Transcending = fitness for the brain.
Katy Perry, singer, actress, songwriter
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The ancient texts proclaimed that regular experience of transcending is crucial for our full development as human beings. Modern research appears to confirm this.
Here’s how it works.
Imagine the mind to be like a wave on an ocean. If our attention is focused on something this object of our focus tends to take over our whole awareness. This is like being aware of the top part of the wave (conscious mind) while we forget the rest of the wave’s dormant potential (subconscious mind).
The brain is like a muscle, literally. It’s a “use it or lose it” organ. Every time we focus our attention on something we will enliven the corresponding parts of our brains, and train it. For example if we learn to play the violin the part of our brain that controls our fingers will form millions of new neuronal connections, and it will physically expand, just like muscles expand.
However, if we only focus our attention on outside things all the time, we only ever develop parts of our brain potential, while a much larger part remains unused.
Transcending is bringing the mind into a state where the mind comes into a state of complete inner silence, yet remains fully conscious. Through the Transcendental Meditation technique this happens spontaneously through a natural process, without requiring any effort from our side. (this is actually the only way the mind can become completely silent, as any effort would only keep it active).
A wave that becomes quiet becomes the ocean, if we have a conscious experience of this, this means we can consciously experience an expanded state of awareness.
The effects of this experience can be clearly measured in the brain. A famous study in the Brain Research Institute on Moscow, where they put meditators under an MRI scanner, found that during TM, the same sensory input activated a much wider region of the brain (blue in the picture) including our so-called dormant potential. This is fitness for the brain visualized.
When the researcher saw these results, which he had never seen before in 30 years of brain research he immediately wrote a recommendation to the Russian Ministry of education to incorporate TM in the school curriculum, as he was convinced that this was the experience our children need to develop their full potential. (It is now known that the amount of neurons in our brains are at a maximum at age 10 and then slowly start to decline, because we never found ways to stimulate them properly. This is one of the reasons why it is estimated that we only use a small percentage of our full brain potential).
Another much simpler way to measure what happens during the brain, which can be done with a laptop or even a smartphone, is by measuring EEG coherence. When a part of the brain is active, it generates electrical signals, brainwaves, which can be visualized through an ElectroEncephaloGram or EEG.
Next a computer can mathematically calculate to what degree the waveforms of different parts of the brain are similar or coherent with each other. A high coherence between 2 parts of the brain is a strong indication that these parts are working together as one unified whole. When this happens, everything about the brain becomes better. (See below).
When our attention is directed outward, the coherence between different parts of the brain is very low. We see things, hear things, think about things etc. And each part of the brain works on its own
When we transcend and our wave settles down and becomes the ocean. The brain doesn’t focus on anything specific anymore, but it still remains active. In this state the whole brain becomes coherent.
This is visualized in the below research where the average coherence levels of a large group of students were measured, with eyes open, eyes closed and after 30 seconds of TM practice. The thicker the line between the 2 parts of the brain, the higher the coherence.Ref.Travis et Al. Cognitive processing, 11 (1), 21-30 (2010)
These days a simple laptop can calculate the coherence between parts of the brain in real time, while somebody is practicing the TM technique, as shown in this video.
EEG coherence is the best way to determine the difference between TM and other meditation techniques. Only the experience of true transcending will create full EEG coherence, concentration or relaxation won’t create this effect.
Like with anything, the more we expose the brain to a particular experience, the more the brain will habituate to this experience. In terms of EEG coherence this will mean that EEG coherence will start to grow outside of meditation, as seen in the graph below.
This graph shows that after initial strong increase during TM practice, there’s no real further increase over time. TM is not something you get better at as you practice more. It’s a completely natural technique that will bring the experience of transcending (and the high EEG coherence) from the first few sittings. Practice does have an effect, however, as shown by increased EEG coherence during activity. Ref.Travis, Arenander International Journal of Neuroscience, 2006
With increased EEG coherence everything that is good about the human brain starts to become better, including IQ, creativity, emotional stability, faster reflexes, learning ability etc. Ref.International Journal of Neuroscience 13 (1981). 211-217
The clearest example of how powerful the effects of this can be is a small school in Midwest USA, the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, where children all practice the TM technique together in class as part of the school curriculum twice per day. When these children arrive at this school they have an average IQ and creativity, by the time they graduate they systematically score in the top 1% of the US on standardized economic tests.
For the past 10 years these children have participated in global creative problem solving competitions like Destination Imagination, a competition with more than 100.000 participants every year. They have won the world championships…4 times. No other school in the world has ever achieved this.
By now already 450 schools in 60 countries have incorporated Transcendental Meditation in their school curriculum, and more and more governments are supporting it, including the San Fransisco Unified School District, the UK government, and governments in more than 10 countries in Latin America. The Government of Brazil recently decided to make TM a part of the curriculum in all of their 48.000 public schools.
Brain development, only one side-effect of a complete transformation.
Discover how transcending also improves…
Easy to learn, enjoyable to practice
Unlike other meditation techniques, which often require concentration or other forms of mind-control, Transcendental Meditation is a completely effortless and natural technique.
It is so easy to learn that even people who think they’ll never be able to meditate can successfully practice it. It is so enjoyable that the 20 minutes of practice often becomes the time people most look forward to.
Do you have 90 min to discover how everything can change?
The first step to learning TM is simply to attend a free info seminar where you can:
- meet your local teacher,
- hear in more detail how the TM technique actually works and what you can expect from it,
- ask any questions.
This free info seminar is without obligation to take the further course.
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