The Spiritual and Moral Effects of Coherence

 

The Vedic Perspective on Moral Development

Moral behavior according to the Vedic perspective is automatic and spontaneous with the development of brain coherence and higher consciousness. What do we mean by saying it is automatic? One example is this: two people walk past a jewelry store in the evening, which has been left unlocked and is open. One person looks around to see if anyone is watching and weighs the risk of being caught with the rewards of his theft. But the person with a higher consciousness has totally different thoughts that automatically come into the mind. He/she thinks only of how best to contact the police or the owner to help prevent a theft. Higher consciousness automatically results in morally appropriate decisions.

Higher Consciousness

In every age, the world’s great thinkers have noted that honorable and noble values were the natural qualities of men and women with a well-developed consciousness.  Confucius said, “The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.”  Artistotle said, “Honor and dishonor are the matters with which the high-minded man is especially concerned.”  Sir Francis Bacon said, “There is a great difference between a cunning man and a wise man, not only in point of honesty but in point of ability. . . and nothing doth more hurt in a State than that cunning men pass for wise.” There is nothing new about the principle that a more developed consciousness is accompanied by higher values and more moral behavior.  What is new is the understanding that a more developed consciousness depends on more coherence in brain functioning and the quiet or silent mind that accompanies it. What is new is that higher brain functioning is “higher” in every sense.

How Silence has been Valued Through the Ages

Veteran Kyle Amsberry, above, said that for the first time after starting TM, he found “calmness and silence” in his awareness. This is one thing we subjectively experience when the brain is more coherent (along with more clarity of  thinking). It is something of real value that great men and women have recognized throughout the ages.  In ancient Egypt, many centuries before the birth of Christ, masses of people would travel to the caves in the desert seeking solitude. They were on a quest to find Ammon, the principal deity of the Egyptian empire, who is said to have liked “silence.” The custom is derived from a long tradition of “silent prayer,”/4 which is described in this way in an ancient Egyptian mandate:

                        Do not multiply words,

                        Keep silent if you want to be happy,

                        When you pray with a loving heart,

                        A prayer whose words are hidden,

                        He gives you what you need,

                        He hears what you say,

                        He accepts your offer.

 

And throughout history great thinkers, both secular and religious, have counseled us to seek the silence within.

Within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related. . . ./5

                        –Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the attitude of silence, the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into a crystal clearness. /6

                                                –Mahatma Ghandi

Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary./7

                        –Peter Minard, French Benedictine monk

The fact that silence is valued so highly by at least some religious leaders does not make

TM a religion or a religious practice. Father Len Dubi, a Roman Catholic priest in Chicago for

45 years, has been a TM meditator for most of that time. He says, “I’m a better Christian, a

better priest because of this technique.”  Rabbi Abe Shainberg of New York City says, “TM

leads me to better prayer, better service, and I fell I’m more on a path to God than ever”

(videos of the full statements by Father Dubi and Rabbi Shainberg are at http://www.tm.org/blog/maharishi/maharishi-tm-religion). And Buddhist nun Dr. Maeche Aunampai Passakchai, who was named the 2017 outstanding woman in Buddhism by a major Buddhist organization, said:

 

With technology today people are farther away from inner values and then will be in suffering and sad. Because most people are looking for something outside, rather than inner values. TM and the TM-Sidhis [an advanced program for TM meditators] is the technique for us to dive within and bring us to the good.

 

After I finished my TM teacher training course, I never doubted that there was no contradiction between Buddhist teachings and TM knowledge.

 

Dr. Passakchai is the founder and director of the Dhammjarenee Witthaya School in Thailand, a free Buddhist school for disadvantaged girls. Dr. Passakchai liked TM so much she had it taught to all the students (775 girls) at her school and saw dramatic changes. Many of these girls had been abused and were unhappy before coming to the school. She said she told the girls that “if you just dive deep within according to what Maharishi has taught, you will be happy and help create peace for yourselves and the world.” Dr. Passakchai learned TM in 2008. She was already a Buddhist monk but saw something special that the simple TM mental technique could do for others and she became a TM teacher in 2010.

Throughout the world there is a growing awakening to the benefits of inner quiet or silence and spiritual values, which is uplifting the lives of people of all religions, all cultures, and all ages. For example, since the mid-2000s, Transcendental Meditation has been taught in over a hundred schools to several hundred thousand students in India, and to many more students throughout South and Central America. In Mexico, there are 11 large schools with over 9,000 students who have learned TM and the advanced TM-Sidhi program (see Appendix B); in Peru, 45,000 children  were taught TM in the schools;  and in Colombia, over  60,000 young children have learned  in centers run by Father Gabriel Mejia, a Catholic priest. In the U.S. there is the Quiet Time Program in schools (google quiet time program).

Colombia has a serious problem of children living on the streets whose parents have been killed or otherwise cannot take care of them. These street children try to survive any way they can, typically working as prostitutes, or in bars, or selling drugs.  Father Mejia began taking these children off the streets and housing and feeding them and showing them kindness. When he personally learned Transcendental Meditation, it became a central part of his program because of the traumatic stress these children have experienced.  Father Mejia operates 50 centers in Latin America and funds for his children to learn TM were provided by the non-profit David Lynch Foundation. The filmmaker’s foundation has provided the funds to teach Transcendental Meditation to over half a million school children in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Vietnam, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, and Israel.  In an online video (davidlynchfoundation.org), Father Mejia said:

When I learned the Transcendental Meditation technique, I was very impressed. I would define it in one phrase, one word—happiness. You experience happiness and bliss when you practice the technique. For me as a Catholic priest saying my prayers, celebrating communion, reading the Psalms, is all part of a religious life and religious commitment. Transcendental Meditation does not take the place of the communion. It’s a space for personal development. It prepares me to experience the liturgy in its fullness.

 

And when the child closes his eyes to meditate, the world opens up for him, and then the children discover their essential nature, which is love. I have seen thousands of children pass through the foundation [Father Mejia’s centers], and every case is fascinating–to see what state a child arrived in and how he has been transformed.

 

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