Enlightenment Radio Program

Program 79-1 - Transcendental Meditation (1)

The following is a transcript of the first of five radio programs I produced in late 1979 at the University of Maryland radio station, WMUC. -- Mike Doughney <mike@minet.org>

Radio program Copyright © 1979, Michael T. Doughney. Transcript Copyright © 1994, Michael T. Doughney. All rights reserved. Permission for unmodified electronic redistribution granted provided this header is included.


[MD] Mike Doughney, interviewer/producer
[AC] Andrew Coile, interviewer
[SD] Stephen Druker

[MD] This is the Enlightenment Radio Program, a weekly in-depth look at the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs.

Our guest for today is Dr. Stephen Druker. Dr. Druker is Director of the Institute for Law, Consciousness and the Science of Creative Intelligence in Washington, DC, part of Maharishi International University. Today's program focuses on the Transcendental Meditation technique, as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

[AC] Professor Druker, what exactly is the Transcendental Meditation technique?

[SD] The Transcendental Meditation technique is a simple, natural mental procedure by which the mind spontaneously experiences finer and finer levels of the thinking process until the finest level of the thought process is experienced and then transcended, and at that point, awareness has become so refined, that it can actually experience awareness itself - the very structure of awareness, without any thought object. And so as one transcends the finest mental experience, one then is, awareness is fully awake, fully enlivened, and unbounded, and one experiences a field of pure unbounded awareness.

As I mentioned the technique is natural, it proceeds by the mind's own tendency to move toward increasing levels of charm, which correlate with increasing levels of coherence and harmony and orderliness, and this state of pure awareness at the source of thought is experienced as a state of optimum charm, and optimum coherence and harmony, and that's why the mind just naturally gravitates in that direction when it is given a chance.

So it doesn't involve concentration, or contemplation, there's no effort involved in the technique, and it proceeds by use of a thought, called a mantra, a specific sound that has no meaning, that the meditator, each meditator receives a mantra that, ah, is suited to his or her nervous system, and then is taught how to use it, in a very innocent way, and really it's just the natural tendency of the mind that takes over during the process.

[AC] How do you determine what mantra is suitable for a particular person?

[SD] The determination comes from an ancient tradition, and the knowledge of how to determine a mantra is passed down from teacher to student, and so teachers of Transcendental Meditation are given certain criteria by which the mantra is selected, and, uh, those criteria are, are known to the teachers but, um, um, would lead to confusion if they were talked about generally, so, they aren't talked about generally.

[AC] What are the benefits of TM?

Well the benefits of TM are, actually, on every level of life. As I mentioned, as, in the process, the mind experences increasingly orderly levels of the thinking process, until the most orderly level, that level of pure awareness, unbounded consciousness, is experienced. Now we know that there's a very intimate relationship between the mind and the body, and therefore, as the mind is experiencing finer and finer and more orderly levels of thinking, the body itself, the neurophysiology and the physiology in general, is becoming more refined and more coherent in functioning, in fact if it weren't it couldn't support that kind of refined, expanded mental experience. And so, what happens is, that as the mind attains this beautiful subjective state, the physiology is attaining a very harmonious balanced state, and it's also a very restful state. The, ah, when the mind comes to this state of perfect rest, during transcendental consciousness, the body comes to a very deep state of rest and relaxation, and therefore, deep stress and fatigue within the body and the nervous system are spontaneously dissolved, and we find that, ah, the more one meditates, the stronger and more successful and more enjoyable his or her waking activity becomes. In fact, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who is the, ah, developer of the Transcendental Meditation program, says that meditation is for the sake of activity. Even though it's very enjoyable, we meditate so that all activity in life becomes better.

[MD] Dr. Druker explained what it feels like to practice TM.

[SD] One would experience, uh, thought, going through progressive stages of refinement, and as, the thought actually would become more refined, we would say more abstract, finer structure, less boundaries, corresponding with increasing charm and an increasing feeling of peace and fullness. As one transcends the finest thought, one's awareness has fully expanded and one would actually feel as if one is in an unbounded ocean of pure awareness. We often use the term "inner wakefulness." It's like being fully awake for the first time in one's life the first time one has this experience, fully awake, and the experience is also one of bliss, so in fact we often use the term "bliss consciousness" synonymously with "pure awareness." So deep peace, deep relaxation, an unbounded feeling of full freedom. That's the subjective experience.

On the objective side, the body, and we know this from hundreds of tests on the physiology, the physiological correlates of meditation, the body, as I mentioned, is becoming very rested, and very coherent, too, so we have deep rest combined with a high degree of coherence. We don't find such a rest in sleep. The rest in deep sleep is a shallower level of rest and it's less coherent rest. Therefore the electro, the EEG reading, the brain wave configurations of people that are meditating show very high degrees of coherence among different parts of the brain. During sleep we find very little coherence between different parts of the brain. We also find a very relaxed state of functioning, lactate level in the blood, cortisol level in the blood, all of the other measurable indicates, measurable correlates of stress decrease, and all of the correlates that again are associated with relaxation and harmonious function increase.

And these benefits, by the way, are cumulative. Not only does the body become very relaxed during the practice, but as one practices the technique regularly it is found that when one is not meditating one's body is showing itself to be operating in a much more coherent, harmonious and relaxed state, and also, one's brain waves become more coherent even outside the practice.

This is actually the growth toward enlightenment - being able to maintain a very coherent style of functioning, deeply relaxed, restful, coherent style of functioning as one is engaged in dynamic activity. And in fact, I might mention that the state of enlightenment subjectively is experienced as a maintenace of this pure, unbounded awareness along with all other levels of thinking.

So it's inner silence, along with outer activity. This is the state of enlightenment.

[AC] So you're saying that the increased level of awareness, and consciousness, that occurs during meditation in fact sort of branches out over the states between the actual meditation periods to make a person's entire day more fulfilling.

[SD] Right. Not only the entire day but the entire night, because there comes a point when a sufficient amount of stress is dissolved from the nervous system that even when the body goes into that state of lethargic kind of rest, which we associate with deep sleep, which ordinarily, when there's stress in the system, cannot support consciousness of any kind, we know in deep sleep we have a blackout, no consciousness, for a person who is growing into enlightenment, and relieving the stress in their system, even when the body goes asleep the mind can remain awake, and so one has pure unbounded awareness even while the body is sleeping. So enlightened individuals never fall asleep mentally. Physically they sleep but the mind has that unbroken continuum of pure awareness 24 hours a day every day of one's life.

[AC] The usual figure given for the efficiency of the human brain is around 5 to 15 percent. Does TM then help tap this unused 85 percent of the brain to expand the mind's potential?

[SD] Right. That's where the, that's that unused potential, that vast amount of unused potential that is waiting to be tapped. When one learns the mechanics of consciousness, and can employ the TM technique, that technology for increasing intelligence in life, then that unused potential, very naturally becomes used, and that's why people can move into these new states of life, called enlightenment, which really, are the normal states of human life. The normal state of life is to function without stress in unbounded intelligence.

[MD] The Transcendental Meditation technique is learned in seven steps. There are two introductory and preparatory lectures, and a short personal interview. Then there are four consecutive days of instruction for two hours each day. The first days' instruction is a private session, the following three are group sessions. For this program a course fee is charged. Dr. Druker discusses the course fee.

[AC] The TM movement claims that their technique will be a benefit to mankind and will improve the human condition. Why, then, are they selling it for what some consider an exhorbitant price? Surely $150 is a lot of money to college students.

[SD] Um, one hundred fifty dollars could be a lot of money to a college student. Exhorbitance, um, suprises me that one would think of using that term because the value of something is always in relationship to what the benefits are. If we were to try to put, if we were trying to put a valid price, an accurate price on the TM program, then it would be the highest priced service that there is, and only the very very rich could afford it. Because just the experience of unbounded bliss consciousness once is priceless. To have that experience regularly twice a day and to be able to grow into enlightenment, to be able to have all of better health and better mental functioning, that's priceless. Students pay $150, more than $150 to take a speed reading course , pay almost that much or that much for a suit of clothes which is subject to moths and can wear out very quickly, so meditation - If people - Those that understand what meditation is think nothing about that price, and the reason, by the way, that the organization does charge for Transcendental Meditation is because, even though it's a nonprofit organization it has expenses. It has centers in every city around the country so that TM can be taught, uh, it has to pay for publicity, it has to pay some support for its full-time teachers, and therefore, we always say the people that pay to start TM are actually paying for the next people to hear about it and be able to come somewhere and have rent paid on a building so they can come to learn just as the people that started before them have paid for their opportunity to be able to hear about the program. So we actually, uh, feel that's the correct way in viewing the situation.

[AC] Well if the technique is priceless, why not teach people the technique and then give them the opportunity to pay the movement what they feel it's worth, what benefits they feel they've gotten from it.

[SD] That would be one way of approaching it, it just hasn't been a way that we've uh, we've done. However many people do donate to the organization very freely after they've learned the technique because they are so impressed with the benefits and want to make sure that this proceeds. And many large businesses in the United States as well as small businesses actually pay their employees, help their employees cover all or part of the cost of learning the technique. We're hoping that governments in this country and around the world will themselves recognize the benefit to society and will actually help support the program because this is really how things can get done in a big way. As we said, the government of Norway is supporting it in many ways, many of the Norwegian military can take the program if they want. There are many other governments that are actually supporting it for employees and military in a big way. We're hoping that as we spread the knowledge and the scientific evidence then there will be more support on all levels of society.

[AC] But in the meantime, there will continue to be a charge to be initiated into the TM program?

[SD] Yes. Yes. And we've also found that if people really understand what TM is and really want it, then it's very easy to come up with the price that we charge. If they don't really understand it, then they might think it's a high price. But when you consider what people spend money on, then if they really understand what TM is, it's easy to set aside that money to afford it. And also I might add that in every country of the world, the price, the basic price structure of TM is geared to the general average income. So in India and underdeveloped countries, there's a much lower fee because it's geared again to the economic situation in that country.

[MD] Dr. Druker avoids making direct comparisons between TM and other techniques.

[SD] Unless we really were able to compare all of the benefits then we really couldn't compare programs. So all that we do in TM is, we know what we have works very well. It's been proven within the lives of individuals and over 250 objective scientific experiments conducted at over 100 different independent research laboratories and universities around the world have confirmed that meditation produces a whole spectrum of benefits on every level of life.

So what we do is we teach this program and bring on good to the human race, and anybody else that wants to help create a better situation in human life, we say we're all for those people, we support them.

[MD] This program is produced by WMUC Radio at the University of Maryland, College Park, in conjunction with the Institute for Law, Consciousness and S C I of Washington DC and the University of Maryland SIMS club. Enlightenment Radio is produced by Mike Doughney. Dr. Druker was interviewed by Andrew Coile. For more information on the TM program, look in the White Pages under Transcendental Meditation. This is Mike Doughney for Enlightenment Radio, presented as a public service each week by this station.

Radio program Copyright © 1979, Michael T. Doughney. Transcript Copyright © 1994, Michael T. Doughney. All rights reserved. Permission for unmodified electronic redistribution granted provided this header is included.

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