terça-feira, maio 03, 2005

The Guardian
London, UK
Monday May 2, 2005

Meditation 'leads to longer life'
David Adam, science correspondent

The Beatles were right: researchers have found that hanging out with the Maharishi may make you live longer.
A new study shows that transcendental meditation, a relaxation technique developed by the Indian guru and made famous when the fab four dabbled with it in the late 60s, can reduce death rates by nearly a quarter.
Robert Schneider, who led the research, said: "The study found that in older people with mild high blood pressure, those practising transcend-dental meditation had a 23% lower risk of death from all causes."
The study was funded by the US government and the results appear in the American Journal of Cardiology. The study pooled the findings of two previous trials that followed 202 elderly people in the US over 18 years. Some practised transcendental medita-tion, while others tried different techni-ques, such as progressive muscle relax-ation.
The transcendental meditation group had 30% fewer deaths from heart disease and 49% fewer from cancer.
"Although the sample [size] was relatively modest, these preliminary results suggest that an effective stress reducing intervention may decrease mortality," researchers said.
Previous research has found that transcendental meditation can lower stress hormone levels and blood pressure. "This study builds on that and shows the final outcome of these physiological and psychological changes is a longer life span," said Dr Schneider, who heads the centre of natural medicine and prevention at the Maharishi University of Management in Iowa.
© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005

quinta-feira, novembro 18, 2004

Meditate or Medicate?
Teens and Hypertension
By Dolores Wood

When Peggy Therieault saw the list of students, she wavered. As chair of the Life Sciences Department, she was fascinated by Dr. Vernon Barnes’ study on how meditation would affect teens with elevated blood pressure. As a biology instructor, she saw the teaching possibilities and was eager to supervise a clinical research project.

But now, looking at the list of subjects Dr. Barnes handed her, Therieault shook her head. These were not the most self-disciplined kids in the school, not the highest academic achievers or the standout sports competitors. They were not student government leaders or high school club organizers. Dr. Barnes had selected them because they were

pre-hypertensive. With higher-than-normal blood pressure, all were well on their way to full-blown hypertension.

Teens with overstressed arteries make sound subjects for high blood pressure research, but how would that work in the classroom, Therieault wondered. How on earth was she going to get these 20 students to meditate for 15 minutes a day, twice a day? How would she even get them to sit still?

“Are you sure you want to go through with this?” she asked Dr. Barnes. “I know these kids. We may be in for trouble.”

“Let’s just wait and see,” Dr. Barnes replied.

Chilling Out

Peggy Therieault’s Life Sciences room at Butler High School in Augusta, Georgia, is an active place. The bulletin boards teem with collages of living organisms. The shelves boast a myriad of rocks, bones, beakers, and lab equipment. Two skeletons grin from their metal stands at the back of the room. A pair of zebra finches chirps from a cage atop the file cabinet, while fish and turtles splash in the aquariums. Yet during the meditation research project this hub of activity fell quiet every morning when Therieault turned off the lights. Only

the dust stirred in the dim morning rays.

Looking from student to student on just such a day, Therieault had to smile. Who would have thought that lively list of teens would respond so quickly to the silence? Observing their closed eyes and their deep, measured breathing, her concerns were banished. The students had listened attentively when Dr. Barnes introduced them to Transcendental Meditation. Then when a trained TM instructor selected a Vedic mantra for each teenager, they carefully learned the mantra’s intonation and how to reflect on it silently in the mind. They meditated regularly, once in the morning at school for 15 to 20 minutes and a second time later at home for 15 minutes.

“They were surprisingly settled for teens,” Therieault said. Not that no one ever broke the silence; just that interruption was strikingly rare. The class was the most efficient and the easiest homeroom class she’d ever had in her 32 years of teaching.

“There were a couple of kids who found meditation boring, but most of them went into it comfortably and willingly. This was not drudgery to them, so apparently they were seeing some benefits to it; otherwise—you know teenagers—they would not have cooperated,” she said.

Admittedly, the cooperation may have had something to do with the $50 stipend each student was given during the research. Yet the money also went to the control group whose blood pressure remained elevated despite diet and exercise classes. And the stipend doesn’t explain why the teenagers continued to practice meditation when no one was watching and no money was involved.

Personal experience speaks louder than theory, and the clinical trial was an ideal illustration for the classroom. The students learned to measure their blood pressure and weight frequently during the research and then to evaluate their health based on the results.

“I was excited,” Therieault said. “I teach anatomy and physiology, and this research project put into practical use the things we were already reading about. This was a demonstration for them. They are beginning to realize they’re not going to last forever, that they need to take better care of themselves. In fact, I suggested to Dr. Barnes more than once that it was not just teenagers who need this.”

Indeed, the participants themselves spoke of unexpected benefits. Julius Young, 17 at the time, knew a change had come over him when friends started asking if he was all right. “I had a really bad temper,” he said. “But I learned that with meditation my temper could be drastically reduced. Some of my friends noticed. They asked, ‘Are you okay? You usually get mad a lot.’”

In the two years that have elapsed since the clinical trial, Young has graduated from high school and now works for the Augusta Recreation Department, where he supervises children. He finds that meditating a couple of times a week makes his job easier. “I still meditate,” he said. “I work with kids. It can be very stressful at the recreation center with all the interactions. But at my job, I’m calm.”

Johnny Beard, now 19 years old, at first felt the opportunity to be involved in the study was nothing more than a chance to make a few bucks and to coast through class. “I thought, ‘Okay, let’s go! An easy class, and I get money,’ but meditation turned out to be useful,” he said. “It calmed me down, kept me out of trouble. I was really hyper. I used to walk all over the classroom talking to people. It got me in a lot of trouble. Meditation helped me to chill.”

The meditation research also had some important spin-off benefits, Barnes said. A brief side study conducted on the first 40 students showed behavior improvement. Meditation reduced absenteeism, rule violations, and suspensions during the four-month segment of the clinical trial in which these factors were monitored. The clinical trial also brought a number of anecdotal benefits—many teens reported increased concentration in class, higher grades, better sports performances, and less anger.

Participating in the research slowly brought meditation into the students’ worldview, said Therieault. The practice became a tool they used for addressing daily challenges. “In the future, when they are up against various life issues in terms of stress,” she said, “I think they are going to resort to meditation as a means of coping.”

Drugged For Life?

The number of physical and emotional stresses that affect young people has grown in recent years to include a whole catalog of modern ailments, such as attention deficit disorder, eating disorders, anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder. At the same time, young people are developing a growing susceptibility to illnesses usually associated with adulthood, such as hypertension, depression, diabetes, and sleep disorders. And as the list of ailments lengthens, the search for cures, or at least for options to manage these diseases, widens as well.

One of the fastest growing markets for prescription drugs today is the youth market. Yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has admitted that up to 80 percent of the prescription drugs available in the U.S. has not been tested for use on children—even though the drugs are heavily prescribed for them. Health advocates are raising concerns about how adult medicines affect a growing child’s body and mind. Will these drugs impair physical development, damage a maturing intellect, or blunt an evolving awareness? The debate has led to lawsuits, federal regulatory hearings, and a host of scientific experiments.

Parents, the medical community, teachers, counselors, and government regulators are reexamining everything from the drugs prescribed to the basic attitudes behind the prescriptions. And some, like Dr. Barnes, a physiologist, and Dr. Frank Treiber, a clinical psychologist, both pediatric research scientists at the Medical College of Georgia, have found success with alternative and complementary medicine—practices that may either replace drugs or work in tandem with a prescription. Their Augusta research may offer an important model for treating illness in young people, and it may provide food for thought about the power of meditation in unexpected places—like a science classroom in a public school.

“We don’t really know what the long-term effects of taking medications an entire life span are going to be,” said Barnes. “We don’t know if it is safe for children, what the dosage should be, and which ones should be prescribed for which child.”

High blood pressure treatment for young people is further complicated because it sometimes combines with other ailments like attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, not to mention a sedentary lifestyle and diets heavy in food that is high in sodium and low in nutrients, he pointed out.

With all the dangers and unknowns, the team from the Prevention Institute of the Medical College of Georgia set out to forge a different response. Why not research natural alternatives like meditation? Why not take a scientific look at the body and mind’s innate powers to regulate its own blood pressure in young people? If meditation could reduce high blood pressure in teenagers, perhaps those at risk for hypertension could be helped before their hearts and circulatory systems suffered damage. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and an American Heart Association Scientist Development Grant funded their research.

The Augusta Experiment

The Medical College of Georgia research team tested 5,000 inner-city teenagers from five high schools in Augusta from 1999 through 2003 to come up with the best 156 subjects for the clinical trial on meditation. In each of the schools tested, Barnes, who was project manager and principal author of the study, introduced the students to Transcendental Meditation. “This method is effortless,” he said. “There is no concentration or straining. The mind goes to whatever is the most charming, the thing that interests you. The mind finds the mantra charming and is attracted to it. The mantra is then the vehicle which takes the mind inward to deeper levels where you transcend, go beyond, and reach a state of peace, free from activity.”

Research subjects in both the health education control group and the meditation test group were monitored for ambulatory blood pressure, which is the most accurate measure available because it tests the individual throughout the day, not just during an appearance in the doctor’s office. The monitors were affixed to the waist with a hose connected to a blood pressure cuff. The equipment was programmed to check blood pressure every 20 to 30 minutes over a 24-hour period to give a full measure of a typical day, logging the teens’ blood pressure through everything from an argument with their parents to deep sleep at night.

The students meditated once in the morning in class for 15 to 20 minutes and later at home on their own for a second 15 minutes. At nights and on weekends the young people were on a self-reporting system to continue the practice. An unusually high number of the students reported they kept up with their meditation schedule. “For a self-report monitoring, you don’t often get a 70 percent compliance rate outside the clinical supervision like we did in this case,” Dr. Barnes said. The validity of the self-reports was evident from the study results, he said.

For each four-month segment of the trial, the teens wore the blood pressure monitors for 24 hours at the beginning of the segment, at the two-month mark, at the end of the four-month period, and again as a follow-up session at the eight-month mark. The students were paid a $50 stipend every time they wore the cuff. Two different schools were tested each semester until the 156 sampling figure was reached.

In trial after trial, the four-year research project showed that young people who practiced meditation for 15 minutes twice a day over a four-month period experienced an average 3.5 point drop in blood pressure; this increased to an average of 4 points in the

follow-up at eight months. Meanwhile, there was no change in the high blood pressure of students in control groups who were given the standard NIH sessions in exercise and nutrition for the same period.

“A blood pressure drop of four points doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but it is clinically significant,” said Barnes. “A blood pressure drop of one to two points in an adolescent translates into a 10 percent decreased risk in developing hypertension as an adult.” The study, entitled “Impact of Transcendental Meditation on Ambulatory Blood Pressure in African-American Adolescents,” was published in the April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Hypertension. (Black students were chosen for the clinical trial because African-Americans have higher rates of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke.)

“This research is important, first off because it offers proof, empirical support, along with other research studies that meditation does help decrease blood pressure levels,” said Dr. Treiber, coauthor and principal investigator of the study.

Secondly, the Augusta research was one of the few studies in which the participants kept up the health-improvement practices after clinical research supervision was withdrawn, he said. “We did a follow-up four months later,” he reports, “and the kids were still meditating after we stopped the trial at school. Past the intervention, there was still a high level of adherence to meditation, and they still showed a decreased level of blood pressure. Other lifestyle intervention studies, like those with diet and exercise, have shown difficulty continuing past the time of the trial. I think they continued meditating because they enjoyed it and it was easy.”

Self-Help for Seventh Graders

The simplicity and success of the meditation program attracted interest from outside the research group even before the clinical trial was completed. Tutt Middle School’s science teacher, James Murzynowski, heard about the practice and thought it might be just the thing for a six-week unit in his seventh graders’ study of the heart.

In the summer of 2003 Murzynowski had joined the Guest Scholar Program at the Medical College of Georgia, a program designed to help science teachers absorb information from the field and apply that experience to the classroom. He was paired with a scientist of vascular biology. The lab work was about the effects of stress on the nephrons in the kidney system. Instead of trying to design a complicated project for seventh graders on nephrons, however, Murzynowski’s mentor suggested he work with Barnes and Treiber. “It was easier and more doable to take their work and devise a cardiac study that we could do in class,” Murzynowski said.

Barnes explained the meditation study to Murzynowski and helped him develop a meditation unit for his classes, which included a form of mindfulness meditation, lessons on the heart, how stress is involved in cardiovascular health, and the effects of exercise. A total of 105 students in Murzynowski’s four classes participated in the seventh grade Life Sciences meditation unit. During the class, they were taught to close their eyes, sit upright, put their hands on their abdomen, and remain aware of the rise and fall of their breath for 10 minutes. They practiced once during class and were asked to practice again when they got home.

“Picture this in the seventh grade world!” said Murzynowski. “I would turn the lights off. We would start in one or two minutes, have eight to ten minutes of meditation, then they would open their eyes. Everybody was quiet. It was easier to start class. Meditation cut down on a lot of problems. Everybody was focused, starting at the same point.”

As part of the project, students measured their own blood pressure before and after meditation, put the results on the board and compared the mean average. “There was a big difference before meditation and after,” Murzynowski said. “I showed them that they reported a better breathing rate after meditation, that it was lower. I showed them how they were slowing the body down a bit, giving it a chance to refresh.”

Murzynowski also used the study as a way to talk with his students about peer pressure and self-esteem, and how slowing down their reactions and having more control over their minds would help them. “I said the only way to avoid becoming a victim of peer pressure and bad feelings is a high sense of self-esteem, to be able to say no to things that will harm the body and mind,” he said.

Murzynowski was impressed with the depth of responses from his students. Many said meditation helped their concentration in other areas as well. Some found less friction in family relationships. Others reported being happier with themselves, he said. “These are things I didn’t mention to the kids. They wrote them down as some of the benefits of meditation. And, of course, breathing slower showed them right then and there that they could slow down their heart rate.”

Caitlin Collier, who had the highest blood pressure in her class, said she wasn’t expecting much out of meditation when Murzynowski introduced the unit. The 13-year-old said she didn’t know what to make of the idea—this being-aware-of-her-breath concept. It was uncomfortable to her at first, but soon she discovered a restfulness “like sleeping, but I wasn’t asleep,” she said. Then slowly, over the next six weeks, she found small gains in her ability to endure everyday frustrations. She and her stepsister and stepbrother had been quarreling quite a bit, she said, so she was happy when she started to find herself arguing less.

Collier had been troubled to find her blood pressure measured so high, but she was thrilled when that number dropped by the end of the six weeks. “My mom has high cholesterol and high blood pressure,” she said. “My dad has heart problems, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. I want to keep them down. I don’t want any heart problems,” she said.

Collier still meditates about 15 minutes before she goes to bed, though she doesn’t always make it in the morning when she’s in a rush. Both she and her

13-year-old stepsister, Audrey Ziegler, kept meditating even into the summer, long after their science grades had been recorded.

“I do it at night,” said Ziegler. “Sometimes in the morning, when I’m really tired, I take a meditation break. It makes me feel more light from all the stress going on. Before I was feeling weighed down; now I feel I can jump up in the air when I want to. I don’t have to feel so down.”

Rx: Meditation?

In 1999, when Barnes and Treiber began their research, high blood pressure in teenagers was something of a lonely field. Now they find themselves in the middle of what suddenly has become a hot topic. When the NIH recently announced its interest in pediatric studies on preventing heart disease, these two were already hard at work on new cardiac research involving Murzynowski. Will their findings persuade government health officials to place meditation on the national plan of attack against heart disease? Who knows?

The burden of proof remains with the researchers, and neither meditation nor even “stress reduction” was placed in the NIH recommendations for blood pressure treatment released this past July. Yet Barnes and Treiber were not discouraged by the omission. “Translating research into real life takes a long time,” said Barnes. “We have known for 30 to 40 years that smoking causes cancer and other lung diseases, but it is only recently that the research has become policy through smoking bans in public places like airplanes.

“For anyone interested in the health effects of meditation,” Barnes continued, “I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for policymakers to include meditation in their recommendations. This is research that can be used on a personal level. All that is required is a commitment and some lessons from a reputable source.” The result may literally be a lifesaver and, for young people, a whole new lease on the future.•

* * *


The Next Epidemic?

High blood pressure, medically known as hypertension, affects one in four adults in the United States. Hypertension is a major risk factor for developing heart attack or stroke, both of which are leading causes of death in this country. Yet hypertension is not a sudden onset disease, not something that arises full-blown in adulthood. It begins in childhood and rises with age, and, increasingly, today high blood pressure is showing up at a younger age.

Statistics from the International Pediatrics Hypertension Association show that up to 5 percent of U.S. children may have high blood pressure, a statistic that rises as high as 11 percent in minority populations. The numbers continue to climb. The Journal of the American Medical Association this past May published research showing what the NIH called a “substantial” and “worrisome” rise in hypertension in young people as well as adults.

“In the last ten years the incidence of high blood pressure has risen dramatically, sevenfold in the young minority population,” said Barnes. “And these rates are not expected to go down. They are going up because of the rising rates of obesity.”

* * *

A Healthy Heart

Meditation is effective in reducing blood pressure because it decreases the sympathetic nervous system response to stress and slows the breathing and pulse rates. Thus meditation holds promise not only with hypertension, but also with cardiovascular health in general.

Author and journalist Dolores Wood lives in Boston. Her book How to End Suffering: Teachings of Sri Eknath Easwaran on the Power of the Human Spirit was published by Penguin India Pvt. Ltd

veja tamb?©m Medita?§?£o Transcendental

quarta-feira, novembro 17, 2004

David Lynch touts merits of meditation in Kay
By Neal Fersko
Published: Monday, November 15, 2004
Article Tools:Email This ArticlePrint This Article Page 1 of 1

Lynch loves Transcendental Meditation.
Media Credit: Zach Copeland
Lynch loves Transcendental Meditation.

Hundreds of peace-creating experts gather in the Golden Dome at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, to practice Transcendental Meditation.
Media Credit: www.mum.edu
Hundreds of peace-creating experts gather in the Golden Dome at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, to practice Transcendental Meditation.

"Have you ever meditated with Dennis Hopper?"

The surprising question was aimed at film director David Lynch, who worked with Hopper in "Blue Velvet." Lynch answered with good humor, surely knowing that his film career would come up during his talk on the merits of Transcendental Meditation in Kay Spiritual Life Center Friday night.

"I don't know if Dennis is a meditator," Lynch responded. "But he probably could use it."

Lynch and physicist John Hagelin were invited to speak about Transcendental Meditation in an evening titled "Creating Peace." The event was co-sponsored by the Society for Peace and Conflict Resolution and hosted by professor Cara Gabriel for the Department of Performing Arts.

Transcendental Meditation is a relaxation technique designed to "enliven an individual's creativity, dynamism, orderliness, and organizing power, which result in increasing effectiveness and success in daily life," according to the program's Web site, www.tm.org.

Many could make the case that Lynch's body of work gives the impression that the director himself is awash with inner turmoil and unresolved neuroses. Works such as the TV series "Twin Peaks," "Mulholland Drive," "Dune," "The Elephant Man" and "Lost Highway" may point to a disjointed dark streak in Lynch's mind, but this allegation has no basis in reality.

Earlier in the day, Lynch sat in the corner of his hotel suite, awaiting an interview with an ATV crew. He looked cool and confidant, and although his angular gray hair and still body language radiated calm, it was almost betrayed by the warmth in his language, a product of his upbringing in Missoula, Mont. He spoke about how he views Transcendental Meditation and the teachings of its pioneer, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, as a vehicle for world peace, and his willingness to, only recently, start speaking of its merits after practicing for more than 30 years.

"The idea that the day after the Maharishi announced he could compile peace experts and engineers to implement his new technologies on peace - and that this couldn't come into being the next week - motivated me," Lynch said.

Lynch's collaboration with Hagelin - a noted physicist who specializes in the teachings of the Unified Field Theory, in which all matter is uniform - voiced the scientific reasoning of Transcendental Meditation. Hagelin and Lynch see this meditation as an objective toward the easing of tensions within individuals as well as groups. This easing, in turn, leads to the ultimate goal of achieving world peace.

"I came to [Transcendental Meditation] as a tool for peace through physics, specifically the realm of the Unified Field," Hagelin said. "When an individual meditates, human awareness systematically expands at the basis of mind and matter."

Hagelin was educated at Dartmouth and Harvard, and he taught at Stanford before accepting a post at the Maharishi University for Management in Fairfield, Iowa. Hagelin is also the president of the U.S. Peace Government, an organization founded on the principles of engaging in methods in the prevention of systemic violence, utilizing the theories of the Unified Field.

The far-reaching goals for the future of the TM movement include an extensive amount of fund-raising, with an effort to raise $1 billion toward a national university whose exclusive goal will be to find innovations in the sciences of peace at a core level of human existence.

"A billion is half the cost of a B-2 bomber," Lynch said. "Ideally, I'd like six or seven billion to be raised. It astonishes me when people act like it's such an unattainable figure. A billion used for military spending often never gets touched. People just use the interest. Like a fuel cell, it's the output that gets used."

Lynch chose to speak at AU for a specific reason.

"It's the best school in the area," he said. "I think it picked itself."

The reception given to Hagelin and Lynch Friday in Kay was certainly inviting. They spoke to a packed audience lured by the prospect of possibly uncovering an additional layer of Lynch's personality and perhaps a greater understanding of themselves.

Hagelin spoke first, citing that "the first stage in war is rising tensions over competing factions all over the world is creating an epidemic of stress."

He went on to say that Transcendental Meditation is a "proven new approach in creating peace," referencing many studies in which TM was applied to ease societal tensions in the greater D.C. area. Many charts and slides were used to explain how TM was used to provide greater health internally.

"Have you ever looked at an EEG," Hagelin lamented. "It's depressing. There is almost no communication between different areas of the mind."

During his own speaking portion as well as a question-and-answer period, Lynch related how he discovered Transcendental Meditation and how it had a profound effect in his life.

"During the early days of 'Eraserhead,'" Lynch said, referencing his 1977 film, "I had all of this anger. I thought it was pretty cool, but it wasn't so cool for my wife."

Lynch explained how Transcendental Meditation was the vessel to travel to the Unified Field, and how easily it could come to those who have only rudimentary knowledge of meditation. The benefits of Transcendental Meditation, as described by Lynch, reach every portion of one's life and make the "enjoyment of doing," as he calls it, that much greater.

Championing the cause of a university founded on the prospects of creating a realistic form of peace has become a crucial mission in the lives of both Lynch and Hagelin.

By sharing their expertise and personal experiences of Transcendental Meditation with the AU community, a new avenue of understanding the nature of art, science, war and peace has been opened or even alluded to in the minds of many.veja tamb?©m Medita?§?£o Transcendental

segunda-feira, outubro 11, 2004

Dr. John Hagelin is on the cover of October 2004 issue of the magazine, Healthy Wealthy nWise.
To view the cover and see the article, go to: www.healthywealthynwise.com

There is also a companion article about Consciousness Based Education which highlights the incredible outcomes enjoyed by students at Maharishi Univesity of Management and Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment. You can read this article at: http://www.healthywealthynwise.com/article.asp?Article=408

John Hagelin: Founder of the US Peace Government, Quantum Physicist, Real Life Legend

By: Chris Attwood

This month we?re speaking with a man who is a legend in the field of Quantum Physics, and in the area of public policy. Doctor John Hagelin is a world-renowned quantum physicist, educator, author and science and public policy expert. He has conducted research at CERN, the European Center for Particle Physics; and SLAC, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

As director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, a progressive policy think tank, Dr. Hagelin has successfully headed a nationwide effort to identify, scientifically verify and promote cost-effective solutions to critical social problems in the fields of crime, health care, education, economy, energy and the environment.

In addition, Dr. Hagelin has spent much of the past quarter century leading a scientific investigation into the foundations of human consciousness. In his book, Manual for a Perfect Government, Dr. Hagelin shows how, through educational programs that develop human consciousness, and through policies and programs that effectively harness the laws of nature, it is possible to solve acute social problems and enhance governmental effectiveness.

In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Dr. Hagelin was named winner of the prestigious Kilby Award, which recognizes scientists who have made major contributions to society through their applied research in the fields of science and technology. The award recognized Dr. Hagelin as a scientist in the tradition of Einstein, Genes, Boer, and Edington.

As the 2000 presidential candidate of the Natural Law Party, America?s fastest-growing grass roots party, Dr. Hagelin, along with hundreds of NLP candidates in all 50 states, drew millions of votes for his scientifically proven, forward-looking, sustainable solutions to America?s pressing social, economic and environmental problems. He has recently founded the US Peace Government, a complementary government, dedicated to prevention-oriented administration.

Dr. Hagelin has appeared many times on ABC?s ?Nightline? and ?Politically Incorrect,? NBC?s ?Meet the Press,? CNN?s ?Larry King Live? and ?Inside Politics,? CNBC?s ?Hardball with Chris Matthews,? C-SPAN?s ?Washington Journal,? and others. He?s featured in the five time award-winning film ?What the #@%$ (Bleep) Do We Know? that?s in theatres now, and he has been regularly featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and now, Healthy Wealthy nWise.

So now, hang on to your chairs and get ready for just an amazingly profound interview with Dr. John Hagelin.

Chris: John as a Legend in the field of quantum physics as well as politics, we asked you if you would write down at least ten things that, if you had them completely fulfilled, would make your life ideal.

Would you share those with us?

Dr. Hagelin: Yes, the most important key to success and happiness in my life is experiencing unbounded awareness, the field of pure spirituality within, and identifying my awareness with the unified field?the universal intelligence that governs the universe. This brings immediate expansion, joy, pure creativity, and total support of nature for health and success and happiness in life.

If I had to give number two, I would say more of the above. I?m really blessed with a program that brings immediate expansion, immediate bliss, and immediate contact with the infinite. I?m fortunate to be a teacher of Transcendental Meditation® as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which is the world?s most widely practiced, widely researched and broadly prescribed technology for the full development of human potential.

Three, I need purposeful activity that brings evolution to humankind, activity that alleviates global problems and suffering and that promotes peace in the world, and I need to see tangible results, tangible success in this and all my projects. I?m passionate about peace, about ending this terrible legacy of human cruelty and warfare, as well as the deep ignorance that permits such life-afflicting behavior.

I?m passionate about education, especially education for enlightenment, a new paradigm of education that involves full human potential that develops the total brain. Modern education is really a travesty in that it develops a mere sliver of one?s brain potential, and as a result, it deprives a human being of his or her natural capability of living enlightenment.

I am a born teacher and I need to teach. Karmically, the teacher always gains more than he gives. The way to understand anything most profoundly is to explain it to someone else, and that?s the experience of every teacher.

I teach graduate courses in unified quantum field theories. The way to really own the material is to impart that understanding to someone else, and somehow, magically almost, the material organizes itself more clearly and profoundly for the teacher.

I love being with people who are evolving, who share this natural joy of life, and especially those who are enlightened, established in higher states of consciousness. The activities of such people are naturally evolutionary, life-giving, bliss-bestowing.

I love speaking to large audiences, and the medium of live television, probably because it leverages one?s impact and ability to reach large numbers of people and thus make a difference. I love art and music and being surrounded by inspiration and beauty.

I love living in a dwelling built in accord with natural law, a dwelling designed for maximum, life-supporting, life-nourishing influence. Maharishi?s Sthapatya Vedic architecture, which is more ancient and more complete than Feng Shui, is a tremendous blessing and a formula for success in itself.

Chris: John, what roles have the things that you?re passionate about played in your life? If you would, please speak to the early years in your history, your pursuit of physics, as well as your pursuit of the presidential nomination in the U.S. and your other activities.

Dr. Hagelin: Well, I think for me to address the question, we have to spend a little bit of time understanding what passion is. For me, to understand what passion is gets to the core nature of life, the very purpose of life, which is to progress and to evolve and grow toward fulfillment.

If we?re progressing and evolving, then we experience joy, energy, vitality, health. Those activities through which we grow ? through which we expand in knowledge, expand in power, expand in fulfillment--it?s that type of activity that brings us joy?joy born of expansion, born of progress, born of evolution.

If I?m passionate about something or you?re passionate about something, it?s because that something brings joy to us, nourishment to us?because that activity is a path of evolution and expansion for us -- expansion of knowledge, influence, power and happiness.

If you?re not passionate about an activity, it means that that activity isn?t providing you with growth, satisfaction, joy and expansion. Passion and success are inseparable to me. PASSION IS BORN OF SUCCESS?and the progress that comes with success.

Chris: Do you think that people have innate passions, that even before they?re successful at something, they have things that they?re just drawn irresistibly to?

Dr. Hagelin: They?re drawn to them because when they tasted them, when they sampled that activity, they immediately experienced growth and progress in that direction. Typically, it?s where their talent lies. It?s a natural channel of creativity for them.

Chris: What role has that played in your life?

Dr. Hagelin: Passion has been absolutely key to me and, I would predict, key to everybody. Passions are the core of everyone?s life. You are drawn to do things?to follow your passions--because that activity brings you expansion and joy and evolution.

Chris: In your own life, how has pursuing those things that you?re passionate about affected your health, wealth and spirituality? As you know, this magazine is called Healthy, Wealthy nWise, so those are the areas that we?re particularly interested in.

Dr. Hagelin: The pursuit of my passions nourishes and sustains my life. By its very nature, it brings joy and success and health and happiness. I don?t, and most people don?t, continue to do things that don?t bring success and achievement and progress and happiness. Perhaps I?m a little more alert to this principle and choose, therefore, those activities that are bearing fruit - fruit in terms of progress towards achievement, which brings happiness and sustains life.

Pursuit of passion is so basic to life, so intimate to life, that if you?re not pursuing your passions, you?re not going to be happy for long. You?re not going to be able to sustain that direction for very long. Yet one does have control, to some extent, over what constitutes one?s passion.

What you put your attention grows stronger in your life. You can culture an interest for something. You can develop a talent in an area, which then allows you to succeed in that area, and thus enjoy progress and success and evolution through that channel. That area will become more and more of a passion for you when your activity in that area rewards you with joy, progress, expansion and evolution.

People do have freedom?and it?s probably the greatest human freedom?over what they give their attention to. And that area will become more central, more important in their life. I would recommend that everyone exercise that freedom?to put their attention on projects that are truly worthy, with the potential to bring maximum happiness and evolution to their life and to society as a whole. The more global and far-reaching the project, the more happiness and evolution that project could potentially bring.

We have control over what might become a passion for us, and that?s an important freedom that we exercise. But there are obviously constraints on what could ever become our passion, based upon our core predispositions and genetic make up.

Probably, although I enjoy art, painting will never become a passion for me: I am so utterly lacking in talent in that area that an effort in that direction would almost certainly meet with more frustration than joy. If I had some talent, if I were even moderately talented, I could nurture that talent, enjoy initial spurts of progress, and that could ultimately grow into a passion for me.

So we have some control, but there are constraints based upon our own, individual natures. Not everyone is going to be a great teacher. Not everyone is going to be a great politician.

In my life, I have made choices to develop new areas, new passions that weren?t, frankly, that natural to me - talents I wasn?t born with. I was not born a quantum physicist: I was born an engineer.

Chris: And yet, some have called you one of the greatest quantum physicists of our age.

Dr. Hagelin: Yes, some have, and that did not come easily. I was born an engineer. When it came to classical physics, the laws of mechanics, I didn?t have to study them. I knew them, they were in my bones, they were part of my genetic make up. But when it came to quantum mechanics, I had entered a strange new realm that was absolutely non-intuitive to me.

I should say, in fairness, quantum mechanics is counter-intuitive to most people. You have to rely solely on your mathematical abilities to delve into these abstract realms for which our intuition provides no guidance. And I wasn?t a born mathematician. I had to really develop those skills over a period of years before I gained a natural fluency with the quantum world, and began to tackle problems in that world with increasing ease?and finally I gained some spark of fulfillment. It took time to develop that new channel of creative intelligence, that new channel of progress and satisfaction. It took time to build that new passion.

Chris: What?s interesting, John, in your life, is that you have gone from what some people would consider one extreme to the other--from the rarified areas of theoretical quantum physics as one of the very top physicists in the world, to running for the position of President of the United States.

Dr. Hagelin: That?s the second example of creating a new passion, of developing myself in an area where I wasn?t endowed with God-given talent, for the sake of the higher calling of service to humanity.

Public policy didn?t light my fire prior before I undertook this calling to evolve better principles and policies to govern our country and the world. I dove into the area of public policy, health care reform, et cetera, and relatively quickly, in comparison to quantum physics, found myself in a position of being able to make important, original contributions to these fields.

It?s not rocket science, you could say. It?s not quantum physics. It didn?t take that long to expose the fallacies of our current policies in such areas as defense, which is based on offense, or health care, which is based on disease care, and so forth?and to construct more life-supporting policies that are in harmony with natural law and that make more efficient and compassionate use of our precious resources.

So this is another example of how my deepest sense of responsibility caused me to actually nurture and build a whole new passion, which then became the driving force of my life for quite a few years.

Chris: Much of your professional life has dealt with the relationship between human consciousness and the deepest understandings and expressions of physics. Could you, for our readers? benefit, talk a little bit about your understanding of consciousness, its relationship to the physical, material world, and why it has been such a key and important element in your life and your work?

Dr. Hagelin: As a young seeker of knowledge, I always strove to understand the core reality of life, the truths of existence. What I came to learn after 15 years of higher education is that the material universe is built upon the non-material quantum-mechanical world of abstract intelligence that underlies it. The exploration of deeper levels of natural law at the atomic and nuclear and sub-nuclear levels was probing deeper levels of intelligence in nature that were far beyond the realm of material existence.

Ultimately, the discovery of the unified field, or heterotic superstring, was a discovery of a field of pure intelligence whose nature was not material, but pure, self-interacting consciousness. So physics, in effect, had discovered consciousness at the foundation of material existence.

I wanted to know the nature of that consciousness, and it was really through Maharishi?s programs, through his techniques for the development of consciousness, that I experienced the reality of what that field of consciousness is. I discovered for myself that human intelligence, at its core foundation, is universal intelligence, and at that level, you and I and everyone and everything in the universe is one.

We are united at our core, and that truth, that ultimate truth of the unity of life, is the most precious and crucially important understanding to emerge in this scientific age. This is the same reality that has been celebrated since time immemorial in all the great spiritual traditions of the world. But now this same truth is open to objective verification through the empirical approach of modern physics, and open to personal verification through the experiential approach of consciousness, and specifically for me, through the very universal and powerful technologies of Maharishi?s Vedic science, including Transcendental Meditation®.

Chris: One question that we always ask in the Healthy, Wealthy nWise interviews is that the magazine believes strongly in the power of intention to manifest outcomes. What would you say is your current most important project, and what intention would you like us at Healthy, Wealthy nWise, as well as our readers, to hold for the fulfillment of that?

Dr. Hagelin: Firstly, I should say I strongly support your belief in the power of intention based upon both science and direct experience. My most ardent desire today is to see an end to the senseless violence and continual legacy of war that has confronted humankind for so many, countless generations, and to bring lasting peace to the world on the basis of the emerging global understanding of the essential unity of life.

If all of us could own that vision, if all of us here could deeply understand and experience the unity of life, that unity will be far more easily understood and assimilated by the billions of citizens of our global family.

We are almost at the point where these words, where the ultimate reality of the unity of life, is resonating with people, beginning to make sense to people. We?re not quite there, and it?s important that we nucleate the transition, that we precipitate the transformation by bringing this core understanding and experience to as many people as possible, and from that understanding and experience of unity, real, lasting peace will inevitably dawn in the world today.

Chris: Your responses have been very profound and have taken us to some of the deepest considerations of human life. I?m going to ask you to come up to a much more superficial level, just for a moment. You will be on the cover of the magazine in October, right before the Presidential election, and since you have been so actively involved in Presidential politics in the past, would you take a moment to comment on your perspective on the Presidential election and your advice to readers and voters as they go to the polls in the beginning of November?

Dr. Hagelin: I?m going to speak to this question as a citizen of the United States of America, not as the Director of a non-profit educational institution. I think it?s vitally important for the security of our country and the welfare of the world that we have a marked, immediate change in the administration and direction of the country, away from war as a means to peace, to a more inclusive and holistic approach that can truly unite the world in peace.

I hope that every potential voter throws off any possible rationale or inertia that could prevent them from going to the polls and voting their conscience. I urge them to use whatever influence they have to create the greatest possible turnout, and bring a change in the destructive direction our country has taken in the last few years.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, in a democracy, we get the government that we deserve?the government we elect. So to some extent, Bush?s actions reflect the will of a great many citizens of this nation. But I think and hope we?ve outgrown George W. Bush, who, in my opinion, is lagging behind the evolving consciousness of our country. I believe it is therefore time for a new leader who is more representative of the great potential of our nation than the current administration.

I left the field of electoral politics to dedicate my time to raising the collective consciousness of the people?through education and by organizing large, sustained collective meditations. My hope is that by doing so, and in joining forces with so many others who are similarly engaged in raising the consciousness of our nation, the reward will be a more awakened electorate that won?t allow a repeat of the electoral outcome of four years ago.

Chris: What is the single most important idea that you?d like to leave our readers with that we haven?t yet discussed?

Dr. Hagelin: We?ve touched on it, but I think it?s important to say. There?s really no limit to human potential and there?s no limit to what we can effortlessly achieve. The secret is to align human intelligence with the vast, organizing intelligence of nature that governs the universe and that upholds millions of species here on earth and trillions throughout the universe.

By aligning our desires with the natural evolutionary flow of universal intelligence, virtually any impulse of thought can meet with tremendous success. Aligning individual intelligence with nature?s intelligence is what is called ?enlightenment.?

Developing the total brain and rising to higher states of consciousness is absolutely key to achieving individual fulfillment, and the key to contributing maximum to the evolution of society towards an enlightened society - a unified field-based civilization of peace, prosperity and harmony in the family of nations.

Chris: Wonderful. Thank you so much for taking this time.

Dr. Hagelin: Wonderful! Thank you, and good luck.


What Are Your Kids Really Getting From Their Education?

By: Chris Attwood

Development of consciousness is key to learning

Remember when you were sitting in school taking chemistry, or physics, or English lit, or some other class, and wondering, what does this have to do with me?

Kids take classes because we tell them to. After all, education is a good thing, right? So, they go to school, are told how important it is to get good grades, go to college, and get a good job.

If they?re good at analytical learning, good at taking tests, good at following ?the rules,? then they get good grades, get accepted to college and may or may not get a good job. Or they may go on to graduate school where their studies require they become increasingly specialized. They discover themselves knowing more and more about less and less.

If they?re brilliant at synthetic learning (the artists) or are primarily a kinesthetic learner (learning through experience), they probably get really poor grades in school, feel terrible about themselves, and find that they just ?don?t fit in.?

Whatever the situation, these kids at some point begin wondering, what am I doing all this for?

Traditionally, education has focused primarily on what students study. Reading, writing, arithmetic, and then as the students get older, chemistry, physics, algebra, geography, social studies. The focus is always outward. Education has focused on teaching students about something which is outside of them, with little or no attention on the student themselves.

Reinventing Education

In the past, education has failed to even consider how to develop the student?s capacity to learn, their inner awareness of themselves and their relationship to the world around them.

Yet it is the quality of a student?s consciousness, or awareness, that determines their degree of intelligence, creativity, confidence, inner calm, and motivation? all fundamental to their ability to comprehend and absorb knowledge.

It?s been said that most of us use only 10% of our full mental capacity. Could that have something to do with the nature of the education we received? Of course it could.

Research has shown that electrical activity of the brain in most adults does not activate the entire brain. Such activity is incoherent and non-synchronous between different parts of the brain.

On the other hand, increased coherence and synchrony between different parts of the brain has been correlated with increased intelligence, creativity and reasoning ability. The question is: How can education effectively develop whole brain functioning in children so they are able to use 100% of their mental capacity?

The Relationship of Brain Development to Education

A large body of research reveals that the development and ongoing state of brain functioning is shaped by the nature of the individual?s experience.

Research on brain development shows that specific types of experience are necessary for the brain to develop properly.

For example, in the early stages of life, sensory experiences are critical for the development of the corresponding sensory structures of the brain. It has also been found that enriched sensory and motor environments in infancy contribute to significantly enhanced development of the brain.

Brain development is thus intimately connected with experience. From this perspective, the purpose of education, including early education in the family, is to provide the appropriate experiences, at every stage of growth, that develop the full potential of mind and body, based on fully developing the brain.

Analyzing the process of human brain development is useful in understanding the type of educational experiences that are especially important at different stages of growth.

Educational Experiences Should Promote Brain Development

Even if educators in the past have not attended to the process of brain development in childhood, they have selected learning experiences that suit the state of sensory, motor, and cognitive development of school children. In so doing, they have been selecting experiences most suitable for the student?s current state of brain development.

Unfortunately, education has not included a systematic means to directly promote integrated brain functioning. Rather, from middle school onwards, education primarily exercises the individual?s logical reasoning ability in relation to specific bodies of knowledge.

Limiting the educational experiences of students only to the continued exercise of their reasoning skills is not sufficient to develop the brain?s potential, and to unfold higher integration of brain functioning.

As a result, secondary and higher education have failed to systematically develop the higher brain functioning that is associated with higher cognitive development.

So, what is the solution?

Consciousness-Based Education

Education which focuses on development of the student?s capacity to learn, development of the student?s own inner awareness has been called ?Consciousness-based Education.? This approach to education has been pioneered by Maharishi University of Management (MUM) and Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment (MSAE) in Iowa.

Consciousness-based education focuses first on development of holistic brain functioning by training students in methods which have been scientifically proven to allow students to experience the full potential of their own consciousness.

The foundation of consciousness-based education is the natural and effortless Transcendental Meditation? (TM) program which develops students? inner potential. Extensive research on the TM program has shown that this program strengthens the cognitive, physiological, and affective foundations of learning, while promoting healthier life-style choices and positive behavior.

At the same time, regular practice of the technique significantly reduces the stress and tension that many students and teachers experience daily, and creates a happy, harmonious, focused learning environment.

Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. How do students who have had the benefits of consciousness-based education fare in the world?

The Results of Consciousness-Based Education

Founded in 1974, Maharishi University of Management (http://www.mum.edu) students have impressive results. Providing fully accredited programs through the Ph.D. level, the University has been a center for research in the field of human consciousness for over 30 years.

The best measure of a university?s success is the success of its graduates. The University?s graduates have been employed by many top corporations, including Motorola, Rockwell, IBM, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Apple Computer, Bank of America, Citibank, Mayo Clinic, and many others.

However, the most telling description of the benefits of consciousness-based education is a study which compared MUM graduates to graduates of other colleges.

A widely used measure of overall self-development was given to Maharishi University students and to students at three other colleges. Ten years later, well into their careers, these same students were given the test again.

People who score at the top two levels of this test are considered self-actualized. Normally only 1% score this high ? and scores typically do not change after about age 15.

On both the pre-test and the post-test, only 1% of the students from other schools scored at these levels ? just what one would expect.

Among Maharishi University students, 9% scored at the top two levels on the pre-test (they had been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique an average of four years at the time). Ten years later, at the post-test, 38% of the same students scored this high ? an unprecedented result.

Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment (http://www.maharishischooliowa.org) was founded in 1979 and has been fully accredited since 1986. Over the past decade Maharishi School students have won more than seventy state, national and international titles in such diverse areas as science, speech, drama, writing, poetry, spelling, art, photography, history, mathematics, chess, Destination ImagiNation, tennis, golf, and track. In addition, they have demonstrated their desire to help others in society, for example by founding the student organization End School Violence Now and the Students Creating Peace Network.

With an open enrollment policy and a student body from a broad socioeconomic background, grades 9-12 consistently score in the 99th percentile on standardized tests year after year, and over the past five years the school has averaged about ten times the national average for National Merit Scholar Finalists. About 95% of the school?s graduates are accepted at four-year colleges and universities.

A New Paradigm in Education ? Education for Enlightenment

It seems pretty clear from these results that the theory behind consciousness-based education is sound. Perhaps this word ?enlightenment? we?ve heard so much about is really a description of an individual who is using their total brain.

If consciousness-based education develops whole brain functioning, and according to the research whole brain functioning results in:

* Increased intelligence and creativity
* Higher levels of moral reasoning
* Increased use of latent reserves of the brain
* Orientation towards more positive values
* Improved academic performance
* Improved emotional well-being
* Increased resistance to stress
* Increased tolerance
* Reduced aggression and hostility
* Increased problem-solving ability
* Reduced anxiety; reduced depression
* Increased self-esteem

Then, maybe we now have a practical definition of this term ?enlightenment? and the technology to give our kids an education which allows them to live a life of fulfillment in that fully developed state.

Consciousness-Based education is offered at Maharishi University of Management, where all students culture higher consciousness by practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique.

The University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in the arts, sciences, humanities, and business. Students take one course at a time, eliminating the stress of homework and exams in several subjects at once. All aspects of campus life nourish the body and mind, including organic vegetarian meals served fresh daily. Visitors Weekends are held throughout the year. For further information, see www.mum.edu

sábado, outubro 09, 2004

Small Iowa Town Has Global Mission: News of Maharishi University of Management: Consciousness-Based education: "Voice of America Worldwide Broadcast
Small Iowa Town Has Global Mission

Listen to Gayane Torosyan's report (RealAudio Player required) or read the excerpts below

Fairfield would look just like any other small town in Iowa if it wasn't for the twin golden domes shining on its skyline. They mark Fairfield as the home of Maharishi University of Management, which offers what it calls 'Consciousness-Based Education.' But the principles of the science of consciousness come to life more fully just north of town, in Vedic City.

The true uniqueness of the city can be seen in its architecture. Mr. Boyum says the design of the homes here promotes health and happiness. 'There are a number of principles in what is called Stapatya Ved, which is the Vedic portion of design of building, and the principles that are most obvious are that all the houses face East; so they are making use of the enlivening and the warming value of the Sun when it rises in the dawn, and the texts says facing East is the most auspicious or most beneficial to the people who live in those buildings,' he says.

In addition, the construction of the buildings makes them energy efficient according to U-S Department of Energy standards. In keeping with the movement's emphasis on living in harmony with nature, Vedic City bans the sale of non-organic produce. But agriculture is an important part of the local economy.

Not far from the residential area, Ken Chawkin shows off Vedic City's huge organic greenhouse. 'They have a huge crop of cucumbers in there; they have tomatoes there, peppers various types, yellow, orange, green, to be sold to make a profit! That's the automatic adjustment according to the temperature and humidity, the valves will open and close for the circulation of air, maintaining an ambient temperature,' he says.

More nutritious foods lead to a healthier population, and Vedic City prides itself on being perhaps the healthiest city in America. It supports the practice of holistic medicine, and attracts visitors interested in natural therapies.

Vedic City was founded with an ambitious goal to bring health and harmony to everyone"

quarta-feira, agosto 11, 2004

veja também Meditação Transcendental

Iowa Town Booms On Eastern Ways
Meditation, Business Draw Residents

By Kari Lydersen
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, August 9, 2004; Page A03

VEDIC CITY, Iowa -- When Eric Schwartz decided to move his financial services business from Silver Spring here to southeastern Iowa so he could join other practitioners of Transcendental Meditation in 1992, he worried that clients and colleagues might think he was a little crazy.

"Some people think TM [Transcendental Meditation] is some kind of cult or devil worship," he said. "I thought it might be negative for my business, that customers would freak out."

Practitioners of Transcendental Meditation participate in the 2001 ceremony inaugurating Vedic City. Many people come to the town to study meditation. (Brad Whitney -- Ottumwa Courier Via The AP)

Things turned out just the opposite.

With much lower overhead, he found revenue for Cambridge Investment Research rising from one year to the next. He went from a gross revenue of about $500,000 a year in the D.C. area to more than $50 million in 2002. The magazine Investment Advisor named him broker-dealer of the year in 2003. He credits Transcendental Meditation, which he began practicing as a freshman at Amherst College in 1971, for fueling his success.

"Even if investors or customers aren't interested in TM, they are attracted to the fact that I moved here to do this, that I'm concerned about more than just making money or having an ocean view," said Schwartz, who is considering changing his title from chief executive to chief spiritual officer. "That's the kind of business they want to be involved with."

Many other people in Vedic City and neighboring Fairfield feel the same way. The community founded by followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Beatles' meditation guru, has become an entrepreneurial mecca of the Midwest. Followers began flocking to Fairfield after the establishment of the Maharishi University of Management in 1974, and Vedic City just outside the limits of Fairfield was incorporated in 2001, the first new Iowa city to be incorporated since 1982. Residents estimate that one-fourth of the 10,000 people in Fairfield and Vedic City practice TM.

Other successful businesses run by TM devotees include MarathonFoto, billing itself as the largest event photography company in the country; Creative Edge Master Shop, which manufactures intricate floor and wall murals out of marble and granite for Disney, the Chicago Bulls and other clients; and the Raj Ayurveda Health Center, a spa which draws national visitors paying hundreds of dollars a day. City officials say more than $200 million in venture capital has been invested in Fairfield and Vedic City companies during the past 13 years.

"For a small town in the Midwest to have so many successful businesses is really unbelievable," said Rashi Glazer, co-director of the Center for Marketing and Technology at the University of California at Berkeley, who spends summers in Fairfield. "It means something's going on here."

Vedic is a Sanskrit word meaning "totality of knowledge." Residents live in spacious homes designed with entrances facing east, small onion domes called kailashes on top and rooms oriented to correspond with the cycles of the sun and moon. Practitioners of TM generally meditate for 20 minutes twice a day.

The area's TM practitioners are not just being noticed for their entrepreneurship. For 15 years, the fully accredited Maharishi University of Management has been conducting studies funded by the National Institutes of Health on the effects of meditation on cardiovascular health, with a specific focus on how meditation can benefit African Americans with a high risk of heart disease.

"The physiological effects of this technique include a high degree of orderliness in the brain waves, which seems to spread throughout the body with lower levels of stress hormones, lower blood pressure, less reactivity to stress," said Robert Schneider, a physician who completed a fellowship in hypertension at the University of Michigan Medical School and now serves as dean of Vedic medicine at Maharishi University.

Vedic City passed a resolution banning the sale of non-organic food and runs an organic farming operation that sells produce to Whole Foods Market and other outlets in Chicago and across Iowa. Farm director Dean Goodale notes that the farm includes one of the few greenhouses in the region that grow plants in soil rather than with hydroponics.

"Conventional farmers associate soil with bacteria and they want to kill all the bacteria," he said. "But bacteria serves a purpose in making certain nutrients available to plants. It's a symbiotic relationship."

Across the street from the farm is the start of a housing project called "Abundance Ecovillage," which will be powered by solar and wind energy. Vedic City and Fairfield receive federal grants from agencies including the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture for developing renewable energy sources and running recycling and composting programs.

"The composting program will make use of yard waste from the city, kitchen waste from the Raj restaurant, plant waste from the farm and manure from [a nearby] organic llama farm," said Kent Boyum, an aquatic toxicologist who directs Vedic City's Energy Department-funded Rebuild America program. "The compost will be used in the greenhouse and marketed as specialty soil from Vedic City."

Residents say most people moved here from the coasts to study meditation and related practices at Maharishi University or to send their children to Maharishi School, an elementary and high school that includes meditation, Sanskrit and ayurvedic medicine in its regular curriculum.

"There weren't many jobs for people moving in, so they had to become entrepreneurial and create jobs," said Ed Malloy, a TM practitioner who is president of Danaher Oil Co. and was elected mayor of Fairfield in 2001. "Meditation is about really perfecting and exploring human potential, so it makes sense these people tend to be highly motivated and creative."

Jonathan Lipman and his wife, Pam Whitworth, quit careers in Washington to move to Fairfield seven years ago. Since then, Lipman, a former president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, has designed only Vedic-style homes. Whitworth, an artist, started a business making pillows out of old kimonos and other fabrics imported from Japan, which are sold in an exclusive store in Manhattan and have been featured in home design magazines.

"She figured it was either get a job at Wal-Mart or start a business," Lipman said.

Mario Orsatti, a Philadelphia native who studied with the Maharishi in Europe and moved to Fairfield in 1978, noted that the growing acceptance and popularity of alternative medicine and Eastern philosophy are also key to the area's success.

"It was a lot different 30 years ago," he said. "There was a lot of suspicion of things that are foreign, things from India. Today lots of people are doing yoga and meditation, looking at our tradition and saying, 'That is so cool.' Lots of small midwestern towns are dying, but Fairfield and Vedic City are thriving. People are moving here instead of moving away. Iowa would love to see this happening everywhere."

sexta-feira, maio 14, 2004

NBC April 7, 2004
[Excerpt] In the hypertension study, students who meditated lowered the top and bottom numbers of their blood pressure by an average of nearly four points. Students who didn’t meditate had no significant change in their pressures. Other types of meditation and relaxation may also help. But [Dr. Gary] Kaplan says transcendental meditation has the most scientific evidence behind it. Full story