Security guards often have demanding schedules that do not allow them to get the sleep they need. The profound level of rest gained during the Transcendental Meditation Technique will, over time, leave them feeling more clear and more energetic, so they don't fall asleep on the job.
by Global Good News staff writer
23 January 2011
Florencia, a college student from my alma mater, writes on the topic of sleep, or lack thereof, for the Cornell Daily Sun saying, ‘Many people’s eyes widen in disbelief, often followed by a “How do you do it?” when I explain that I sleep an average of eight hours a night. Yes, I do. And this is particularly salient for me this week because I haven’t been getting enough sleep.’
She notes, 'Everyone keeps telling me, sleep is overrated’—but quickly adds her own experience—‘The thing is, it’s not.’ Florencia comments on her own ‘zombie-like’ behaviors’ and the fact that her many about-to-be-due ‘papers and presentations seem to be unwilling to write themselves’ in this time of sleep deprivation.
She comments further, 'As we finish choosing what will be our schedule for next semester, and the concerts and tournaments and conferences and second midterms start piling up, the anxiety kicks in, as does our fatigue.’
All of this sounds familiar from my own student days at Cornell. But, to my great fortune, during my last semester there I struck upon something that took away the stress that had been interfering with my ability to sleep well and all that results from that, including finding it hard to focus on my schoolwork. It also provided me with such alertness that I really did find myself saying later, in graduate school, that my papers did write themselves.
The ‘something’ that I found is Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation Technique, a simple, natural mental technique which creates an experience of ‘restful alertness,’ a fourth state of consciousness physiologically distinct from our normal experience of waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
Health care experts on ‘restful alertness’
Psychologist Dr William Stixrud describes himself as being ‘a big fan of using Transcendental Meditation in schools for many years, due in part to the programme’s unparalleled ability to create the experience of 'restful alertness.’ He talks about the negative influence of stress and the positive effect of the Transcendental Meditation Technique. ‘Not only does stress interfere with functions such as attention, memory, organization, and integration,’ Dr Stixrud says, ‘but prolonged stress actually kills brain cells and shrinks the brain’s main memory structures.’ The psychologist then explains that the unique state of restful alertness experienced during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation Technique ‘produces very high levels of coherence or orderliness in the functioning of the brain, which results in the experience of increased peacefulness, harmony, mental clarity, and the ability to see things in perspective.’
Lack of sleep produces stress, which accumulates over time, as we have all probably experienced. And while, according to neurologist Dr Gary Kaplan, ‘sleep is absolutely necessary for good health [and] the rest we get during TM is fundamentally different and shouldn’t be used to substitute for sleep, [TM does provide] a complementary type of rejuvenation for the physiology.’ Medical doctor James Krag explains that the profound level of rest gained during the Transcendental Meditation Technique will, over time, ‘assist you in “paying off” the “sleep debt,” leaving you feeling more clear and more energetic during the day.’
Chris Clark, MD, also comments on the extraordinary level of rest which the Transcendental Meditation Programme offers and the resulting benefits. ‘The TM technique allows for deeper rest than even sleep…The [American] population has accumulated fatigue due to lack of sleep, which gives rise to mental fatigue during the day, lack of job efficiency and increased stress. Regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation Programme can reduce this backlog of fatigue and sleep deprivation —and also allow for deeper, more restful sleep at night. Most people focus better on their work when they are less fatigued.’
Have no regrets
In his book, Enlightenment to Every Individual, Invincibility to Every Nation, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation Programme, not only talks about the alertness which a few minutes practise of the technique, morning and evening, brings. But he adds, specifically for students, ‘Then you will gain knowledge so quickly that you will be expert in every field.’
How very practical!
And from my own experience, I know these words to be true. For relief from stress and sleep deprivation, for more alertness, energy, and joy in your studies and life in college, I would encourage any and every student, and everyone, to learn the Transcendental Meditation Technique—now. If I have any regret in regard to learning the technique, it is only that it wasn’t until my last semester in college that I learnt.
Postscript: Not all ‘meditation’ is created equal. What has been said above applies specifically to the Transcendental Meditation Technique. Dr Krag comments: ‘Just as there are many kinds of medication, there are also many approaches that are termed ‘meditation.’ The vast majority of the research on meditation has been on Transcendental Meditation—and the findings clearly indicate that TM works better than other researched mental techniques to promote health. If research shows that a specific medication helps treat a disorder, it would be irresponsible and illogical to conclude that all medications help treat that disorder. In the same way, research on Transcendental Meditation should not be generalized to include other techniques also called ‘meditation.’ We should intelligently choose what works and what is supported by research. Therefore, I strongly support the introduction specifically of Transcendental Meditation into our nation’s schools and health care systems.’
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