Thursday, September 16, 2010

Open Thread for Our Readers

Here is your space.

Discuss anything on your mind—or in your heart—in the comments below.

Or, if you have a topic or article you would like us to post on the blog page, just email me at




John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Here's an interesting link....ABC news today has a piece about meditation reducing blood pressure--- only 15 minutes per day. (Fortunately, it is not TM meditation they are talking about.)

Dr. John Kennedy, M.D. has an online meditation program, and his patients/students learn "focused breathing." The doctor claims that his studies show that the patients' blood pressure readings drops to within a normal range.

Imagine that --- no mantra, no puja, no guru, no world government, no promises of enlightenment, no big price tag ---- and it works!


John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

It is odd to be so old now that I clearly can recall what was once considered strange and foreign here in the West, has now been folded into popular culture. The paradigm change has happened with meditation, natural food diet, food supplementation, and even yoga stretches. Of course, big changes have happened in many other areas too, such as race and gender equality, homosexuality, child raising, and in many other areas of which I am not even aware.

I remember in about 1974, when I was a TM teacher in Columbus, Ohio, a researcher came to our center asking us about "the future" as we saw it. She was from the Rand Corporation, a big think tank, and was reporting on current fringe trends (i.e. TM), and trying to predict future trends. I don't know how accurate the report ended up being, but in a way, we were indeed on a "cutting edge." Unfortunately, it is not the most comfortable, or safest, place to be.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Thanks for sharing this, Karina. It seems to have taken quite a bit of time between Dr. Benson's "Relaxation Response" and other medical personnel to find that, as Dr. John Kennedy reports, ancient wisdom is supported by contemporary science. The Buddha taught ānāpānasati, mindfulness (sati, yep, from the Sakskrit smṛti, remembering, recognizing) of in and out breathing. This has been taken up in terms of health care now by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mark Epstein and others. Here in Ontario (Canada) our health insurance plan covers training in a form of mindfulness of breathing.

Paul Mason also has a section on his web page about mantraless meditation.

Mindfulness of breathing can be interpreted in many forms, but the results seem to be fairly consistent and the science involved is concerned, unlike Maheshistic "science", with finding out what actually happens and how the methodology can be improved and/or altered where necessary for optimum results.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

I think it would be really fascinating to read that report, Karina, especially now when we can so clearly see the paradigm shift in action. A lot has changed since the 60's and, to whatever degree, we probably played some role in making the changes we see now, possible.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

I will take a gander at the Rand page. Perhaps if many of us do this, one of us might get lucky and find what, as devout TMers, was predicted 35 years ago! Could be very fascinating.

Somewhat aside from that is this article ( which is basically Buddhist, but the bit about making mistakes and owing up to them seems to be one of the crucial missing links in Maheshism. I remember Mahesh insisting again and again that we NEVER say that we learn from our mistakes. In his zeitgeist, one only learnt from doing things right (i.e. his way). The article points to just how UNscientific that attitude is and may, additionally, account for the decline of Maheshism ... although I suspect that in one format or another, TM itself will persist.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Prediction --- it's a tricky art, isn't it? So many are wrong, and so few are right. Remember Y2K? The swine flu ?

Yes, indeed, I would like to read that RAND report from the 70's. Hmmm...wonder if I could find it somehow. Here's the RAND report web page, but don't even know where to start looking, plus it would be 35 years old!

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