As each year draws to a close many people reflect not only on the 12 months that have just passed but wonder about what point they have reached in their entire lifetime. Despite biblical legends of certain people living for up to 900 years the average person will expect that all going well their own lifespan will encompass anything between seven and nine decades. The examples of people living beyond the tenth decade are rare enough for them to earn a congratulatory message from the Queen as a 100th birthday accolade if they reside in a British Commonwealth country such as New Zealand.
One pleasing aspect of my work as a Transcendental Meditation instructor over the past 40 years has been the experience of seeing clients looking younger and fresher, even fairly soon after learning the technique. Appearance is one thing, but what about the actuality of realising a lifespan somewhat longer than what is now taken as normal? For this we turn to the medical researchers who looked at this very question in the early 1980s. It was a logical step in view of the extraordinary range of mind-body benefits that had been found so far as a result of TM practice.
In order to see how an individual is coping with the passage of time there are a number of…read more
What the beloved Bard William Shakespeare referred to as the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” are traumatic experiences in life which can happen to anyone at any time. Even though the circumstances of such experiences can be over and done with, such as someone returning to the safety of their home after being in a war zone, a dysfunctional impression can be left on our most precious asset, the brain. Someone suffering too much from bad experience is said to be in the grip of PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, in which a part of the brain called the amygdala becomes more active.
The amygdala is the brain’s fear centre so it creates a veil of fear through which an individual experiences the world. The brain is the interface between our inner and outer experience and the quality of brain function determines what we see and hear and how we respond to that. Therefore someone affected by PTSD becomes hyper-vigilant and vulnerable, thinking that people don’t understand them, all because of what their brain is now telling them. Additionally the amygdala is turning on the ‘fight or flight’ response which itself turns off the front part of the brain, the normally dominant sector which makes rational decisions.
According to Dr Fred Travis, director of the Centre For Brain, Consciousness And Cognition at Maharishi University Of Management, a person with PTSD needs to turn off….read more
There have been concerns aired through the news media recently that currently not enough people are being trained for general medical practice, bringing predictions that New Zealand will face a major shortage of GPs in the future. One factor associated with this is that more trainees are being attracted to specialist medicine where more money is to be made. While I agree that it would not be good to experience the unavailability of a doctor when you needed one, there are some interesting factors that need examination.
The most obvious question is how do we know exactly how many people are going to be unwell in the future? Well the obvious answer is that the estimate is based on the degree of ill-health in our society right now and the mindset that nothing is going to change in the way that the public health system deals with illness. In general, modern medicine is disease-oriented which means it comes into your life when you have already begun showing symptoms of some malady. Modern medicine also tends to direct itself toward removal of those symptoms rather than addressing the underlying causes. With a disease-oriented rather than prevention-oriented health system, officials can quite rightly predict that future levels of ill-health will be at least the same in the future as they are now.
This is where we need to look at…read more
Stress is now defined as a workplace hazard and employers are legally obliged to take all necessary steps to protect their staff from it. These days nobody is in any doubt as to the detrimental effect of stress on individual wellbeing … but what to do about it? NZ business leaders might well take a cue from the pioneering queen of TV talk shows, Oprah Winfrey, sometimes referred to as the most influential woman in the world. She is making her first-ever visit to our shores in December this year.
Very much a self-made woman, Oprah was born in rural Mississippi in 1954 and started radio work while she was still in High School, moving into TV news at the age of 19…. One indication of her in-house persona was seen several years ago when she made available to them all a self-development programme that not only brought more productivity but improved the quality of their personal lives as well. A truly win-win situation… Her gift was the TM programme – Transcendental Meditation as founded by Vedic scholar, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the late 1950s. Oprah had heard about it for many years and so finally got around to learning the TM technique herself. In an interview with fellow talk show host, Dr Oz, she described that the most important…read more
Science fiction can come up with interesting ideas. I recall in my teens watching a 1930’s film on TV which was called “Things To Come” and was based on the H G Wells novel “The Shape Of Things To Come”. It depicted a decades-long world war being brought to an end by legions of airmen dropping “peace gas” on the warring factions and so making them disinclined to fight while the peacemakers went about setting up a Utopian society in which there was no place for war.
I recall thinking about what a brilliant idea the ‘peace gas’ was, having been brought up on the rhetoric of the time that peace was achieved only through the military vanquishing of the enemy at the cost of many lives. The notion of neutralising hostile tendencies in the world came to the fore later on in my life when the discovery was made in the mid-70s that just 1% of a city population practising Transcendental Meditation was responsible for declines in annual crime, sickness and accident rates. (See previous article)
As early as 1960, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the TM programme, had postulated that…read more
Addictive behaviour is one of the aspects of human life that is the hardest to understand. Take cigarette smoking, for example, where intellectually virtually every smoker must know these days just by looking at the terrifying warnings on the packet that they are slowly killing themselves with the habit … but on another mental level so many of them are compelled to keep lighting up and inhaling poisons into their precious bodies.
A good explanation of this anomaly comes from George Ellis who has had a lifetime of professional experience working with emotionally disturbed people in rehabilitative institutions in California. According to Dr Ellis all people want love, respect, health, happiness, inner peace and freedom from stress. If any of these fundamentals is missing from a person’s life, that person becomes vulnerable to many types of disease including substance abuse.
Dr Ellis maintains that all his life experience has led him to…read more
This is one topic that represents such a paradigm shift in traditional thinking about social change that you just have to forget everything you have been taught so far … relax while we explore the Maharishi Effect.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced Transcendental Meditation to the world in the late 1950s and before long it became known for the obvious mental, physical and spiritual benefits it brought to each individual who practised it. As early as 1960, however, Maharishi had been hinting about its potential to improve the whole of society but the actuality of this did not emerge until 1974 with dramatic findings initially in a dozen USA cities.
With rising popularity of TM, these cities had reached a point where…read more
Sometimes you will hear reference to someone having an “ego” in the sense that they are very self-centred and have an unduly high opinion of themselves. I once heard someone joke that their associate had such a big ego that it was a wonder he could get it through the doorway! Joking aside, everyone has an ego … it is a Latin word simply meaning “I” and refers to the part of the mind that is responsible for a person’s sense of who they are.
It can however get out of balance in two ways. Firstly it can get over-inflated and such an individual said to be ‘egocentric’ … a vain, selfish person. On the other hand an individual can develop a poor self-image which limits their levels of success and happiness. Regular practice of Transcendental Meditation balances the whole person and enables many people to discover a positive sense of themselves which is not dependent on the opinion of others. This growth in the ego strength of TM practitioners seems to be associated with greater sensitivity to other people’s needs and an increased appreciation of…read more
Sport is on the mind of many Kiwis at present with the beginning of the international rugby schedule culminating in the world cup tournament in England later this year. The publicity in the lead-up to this and similar events generally emphasises striving for success, so it is refreshing to learn that achievement on the sports field or any area of life does not have to be a grim, uncomfortable experience. It is natural to want to achieve more in life whether it is better health, more wealth (and happiness too) … and these days a means of ‘lifting your game’ is available in the form of a simple, natural technique of self-development called Transcendental Meditation, or TM for short.
Essentially this technique is all about results, and there are plenty of them, enough to inspire more than 40,000 New Zealanders, including some top sports people, to take up the practice since it was introduced here in the 70s. The benefits are related by word of mouth and also validated by hundreds of…read more
If you are fixing up your deck, like I was recently, and you bring the hammer down on your thumb instead of the nail (like I did), it is very clear where the sudden burst of pain has come from, what damage has been done, how to heal it and how to make sure it does not happen again.
Less fortunate are those who suffer from mysterious condition called Fibromyalgia, literally meaning muscle and connective tissue pain. It includes widespread painful response to pressure, sleep disturbance, numbness and tingling as well as cognitive dysfunction. It is also frequently associated with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety. The exact cause is unknown but believed to involve psychological, genetic, neurobiological and environmental factors. It is found in about 5 percent of any population and also affects many more women than it does men with a ratio of something like 8 to 1…..read more