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Scientific research on Transcendental Meditation: Quantifying the growth to enlightenment
by David W. Orme-Johnson, Ph.D.
Transcendental Meditation Magazine Translate This Article
16 February 2012
Dr. David Orme-Johnson* continues to explore the theme of how scientific research findings, including decreased stress in the nervous system, improved brain functioning, as well as increased perception, creativity, intelligence, learning ability, memory, and many others, have helped to precisely delineate the attributes of growing enlightenment experienced through practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique.
Please see previous articles in this series:
∙ 'The science behind the experience of enlightenment: Measuring the immeasurable'
∙ 'Early research on Transcendental Meditation finds fourth major state of consciousness: Dr David Orme-Johnson'
∙ 'The meditating brain: Research shows increased EEG coherence during Transcendental Meditation'
∙ 'A coherent brain is a high-performing brain: Scientific research on Transcendental Meditation'
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Enlightenment and expanded mental potential. Numerous studies show that growth towards enlightenment is accompanied by increased perception, creativity, intelligence, learning ability, and memory, as higher EEG coherence would predict. Early research by Dr. Michael Dillbeck showed that the TM technique improved visual acuity no matter whether one's habitual patterns of perception aided task performance or hindered task performance—a finding that supports the view of enlightenment as a state of freedom from the tyranny of past habits.
Research by Dr. Paul Gelderloos found that the TM technique improves autonomy, independence, orientation toward positive values, and the unifying emotions of compassion and devotion—all indications of decreased stress in the nervous system and improved brain functioning.
Enlightenment and ego development. The sequence of human development is a major theoretical and practical concern of modern psychology. Dr. Charles (Skip) Alexander, in his doctoral dissertation at Harvard, argued that the developmental sequence of mainstream psychology can be logically extended by Maharishi's descriptions of higher states of consciousness.
Dr. Alexander reasoned that stress and the lack of a proper developmental technology had ''frozen'' human development at incomplete, immature developmental levels, which are ultimately the cause of immorality, violence, and most forms of human suffering. To test his model, he studied maximum-security prisoners at Walpole prison in Massachusetts and found that inmates practicing the TM technique grew more in cognitive complexity, character, and social development in one year than did non-meditating Harvard students in four years.
A 15-year follow-up study at Folsom prison by Dr. Maxwell Rainforth found 40% fewer returns to prison among former maximum security prisoners who had learned the TM technique while incarcerated, compared to matched controls. This finding showed that growth of enlightenment translates into objective behavioral transformations, important to society.
Moreover, a 10-year longitudinal study by Dr. Howard Chandler found that young college graduates who practiced the TM and advanced TM-Sidhi programs reached higher levels of ego development than any sample ever reported in the field.
Click here to watch a video of Dr. Orme-Johnson discussing the body of scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation technique.
Global Good News will continue to feature excerpts from Dr. Orme-Johnson's article, The science behind the experience of enlightenment.
Source: Enlightenment: The Transcendental Meditation Magazine
* David W. Orme-Johnson, Ph.D., was a founding faculty member and chair of the department of psychology at Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa, USA for over two decades. Dr. Orme-Johnson has published over 100 scientific papers on the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi® programs and is co-editor of Volumes 1 and 5 of Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program: Collected Papers. He is a nationally recognized researcher on human potential and currently serves as a consultant on research on meditation.
© Copyright 2012 Maharishi Foundation USA
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