The most far-reaching implications of TM practice lie in its potential to transform society
The simple experience of transcending has many striking effects. We can see that, for example, in studies that display the activation of the body’s own healing power, more integrated and coherent brain functioning, etc.. The strength and nature of some of these effects are unique to Transcendental Meditation.
However, while the effects of TM on individuals are impressive, the most far-reaching implications of TM practice lie in its potential to transform society.
Thousands of years ago, in the ancient texts of the science of consciousness, known as Veda, it was predicted that a small group of people, practicing powerful techniques for Transcending, could generate an influence of harmony throughout society and neutralise negative social trends. Previously, it is likely that groups like monks in monasteries in various countries and cultures, held this role in society but ultimately lost it as techniques for systematic transcending were lost. Now that an easy and effective technique for transcending has become available, through the medium of the Transcendental Meditation programme, research has shown these societal effects are real.
How does it work?
When we dive into a pool, we enliven the surface of the water.
Transcending is like taking a dive into a pool. Wherever we dive, we’ll create ripples or waves. We enliven the surface of the water. Likewise, when we allow the mind to come home and experience pure consciousness, we will enliven the qualities of our consciousness. These qualities were described in “the highest human experience” section as unity, pure positivity and connectedness. All the beneficial effects measured during the Transcendental Meditation practice, in particular in the brain – see full brain development – are the result of enlivening these qualities of consciousness.
But, when we dive into a pool, we not only create an impact where we dive but also waves that spread out over the entire pool. When we transcend, qualities of unity are not only enlivened within our own consciousness but also in the consciousness of the people around us. The effect may not be as strong as within ourselves but there is an effect nevertheless and it is measurable.
This effect was at the basis of a prediction that Maharishi made in the 1960s: “If only 1% of the population of a city or country would learn to transcend regularly, a measurable effect would be created in the society“.
It’s like a lightbulb. How can a small light bulb light up a large room? Because the light bulb is connected to the entire room though an electromagnetic field. The light bulb simply enlivens this field, it creates a vibration, of light waves. These light waves spread out over the entire field, and the entire room lights up. When we switch off the light the field doesn’t disappears. The field is always there in an omnipresent state. But if it is no longer enlivened in the room, the room goes dark.
Just as a room will be dark without light, so also the mind will also only shine when positivity is enlivened in the surroundings.
We can observe the same in our society. The field that lies at the origin of our subjective world of thoughts and feelings is always present. This is what physicists have described as the Unified Field. Without this field, there would be no life. But, because we forgot how to “switch on the light” and how to enliven this field through transcending, society has fallen into problems. When people forget their unified nature, then crime, corruption, accidents and many other symptoms of negative behaviours tend to surface in society.
However, to light up an entire city we don’t need lights everywhere. Some lights here and there will suffice. In a similar manner, we do not require everyone to transcend in order to enliven the qualities of transcending everywhere. 1% of society appears to be sufficient to make the difference. “Light”, in terms of the human mind, is consciousness and is that which makes us humane. So, yesterday someone saw no wrong in harming somebody else for personal profit. Today, it no longer feels right. The thought to commit a crime no longer comes up. Doesn’t that sound like an efficient way to combat crime?
This prediction was put to the test in 1975 in a number of U.S. cities where at least 1% of the population were practicing TM. Scientists then requested crime statistics from the FBI and looked to see if there was a measurable difference between these “1% cities”, compared to previous trends in those cities, as compared to control cities, and also as compared to the general trends in the U.S. The numbers showed an average drop in crime of over 20% from one year to the next. This was a significant decrease that could not have occurred by chance (p<.001) and for which they were unable to find an alternative explanation. Several studies have since confirmed these results.
In 1978, Maharishi took things one step further. From the old Vedic texts, he revived various advanced meditation techniques, that people could learn if they already practiced the TM technique. He called these techniques the TM Sidhi Programme and Yogic Flying. In particular, the latter technique turned out to have a very special ordering effect on body and brain.
During the TM practice, a reverse correlation between physical rest and EEG coherence had been observed – EEG coherence is a way of measuring the unity or orderliness, of the brain. When the body entered deeper rest, as measured, for example, through the pulse, the brain started to function in a more coherent holistic manner. During Yogic Flying, this EEG coherence increased even more than during TM practice but did so while the body was becoming active (light hopping), along with a corresponding heart rate increase (see “lift” in the graph). (source International journal of Neuroscience) This results in a much faster integration of transcending with activity, as a result of which all TM effects are intensified.
But Yogic Flying also turned out to have a much powerful effect on society, displaying an exponential growth of the original effect.
In physics, the force of a wave increases exponentially with its height. We can easily illustrate this. If 3 individuals are standing around a lake and take turns jumping into the water, then this will create 3 sets of waves, each one with its own height and reach and area of the lake that it influence. But, if these 3 individuals were to hold hands and jump into the water together, then 3 individual waves would add together to produce one bigger wave. This wave will be 3 times as high, but will cover an area that grows exponentially, to be 9 times as large.
The same phenomena can be observed with TM practitioners and Yogic Flying. If, in a city, 1% of the population practices the TM technique in their homes, then this is similar to dozens of people taking turns jumping into the lake, creating waves. 1% suffices to revive the lake and to create an effect for the entire population. But if these individuals practice the Yogic Flying technique together as a group, then this would be like them all holding hands and jumping into the lake together. So, instead of 1% of the population being required, now only the square root of 1% is required!
This resulted in a very special hypothesis, i.e., that a small group of people practicing Yogic Flying together, could positively influence the way in which millions of people around them think and act.
The advantage of this hypothesis was that it was relatively easy to test it. A typical experiment would go like this
1. Scientists only needed to select a region with a lot of social stress, for example a city with a high crime rate, or even a war zone, and with trends that indicate a worsening of the situation, so nobody in their right mind would predict an improvement.
2. The scientist would then make a public prediction that the situation would improve as soon as the Yogic Flyers arrive: war activity would reduce, crime would go down, economic activity would improve etc. They would set precise start and end dates for the experiment. They would also predict that the situation would deteriorate again as soon as the Yogic Flyers leave and they would estimate/predict in advance, how they will measure the changes.
3. At the exact start date the Yogic Flyers arrive. They remain in their hotel, with as little interaction with the outside world as possible, and at the exact end date they leave.
4. Subsequently the researchers investigate if the effects did take place, usually through completely independent sources such as government statistics, or articles published by prestigious newspapers.
Scientifically proven by more than 50 scientific studies
These types of experiments didn’t just happen once or twice but over 50 times, around the world.
For example, 7 consecutive experiments took place in Lebanon from 1981 to 1983, a period of constant civil war. Each time, it was predicted upfront that the war activity would reduce and data showed that, during the 7 experiments, the number of war victims dropped by almost 80%. The chance of such a big change occurring by coincidence on 7 consecutive occasions was less than 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000.000. To give you an idea of the meaning of that number, the chance of you winning the lotto this week is about 200 billion times higher.
Another experiment gives an indication of how cost effective this technology can be. In March 1998, a group of individuals in the village of Skelmersdale, close to the Merseyside area in England, made a prediction on local television. A group of 150 individuals were going to be practicing Yogic Flying together and, as a result, they predicted, that crime would significantly decrease in all of Merseyside, an area of more than 1 million citizens. Not a lot of people took the prediction seriously, as in spite of ever increasing costs to combat crime, crime simply continued to increase. At the time of the prediction, Merseyside held the third highest crime rate in England.
Reducing crime by 60%, at a cost 99% lower than then current methods. Is this a miracle?
But, as soon as the experiment started, the trend of ever-increasing crime reversed. Five years later, in 1992, Merseyside had the lowest crime rate in all of England. Crime had dropped by 40% as compared to previous crime rates, and more than 60% as compared to the average trend in England. With a group of only 150 Yogic Flyers, 225,000 crimes were prevented over a period of 5 years and a total of £1.2 billion (almost $2 billion) was saved by the Government. It was calculated that each hour a Yogic Flyer was doing his programme, the local government was saved $6,000 in crime related cost, not taking into account the cost of human suffering. The Yogic Flyers were all volunteers but, even if they had been paid for their work (say at $30 per hour), even then the cost would be 99.5% lower than existing methods, while at the same time more effective.
And crime reduction was only one of the parameters that improved. Car accidents also went down, the economy improved and pollution decreased.
These and 20 other research studies have now been published by some of the world’s most prestigious journals in the area of social sciences. A journal’s reputation is linked to the content is publishes and, therefore, journals only publishes research that meets the highest research standards. Descriptions of these published research articles can be found on the TM website under Published articles TM and Yogic Flying.
Since the discovery of the effect of these Yogic Flyers in the 80s, Maharishi only had one more goal for his global organisation – to as quickly as possible create groups of Yogic Flyers large enough to create a positive effect for every country and, moreover, a number of super-groups large enough to create an effect for the entire world. So long as governments didn’t support these groups, funds of the TM organisation as well as donor money, was being used for this purpose. If someone, therefore, pays a course fee to learn Transcendental Meditation, he directly contributes to a bigger purpose for the entire world.
The TM organisation is currently building a super group of 9,000 Vedic experts in the heart of India, where they have purchased 800 acres of land to build an entire town. Currently 2,500 experts are present there and receive a salary in order to create an effect all day long. Their salary is paid by the TM organisation and through gifts from donors.
If it is possible to effectively implement this technology on a personal level in society, then everyone will benefit from the social effects ‘for free’.
There are many ways to get groups of Yogic Flyers together in every country, for example through education where schoolchildren practice the technique before and after their school day, in businesses where employees practice yogic Flying as part of their work routine, in police projects where the police spend more time preventing crimes rather than dealing with their after effects, in prison projects where TM and Yogic Flying are used for the personal rehabilitation of the prisoner or in establishing a prevention wing of the military as is happening in a number of countries. .
Such projects have major potential paybacks. In schools, students grow in intelligence and creativity. Discipline improves. Students and teachers are happier and more relaxed. Interest in learning increases. Academic performance improves. Teaching becomes more fulfilling. In corporate life, employees become more productive and, though they may spend part of their working day meditating, in work terms, they can produce more than before. In jails, TM holds enormous hope for effective rehabilitation, based on the significant decrease in the inmate recidivism rate. Over and above these personal benefits, the group generates an effect of coherence and positivity that spills over into the surrounding community and society.
This is main reason why, amongst others, the David Lynch Foundation in the USA, indicated its willingness, subject to funds being available, to support a TM project in one school for every country, because one school often suffices to create a positive effect for the entire country. For example, Ireland would only require 250 Yogic Flyers, practicing in a group twice-a-day every day, in order to create a positive effect for the entire country. One school would be a good start.
For the research on the social effects of TM, in honour of Maharishi also called the “Maharashi Effect, go to:
Research social effects TM for the research around the 1% effect of Transcendental Meditation.
Research social effects Yogic Flying for research about the square root of 1% effect with groups of practitioners of the TM Sidhi programme and Yogic Flying.
Published research TM and Yogic Flying: All research that has been accepted for publication in scientific journals (some of the 20 studies, more will be added to this soon).