Developing the higher brain for full awakening of consciousness

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

The enlightened brain: synchrony & connectivity Scientists have found that TM practice rapidly develops more efficient, coherent and integrated brain functioning, the basis of higher consciousness in daily life

Studies in neuroscience have established that during the TM technique, the brain functions with greater harmony and coherence. Electroencephalography (EEG) research consistently shows that TM practice produces patterns of alpha waves that are "in phase," or rising and falling together, measured simultaneously from different points on the brain. The different areas of the brain are communicating better with one another, working together better as a whole. This heightened brain wave coherence and long-range connectivity is the "EEG signature" of the TM technique—and gives rise to the inner experience of "wholeness."

Researchers have also discovered that with regular twice-daily TM practice, the coherent, holistic brain pattern of the TM technique begins to occur more and more in daily activity after meditation. With more holistic, coherent brain functioning, the meditator experiences expanded awareness, broader comprehension, greater presence of mind and a more complete sense of self.

Developing the whole person Hundreds of scientific studies on the TM technique have identified the positive, holistic psychological growth that results from regular practice—described by meditators as growth of enlightenment.

Studies on the TM technique have established such findings as heightened self-actualization, increased creativity, and growth of intellectual and cognitive abilities. Many scientists proclaim these research studies to provide empirical verification of higher stages of human development

"In Western psychology, it is generally understood that cognitive development ends at early adulthood," says psychologist and researcher David Orme-Johnson (pic). "Fluid intelligence, working memory, processing speed and other cognitive functions are considered to peak around age twenty-one, and then decline with age. Now there is a wide range of psychological and neurophysiological evidence showing that TM unfreezes that endpoint of human development and unfolds higher stages of mental performance and emotional well-being—beyond what we've accepted as the norm."

What is enlightenment? The founder of the TM program, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, explains enlightenment: a state of stabilized calm, clarity and full presence of mind, lived spontaneously in one's daily activities outside of meditation.

What is the goal of Transcendental Meditation?

Maharishi: "The goal is the state of enlightenment. This means we experience that inner calmness, that quiet state of least excitation, even when we are dynamically busy."

Is it necessary to dissolve stress to experience the state of enlightenment?

Maharishi: "Yes. And it brings very practical value to life. Even if we forget about ‘enlightenment' for a moment—maybe that state seems to be inconceivable—still it is our daily experience that the whole value of life is very little if we are tired, if we are stressed."

"If we think of a morning when we have not rested well in the night, then we feel so groggy and everything just collapses into dullness and inertia. The world is the same as on the other days, but our appreciation of the world is so much less."

"And with the Transcendental Meditation technique we have a natural and effective means to dissolve even deeply rooted fatigue and stress. This is the way to unfold full value of life."

"Even in the first days of meditation, we find that our eyes seem to be a little more open, our mind seems a bit more clear. Our feeling towards our friends seems to be more harmonious."

"And then, as the practice continues every day, a time will come when we will start living life free from all stresses. We cleanse the awareness of all stresses and strains, leaving the conscious mind completely free in its pure value."

Enlightenment 101 In the early 1970s, scientists first reported that the TM technique produces a major fourth state of consciousness, unlike waking, dreaming or sleeping. This fourth state, known as "transcendental consciousness" or restful alertness, is characterized by a deep settling of the mind, heightened inner wakefulness and revitalizing physiological rest.

Gary Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D., Hofstra University School of Medicine: "We propose that what happens during TM is a fourth state of consciousness because it's very different from the other three states. After forty years of research, we now know that TM produces a unique, wakeful, coherent state of deep rest—physiologically the opposite of stress. The science also suggests that experiencing this state twice daily through TM is the key to maximizing well-being."

"There's a growing pandemic of stress. There's a healthcare crisis. As a nation we have widespread anxiety, depression, hypertension and stress-related disorders that costs us billions every year, with untold costs in human suffering. This is what happens when life is lived without the restorative experience of transcendental consciousness. Human history becomes the story of stress and suffering."

In the ancient tradition of knowledge from where the TM technique comes—the tradition that gave us yoga—regular experience of the fourth state, one's deepest inner self, is understood to be the mechanism that unfolds higher states of consciousness, or enlightenment, in daily life.

People practicing the TM technique commonly report that, over time, the state of restful alertness gained during twice-daily meditation becomes more and more stabilized, so that eventually one lives that full presence of mind at all times outside of meditation—remaining calm, steady and focused even in challenging circumstances. From the standpoint of neuroscientists, this is the development of heightened coherence and greater neural connectivity in the brain.

With continued TM practice, meditators experience that their consciousness—their deepest inner self—unfolds and becomes "unbounded." This state of unbounded awareness brings inner freedom; comprehension is maximized, perception is enriched, and the recognition of the underlying unity of life grows stronger

Meditators also report that, in realizing their truest self, they fulfill a higher purpose and live a more meaningful life. As perception deepens, so does appreciation of others. Thus this full awakening of one's consciousness spontaneously brings greater love, compassion and the natural ability to empathize with others. In the state of enlightenment, meditators find that all the qualities of life that we cherish most as human beings are realized in their fullest value.


Scientific studies

EEG Coherence: more holistic, harmonious brain functioning

During TM practice, the brain becomes highly coherent and integrated, and soon begins to function more efficiently and holistically even outside of meditation. International Journal of Neuroscience, 116(11): 1519-1538, 2006. Chart

Increased wakefulness, improved brain functioning and healthier response to stress

SUniversity students who learned the TM technique showed significant improvement on a Brain Integration Scale, decreased sleepiness and faster habituation to stressful stimuli in comparison to controls. International Journal of Psychophysiology 71: 170-176, 2009. Chart

Increased self-development

University students practicing the TM technique improved significantly on self-development scales when measured after graduation, in contrast to non-meditating control students. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 17: 93–121, 2005. Chart

Increased intelligence and creativity

Randomized controlled research has found the TM technique to holistically improve intellectual performance—measured by increased IQ, creativity, working memory, practical intelligence, fluid intelligence, comprehension, and focus. Intelligence 29: 419–440, 2001. Chart


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C. Noel Bairey Merz

Maharisi Mahesh Yogi

"Through Transcendental Meditation, the human brain can experience that level of intelligence which is an ocean of all knowledge, energy, intelligence and bliss".

"Transcendental Meditation is that one simple procedure to enliven the most basic level of life and thereby raise every individual and every society to its full dignity."

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation program