Celebrities and the Scientific Research on Transcendental Meditation
No wonder half of Hollywood does TM!
These benefits range from reductions in anxiety and depression, improvements in memory, IQ, ADHD, mental health and moral reasoning to reductions in heart disease and stroke and improvements in general health and even the health of society.
Its fascinating that a simple behaviour change could have such a broad and positive impact on your life. I wanted to know why. So I (and my new wife, Vicki) enrolled at the University of South Africa for three years of psychology. In due course I added a psychology major to my engineering degree.
Having an MBA and psychology credits I then launched into a doctoral program at the University of Cape Town. During the next ten years I dived into the scientific research. I read hundreds of studies on stress, stress management and the effects of Transcendental Meditation practice on mind, body, behaviour and the environment surrounding the meditator.
Since receiving my doctorate on stress management and organisation development (abstract here) from UCT, hundreds more papers have been added to the scientific research on Transcendental Meditation and other techniques.
My conclusion is that Transcendental Meditation has the largest published research of any self development technique on earth. The literature on TM is said to run to over 600 studies from over 200 institutions published in scores of journals.
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Now there are good studies and there are not-so good studies. And there are quite large numbers of very good studies. “Very good” means the researchers are known to be neutral towards TM, they have used good research design and accepted statistical tools, they have published their work in reputable scientific journals and it has been subjected to review by their peers. Furthermore their work is replicable by other scientists and their observations are explainable by a plausible theory. And in some cases their systematic modern observations are supported by the testimony of the vedic literature thousands of years old.
So anyone saying that TM’s claims are not supported by research either does not know what they are talking about or has a hidden (usually fundamentalist) agenda.
Finally, there are some very VERY good studies – studies of studies actually – meta analyses such as Dr Ken Eppley’s Stanford anxiety study that compared TM outcomes with those from other forms of meditation.
The conclusions of these studies seem very clear: TM is different. Effect sizes are generally seen to be larger than for other forms of meditation, which in many cases demonstrate effect sizes which do not differ significantly from those seen during simple eyes-closed rest. Which is not a bad thing at all – but TM is clearly better.
If this is true, why should this be so?
Probably because TM is “transcendental”. This means it is a technique that involves neither active thinking nor any artificial manipulation of the mind-body from external sensory inputs. Somehow TM re-sets the mind-body to a state of ideal balance – which may have been disturbed by external lifestyle factors. TM gives a uniquely systematic way to access “transcendence” which is why TM is in a class of its own – called “automatic self-transcending” in scientific circles.
If you are a student you will find a fabulous annotated bibliography of TM research papers here.
If you would simply like to see what research there is on your area of interest, start here.
And if you prefer a more visual approach, go here.
Here are a bunch of celebrities that meditate talking about their experiences with meditation.
Jennifer Lopez, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Aniston, Jim Carrey, Heather Graham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Liv Tyler, Howard Stern, Cameron Diaz, Martin Scorsese, Katy Perry, Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah, Russell Brand, Ellen Degeneres, Clint Eastwood, Judy Greer, The Beatles: Paul and Ringo, Maya Stojan and Dr Oz share how meditation has affected their lives.
Jennifer Lopez: http://bit.ly/1TE6mjX
Hugh Jackman: http://bit.ly/1Vi5WCo
Jennifer Aniston: http://bit.ly/1Tyw2BN
Jim Carrey: http://bit.ly/1ON6TvU
Heather Graham: http://bit.ly/1WT8QPC
Arnold Schwarzenegger: http://bit.ly/1XwHugR
Liv Tyler: http://bit.ly/1XwIlxT
Howard Stern: http://bit.ly/247w7Mx
Cameron Diaz: http://bit.ly/1LYsdiO
Martin Scorsese: http://bit.ly/1YZfpxp
Katy Perry: http://bit.ly/25lKAu4
Jerry Seinfeld: http://bit.ly/1UdlG7k
Russell Brand: http://bit.ly/1XwI524
Ellen Degeneres: http://bit.ly/1WTaJfe
Clint Eastwood: http://bit.ly/247wwhT
Judy Greer: http://bit.ly/22p1DpS
The Beatles: Paul and Ringo: http://bit.ly/1sPMWQI
Maya Stojan: http://bit.ly/247wjeG
Dr Oz: http://bit.ly/1WOsprC
And if you want a list of even more celebrities who are open about their TM practice, lets start with just the few Vick and I could came up with awhile back:
- Jennifer Aniston
- Bette LaVette
- Sheryl Crowe
- Howard Stern
- Russell Simmons
- Hugh Jackman
- Laura Dern
- Steve Collins
- Ellen DeGeneres
- Martin Scorsese
- Mehmet Oz
- President Joachim Chissano
- Graca Machel
- Heather Graham
- President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil
- President Juan Manuel Santos of Columbia
- Oprah Winfrey
- Jerry Seinfeld
- Mike Love
- David Lynch
- Ringo Starr
- Paul McCartney
- Clint Eastwood
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- And no less than 179 notable individuals who have learned are listed on Wikipedia here.