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New Study: Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program Reduced US Accidental Fatalities
by Kenneth Cavanaugh, PhD and Michael Dillbeck, PhD

Maharishi University of Management    Translate This Article
28 February 2017

Can group practice of meditation help reduce the rate of accidental fatalities?

Surprisingly, the answer is ''yes'' reports a newly published study.

The study found that group practice of the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi® program by participants in the Invincible America Assembly at Maharishi University of Management (MUM) was associated with a 20.6% reduction of US motor vehicle fatalities over the four-year period 2007-2010. The rate of all other accidental deaths was also reduced by a total of 13.5% over the same period.

The study estimates that 19,435 motor vehicle fatalities and 16,759 other accidental deaths were averted by the significantly reduced trends in accident rates.

From 2007-2010 the size of the group was above or near 1,725 participants, the size predicted to have a positive influence on the US quality of life. This predicted threshold represents the square root of 1% of the US population.

Twelve peer-reviewed articles have now been published validating the prediction by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Founder of MUM, that a TM-Sidhi group of this size would lead to reduced societal stress, as reflected in reduced crime, violence, and accidents, and increased positive trends in society.

The practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique is said to enable individuals to effortlessly enjoy a state of restful alertness, increased brain integration, reduced individual stress, and greater use of one's inner potential. These benefits are the natural by-product of the experience during Transcendental Meditation practice of a silent, wakeful state of the mind known as ''pure consciousness.''

''Maharishi explains that pure consciousness has a field-like character and is a universal field at the basis of everyone's thought and behavior. When a sufficient number of individuals are experiencing pure consciousness during group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, the field of pure consciousness is enlivened in the entire population. This field effect positively influences the quality of consciousness in the individuals in society in much the same direction as that experienced by those practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique,'' said lead author MUM Professor Dr. Kenneth Cavanaugh.

''This research tests the hypothesis that this effect of group practice results in increased alertness and reduced stress in the general population, thus contributing to reduced accident rates in society. Extensive research validates the common experience that stress can narrow awareness, inhibit vigilance and attention, and impair decision making. Research has linked these detrimental effects of stress to increased risk of accidents,'' added co-author MUM Professor and Trustee Dr. Michael Dillbeck.

In their analysis, the researchers first calculated a baseline trend for both accidental fatality rates during 2002-2006, then used time series intervention analysis to compare that baseline with the corresponding trend for the intervention period 2007-2010.

For example, for motor vehicle fatality rates (MVFR) they found that the slightly declining trend during the baseline period 2002-2006 accelerated significantly beginning in January 2007 (vertical line) and continued declining during the intervention period 2007-2010. The irregular ups and downs of the fatality rate shown in the graph are largely due to seasonal fluctuations around the trend.

In the case of fatality rates for all other accidents (ACCFR), there was a highly significant shift from a rising trend in 2002-2006 to a substantially slower positive trend in 2007-2010.

The probability that the reduced trend for motor vehicle fatalities could simply be due to chance was reported to be 3.7 in 10 million million and for fatalities due to other accidents, less than 8.4 in 1 million.

The authors noted that both reduced accident trends occurred at the predicted time and in the predicted direction, and neither reduction could be predicted from baseline trends or seasonal cycles. The researchers also were able to rule out other alternative explanations. For example, the reduction in motor vehicle fatality rates could not be explained by the total number of vehicle miles traveled, weather patterns, the proportion of young drivers, improved vehicle safety features, improved roadway conditions, or alcohol consumption.

The study, titled ''The Contribution of Proposed Field Effects of Consciousness to the Prevention of US Accidental Fatalities: Theory and Empirical Tests,'' was published in the February 2017 issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies.

This paper is the second in a series that comprehensively evaluates the impact of the TM-Sidhi group on US quality of life and public health. The first in the series, published in 2016 in SAGE Open journal, reported a highly significant 21.2% reduction in US homicide rates during the same experimental period, resulting in the prevention of an estimated 8,157 homicides. A reduction of 18.5% in violent crime rates in 206 urban areas was also found, thus averting an estimated 186,774 violent crimes. (https://www.mum.edu/blog/2016/04/26/new-study-invincible-america-assembly-reduced-homicides-and-violent-crime/)

Copyright © 2017 Maharishi University of Management

See related articles:
The Huffington Post: Meditate for peace and heal the planet
A small number of people practising Transcendental Meditation can produce an orderly, harmonious influence for the whole society - Maharishi, 1975



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