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Brown, Susan May
Unity and diversity in Maharishi Vedic Science, higher states of consciousness, and a study of undergraduate student development  Order No. 3318934

Throughout the ages, the wise have recognized the unity of existence and sought to live this amidst the diversity of life. This dissertation discusses the ancient wisdom of unity found in the Vedic science of India, as brought to light by His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as Maharishi Vedic Science. It presents Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs as the means to develop higher states of consciousness, the basis for integration of life. Research on the effects of these programs for mind, body, and behavior is reviewed, and their source in the ancient knowledge of Yoga, found in the Yoga Sutra and Bhagavad-Gita.

Application of this knowledge in Consciousness-Based education is discussed as a means to unify the diverse branches of knowledge and support integrated student development, for growth of maturity and wisdom. Undergraduate education at Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA, is reviewed, giving insight into culturing higher consciousness in students' formative years. Research is presented on outcomes of Consciousness-Based education, particularly for student development.

Results of an original longitudinal study are reported, involving 140 undergraduate students at Maharishi University of Management. Measures included self-reporting of experiences of growth of consciousness, and standardized tests of ego development (using Loevinger's Washington University Sentence Completion Test, as extended by Cook-Greuter) and constructive thinking, as indicators of maturity, wisdom, and effective action. Analysis of variance revealed a significant increase in ego development (p = 0.04), with the mean shifting from Self-Aware (freshmen) to Conscientious (seniors). As seniors, 29.2% of the students were at postconventional ego development stages, compared to approximately 10% of the general population. Three sub-scales of constructive thinking also increased significantly (Global Constructive Thinking, p = 0.001; Behavioral Coping, p = 0.004; Emotional Coping, p = 0.002). Self-rated frequency of experiences increased significantly (Transcending, p = 0.004; Witnessing sleep, p = 0.002). Students' descriptions of their experiences are included.

This data supports the value of applying Maharishi Vedic Science in undergraduate education, to help young people grow in wisdom, capacity for leadership, and the ability to contribute to balance and peace in our diverse world family.

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