We hope you enjoy the August 2022 issue of our mini-magazine with stories and news about women, the Transcendental Meditation program, and the benefits of the development of consciousness. Our topics this month are:
- Last month’s blog written by women for women
- The secret to building resilience
- Online group meditation for women who’ve learned TM
- Q&A: How does the TM technique affect the brain?
- What women say: “direct impact on our very modern problems”
In case you missed them, below are links to some articles published on our blog in July. Feel free to share them with your friends. To see previous posts, please visit our archives on tm-women.org/blog/
Lil Malinich is a stage, film and television actress, acting coach, director and producer from London, Ontario, who currently lives in New York. She is a core member of Broadway-affiliated theater company Working Artists Theatre Project (WAT Project) and co-founded the award-winning Canadian company Theatre Soup. Lil’s diverse body of stage work includes classic and contemporary plays as well as leading roles with WAT Project.
I’m sitting in front of my laptop thinking of the girls and women in my life—five generations of girls and women—and also of all those I don’t know personally but feel connected with nonetheless. I think of all the layers of happiness and sadness and achievement and disappointment that we all undergo and of the countless threads of experience that weave our individual lives. I think of us all and I believe that there’s one outstanding essential insight from every spiritual tradition that can enrich our lives if we know how to take advantage of it:
A Better Map to Resilience
Several years ago, Harvard Business Review published an article called, “Resilience is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure” in which the writers explain that most people have a fundamental misconception of what it means to be resilient. Far from toughing out a grueling schedule or showing grit during an exhausting task, real resilience is derived from knowing when to stop work to rest and recover. Recovering means both mentally and physically re-booting.
In The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington wrote, “We sacrifice sleep in the name of productivity, but ironically our loss of sleep, despite the extra hours we spend at work, adds up to 11 days of lost productivity per year per worker, or about $2,280.”
The value of our recovering and rebooting periods increases in proportion to the amount of our work pressure. Homeostasis describes the brain’s ability to continuously restore and sustain well-being. A homeostatic effect of restoring well-being to the mind and body results in greater focus, creativity, energy, cognition, memory, and productivity.
The Transcendental Meditation technique must rate high on the homeostatic value scale, as it has been scientifically shown from research published over a span of fifty years to bring those very results. Rather than taking a break to shift to some other activity (such as chatting with friends or exercising) or simply taking a nap, transcending physical and mental activity to one’s inner state of wakeful, restful alertness is the very definition of how to revitalize. In the TM practice, the mind effortlessly settles into and taps a state of silent, full mental potential at the simplest state of awareness. At the same time, the metabolism slows and the body deeply relaxes, eliminating stress and fatigue.
In the last decade, studies specifically measuring resilience have been published, including:
- a study in the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, where research at Sarasota Memorial Hospital found clear statistical evidence that the TM technique can increase resilience and compassion satisfaction among nurses while decreasing burnout and secondary traumatic stress.
- a study published in Contemporary School Psychology, conducted by WestEd, a highly respected educational research, development, and service agency, showed that the Transcendental Meditation technique can significantly reduce anxiety and increase resilience among urban youth. Regular meditators (twice daily as prescribed) showed significant increases in class attendance and even greater improvements in resilience.
TM for Women’s Online Group Meditation
TM for Women has been conducting free group meditation meetings on Zoom four nights every week since the beginning of the pandemic.
Once you have learned the Transcendental Meditation technique, you are self-sufficient in practicing twice daily. To further benefit, meditating in a group and having a Q&A or short informative talk afterward by a certified TM teachercan be very fulfilling and strengthen your practice and results.
Those of you who have learned the TM technique are welcome to join as often as you would like. Those who have not yet learned TM will be welcome to join once you have completed the course of instruction.
Here are a few participants’ comments describing what our online group meditations mean to them:
- I’ve only been doing TM a little over a year. This is a great way to anchor myself, ground myself with life. – Connie
- The TM Women’s online group meditation has helped me become regular in my practice, feel calmer, and be less reactive in my daily life. I love the sharing of knowledge and ideas, and the sense of community with these lovely women is like an oasis in a turbulent world. – Carol
- TM has changed me into a much better person. TM for Women has strengthened my practice and provided me with the support I needed. It is a great support system. I learned so much from our teachers and the other members of the group. – Cherry
- We have a feminine support group through these dark ages with comfort, encouragement, and soft, peaceful, moments shared. – Joyce
If you have already completed the TM course and wish to participate, please contact: email@example.com
Q- Does the Transcendental Meditation technique affect the brain differently than other types of meditation?
Yes! During the TM technique, the brain is more coherent and integrated, meaning that all the different parts communicate better, working together better as a whole. This is the basis of improved mental performance.
Neuroscientists have found that during the TM practice, the brain produces high-power alpha waves. This distinct brain pattern corresponds to the mind’s relaxed inner wakefulness. When the alpha waves become synchronous, our executive judgement is strengthened.
There are three major types of meditation practices:
Focused attention: concentrating on an object, idea, or emotion; characterized by beta/gamma activity, including meditations from Tibetan Buddhist (loving kindness and compassion), Buddhist (Zen and Diamond Way), and Chinese (Qigong) traditions. This type of meditation keeps the mind involved with activity.
Open monitoring: being mindful of one’s breath, thoughts or feelings; characterized by theta activity, including meditations from Buddhist (Mindfulness, and ZaZen), Chinese (Qigong), and Vedic (Sahaja Yoga) traditions. This type of meditation also keeps the mind involved with activity.
Automatic self-transcending: effortless procedures of meditation that allow the mind to transcend its own activity to the source of thought—pure consciousness; characterized by alpha1 activity, including Transcendental Meditation, which is from the Vedic tradition. No meditation technique other than Transcendental Meditation has been found to consistently produce alpha coherence throughout the brain. Researchers have found that the experience of “transcending” restores neurological balance, inner silence, balanced emotions, and clarity of mind. (ref: Cognitive Processing, 2010)
“Jennifer Lopez is an extraordinarily productive and successful American singer, actress, dancer, fashion designer, author, producer, philanthropist and mom. In 2017, having learned the TM technique, Jennifer Lopez said in an interview that meditating twice daily was “necessary” for her brain. A recent issue of her JLo newsletter explained:
…Transcendental Meditation is a simple practice that dramatically changes how we respond to stress and life’s challenges. With scientifically proven benefits—reduced stress and anxiety, and improved focus, sleep, resilience, creativity, and memory, to name a few—this…technique has a clear and direct impact on our very modern problems…. What winds up happening is a cleansing of the extra thoughts, anxiety, emotions and feelings that are bothering you.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org