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A summit held earlier this month that brought together nearly 40 researchers to survey current research and set directions for future research revealed that the study of the effects of the Transcendental Meditation® technique is being taken to a new level.

Student practicing Transcendental Meditation

Maharaja Adhiraj Rajaraam presided over the four-day summit in Maharishi Vedic City, and Keith Wallace, who pioneered research on the Transcendental Meditation technique, was the conference chair.

The researchers involved summarized recent breakthroughs in areas such as DNA expression.

“The DNA studies are taking the research to a much deeper level, to the molecular level,” said participant David Orme-Johnson. “This has the potential for giving a profound interpretation of the mechanics of how the Transcendental Meditation technique has its effects.”

In particular, the research suggests that certain beneficial genes appear to be switched on and genes with ill effects appear to be switched off. This research will be submitted for publication in the coming months.

In addition, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is now being used to get a better understanding of the effect of the Transcendental Meditation technique on the brain. One study looked at the flow of blood in the brain during the Transcendental Meditation technique to see which areas were most active.

“The findings in this study are consistent with our experience during the Transcendental Meditation technique,” Dr. Orme-Johnson said. “We feel settled and our attention goes inward. This research is providing a picture of how transcending works from the point of view of brain physiology.”

The same study, which has been submitted for publication, also found that particular areas of the brain cortex actually get thicker as a result of the practice.

Research on the Maharishi Effect is also being taken to a new level, primarily due to two advances: the creation in recent years of large groups of Yogic Flyers and a new technology that greatly facilitates tracking positive trends in society.

Dr. Orme-Johnson said new technologies and techniques are playing a major role in elevating the research, such as new equipment available for DNA research and new ways of neuroimaging of the activity and connectedness in the brain.

Another factor is that top researchers around the world are now much more willing to collaborate.

“This is a big change from the old days,” Dr. Orme-Johnson said. “In the past their attitude was, ‘Why are you studying that?’ But now they’re very interested in working with us and are much more receptive toward these areas of research.”

MIU President Dr. Bevan Morris had the idea for the summit and invited Dr. Wallace to organize it.

Jim Karpen is a writer by trade, with a special focus on technology. He has a Ph.D. in English and studied the impact of the computerization of language. In addition to writing for iPhone Life magazine, he has also been writing a column about the Internet for the Iowa Source since 1994. He also edits and publishes the MUM Review.