Select Page

Meditation

by Robert Keith Wallace

(excerpt from Quantum Golf second edition)

The Transcendental Meditation Program

The Transcendental Meditation technique is a unique, simple, and effective mental procedure. It takes about twenty minutes, twice each day, in which you sit comfortably with your eyes closed. It involves no belief or philosophy, no mood or lifestyle. Most people begin the technique for practical reasons, such as a desire for more energy or to decrease tension and anxiety. Over ten million people of all ages, cultures, and religions have learned TM.

TM uses the natural tendency of the mind to spontaneously experience states of greater and greater happiness. The technique involves a real and measurable process of physiological refinement that utilizes the inherent capacity of the nervous system to refine its own functioning and unfold its full potential. During TM practice, your attention is very naturally and spontaneously drawn to quieter, more orderly states of mental activity until all mental activity is transcended, and you are left with no thoughts or sensations, only the experience of pure awareness itself. The result of the regular practice of TM is that your entire nervous system becomes rejuvenated and revitalized, and you become more successful and fulfilled in activity.

Extensive research documents the effectiveness of TM in improving both physical and mental health. TM produces a unique state of restful alertness (1-3) with different brain wave patterns from other techniques of meditation (4). The practice of this technique helps every area of life by removing stress from the nervous system. Over 600 studies at more than 200 research institutes and universities have been conducted on the Transcendental Meditation program, and more than 380 of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals. [Note to Reader: “Peer-reviewed” means that scientists, whose qualifications and competencies are on a similar level of accomplishment as those of the authors of the study, have evaluated the work. This method is the gold standard of science, employed to maintain the highest standard of quality and credibility.]

The US National Institutes of Health has awarded over $25 million to study the effects of TM on health, particularly on heart disease, the #1 killer in the US. It is particularly interesting to note that researchers who conducted an important study at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee reported that the more regularly the patients meditated, the longer was their term of survival (5).

A number of important studies have shown that TM reduces high blood pressure (6). A statement from the American Heart Association concluded:
The Transcendental Meditation technique is the only meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Because of many negative studies or mixed results and a paucity of available trials, all other meditation techniques (including MBSR) received a ‘Class III, no benefit, Level of Evidence C’ recommendation. Thus, other meditation techniques are not recommended in clinical practice to lower BP at this time.
Transcendental Meditation practice is recommended for consideration in treatment plans for all individuals with blood pressure > 120/80 mm Hg.
Lower blood pressure through

Transcendental Meditation practice is also associated with substantially reduced rates of death, heart attack, and stroke (7).

Research shows that TM practice reduces cholesterol levels (8). Studies also show that meditators exhibit an improved ability to adapt to stressful situations (9,10) and a marked decrease in levels of plasma cortisol, commonly known as the “stress hormone” (11).

Research results in various areas of health document improvements in such conditions as asthma, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, pain, alcohol and drug abuse, and mental health (12-17). In a five-year study on some 2000 individuals, researchers showed that TM meditators used medical and surgical health care services approximately one-half as often as did other insurance users. This study was conducted in cooperation with Blue Cross Blue Shield and controlled for other factors that might affect health care use, such as cost sharing, age, gender, geographic distribution, and profession. The TM subjects also showed a far lower rate of increase in health care utilization with increasing age (18).

In Québec, Canada, researchers compared the changes in physician costs for TM practitioners with those of non-practitioners over a five-year period. This study is particularly reliable because the Canadian government tracked health care costs closely for both meditators and the control group, due to Canada’s national health care system. After the first year, the health care costs of the TM group decreased 11%, and after five years, their cumulative cost reduction was 28%. TM patients required fewer referrals, resulting in lower medical expenses for prescription drugs, tests, hospitalization, surgery, and other treatments (19).
Studies have documented how TM can slow and even reverse the aging process. One study showed that long-term TM meditators had a biological age roughly twelve years younger than their non-meditating counterparts (20). Researchers at Harvard University studied the effects of TM on mental health, behavioral flexibility, blood pressure, and longevity, in residents of homes for the elderly. The subjects were randomly assigned either to a no-treatment group or to one of three treatment programs: the TM program, mindfulness training, or a relaxation program. Initially, all three groups were similar on pretest measures and expectancy of benefits, yet after only three months, the TM group showed significant improvements in cognitive functioning and blood pressure compared to the control groups. Reports from the TM subjects, compared to those of the mindfulness or the relaxation subjects, indicated that the TM practitioners felt more absorbed during their practice, and better and more relaxed immediately afterward. Overall, more TM subjects found their practice to be personally valuable than members of either of the control groups (21).

The most striking finding is that TM practice not only reverses age-related declines in overall health, but also directly enhances longevity. All the members of the TM group were still alive three years after the program began, in contrast to about only half of the members of the control groups. Research on the Transcendental Meditation program clearly shows that growing old no longer need signify a loss in the quality of life; rather, it can be an opportunity for further development (22-23). Scientists have suggested that one of the ways TM may improve health and increase longevity is by changing the expression of specific beneficial genes in our DNA and creating more effective neuroadaptability (24-26).
Long-term changes in brain functioning have also been correlated with decreased stress-reactivity and neuroticism, and increased self-development, intelligence, learning ability, and self-actualization (26-30). One important psychological study on TM shows a significant decrease in levels of anxiety in TM practitioners as compared to subjects practicing other relaxation techniques (31). Studies in a variety of work and business settings show significantly increased productivity and efficiency (32,33).

TM is learned from a qualified TM teacher, and is taught in 7 steps, usually within a week’s time according to your schedule. Most of the steps take 1-2 hours (though some are shorter). There is also a brief but important follow-up meeting 10 days after you learn the practice, and then once a month for the first three months after your TM course. All of these meetings are included in the course fee, along with lifelong support for your meditation program, including individual meditation checking, advanced meetings, and other special events.

Although there are a number of advanced TM programs, TM is always the core technique and will continue to benefit your life whether you choose to take an advanced program or not. (For more information on how to start TM, see TM.org.)

SELECTED REFERENCES

1. Wallace RK. Physiological effects of Transcendental Meditation. Science 167:1751-1754, 1970
2. Wallace RK, et al. A wakeful hypometabolic physiologic state. American Journal of Physiology 221(3): 795-799, 1971
3. Wallace RK. Physiological effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique: A proposed fourth major state of consciousness. Ph.D. thesis. Physiology Department, University of California, Los Angeles, 1970
4. Travis FT and Shear J. Focused attention, open monitoring and automatic self-transcending: Categories to organize meditations from Vedic, Buddhist and Chinese traditions. Consciousness and Cognition 19(4):1110-1118, 2010
5. Schneider RH, et al. Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: Randomized, Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in Blacks. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes 5:750-758, 2012
6. Rainforth MV, et al. Stress reduction programs in patients with elevated blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Current Hypertension Reports 9:520–528, 2007
7. Brook RD, et al., Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure. A Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association. Hypertension 61(6):1360-83, 2013
8. Cooper MJ, et al. Transcendental Meditation in the management of hypercholesterolemia. Journal of Human Stress 5(4): 24–27, 1979
9. Orme-Johnson DW and Walton KW. All approaches of preventing or reversing effects of stress are not the same. American Journal of Health Promotion 12:297-299, 1998
10. Barnes VA, et al. Impact of Transcendental Meditation on cardiovascular function at rest and during acute stress in adolescents with high normal blood pressure. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 51: 597-605, 2001
11. Jevning R, et al. Adrenocortical activity during meditation. Hormonal Behavior 10(1):54-60, 1978
12. Wilson AF, et al. Transcendental Meditation and asthma. Respiration 32:74-80, 1975
13. Paul-Labrador M, et al. Effects of randomized controlled trial of Transcendental Meditation on components of the metabolic syndrome in subjects with coronary heart disease. Archives of Internal Medicine 166:1218-1224, 2006
14. Royer A. The role of the Transcendental Meditation technique in promoting smoking cessation: A longitudinal study. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11: 219-236, 1994
15. Haratani T, et al. Effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) on the mental health of industrial workers. Japanese Journal of Industrial Health 32: 656, 1990
16. Orme-Johnson DW, et al. Neuroimaging of meditation’s effect on brain reactivity to pain. NeuroReport 17(12):1359-63, 2006
17. Alexander CN, et al. Treating and preventing alcohol, nicotine, and drug abuse through Transcendental Meditation: A review and statistical meta-analysis. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 11: 13-87, 1994.
18. Orme-Johnson DW, Herron R.E. An Innovative Approach to Reducing Medical Care Utilization and Expenditures. American Journal of Managed Care 3: 135–144,1997
19. Herron RE. Can the Transcendental Meditation Program Reduce the Medical Expenditures of Older People? A Longitudinal Cost-Reduction Study in Canada. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 17(1): 415–442, 2005
20.. Wallace RK, et al. The effects of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program on the aging process. International Journal of Neuroscience 16: 53-58, 1982
21. Alexander CN, et al. Transcendental Meditation, mindfulness, and longevity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57: 950-964, 1989
22. Alexander CN, et al. The effects of Transcendental Meditation compared to other methods of relaxation in reducing risk factors, morbidity, and mortality. Homeostasis 35: 243-264, 1994
23. Schneider RH, et al. Long-term effects of stress reduction on mortality in persons > 55 years of age with systemic hypertension. American Journal of Cardiology 95: 1060-1064, 2005
24. Duraimani S, et al. Effects of Lifestyle Modification on Telomerase Gene Expression in Hypertensive Patients: A Pilot Trial of Stress Reduction and Health Education Programs in African Americans. PLOS ONE 10(11): e0142689, 2015
25. Wenuganen S. Anti-Aging Effects of the Transcendental Meditation Program: Analysis of Ojas Level and Global Gene Expression. Maharishi University of Management, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 3630467, 2014
26. Chandler HM, et al. Transcendental Meditation and post-
conventional self-development: A 10-year longitudinal study. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 17(1): 93–121, 2005
27.Cranson RW, et al. Transcendental Meditation and improved performance on intelligence-related measures: A longitudinal study. Personality and Individual Differences 12: 1105-1116, 1991
28. So KT, and Orme-Johnson DW. Three randomized experiments on the longitudinal effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique on cognition. Intelligence 29: 419-440, 2001
29. Tjoa A. Increased intelligence and reduced neuroticism through the Transcendental Meditation program. Gedrag: Tijdschrift voor Psychologie 3: 167-182, 1975
30.Alexander CN., et al. Transcendental Meditation, self-actualization, and psychological health: A conceptual overview and statistical meta-analysis. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 6: 189-247, 1991
31. Eppley KR, et al. Differential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: A meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology 45: 957-974, 1989
32. Alexander CN, et al. Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on stress-reduction, health, and employee development: A prospective study in two occupational settings. Stress, Anxiety and Coping 6: 245–262, 1993
33. Harung HS, et al. Peak performance and higher states of consciousness: A study of world-class performers. Journal of Managerial Psychology 11(4): 3–23, 1996
34. Nidich S, et al. Non-trauma-focused meditation versus exposure therapy in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet Psychiatry. 2018 Dec;5(12):975-986. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30384-5. Epub 2018 Nov 15. PMID: 30449712.
35. Wallace, R.K.; Wallace, T. Neuroadaptability and Habit: Modern Medicine and Ayurveda. Medici-na 2021, 57, 90. doi:10.3390/medicina57020090