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New book features experiences of enlightenment throughout history, and how to culture them today
by Global Good News staff writer
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4 January 2015
A new book, The Supreme Awakening: Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time—and How You Can Cultivate Them, by Craig Pearson, PhD, features a wide range of sublime, exalted, transcendent experiences reported by a 'Who's Who' of great saints, sages, poets and writers, scientists, political leaders, athletes, and others representing the world's cultures through history. A short list of all those represented includes Buddha, Shankara, Laozi, Plato, St Augustine, St Teresa of Avila, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, Martin Buber, Einstein, Black Elk, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Rumi, Emerson, Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, Billy Jean King, and Brazilian soccer star Pele.
The Supreme Awakening shows that what they have described are experiences of advanced stages of human development, higher states of consciousness—'the pinnacles of human experience', experiences of enlightenment.
Drawing on the work of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the book explains the origins of these experiences in the transcendental field of existence, and provides a systematic way of categorizing them according to Maharishi's model of seven states of consciousness.*
Dr Pearson, who is Executive Vice President of Maharishi University of Management in the USA, wanted to show that experiences of higher states of consciousness have a universal application, independent of time, place, culture and language. Maharishi, who introduced Transcendental Meditation to the world over 50 years ago, explained that there were enlightened people in every generation. Knowing that people have had experiences of enlightenment, even if just a glimpse, through the ages, Dr Pearson commented recently, gives meaning to the understanding that enlightenment is everyone's birthright.
The book introduces Maharishi and his work teaching Transcendental Meditation throughout the world, including experiences of early practitioners. Chapters are dedicated to each of the four higher states of consciousness. Each chapter includes a quotation from Maharishi, a description of the dynamics of consciousness brought to light in Maharishi's Vedic Science, individual experiences during the practice of Transcendental Meditation, and finally an anthology of descriptions of that state of consciousness by historical figures from all over the world.
The final chapters discuss how ordinary men and women today are enjoying these same kinds of sublime experiences—how they can be cultivated systematically, naturally, and effortlessly—through the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation. Dr Pearson explains what Transcendental Meditation is and how it works, and includes a review of a broad spectrum of scientific research studies documenting its beneficial effects on mind and physiology. One important area of research findings is that Transcendental Meditation promotes integrated brain functioning, which Maharishi explained is the basis of developing higher states of consciousness. In this sense, Dr Pearson points out, research on Transcendental Meditation is research on growth towards the highest levels of human development.
* In his Vedic Science Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brings to light the knowledge of seven states of consciousness—the three familiar states of waking, dreaming, and sleeping, as well as four higher states of consciousness, each bringing a new dimension of physiological functioning, experience, knowledge, and fulfilment. The subjective experience of transcendental consciousness, the fourth state of consciousness, can now be displayed as a measurable value, using electroencephalographic (EEG) brain wave technology.
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