Did the drop in cortisol result from the meditation, or from several days resting on the retreat? You'd need a controlled study looking at cortisol before meditation, during and after, and to consider the subjects' baseline cortisol. All of this has been done with TM, found to reduce cortisol markedly—not just on retreats.
“That's why most research focuses on programs with a consistent curriculum, e.g. MBCT or MBSR. The studies examine the effects of a specific group of exercises.”
jes4spam on Apr 10, 2013 at 13:35:28
“Interesting. This is the 2nd comment on this thread advertising the effectiveness of one technique versus the others. I wonder what the motivation behind them could be, as well as why should we be trying to "transcend" anything, as any striving would tend to create not only movement in the mind, but also expectation, which eventually leads to disappointment and suffering. I'm not a Buddhist, but Buddhist theory seems sound, and it's very clear on this point. Of course, upon visiting their website, there's a fee associated with learning TM. What a surprise.”
bullwinkle88 on Apr 8, 2013 at 12:24:18
“Actually the purest form of mindfulness is Vipassana meditation, which I teach along with many other techniques.
TM is based on mantra, which is a focus upon the energy of sound. TM uses a specific sound for each individual, where chanting can be used to bring different sounds (energies) into play which affect different aspects of one's life.
Guided meditation also can be considered mindfulness in a different way.
In all of these cases mindfulness can be defined as focused concentration upon a sound, an image, or in the case of Vipassana, upon oneself.”
“I think the article suggests that the experience of transcendence is truly the third metric because, when transcendence is lived in daily life, it spontaneously results in the other two—happiness and good health.”
“Powerful video! Transcendental Meditation is indeed the third metric -- baby ya got to transcend!”
Annie Skipper on Jun 11, 2013 at 18:23:07
“Ditto! I've often wondered why more people don't do this. I've found TM to be the most useful tool for staying focused and energized throughout the day, and for connecting with and nurturing the deepest aspect of myself. It's exciting to see the "lean back" side of the equation becoming a part of the conversation. It's so much easier to be fully engaged in dynamic activity by staying rested and centered.”
Jun 5, 2013 at 07:01:25
“michael, could you site a reference for the "deeper than sleep" finding?”
Michael Yankaus on Jun 6, 2013 at 02:34:13
“Reference: Wallace, R.K., and H. Benson, "The Physiology of (Transcendental) Meditation," Scientific American, Volume 226, No. 2 pp. 84-90, February, 1972, USA.
During TM practice oxygen consumption and metabolic rate markedly decrease, indicating a state of uniquely deep metabolic rest. Further the study reports that the partial pressures of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide in the blood remain essentially constant. Thus the decrease in total oxygen consumption during TM is not caused by manipulation in breathing pattern or forced deprivation of oxygen, but is a natural physiological change due to a lowered requirement for oxygen by the cells during this effortless practice.
Our TM Center in Palo Alto California routinely instructs people with cardiovascular health issues, who are referred to us by the cardiovascular clinic of Dr. Cesar Molina, and from the South Asian Heart Center, affiliated with El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, where TM is one of three core programs recommended to all participants to promote heart health.
Dr. Molina has found that getting his patients to learn TM is one of the best ways to help them lower blood pressure, prevent cardiovascular disease, and/or avoid having another heart attack.”
Saijanai on Jun 5, 2013 at 08:38:14
TM theory considers such periods of "pure consciousness" to be the deepest level of rest for the nervous system with respect to stress repair and meta-analysis of TM's effects on trait anxiety compared to other forms of meditation suggest that TM practice is twice as effective as relieving these symptoms as other forms of meditation.
Likewise, extremely preliminary research on TM and PTSD suggests that TM is far more effective in relieving/alleviating PTSD symptoms than mindfulness or regular mantra meditation (e.g. Relaxation Response, etc), with 50-70% reduction of symptoms in as little as one month of practice:
Short answer: it is an oversimplification to say that TM has a certain effect, because it is impossible, due to the effortless nature of TM, to predict what effect will be found at any given moment during any given period of TM. But, in general, the trend is for TM to be far more effective in repairing stress than other forms of meditation. And of course, the very nature of pure consciousness, physiologically speaking, starts to show up as a trait outside of TM, which implies that long-term TM practice helps prevent damage from new stresses as well.
See this preliminary research on the first stage of enlightenment, for more info on what really long-term TM practice evolves towards:
"michael, could you site a reference for the "deeper than sleep" finding?"
"deeper than sleep" is a very loose term.
"often different than sleep" is more accurate.
TM is a process that lets the mind settle down to the most appropriate level of rest *at that moment*. That MIGHT involve falling asleep, or it might involve varying degrees of wakeful alertness ranging from highly alert wakefulness, all the way to a period of apparently complete mental quiescence where the brain is still operating in an alert mode , but no thoughts, emotions or other mentations are occurring and there is no awareness of any sensory perception, even though the brain still shows signs of alertness.
At the very deepest point of TM, some subjects even show apparent breath suspension for up to one minute or so, while simultaneously showing extremely high levels of alpha EEG coherence throughout the entire brain. Alpha EEG coherence of this type is typically associated with mind wandering,, and in fact, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi describes TM as the process of allowing the mind to wander inward towards a level of least excitation.
Jun 3, 2013 at 14:13:32
“I love my TM practice! So glad to see such a conservative organization as the American Heart Association recognizing the power of Transcendental Meditation and distinguishing between TM and other meditation practices ——— supercool! Nicely written article.”
“There was essential no incident with Mia Farrow. Read her book. Read Paul's book and Ringo's. The rumors about Maharishi were all false, according to everyone who was there -- except "Magic Alex," who started the rumors. It is completely false that any such incidents ever happened with Maharishi. None of the people who were known to be around Maharishi during the 50 plus years that he was training meditation teachers and running the TM foundation ever made such accusations. Such assertions came only from a few people who didn't know him (such as the person commenting above) and were prone to spread gossip. Absolutely no proof of any such behavior. Again I recommend this article: http://meditationasheville.blogspot.com/2010/12/maharishi-and-beatles-what-really.html
“Even many diehard Beatle fans don't know the true story about the Beatles' experience in India or their involvement with meditation.
George Harrison practiced Maharishi's meditation (TM) till the end, and also performed a benefit for TM in the 1990s.
Paul and Ringo also kept meditating. Paul brought his daughter to visit Maharishi many years after India. In 2009 at Radio City Music Hall, Paul and Ringo performed a benefit concert to raise money to teach TM to 1 million school kids--along with several other meditating musicians.
For a while, John Lennon believed rumors circulating in Maharishi's ashram, fabricated by a Beatles hanger-on who was admittedly jealous of Maharishi ("Magic Alex"), but even John changed his tune after a few years and phoned Maharishi to apologize for the disgruntled departure and unkind words.
tammsie; here are accounts from people who knew The Beatles intimately. Peter Brown (who was named in one of Lennon's songs wrote a very good book about The Beatles from the inside and Bill Harry was the man that got them started back in Liverpool by sending them to Hamburg to learn their craft. The Beatles may have embraced TM, but they certainly didn't embrace the Maharishi who as I said in my earlier post, was just another religious grifter who stayed in the poshest hotels and had Swiss bank accounts and extracted money from the wealthy.”
“Yes, John had issues at the time, famously, and not just with Maharishi. But in my opinion the only tangential thing the author left out in this story (wisely) was that John's disillusionment (in himself?) was based on false rumors hardly worth mentioning. John said a lot of things during the course of his career, and the final years showed an evolution and a softening. You can't take one or two lines from an early period as representational of his life's realizations. In Mind Games, a later album than the one containing the song you quoted, he exhorts: "Chanting the mantra, for peace on earth."
As far as TM not being able to cool him, I think TM did cool and sooth him profoundly—during those months that he was actually practicing it regularly. There are other elements to the story, such as, Lennon's drug use (even while at the ashram, according to some). See the above link I offer as relevant reading.”