How We Present
High marks for meditation
by Linda Egenes
LA Yoga Magazine Translate This Article
4 November 2005
On 4 November 2005 LA Yoga Magazine reported:
A growing number of young people are turning to meditation to improve their mental focus, raise their grades, and stay relaxed in an increasingly pressured world. In looking at the phenomenon, writer for the LA Yoga Magazine, Linda Egenes, focused on the Transcendental Meditation Programme (TM) as the most researched and documented meditation technique available today.
It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring
fulfilment to the field of education.
According to Egenes, more than 8,000 college students recently attended a series of lectures by internationally acclaimed film director David Lynch on the effects of the TM on creativity and the brain. The lecture included a live demonstration of a meditating student's EEG brain patterns.
Lynch was described as a supporter of Consciousness-Based education. Egenes explained that Consciouness-Based education could mean developing the consciousness of the students by teaching them to practise TM, or it could extend as far as adding technologies of consciousness in addition to TM (including approaches such as Yoga and Ayurvedic health care) and 'providing a holistic environment by teaching the children in a Vastu building and serving fresh, organic food in the cafeteria'.
According to the article, Lynch began a new foundation to fund students who want to learn TM. The foundation has so far given $200,000 to seven Consciousness-Based schools to teach students the meditative technique. The foundation has three phases for development: 1) raise $1.2 million to teach 500 students at American University in Washington, DC, 2) raise $20 million to teach 10,000 students across the nation, and 3) create a $100 million endowment to build and sustain a campus of World Peace in Washington, DC, which would include Consciousness-Based Education in its curriculum.
Egenes interviewed neuroscientist and co-director of brain research for the David Lynch Foundation, Dr Alarik Arenander regarding the importance of making meditation available to students. Arenander, explained that the brain is still undergoing major development until the age of 25-30. Not only does Transcendental Meditation technique help develop the whole brain, it particularly affects the frontal lobes or association fibers, which is the area of the brain that processes information brought in through the senses. Research shows that the functions of the prefrontal cortex—including memory, learning, emotions, behavioural control, moral reasoning, and self-development—are dramatically improved by the practice of Transcendental Meditation.
The article went on to cite specific studies on the benefits of TM that had been published in journals such as Personality and Individual Differences, Education and the Journal of Social Behavior and Personality. Research results showed that the practice of TM could significantly increase IQ in university students, improve academic performance in elementary students, and increase self-actualization in people of all ages. The technique was also shown to be more than three times as effective in reducing drug and alcohol use as compared to standardized prevention and treatment programmes. The article also noted that 600 other published studies show holistic benefits in a range of areas such as stress reduction, mental and physical health, and relationships.
Writer Egenes described a number of situations where TM had be introduced into the school system. Sarina Grosswald, Ed D saw the potential of TM helping children diagnosed with ADHD. She approached the Chelsea Academy in Washington, DC (a small private school for children with language-based learning differences) and set up a research study to measure the effects of the TM on students with ADHD.
'The students saw improvement in organizational skills, memory, problem-solving, problem execution, and decrease in stress and anxiety as measured by standardized tests,' Grosswald told Egenes. 'These results were statistically significant.' The students themselves reported that they felt more confident, more mature, more able to set their own priorities, less stressed.
The article also mentioned the Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse of Detroit, a K-8 charter school, where TM was introduced to students in grades 5-8. A research study by Rita Benn, PhD, director of education at the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Research Center at the University of Michigan, compared the Nataki Talibah school with another charter school where the students didn't practice meditation. The findings showed that the Nataki school students who meditated were much more relaxed, peaceful, and happy. The results were presented to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. According to the article, a follow-up research study is now underway.
The article continued with interviews educators as diverse as George Rutherford, a school principal at the Fletcher-Johnson Education Center, a public school in the heart of DC; and Josie Batorski, a studio teacher who has worked on movie and TV sets for the past 12 years teaching child stars. All agreed that no matter what the specific conditions of the student, TM was integral in creating happy, healthy students who are more centred and less overshadowed by events around them.
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Knowledge based—programmes to bring the support of Nature to every individual, raise the quality of life of every society, and create a lasting state of world peace.
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