What is Enlightenment? Could it be for everyone? Teachers of Transcendental Meditation talk a lot about it – but is it really worth pursuing?
A great new book on meditation and enlightenment was launched a month ago, and it argues yes, yes, yes!
Ann Purcell, is an author and teacher of Transcendental Meditation, who has spent over 30 years engaged in full-time research in consciousness.
We asked Ms. Purcell a couple of questions about her book:
Q: Why did you write this book?
AP: Actually, I didn’t plan to write the book. When I go home and visit my family, many people are interested in meditation, but they usually say they have tried it and find it difficult and not so pleasant. However, it’s very clear when they tell me their experiences that they often don’t have the experience of transcending. So I wanted to really clarify how easy and effortless Transcendental Meditation is compared to other meditation techniques. Not only how easy it is, but how far one can progress in one’s spiritual life by practicing the TM technique.
Q: When you say, “how far in one’s spiritual life” do you mean that in a religious sense?
AP: No. I entitled the book Let Your Soul Sing: Enlightenment Is for Everyone because enlightenment is not yet a concept in our educational system, or in most religions today, at least not that I am aware. However, as Maharishi has pointed out, enlightenment should be the most normal, natural state of life.
Q: You said that people around the world have been experiencing enlightenment. Is there some record of these people’s actual inner experiences that creates a body of knowledge of what enlightenment actually is for someone who has never considered it before?
AP: There are actually many groups of people all around the world who have been documenting experiences of their growth of higher states of consciousness. I’ve actually included some of these experiences at the end of each chapter of my book. I think you’ll enjoy reading them, as they’re very uplifting.
Q: If many people are enjoying higher states of consciousness, has this been documented?
AP: Yes. Firstly, there have been some 600 studies on Transcendental Meditation in around 120 independent research institutions in about thirty countries. Over 350 of these studies are peer-reviewed, published in top medical journals. Several studies point to more integrated neurological functioning, and based on the research, Dr. Fred Travis has created a “Brain Integration Scale”, which shows progressive levels of total brain functioning. This is measured through EEG (electroencephalogram) and other personality tests. The benefits of Transcendental Meditation are being documented by scientific research—showing growth and improvement in physiology, psychology, and neurophysiology.
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