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] 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. This week, Dr. Druker continues a discussion of the effects and benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program, as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
[MD] The Transcendental Meditation technique is a simple, natural mental technique. Unlike concentration or contemplation, the TM technique is effortless and is easily learned by anyone. Reduced stress and anxiety and increased intelligence are some of the scientifically verified benefits of regular practice of the technique. Dr. Druker outlines some of the research into the physiological effects of TM.
[SD] We've had electrodes attached to the skulls of people meditating to measure their EEG. We've taken not only the veinous blood but actually the arterial blood, sampled that during meditation, which is a rather difficult procedure but we wanted to learn what was going on in the blood on both levels, arteries, veins, heart rate, oxygen consumption. And I can give you a brief summary of what we've learned physiologically. Generally I would say in layman's terms the body attains a very deep level of rest and relaxation that one does experience as being more refreshing than the rest attained during sleep. And one also feels a very great level of balance and harmony throughout the physical system. Now that subjective experience is borne out by the objective evidence. As far as brain wave, we find a very high level of coherence in the EEG of people while they're practicing the technique. Across all frequency bands and between both hemispheres of the brain and between front and back. In fact the level of coherence that doesn't occur, is not found to occur at any other time in any other given situation. So this again shows great coherence and harmony. On the level of oxygen consumption we find a much greater decrease in oxygen consumption than is attained during sleep, in fact during sleep the average oxygen, drop in oxygen consumption is 8 percent, for people who have been meditating for a number of years it drops 40 to 50 percent during 20 minutes instead of during an entire night, but there's no compensatory breathing which indicates the body is not being deprived of anything it needs it's just so relaxed it doesn't need to burn very much fuel.
We find that cardiac output and workload of the heart decreases by a very significant percentage, and yet blood flow to the brain and blood flow to the hands and feet increases. Again this can be explained by saying the heart is working much less, it is being able to rest, yet because the body's so relaxed all of the muscles are relaxed and therefore there's very little friction to the flow of blood through the veins, so there's better circulation even though the heart doesn't have to work it can actually take a vacation.
All of the correlates of stress in the body are seen to reduce, such as blood lactate level, the galvanic skin response which is a measure of anxiety decreases, generally I could go through hundreds, actually, of other parameters on the physiology that show rest and relaxation growing and anxiety reducing.
So that's really what happens physically when someone meditates.
[MD] Dr. Druker highlights some of the latest research that indicates that TM has an effect on the aging process.
[SD] One meditates, one begins to feel younger and lighter, and actually scientific studies have very recently and quite dramatically shown that one in fact is not deluded, one is becoming younger. A physiologist has just recently finished a study in which people between 50 and 60 years old were tested, and the test was to compare their chronological age with their biological age, their physiological age, and biological age was determined by using standard parameters set by the United States national health survey, one of them is vital capacity, another is auditory threshold. There are a few other standard criteria of determining biological age. And it was very interesting. Individuals who had been meditating between 1 and 5 years showed on the average that they were seven years younger biologically than they were chronologically. Individuals who had been meditating over 5 years showed on the average 15 years difference between biological age and chronological age. And in fact a few of these meditators who were around 60 years old were 30 years younger biologically than chronologically. So the implication is that the longer one meditates the younger one becomes.
This is why we actually feel that we talk in terms now of immortality. If one can learn to function from that level of least excitation for a long enough period the possibility of immortality should be there. But certainly we know that one can become quite young through meditating.
[MD] The practice of Transcendental Meditation has occasionally been called a 'cult'. I questioned Dr. Druker on the TM movement's reaction to being labeled a cult.
[SD] We don't pay much attention to what people say about us because we know what we are, and we know that any organzation that becomes very successful and has a great influence in society will be seen in many ways by different people. But the way that the term 'cult' is generally used is completely inappropriate to be used for the Transcendental Meditation organization, for TM as a technique, or for any meditator. Because a cult always implies certain people that are really held together by sharing certain beliefs and certain lifestyles, they all move in one direction, and Transcendental Meditation, even the technique itself doesn't involve belief. The mantra is a meaningless sound, in fact we're often fond of saying one doesn't even have to believe that meditation will work to gain the benefits. And in fact every teacher of TM has the experience of teaching people who say "I'm never good at anything, nothing works for me, I'm sure this won't work" and they continue to think it won't work even while they begin it and they find it works. So it doesn't operate on the level of belief at all. So if the technique itself doesn't even utilize belief, then obviously nothing else connected with it does. And in fact Maharishi, the simple formula that Maharishi has brought out is, meditate and then engage in whatever activity you like. Just meditate and act, and when people ask for specific guidelines, it's do what you like, do what feels good for you. And so there are no ways of life, no codes of behavior or codes of dress. People that ask very deep questions about how to act in this way of life or that are always referred by teachers of TM to their own religious leaders, to their own cultural tradition, to their family. And so, it isn't a cult because there are none of the aspects of what are generally referred to as cults exist in TM.
People of every religion, every walk of life, every age group, in every country of the world practice TM regularly. And again, it is conducive to every kind of lifestyle and every religious belief because it itself isn't a belief, it's a mechanical technique to allow every aspect of activity to be lived in greater fullness.
[MD] TM has also been attacked by some religious groups that charge that the practice of TM is a religious pagan practice and that the mantras used are prayers to pagan gods. Dr. Druker discusses TM and religion.
[SD] In one sense TM does has a lot to do with religion, just as it has a lot to do with getting better sleep and better health, ability, better athletic ability, because TM allows every aspect of life to be lived at fuller levels and in more enjoyable levels and therefore it is often the case that meditators find their own religious life becoming deeper and more meaningful and often gain a new interest in their religious life. But it's not because TM is a religion, TM isn't a set of beliefs, it's a technique. People often feel more closer, closer to the universe and often like to respond in some way and usually their own religious tradition is a way that they find a very meaningful way to respond in. So there are rabbis, Catholic priests, ministers of every Protestant denomination, that are very enthusiastic meditators and recommend it to their parishoners. But when they start to recommend TM it's not that they're all of a sudden teaching a new religion, they're just recommending something very good.
Now, the mantras are meaningless sounds, and they have no meaning level. And in fact Berlitz, of the Berlitz language school was asked to do a study to find out whether the mantras did have any meaning and whether they could correlate to any names of deities in any culture, and he couldn't find either in Sanskrit or any of the Hindi dialects or any of the languages in Southeast Asia any meanings for any of the mantras except I think one which had some meaning about some kind of dried toast or something. Which obviously it wasn't and again, there is no meaning to these sounds. They have meaning in terms of their effect. They create good results. So people always will, um, people are free to believe whatever they want to believe, but it's just whether they want to believe what is true.
[MD] The Transcendental Meditation movement, or World Government, is a worldwide organization. Dr. Druker describes the movement and its founder.
[AC] Who founded, and who is presently leading, the TM movement?
[SD] The Transcendental Meditation technique was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and he is the authority on Transcendental Meditation and its practice, and is the single individual who has trained the almost 10,000 teachers of the Transcendental Meditation program that are now throughout the world. So he's been teaching the technique since 1958 on every continent and every major country of the world. He spends most of his time these days at the international headquarters, the International Capital of the Age of Enlightenment in Seelisburg Switzerland hosting many symposia where physicists will discuss physics and consciousness, or then lawyers and judges will discuss law and justice and consciousness, or educators will gather and discuss education and consciousness. And he's really developing the science of consciousness as the basic science that actually can help us understand more about every other field of knowledge.
[AC] How many people are involved in the TM movement worldwide?
[SD] There are almost 2 million people who are practicing the Transcendental Meditation program worldwide, and we refer to them as citizens of the Age of Enlightenment because we feel it is their brainwave coherence that is bringing on this new Age of Enlightenment, and they are the first citizens of the Age of Enlightenment.
[AC] You're a professor of Law and Government, and being based in Washington gives rise to the question of does the TM movement lobby or have any political aims whatsoever?
[SD] Well, we do not lobby in the traditional sense of the word, but certainly there are many many groups and people both within the government and the private sector that are interested in learning more about the technique and we speak with them, and of course there are many people within government that do meditate for their own benefit. We certainly have political interests, and that is that we want to see an Age of Enlightenment, which means there will be a complete regeneration and really rebirth, newbirth of human potential. And we know that all governments will be more successful and we want to see all governments be able to be much more successful. But we feel that we don't act on the ordinary, the commonplace political level, because that's a rather gross level of functioning. We act on the level of consciousness, and we feel that consciousness is the ground state of all the laws of nature, that when you can create coherence within consciousness you do create coherence within the rest of society and really nature in general, and the whole life of society becomes better. And the government, according to Maharishi's theory of government, is just an innocent reflector of the consciousness of the people. So the government can only be and do what the general level of the consciousness of the people will allow it to be and do, and therefore the formula is to improve government, we improve the general consciousness of the people, government will automatically reflect a higher level of consciousness, and can be more successful. So we say every individual who is practicing, who is an expert in the TM-Sidhi program, is actually a governor of the Age of Enligtenment, they are governing society from that most profound level, and through their own innocent transcending, through their own gaining enlightenment for themselves they are actually helping everybody else gain an Age of Enlightenment and making all the functions of government more successful. So this is our view of government and this is our program for government, create coherence in consciousness.
[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 in part 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.
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