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Loliger, Sarah-Annelies
Relationship between subjective bliss, 5-hydroxy-3-indoleacetic acid and the collective practice of Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program

Order No. 9114490

According to a large body of scientific research, collective practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi program creates a harmonizing influence on the collective consciousness of society, as seen, for example, in positive changes of social indicators. This effect, called the Maharishi Effect, is understood to operate on the most abstract, fundamental and unified level of nature's functioning, the Unified Field of Natural Law, described by Maharishi's Vedic Psychology as a field of "pure consciousness." This field is subjectively experienced during the TM and TM-Sidhi program as a field of inner "bliss" and is understood to be the simplest state of one's awareness.

The purpose of this dissertation was (a) to test the hypothesis that collective practice of Maharishi's TM and TM-Sidhi program increases the subjective experience of bliss, a quality of awareness fundamental to moods and emotions, (b) to test the hypothesis that the collective practice of Maharishi's TM and TM-Sidhi program increases serotonin turnover as indicated by 5-HIAA excretion rates, and (c) to provide insight into the dynamic relationship between the mental and physiological processes that appear to be affected by this program.

Over 50 consecutive days, in 10 subjects, the subjective experiences of bliss in daily activity were evaluated through an experiential sampling method (BLISS), while day and night excretion rates of the serotonin metabolite 5-HIAA were determined by high performance liquid chromatography. Using Liu's simultaneous transfer function approach, the impact of the size of the evening TM and TM-Sidhi group practice on the endogenous variables BLISS and 5-HIAA was assessed. A 9.6% increase in the reported experience of bliss and a 17.2% increase in daytime 5-HIAA excretion was found for each 100- person increase in the TM-Sidhi group. In addition, a one-way impact of the endogenous variable BLISS on the endogenous variable 5-HIAA was found, suggesting an effect of mental states on physiological functions, as posited in the framework of psychoneuro-immunological theories. Using similar methods, the quality of night sleep and the quality of experiences during the TM and TM-Sidhi program were also related to the TM- Sidhi group size, with significant total increases of 30.8% and 67.9%, respectively, for each 100-person increase in the TM- Sidhi group.

Based on Maharishi's Vedic Psychology, a theoretical framework was proposed which could explain these results as well as other recent results on happiness, sleep quality and serotonergic function in relation to affective states. Source: DAI, 52, no. 01B, (1990): 0551

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