To: All Msg #115, Nov-24-93 07:54AM Subject: History of TM (L. Domash; part 1) [ Article c

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From: Tim Antonsen To: All Msg #115, Nov-24-93 07:54AM Subject: History of TM (L. Domash; part 1) Organization: Hewlett-Packard Fort Collins Site From: antonsen@cnd.hp.com (Tim Antonsen) Message-ID: Newsgroups: sci.skeptic [ Article crossposted from alt.meditation.transcendental ] [ Author was James Cook ] [ Posted on Wed, 24 Nov 1993 07:36:01 GMT ] Following is the first part of a two part article I'll post in total this week. This article is written by Larry Domash, Ph.D (physics), who has spent a considerable amount of time with Maharishi through the years. Larry's background in physics, his clear writing and analytical style, and personal experience with TM enable a good insight into the historical development of the TM technique and the organizations which teach it. This is a long article. Although the author is a scientist, and writes from that perspective, many interesting points are sprinkled through the article. This article by Larry, written in 1976, is contained as a forward in each of four very think bound volumes of collected scientifc studies which are available at TM centers. I hope the level of detail will be interesting backgroud for some readers. I will post additional material as time allows. James Cook ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- INTRODUCTION TO VOLUME 1 By Lawrence H. Domash, Ph.D. Weggis, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland January, 1976 MAHARISHI MAHESH YOGI AND THE TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION PROGRAM: A NEW DIRECTION FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH Scientific discovery is the common theme of this age, and yet the most momentous discoveries have sometimes come from the most unexpected directions. This has especially been the case whenever a new area of human experience has suddenly been taken into the realm of science. The more than one hundred papers in this volume represent the first expression of just such an event - a remarkable and historic scientific discovery of a previously unsuspected mental mechanism - a discovery whose significance seems to be no less than to signal the opening of the last great frontier of modern science, the systematic exploration of the full range and potential of the human mind. Such a statement raises an immediate question: How, one might ask, can the mind, whose basis, the nervous system, is the oldest and most familiar of all our human tools, and whose contents we share so freely, possibly still hide within it any truly new potentialities? Simply speaking, it cannot; the 'unexpected source' of the present research is in fact a tradition of knowledge that almost certainly is the most ancient in human culture. The newness of the theory and practice of this knowledge really lies only in its new availability - that and its reappearance in a form suitable for an age given to systematic, objective investigation. The discovery is of the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique, whose introduction in 1958 was the work of an Indian scholar and teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In fact, Maharishi himself claims not to have invented the technique at all, but rather to have revived it. It is clear, however, that he reinvented it; that is to say, he rediscovered and thereby restored the original purity and effectiveness of a layer of human knowledge that, although praised and sung in the very oldest records of human experience, seems somehow to have been lost from view through confusion and disuse, even in the land of its origin. Equally important, Maharishi has succeeded in less than fifteen years in raising the Transcendental Meditation technique from the esoteric possession of a small and elite circle to a level of almost universal popular acceptance, where today it is on the verge of becoming a standard part of worldwide public education. Thus, a new and most significant direction of discovery, one whose ultimate consequences can hardly be appreciated today, has been opened to science. The scientific reader of these papers may be interested in a few words on the origin of the Transcendental Meditation technique in its modern form, for it is in itself an exciting story of exploration and discovery. The Origin of the Transcendental Meditation Technique The theme that man is capable of 'higher' states of consciousness, defined in terms of an experience of wholeness and expansion together with a deeper inner contact with nature, and the assertion that procedures and practices exist to develop such states are common in the lore of almost every human culture, East or West, old enough to possess a philosophical tradition. In particular, such knowledge has been associated with India; the word meditation has long been a familiar if vague symbol of inner development, involving in some usually ill-defined fashion a technique for penetrating to deeper levels of the mind for the sake of the 'expansion of consciousness'. Before 1958, however, it would be fair to say that the popular associations evoked by the word meditation in the minds of educated Indians and Westerners alike were discouraging ones, to say the least. They might have been summarized as follows: 1. Meditation was thought to involve some attempt to concentrate or control the mind. It was considered to be very difficult; hardly anyone was supposed to succeed at it, even after many years of practice. 2. Meditation was supposed to be appropriate only for a few select individuals of specialized life style, especially for the reclusive, the religious, the passive mystic withdrawn from society. 3. The purpose of meditation was considered to be an exclusively spiritual or religious one; its aim was associated with a state called 'enlightenment', a condition probably thought of by the average man as an exotic one verging on self- hallucination and certainly having no relevance to the values of daily life or social progress. 4. Meditation was not considered a very powerful or effective influence; hardly anyone in the world, including the yogis of India, knew of an actual contemporary instance of real and demonstrable progress having been made by means of it. 5. The very idea of the 'expansion of consciousness' was considered wholly a metaphysical one, completely outside the realm of precise definition or scientific research. Against this background, Maharishi's special contribution has been to supply a new reality and an unprecedented precision for the concept of meditation. The effect of his achievement, to which this volume of papers bears ample testimony, has been essentially to cause the reversal of each of these understandings, both in the scientific literature and in the mind of the educated public. Specifically, he has demonstrated that: 1. The Transcendental Meditation technique is easy to learn and to practice; in fact, effortlessness is the very key to its effectiveness. Persons of every educational background can learn it successfully in a few hours of instruction and experience good effects, in most cases immediately. 2. The Transcendental Meditation technique is for everyone; it is an internal technology based on a highly valuable intrinsic tendency of the human nervous system that every man and woman possesses and therefore deserves to know how to use, regardless of his or her particular background, education, or way of life. 3. Learning the Transcendental Meditation technique does not require the acceptance of any particular philosophical system, nor does it interfere with any religious belief. The direction of development that results from the Transcendental Meditation program is not a strange or unworldly one; it is towards full development of those normal faculties of body, mind, and emotions that we already value in everyday life. What can be achieved by means of the TM program is the extension of the range of these normal faculties to their maximum possible value, a level of development rarely experienced by most individuals. 4. The Transcendental Meditation program is safe and effective, can be systematically and uniformly taught, and is quick to give results; moreover, all of these features can be demonstrated objectively. 5. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, through the Transcendental Meditation program the area of consciousness and its development has come to be recognized as a legitimate subject for serious scientific study. Such a reversal is in one sense a familiar one in this century; it is just the story of one more aspect of human life undergoing a technological revolution. But in this case the technology involved is the practical fruit not of a modern laboratory, but rather of an ancient research program whose original purpose was the culturing of the human nervous system for the sake of developing all the possibilities inherent in its nature, using no external means, but only the natural capabilities of the unaided body and mind. This research and development program was completed thousands of years ago and the practical results distilled into a few simple procedures, which in turn were handed down as formulae or codified instructions. But because the human nervous system is an exceedingly delicate instrument, with many possible internal states and modes of operation, verbal instructions alone are insufficient to preserve the more subtle aspects of the knowledge of its functioning; one must have at hand a living teacher able to correctly interpret the instructions on the basis of his own experience. To put it another way, correct interpretation of even the most complete instruction manual depends in practice upon having available a perfect working example of the machine in question. Otherwise, the set of instructions representing a technology may continue to be handed down, but its real content can be lost, causing it to degenerate into a mere superstition. In this case, in the absence of men of highly developed sensitivity of consciousness, able to correctly interpret ancient instructions regarding delicate and subtle practices of adjusting the mind, the procedures in their essence can quickly become subject to gross misunderstanding and hence to distortion, which quickly leads to the loss of their effectiveness. In practical terms, they are lost. It is Maharishi's feeling that exactly this has been the fate of the original technology of meditation, and that this has happened not once, but perhaps several times in the course of history, leaving behind written or oral traditions that may have preserved formulae with reasonable accuracy, but could no longer give the reality of personal experience. Such a situation can be rectified and the original instructions correctly deciphered only if one happens not only to possess the formulae, but also to come upon a perfect working example of the instrument in question. It was Maharishi's good fortune and ours that he came upon such an example of an ideally functioning man. Maharishi's background in India is a most pure and classical one. In the West, research scientists have a habit of referring to a young Ph.D. in terms of his 'master' - 'so-and- so, who was a graduate student of so-and-so'. The same custom has held true from time immemorial in the tradition of Indian philosophy, especially since success in terms of that tradition has always been measured not by a man's intellectual attainment alone, but by the quality of his own inner life. Maharishi was the closest student of a great and famous teacher, a contemporary saint. He had the fortune as an educated young man to be accepted as a student of Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, who, although little known in the West, was widely recognized as the greatest of the purely spiritual preceptors of modern north India and was revered for many years by the community of Indian philosophers as a rare and perfect example of that peak of inner development whose ideals are extolled in the Vedas and Upanishads of ancient India. Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (whom Maharishi refers to affectionately as 'Guru Dev') was at that time (1941 - 1953) the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math in the Himalayas, a seat of spiritual leadership in northern India that traces its descent directly from Shankara, the great culture of ancient India, a continuity of living tradition from ancient to modern times that modern scholars agree is without parallel in the world today. The Shankaracharya tradition, furthermore, is considered to be the official custodian of the body of techniques and practices that constitute the physiological and experiential side of India's Vedic philosophy, especially those techniques that collectively may be called 'meditation'. This tradition has preserved and protected the formulae of these techniques through uncounted generations of oral transmission from teacher to student, always under the strictest selective control and supervision. The education Maharishi received in this environment contained no element of the twentieth century; it could just as well have taken place two or ten thousand years before. But the uniqueness of Maharishi's situation was a truly modern one. On the one hand, Maharishi stood as the closest, most devoted, and most successful disciple of a teacher who had developed his own quality of mind to a degree of perfection so rare as to be almost extinct in today's world, including India. From him, Maharishi absorbed this timeless value, a breadth and delicacy of awareness that allows the full range of states of consciousness available to the human nervous system to be directly experienced in a systematic way. (2) On the other hand, Maharishi brought to his studies a thoroughly contemporary spirit of inquiry, experimentation, logic, verification, and creativity - in other words, a scientific attitude. Maharishi's unique combination of qualities and circumstances has been most fortunate for the world of science, for through it he has been able to provide the missing bridge between the oldest tradition of human knowledge and the newest. As an unusually talented student whose own breadth of inner experience was growing rapidly under the tutelage of Guru Dev, Maharishi soon began to notice discrepancies between certain widely held ideas of Vedic philosophy and his own growing experience. With the constant encouragement of his master, he began a systematic reappraisal of the tangle of obscure and often conflicting statements that were then current in Indian culture, and he set out to understand them in the light of that direct experience of pure consciousness which, he knew, has in itself always been the real focus and foundation of Vedic thought. At some time during this period it is clear that Maharishi succeeded in arriving at clarifications of the meaning of ancient lore so fundamental that they can only be called discoveries; he continues to make further such basic discoveries today. By the process of comparing his own direct experience of the actual goal of meditation with the common understanding then available, it became clear to Maharishi that the common idea of what meditation was supposed to be was in fact a complete distortion of the original meaning of the ancient procedure. Procedures of concentration or of forcing the mind to be free of content, with or without the use of a sensory medium such as an auditory or visual focus, seemed to him to lead away from, rather than toward, the desired result. At every stage of experimentation, Maharishi held to the guideline given him by his master that maximum naturalness and simplicity alone would identify the correct direction; his profound faith in the beneficent simplicity of nature has been echoed in the thinking of other great researchers, such as Einstein. In practice, then, an effective form of meditation should come out to be an easy, automatic process and not a constant struggle involving concentration or control of mind. On this basis, Maharishi recognized quite simply what the mechanics of the original systematic procedure had been, not by means of textual scholarship alone, but by working with constant reference to fresh personal experience of the state of pure consciousness, the aim and end-point of meditation. If we emphasize the overwhelming importance of Maharishi's own clarity of inner experience in this regard, it is because a comparison of his lectures and writings with those of any other philosopher, Eastern or Western, of recent times shows quite clearly that direct and detailed experience of the transcendental values of consciousness, as opposed to intellectual analysis of them, has been an extraordinary rarity. Maharishi soon verified that this easy, automatic procedure did indeed have the desired effect in a most direct manner. This procedure is the Transcendental Meditation technique. Once having made this clarification, which involved, as we have said, recognizing that 'concentration' or control of the mind was a misinterpretation and that the correct procedure had necessarily to be effortless if it was to continue spontaneously, Maharishi proceeded to satisfy himself that the mechanics of the technique could be explained in a way that was both clear in itself and consistent with ancient Vedic sources on the nature of the mind. It is characteristic of Maharishi's thinking that from the beginning he emphasized the naturalness of the process, whereas others had spoken in terms of forcing a recalcitrant mind to an unworldly experience. Moreover, from the beginning Maharishi pointed to the simplicity and comprehensibility of the process - that is, to its scientific nature - rather than to any possible mystical aspect. In a lecture in 1960, given at Shankaracharya Nagar, Himalayas, he said: ----- "There are many systems of what is called meditation that attempt to refine the mind by controlling it in one way or another. All such attempts are difficult and tedious, and, far from achieving anything, tend to take away life. Because of the difficulty and inefficiency of these methods of mind control, the idea has become accepted that the path to pure consciousness is difficult. This is a fallacy and stems from ignorance of the nature of the mind. There is a great difference between directing the mind in a particular direction through concentration and directing it by permitting its natural affinities to operate. We know that it is the natural tendency of every mind to flow towards a field of greater happiness. By turning the mind inwards we point the mind towards the field of absolute bliss, creativity, and wisdom. It is upon this principle that our system of meditation is based, and consequently its practice is not difficult. The whole process is one of direct experience; the journey is a scientifically precise undertaking in which, at each step, the validity of the process is put to the test of direct experience. Meditation is an intellectually satisfying exploration, in which the wisdom behind meditation is illumined by the result at each succeeding level, including the ultimate level of direct experience of the state of absolute Being. It could be said, in fact, by analogy, that this is an exploration of inner space where the real jewel of life is to be found, and that its scientific value and promise far exceed that of the exploration of outer space." ----- In the light of his discovery, the ancient texts suddenly began to make real sense to Maharishi, and other technical details began to fall into place. As one example, it came to light during his studies that there were originally two distinct classes of meditation practices: those for the recluse, or monk, and those for the active, involved person with family responsibilities. As time passed the former class was preserved in monasteries, while the latter evidently was lost, accounting for the popular impression that meditation leads to a life of withdrawal. The Transcendental Meditation technique, as taught to the public, is of the class designed for an active, involved life; thus, it has been literally unavailable in any part of the world for an unknown period of time. More generally, once having a clear picture of the mechanics of the Transcendental Meditation technique, Maharishi was able to find a clear and precise interpretation of the very core of Vedic literature, which constantly refers to these mechanics implicitly and explicitly, being essentially the story of the evolution of consciousness. This view led to a fresh look at celebrated texts whose meaning had become subject to a large number of widely varying interpretations. An excellent example of this reinterpretation can be found in Maharishi's exceptionally lucid and logical translation of and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, which, for example, demonstrates in convincing detail that the Gita's constant references to the necessity for 'withdrawal' actually refer to the mechanics of the Transcendental Meditation technique as a subjective experience and not, as had been widely thought, to any need for a reclusive life style. Note: Maharishi's current scholarship is focused on the Rig Veda, a much more difficult and highly concentrated text than the Gita, and one of extreme antiquity. As yet unpublished, his major discoveries here have been to elucidate the internal structure and symmetry of the Vedic hymns, especially their 'seed within seed' form of expression. Maharishi has shown that the Rig Veda contains an astonishingly rich description of the laws of nature governing the creation and development of the universe expressed in a form entirely unfamiliar to modern science, and not, as other translators have found, merely a series of primitive, unintelligible prayers. Once again, the key to the Rig Veda lies in a correct understanding of the Transcendental Meditation technique and the state of pure consciousness, which is the basis of its subject matter. Maharishi has described the Rig Veda as, in one aspect, a sort of instruction manual for the operation of the human nervous system, offering many unsuspected possibilities to be explored. We mention Maharishi's scholarly work here because its success illustrates that the TM technique is indeed a discovery in precisely the scientific sense; it has proved to be the key to understanding and organizing a great deal of previously opaque material. While in principle any thought could be so experienced, the technology of meditation as revived and developed by Maharishi finds as one of its principal practical results that the thought associated with a sound is most universally appropriate for this purpose. (The reasons for this are convincingly explained in terms of the structure of subjective sensory experience in some of Maharishi's earliest writings and no doubt provide a rich lode of information for the neurophysiologist interested in the relationships of the various sensory and thought-cognising areas of the brain.) Furthermore, there is a particular set of sounds handed down for centuries in the Shankaracharya tradition that seem to have the special property of becoming increasingly euphonious and pleasing as they are perceived at 'finer' (prior) stages. These particular sounds are termed 'mantras' in Sanskrit. The Shankaracharya tradition has preserved not only these sounds, but also a system of rules or formulae by which they are to be assigned to individuals, the idea being that a particular sound has a quality that resonates best with the structure of a particular nervous system. Behind these rules of neurophysiological specificity there lies a rich and fascinating theory of the mantras and their application; to date Maharishi has not published his interpretation of this theory, although he has indicated a desire to do so. No doubt this theory also holds the greatest riches for the future of neurophysiological research; in the meantime, however, Maharishi has emphasized that in using the mantras on a practical level exactly as prescribed by the unbroken tradition of his own teacher, one may at least feel assured of correct and safe application, guaranteed by long-accumulated experience. The second element of Transcendental Meditation technique involves learning to use the mantra properly on a mental level in order to trace its prior stages of development as a thought. Although this is an effortless process, it is a delicate one, and unfortunately it does not seem possible to adequately communicate this aspect by written description alone. The reason for this is that individuals are found to respond in slightly different ways to the initial stages of the experience, which is a novel one, and instructions must be adjusted on the basis of subjective reports so that the process will continue easily. This can only be accomplished effectively through the personal presence of a trained teacher. (To understand this point better, one need only imagine the difficulty of teaching someone to dream - in the event that he had never experienced that state of consciousness - by written description alone. What is truly remarkable is that the ability to experience the fourth state of consciousness [pure consciousness or transcendental consciousness] can be taught at all, and not that it cannot be taught by written instructions!) The fact that the TM technique can only be effectively taught through personal instruction obviously does condition its mass distribution, but it also has been found to guarantee the safety and success of the learning process. At present, candidate teachers receive nine months of full-time training (six months in residence and three months of field work) covering every aspect of theory and practice involved in guiding the new meditator before they are certified to teach the TM technique to the public. To practice the Transcendental Meditation technique, the subject simply sits comfortably with eyes closed and begins to use the thinking process, with the mantra as a medium, in the precise but restful way he has been taught. Subjectively, the meditator usually reports an immediate sense of bodily quiet and relaxation along with a 'settling down' of thought activity. Often, there is a loss of bodily sensation - yet full conscious awareness is maintained and in fact is reported to be experienced as 'expanded' or 'clarified'. At certain moments in the period of the TM technique there may occur shorter or longer intervals when thought activity is reported to cease completely, and the mind then simply experiences conscious awareness alone, without content. This condition, which is difficult to imagine or describe precisely just because it is a novel fourth mode of consciousness, is the state given the name 'pure consciousness'. Because it allows the mind to go beyond the earliest stage of the thinking process, Maharishi named the technique 'Transcendental' Meditation. The process is described as a restful, deeply enjoyable one, and afterwards there is typically a feeling of refreshment, liveliness, strength, and clarity of mind. Maharishi's first great contribution was therefore the discovery of a mental practice that is simple, enjoyable, and easy to do, and that has very good effects from the first sitting. Moreover, because the technique induces the experience of 'pure consciousness' easily and naturally, using only the intrinsic tendency of the thinking process, Maharishi felt confident that this must in fact be the very same practice referred to in ancient Vedic literature as the direct path to that highly valued experience, in striking contrast to the understanding of recent centuries that to experience pure consciousness (samadhi) through meditation was necessarily an arduous, difficult, lifelong task. It is impossible to over- emphasize the importance of this discovery, which changed the impossible into a simple daily reality. As an analogy, one might think of the superconductivity effect discovered in quantum physics, whereby electrons may undergo completely frictionless flow ('perpetual motion') in a way that is inconceivable on the basis of the cruder, pre-quantum understanding. Growth of the Transcendental Meditation Program In 1958, five years after the passing of his beloved teacher, Maharishi found himself with the key to a wonderful and long-lost technology of creativity and intelligence, a technology whose immense practical applications were obvious for the individual, and through the individual, for the fields of health, education, and economics, and for the alleviation of human suffering generally. Its need in the world was, to Maharishi, plainly evident. In 1960 he said: ----- "There is an ever-increasing state of chaos in the world; tension increases daily in the individual, in social life, in national affairs, and international relations. The great and urgent need is for something to re-establish harmony in the individual human being and to give him peace; only from such an inner peace can wisdom and happiness be born. All that we call . . . knowledge today, the whole process of endless fact gathering, must utterly fail to satisfy the real needs of man . . . . I came out of the Himalayas with a method designed to raise both the head and the heart of man to the point where knowledge and appreciation of the quality of his true nature can be attained. I call my method meditation, but it is, in fact, a technique of self-exploration; it enables a man to dive into the innermost reaches of his being, in which dwell the essence of life and the source of all wisdom, all creativity, all peace, and all happiness . . . . The word 'meditation' is not new, nor are the benefits of meditation new . . . . But for centuries the technique of meditation of this kind has been forgotten. This is why man suffers, or seems to suffer. This is why suffering has become so universal, so much an inescapable part of life." ----- On the basis of this line of thinking, therefore, Maharishi made his second major contribution - to project the use of the Transcendental Meditation technique not for a small and isolated elite group of dedicated disciples, but, most ambitiously, for the world's population as a whole. This obviously required him to train others outside the immediate Shankaracharya tradition, Indians and non-Indians alike, to teach the TM program. This step must have seemed to Maharishi at the time a considerable risk; perhaps this helps to explain his insistence, from the beginning, on a high standard of systematization and uniformity in the training of his teachers and the steps by which they in turn taught the TM technique to the public. From the beginning, Maharishi made it clear that what he was recommending was the practice of a mechanical technique based upon certain basic principles of mental functioning, and not the acceptance of a new philosophy or system of belief. While taped lectures and written materials explaining the theory by which Maharishi understood the functioning of the TM technique and its relationship to the structure of the mind generally have always been freely available at TM program centers, those who came to learn the technique were not required to accept anything other than the practical guidelines necessary to practice it correctly; indeed, even outright skepticism about either the technique or the theory behind it was not discouraged. Those who did become interested in Maharishi's highly original understanding of the principles behind the TM technique found that he expressed them in the simplest possible language; in terms of the 'natural tendency of the mind to expand its boundaries', the 'spontaneous attraction of the attention towards a field of greater enjoyment in the finer levels of thought', and the superiority of effortlessness over rigid, bounded control for allowing the mind to experience the 'source of thought, pure consciousness'. This simple-sounding description nevertheless amounted to a sophisticated, precise, and highly useful picture of the dynamics of thinking as subjectively experienced. Maharishi has always emphasized that he viewed the dynamical principles of the behavior of consciousness simply as laws of nature, and while he always paid the greatest homage to the Vedic tradition for having originated the science of consciousness, he made it clear that the laws themselves were no more to be considered as belonging specifically to the Vedas or to India than we consider the electron to belong specifically to England, the land of its discovery. In the same vein, while Maharishi sometimes spoke of the spiritual or religious applications of the TM technique, he also spoke of the applications to military life, to business, or to health; he himself plainly regarded the source of the technology for the expansion of consciousness represented by the TM technique as lying in certain universal laws of nature with the same status as the laws of physics. The TM program is certainly not a religion, nor does it interfere with the practice or belief of any religion. In retrospect, it is evident that each of these features, added to the genuine effectiveness and power of the technique itself, was essential for the wide public acceptance that the Transcendental Meditation program has since enjoyed. Maharishi began to train the first teachers of the Transcendental Meditation technique in 1961, using candidates chosen from a number of nations. As they in turn accumulated experience in teaching a wide range of individuals from many walks of life and educational backgrounds, Maharishi continued to modify and develop the details of the standard course of instruction in the TM technique, aiming always at the simplest, clearest, briefest, and most comprehensive course that would result in giving any student the correct initial experience and allow him to continue successfully on his own thereafter. This finely tuned systematic approach seems to have no peer whatsoever in the teaching of either any other practice going under the name 'meditation' or other means of self-development, and is the keystone of the success of the whole program. By the early 1960's, the course to begin the TM technique had been standardized into essentially its present form: a sequence of two lectures, an interview with questionnaire, and a session of personal instruction in the actual practice, which is then followed by three follow-up classes. The course thus comprises altogether about seven hours of instruction over six separate days, the last four of them consecutive. Once having learned, the individual practices the technique for about 20 minutes in the morning and again in the evening; no requirements are made regarding any other aspect of his life, diet, or habits. NOTE: Persons using non-prescription drugs are asked to refrain from such use for 15 days before instruction in the TM technique. This requirement developed out of experience in the mid-1960's and is purely a physiological one that has been found to improve clarity of the initial experience. On the basis of the evident seriousness, reliability, and success of the teaching procedure, the network of teachers and the number of people practicing the TM technique grew rapidly. As of the end of 1975, over 10,000 teachers from almost every nation had been trained, and they in turn had instructed over one million individuals in the practice of the TM technique. Over 400 centers have been established in the United States alone for the purpose of teaching the TM program. The course in the Transcendental Meditation technique, as these teachers are trained to give it, is remarkably systematic, precise, and uniform. Indeed, it may well be the most uniform single piece of education ever offered to the world's public; the TM technique is taught in exactly the same way from Ghana to California. This is possible because no particular educational background - not even literacy - is required or assumed for an individual to be successfully instructed. The ability to think a thought, and therefore to make novel use of the mechanics of the thinking process, is a universal one, and the language and approach used by the teachers of the TM program reflect this simplicity and universality. Transcendental Meditation Program and Scientific Research Obviously, the Transcendental Meditation technique, taught as a simple practice, unobscured by religious overtones or requirements of metaphysical belief, which promised great benefits, and which had been uniformly learned by thousands of subjects, provided an open invitation and an ideal opportunity for scientific research. Indeed, from the early days of his teaching activity Maharishi himself had encouraged and invited scientists to become interested in investigating the program, feeling that objective validation was the necessary and appropriate basis for public acceptance. Obviously, the greatest encouragement to scientific research was the fact that Maharishi put forward the TM technique in such a systematic and standardized from, simply as a new area of education. However, it was only in 1968 that R. K. Wallace, then a graduate student in the Department of Physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, made the first serious investigations of the physiological effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique in individuals practicing the technique regularly, leading to a Ph.D. thesis entitled The Physiological Effects of Transcendental Meditation: A Proposed Fourth Major State of Consciousness (1970). In this and later studies, he and his collaborators found definite effects in terms of reduced metabolic rate, changes in blood chemistry, increased skin resistance, and a consistent pattern of changes in the electrical activity of the brain as recorded by the EEG. These results, reported in Science, and the American Journal of Physiology, and later popularized in Scientific American, attracted widespread scientific attention and were followed by an increasing volume of work from other laboratories. The present volume contains the greatest part of this work completed before 1975. It is significant to note that even in the first published reports of Wallace et al., the interpretation placed on the phenomenology of the state produced by the TM technique as a 'fourth major state of consciousness' tended to verify the theoretical concepts put forward by Maharishi. Specifically, early research bore out Maharishi's point that the state induced by the Transcendental Meditation technique was not to be thought of as some sort of exotic distortion impressed on the nervous system from outside, but rather should be considered as a new, yet entirely natural, state of consciousness comparable to, but perhaps actually more fundamental than, waking, dreaming, or deep sleep. To summarize, then, Maharishi rediscovered the simplicity, effectiveness, and naturalness that in fact characterized the reality of the most ancient meaning of the term 'meditation'. He then introduced it to the public - an unprecedented step - in just such a way that a modern objective and technically oriented world could easily accept it, uniformly and precisely taught by reliable, mature teachers and able to be added to any way of life. All of these facts taken together have allowed physiologists and psychologists to regard the TM technique simply as a scientific discovery, and it is clearly a major one whose ramifications and depths have hardly begun to be explored. (to be continued) James Cook Internet: jcook@netcom.com San Francisco Bay, Calififornia Compuserve: 76520,2727

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