We hope you enjoy our April 2022 mini-magazine.
- Links to February and March blog posts written by women, for women, about women
- How does the TM practice affect “catastrophic” thinking?
- Findings of research on the practice of TM in Peruvian students
- Life is found in layers: Action, Thinking, Being
- What women say: Katy Perry finds that TM “works like a charm.”
In case you missed them, below are links to some posts that were published on our blog in February and March. Feel free to share them with your friends. To see previous posts, please visit our archives at tm-women.org/blog/
One day in New York City, I passed a many-windowed bookstore and stopped to look more closely at an unusual window display. There must have been 20 books in this one display, all focused on relationships, with titles like Women Who Love Too Much; Men Who Hate Women & The Women Who Love Them; and He’s Just Not That Into You. To my great delight, there was a big sign that the window designer had placed in the front of all these books that said: Women Who Read Too Much.
According to a February 15th, 2022, article in The New York Times, “Nurses have finally learned what they’re worth.” Both as an integral asset to our health system and as caring health professionals, nurses are invaluable. They are organized, efficient, compassionate healers. Nurses are normally steadfast, governed by a heartfelt sense of duty—but now they are depleted and traumatized. Bedside nursing has always been a “burnout profession,” but after two years of dealing with the challenges of a pandemic, many nurses now are moving out of nursing.
If you used a search engine to find a form of meditation that is easy to do, it’s probably because you’d heard somewhere that meditation is difficult. Or perhaps you’ve tried meditating and found it difficult, or unpleasant, or unsuccessful. After that experience, it would be natural to feel some trepidation about checking out meditation again.
No worries! This article discusses Transcendental Meditation (TM) and explains how meditation, done properly, is effortless and rewarding from the start.
Averting and Reducing Catastrophic Thinking
Aside from uncomfortable or even devastating circumstances that can happen in anyone’s life just living day-to-day, the pandemic followed by frightening unrest within and between nations can have set off catastrophic thinking.
Excerpted from the Psychiatric Times of Feb 22, 2022
“Everyone has experienced moments when one bad outcome convinces us we are doomed to a life of failure. These catastrophic thoughts are akin to making a proverbial mountain out of a mole hill. It is why after a breakup, we think no one will ever love us. It is that seizing fear when waiting on a doctor’s report. It is that gnawing feeling when someone vaguely texts ‘we need to talk.’
This exaggerated expectation that only the worst possible outcome will occur can exert a powerful and debilitating influence over our lives. Left unchecked, these catastrophic thoughts can set dangerous patterns that prohibit us from taking reasonable chances, following inspiration, or recognizing life’s silver linings….
Catastrophic thinking, also known as magnifying, is a kind of cognitive distortion—a thought pattern that is irrational or exaggerated…. Catastrophic thinking can be triggered by one’s perception of what is happening at present or what they anticipate will happen in the future.
As psychiatrists, we often encounter catastrophic thinking in our patients. We understand how difficult it can be to change these patterns, even with professional help.”
A 1995 study showed that women engage in catastrophic thinking more than men. The Psychiatric Times article recommends building resilience to burnout, and thus to catastrophic thinking, through the use of the TM technique:
“In one of the author’s studies, health care workers during the pandemic who practiced TM for 3 months showed significantly improved symptoms of emotional exhaustion, anxiety, and insomnia over time when compared to a control group. In another pandemic study, emergency clinicians who practiced TM experienced significant reductions in burnout, along with fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and sleep disturbances.”
The last few years’ events—with ramifications in education, personal finances, health systems and the economy—has contributed to catastrophic thinking. Published studies show that Transcendental Meditation increases useful thinking by increasing creativity, flexibility, and brain coherence while reducing stress.
Life is Found in Layers: Action, Thinking and Being
As we learn in our Ties to the Universe course for women, one of the fundamental and universal principles of life is that everything is found in layers. Ellen Deck, one of our course participants, observed:
“Layers are found throughout the entirety of the Universe as a whole. And, throughout every part of the diversity of relative existence, there are layers. Regardless of size, from the enormity of clusters of galaxies down to the smallest of subatomic particles, this is true. And, for all things animate and inanimate, this is true. For all things visible and invisible this is true.
Some layers are physically seen and some are invisible. Some layers are Nouns or Objects. Examples:
Super galaxies, galaxies, strata of earth, the layers within our physiology, within all plants, animals, cells, molecules, atoms, particles.
The currents in air, fire, water and air are all layers.
The layers within air enable birds and even planes the ability to fly.
Steps: a metaphor:
Walking up and down steps we ascend or descend levels or layers. This is so with both physical steps, which are objects, as well as invisible steps, which are process.
Some layers are processes: Creative endeavors are done in layers. Painting, sculpting, architecture, computer programming, cooking, writing. For example, in writing: words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, chapters.”
Action, Thinking and Being
We also find this principle of life in layers to be true in our human range of experience. Maharishi, the founder of the TM program and the great exponent and scientist of consciousness, said there are three fields, or layers, of life: action, thinking, and Being.
In his book, Science of Being and Art of Living, Maharishi explains that Being, which is the essential constituent of creation, is the basis of all activity. Although lying at the field of the absolute, Being is the basic source of all relative activity.
“We know that activity depends upon thinking. One has first to think in order to do anything. However, people rarely consider what their thinking depends upon. Thinking is a basis of doing; what then, is the basis of thinking?
In order to think, one has at least to be. Being is the basis of thinking and thinking is the basis of doing. Being is the basis of all living, just as without the sap and root, there would be no tree. If we can take care of the sap the whole tree will be taken care of. Similarly, if we can take care of Being, the whole field of thinking and doing will be taken care of.”
Being, the source of the ever-changing states of phenomenal life, is, in itself, the eternally silent field of infinite potential.
Maharishi says, “We have seen that being lies beyond the subtlest stratum of creation in the transcendental field of absolute existence. In order to experience this transcendental reality, it is necessary that our attention be led in a concrete manner through all the subtle strata of creation. Then, arriving at the subtlest level, it must transcend that experience to know transcendental Being.”
This process takes place effortlessly during Transcendental Meditation.
The field of pure being is the source of energy, intelligence and creativity that manifests in thought; the quality and power of our thoughts are innocent reflections of how much the source of thought is being tapped by the conscious mind. If we have enlivened 10 percent of being, thoughts will be 10 percent effective; if we have developed 80 percent, then thoughts will be 80 percent powerful.
Because our actions are dependent upon the quality of our thinking, it follows suit that action will bring a greater degree of achievement and fulfillment as the mind, due to repeated transcending, becomes more lively with our inner potential.
So we see that the outermost concrete layer of life—activity—is dependent upon a subtler layer—thinking—which, in turn, is dependent upon the inner-most layer of life—Being. That is the full range of human life.
Incredible Stress Relief
Katy Perry, mother, songwriter, performer, businesswoman, producer and philanthropist told Prevention magazine that Transcendental Meditation clears her head completely and that she gets some of her best creative ideas through her practice of the technique. It also serves to reduce fatigue and stress, as she explained in her interview January 24th with Well + Good:
“It’s really one of those things that has given me incredible stress relief,” Perry says. “I’m such a big believer in it, and I think it’s something everyone should try and practice in their life and adopt as a tool. When you wake up and feel like you had eight hours of sleep but still feel like crap because you weren’t really resting, meditation goes underneath all of that to give you real rest. Some days, I’m running on fumes. This morning, my daughter woke me up at 5:30 a.m. and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to get a meditation in,’ because that’s where I’m going to find the feeling of having 2–4 extra hours of sleep in a day. And it works like a charm every single time. It never lets me down.”
Editor’s note: We’d love to hear your comments on the benefits you’ve received from the TM practice. And, with your permission, we’ll publish them here for other women to enjoy. Send your comment to email@example.com