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Transcendental Meditation and reduced prison recidivism
by Global Good News staff writer
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5 February 2013
At a conference titled The New Science of Meditation and Self-Healing: Transcendental Meditation and Mind-Body Medicine, Norman Rosenthal, MD, spoke about yet another application of Transcendental Meditation (TM).
'There is wonderful data on prison recidivism and TM,' Dr Rosenthal told the audience at the University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Medicine.
He told an anecdote illustrating the effect of Transcendental Meditation on some prison inmates in the United States.
Pat Corum, a felon in the California penitentiary system, was in prison for life because he had committed more than one extreme violent crime. There he encountered a teacher who worked in the prison.
'[The man] was a TM teacher. The big inmates and felons would [try to] intimidate him, trying to get him to give them good grades, and he just kind of smiled and laughed, and he was so cool,' said Dr Rosenthal.
Mr Corum saw this man's behaviour and thought, what does he have that keeps him so cool? I want that.
Of course, Dr Rosenthal said, what the man had was Transcendental Meditation. So Mr Corum learned to meditate and quickly noticed a change in himself. He remembers one incident in particular when another inmate disrespected him.
Dr Rosenthal explained, 'You could never tolerate [being disrespected] in a prison system because it would mean you'd lost status and you were therefore at risk.'
But Mr Corum just looked at the other inmate, smiled, and walked away. 'He said that was the turning point.' Describing what happened from the perspective of a leading psychiatrist and researcher, Dr Rosenthal said, 'He had those few extras seconds for the prefrontal cortex to kick in and say, do you want another . . . ''rap'' on your name?'
Eventually Mr Corum was released from prison and lived a middle class life. He remembers that after the passing of a family member, he was able to join with the family in mourning.
'He had become like a normal member of society, and that to him was the high point of being a civilized human being again,' Dr Rosenthal explained. 'That is what TM gave to him.'
See related articles:
∙ US: Integrative medicine conference at University of Maryland focuses on healing through meditation
∙ University of Maryland hosts medical conference on benefits of Transcendental Meditation
∙ Conference highlights Transcendental Meditation role in integrative medicine
∙ Medical database holds extensive research on mind-body medicine, meditation
∙ The story behind the bestselling book Transcendence
∙ Studies show Transcendental Meditation can reverse heart disease, reduce blood pressure
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