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Norman Rosenthal: From Transcendence to The Gift of Adversity
by Dr Norman Rosenthal

Transcendental Meditation Blog    Translate This Article
22 August 2013

Adversity comes in many shapes and degrees of severity. In my new book, The Gift of Adversity: The Unexpected Benefits of Life's Difficulties, Setbacks, and Imperfections, I devote an entire chapter to people who have suffered terribly from drug abuse, homelessness and imprisonment, yet have found their way back to decent, even happy, lives. This seemingly miraculous transformation was due in no small measure to the steadiness and clarity they found in the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation. The chapter is called 'The Gift of Meditation.'

It is a gift I have personally enjoyed—and continue to practice twice each day. For adversity, even in lesser form, can be frustrating and even painful. Take writer's block, for example. In the ten years after I wrote The Emotional Revolution, I wrote no other books. In fact I resolved never to write another book because it was too difficult and burdensome. Then I restarted my regular practice of TM—and that made all the difference.

In the past five years I have written three books and edited a fourth. How could such an apparently simple process as TM have resulted in so dramatic a turnaround?

The answer, I believe, results from the profound changes in both brain and body that occur when we meditate regularly. The soothing fluxes of aIpha rhythms and EEG coherence between different brain regions are associated with diving deep into the self and thinking clearly. The body settles down and is less liable to seek distraction in its restless quest for quick gratification.

One word sums this process up—Transcendence. That was the name of my last book, and that book and that state of consciousness gently led me to my new book, The Gift of Adversity. How can adversity be a gift? In what form does such a gift appear? Most important, perhaps, what can we do to transform life's adversities—a bond we all share with one another—into gifts rather than feeling overwhelmed by them? . . . My new book is a collection of stories gathered over a lifetime, from my own experiences and from those amazing people whom I have been privileged to meet along the way.

To see an excerpt of The Gift of Adversity in video form, please click, The Thumbs Must Go.

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Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal is the world-renowned psychiatrist, researcher, and best-selling author, who first described seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and pioneered the use of light therapy as a treatment during his twenty years at the (US) National Institute of Mental Health. A highly cited researcher, he has written over 200 scholarly articles, and authored or co-authored eight popular books. These include Winter Blues, the New York Times bestseller Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation. Dr. Rosenthal also serves as clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine.—which also includes links with more information about The Gift of Adversity, and excerpts from a video interview with Dr Rosenthal about the book, by Robert Roth, executive director of the David Lynch Foundation.

Copyright © 2013 Maharishi Foundation USA

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