hands to each side of his face, and calls out rhythmically, prayers in Arabic. Standing behind him, the men drop to their knees, then mouths to ground and back up, each mouthing prayers to themselves. This is repeated numerous times.
"There is no correlation between those who would call themselves Islamic extremists and the Islam I know," Alsairati said. "Anyone who knows the Koran, knows that the killing of innocents or oneself are both mortal sins."
Alsairati said terrorist who would commit it in the name of a "Jihad," have some other ax to grind with the world and are wrapping their cause around religion to enhance the effect. He said 95 percent of the world's Islamic population does not believe in the Islam interpreted by extremists of the Taliban.
Coming from the island nation of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, Alsairati like another M.U.M. student, Payman Salek, is in this country on a F-1 student visa since last September.
Alsairati said obtaining a visa is not difficult in Bahrain. The nation, 270 square miles in total, is the base of operations for the allied nations in the Gulf and is also home to the 5th Fleet. As such, Bahrain and its citizens are very westernized. Clad in a button down shirt, khakis and Doc Martin sandals, Alsairati has worked for ACI Insurance Co., whose base of operations is in Omaha. He has spent some time in Omaha and visited Washington, D.C., before landing in "the quietness" of Fairfield to study computer sciences toward getting his master's degree.
He possesses an excellent command of English, which he says he has been speaking for 20 years. It is the official business language of Bahrain.
Alsairati defines the events of Sept. 11 as tragic.
"I could not sleep. I felt the world was coming to an end," he said, "but this attack on America has nothing to do with my religion. That is not Islam."
Down the hall, 31-year-old computer science intern Payman Salek, takes time to explain how growing up Islamic in Tehran, Iran, left him with a different view of the U.S. He said his childhood was essentially non-eventful geopolitically until a revolution by various religious parties to overthrow the Shah of Iran in 1979.
A border war with neighboring Iraq erupted, and many Iranians blamed the U.S. for its support of Iraq. Iran was already falling upon hard times economically and socially because of U.S. sanctions, he said.
Exiled Islamic fundamentalist Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran. Khomeini made Islamic law the basis of the legal system in Iran and he was named "supreme religious guide for life." He remains today a symbol for challenging the western powers on third world policies.
Salek said most Iranians believe it is time to move on to develop good relationships with the rest of the world.
He said in a country such as Afghanistan he can see how the Taliban came into power. "That country has had so many problems and the Taliban says "we have come to save you" and the people, they would accept that easily but that is not the real Islam. What they are doing is an abuse of power," Salek said.
Having attended university in Tehran Polytechnic Institute as an undergraduate, at M.U.M. Salek is conducting his practical training towards a master's degree. He learned TM at a center in Tehran at age 18 and recognized an improvement in his grades thereafter, he says, attributable to the practice. Tehran is also where he learned that there was a university in the states devoted to the group practice of TM. On the religion of Islam, Salek said, " I have my own culture," one where he strives to strike a balance between celebrating that religion, his studies, married life, and the group practice of TM, which he says can be used to create peace.
"I have seen in the past how the Maharishi effect has helped in troubled areas such as my country. The effect is true and I am trying to do my part to help what is happening now. I feel sad for wherever there is war, the poor people are the ones who will suffer," he said.
Both men are members of the campus Muslim Student Association.
Members break for daily prayers, sometimes five times a day, as well as for an extended session on Fridays which includes "preaching," as Alsairaiti said, "because it is our holy day."
Islam is customarily defined in non-Islamic sources as the religion of those who follow the Prophet Mohammed. Adherents are called Muslims, or Moslems. They number about 1.4 billion worldwide.
The Arabic word "al-islam" means the act of committing oneself unreservedly to God and a Muslim is a person who makes this commitment.