Reducing Collective Stress Through
Effects of Consciousness
PROJECT DEMONSTRATING EXCELLENCE
PRESENTED TO THE DEAN AND
MEMBERS OF THE DOCTORAL COMMITTEE OF
In partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
David Robert Leffler, M.M., M.A.
August 26, 1997
© 1997 David R. Leffler All rights reserved
This Project Demonstrating Excellence is dedicated to the late Dennis H. French for his remarkable insights into "friction" and "collective stress" which this learner has incorporated into his writing, and to Hal Goldstein the first person to support this dream. This learner's sincere gratitude is expressed to his wife, Lee Leffler, Wing Commander Ravi Badhwar, (Ret.) Major Barry Cave, USA (Ret.), Paul Frank, Frank Pinto, Robert LeShay, Dennis D. Dey and to following members and consultants to the Consciousness-Based Defense doctoral committee:
Former Director, The Adler-Dreikurs Institute - Bowie State College
George R. Taylor, Ph.D.
Kurt W. Kleinschnitz, Ph.D.
Kenneth G. Walton, Ph.D.
Vera G. Gartley, Ph.D.
Donald J. Lofland, Ph.D.
CONSULTANTS TO THE DOCTORAL COMMITTEE
Major General Albert N.
Stubblebine III, U.S. Army (Ret.) M.A.
General-Major Leonid Shershnev, USSR Army (Ret.)
Brig. General Clarence E. Beck, U.S. Army (Ret.), M.B.A.
Commander Alfred E. Therrien, U.S. Navy (Ret.), M.S.
Lt. Colonel George L. Humphries, U.S. Army, M.A.
Lt. Colonel Richard E. Neate, U.S. Air Force Reserve (Ret.), M.S.
Lt. Commander Ray Seebald, U.S. Coast Guard, M.S.
Rene S. Hernandez, Ph.D.
Donald M. Coulter, Ph.D.
Erast I. Andriankin, Ph.D.
Charles N. Alexander, Ph.D.
Anatoly A. Vasiliev, Ph.D.
Thomas Egenes, Ph.D.
1. Excess Stress in Military Personnel Limits Performance
Figure 1. Illustration of Conventional Light and Laser Light
1. The Maharishi Effect
B. The Need For The Intervention Study
Figure 2: Purusha Numbers
B. Tests of Hypotheses
Table 1: TAS Statistical Tests
Name: Leffler, David Robert
Title: A Vedic Approach to Military Defense: Reducing Collective Stress Through the Field Effects of Consciousness
Descriptor: Maharishi Effect, consciousness, collective stress, Maharishi Supreme Military Science, Alexithymia, stress, Transcendental Meditation, Peace studies, Defense studies, Peacekeeping, Peacemaking
Total security for any country can not be ensured, at least not through the current defense paradigm, due to the level of sophistication of today's weapons. Thus, defense planners are continually striving to find ways to deal with uncertainty (Crocker, Hampson, Aall, 1996; Davis, 1994; Cronin, 1993; The United States Marine Corps, 1994). However, if history is a predictor of the future, it will be difficult to maintain superiority because any new technologies developed in one country are eventually obtained by its adversary. The proliferation of new weapons technologies is likely to increase the complexity of future conflicts and further increase uncertainty. Therefore, it is probable that the old paradigm of using weapons of force will not eliminate uncertainty or wars.
A growing body of research conducted on the Transcendental Meditation ® (TM®) and TM-Sidhi ® programs, part of the practical component of a new defense paradigm called "Maharishi Supreme Military ScienceSM ," indicates there is a possibility that insecurity and uncertainty can be eliminated without the use of weapons (Kleinschnitz, 1997, Brown, 1996). Theoretically, during collective practice of this human resource technology, practitioners enliven a field of "pure consciousness" -- possibly the same field as the unified field of natural law proposed by physicists (Hagelin, 1987; 1989; Hameroff & Penrose, 1996; Kleinschnitz, 1997). Regular daily experience of this field of pure consciousness during meditation is held to be responsible for the reductions of individual and collective stress observed in numerous studies. The build-up of collective societal stress, postulated to be the root cause of adversarial relationships ultimately leading to conflict and war, is prevented. Maharishi Supreme Military Science asserted (Maharishi, 1996) and research demonstrated (see Appendix A: 28, 29, 30) that nations with reduced collective or societal stress would be more likely to befriend former enemies, and thus to become "invincible" in the sense that no country would elect to attack its friends. In such a situation, adversarial relationships would no longer exist, and defense planners would be more certain of the stability of international relationships (Maharishi, 1996).
A technology capable of eliminating the insecurities and uncertainties of adversarial relationships could have a major impact by achieving the ultimate goal of defense planning -- total security. The goal of this Project Demonstrating Excellence for this learner's Ph.D. program in Consciousness-Based Military Defense has been to contribute further to the testing and elucidation of the wide-ranging possibilities of this proposed peace-creating technology. It is hoped that this small contribution will aid in the acceptance and application of this technology by militaries everywhere. If effectiveness of the technology is upheld by further research, perhaps conducted by the military itself, the end result of applying Maharishi's consciousness-based technology could well be the reduction of destructive defense strategies and the creation of a safer world. Thus, the military's current adversarial approach, which has been born out of fear and has been a factor in the cause of war, could change to Maharishi's consciousness-based approach, which could reduce fear and become a factor towards averting war.
1. Age of Enlightenment -- The ultimate goal of Maharishi Supreme Military Science is to create this age where "[n]ot only will no one harm anyone, but everyone will be a joy to everyone else in the most spontaneous manner, and every nation will be a joy to every other nation" (Maharishi, 1986a, p. 49).
2. Collective Consciousness -- A society's collective consciousness is proposed to be the sum of the influences created by its individual members. This collective consciousness, in turn, affects the thoughts and feelings of those same individuals.
3. Creative Intelligence -- the impulses or laws of nature responsible for the whole manifest universe.
4. Higher States of Consciousness -- defined by Hagelin (1987, p. 79) as follows:
2) Cosmic consciousness -- [the state of consciousness] in which the experience of pure consciousness is permanently established along with waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states of consciousness. In this state, consciousness maintains its identification with the unified field while the mind and emotions are fully engaged in activity.
3) Refined cosmic consciousness -- similar to cosmic consciousness except that the functioning of the mind and senses has become further refined. Sense objects are perceived in their most refined values and the emotions are said to achieve their full development.
4) Unity consciousness -- the state of consciousness in which the object, as well as the subject, is experienced as the unified field.
6. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi -- ("Maha" means great, "rishi" means seer or teacher, "Mahesh" means destroyer of ignorance, "Yogi" means one who has obtained "yoga" or union or enlightenment.) Maharishi is a title bestowed upon many masters of the Vedic tradition. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is the name given to the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program by his teacher.
7. Maharishi Effect -- defined in the book The Maharishi Effect (1990, p. 13) as follows:
II. The Extended Maharishi Effect -- the improved quality of life in society produced when the square root of 1% of the population participates in the group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs; [i.e. all are sitting together in one place at the same time] and
III. The Global Maharishi Effect -- the decreased conflict and improved trends of life in the world produced when the square root of 1% of the world's population participates in the group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs.
9. Object-referral -- attending only to the observed (or known) rather than considering the unified experience of observer (knower), process of observation (or knowing) and the observed (the known) in which consciousness is awake to its full unbounded nature as the Self, as in "self-referral consciousness."
10. Natural law -- this Project Demonstrating Excellence will extend the usual meaning of this concept, namely that natural law is the body of nature's regulating intelligence that creates, maintains and preserves all levels of life -- individual, family, national, global and cosmic. The extension comes in a concept that when life is lived in accord with natural law, then it is "supported by nature." On the other hand, if natural law is "violated", then, "stress" is generated. This stress is thought to cause the strained trends and tendencies in the individual and the environment which ultimately erupt as violence, terrorism, conflict, and other forms of negativity.
11. Pure awareness -- awareness of awareness itself, the awareness of the knower knows the awareness of one's self through the process of awareness. This is the most pure level of knowingness.
12. Pure knowledge -- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1987) defined pure knowledge as "the state of awareness in which consciousness knows itself alone, when awareness is completely self-referral, when awareness has nothing other than itself in its structure." (p. 1)
13. Samhita -- refers to the state of awareness in which there is a unitary or wholeness of relationship between the observer, the process of observation and the observed (see "pure knowledge").
14. Science of Creative Inteligence® (SCI) -- the science of consciousness founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi which links objective (e.g., modern science) and subjective approaches to knowledge.
15. Self-interacting dynamics -- the proposed all-powerful, immortal, infinite dynamism found at the unmanifest basis of creation (the unified field), when consciousness knows itself.
16. Self-referral -- the process by which pure consciousness, by virtue of being "conscious," knows itself and becomes awake within its own nature, simultaneously being observer (knower), process of observation (process of knowing) and observed (the known).
17. Serotonin -- the chemical, 5-hydroxytryptamine, [C10H12ON2], derived from L-tryptophan, found in nerve and blood tissue, used to cause contractions of smooth muscles such as those existing in the intestine and the lining of the blood vessels. Serotonin has been identified as an important neurotransmitter in the brain and other parts of the body. Low levels of serotonin availability are believed to lead to aggression, mental disorders and substance abuse.
18. Transcendental Meditation (TM) program -- a natural, effortless and simple procedure which allows the mind to settle down through progressively finer states of its own activity to experience transcendental consciousness or a deep state of restful alertness. The TM technique originates from the Vedic tradition. More than four million people worldwide have learned the TM technique. The goal of practicing the TM program is not to become a passive individual but to eliminate stress and its performance-limiting consequences, in part through providing a unique, deep state of rest. (Rest is held to be the basis for more successful, dynamic activity.) This leads to greater success, achievement and fulfillment.
19. TM-Sidhi program -- ("sidhi" means perfection) The TM-Sidhi program is held to develop the ability to think and act from the least excited state of consciousness, the proposed unified field of all the laws of nature. The goal of this practice is the development of "sidhis," or supernormal abilities, which are thought to be acquired from perfection of mind-body coordination, held in the long Vedic tradition to arise from the development of higher states of consciousness.
20. Transcendental consciousness -- a proposed fourth state of consciousness, or pure awareness, experienced during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, with different parameters from waking, dreaming and sleeping states of consciousness. During the experience of transcendental consciousness, the individual experiences profound rest, removing deeply rooted effects of stress. This process is thought to rejuvenate and revitalize the entire nervous system.
21. Undifferentiated intelligence -- another way of describing pure awareness or pure intelligence, the state where consciousness is open only to itself.
22. Unified field -- ultimate level of super-unification of all the fundamental forces of nature, proposed by some theoretical physicists to be at the basis of creation, where all the known forces of nature (the weak force, the strong force, the electromagnetic force, and gravitation) are united. All matter and space are proposed to emerge from the unified field.
23. Unified field of consciousness -- the abstract, dynamic, least excited, self-sufficient source of all mental processes, thought to be contacted and enlivened during the practice of the TM technique. Maharishi and theoretical physicists propose that it is one and the same with the unified field of physics defined above.
24. Veda -- (knowledge) Maharishi Mahesh Yogi defines Veda as "pure knowledge and the infinite organizing power that is inherent in the structure of pure knowledge." (Maharishi, 1987, p. 1)
25. Vedic Science -- the science of Veda, which describes the sequential mechanics through which the three-in-one structure of the unified field (knower, known, process of knowing) stimulates the infinite range and diversity of natural law displayed in the universe.
Such a beautiful hope for the world. When the military rises in creative intelligence, world peace will be a reality. When the military rises in creative intelligence, 'do less and accomplish more' will be the result. Victory before war. The purpose of the military is to keep war from happening -- or to end it quickly if it does happen. (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Maharishi International University Catalogue 1974-75, p. 381)
Maharishi also calls his system of defense "supreme" because it not only considers the field of the observed (the known or perceived reality), as in conventional military science, but also develops the full potential of warriors as observers (knowers) as well as their process of observation (process of knowing), which is thought to link the warriors as observers to the observed world. In order to fully incorporate these three areas, Maharishi Supreme Military Science not only recognizes the objective technology of modern science, but also expounds a proposed subjective, consciousness-based scientific technology as well.
Maharishi Supreme Military Science focuses on the inner, most fundamental level of the individual's own awareness, the experience of a proposed fourth state consciousness. Extensive scientific research (to be discussed later) indicates this state of awareness is a field of "pure consciousness" (see "Key Concepts of Maharishi Supreme Military Science"). The research also shows that the unique state of pure consciousness gained from the implementation of Maharishi Supreme Military Science is not qualified as an object-referral or individual experience, but is consciousness in its undifferentiated state. Individuals experiencing pure consciousness reported it to be devoid of any individualizing influence or external objects of experience (Alexander, et al., 1990). For this reason, at a later stage of development, they described the experience as just themselves (the observers) becoming one with the observed. The evidence (that will be presented) is strong that the experience of this proposed state of consciousness can be gained repeatedly through the practice of a simple, natural mental technique.
The ancient Vedic tradition from which Maharishi Supreme Military Science was drawn postulated that the individual's own pure awareness was intimately connected with the fundamental nature of the environment as a whole. The individual's "pure awareness" was viewed as a field of consciousness which some physicists feel was the same as the proposed unified field in physics (Hagelin, 1987; 1989; Hameroff & Penrose, 1996; Kleinschnitz, 1997).
From their research in high-energy particle physics, a number of physicists have postulated the existence of a single unified field of all the laws of nature, an unmanifest field of pure intelligence in nature. The unified field was unmanifest and unbounded in the sense that it precedes the formation of time and space (Schwartzschild, 1985; Waldrop, 1985). The unified field was proposed to embody the property of complete self-interaction or self-referral. Through its own self-interacting dynamics it arouses all laws of nature and all manifest phenomena.
Maharishi (1986a) and physicists like John Hagelin (1987) postulated that the proposed unified field of physics and the proposed field of pure consciousness were one and the same. They held that this ultimate level of super-unification of all the fundamental forces of nature was a field of all possibilities, (i.e., all possible expressions of this field were hypothesized to be represented there much as the branches, leaves and fruit of a tree were represented in its seed). Obviously, if this is proved to be true, a technology based on this level would dramatically revolutionize the tactics and strategies of military science, as well as radically change the world view. It is hoped that this Project Demonstrating Excellence, with its emphasis in Maharishi Supreme Military Science, will inspire others to explore some of these possibilities by becoming pioneering proponents of this proposed new paradigm of absolute defense.
Both the Transcendental Meditation program and the more advanced TM-Sidhi program, the practical components of Maharishi Supreme Military Science, were derived by Maharishi from the ancient Vedic tradition. The Vedic tradition was thought to be the oldest recorded tradition of knowledge in the world (Frawley, 1991). Maharishi Supreme Military Science has its basis in the samhita of the Veda. The founders of the Vedic tradition referred to the samhita as a simple, unified state of awareness as "pure consciousness." Pure consciousness was an undifferentiated, self-interacting or self-referral (referring back to itself) state of consciousness. It was completely different from waking, dreaming or sleeping states of consciousness because in the state of pure consciousness, consciousness was awake only to itself. Like waking, dreaming, and sleeping pure consciousness had its own physiological and psychological character (Farrow, 1975; Travis & Wallace, 1997). Unlike the other states of consciousness, pure consciousness knew its own nature to be simple, unified and pure (Chandler, 1987, p. 8-9).
According to Vedic tradition, this state of pure consciousness, samhita, ultimately was nothing but these self-referral dynamics. Because consciousness structures all properties of knowledge by its underlying self-interacting dynamics of knowing itself, the samhita was the most important aspect of Veda to understand. Samhita was the subjective state marked by the togetherness of three-in-one: it was when rishi (the knower or observer), devata (the process of knowing or the process of observation), and chhandas (the known or observed) were known to be one and the same. That is, the intellect, while remaining one wholeness, conceived these three values. Vedic tradition also asserted that this process of consciousness knowing itself (the self-interacting dynamics of consciousness) stirred all the diversity and hence all activity found in nature. Therefore, Vedic teachings held that the basis of all knowledge (including military art and science) was found in the full potential of the knower, the process of knowing, and the known located in the eternal silence of the samhita -- the togetherness of three-in-one. The Vedic point of view held that through several varied transformations and interactions of these (the three intellectually-conceived values) all of creation sequentially emerged (Maharishi, 1985, p. 68). Maharishi's interpretation of this theoretical framework of the samhita of the Veda, along with its component of ancient military art and science (Dhanur-Veda ), awakens the proposed unified field -- or consciousness-based-system of defense which is referred to here as Maharishi Supreme Military Science. The main concept of collective consciousness underlying Maharishi Supreme Military Science is discussed in the Vedic literature. The next two sections will explain the concept and present some descriptions taken from the Vedic literature.
To understand the concept of collective consciousness, a military example may be useful. Military units such as battalions, divisions, squadrons, wings, fleets, battlegroups, etc. are social structures. Each unit exhibits its own varying degree of orderliness and harmony which produces its own collective spirit or morale. Throughout history high morale has been a powerful strategic asset. This was especially true concerning the society the military protected. For example, contrast the morale of the U.S.A. during World War II with the lack of it during the Vietnam conflict. Similarly, Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Defense (Maharishi, 1996) viewed society's "morale" as an aspect or manifestation of collective consciousness, a potential strategic asset. The collective consciousness of society was proposed to be the sum of the influences created by its individual members. This collective consciousness, in turn, affected the thoughts and feelings of those same individuals.
Maharishi often quoted two verses from the Vedic tradition when discussing use of the Maharishi Effect to create the Vedic ideal of a prevention-oriented defense:
Heyam duhkham anagatam. (Yog-Sutra, 2.16) Avert the danger before it arises (cited in Maharishi, 1996, p. 12)
The Ramayana of Valmiki (5000 B.C./1957) described the ancient city of Ayodhya. On one level this city relied on traditional defense systems. For instance, "It was enclosed by strong fortifications and a deep moat, which no enemy, by any expedient whatsoever, could penetrate" (p. 18). Also, "Ayodhya abounded in warriors undefeated in battle, fearless and skilled in the use of arms, resembling lions guarding their mountain caves" (p. 20). However, an enlightened interpretation of preventive defense could be argued from the descriptions of the righteous stress-free lifestyle of the inhabitants of Ayodhya. Perhaps Ayodhya's first line of defense was created by the purity of the inhabitants' collective consciousness obtained through the Maharishi Effect, "...the brilliance of which" according to Valmiki, "spread for four miles, [Ayodhya] was worthy of its name" ["The City none can challenge in warfare"] (p. 21).
Maharishi's Absolute Theory of Defense (Maharishi, 1996) propounded the theory that the outbreak of collective violence or warfare was due to the build-up of stress and tension in society's collective consciousness. If the collective consciousness was full of tension and fear, then disorder was more liable to erupt than if the prevailing mood was one of contentment. Social injustice and unfavorable economic conditions thrived in, as well as contributed to, chaotic environments. Unresolved religious, territorial, political, and cultural differences further contributed to unrest. Thus, the frustrated and dissatisfied population of any country contributed to its instability. The build up of this sort of tension in the nation became dangerous to its sovereignty, producing an unstable government that was more prone to war.
A relentless series of tensions and crises lead to the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife triggering World War I. Social unrest and political instability also contributed to the coming to power of Adolf Hitler. Disorder can take the form of civil strife or of conflict with neighboring countries. If a war between nations, a civil war, or even a coup d'état occurs, the possibilities of escalation may increase because, frequently, other groups or nations are tempted to take advantage of the situation. For instance, at the outset of World War II Italy invaded Ethiopia. After war had broken out in Europe, Japan sought to gain new footholds in other territories besides China during World War II. These are among many historical examples of collective stress driving social disorder and spilling out into other nations and creating the reign of terror called war.
The founder of modern military art and science, Carl von Clausewitz analyzed the different facets of uncertainty in war. In his book, On War, Clausewitz (1832/1989) named the agent of uncertainty "friction." Clausewitz elaborated on friction and its ramifications in many ways, such as the following:
Clausewitz and later strategists (e.g., J.F. Fuller) have accepted friction as an unavoidable fact of life. However, because unified field theories were not available until the 20th Century, one can infer that this conclusion was based on applying the "classical" or Newtonian physics-based, reductionist, scientific analysis to the conduct of war. Clausewitz (1832/1989) expressed in his writing the hope that eventually his inexact approach, which he referred to as "certain ideas and convictions, ...present[ed] in compressed form, like some nuggets of pure metal...," would be replaced by a more complete scientific approach. This approach was characterized by Clausewitz as "a single whole, cast of solid metal, free from all impurity" (p. 62). Thus, his insights over 150 years ago may have hinted at the proposed consciousness-based unified field theory discussed below.
These insights could be important today because, in theory, if collective societal stress is high, it is difficult for defense planners to eliminate the uncertainty that can lead to war. If collective stress level is high, it could be argued that friction is high as well. For this reason, this Project Demonstrating Excellence attempted to provide a more exact and holistic approach to defense planning through the creation of a new prevention-oriented defense paradigm that could eliminate friction. Current defense strategies rely mainly on established material sciences such as ballistics, chemistry, and the electronic and nuclear levels of physics. These levels do not involve the most fundamental understanding of nature.
In the reverse direction, when heat is removed from a physical system, temperature lowers, and entropy or disorder decreases. At low enough temperatures, friction or resistance to motion can disappear altogether, e.g., an electrical conductor becoming a "superconductor" with no electrical resistance, or a liquid (liquid helium) becoming a superfluid with zero viscosity. In such highly ordered systems, quantum mechanical properties are observed on a macroscopic level, and the system experiences what might be called frictionless flow.
Furthermore, unified field theories introduce the view that, at the basis of creation, all matter fields and all the known fundamental forces of nature (the weak force, the strong force, the electromagnetic force, and gravitation) are integrated (Hagelin, 1987, 1989; Hameroff & Penrose, 1996). If the proposed unified field of physics and the unified field of consciousness reportedly experienced through Maharishi Supreme Military Science technology are one and the same, then it is hypothesized that only the frictionless flow of pure consciousness exists at this level. Thus, in theory, a unified field-based system of defense could allow defense planners to exercise command over friction.
In the past there was no universal, systematic, and scientifically validated human resource technology from which to consistently operate at, or investigate this level. Perhaps this is why for hundreds of years the tactics and strategies of conventional military art and science have failed to eliminate or understand friction found in battle. Therefore, and for much the same reasons, the "stress" or source of "friction" found in the collective consciousness of the civilian population has not been eliminated either. For these reasons, the Project Demonstrating Excellence expands Carl von Clausewitz's concept of "friction" and contrasts it with Maharishi's theory of stress in collective consciousness, or collective stress.
One objection that traditional military scholars might have to identifying friction and stress in collective consciousness might be that, for von Clausewitz, friction applied to war, not to peacetime. Today, however, conflict continues, especially by indirect means such as terrorism, even when war has not been declared. This leads, as some observers have noted, to the turning on its head of Clausewitz's dictum that war is the extension of politics: politics (and economics) has become the extension of war. The increase in terrorist acts and other increasingly sophisticated indirect strategies of conflict have thus made friction (or stress) an immediate concern at all times. It is not only a personal concern localized in time and space, it is also a military matter which applies equally to peace and to war.
This Project Demonstrating Excellence elucidates the principle that as it is with the individual, so it is with the body public. Trends of society reflect the collective consciousness of all the individuals in society. Wars are the expression of accumulated stress in collective consciousness. This may be why Carl von Clausewitz could observe that the intensity of war corresponds to the intensity of political conflicts between the belligerent nations: "If war is part of policy, policy will determine its character. As policy becomes more ambitious and vigorous, so will war..." (Clausewitz, 1832/1989, p. 606).
Over forty studies (many of which will be discussed in Chapter II) have demonstrated the capability of Maharishi Supreme Military Science as a new human resource technology to reduce collective stress of whole societies (for review see Kleinschnitz, 1997). Based on this research, the theoretical aspect of the Project Demonstrating Excellence will examine evidence for and against the following proposals first put forward by the late D. H. French (personal communication, September 28, 1987):
(2) Maharishi Supreme Military Science technology reverses friction;
(3) If friction is holistic, so is the effect of its reversal;
(4) The effects of less friction, like the benefit from less stress and better health, should be only positive;
(5) Friction could only become less in a particular place and time if it lessens aggression and fear and if it increases the growth of nourishing and positive trends generally in every nation;
(6) The benefit of reducing friction could be a corporate benefit for the military as well as a personal benefit for the military professional.
Conventional military training involves physical conditioning to improve performance. However, it does not train the soldiers to develop their full mental and physical potential. Instead of striving to increase human performance, militaries devote their attention largely to increasing the destructive power, accuracy, and delivery speed of weaponry. This oversight presents today's soldiers with extra challenges (Heckler, 1990, October; Heckler, 1992).
High-technology weaponry demands that soldiers perform at their optimum. All ranks must be in top mental as well as physical condition, because victory depends on taking the right action with appropriate speed and accuracy (Creveld, 1991). Their minds need to remain strong and clear even when duty requires strenuous and protracted hours. Frequently, decisions must be made instantly, on an intuitive level. If these decisions and actions are incorrect, the consequences can be tragic, both in combat and in non-combat operations (The United States Marine Corps, 1994). For all these reasons, today's military personnel are pushing the limits of human performance (Szafranski, 1994, November).
The challenge to maintain broad comprehension, perfect mind-body coordination, and lively intelligence under difficult circumstances has increased for modern military professionals. Stress is likely to be the most significant underlying factor. There are many reasons why stress in the military may be increasing. For instance, "[t]he nature of warfare is changing. Lengthy military commitments designed to win conflicts are being replaced by short-term deployments intended to prevent them" (Adelsberger, 1996, May 27). The military, particularly in the United States, has been called upon to maintain effectiveness despite cutbacks (Auster, 1994, July 25). Therefore, it will be necessary in such cases for already-stressed, overworked personnel to continue to do more with less (Hudson & Matthews, 1994, August 15; Bird, 1997, July 21). In 1996, the U.S. Army deployed 35,000 troops from their home stations to 70 countries. Army officials told Congress that "frequent deployments and the increased pace of operations may dissuade good soldiers from reenlisting" (G-2, 1997, p. 3). The demand for back-to-back deployments and station tenures leads to increased marital discord and divorce, and the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Such manifestations of stress reduce the fitness, effectiveness and operational readiness of individuals.
Increased stress in the military may take its toll in other ways. For instance, a U.S. Army survey suggested that spousal abuse is occurring in one of every three Army families each year -- double the civilian rate (Thompson, 1994, May 23). The Pentagon's Readiness Task Force admits that stress is taking a heavy toll on service members and has contributed to a jump in suicides in the military (Hudson & Matthews, 1994, August 15). Obviously, reducing or even eliminating stress and the associated performance-limiting behaviors contributes to greater individual performance and to successful military campaigns. Both hardened combat veterans and "green" troops realize that if they could be free from stress and strain they would perform more dynamically.
"Peace through strength" has been a popular deterrent military strategy. Unfortunately, a strong military projects a threatening image, even when deployed for humanitarian missions. This was evident during the recent Somalia operation, in which the military was invited in as a friendly force to restore order. Later, the outside military forces were reviled and persecuted by many civilians who had earlier pleaded for their help in delivering and safeguarding their lives, food, and supplies (Lorenz, 1993; McMullen & Norton, 1993; Taw & Hoffman, 1994).
The survival and progress of a nation depend on the effectiveness of its national defense. However, it is clear today that even with the world's best military equipment and preparedness, the current defense paradigm is unable to totally protect any nation. Regardless of military strength, no nation today enjoys total freedom from the fear of politically motivated violence. Every nation is influenced by fighting in the family of nations. Even if it is not directly a participant in hostilities, it is influenced by international fear and hatred. This leads to military budget increases, stockpiling of armaments, and arousal of suspicions. In theory, since World War II, deterrence or fear-based strategies have been used to protect and promote peace. Apparently, this strategy has not worked. According to figures produced by the Hamburg University Research Unit on Wars, Armament, and Development (AKUF), over 186 wars have occurred since 1945 (cited in Hauchler & Kennedy, 1994, p. 179). In 1994 there were 31 major armed conflicts in 27 locations around the world (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 1995). The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (1996) also claims that there were 30 major armed conflicts in 1995. However, that year the conservative oriented U.S. National Defense Council Foundation counted a record 71 conflicts occurred world-wide (Associated Press, 1996, January 3). In 1996, 27 major armed conflicts occurred world-wide (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 1997). Although most of these conflicts were civil wars or ethnic hostilities, thousands of lives have been lost.
The post-USSR world has proven to be a more dangerous place than one might have imagined. There are no well-defined opponents. A recent subheading to an editorial in International Defense Review reads, "A hard core of terrorists and civil warriors is proving resistant to traditional means of deterrences" (Sauerwein, 1993, p. 183). The recent wave of terrorism and civil war reflects the shift of conflict and violence to a level where it is difficult to hold any person, group or nation accountable. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry recently pointed out that a dictator with weapons of mass destruction could threaten to launch missiles loaded with nerve gas or anthrax bacteria against a neighboring country if the country allowed in U.S. troops, and that such a twist on deterrence would undercut the whole strategy of rushing in to cool regional conflicts before they get out of hand (Wilson, 1995, March 20).
Strategies of deterrence or space-based missile defense systems can not protect against the growing threat of nuclear terrorism. Although the CIA (cited in "Washington," 1996) and a General Accounting Office Report (cited in Martel, 1997, August 25) claim that extremist groups have not yet obtained nuclear materials, at least 46 nuclear weapons are thought to be missing from the former Soviet arsenal (G-2, 1994a) and it is reported that nuclear weapons are for sale on the black market (G-2, 1994b; Eads, 1997, April). Very destructive nuclear weapons can easily be delivered by a single terrorist, in an artillery shell, a small boat, truck, plane, etc. (Reed, 1993, April 26). The recent Tokyo subway attack and the bombings of the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City Federal Building demonstrate that even the most affluent and civilized countries are susceptible to attacks by terrorists or rogue elements with concealed weapons. Current military strategies are not well designed for the possibility of even one weapon of mass destruction winding up in the hands of rogue elements such as terrorists.
The next chapter will describe the research on a proposed underlying cause of these threats-stress.
Soderberg (1967) contended that stress was "the most grandly imprecise term in the dictionary of science." One could argue that this confusion still exists today. Although stress is a pervasive part of life, it is difficult to define because it is a multidimensional phenomenon. A definition of stress must account for the physical, social, psychological and philosophical domains (Girdano, Everly & Dusek, 1990, p. 1). Probably due to the enormity of this task, Eliot (1988) concluded that "[w]e now know the consequences of 'stress' more precisely than we know the definition of it" (p. 1). This may be why he proposed the following circular definition: "Stress may be viewed as the body's response to any real or imagined events perceived as requiring some adaptive response and/or producing strain" (p. 1).
Such a flexible definition appeared to be necessary because according to Lazarus and Folkman (1984) negative events do not necessarily induce psychological distress. It is only when imposed demands are thought to exceed one's ability to cope that distress arises. "Stress is not always harmful. It is the individual's reaction to stress that determines the outcome, i.e., whether the individual will adapt or becomes maladaptive" (Smith, 1992, p. 3138). Considering one's reaction to stress is an important concept in the analysis of the data that will be presented later in this Project Demonstrating Excellence.
It could be argued that the nineteenth-century physiologist Bernard first recognized, in the phenomenon of homeostasis, the basis for a comprehensive understanding of human stress. "It is the fixity of the milieu interieur" [the stability of the internal environment], he wrote, "which is the condition of free and independent life" (Bernard, 1879). However, Cannon first coined the term "homeostasis" for Bernard's concept, defining it as "the coordinated physiologic processes which maintain most of the steady states in the organism" (Cannon, 1939). Cannon discovered the presence of specific mechanisms for protection against agents that disturb the homeostasis of body temperature, blood pH, levels of sugar, protein, fat, and calcium in the blood. It was attempts like this to understand the human body's health which first attracted stress researcher pioneer Hans Selye to investigate the phenomenon of stress.
At first, Selye described stress as a "stereotyped response to any exacting task" or the "syndrome of just being sick" (Selye, 1986). In 1935, he defined the condition as "the nonspecific response of the body to any demand, whether it is caused by, or results in, pleasant or unpleasant conditions" (Selye, 1978). This definition created a framework which other researchers later built on to make up for its shortcomings. For instance, Selye's concept that an organism only has a finite amount of adaptation energy contributed to Holroyd and Lazarus' (1986) definition of psychological stress. They added the concepts of limited resources with which to respond to acute demands.
Together Selye, Holroyd and Lazarus all viewed stress as the body's response to an "environmental demand" or an environmental change. This demand or change disrupts the body's homeostasis. This disruption is viewed as a threat to health because the body must use energy or other resources, or both to regain homeostasis (Girdano, Everly & Dusek, 1990). The process of the body using energy to regain homeostasis was called general adaptation or later simply adaptation by Selye (1936). Like Selye, Holroyd and Lazarus proposed that "adaptive energy" was limited. There was only so much that could be used to restore homeostasis after being subjected to stressful activity (Selye, 1936; Girdano, Everly & Dusek, 1990.
Events or conditions that trigger stress reactions are called "stressors." This section will list and describe the stressors discussed primarily in the book Controlling Stress and Tension: A Holistic Approach by Girdano, Everly and Dusek (1990). The authors divide the source of stressors into three areas: psychosocial (lifestyle), bioecological and personality.
The stressors in the psychosocial domain are adaptation, overload, frustration and deprivation. Adaptation, the process of achieving homeostasis, is stressful because it requires energy and thus becomes a drag on health. Overload is a common stressor due to such things as overcrowding, the mushrooming volume of information available due to multimedia, discrimination, pressures for high achievement, two-worker families, etc. Frustration is caused by inhibition, and the more complex a society the more its members must inhibit their behavior. Thus society's increasing complexity further aggravates frustration levels. Chronic understimulation leads to deprivational stress. This is caused by things such as loneliness and boredom.
Bioecological concerns include biological rhythms, noise, nutrition, heat and cold. Biological rhythms are the natural fluctuations in body processes that require, for example, sleeping a certain number of hours each night in order to feel refreshed and to perform at a nominal level. Disruption in biological rhythms, including shift work, travel between time zones (leading to jet lag), and artificial light at night, stresses the bioecological system. Stress caused by noise is ever-more-prevalent in both rural and urban settings, with the advent of modern technologies such as locomotives, automobiles, airplanes, amplified music, heavy equipment, etc. Poor nutrition and excessive consumption of drugs stress the body and lead to illness. Exposure to extreme heat or cold without adequate precautions creates stress and, in extreme situations, can lead to death. Another bioecological stressor is caused by environmental pollutants particularly in the air. According to Miller (1996) "feeling ill from odors is a symptom reported by approximately one-third of the population." This syndrome of chemical sensitivity is usually called "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity" or "MCS." It is thought to be caused by exposure to pesticides, solvents, or air contaminants in a sick building (for review see Brod, 1996).
Personality is reflected in our thoughts, behaviors, and reactions. Girdano et al., (1990) outlined four main facets of personality stress: self-concept; type "A" behavior; chronic anxiety; and the need for control. Self-concept is how one perceives oneself. Low self-esteem is linked with serious physical and mental disease. People who consistently exhibit "type A behavior" (impatience, anger, hostility, cynicism) tend to over-tax their cardiovascular systems. Chronic anxiety is a self-perpetuating loop in which the individual experiences stress that persists or increases even after the stressor has disappeared. The need for control is a potential stressor if individuals feel that they have lost control.
The police profession is similar to the military profession in that they are a specific group of society responsible for guarding the safety of people and property. In many countries, the military and the police are indistinguishable. Also, like military professionals, police appear to be highly stressed. Police officers rank high on the list of occupations that are the most stressful, according to The American Institute of Stress ("Stressed out," 1992). "Police officers, who are subject to extraordinary stress, present a paradigm for the study and treatment of stress in other occupations" (Smith, 1992, p. 3138). Stress impairs law enforcement officers' ability to perform their duties. This can impact the operation of the whole department, adding to the stress of other members. Stress may be related to the incidence of divorce, alcoholism and suicide that run abnormally high among police officers across the United States (Kleinfield & James, 1994, p.1). Large police departments located on the east and west coasts of the United States have been studied and have received most of the attention from the press. However, police stress may not be just a big city problem. Baugrud and Robinson (1995) found that the officers in small- and medium-sized departments in southeast Wisconsin were also concerned about their high stress levels.
Police stress does not necessarily originate from intense and traumatic critical incidents. While it is true that, according to Storch and Panzarella (1996), police officers generally scored low on the Spielberger, Jacobs, Russell and Crane (1983) State Trait Anxiety Inventory, these officers identified primarily administrative matters and relationships with nonpolice as stressors. "Officers who focused on the job's compensations experienced less stress than those who relished the excitement of the job, crime fighting, or people-centered policing. More stress was experienced by officers who were inclined to think more frequently about the possibility of being injured and by officers adapting to changes in their work or family" (Storch & Panzarella, 1996).
However, the dangers and rigors of police work that lead to critical incidents should not be overlooked. "Every year, hundreds of officers experience intense, traumatic events that can have serious long-term consequences for them, their families, and their departments" (Kureczka, 1996, p. 10). According to an article in The Police Chief (Pierson, 1989, February) critical incident stress affects up to 87 percent of all emergency service workers at least once in their careers. Critical incident stress can not be easily defined because what affects one officer may not affect another. Also, stress from one incident can be compounded by other factors. For instance, if an officer involved in a gunfight becomes wounded or the suspect that was shot dies, the incident becomes a media event. These critical incidents may each be critical stressors for the officer. However, it is estimated that only 4 to 10 percent of individuals experiencing a critical incident develop full-fledged post-traumatic stress disorder (Blak, 1991).
In studying stress by means of self-report measures one must be aware that certain behavioral or personality "traits" can have a substantial effect on how a person answers test questions. Perhaps the most significant of such conditions is alexithymia.
Sifneos (1972; 1973) devised the term "alexithymic" to describe a pattern of behavior observed in patients with psychosomatic disorders (Sifneos, 1973; Nemiah & Sifneos, 1970). The alexithymia construct referred to the difficulties individuals had experiencing and expressing their feelings. Alexithymic individuals also lacked the ability to create fantasies related to feeling. Their thought content was characterized by a "preoccupation with the details of objects and events in their external environment. Emotionally and cognitively speaking, they... [appear] to have little or no private personal internal life" ("Alexithymia," 1996, p. 217).
According to Lane, et al. (1996) alexithymia was different from denial and repression. In the latter, well differentiated emotions were held back from conscious awareness by conscious or unconscious processes. Repression in fact increased affective expression. On the other hand, alexithymia was the limited and undifferentiated emotional experience associated with an impairment in capacity to recognize emotions. Alexithymics lacked affective expression. Martin and Pihl (1986, p. 66) found "that the presence of alexithymic characteristics is independent of repression, trait anxiety, and social desirability." Also, the high alexithymics appeared to dissociate "between subjective and physiological stress responses." It was proposed that "[t]he presence of the dissociation makes it difficult for the [alexithymic] individual to identify situations as stressful" (p. 75).
A recent study by Lane, et al. (1996, p. 203) suggested that alexithymic individuals had "impaired verbal and nonverbal recognition of emotion stimuli and that the hallmark of alexithymia, a difficulty in putting emotion into words, may be a marker of a more general impairment in the capacity for emotion information processing." This finding appeared to be unaffected by gender, age and socioeconomic class. The alexithymic concept appeared to identify similar sets of individuals cross-culturally, having been tested on populations in Finland (Kauhanen, Julkunen & Salonen, 1992), India (Pandey, Mandal, Taylor, & Parker, 1996), and Germany (Parker, Bagby, Taylor, Endler & Schmitz, 1993) in addition to the USA and Canada (Parker, et al., 1993; Kauhanen, Julkunen & Salonen, 1992; Salminen, Saarijävi, Aäirelä & Tamminen, 1994).
It has been proposed that alexithymia may be linked to the development of stress-related illness (Martin & Pihl, 1985). According to Taylor (1994, p. 61) "alexithymia appears to be a personality trait that is probably normally distributed in the general population; a high level of alexithymia is considered a personality risk factor for a variety of medical and psychiatric disorders."
The Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs have been more widely researched than any other meditation programs. More than 35 years of research conducted in 33 countries has confirmed the benefits of its practice and implementation. Over 500 research studies conducted at 218 independent research institutions and leading universities such as Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, McGill and York have found positive effects. Studies that documented these changes in intelligence, psychological well-being and health have been published in more than 100 scientific journals. Five volumes (a sixth volume is currently in press) of these studies and other research have been compiled and published (Orme-Johnson et al., 1977; Chalmers et al., 1989a; Chalmers et al., 1989b; Chalmers et al., 1991; Wallace et al., 1993).
Meta-analyses of much of this scientific research indicates that a stress-free mode of functioning became habitual through the practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs (Dillbeck & Orme-Johnson, 1987; Eppley et al., 1989; Alexander et al., 1991). Meta-analysis has been considered the preferred statistical tool for drawing acceptable conclusions from large, diverse bodies of research (Glass, 1977; Glass, McGraw, & Smith 1981; Hunter & Schmidt, 1990). It was used to systematically combine the results of many studies. These meta-analyses and five volumes of research documented numerous beneficial effects on physiological, psychological, sociological and ecological aspects of life.
Dr. Kenneth Chandler (1987), formerly of Maharishi University of Management, has summarized the broad categories of research conducted on the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs as follows:
Since the early days of his teaching over thirty years ago, Maharishi has held that as the mind fathoms the finer field of thinking during the Transcendental Meditation technique, the metabolic activity is simultaneously reduced. This practice thereby establishes the nervous system in degrees of ever-increasing peace. Eventually, when the entire nervous system settles down into a completely "coherent" and peaceful state, it reflects the unified field of natural law (Maharishi, 1966a).
The peaceful state that Maharishi referred to has been documented physiologically as the state of deep rest experienced during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. This state of restful alertness in the nervous system appeared uniquely different from the sleeping state (Jevning, Wallace & Biedebach, 1992; Travis & Wallace, 1997; Mason et al., 1997). Evidence indicated it resulted in the reduction of stress in the body, thereby creating a state of well-being in the practitioner. Three pioneering studies on metabolic changes in the body first documented this deep state of rest during practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique (Wallace, 1970; Wallace, Benson, Wilson, 1971; Wallace & Benson, 1972). These studies showed indications of a decreased metabolic rate (decreased oxygen consumption and unchanged respiratory quotient); decreased carbon dioxide elimination; decreased arterial lactate level; decreased heart rate; decreased minute ventilation; increased basal skin resistance; reduced biological index of stress; increased regularity and global intensity of EEG alpha activity; and an increased intensity of EEG alpha activity in the frontal and central regions of the brain.
In a later study by Jevning, Wilson, Van Der Laan and Levine (1977), indicators of reduced stress in the nervous system (decreased cortisol) were detected during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. There have been recent confirmations of lasting changes in cortisol and other hormones outside the technique caused by regular practice (MacLean et al., 1997). Also, decreased cortisol was measured afterwards in both the long-term meditators and the restudied controls who had just learned the TM program (Jevning, Wilson & Davidson, 1978).
An earlier study by Banquet (1973) involving a spectral analysis of the EEG during Transcendental Meditation revealed electromyographic evidence of increased muscle relaxation. Corey (1973) discovered increased airway conductance and increased ease of breathing in his study. Later, Hebert (1976) found periodic breath suspension. Both of these findings are correlates of deep rest. Because the study by Corey (1973) indicated a lower basal metabolic rate, it also supported the maintenance of a relaxed style of functioning outside of meditation.
Jevning, Wilson and Smith (1975) investigated plasma amino acids during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. A comparison was made with early sleep (2200-0200 hrs.). This comparison showed an increase of plasma phenylalanine levels in the long-term practitioners of the technique while they were practicing it. This increase contrasted with the results of the plasma amino acid measurements that were taken during early sleep. During early sleep there appeared to be a decline in total serum amino acids and also a decline in specific amino acids such as tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylalanine (Feigin et al., 1968 and Wurtman et al., 1968). Therefore, the phenylalanine increase during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique further supported existence of a different physiology from sleep.
The research in general was interpreted to indicate that the Transcendental Meditation technique created a more efficient physiological functioning. For instance, a meta-analysis of 31 physiological studies (Dillbeck & Orme-Johnson, 1987), which compared Transcendental Meditation to eyes-closed rest, found significantly lower baseline levels of spontaneous skin resistance responses, respiration rate, heart rate, and plasma lactate prior to meditation in experienced practitioners than to comparison subjects prior to resting. These measures decreased even further during the TM practice session, significantly more than resting for the appropriate non-meditating controls. This finding suggested that the Transcendental Meditation technique cultured a state of physiological efficiency, stability, and restfulness. Another consideration was that because the TM subjects initially had lower levels of respiration rate, plasma lactate levels, spontaneous skin resistance levels and heart rate, the results could not be attributed to regression towards the mean. The decreased physiological indices of stress through the TM program appeared to be cumulative, giving rise to the initially deeper level of relaxation measured in the TM subjects (see also MacLean et al., 1997). Other types of meditation techniques were not included in this study. For this reason, the results of this meta-analysis can not be generalized to these other techniques.
A state of inner peace may be reflected on the psychological level by enhanced self-concept or perception of self-worth (Nystul & Garde, 1977); decreased anxiety (Dillbeck, 1977; Nystul & Garde, 1977); increased ego strength (Throll & Throll, 1977); relief from insomnia and improvements in sleeping and dreaming habits (Miskiman, 1972; Bloomfield, 1975); decreased time to fall asleep (Miskiman, 1975); increased emotional stability (Penner, Zingle, Dyck & Truch, 1974; Fehr, 1974; and Bloomfield, 1975). In a study conducted on emotional stability (Penner et al., 1974) the subjects attended an in-depth Transcendental Meditation course in residence. These subjects were posttested for numerous changes on the subscales of the Omnibus Personality Inventory. When compared with the normative samples, the responses on the subscales of the same personality test showed reduced anxiety in the TM group. The results also showed less social alienation, greater personal integration and less impulsiveness.
The relief from anxiety could result in more effective overall functioning simply because it affects all areas of life. Research by Tjoa (1975) in the Netherlands seemed to confirm this, because decrease in anxiety was correlated with improved learning capacity. In this study, the subjects who regularly practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant decreases in neuroticism and somatic neurotic instability, along with increases of nonverbal fluid intelligence (the ability to learn to adapt effectively to new situations and to perceive complex relationships). This was a significant finding because nonverbal fluid intelligence permitted one to behave with minimal anxiety in a wide variety of situations. Also, after adolescence this type of intelligence has not generally been seen to improve. A study conducted in the classroom by Schecter (1975) which psychologically evaluated the effect of the TM technique may add further credence to Tjoa's research. The findings revealed not only a decrease in anxiety but also increases in autonomy and independence, innovation, self-esteem and tolerance, as well as the ability to deal with abstract and complex situations.
Eppley, Abrams, and Shear (1989) conducted a statistical meta-analysis of all available studies (146 outcomes) on trait anxiety (i.e., chronic stress). This study found that the Transcendental Meditation program produced approximately twice the reduction of trait anxiety as other meditation and relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, and as other kinds of meditation that were specifically designed to imitate the Transcendental Meditation program. This meta-analysis also compared studies conducted by "pro-TM" researchers with studies done by researchers "with negative or neutral attitudes towards TM." The Transcendental Meditation technique was found to be equally effective in both cases. No significant effect of experimenter bias was detected. Also, the positive effects found in the studies conducted on the Transcendental Meditation program could not be attributed to subject expectation, atmospheric effects, or quality of research design. The duration of study, number of follow-up hours of instruction and dropout rate were statistically controlled. The samples were matched for type of population as well.
The Eppley et al. (1989) meta-analysis also found that the effect sizes for the Transcendental Meditation technique were normally distributed. This means that if there were a systematic bias to suppress studies with weak results the distribution would have been significantly skewed, which was not the case. Therefore, this meta-analysis provides empirical evidence to refute critics such as the authors of the National Research Council's Report on Meditation (Druckman & Bjork, 1991; 1994) which characterized all researchers who are practitioners of meditation as subjectively-biased "devotees" (p. 127).
In a meta-analysis of 198 studies, Alexander, Robinson and Rainforth (1994) found that Transcendental Meditation was one of the most effective means to reduce drug, alcohol and cigarette abuse. Another meta-analysis of 51 studies conducted by Ferguson (1981) at the University of Colorado comparing the Transcendental Meditation program to other forms of meditation on psychological measures also found a larger effect size for the TM program. This result was maintained in those studies with only the strongest experimental design and of highest validity.
Although individual experiences are subjective and variable, the objective results of the daily practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs have been documented by many of the above and other scientific experiments. For instance, holistic growth in the individual has been measured through psychophysiological means such as increased neurophysiological integration. This integrated growth has been verified by tests measuring EEG coherence, perceptual-motor ability, intelligence, creativity, field independence, and personality (Orme-Johnson & Farrow, 1977).
The growth toward a more ideal personality and better social behavior can be seen as a practical indicator of more harmony between individuals. Many sociological studies on the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique have reflected such behavior. This research, taken together, indicates that practice of the TM technique enhances the capacity of the meditator to relate harmoniously with others and to form deep and lasting relationships. For example, one study conducted on students at Maharishi International University*(MIU), all of whom practice the technique, utilized Shostrom's Personality Inventory. This test measures values and behavior important in the development of self-actualization. In this study Orme-Johnson and Duck (1974) found that MIU students had an increased ability to see humanity as essentially good, as well as increased capacity for intimate contact and warm interpersonal relationships. These MIU subjects were compared to "a group of nonmeditating college students and with that of a group of people judged to be relatively self-actualized" (p. 471).
[* In 1995 Maharishi International University (MIU) was renamed to Maharishi University of Management (M.U.M.). All further citations will use the current name except in "APPENDIX A" AND THE "REFERENCES section.]
In another example study, the Freiburger Personality Inventory was given to forty-nine practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation technique (Fehr, Nerstheimer, & Törber, 1972). The scores differed significantly in ten out of the twelve scales when compared with a normative comparison group. These scores were all in the direction of healthier psychological and sociological functioning in the practitioners of the TM program. Selected findings were: improved self-assuredness and good humor, greater sociability (friendliness and liveliness), less tendency to dominate (great respectfulness), less inhibition (greater naturalness and spontaneity), and improved self-reliance (more balanced mood, greater vigor, more effectiveness).
Later research also showed decreased social introversion and increased friendliness (Fehr, 1974), increased tolerance (Shecter, 1975) and increased trust (Berg & Mulder, 1976). The study conducted by Schilling (1974), which measured the effect of regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique on behavior and personality, indicated that subjects practicing the technique not only reduced their intake of drugs, but also displayed an increased sensitivity to the feelings of others. These subjects also exhibited a more sympathetic, forgiving and agreeable nature, with increased good naturedness, friendliness and loyalty. Other research has revealed improvements in the quality of attitudes toward work and productivity (Frew, 1974; Friend, 1975; Alexander et al., 1993) after beginning and regularly practicing the TM program.
A statistical meta-analysis of all available studies on self-actualization (42 independent outcomes) showed that the Transcendental Meditation program increased self-actualization more than other meditation or relaxation techniques, although it was necessary to group different techniques together to get sufficient data for comparison (Alexander, Rainforth, & Gelderloos, 1991). This study utilized the Personality Orientation Inventory (POI) as the primary indicator of overall self-actualization. It was found that the effect of the Transcendental Meditation technique was approximately three times as large as those produced by other forms of meditation or relaxation. The strength of experimental design as well as duration of intervention were controlled. Also, the meta-analysis revealed that for the TM program, the longer the treatment intervention, the larger the effect size. The other treatments were not found to exhibit this characteristic.
The TM program has been adopted to reduce stress in military, governmental and other institutional settings (Haratani & Henmi, 1990a; 1990b; Orme-Johnson, 1987; Ottoson, 1977; Suurküla, 1977; Herron, Hillis, Mandarino, Orme-Johnson & Walton 1996). For example, over 26,000 Brazilian military police officers learned the TM technique between 1987 and 1988. Significant improvements in discipline and health were documented. In a study involving 6,300 military police officers and 100 cadets, disciplinary measures for officers decreased 69% and for cadets decreased 35% after learning the TM program (Military Police Center for Education and Training, 1988; Schuler, 1989). Doctors' visits decreased 26% for officers and 55% for cadets, and community relations improved. For instance, the number of positive reports received by the military police department from the citizens of Salvador, Brazil increased 1,206% after officers were instructed in the TM program. A study conducted on 289 cadets at the Police Academy of Piauí, Brazil, showed significant improvements in behavior, attitude, health, and academic performance after learning the TM technique (Government of State of Piauí, 1987).
In a more direct test of the effects of the program on performance, Sandahl (1978), of the National Defense Research Institute in Karlstad, Sweden, conducted a study on 15 applicants who were rejected for pilot training with the Royal Swedish Air Force (RSAF). The potential pilots were rejected by the RSAF drafting committee because of inadequate performance on the Defense Mechanism Test (DMT) but were considered otherwise suitable. Subsequently, eight of the applicants practiced the TM program for 18 months and showed a significant improvement in DMT scores compared to a non-meditating control group. Sandahl proposed that the reduced neuroticism resulting from regular practice of the program reflected a decrease in hidden mental turbulence, leading to better performance.
Tests on other stress-related problems have been equally promising. For instance, American Vietnam war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder were randomly assigned either the TM technique or psychotherapy (Brooks & Scarano, 1985). The veterans who practiced the technique showed significant improvement on eight measures: alcohol problems, emotional numbness, insomnia, anxiety, post-Vietnam Stress disorder, family problems, depression, and employment record. The veterans who participated in psychotherapy did not show significant improvement. The practitioners of the TM technique also showed a more rapid physiological recovery from a stressful stimulus, as gauged by habituation of the skin resistance response. Also, over 24 studies have shown that the TM program fostered significant reductions in substance abuse, such as tobacco, alcohol, and all types of illegal and prescribed drugs (see for review, Gelderloos, Walton, Orme-Johnson & Alexander, 1991; Alexander, Robinson, & Rainforth, 1994).
Aside from these studies of stress-related change, there are other studies that documented benefits of the TM program which could give military personnel the edge in battle. For example, a study by Reddy, Bai, and Rao (1974) showed that speed, agility, reactions, coordination, endurance, and perception improved after learning the TM program. In another study, three months of practicing the TM technique resulted in subjects showing significantly increased field independence (i.e., increased ability to focus, increased stability of spatial orientation, broader comprehension, increased resistance to distraction) compared to controls (Pelletier, 1974; 1977). Other research has measured a greater ability to assimilate and structure experience (Shecter, 1977; Tjoa, 1975), improved memory and learning ability (Dillbeck, 1982; Miskiman, 1977), increased creativity (Travis, 1979; Shecter, 1977), and greater autonomic stability (Orme-Johnson, 1973; Brooks & Scarano, 1985). Other effects include enhanced neurological efficiency (Wallace, Mills, Orme-Johnson, Dillbeck & Jacobe, 1983), faster choice reaction time (Cranson, Orme-Johnson, Dillbeck, Jones, Alexander & Gackenbach, 1991), improved self-confidence (Fehr, Nerstheimer, & Törber, 1972), increased self-reliance (Turnbull & Norris, 1982), and greater inner control (Nidich, Seeman, & Dreskin, 1973). Holistic growth has been indicated by psychophysiological means such as increases in global EEG coherence (Orme-Johnson & Haynes, 1981), and through psychological tests of intelligence (Dillbeck, Assimakis, Raimondi, Orme-Johnson, & Rowe, 1986), moral reasoning (Nidich, Ryncarz, Abrams, Orme-Johnson, & Wallace, 1983) and personality (Nidich, Seeman, & Dreskin, 1973).
The previously mentioned studies are supported by many other findings of health benefits in the civilian sector. For example, a retrospective study of five years of health insurance statistics by Orme-Johnson (1987) suggested major improvements in health for 2,000 practitioners of the TM program. Persons practicing the technique used 50% fewer inpatient and outpatient medical services as compared to normative data or with control subjects with similar demographics. Significant differences were found for all disease categories.
Another retrospective study, conducted by Herron, Hillis et al. (1996) in the province of Quebec, Canada found results similar to those of Orme-Johnson (1987). Since the Quebec government pays all medical expenses of its citizens, and keeps records of the physicians' fees incurred by each individual, the study investigated whether the TM technique reduced government payments to physicians. During the three years before learning the technique, the adjusted payment costs to physicians for the 677 subjects practicing the TM program did not change significantly. After practicing the program, the subjects' adjusted expenses declined significantly, ranging from 5% to 7% annually for up to 7 years.
Alexander, Langer, Newman, Chandler, and Davies (1989) conducted a randomized controlled three-year study on 73 residents of eight homes for the elderly (mean age = 81 years). The effects of the Transcendental Meditation program were compared with those of other mental techniques designed to enhance cognitive functions, mental relaxation, cardiovascular health and quality of life. The group that practiced the TM technique improved the most on paired associate learning, two measures of cognitive flexibility, mental health, systolic blood pressure and rating of behavioral flexibility, aging, and treatment efficacy. Also, after three years the survival rate for the group that practiced the TM program was 100% compared with rates of 87.5%, and 66% for the other techniques and 78% for the control group.
A three-month prospective study by Alexander et al. (1993) evaluated the effects of the TM program on stress reduction, health and employee development in a large Fortune 100 manufacturing plant and small distribution sales company. The subjects who regularly practiced the TM technique improved significantly more the controls on multiple measures of stress and employee development, i.e., reduced physiological arousal, decreases in trait anxiety, job tension, insomnia and fatigue, cigarette and hard liquor use, as well as improved general health, and enhanced employee effectiveness, job satisfaction and work-personal relationships. The "effect sizes" for the TM program in reducing skin conductance, trait anxiety, alcohol and cigarette use, and enhancing personal development in the business setting was substantially greater compared to other forms of relaxation and meditation techniques analyzed in four previous statistical meta-analyses.
Schneider et al. (1995) conducted a randomized controlled single-blind experiment evaluating the TM program and progressive muscle relaxation on older African Americans with mild hypertension. The reductions of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the Transcendental Meditation group were significantly greater than in the progressive muscle relaxation group. The study and a follow-up gender and risk subgroup analysis (Alexander et al., 1996) indicated that the Transcendental Meditation technique was approximately twice as effective as progressive muscle relaxation and this its effects were significant in subjects with low risk as well as subjects with high risk for cardiovascular disease.
Not only does the technique, therefore, appear useful in preventing heart disease, but another study suggests it can be useful in treatment as well. The results of a prospective, single-blind, controlled pilot study by Zamarra, Schneider, Besseghini, Robinson and Salerno (1995) suggested that the TM program reduces exercise-induced myocardial ischemia in patients with coronary artery disease. The study also found that the TM program may be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease.
A report by Herron, Schneider, Mandarino, Alexander and Walton (1996) in The American Journal of Managed Care evaluated the cost-effectiveness of the TM program for treating hypertension compared in 1996 dollars to five standard antihypertensive medications over a simulated 20-year treatment period. The TM technique had the lowest present value cost. The report concluded that:
During the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, the individual experiences a proposed fourth state of consciousness with psychophysiological characteristics distinct from those of the waking, dreaming and deep sleep states. In this "self-referral" state of consciousness (called transcendental consciousness, samadhi) the knower is hypothesized to experience the most settled state of awareness, a state which Maharishi (1987) and unified field physicist Hagelin (1987) proposed is the unified field of natural law, the level representing the full potential of order or intelligence in nature.
Because the subjective description of this state of consciousness was that of a state of profound rest, one would expect physiological measures to show a deep state of restfulness during periods of transcendental consciousness. However, because transcendental consciousness was experienced as a state of "inner alertness," its characteristics appeared different from sleep. This unusual combination of rest and alertness was investigated in a series of experiments (Wallace, 1970a; 1970b; Wallace, Benson, & Wilson, 1971; Wallace & Benson, 1972). The findings indicated that the Transcendental Meditation technique produced a state of physiological rest which was accompanied by mental alertness, a state referred to as "restful alertness." Also, there were indications of deep physiological rest which occurred along with a wakeful and ordered state of brain functioning (based on regularity and intensity of EEG alpha-wave activity in frontal and central regions of the brain) during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. This discovery of heightened alertness was later reconfirmed by Banquet and Sailhan (1974).
Detailed physiological effects were examined during "clear" periods of transcendental consciousness in one subject by Farrow (1975). This study revealed two types of experiences of transcendental consciousness: 1) transcendental consciousness with thoughts, and 2) transcendental consciousness without thoughts. In the portion of results recorded as "no thoughts," an increased orderliness of brain functioning was observed, as indicated by high EEG coherence in the alpha, beta and theta bands just before as well as during the initial moments of "clear" transcendental consciousness. These measurements appeared along with physiological characteristics expected during restfulness: increased autonomic stability and decreased metabolic activity.
The portion of this study that measured transcendental consciousness "with thoughts" showed the ability of the subject to maintain "restful alertness" along with mental activity. The reductions in respiratory and heart rates indicated deep rest on the metabolic level, during which time there were bursts of highly coherent beta-waves in the EEG, a lower level of basal skin resistance, occasional phasic skin responses, and lower power in the delta EEG band. This discovery gave support to Maharishi's assertion that through the regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation program one eventually achieves a proposed fifth state of consciousness, "cosmic consciousness," by habituating the state of "inner alertness" or transcendental consciousness.
Vedic tradition held that at first transcendental consciousness was experienced in a transitory manner during practice of the TM technique. Through repeated regular repeated practice of the TM technique it was thought that transcendental consciousness could be continuously maintained in daily life during waking, dreaming and deep sleep states of consciousness. Transcendental consciousness was thus the first state achieved in a sequence of other, higher states. A stabilized experience of transcendental consciousness during waking, dreaming and especially deep sleep was called "witnessing." The reason for this name was that transcendental consciousness was said to be experienced as a nonchanging level of awareness that acts as an observer, an inner, peaceful "silent witness," in contrast to active and changing states of waking, or the illusionary and inactive states of dreaming and deep sleep, respectively. Witnessing was held to be a criterion not only for cosmic consciousness, but also for the proposed sixth and seventh states of stabilized higher consciousness.
Offering powerful confirmation evidence for the existence of higher states of consciousness as distinct psychophysiologically from waking, dreaming and deep sleep, Mason et al. (1997) found that long-term practitioners of the TM program reporting witnessing during sleep showed the increased theta2-alpha1 (7-9 Hz) EEG activity typical of transcendental consciousness along with the typical delta wave pattern of phase 3 (deep) sleep. The previously cited studies found that increased theta2-alpha1 pattern EEG activity and breath suspensions was reported during periods of "transcendental consciousness" experienced during practice of the TM technique. This finding was interpreted by the experimenters as further physiological support for the understanding of higher states of consciousness described above.
The research reviewed in the last six subsections suggests a military that adopts the proven human resource technology of Maharishi Supreme Military science would be at an advantage on the battlefield. However, this strategic advantage over an adversary would not in itself intimidate the opponent. The next section describing research on the Maharishi Effect will explain how the military could prevent war by implementing Maharishi's consciousness-based technology. The military could also use this technology to subdue enemies, and ideally to prevent enemies from arising by dissolving a potential opponent's build-up of collective stress.
H. The Potential to Use Military Prevention Wings to Create Coherence on the Societal Level by Eliminating Hostile Tendencies in the Environment through Maharishi Supreme Military Science
The Maharishi Effect has been described as the influence of harmony and progress in society ensuing from the practice of the principle components of Maharishi Supreme Military Science -- the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi programs. Research conducted on this proposed effect indicates that the human body should no longer be perceived as being separate from its environment (The Maharishi Effect, 1990, p. 4). These studies strongly suggest that the human body was composed of energy fields which may come from one underlying unmanifest field-the proposed unified field of consciousness thought to equate with the unified field of all the laws of nature postulated by modern physicists. If this was true then the warrior's body would be intimately connected to the environment through the human brain. This research also indicates that the human mind may be able to interface and identify with the organizing power of nature. The Vedic tradition held that this creative intelligence administered the universe on scales from the inconceivably large to the inconceivably small.
Realizing the connection of creative intelligence and its organizing power of nature from a purely subjective approach, the goal of Maharishi Supreme Military Science is to train the individual warrior not to violate natural law. The scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs suggested that the human body's functions can be affected and changed to be more in tune with nature. It also indicated that this could be accomplished not only on the level of the individual warrior, but also over large distances on other warriors' nervous systems as well as the nervous systems of the members of the civilian population. From the viewpoint of Maharishi (1986a), the human brain was the hardware of that cosmic computer which could "produce anything through proper programming" (p. 125). In other words, the human brain was so expansive in its potential that it could "interface" with the unified field of all the laws of nature.
The view based on classical physics suggested that social phenomena are initiated by some kind of interaction which could be visualized as akin to the "billiard ball" theory of the atom. This classical world view, based on the mechanics of Newtonian physics, has been so pervasive that all phenomena, even on the societal level, have been seen to be initiated by some kind of direct interaction.
However, a new world view based on a different interpretation of the quantum-mechanical model is beginning to emerge. The implications of modern theoretical physics appeared to be difficult to ignore. For this reason, even in the past some major figures have adopted an ontological and fundamentally different view of consciousness.
For instance, Sir James Jeans (1932), an eminent British physicist, mathematician, astronomer and contemporary of Einstein, said:
To some extent this was verified experimentally in experiments utilizing computerized EEG equipment. This research (to be discussed later in the research review section) indicated that during the experience of the proposed fourth state of consciousness (Transcendental Consciousness: see Key Concepts), the brain wave patterns measured from the activity in different parts of the brain become very similar in phase (phase coherent). EEG experts interpret this to mean that these different parts of the brain worked together as a coherent whole. This high brain wave coherence was measured on the individual level in subjects practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique. Also, a more powerful and advanced technology (the TM-Sidhi program) discussed in other published research, and also in the Research Review section demonstrated the ability to increase brain wave coherence in other subjects over 1000 miles away.
Studies (see The Maharishi Effect , pp. 1-90) indicated that large groups produced a "field effect" when practicing the TM-Sidhi program, a program introduced by Maharishi in 1976. He explained that this was an even more powerful technology than TM alone for neutralizing negative tendencies and promoting positive trends in society. Maharishi predicted that a small number of people (the square root of 1% of the population) practicing the TM-Sidhi program together twice daily in one location would create measurable effects on quality-of-life indices. He based his prediction not only on ancient Vedic knowledge, as mentioned earlier, but also on discussions with physicists about coherent physical systems such as the laser.
Laser light is more intense than light emitted from a conventional source. The intensity of normal light is in direct proportion to the number of atoms involved. Excited atoms emit photons as they return to the ground state. Light emits in different directions at various frequencies creating what physicists call "incoherent light," all mixed up. In a laser, however, a type of collective behavior emerges that is distinguished by its orderliness. The atoms perfectly correlate with each other and no longer act independently. They operate together as one coherent and complete system. The result is that the intensity of the light emitted by a number of atoms, N, increases tremendously, actually in proportion to N2. If 1000 atoms phase perfectly with one another in the laser, they will radiate with an intensity equivalent to 10002, or one million incoherent atoms.
A similar coherence-creating effect is thought to be created during group practice of the TM-Sidhi program. The influence of this coherence radiates from the group to society. A simple analogy can be used to explain it. Imagine a large tank of water that is filled with floating corks all at rest. Grasping and bobbing just one of the corks up and down in the water creates waves. These waves spread and in turn cause the other corks to start bobbing (Orme-Johnson, Dillbeck, Wallace & Landrith, 1982).
Research (reviewed in Appendix A) indicated that a sufficiently large number of warriors (approximately the square root of 1% of the targeted social system) practicing the group dynamics of consciousness, could create a powerful field effect which would promote positive and evolutionary trends not only locally, but also on a global level. The results obtained from over 40 controlled studies to date (see Appendix A) indicate that this field effect is too profound and too far-reaching to be explained by well-known field effects such as those associated with electromagnetic radiation (Hagelin, 1987; Kleinschnitz, 1997). For this reason, Hagelin and other researchers involved in this work were convinced that these field effects must operate on the unmanifest level discussed above. Therefore, they realized the tremendous strategic advantage that could be gained by implementing Maharishi Supreme Military Science technology to augment existing defense systems.
Maharishi, although having gained a background in modern physics (Allahabad University), is primarily a master of Vedic knowledge. He studied for 13 years with the renowned teacher and Shankaracharya of the North in India, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. Maharishi rediscovered and reinterpreted the ancient knowledge of defense contained in the Vedic tradition. To create a more peaceful world, he encouraged the leaders of society in all countries to further study the strategies and tactics of Maharishi Supreme Military Science as well as the principles of its consciousness-based system of defense (Maharishi, 1978, pp. 123-129; Maharishi, 1986a, pp. 138-143; Maharishi, 1996).
The goal of Maharishi Supreme Military Science technologies (also known as Maharishi Vedic Science and Technology) is also to develop proposed higher states of consciousness. The principal components of Maharishi Supreme Military Science are the TM and TM-Sidhi programs. The daily practice of these programs need not involve any religious beliefs or changes of lifestyle. Maharishi revived these ancient technologies as a means to gain subjective knowledge. They are proposed to provide the direct experience of, and the ability to act from, a proposed unified field of consciousness. The Vedic tradition (Maharishi, 1986a) held that this unified field of pure consciousness is the source of all the laws of nature and therefore is the fundamental basis of each individual and of all society (pp. 24-49). Furthermore, this Vedic point of view asserted that this fundamental level is a field of unbounded consciousness, the basis of all knowledge, the source of thought, or, in other words, a field of pure creative intelligence.
During the practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs (see the Research Review section) the individual mind experiences and identifies with this field. For this reason, the quantum mechanical model of the human body discussed earlier and the research on the coherence-creating effects of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs (The Maharishi Effect, pp. 1-90) may present two important new insights relevant to applied military science. These insights could explain the link between the orderly human mind and the order (intelligence) in nature -- establishing that both are essentially the same thing. Therefore, Maharishi Supreme Military Science presents a level of potential of the mind far greater than any generally considered by the military before -- that the mind can operate in such a manner as to directly cause effects at a distance. In this advanced state, the "warriors," as the "observers," have the potential to directly experience that profound level which underlies both their individuality and the "battleground" environment. In this way, warriors are empowered to influence the battleground environment to prevent the battle. As stated above, the results of this ability of the warriors (or of anyone else) to influence their environment through mechanisms involving enlivening the proposed unified field of consciousness through the group dynamics of consciousness are called the "Maharishi Effect."
Summaries of selected research on the Maharishi Effect are given in the following paragraphs (For a review of all Maharishi Effect papers and presentations see Appendix A). Their purpose is to back up two fundamental tenets of Maharishi Supreme Military Science: 1) the problem of maintaining peace between nations can be solved only by maintaining peace in the individual citizen 2) only a small percentage of these individual citizens (e.g., members of the military) practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs would be necessary to create and maintain peace by eliminating the collective stress in society -- hypothesized to be the ultimate cause of war.
This review will lend credence to the theory that warriors can be trained to engage and activate the proposed source of nature's functioning, the proposed unified field of all the laws of nature. Maharishi Supreme Military Science postulated that such an engagement and activation would simultaneously bring about self-sufficiency and harmony and hence, ultimately, invincibility of the social unit in question. The research indicated that the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs were holistic in their effects. It indicated that it is possible for individuals to create a state of calmness or peace on both the physiological and the psychological levels. In theory, a group of peaceful individuals influenced its environment, and these results have been measured in a sociological context. For this reason, all aspects of citizens' lives -- body, mind, and spirit, as well as behavior and environment -- appeared to be affected.
The research conducted on the proposed ability of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs to create coherence in the collective consciousness of society can be divided into three major parts (The Maharishi Effect, p. 13):
II. [Studies on] The Extended Maharishi Effect -- Improved Quality of Life in Society when the Square Root of 1% of the Population Participates in the Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programs; [i.e., all are sitting together in one place at the same time] and
III. [Studies on] The Global Maharishi Effect -- Decreased Conflict and Improved Trends of Life in the World when the Square Root of 1% of the World's Population Participates in the Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programs.
The Maharishi Effect is postulated to involve a "phase transition" to a more harmonious and orderly state of life when a 1% threshold is reached. The change occurs in the "collective consciousness" of the people. Over thirty years ago Maharishi predicted that a small fraction of a population could improve the quality of life in that population simply by practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique twice a day in their own homes. Since then, many studies have found that sociological indicators such as crime, violence, accidents, illness, economic conditions, etc. improved when the number of TM technique practitioners reached 1% of the population in that area (usually a city). Since Maharishi's prediction appears to have been borne out, the effect was named after him, just as other effects have been named after the person who first discovered them (e.g., the Doppler Effect and the Meissner Effect).
Documentation of the Maharishi Effect began in 1972 when psychologist Garland Landrith and colleagues observed that in cities where 1% of the population had learned the Transcendental Meditation program a decrease in crime occurred. This finding prompted a formal retrospective study which was begun in 1974 (Borland & Landrith, 1976). The crime rate of eleven cities where 1% had learned the TM program was compared with matched cities of similar population, location and crime statistics. In all of the cities, the crime rate had been steadily climbing. In 1972-73 the cities that reached 1% of its inhabitants participating in the program exhibited a mean decrease in the crime rate of 8.2%. The control cities had an increase of 8.3% during that same year, resulting in a 16.5% difference in crime trends between the 1% and the control cities. The study also compared other factors (e.g., year, population, region, initial crime rate) and concluded that they could not account for the significant decrease observed in the 1% cities.
Dillbeck, Landrith and Orme-Johnson (1981) followed this study with a more thorough one using crime rate as the major index of the quality of life. They compared publicly available crime statistics from 24 cities, each with a population of about 10,000, in which 1% of the population practiced the TM technique, with statistics from 24 control cities. Analysis of the data revealed that prior to 1972, (the year that 1% was achieved) the crime rate was rising faster in the 1% cities as compared to the control cities. The rise reversed dramatically in the year after the cities obtained 1% status. A marked average decrease in crime rate in the 1% cities was observed while the rise continued as usual in the control cities.
Research on the Extended Maharishi Effect, the improved quality of life resulting from the square root of 1% of the population participating in the group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs, can be subdivided into five areas: 1) Effects on City Life, 2) Effects on State and Provincial Life, 3) Effects on National Life, 4) Effects on Neighboring Countries, and 5) Effects on International Conflict and Quality of Life (The Maharishi Effect, p. 1). A brief description of selected research pertaining to each of these subdivided areas will be described in this section and the next:
A study by Dillbeck, Cavanaugh, Glenn, Orme-Johnson, and Mittlefehldt (1987) found a significant reduction of crime when a group of participants in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs exceeded the square root of 1% of the Metro Manila population in the Philippines. The experimental design utilized Box-Jenkins time series impact analysis of a 5-month intervention period compared to pre-intervention and post-intervention baselines. This experiment revealed that a significant (p<.005) decrease in crime occurred during the time the coherence group stayed. After the group of Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi experts left, the crime rate returned to previous levels. The coherence-creating group was composed mostly of Westerners. These results indicated that the Maharishi Effect (or at least the Extended Maharishi Effect) transcended cultural or ethnic boundaries and diverse social structures because the population of the Philippines was largely Asian. This may strengthen support for the hypothesis that the Maharishi Effect and Extended Maharishi Effect were field effects that operated from a fundamental level.
During the summer of 1978, small groups of practitioners of the TM-Sidhi program were dispatched to 108 provinces and states around the world. In the state of Rhode Island, 300 experienced practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs practiced together collectively for over three months. The composite quality-of-life index (consisting of over 30 indices that were compared with the previous summer) improved considerably during this experimental period (p<.01). Some of the dependent variables were: total crime rate, mortality rate (except traffic fatalities), traffic fatality rate, auto accident rate, pollution, unemployment rate, beer consumption rate, and cigarette consumption rate. Also, in the following two-year period a smaller coherence-creating group remained in Rhode Island. During this time the quality of life significantly improved during the period of continued presence (p<.005). Also, the studies that were conducted in other provinces and states where the collective practice of the TM-Sidhi program reached the square root of 1% showed similar effects (Dillbeck, Foss, & Zimmerman, 1983).
Over a several-year period (1982-85 and 1979-85), in a week-by-week analysis, Dillbeck (1990) found that whenever the attendance rose at a large, permanent TM-Sidhi assembly in Fairfield, Iowa, then, significant decreases occurred in the violence index (motor vehicle accidents, suicides, and homicides, p's<.01). The experimental design utilized Box-Jenkins time series impact analysis for the square root of 1% threshold (1982-85), and transfer function analysis from 1979 to 1985. Also, another study (Assimakis & Dillbeck, 1995) indicated that when the group exceeded the square root of 1% of the combined United States and Canadian populations the violent deaths decreased in Canada as well.
Several types of transfer function analyses of the monthly "Misery Index" in the United States and Canada were conducted (Cavanaugh, 1987; Cavanaugh & King, 1988; Cavanaugh, King & Ertuna, 1989; Cavanaugh, King, Ertuna, & Titus, 1989). This dependent variable was determined from combination of the inflation and the unemployment rates in both countries. The large permanent TM-Sidhi assembly in Fairfield, Iowa was shown to have a highly significant impact on the index of both countries. The analysis showed that the effect was greater when the group was larger. Also, the effect was stronger in the United States (where the group was located) than in Canada. These results supported the hypothesis that key economic variables can be improved through the Maharishi Effect even across national borders.
Davies (1988) and Davies and Alexander (1989, August) examined how the war in Lebanon was affected by seven large assemblies that had reached the theoretically sufficient number of TM-Sidhi program practitioners. The results of applying the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs were highly promising (e.g., 66% increase in cooperation among antagonists, 71% reduction in war deaths and 68% reduction in war injuries, 48% reduction in the overall level of conflict), [p< .00001 for each variable]. An expert Lebanese statistician blind to the experiment compiled these statistics from eight international news sources and the regional Foreign Broadcast Information Service. These figures were judged to be unrelated to holidays, announced events, seasonality, or other trends. A dependent time series analysis was utilized to control for these variables. Also, combined analysis of the data from these seven assemblies would normally be expected to show a statistical effect of diminishing the demonstrated results. However, the results taken together showed an unprecedented by low probability that these results could be explained by chance (p< 10 -19). Therefore, this study presented strong evidence that the Maharishi Effect and the Extended Maharishi Effect were a reliable means to reduce protracted, politically motivated violence.
During a three-week period, from December 17, 1983 to January 6, 1984, a large assembly of practitioners of Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs gathered at Maharishi University of Management (M.U.M.) in Fairfield, Iowa. The number of expert practitioners eventually exceeded 7,000 (approximately the square root of one percent of the population of the world at that time). In advance of the assembly, M.U.M. scientists predicted effects such as improved relations between nations, better cooperation between political parties, signs of worldwide economic recovery, and a worldwide decrease of crime. The dependent variables observed included: statements and actions of heads of state worldwide, conflict in trouble-spot areas, conflict in Lebanon, air traffic fatalities worldwide, infectious diseases, and the World Index of stock prices. Various statistical techniques appropriate to each data set were employed (e.g., Box-Jenkins time series impact assessment analysis and chi-square contingency table analysis). The researchers (Orme-Johnson, Cavanaugh, Alexander, Gelderloos, Dillbeck, Lanford & Abou Nader, 1984) compared the dependent variables during the assembly with the prior and subsequent three-week periods, and with changes during the comparable periods in previous years.
The results of this experiment appeared to demonstrate the holistic nature of the Global Maharishi Effect. There was improvement in all areas. For instance, there was increased progress expressed by the heads of state in reversing negative trends and accelerating positive trends (p< .02). In Lebanon there was increased progress toward peace (p< .006). The World Stock Index (a single measure of stock prices which had been going down for three weeks before the assembly) started to rise and continued rising (p< .00004). Eighteen (of nineteen) markets included in the index increased. During the assembly, eight of the eleven largest markets of the world set all-time records. In the United States, the stock market (which had previously been in a slump) abruptly skyrocketed. The mean change in the Dow Jones Industrial Average "was 3.42 points per day or 6.32 points greater than its mean of minus 2.9 points per day for the period before and after the assembly" (Orme-Johnson, Cavanaugh, Alexander, Gelderloos, Dillbeck, Lanford & Abou Nader, 1984, p. 2747). Notably, the World Index of stock prices dropped suddenly after the assembly.
Research by Orme-Johnson, Dillbeck, Alexander, Chandler, and Cranson (1989, September) further indicated that the three largest international assemblies of practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs reduced violence and terrorism in all parts of the world through the Global Maharishi Effect. A daily content-analysis rating of international conflicts, and international terrorism data before, during, and after an assembly at Fairfield, Iowa, U.S.A. (December, 1983 to January, 1984), the Hague, the Netherlands (December, 1984 to January, 1985) and at Washington, D.C. U.S.A. (July 1985) revealed that there were highly significant decreases (36%, 24% and 35%, respectively) in international conflict during each assembly. The analysis also showed a 72% drop in international terrorism immediately after the start of the three assemblies when taken together as well as a significant increase in the World Index of stock prices during the three assemblies. This experiment utilized Box-Jenkins time series impact assessment analysis of the intervention period on data obtained from the Rand Corporation (daily casualties and injuries, 1983-85) and the World Index of stock prices (daily, 1983-85).
These proposed field effects of consciousness have been studied in other ways, such as research showing changes in EEG (brainwave) coherence. During the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, increased coherence of the EEG has been measured, signifying that different parts of the brain are working together (Dillbeck, Orme-Johnson, & Wallace, 1981). Also, research conducted by Travis and Orme-Johnson (1989) suggested that when an expert practiced the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs and exhibited increased brain wave coherence, non-meditators in another room also displayed increased brain wave coherence. This coherence was found to begin a few seconds later while each of the non-meditating subjects performed a computerized concept learning task. Increased EEG coherence during meditation correlates with higher IQ, creativity, moral reasoning and neurological efficiency (Dillbeck & Bronson, 1981; Dillbeck, Orme-Johnson & Wallace, 1981; Nidich, Ryncarz, Abrams, Orme-Johnson & Wallace, 1983; Orme-Johnson & Haynes, 1981; Orme-Johnson, Wallace, Dillbeck, Alexander & Ball. 1981, September).
Research by Orme-Johnson, Dillbeck, Wallace and Landrith (1982) further indicated that when many people practiced the TM-Sidhi program together in one place, this coherence-generating effect was enhanced. The experiment revealed that on six separate days when about 2500 experts practiced the TM-Sidhi program together in one place, increases in intersubject EEG coherence (i.e., coherence of EEG patterns between two individuals) were measured over one thousand miles away from the group. No effect was measured on the control days at times when the group was not practicing the TM-Sidhi program. The experimental subjects were not aware of the times that the group was engaged in the program.
Maharishi (1966b) proposed that stress is the root cause of crime, warfare, and other sociological problems. A possible sign of the reduction of stress in the human body due to the extended Maharishi Effect was addressed in research by Pugh, Walton and Cavanaugh (1988). Their study revealed that on high attendance days at the large, permanent TM-Sidhi assembly in Fairfield, Iowa, higher levels of serotonin were measured in local non-meditators. Serotonin is a neurochemical associated with well being or happiness. High levels of serotonin activity are known to be associated with reduced human aggression and hostility (Virkkunen, Eggert, Rawlings, & Linnoila, 1996; Young, 1992). For instance, research by MacLean, Schneider, Wenneberg, Levitsky, and Walton, (1992) indicates that high levels of serotonin in the human body correlate with low levels of hostility. Linear transfer function time series analysis modified by the use of the Akaike information criterion (a method to minimize subjective bias in model selection) was utilized in the diet-controlled experiment. Also, to control for possible effects of outside temperature, daily mean temperature was included as a second variable in the time series model. The results were significant and strongly indicated that larger groups increased the levels of serotonin metabolism in the non-meditating subjects completely outside the group. This finding was important because it was the first biochemical indicator of this kind of action-at-a-distance behavior, which was usually associated more with field effects in the physical sciences.
Other points of view have been expressed regarding the body of research on the TM program, particularly from a few individuals. Most notable among these was Andrew Skolnick, the Medical News Associate Editor of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and a member of the "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal" (CSICOP). It was inferred by him and other critics that all or most of the research on the Transcendental Meditation technique was conducted by scientists who practice the technique, and therefore that the research was biased and can not be trusted (Skolnick, 1992; West, 1987; Blackmore, 1991; D'Antonio, 1992; Trumpy, 1983-84, Winter issue; Woodrum, 1977, Spring/Summer issue; Druckman & Bjork, 1991, 1994). Although no formal survey has been conducted to determine how many scientists who have researched the TM technique also practiced it, many clearly did not. It is certainly possible that research conducted by meditating scientists may be subject to positive bias. However, in the meta-analysis conducted by Eppley et al. (1989) (discussed earlier), it was found empirically that the authors' allegiance, either of positive or negative bias, did not appreciably influence the outcome of the meta-analysis, which showed a differential positive effect of the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique compared to other forms of meditation and relaxation.
Another consideration concerned the preference of scientists practicing the TM technique to research the technique. One reason for this preference may be that they were the ones most interested in the technique. For the same reason, however, these scientists might have been be more informed about the nature of meditation techniques and how they should be investigated than "experts" who were non-practitioners. Moreover, the scientific world view of non-practitioners may have biased them against investigating a topic which did not appear to fit their paradigm. However, regardless of their situation, if there were instances in which research was inappropriately biased, the peer-review system was designed to screen out such research and to ensure that standard methodological rigor was maintained. Acceptance for publication in peer-reviewed journals indicated that a relevant group of experts had studied the research carefully for experimenter bias, weak research design, lack of control for subject selection, etc. Thus, the hundreds of publications in peer-reviewed journals which report positive effects of the TM program can not be fairly assumed to contain biases disproportionate to those found in any other publication in peer-reviewed research journals.
There also are scientists some of whom appear to have become perpetual critics of meditation practice. They have advanced the notion that techniques of meditation, or sometimes specifically the Transcendental Meditation technique, can have negative effects (Heide & Borkovec, 1983; 1984; French, Schmid, & Ingalls, 1975; Otis, 1984; Persinger, 1980; 1992; 1993; Singer & Ofshe, 1990; Shapiro, 1992). In general, their convictions were based on single case studies, anecdotal evidence, or both published in unrefereed journals. Much of this research is weak because it did not use matched control groups, follow experimental subjects longitudinally, or both. Another consideration is that Heide and Borkovec (1983) did not measure the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program but used a mantra-like meditation in their study. The Transcendental Meditation program involves a specific and unique technique. Different techniques of meditation, relaxation, etc. have been found not to produce the same results (Orme-Johnson & Walton, in press). Therefore, one can not safely make the assumption that the TM technique is equivalent to other techniques.
According to D. W. Orme-Johnson (personal communication, July 12, 1997), former Director of Research at Maharishi University of Management, Dr. Leon Otis's (1984) study on the Transcendental Meditation technique is frequently cited as an example that practicing the TM program can cause negative effects. His study concluded that a small percentage of subjects who practiced the technique became more anxious than they were prior to learning the TM program. This study did not have a strong research design. It did not control for other factors that may have changed in the subjects lives which could have affected their sense of well-being (e.g., divorce, loss of job, change of work, death in the family, etc.). Dr. Otis' study was never published in a reputable scientific journal. It was published in Update (a magazine of religious affiliation) and later as a chapter in a book which was not peer-reviewed.
Castillo (1990, May), claimed that practice of the TM technique can cause depersonalization and derealization. French, Schmid, and Ingalls (1975) presented a single-case study describing altered reality testing and behavior in a subject practicing the TM program. Persinger (1992) concluded that the "ego-alien intrusion" (sensed presence) factor was elevated in subjects who learned the TM technique and other meditation techniques. He also asserted that these subjects also "displayed a significantly wider range of complex partial epileptic-like signs" (e.g., paranormal phenomena, profound meaning from reading poetry-prose, experiences of vibrations, etc.) (Persinger, 1993, p. 80). It was likely that the subjects in this research cited above had direct experiences of higher levels of consciousness. The last chapter of the book Higher Stages of Human Development Perspectives On Adult Growth (Alexander et al., 1990) listed descriptions of experiences similar to those found in these studies and discussed their ramifications. However, many of these experiences were taken from the writings of famous philosophers, poets, artists, etc. It may be that experiences of the subjects in the studies above were misinterpreted as being "abnormal" by the observing scientists, only because they were not familiar experiences at the scientists' stage of consciousness. In reality such experiences may actually be the byproducts of a "normally" functioning stress-free nervous system (Alexander et al., 1990). However, it may take some time for subjects to become accustomed to having a normal functioning nervous system, considering that for most of their lives they have functioned with an abnormal one (Alexander et al., 1990).
Glueck and Stroebel (1984) concluded that for some psychiatric patients subconscious impressions brought up apparently due to the practice of the TM program may be seriously destabilizing. Lazarus (1976) asserted that if the TM program was used indiscriminately it could precipitate serious psychiatric problems. This is why, according to D. W. Orme-Johnson (personal communication, July 12, 1997), everyone who desires to learn the TM program receives a personal interview and is prevented from learning the technique if he or she is mentally unstable or undergoing psychiatric treatment. If any potential problems should appear, teachers of the TM program are trained to consult with medical doctors or other experts. Teachers of the TM program are taught to "always go by the advice of the physician" (D. W. Orme-Johnson, personal communication, July 12, 1997). If practitioners of the TM technique are under medication or medical treatment they are instructed not to make any changes without the consent of their physician. Also, people undergoing psychotherapy are asked to wait until they have finished their treatment before learning the TM program. This was done, according to D. W. Orme-Johnson (personal communication, July 12, 1997):
Besides the criticism of the research conducted on the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs in general, there are other points of criticism that are specific or related to the proposed Maharishi Effect that should be mentioned here. According to Edwards (1990): "Phenomena of 'action at a distance' -- a distance, that is, greater than the senses can consciously experience and react to -- have always been problematic to most social scientists" (p. 3). Even though in the realm of the physical sciences where, for instance, gravitational attraction is accepted as a "physical fact," critics of the Maharishi Effect research frequently label this type of action at a distance as "paranormal." For this reason, because the Maharishi Effect is proposed to involve some type of action at a distance, critics often dismiss this research as not being a serious area of study. For instance, in the Journal of Conflict Resolution , Schrodt (1990) began and ended "A Methodological Critique of a Test of the Effects of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field" by labeling Maharishi Effect research "paranormal." This word often carries negative connotations which can bias a reader toward a negative assessment of the Maharishi Effect research. Orme-Johnson, Alexander and Davies (1990) addressed this point first in their reply to Schrodt:
When estimating the population influenced on an international scale, those nations geographically closer to where the group is located have always been predicted to be influenced by a smaller group than those far away; the Davies and Alexander (1989) study was no exception. (p. 759)
...the [SQRT]1% formula was presented not as a theoretical absolute but only as a starting point...The important issue in our view was whether there would be an effect at all, not how precisely it could be specified in advance. Nor did we assert that no impact would occur below the [SQRT]1% threshold; it is presented as a sufficient condition for measurable improvements, not as a necessary condition for any improvement. (p. 760)
However, according to Sheppard (1988) the results and interpretations of research on EEG coherence have often varied considerably due to methodological and basic computational differences as well as many other reasons. For instance, in coma and epileptic seizure there is high coherence but it occurs at a low frequency (Niedermeyer & Lopes da Silva, 1987). On the other hand, during the practice of the TM program high coherence occurred at a higher alpha frequency (Orme-Johnson & Haynes, 1981). Another consideration was that there has been a lack a general perspective concerning what high or low coherence signifies for the processing and flow of information in the brain. For instance, some scientists have proposed that EEG coherence was associated with decreases in information processing (Shaw et al., 1978; Colter & Shaw, 1982). Other scientists have put forward another model, that EEG coherence increases with information transfer (Busk & Galbraith, 1975; Beaumont, Mayes, & Rugg, 1978, Byring, 1986). This may explain contradictory results such as those of Thatcher et al. (1983) reporting that there was a negative correlation of high IQ with EEG coherence in subjects who did not practice the TM program and those of Hernandez (1988) showing that there was a positive correlation of high IQ with EEG coherence in practitioners of the TM program.
These contradictory views may have been resolved by a pilot study conducted by Kleinschnitz (1997). His research suggested that experiences of transcendental consciousness, the proposed fourth state of consciousness, were specifically correlated to changes in EEG coherence. If this finding is replicated, it could further validate previous research on EEG coherence and the TM program. Frontal alpha EEG coherence in practitioners of the TM program correlated positively with higher grade point average, verbal IQ scores, principled moral reasoning and correlated negatively with neuroticism (Orme-Johnson, Aron & Brubaker, 1982). Advanced practitioners of the TM program also showed positive correlations of EEG coherence in the alpha range with verbal creativity (Orme-Johnson & Haynes, 1981) and cognitive flexibility (Dillbeck, Orme-Johnson & Wallace, 1981).
The aforementioned variety of benefits indicating improved mental functioning along with the evidence of increased brainwave coherence, support the idea that coherence in individual consciousness may be the source of all these changes in both the individual and the individual's environment. Just like the coherent light emitted from a laser is more powerful than ordinary incoherent light, coherent consciousness developed from the practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs might be more powerful than ordinary incoherent consciousness.
It is evident, therefore, that there are a variety of opinions concerning research on the Maharishi Effect as well as on the studies that purport to explain its possible underlying mechanisms. (For an in-depth assessment of these disagreements, see Brown, 1996.) It remains to be seen how these differences of opinion will be resolved. It should be mentioned here that in the New Scientist article brought up earlier (Blackmore, 1991) Peter Fenwick was quoted as saying "If this [effect of EEG coherence in subjects being influenced by a group of 2500 meditators over a thousand miles away]...proved to be a real effect...then the laws of physics would need rewriting" (p. 32). Such a conclusion was not warranted, since compatibility of the Maharishi Effect with the latest theories of physics has been demonstrated (Hagelin, 1987; 1989). The following study will add to the body of research on the Maharishi Effect and may help clear up some of the disagreements.
The main purpose of this exploratory experiment was to determine whether indicators of stress level were lowered in other humans in the vicinity of a group practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi programs when the group was suddenly moved into an area and then, months later, moved out again. Specifically, this study had two purposes: first, to ascertain whether group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs altered scores on psychological tests aimed at evaluating stress and certain pertinent personality variables in experimental subjects not practicing the program, and second to evaluate the levels of stress in these subjects (police workers). The experimental subjects were blind to the first purpose.
The null hypotheses were:
2. There is no significant differential change in the Toronto Alexithymia (TAS) scores comparing the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores with those exhibiting low TAS scores across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block.
3. There is no significant change in the police employees' Perceived Stress Scale test scores across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block.
4. There is no significant differential change in the Perceived Stress Scale scores comparing the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores with those exhibiting low TAS scores across the Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by the tests taken from the first week of each block.
5. There is no significant change in the police employees' POMS factor scores and Total Mood Disturbance scores across the four weeks of Block I.
6. There is no significant difference in the POMS factor scores and Total Mood disturbance scores among the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores and those exhibiting medium and low scores, across the four weeks of Block I.
7. There is no significant change in the police employees' POMS factor scores and Total Mood Disturbance scores across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block.
8. There is no significant differential change in the POMS factor scores and Total Mood Disturbance test scores comparing the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores with those exhibiting low TAS across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block.
In an article entitled "Western Defense Planning" the famous military strategist B.H. Liddell Hart (1956) said that traditional terms like "win the battle," "win the war," and "bringing the war to a successful conclusion" were out-of-date terms and concepts in the atomic age. To emphasize his point he cited the following quote taken from a lecture in London by Field Marshal Montgomery in October 1955:
This frontier intervention study was needed to further investigate the possibility that reducing stress in collective consciousness of society could prevent war. It was the first known attempt to document psychological change in a select group of subjects as a result of importing a large group practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi programs. Because this study tested effects of moving a group into a specific area and moving it out again, the study was, in effect, a feasibility study for use of such a group by the military. Sociological research (reviewed in Appendix A) has supported the ability of group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs to reduce stress in society as a whole. This study could therefore have both scientific and practical importance. It is hoped that in the future military, government, or both researchers could replicate this pilot study on a broader scale under more ideal conditions. Further verification of the field effects of consciousness could help to determine the usefulness of deploying a group practicing of the Transcendental Meditation and the TM-Sidhi programs. If successful such a program could become important prevention-oriented "tool" for military and civilian leaders to prevent war.
This was an intervention study. Originally a different design had been planned. Psychological and neurochemical indicators of stress were to have been determined in a select group of nonpractitioners of this technology in the vicinity of a large group of practitioners that fluctuated moderately in size over a period of 12 to 14 weeks. Data analysis was to have been by transfer function time series, with daily data on dependent and independent variables. For scientific as well as practical reasons, this plan was later found to be unworkable. The principle scientific reason was an apparent impression of estimates of the size of the independent variable. In the one group available to the experimenter, the effect of 800 to 1000 practitioners performing the TM and TM-Sidhi programs in two large buildings located adjacent to one another was expected to be increased by an unknown amount due to 1000 to 1500 additional practitioners doing their practice in their own homes within a one to two mile radius of the large group, at approximately the same time of day.
In previous experiments, a much larger percentage of the total practitioners of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs had been together in the groups, thus minimizing the influence of uncounted people practicing in their own homes. Due to the change in distribution between groups and homes, the concern arose that the independent variable of the group size of practitioners of the TM and TM Sidhi programs would be too imprecise to give a meaningful study. Fortunately, a viable alternative presented itself, but this happened in such a way that there was only a narrow time window for locating subject groups and initiating measurements.
The experimenter received only one day's notice that an coherence creating group of male practitioners of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs called the Purusha program would begin to leave Fairfield, Iowa in staggered groups on and after Tuesday, September 12, 1995. Members of this group were moving to a facility in Avon Lake -- a suburb of the Cleveland, Ohio metropolitan area. It was quickly decided that an exploratory intervention study to determine if selected members of the population near the meditating group experienced less stress during and after the experimental period than they did before the period would be a viable alternative to the original plan. The following morning the experimenter flew to Cleveland, Ohio to locate a subject group for the experiment and to begin pretest measurements.
On Monday, September 25, 1995 the first day of testing began at the police department in the Cleveland, Ohio metropolitan area. Test packets and instructions were given out by a designated officer, who kept the name and number code protecting the identity of each subject. That day, after instructing the designated officer how to proceed, the experimenter flew out of state to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in an attempt to locate a suitable external control group. It was assumed, based on previous studies with groups about this size, that any proposed effects created by the group of meditators would not be measurable in an external control group 400 to 500 miles away. After several days of effort, however, the experimenter was unable to locate another police department willing to participate on such short notice. Although the study was weakened by the absence of an external control group, the decision was made to continue the study in Cleveland, with change in stress indicators over time as an exploratory measure of an intervention effect of the group in the size range of about 100 to 150 practitioners of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs.
The intervention study was thus designed as a psychological test of average stress level before, during and after an advanced group of practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs were moved into the local area.
The independent variable was treated as an on-off function for the main comparisons. Numbers practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi programs together in the group at the time of the test were considered in the interpretation of results. The test dates were as follows. Block I of the battery of psychological tests and questionnaire was given starting on Monday, September 25, 1995. Block II was given on Tuesday, January 9, 1996. This time was chosen in an attempt to avoid any possible effects of depression that might accompany the holiday season. Because weather variables such as average temperature are known to affect crime, the final battery of psychological tests and questionnaires was given one year from Block I, starting on Tuesday, September 24, 1996. Conducting the final measurement one year later controlled for seasonal changes in weather, day length, etc., as well as for other situations such as children going back to school. The participants of the coherence creating group moved from the facility in one group at 5:35 AM on Thursday, June 13, 1996 and traveled to North Carolina, over 600 miles away, where they took residence.
The dependent variables were the psychological scores and answers to questionnaire of the experimental subjects in the police department (see Instrumentation).
The subjects were told they would be participating in an experiment documenting levels of stress in police workers, but they were blind to the experiment's main purpose, that is, of documenting any changes of their collective levels of stress due to the local group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs. Recruiting was by the chief of police, who requested that all employees of the department (i.e. patrolmen, detectives, secretaries, dispatchers, etc.) participate in the experiment. The chief wanted to document the stress levels of all of his employees and have each individual subject privately be given their own personal stress profile after the experiment. For this reason, random assignment of subjects could not be used to strengthen the research design. The subjects had no known direct contact with anyone participating in the meditating group.
Unfortunately, the experiment suffered from a large dropout rate. Of 88 potential subjects only 4 qualified subjects completed all psychological tests and questionnaire from every sampling period. There were only 26 qualified subjects who had completed all tests and questionnaire for the first week of every block (see figure 3). Only 19 "Biographical Data For Stress Study" forms were returned. On two of these forms most of the questions were not answered. The gender of the most of the subjects was ascertained from the "Biographical Data For Stress Study" forms and the POMS tests which asked the gender of subjects. Fourteen subjects did not mark their gender. Of the remaining 74 subjects, one indicated female, and the rest indicated male.
The mean age of the 17 subjects who completed the "Biographical Data For Stress Study" forms was 41 years old. Based on the "Metropolitan Weight Chart" (cited in Piscatella, 1987) eight subjects were within their weight range and nine were overweight. Twelve subjects were married, two were single and three were divorced. Ten subjects had children with a mean of two children at home. Eight subjects reported medical problems and four reported past illnesses. Three subjects were taking shark cartilage 2-3 times a day. Seven subjects took vitamins. One subject took ginko. Two subjects were taking prescription medicine and two took over-the-counter pain killers an average of 1 per day. Five subjects smoked an average of one pack of cigarettes a day. The subjects consisted of seven light drinkers of alcohol (0-1 drinks per week), six moderate drinkers (2-7 drinks per week), and six heavy drinkers (more than one drink per day). One subject ate meat once a week. Six subjects ate meat once a day and ten ate meat more than once a day. Ten subjects exercised at least three times a week and seven subjects exercised less than three times a week. None of the 17 subjects who completed the "Biographical Data For Stress Study" forms practiced self-improvement techniques such as martial arts, meditation, counseling, etc.
Subjects were asked to complete a battery of tests and questionnaire on the first day of their shift for the week. Ideally, these instruments were to be administered at the end of the workday at the police department on each of the sampling days. However, due to sickness, vacations, change of shift, etc., this objective was not always met. For this reason, there was some lag time (up to 9 days) with some subjects (approximately 10%).
There were four weekly test sessions during the month of the pretest (Block I), four weekly test sessions during the month of the experimental period (Block II) and four weekly test sessions during the posttest (Block III). Block I, Week 1, consisted of a battery of three tests and a questionnaire described below in the "Instrumentation" section. The remaining three weeks of the block consisted of a Profile of Mood States (POMS) test (described below). This same testing format was also used for the Block II experimental period. The subjects were given all tests and questionnaire during all four weeks of the final Block III posttest period. The last week of the Block III battery of tests (the fourth week) included a Biographical Data For Stress Study sheet (see Appendix). The same four-week data collection format was used for Blocks II and III. The original intent was to average the weeks to obtain a more reliable measure. However, due to high subject attrition across weeks, the advantage of averaging was lost.
For the data analysis of Block I, weeks 1, 2, 3, and 4 the subjects (n = 47) were separated into the alexithymia group (TAS score greater than or equal to 74, n = 8), the mid-alexithymia group (TAS score of 63 to 73, n = 13) and the non-alexithymia group (TAS score less than or equal to 62, n = 26). Univariate ANOVA and multivariate repeated measures MANOVA were used to compare the change across weeks 1, 2, 3 and 4 for these three groups.
All testing sessions of every block used the Profile of Mood States test ("POM 021," available from: EdITS, San Diego, CA). The Profile of Mood States (POMS) is a standardized 65-item test of those moods most affected by stress. It is a simple, self-report, adjective check list in which a person checks one of five levels ("not at all," "a little," "moderately," "quite a bit," "extremely,") beside each adjective, such as "Friendly," "Tense," etc. There are six factor-analytically derived factors, "Tension-Anxiety," "Depression-Dejection," "Anger-Hostility," Vigor-Activity," "Fatigue-Inertia," "Confusion-Bewilderment" and a "Total Mood Disturbance" (TMD) score. The POMS has demonstrated internal consistency, good test-retest reliability and remarkably congruent factorial validity (for an extensive list of references see McNair, Lorr & Droppleman, 1981).
The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) was administered to experimental subjects the first week of Blocks I and II and for all four weeks of Block III (Cohen, Karmarck & Mermelstein, 1983). The PSS is a 14-item scale in the public domain designed to measure the degree to which life events are evaluated as uncontrollable, emotionally overloading and unpredictable. This is a better predictor of depressive and physical symptomatology, anxiety and utilization of health services than life event scales that measure frequency of events rather than their perceived significance to the individual. For this reason, the PSS has demonstrated adequate reliability and validity in measuring the degree to which one's life situations are appraised as stressful (Cohen, Karmarck & Mermelstein, 1983; Cohen, 1986; Cohen & Williamson, 1990).
The Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS) was administered to experimental subjects during the first week of Blocks I and II and for all four weeks of Block III to control for alexithymia (Taylor et al., 1988). This disturbance makes it difficult for individuals to experience feeling and express emotions verbally. For this reason, subjects with alexithymic characteristics could bias the test scores. Although alexithymic characteristics are considered to change slowly if at all, multiple tests were administered to check for stability with this unusual intervention. The TAS is a 26-item measure. It and later derivatives have demonstrated internal consistency, good-test reliability, and convergent and divergent validity (Bagby, Taylor, Parker & Loiselle, 1990; Taylor, Bagby, Ryan and Parker, 1990).
Sleep problems are often associated with stress (Hartmann & Brewer, 1976; Kales, et al., 1984; Hicks & Garcia, 1987). A sleep questionnaire was administered to experimental subjects during every week of every block to look for any problems in falling asleep, staying asleep and early awakening. Unfortunately, the experimenter overlooked inappropriate wording in this instrument. All the questions should have read: "past week" instead of the "past 4 weeks." Therefore, the results on this questionnaire were unreliable.
The subjects were given a Biographical Data for Stress Study form to fill out after completing the final test and questionnaire of Block III. Unfortunately, due to the high drop-out rate, the data from the these forms are derived from only 17 subjects and may not be representative of the entire group.
Copies of the POMS, PSS, TAS are included in Appendix C. The biographical data questions can be found in Appendix B.
The data for this study were analyzed by using the repeated measures ANOVA and MANOVA procedures available in the SYSTAT software package. The assumptions, weaknesses and strengths of these procedures are discussed in detail by Vasey and Thayer (1987) and O'Brien and Kaiser (1985). The ANOVA results are given without and with corrections for deviations from ideal satisfaction of the sphericity assumption. The method of Huynh and Feldt (1980) was chosen, but the Geisser and Greenhouse (1958) technique gave similar results in every case. A significance level of .05 was used to test the null hypotheses.
THE INTERVENTION STUDY
Figure 2 plots the number of the Purusha program members arriving at and departing from the facility at Avon Lake. The y-axis of the graph shows the number of the Purusha program members and the x-axis shows the year-long sampling period. Each group of four red vertical lines represents the four weeks of testing for Block I (the first test), Block II (the intervention), and Block III (the posttest). The blue line shows the Purusha numbers before and during the sampling periods. Each red vertical line represents three back-to-back testing days.
Because of time constraints, the first test measures could not be accomplished until after members of the Purusha program had begun to arrive. Figure 2 shows that about 100 members of the program had already arrived at the facility on September 25, 1995 the first day of Block I testing. During the Block I sampling period the Purusha program numbers rose steadily from about 100 to 120 members and continued steadily rising until the first sampling period of Block II where there was a substantial drop. This continuing growth in numbers might have caused a cumulative rise in the subjects' test scores. For this reason, the Block I period may have approximated a pretest. After Block II the group numbers remained relatively stable until the entire group left the Avon Lake facility on June 13, 1996. The Block III sampling period started over three months after the group had left, on September 24, 1996.
Null Hypothesis 1. There is no significant change in the police employees' Toronto Alexithymia test scores across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block.
The null hypothesis is rejected. As shown in Table 1, the analysis of variance across the three blocks by repeated measures ANOVA and MANOVA showed significant changes in the predicted direction (i.e., a quadratic polynomial test of order) for the Toronto Alexithymia test scores. Significance by ANOVA was not substantially changed when corrected by the Huynh-Feldt (H-F) method of correcting for deviations from the sphericity assumption.
Null Hypothesis 2. There is no significant differential change in the Toronto Alexithymia (TAS) scores comparing the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores with those exhibiting low TAS scores across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block.
The null hypothesis is accepted. As shown in Table 2, the analysis of variance across the three blocks by repeated measures ANOVA and MANOVA showed no significant interaction between group (high or low scores) and the change in Toronto Alexithymia test scores across the three blocks. The significance level by ANOVA was not substantially changed when corrected by the Huynh-Feldt (H-F) method of correcting for deviations from the sphericity assumption. The highly significant between-group ANOVA merely shows that the high- and low-scoring groups were different from each other on mean TAS score.
Null Hypothesis 3. There is no significant change in the police employees' Perceived Stress Scale test scores across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block.
The null hypothesis is accepted. As shown in Table 3, the analysis of variance across the three blocks by repeated measures ANOVA and MANOVA showed insignificant changes in the predicted directions for the Perceived Stress Scale test scores. The significance level by ANOVA was not substantially changed when corrected by the Huynh-Feldt (H-F) method of correcting for deviations from the sphericity assumption. The quadratic test of order, however, showed a strong trend towards significance, and the repeated measures ANOVA approached a trend.
Null Hypothesis 4. There is no significant differential change in the Perceived Stress Scale scores comparing the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores with those exhibiting low TAS scores across the Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by the tests taken from the first week of each block.
The null hypothesis is accepted. As shown in Table 4, the analysis of variance across the three blocks by repeated measures ANOVA and MANOVA showed no significant group by block interactions on the Perceived Stress Scale test scores. However, the low and high scorers on TAS showed a highly significant difference in PSS scores (between group ANOVA).
Null Hypothesis 5. There is no significant change in the police employees' POMS factor scores and Total Mood Disturbance scores across the four weeks of Block I.
The null hypothesis is rejected. As shown in Table 5, the analysis of variance across the four weeks by repeated measures ANOVA and MANOVA showed significant linear changes in the predicted direction for the Total Mood Disturbance score (TMD) and all factors except Vigor-activity. Significance by ANOVA was not substantially changed when corrected by the Huynh-Feldt ( H-F) method of correcting for deviations from the sphericity assumption.
Null hypothesis 6. There is no significant difference in the POMS factor scores and Total Mood disturbance scores among the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores and those exhibiting medium and low scores, across the four weeks of Block I.
The null hypothesis is accepted. As shown in Table 6, the analysis of variance across the four weeks by repeated measures ANOVA and MANOVA showed no significant interaction between group and change in test scores across the four weeks for the Total Mood Disturbance score (TMD) and all factors. However, all scores except tension-anxiety and vigor-activity showed significant differences among the three TAS groups.
Null Hypothesis 7. There is no significant change in the police employees' POMS factor scores and Total Mood Disturbance scores across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block.
The null hypothesis is accepted. As shown in Table 7, the analysis of
variance across the three blocks by repeated measures ANOVA and MANOVA
showed no significant changes for the POMS factor scores and Total Mood
Disturbance scores. Depression-dejection did, however, approach significance
for a linear change (repeated measures MANOVA).
Null Hypothesis 8. There is no significant differential change in the POMS factor scores and Total Mood Disturbance test scores comparing the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores with those exhibiting low TAS across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block.
The null hypothesis is accepted. As shown in Table 8, the analysis of
variance across the three blocks by repeated measures ANOVA and MANOVA
showed no significant interactions between group and the POMS factor scores
and Total Mood Disturbance scores. However, the two groups (low and high
TAS scores) were significantly different on all factors except vigor-activity
B. Interpretation of Results of the Intervention Study
This section will discuss the meaning of the results of the intervention study. The main purpose of the study was to ascertain whether group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs altered scores on psychological tests aimed at evaluating stress and certain stress-related personality variables in experimental subjects not practicing the programs. The study tested eight null hypotheses. Two out of the eight null hypotheses were rejected at a significance level of .05.
Null hypothesis No. 1 was rejected because analysis showed a significant change in the Toronto Alexithymia (TAS) test scores across the three test blocks. The change was in the direction predicted, that is, TAS scores decreased during the intervention and rose again afterwards. TAS scores are thought to change insignificantly over long periods of time (Salminen, Saarijävi, Aäirelä & Tamminen, 1994). Studies on physiological indicators of chronic stress (Martin & Pihl, 1986; Walton, Pugh, Gelderloos & Macrae, 1995; MacLean et al., 1997), and the present finding that higher TAS scores were significantly associated with high scores on the Perceived Stress Scale and the POMS scales, suggest that the trait-like quality of alexithymia may result from long-lasting effects of chronic stress. Thus, if the intervention reduces or reverses effects of chronic stress, as other studies have shown for the TM technique (Walton, Pugh, Gelderloos & Macrae, 1995; MacLean et al., 1997) and have suggested for the effects of collective consciousness (Pugh, Walton & Cavanaugh, 1988), then the small but significant changes in TAS over the three blocks are exactly as expected.
If this interpretation were correct, one might expect that scores on the Perceived Stress Scale and the mood disturbance factors and total Profile of Mood States score would behave the same way as the TAS scores over the three blocks. The PSS scores did follow the same pattern (p = .06) but the change over the three blocks fell short of significance (see Table 2). Scores on the POMS factors showed no significant pattern of change over the three blocks.
Null hypothesis No. 5 was rejected because analysis showed significant linear changes in the predicted direction (i.e., a linear decrease as group numbers increased) for the Total Mood Disturbance score (TMD), and all factors from the POMS except vigor-activity, across the four weeks of Block I (see Figure 5). Although this change was in line with what might be expected from stress reduction in the police employees due to the Maharishi Effect, this is probably not the correct interpretation for the following reason. The same general pattern of improvement in the scores of the POMS factors was found for both Blocks II and III (see Figures 6 and 7). Since the number of participants in the group practice was dropping at the time of Block II tests (see Figure 2), and all participants were gone by the Block III test, this raised the concern that possible test-retest effects were responsible for the apparent improvement. It is highly likely that the apparent pattern of improvement was due to the Hawthorne Effect (Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939) where the employees felt important and appreciated because they were chosen for a scientific experiment, and for this reason they felt compelled to improve.
This experiment did not involve a direct demonstration by military personnel. Therefore, it could be argued that any measured effects do not directly apply to the field of military studies, particularly during a time of great societal stress or actual war in progress. Another limitation is the lack of an external control group. Although it was theoretically possible to have a control group miles away, beyond the reach of the proposed field effect, due to the time constraints under which the study was begun, the experimenter was unable to find another police department willing to participate on short notice. Another possible limitation is the influence of other large groups of practitioners of the TM-Sidhi program in countries like India, where the numbers of practitioners may be large enough to have world-wide effects. Data on the size and fluctuations of such groups were not available. Changes in the numbers in those groups might mask effects due to the local group.
Another consideration is the reliability of conclusions about cause and effect when arrived at with the experimental design employed. Because the study did not utilize a cross-lagged panel design (e.g., moving the practitioners of the TM-Sidhi program to different locations during the experimental period instead of daily meditation at one location) it is impossible to draw firm conclusions, particularly in the absence of a simultaneous external control group.
Verification of the field effects of consciousness in different settings is important in helping to determine the usefulness to the military of the group practice of the TM-Sidhi program. The present study was appropriate because it involved moving a small group of practitioners into and out of a particular locale, as might be done with military personnel being sent to a trouble spot anywhere on the globe. Other types of sociological research have supported the ability of this type of technology to reduce stress in society. The purpose of this experiment was to see if indicators of stress were lowered in a specific group of society responsible for guarding the safety of people and property. The present results, although not strong, provide some tentative support for the usefulness of this technology in this regard. It is hoped that, in the future, conditions will be right somewhere in the world for other researchers to replicate this study using an external control group and perhaps other testing instruments.
The main purpose of this study was to determine whether indicators of stress level are lowered in other humans in the vicinity of a group practicing the TM-Sidhi program when the group is suddenly moved into an area and then, months later, moved out again. The sample population consisted of police workers who were told they would be participating in an experiment documenting their levels of stress, but were blind to the experiment's main purpose.
The first instrument, the Profile of Mood States, (POMS), assessed stress in the following areas:
This instrument also provided a "Total Mood Score" (TMD) which was a total of all five areas.
The second instrument was the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), which assessed the degree to which life events are evaluated as uncontrollable, emotionally overloading and unpredictable. The third instrument employed was the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS) which assessed alexithymia, a disturbance that makes it difficult for individuals to experience feeling and express emotions verbally. This study also had a high drop-out rate. At the end of the study only 19 subjects returned the Biographical Data form, hardly enough to represent the entire group.
The intervention study tested the statistical significance of eight null hypotheses. The findings indicated that two of the eight were rejected at a significance of .05. The rejected hypotheses across the three blocks revealed that there was a significant change in the subjects' TAS scores in going from Block I to Block II to Block III. That is, there was a drop from Block I to Block II and a rise again in Block III. This finding suggests that there was some reduction in a stress-related variable in going from Block I to Block II and a rise in this variable in going from Block II to Block III, after the TM-Sidhi group had left the area. The results indicated that the PSS approached a change in the same pattern as the change in TAS, but the absolute change was not statistically significant.
Data also revealed that alexithymic subjects (or high scorers on the TAS) showed significantly higher scores on the Perceived Stress and POMS scales than did non-alexithymic subjects (low scorers on the TAS). This finding strongly suggests that alexithymics have a high level of chronic stress and that differences in TAS scores indicate, at least in part, differences in chronic stress. Findings further reveal that low versus high TAS scores had no apparent effect on the responses to environmental influences reflected in the other instruments or questions. Overall, the above findings appear to be consistent with the literature for the Maharishi Effect and may provide a measure of support to the conclusion that reduction of collective stress took place during the intervention period.
Based on the above findings the following conclusions were reached:
2. The null hypothesis that there is no significant differential change in the Toronto Alexithymia (TAS) scores comparing the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores with those exhibiting low TAS scores across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block was accepted. This finding does not appear to have any particular implication for the theory of the Maharishi Effect but may call into question the belief that alexithymia is a trait.
3. The null hypothesis that there is no significant change in the police employees' Perceived Stress Scale test scores across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block was accepted. Although there was change in the expected direction, this change was small and did no reach statistical significance. The pattern of change, however, closely approached significance in the expected direction and appears to be in general agreement with the review of literature for the Maharishi Effect.
4. The null hypothesis that there is no significant differential change in the Perceived Stress Scale scores comparing the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores with those exhibiting low TAS scores across the Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by the tests taken from the first week of each block was accepted. This finding is consistent with the finding of hypothesis number 2 and may further challenge the notion of alexithymia as a trait.
5. The null hypothesis that there is no significant change in the police employees' POMS factor scores and Total Mood Disturbance scores across the four weeks of Block I was rejected. This finding would appear to be in general agreement with the review of literature for the Maharishi Effect and would appear to give support for the conclusion that reduction of collective stress took place during the first Block of the intervention period. However, this interpretation was ruled out because the same general pattern of improvement also was found for both Blocks II and III. For Block III in particular, this pattern would not be expected. Because of the similarity of the pattern for each of the blocks, the pattern of results appeared to be a test-retest effect. This finding does not appear to relate to the literature for the Maharishi Effect. Some noticeable effect on the POMS might have been expected due to a progressive reduction of stress in Blocks I and II, but not Block III.
6. The null hypothesis that there is no significant difference in the POMS factor scores and Total Mood disturbance scores among the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores and those exhibiting medium and low scores, across the four weeks of Block I was accepted. This finding appears to have no direct bearing on literature results for the Maharishi Effect, but is consistent with results for hypotheses 2 and 4 in challenging the concept of alexithymia as a trait.
7. The null hypothesis that there is no significant change in the police employees' POMS factor scores and Total Mood Disturbance scores across Blocks I, II, and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block was accepted. This finding does not appear to be in general agreement with the review of literature for the Maharishi Effect.
8. The null hypothesis that there is no significant differential change in the POMS factor scores and Total Mood Disturbance test scores comparing the police employees exhibiting high TAS scores with those exhibiting low TAS scores across Blocks I, II and III, as measured by tests taken the first week of each block, was accepted. This finding appears to have no bearing on the literature results for the Maharishi Effect.
The objective of the experiment was to test whether moving a group of advanced practitioners of the TM-Sidhi program into an area would result in a decrease in stress indicators in subjects from the surrounding community. The predicted pattern was a decrease in stress indicators when the group arrived, and an increase shortly after the group left. The POMS and PSS were chosen as perhaps the clearest self-report indicators of chronic stress, reflecting stress-related mood states and perceived stress, respectively. To control for subjects who were either unaware of or clearly aware of their moods and feelings, the TAS (an instrument for evaluating alexithymic characteristics) also was administered. It was expected that alexithymic subjects (i.e., subjects with high TAS scores) would not report their stress in the same way as the people with lower scores. In addition, however, based on recent unpublished information (K. G. Walton, personal communication, July 12, 1997), it was considered possible that the condition named alexithymia may arise from chronic stress, and therefore people who exhibit this pattern may be highly stressed but report a lower level on evaluative instruments such as the POMS and PSS.
In the results obtained, the PSS demonstrated the predicted pattern of starting high, diminishing when the entire TM-Sidhi group was present, then increasing again after the meditating group left the area. Although the actual amount of change was not significant, the pattern of change was in the predicted direction and did approach significance (p = .06). The POMS showed no significant change, and the small changes that were seen were not in the predicted direction. TAS showed significant changes in directions that were predicted from the assumption that the condition of alexithymia results, at least in part, from chronic stress. This significant decrease of TAS score (and presumably also of the condition of alexithymia) during the period the TM-Sidhi group was present may well have been part of the reason for the lack of significant change in the POMS and PSS. As the subjects' alexithymic characteristics diminished, they may have become more aware of and able to report a higher level of stress, thus altering the degree or direction of apparent change in the (self-reported) POMS and PSS information.
A further likely reason for the failure of the changes in POMS and PSS to reach significance was the less-than-ideal pretest timing. Due to the short notice that the experimenter had, and therefore the short time for finding and setting up the subject pool, the pretest data were obtained only early in the process of moving the TM-Sidhi subjects into the area, not before they were moved in. Since other studies have shown (for some variables) same-day effects of the presence of such groups, it is likely that some of the proposed decrease of stress in the present study had already occurred by the time pretest measurements were taken. This could substantially decrease the observed change in stress measures, particularly on the POMS and PSS, which are known to respond quickly to changing conditions. For the TAS, on the other hand, rapid change would not be expected. Alexithymia is a well-entrenched condition and is not likely to change quickly when exposed to major changes in the environment. Thus, in this case, the pretest may have been closer to the ideal, that is, before any change had occurred.
In partial support of this understanding of the results, subjects who scored high on the TAS also scored significantly higher on the PSS and POMS than did the subjects who scored low on TAS. Subjects with intermediate TAS scores had intermediate scores on the PSS and POMS. In no case, however, did the high and low scorers on TAS appear to respond significantly differently on their PSS and POMS tests over the period of the study. Although this result was not what was tentatively predicted (i.e., that the high and low scorers would respond differently), this outcome may have been due to the same explanation as above-the less-than-ideal timing of the pretest. Differences may have been apparent had the pretest been a true pretest.
Although only a few of the outcomes of this study reached significance in a manner that might uphold the overall hypothesis of this study, there are plausible reasons for this within the study design and the characteristics of the measured variables. Thus, it is felt that the data warrant further studies of this type, with more ideal conditions such as a separate control group at a distance beyond the proposed reach of the TM-Sidhi group, and better timing of the pretest measurements.
Based on the intervention study, the following recommendations are made:
2. Further studies with an external control group also would be useful to investigate the utility of the field effects of Maharishi Supreme Military Science technology in increasing adaptability and thus to reduce perceived stress in non-practitioners of the technology.
3. Further studies with an external control group might also investigate the utility of the field effects of Maharishi Supreme Military Science technology to affect outcomes on other types of measuring instruments related to stress. Other instruments could help to further understand the nature of the apparent effect or to reject the conclusion of an effect on collective stress if the vast majority of instruments provide no support.
If Maharishi's consciousness-based system of defense is truly defensive, it should prevent the birth of an enemy. At least militarily speaking, if a nation has no enemies it should be invincible. The military would not be drawn to fight in battle because, in theory, the invincible shield of friendliness that surrounds and protects the nation it defends would make war obsolete. This "national armor" is called "rashtriya kavach" in Vedic terminology (Maharishi, 1996). If Maharishi Supreme Military Science technologies achieve the desired goal of averting the birth of an enemy, any nation could achieve victory before war. If this technology is really effective, as studies so far suggest, properly-trained military prevention wings practicing the advanced Maharishi Supreme Military Science technologies together in each continent could permanently create peace for the world and an "age of enlightenment."
It is a point of view in Vedic studies that the role of the military is to prevent war, and if war should accidentally happen, to end it as quickly as possible. The military is traditionally the most disciplined institution in the nation. Its duty is to protect and maintain the nation's integrity. Therefore, the military will always exist. However, because of the advent of Maharishi Supreme Military Science, its role could change, and its defense systems along with it. Military History shows that many of today's "tried and proven" military technologies were yesterday's pipe dreams. For instance, although the breech loading rifle was far superior to muzzle loaders, armies delayed its adoption for years; and few leaders thought that Billy Mitchell could sink battleships with flying machines made of wood, cloth, and baling wire. New scientific technologies can give a strategic advantage, even at a distance. For instance, the radar "shield" deployed in England during World War II maximized the fighting power of the under-sized Royal Air Force. These examples show why the pioneering Italian airpower advocate General Giulio Douhet's strategy still applies today: "Victory smiles upon those who anticipate the change in the character of war, not upon those who wait to adapt themselves after the changes occur " (Douhet, 1942/1983, p. 30).
The quest to develop superior weapons technology has been fueling an arms race for centuries. Now another revolutionary change in the character of war could be on the horizon -- no war! In the tradition of military pioneers, military leaders might consider anticipating the changes that could occur after widespread implementation of Maharishi Supreme Military Science.
The Maharishi Effect appears to strike at that most fundamental strategic point where enemies arise-stress in collective consciousness. If enemies are not born there are no battles. Warfare and violence become obsolete. For this reason, Maharishi's consciousness-based strategy may be the first truly defensive system for maintaining peace. At least militarily speaking, if a nation has no enemies it is invincible. It remains "friends" with everyone, ensuring security. History shows national invincibility is not possible through weapons or material defenses alone because newer and better weapons can always be developed. Invincibility is gained, however, if all other nations are our allies. If a Maharishi Effect shield really works, as studies so far suggest it does, Military Prevention Wings of experts in this technology, deployed in every nation, could create a permanent shield of friendliness that would surround and protect the nation. For these simple but profound reasons, the strategic advantage that might be gained by implementing such a consciousness-based technology, as an addition to existing defense systems, is much greater than it might at first appear. As with any other technological breakthrough, concepts change only as the practical benefits become clearly manifest.
The Maharishi Effect benefits appear to be well documented. Because of the ease of implementation, the rapidity of the influence, and their humanitarian appeal, Maharishi's consciousness-based technologies may represent a new scientific advance directly relevant to national defense. The Maharishi Effect research indicates that a very small percentage of the population, a fraction of the size of a military organization, can influence the trends of society, steering the whole population in a harmonious and progressive direction. What current or proposed technology can begin to match the expected benefits to be gained by establishing a Military Prevention Wing to apply this technology? Benefits to the military's own country appear most far-reaching, but situations can be imagined where such a group could be profitably used outside the country, in existing or potential trouble spots, for example. Compared to the cost of deploying a fully-armed military force to hot-spots like Bosnia, the cost for a prevention wing is small. Expenses for establishing such a wing are largely non-recurring.
The concept of using a military's collective consciousness to radiate coherence and eliminate stress is hardly a widely-accepted military strategy in today's arena of military might. Defensive radar systems routinely radiate electromagnetic waves over a hundred miles, but the idea that human minds might radiate a peaceful influence which might be used to create a defense system is novel. Most people today view the human mind or consciousness as being trapped inside the head. It will take a leap of understanding for most leaders to adopt the strategy of improving collective consciousness as an effective way of preventing conflict.
In a time of increased responsibility, increased costs of military hardware and declining military budgets in most countries, the technology discussed here is unique in its promise for meeting multiple laudable goals. First, a prevention wing is cost-effective. Considering the hundreds of billions of dollars spent worldwide on defense, the cost of implementing this technology is minor. Once convinced, militaries adopt the latest technologies to accomplish their missions. Research suggests that this human resource technology is the most advanced and practical means to defend a nation. It is simple to implement and produces immediate results. The research also suggests that any nation's military can cheaply and quickly create global defense and a lasting peace. Furthermore, the technology is completely humane-it promotes progress and positive evolutionary trends both within the nation and in surrounding nations.
The military is traditionally the most orderly and disciplined institution in society. According to military historian Martin Van Creveld (1991, p. 220) "[o]nce the potential usefulness of a new concept is recognized, no organization is better placed than the armed forces to guide its development and bring it to fruition." For this reason, it may be appropriate for military organizations to create prevention wings and to use them to maintain coherence in the collective consciousness of their nation and even throughout the world. Many military bases already have enough personnel to create the worldwide Maharishi Effect. Military duties of personnel would be minimally affected, since practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs morning and evening would require only two to four hours per day.
Field-testing the potential of
a Military Prevention Wing to avert dangers that have not yet come could
be accomplished quickly, inexpensively, and conclusively. Such tests of
coherence-creating effects of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs, and its ability
to reduce collective societal stress, could be replicated in countries
large and small throughout the world. History indicates the effect of
introducing such "coherent systems" could prevent hostilities. Warriors
since Sun Tzu (500 B.C./1983) have championed the idea that the supreme
art of war is to win without fighting. If such tests were successful,
military prevention wings could drastically change the character of war,
beyond the dreams of Douhet and Sun Tzu. Future militaries may realize
the highest ideal of military service: Invincibility without harm to
ourselves, our country or our neighbors, and lasting peace for the world
-- victory before war!
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(An earlier version of this table appeared in Kleinschnitz, 1997)
[Since this dissertation was published
in 1997, a new version of this table
has been published in Leffler, D.R.,
Kleinschnitz, K.W., & Walton, K.G. (1999, May 1). An alternative to
military violence and fear-based deterrence: Twenty years of research
on the Maharishi Effect. Security And Political Risk Analysis (SAPRA India)
(Available at: http://www.subcontinent.com/sapra/military/m19990501.html).
Note. From "An Investigation into Field Effects of Consciousness from the Perspectives of Maharishi's Vedic Science and Physics" (pp. 118-132), by K.W. Kleinschnitz, 1997, Doctoral Dissertation, Fairfield, IA: Graduate School, Maharishi University of Management. Copyright 1997 By Kurt Warren Kleinschnitz. Adapted and enlarged with permission.
(Please print .)
Number of Children Do children live at home? yes / no (circle )
My recurring or chronic medical problems are:
Past serious illnesses or head
I drink hard liquor times per / day / week / month / year (circle one ).
I am now regularly taking the following drugs (prescription or otherwise), vitamins or herbs:
Name of drug, vitamin or herb quantity times per (circle one )
day / week / month
day / week / month
day / week / month
I smoke, chew or dip tobacco times per / day / week / month / year (circle one ).
I drink hard liquor drinks per / day / week / month / year (circle one ).
I drink beer or wine glasses per / day / week / month / year (circle one ).
I drink coffee or tea times per / day / week / month / year (circle one ).
My diet includes red meat times per / day / week / month / year (circle one ).
My diet includes white meat (i.e., poultry, fish or pork tenderloin) times per / day / week / month / year (circle one).
I consume milk products times per / day / week / month / year (circle one ).
At present I am exercising vigorously (i.e., running, biking, swimming) at least per week.
I have maintained this frequency of exercise almost every week for the lastmonths.
Do you practice stress-reduction and/or self-development techniques or programs such as martial arts, meditation, counseling, etc? yes / no (circle) If yes, list below.
Name of technique Approx. date started How long? Still practicing?
months / years (circle) yes / no (circle)
months / years (circle) yes / no (circle)
months / years (circle) yes / no (circle)
[A copy of the POMS test does not appear on-line due to copyright restrictions]