Ancient insights describe the source of our consciousness as pure bliss.
The ancient tradition of Vedic knowledge,which inspires the Transcendental Meditation Programme, describes the transcendental source of life as a field of pure bliss and happiness. When the mind is directed outward it can never find the pure, unbounded state of happiness, only ups and downs. We know that the mind is always in search of happiness. In the practice of TM, we, naturally and effortlessly, utilise the mind’s instinctive desire for happiness to allow it to be drawn towards the transcendental field.
Although the subjective experience will differ from one meditation to the next, objective measurements show that there are consistent, objective changes in the brain when the mind transcends, such as significant increases in the “happiness hormone” serotonin and decreases in the stress hormones cortisol and plasma lactate.Ref.JEVNING, R.; WILSON, A. F.; and DAVIDSON, J. M. Adrenocortical activity during meditation. Hormones and Behavior 10(1): 54–60, 1978. Reduction in Biochemical Index of Stress: Decreased Plasma Cortisol Levels., Ref.BUJATTI, M., and RIEDERER, P. in Transcendental Meditation technique. Journal of Neural Transmission 39: 257–267,1976.
We can objectively measure happiness and peace through changes in happiness and stress hormones
Stress Hormones have a function in the body. When we are under attack we need them to be able to react quickly – in a so-called fight-or-flight response – but we were never designed to be under chronic stress. Chronically high levels of stress hormones harm the nervous system and can eventually lead to illness. A direct connection has been established between, for example, the level of cortisol and insulin resistance (diabetes 2) or obesity, or between the blood lactate level and high blood pressure.
Serotonin, on the other hand, regulates many of our brain functions. It has been postulated that low levels of serotonin are implicated in a series of disorders, including depression, anxiety, migraine, anger, Alzheimer’s disease, sleep disorders, memory problems, compulsive acts, addictions etc. (source WebMD). Medicines that regulate serotonin levels may temporarily ease the symptoms in some of these illnesses but do not necessarily remove the fundamental cause. Stress can also be related to reduced serotonin production in the brain.
The more we repeat the experience of transcending, the more positive hormonal changes can become established, even during activity. This is one of the reasons for some of the significant improvements recorded by a varied body of research on the long-term practice of TM.
The proper functioning of the human nervous system is a key foundation for a a healthy and happy life.
Essentially, we can say that the proper functioning of the human nervous system supports a healthy and happy life. Stress disturbs the normal functioning of the nervous system. Transcending is the opposite experience of stress. On the one hand, it is a state of deep inner peace and happiness and this has a direct measurable effect on happiness and stress hormones. On the other hand, it can activate the healing power of our bodies to remove the accumulated stresses in the nervous system thus helping the body function normally both in rest and activity.