What about that website I read?
Some time ago, I got a call from a reporter with the Washington Post who was working on a big article on the David Lynch Foundation and Transcendental Meditation.
In his research, the reporter had come across a site on the web that made scary claims against TM.
He asked me about them, to get my response. I said, Let’s go through each thing, line by line, and look for solid scientific facts that could back it up.
He was working on a bunch of other articles at the time, so it took him about two weeks to track it all down.
He called researchers at the National Institutes of Health and the National Institutes of Mental Health. He called medical doctors at American University where a two-year study was under way on the effects of TM on 300 stressed-out college students… He scoured the IRS website and saw for himself how much the TM organization is worth (not much!) … He spoke to students, parents and teachers in inner city schools who had been meditating for several months and to elderly folks who had been meditating for several decades.
He tracked down everything. (He had the time. After all, he was being paid by the Post!)
He concluded that the accusations against TM that exist on the web had no foundation or existence in the scientific or medical community. He looked and found that the accusations don’t appear in any medical textbook (although there are countless positive citations about TM in these texts). He found that the American Psychological Association regularly showcases research on the benefits of TM practice for mental health and brain functioning.
He got so intrigued by the good stuff that he decided to learn to meditate.
That reporter is not alone. The NIH has given tens of millions of dollars over the past 20 years to study the effects of TM on hypertension and heart disease. Prisons and veterans groups and schools offer TM (for free) to their at-risk populations. Hospitals offer TM as part of their wellness programs in small and large businesses.
We live in a scientific age. Fortunately.
I do not get paid to teach meditation. I have been a volunteer for nearly 40 years. I worry about the next generation of young people who are drowning in an ocean of stress, and seeking a lethal escape in drugs, alcohol, violence—and worse, suicide. Terrible, unimaginable stresses compared to the mild dose of tension I must have felt as a kid growing up in the 50s and 60s…
And the conventional approaches for helping them cope with their stresses? Medicines, therapy, and punishment.
They can certainly help some. They can certainly be a deterrent for some. But the situation is only getting worse, precariously, dangerously worse.
Is TM alone the solution to all these problems? Of course not.
But it can help, and there are lots of smart people in education and health and business and government who have studied the facts and agree…
Speaking of government, I am in Washington DC today. Cold, cold, cold. Going on a tour of the White House this evening. I have never done that before.
Will let you know if I see Barack, Michelle and the kids… (yeah, right!)…
Thanks for listening,