Today I read a news article about an Eastern Practice that I did 30 years ago that changed my life. It’s been one of those things that I know works, from my own experience, and I have wanted to scream out to the world to let everyone know about it. And now, Thank God, the medical researchers have not only discovered it, but the American Journal of Cardiology reported in its May 2, 2005 issue that they have found it to extend lifespan considerably, and reduce death rates by 23%.

My First Mind-Body Connection

One of my first experiences of the Mind-Body connection was when I was 16 years old (yikes ! that was in 1973) and I took a weekend course in Transcendental Meditation.It cost me only $35 and I did it with my best friend Maggie. The weekend was full of new concepts about the mind and how we ‘westerners’ limit our thinking and consequently use only a very small portion of our potential. This program was inspiring and empowering, yet mysterious. After many hours of orientation in the form of lecture, we were each then given our individual ‘mantra’ that was designed specifically for us based on some hidden criteria. A mantra is a meaningless sound that is often repeated during meditation to help you enter into a mental state where the mind is void of thoughts. For unclear reasons - yet some I can figure out for myself - in the practice of Transcendental Meditation, it is extremely important that you do not share your mantra with anyone else.

In the remaining portion of the weekend we practiced a few 20 minute sessions of meditating by repeating this mantra. I remember leaving that weekend in such a heightened emotional state, I had this generalized happiness that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I seemed to come out of my ‘teenage blues’. Our instructions were to practice this 20 minute meditation session twice a day faithfully. Well, after three days of doing this I had the most remarkable experience. Let me say first that most of my teen years I lived with severe acne, the potentially scarring type, and I wanted to hide from most of time - even from my bestest of fiends ! Well, after three days of practicing Transcendental Meditation, my acne completely cleared up!!!! I knew without a doubt, that there was really something to this TM thing!

Great Data

So, here’s some great data - and a resource for you to learn more:

An 18 year study that evaluated 202 men and women showed these results:

– 23% reduction in the rate of death from all causes

– 30% reduction in the rate of death from cardiovascular disease

– 49% reduction in the rate of death from cancer

An $8 million grant from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine established The Center of Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.

For more info -

Here’s a study that was done on Heart Disease and Transcendental Meditation:
American Journal of Cardiology - text version:

Instant Mantra

So, for those of you who aren’t ready to seek out a course in Transcendental Meditation (which costs now in the vicinity of $1600 - although, there are free evening lectures offered in a variety of places) you can always settle for the universal mantra “OM”


Direct comments or questions about this article, including requests for reprint rights, to:

Marilee Tolen RN, HNC