The scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhiprogram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is the largest and strongest body of researchin the world on any program to develop human potential. The more than 500 scientific studies conducted at 200 independentuniversities and institutions in 33 countries and published in over 100leading scientific journals have documented that this technology benefitsevery sphere of life: physiological, psychological, sociological, and ecological.The findings in each area of study have been replicated many times, andmeta-analyses, which are the most quantitatively rigorous means to reviewa body of research, have found a high degree of consistency of the results1.Studies using the most sophisticated, rigorous research methodologies thatare designed to prove causality have strongly verified and extended preliminaryfindings. This demonstrates that the Maharishi Transcendental MeditationSM and TM-SidhiSM programs causes thewide range of benefits in mental potential, health, and social behavior.
Research conducted around the world documents that the program is effectivefor all cultural and ethnic groups. All age groups benefit, from increasedalertness in infants of meditating parents to increased health, happiness,and longevity in meditating elderly. People spanning the full range of socioeconomiclevels and intellectual abilities benefit, again indicating the universalityof Maharishi's program.
This body of research is unique in the extent of its cross validation,which means that the findings are validated by many different types of physiological,psychological, and sociological measures. For example, the finding thatthe Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs decreases stress isvalidated by physiological changes such as decreased cortisol (the majorstress hormone), decreased muscle tension, normalization of blood pressure,increased autonomic stability, and increased EEG coherence. At the sametime, a variety of psychological changes also indicates decreased stress,including decreased anxiety and depression, decreased post-traumatic stresssyndrome, and increased self-actualization. Likewise, stress reduction isdemonstrated by the sociological changes, such as decreased hostility, increasedfamily harmony, and reduced criminal behavior in incarcerated felons.
Moreover, research extends the concept of stress reduction to the ecologicallevel. Studies have found that the reduction of stress in meditating individualscreates an influence of harmony in the environment. Scientists have namedthis phenomenon the Maharishi Effect--the finding that even 1% of the populationpracticing the Transcendental Meditation technique, or the square root ofone percent practicing the more advanced Transcendental Meditation-SidhiSM program, improve thequality of life, as indicated by such changes as reduced crime and sicknessin the larger society.
The following briefly summarizes the overall research findings by category:physiological, psychological, sociological, and ecological.
The original landmark research on the physiological correlates of theTranscendental Meditation technique was published in Science, AmericanJournal of Physiology, and Scientific American in 1970-1972 (papers1, 3, 4). This research found that the Transcendental Meditation techniqueproduces a physiological state of restful alertness. During the techniquethe physiology becomes deeply rested, as indicated by significant reductionsin respiration, minute ventilation, tidal volume, and blood lactate, andsignificant increases in basal skin resistance (an index of relaxation).At the same time the physiology is alert rather than asleep, as indicatedby an increased abundance of alpha waves in the EEG. These findings ledresearcher Dr. Keith Wallace to conclude that restful alertness is a fourthmajor state of consciousness, termed transcendental consciousness, thatis physiologically distinct from ordinary waking, dreaming, and deep sleep(paper 2).
Many other researchers have confirmed the reality of Transcendental Consciousness.Moreover, they have found that through regular practice of the TranscendentalMeditation technique, the physiology becomes more relaxed outside of meditationas well. Baseline levels of respiration rate, heart rate, plasma lactate,and skin resistance are all lower. The autonomic nervous system, which regulatesvital internal processes, becomes more stable, integrated, and adaptable,as indicated by its increased ability to recover rapidly from the effectsof stress. Brain functioning becomes more orderly, as indicated by the growthof physiological correlates of creativity and intelligence, such as shorterlatencies of cognitive evoked potentials, faster paired H-reflexes, increasedEEG coherence, shorter inspection time, and faster choice reaction time.Medical researchers have found a reduction of important cardiovascular riskfactors such as high blood pressure and serum cholesterol. Large healthinsurance studies have found that people practicing the Transcendental Meditationand TM-Sidhi programs, in all age groups combined, display a 50% reductionin both inpatient and outpatient medical care utilization compared to controls.Hospitalization is 87% for heart disease and 55% lower for cancer. And whatis most remarkable, meditators over 40 years old have approximately 70%fewer medical problems than others in their age group.
Other research has found that meditating individuals in their mid-50shave a biological age twelve years younger than their chronological age,and that people beginning the practice even at 80 years of age live longerand are healthier and happier than controls of the same age (see Part I:Physiology in Vols. 1-5, and in the recent research section).
Numerous studies have found that the practice of the Transcendental Meditationand TM-Sidhi program increases broad comprehension and improves the abilityto focus sharply (field independence). Through regular practice of thisprogram, the physiology becomes habituated to sustain the experience ofrestful alertness at all times. Research shows that this is the best meansof reducing anxiety, depression, and anger. Transcendental Consciousness,the experience of one's higher Self, becomes a stable internal frame ofreference, providing an unshakable sense of self even during dynamic activity.Meditators become better able to see another person's perspective, yet theycannot easily be swayed by social pressure to do something which they judgeto be wrong. They tend to perceive the world more positively and holistically.
Creativity increases, as measured by tests of both verbal and pictorialfluency, flexibility, and originality. Perception becomes more accurateand less driven by preconceptions and misconceptions. Basic memory processesimprove. School children who practice the Transcendental Meditation techniquesignificantly improve in their basic skills in mathematics, reading, languageand study skills within a semester. Studies of elementary school students,high school students, college students, and adults have found significantincreased IQ scores compared to non-meditating controls over the same period.A ten-year longitudinal study following meditating college students afterthey graduated found significant increases on holistic measures of selfdevelopment (ego development) compared to data sets for graduates of threecontrol universities matched for gender and age. The meditators reachedhigher levels of moral reasoning, autonomy and integration than has everbeen seen before in any other group. The conclusion of all the researchon meditation and relaxation techniques in the field of self-actualizationshows that the Transcendental Meditation technique is unparalleled in itsability to fully develop the unique potential of the individual. This techniquemakes a person more self-sufficient, more spontaneous, more productive,better able of meet challenges, and more capable of warm interpersonal relationships(see Part II: Psychology in Vols. 1-5, and in the recent research section).
A quantitative review of 198 studies found that the Transcendental Meditationprogram is the most effective means of preventing and treating drug andalcohol abuse. In a study of transient, chronic alcoholics it was foundthat the technique produced a 65% abstinence rate and another study of highschool and college drug users in a rehabilitation center found an 89% reductionin drug usage.
A study of war veterans with post-traumatic adjustment problems foundthat the Transcendental Meditation technique produced significant decreasesin emotional numbness, alcohol consumption, family problems, insomnia, unemployment,and overall post-traumatic stress disorder, in comparison to controls receivingpsychotherapy.
The Japanese Ministry of Labor commissioned a five-month study of theeffects of the Transcendental Meditation program on 447 of their employeesin a major heavy industry. The study found decreased physical complaints,decreased anxiety, decreased depression, decreased smoking, decreased insomnia,decreased digestive problems, and a decreased tendency towards neurosisand psychosomatic problems among those who learned this technique comparedto non-meditating controls.
The Transcendental Meditation program has been widely used for effectiveprison rehabilitation. Studies indicate that it produces positive changesin health, personality development, behavior, and reduced recidivism (lowerreturn to prison) among inmates. One study of recidivism found that 259inmates of Folsom and San Quentin prisons and Deuel Vocational Institutein California who learned Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation techniquehad 35-40% fewer new prison terms compared to the matched controls, whereasit is known that traditional prison education, vocational training, andpsychotherapy do not consistently reduce recidivism. A large scale studyof 11,000 prisoners and 900 staff officers in Senegal, West Africa in 1987found that the Transcendental Meditation program markedly decreased prisonviolence, health problems and that it reduced recidivism to a mere 8% (seePart III: Sociology in Vols. 1-5, and in the recent research section).
Maharishi has brought to light that the most important single ecologicalconsideration is a pervasive field of collective consciousness-- the collectiveinfluence of the consciousness of individuals that comprise a society. Stressedindividuals create an atmosphere of stress in collective consciousness thatreciprocally affects the thinking and actions of every individual in thatsystem. Maharishi maintains that crime, drug abuse, armed conflict, andother problems of society are more than just the problem of individual criminals,drug users, and conflicting factions in society. Such problems are morefundamentally symptoms of stress in collective consciousness.
Maharishi has introduced a new theoretical understanding of society,which concludes that the only practical way to handle large-scale problemsis to approach them holistically by creating coherence in collective consciousness.Citing the general principle of science that the coherent elements of asystem exert an influence proportional to their number squared, Maharishihas estimated that 1% of the population practicing his Transcendental Meditationtechnique and as few as the square root of 1% collectively practicing hisTranscendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs would be enough to createan influence of coherence in collective consciousness capable of neutralizingthe stresses that are the root cause of social problems. Extensive scientificresearch on the city, state, national, and international levels has confirmedMaharishi's prediction. A study of 160 US cities found a significant reductionin crime trend from 1974 to 1978 in proportion to the number of people inthe city who had learned the technique by 1973. The study controlled fordemographic variables known to influence crime.
Research has further demonstrated that when groups practicing the TranscendentalMeditation and TM-Sidhi program are introduced into a city, state, or countryanywhere in the world that crime decreases, there are fewer traffic accidents,and the quality of life improves in that area.
Since 1979, Maharishi International University (MIU) has had a groupof Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs participants that hasvaried in size from a few hundred to over 8,000. Published research hasshown that increases in the size of the group have an influence in boththe US and Canada, resulting in fewer violent deaths due to homicides, suicides,and traffic fatalities, a reduction in unemployment and inflation; and ageneral improvement in the quality of life. Studies have shown that whenthe MIU group, or a similar group located anywhere in the world, is sufficientlylarge, that is, approaching the square root of 1% of the world population(7,000), that international relations improve and regional conflicts decreaseworld-wide. The conclusion of this research is that the only viable meansof reducing and eventually eliminating the age-old problems of society andcreating world peace is the ecological and truly systemic approach of creatingcoherence in collective consciousness through the Transcendental Meditationand TM-Sidhi program.
This remarkable body of research showing that the Transcendental Meditationand TM-Sidhi program produces basic improvements on all levels of life--health,mental potential, social behavior, and world peace--confirms that this technologyof consciousness operates on the most fundamental level of Nature's functioning,enlivening the unified field of Natural Law in the consciousness of theindividual and in society, so that life may be lived in accord with NaturalLaw, creating a state of Heaven on Earth (see Part III: Sociology, FindingsReflecting Growth of Coherence in Collective Consciousness in Vols. 1-5,and in the recent research section).
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