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Vedic Visitors Weekend features research on Transcendental Meditation and the brain

Global Peace Initiative    Translate This Article
30 November 2011

The Vedic Visitors Weekend, hosted by the Global Peace Initiative November 4-6 at Maharishi Vedic City in Iowa, USA, included presentations by leading scientists. One featured speaker was Fred Travis, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management in neighboring Fairfield. Dr Travis is one of the world's leading researchers on the brain, consciousness and meditation.

His scientific presentation during the weekend on the effects of Transcendental Meditation on brain functioning was highlighted by slides and graphics illustrating the beneficial changes that occur as a result of regular TM practice—the foundation of the Global Peace Initiative's ''Brain Based Approach to Peace''.

From EEG signatures and connectivity maps, Dr. Travis showed how different meditation practices impact different parts of the brain. ''Most meditations fall into two categories,'' he said.

''First are 'focused attention' techniques, which require you to concentrate on an object, or a particular word or phrase. The second are 'open monitoring' techniques, which involve being mindful of your thoughts or breath without interfering with them. This approach attempts to still the mind and become an uninvolved witness to activity. But these attempts are on the surface level of the mind,'' he said.

Dr. Travis then identified a third category—''automatic self-transcending''—a process that allows the mind to transcend its own activity. 'This is the Transcendental Meditation technique, during which the mind transcends effortlessly, and arrives at the depth of consciousness, the source of the thinking mind—transcendental consciousness, or Samadhi.''

After several months of TM practice, the brain begins to demonstrate increased connectivity, even outside of meditation. ''The brain functions more holistically, which accounts for the meditating student's improved academic achievement. The student is able to absorb, integrate, and express knowledge more effectively,'' Dr. Travis explained.

The weekend conference drew Indo-Americans from cities as far away as Los Angeles and New York. Dr. G.V. Naidu, who traveled from St. Louis to attend, said, ''The scientific documentation of 'The Neurophysiology of Enlightenment' by Dr. Travis was impressive.''

Please also see Part I of this series. Global Good News will continue to report on the Vedic Visitors Weekend, which also featured a presentation by internationally renowned quantum physicist John Hagelin, Ph.D., who discussed scientific research documenting how groups of experts in the Transcendental Meditation and advanced TM-Sidhi program can neutralize violence and conflict and create world peace.

© Copyright 2011 Global Peace Initiative

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