by Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, The Review
23 December 2011
Maharishi University of Management Professor Fred Travis has again taken the knowledge of the neuroscience of the Transcendental Meditation technique to audiences abroad, most recently on a speaking tour in Germany.
Approximately 250 people attended his talk at the Yoga Vidya conference in Bad Meinberg in which he emphasized that Yoga is the complete settling of the activity of the mind. He discussed the three categories of meditation: focused attention, open monitoring, and the effortless self-transcending seen in the Transcendental Meditation technique.
"This organization trains the majority of hatha yoga teachers who start up yoga centers throughout Europe," Dr. Travis said. "I was concerned how they might respond to my talk, given that their focus is hatha yoga and that they practice a variety of meditations, from kundalini yoga to zazen."
To explain how the Transcendental Meditation technique is different from other forms, Dr. Travis used an analogy of a monkey.
"I put up a slide with a monkey on it and suggested that there are two ways to control a monkey: run after it or set bananas by the door," Dr. Travis said. "I explained that the Transcendental Meditation technique is like putting bananas by the door. It gives the mind what it wants, such that it effortlessly and quickly settles to the state of yoga. They really got this point."
He then talked about higher states of consciousness, and read experiences of individuals who are witnessing sleep and witnessing waking. He finished by reading a unity experience.
"The talk was very well received," he said. "Everyone felt uplifted, and they were very interested in an effortless way to capture the 'monkey mind.'"
Dr. Travis was subsequently invited to have his talk be included in the published proceedings of the conference.
While in Germany he also spoke at Magdeburg University, Münster University, the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne (where the discussion went on for three hours), Tübingen University, Stuttgart University, Lübeck University, and a psychiatric hospital in Lohr.
At each university he would meet with the department head for an hour, speak to the larger audience for one or two hours, and then have dinner with the department head and a few others.
"My main angle during these talks was collaboration," Dr. Travis said. "I found a great interest in meditation in general, and an openness to explore what the category of automatic self-transcending might be."
© Copyright 2011 Maharishi University of Management