Transcendental Meditation

How meditating in a tiny Iowa town helped me recover from war

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Supriya Venkatesan, Washington Post: At 19, I enlisted in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Iraq. I spent 15 months there — eight at the U.S. Embassy, where I supported the communications for top generals. I understand that decisions at that level are complex and layered, but for me, as an observer, some of those actions left my conscience uneasy.

To counteract my guilt, I volunteered as a medic on my sole day off at Ibn Sina Hospital, the largest combat hospital in Iraq. There I helped wounded Iraqi civilians heal or transition into the afterlife. But I still felt lost and disconnected. I was nostalgic for a young adulthood I never had. While other 20-somethings had traditional college trajectories, followed by the hallmarks of first job interviews and early career wins, I had spent six emotionally numbing years doing ruck marches, camping out on mountaintops near the demilitarized zone in South Korea and fighting someone else’s battle in Iraq.

During my deployment, a few soldiers and I were awarded a short resort stay in Kuwait. There, I had a brief but powerful experience in a meditation healing session. I wanted more. So when I returned to the United States at the end of my service, I headed to Iowa.

Forty-eight hours after being discharged from the Army, I arrived on campus at Maharishi University…

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Jerry Seinfeld credits meditation for endless energy

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Michael D’Estries, Mother Nature News: Comedian, who has practiced Transcendental Meditation for 40 years, says the technique has helped him stay balanced throughout his career.

For more than 40 years, Jerry Seinfeld has twice daily practiced Transcendental Meditation, a mantra meditation he credits with giving him endless energy and peace of mind.

“When I think about the things I love more than money, more than love, more than just about anything, I love energy,” the 60-year-old said in an interview earlier last month. “I love it and I pursue it, I want it, and I want more of it. And I think this is the reason by the way why I’m so enthusiastic about TM. Physical and mental energy to me is the greatest riches of human life. And TM is like this free account of an endless amount of it.”

Transcendental Meditation (TM), introduced in the mid-1950s by an Indian yogi, is experiencing a resurgence as people with stressful lives seek out easy-to-follow relaxation solutions. While TM is a form of mantra meditation that one generally has to learn through paid training, there are alternatives if you’re working off a smaller budget. Results usually expected from any form of meditation include lower blood pressure, greater focus and reduced anxiety.

In an interview with Bob Roth, executive director of the TM-focused David Lynch Foundation, Seinfeld detailed how he fits meditation into his daily routine.

“I’ll get up at 6 a.m. My kids get up about 6:45 a.m. And so I do the TM before anybody gets up,” he said. “And how does it feel? It doesn’t feel like anything. I don’t understand it. But here’s the difference. At 1 p.m. that day, my head does not hit the decks like it used to. That’s the difference. If I didn’t do TM that morning and I’m working, then by 1 p.m. I’m shot, and I think most people are. And now, at 1 o’clock, I’m feeling good. I just sail through the day, and then I have my second TM at 3 p.m. or 4 p.m.”

Other recognizable names who are big fans of meditation include Oprah, Jared Leto, Miranda Kerr and Paul McCartney. MNN’s own Starre Vartan is also a big believer in the practice, having practiced meditation since she was 15.

“Try out what works for you,” writes Vartan. “I find I like different kinds of meditation on different days, and as a person who doesn’t really like a regular schedule or following rules, it works for me to mix it up. The opposite might be true for you — maybe the same time, same place, same breathing sequence and mantra is how you will make meditation yours. But you’ll never know unless you try.”

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New Study: Transcendental meditation improves graduation rates

HeraldOnline.com: The Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique can help high school students stay on track for graduation, according to research published in the June issue of the journal Education (Vol. 133, No. 4). The study, which involved 235 students at an East Coast urban high school, showed a 15% higher graduation rate for students practicing the TM technique, compared to non-meditating controls.

“While there are bright spots in public education today, urban schools on the whole tend to suffer from a range of factors which contribute to poor student academic performance and low graduation rates,” said lead author Robert D. Colbert, Ph.D., associate professor, and director…

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Transcendental meditation may boost student grades

Richard Gray, The Telegraph: A form of meditation made popular by John Lennon and his band mates during the “flower power” era has been found to improve students’ grades.

A study of school pupils found that performing two 20-minute sessions of Transcendental Meditation each day improves academic achievement.

The practice involves sitting still with eyes closed while chanting a mantra – also sometimes derided as “oming”.

It became synonymous with hippy culture in the 1960s after The Beatles embraced it following a visit to India where they were taught the technique by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Now a growing body of…

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Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces posttraumatic stress in African refugees

MedicalExpress.com. Psychology & Psychiatry: This graph shows the changes in posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms as reflected in scores on the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL) in the two groups. Both groups indicated severe PTS symptoms at baseline. Visible improvements can be seen in the TM group. While a drop in 11 points on this measure is considered clinically significant, TM practice led to three times that drop in PTS symptoms after 30 days practice. The TM group went to a non-symptomatic level after 30-days and remained low at 135-days. Credit: Maharishi University of Management A significant percentage of veterans returning from wars exhibit symptoms of…

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Research looks at the benefits of meditation for carers

Health Canal: Understanding if regular meditation can relieve the burden of stress on people caring for dementia sufferers is the focus of a new study being led by the University of South Australia, in collaboration with RMIT, the Maharishi Invincibility Centre and Adelaide Hills Council.

Mature man practising transcendental meditation

With more than 266,000 Australians now suffering from dementia and numbers expected to rise sharply as our population ages, UniSA’s Dr Matthew Leach from the School of Nursing and Midwifery and lead investigator, says the well-being of those caring for dementia sufferers does not receive much attention.

“What we know is that caring for a person with dementia…

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Meditation might cut risk of heart attack, stroke in blacks

Steven Reinberg, HealthDay: For black Americans suffering from heart disease, meditation might help prevent heart attacks, strokes and early death, a small new study suggests.

These benefits appear to be the results of meditation’s ability to lower blood pressure, stress and anger, all of which have been linked to increased cardiovascular risk, researchers say.

“This is a whole new physiological effect on top of conventional treatment,” said lead researcher Dr. Robert Schneider, director of the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention in Fairfield, Iowa. “People can prevent heart disease reoccurrence using their own mind-body connection. People have this internal self-healing ability.”

An outside …

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Levitation was one professor’s plan to cut crime. And it worked. Sort of.

Marc Abrahams, The Guardian: Prof. John Hagelin’s decision not to run against Mitt Romney and Barack Obama left this year’s US presidential race without a major candidate who is a scientist and who acknowledges – publicly – his ability to both counteract gravity and prevent crime.

Two decades ago, Hagelin and a team of fellow scientists performed a bold experiment. Their aim was to drastically reduce the amount of violent crime in Washington DC – a metropolis then noted for its high incidence of murder, rape and robbery. The Hagelin method was to systematically blanket the city with mental emanations from transcendental meditation …

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For Russell Brand, meditation puts life in perspective

Russell Brand, how do you stay so happy-go-lucky?

“I meditate often,” he told the Ministry of Gossip on Saturday. “It connects you to a source of energy that’s more powerful than the material world in which we primarily dwell. It helps you relax and unwind.”

That’s something clearly needed by the comic and actor, who has been percolating on a publicity tour for “Rock of Ages,” shooting his FX comedy show “Brand X” and navigating a media firestorm linked to his divorce from Katy Perry, whose new documentary “Part of Me” includes personal footage from their marriage.

Hardly relaxing stuff. On the other …

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Transcendental meditation studied for military use

Steve Zind, Vermont Public Radio: The military devotes a lot of money and resources to training for combat and to treating post-combat stress. Now there’s research underway at Norwich University in Northfield that uses a tool more associated with peace than warfare to prepare military men and women.

The study is looking at whether Transcendental Meditation will not only make better soldiers, but inoculate them from the psychological trauma of combat.

VPR’s Steve Zind has this story on a group of cadets that some are calling ‘Om Platoon’.

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