TM Resonance Aggregation
The Transcendental Meditation (TM) organization has a long record of scientific research on the effects of meditation on health. A parallel research program addresses the possibility that when large numbers of meditators gather and meditate together, there may be a "calming" effect on the environment. Beginning in late July and continuing indefinitely, TM has issued an invitation to all Yogic Flyers to meditate in synchrony. Details and further links can be found at the Invincible America website.
An open letter from John Hagelin to all Sidhas begins:
"America will never get better until we make it better" AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL SIDHAS It's been our lifelong dream to live in a peaceful nation and a peaceful world. For too long, we have looked to our government to provide the leadership to create that bright new worldâ-- growing frustrated when the government did not deliver on our expectations. But, as Maharishi has repeatedly reminded us, the government is not free. The government can only do exactly what it is doing, because it is governed by the collective consciousness of the nation. ....
The letter exhorts experienced TM meditators to participate in a group consciousness presence that is expected to help create a harmonious collective consciousness on a broad scale. A morning meditation beginning at 7:30 or 8:30 and an evening meditation beginning at 5:30 or 6:30 pm was set for locations in Fairfield, Iowa and Washington, DC, respectively. (This corresponds to 12:30-13:30 and 22:30-23:30 GMT.) The invitation was quite successful, as shown in a table of the number of meditators (Superradiance Tally by Date and Location) here. For example:
Date Location AM PM Location AM PM 10 September Fairfield/MVC 860 1057 Washington, D.C. 109 105 9 September Fairfield/MVC 886 1014 Washington, D.C. 103 113 ....
In September 2001, in conjunction with other analyses, we did an exploratory assessment of Yogic Flying during the peace meditation gatherings at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield. This dataset showed a strong trend. The TM organization has long maintained that the Yogic Flying technique is especially effective in influencing collective consciousness. (E.g., 1987, Maharishi's Programme to Create World Peace). Also see Travis , F. T., & Orme-Johnson, D. W. (1990). EEG coherence and power during Yogic Flying. International Journal of Neuroscience, 54, 1-12. ) In addition to the scientific work, there are other suggestions that the practice helps smooth social interactions, and facilitate changes such as the fall of the Berlin wall. While we do not conceive the present analysis as a test of the TM claims, it can be regarded as an element in an array of convergent evidence.
Based on the clear definitions of the meditation periods, as well as the promising 2001 results, we decided to assess the current Super Radiance Yogic Flying program as a formal event in the long-running series of GCP hypothesis tests. The event for GCP analysis was defined as the two periods of one hour set aside for the meditations on the seven Saturdays during the major effort, July 29, August 5, 12, 19, 26, Sept 2, 9. These were concatenated, giving a total of 14 hours of meditation. The result is a striking trend that is especially strong for the period during the four Saturdays in August. Despite the weaker contribution in July and September, the Chisquare of 49638.984 on 50400 df for the total concatenation is associated with a p-value of 0.992 and a corresponding Z-score of -2.407 (equivalent to odds of more than 100 to 1 against chance).
After a couple of weeks buildup, the total number of meditator-hours per day approached 2500. The numbers, totaled across both locations and both meditation periods, ranged from 2116 to 2492. We note that there is an apparent correlation between the number of Flyers and the slope of the trend. During August, the numbers stayed near the maximum (2474-2492) and the slope was pronounced. The smaller numbers (between 2100 and 2200) in July and September are associated with more level trends. While this might be chance fluctuation, the consistency of the slope during all of August indicates a persistent effect which is statistically significant. The next figure shows the total number of meditation-hours for the seven saturdays, overlaid on the cumulative deviation graph to allow a visual comparison.
A few notes on interpretation may be of value. The consistency or persistence of the slope (equivalent to a constant deviation) is impressive to my eye. There is an instructive similarity of this outcome to the exploratory assessment of the effects of the 2001 gathering of TM meditators. Specifically, during the Yogic Flying periods (sidha meditators) from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on the five days in Fairfield, there was a similar strong downward trend.
Despite our accumulation of more than 200 events over the past 8 years, we cannot definitively interpret the negative versus positive slopes. In either case there is a change toward less randomness, but for the downward trends the deviations from expectation are consistently smaller than theoretical expectation for these random numbers, and the inter-REG correlation tends to be negative. For upward trends, the deviations are larger, and there is a positive inter-REG correlation.
The majority of the GCP events, not just the disasters and tragedies, tend to correlate with larger deviations which would plot as a positive slope. Indeed this is the "standard prediction" we make for events in general. The current TM Resonance event thus is opposite to our normal prediction (and subtracts a little from the grand bottom line). But it is in good company -- a little more than half of events that are somewhat like meditations show the downward trend, or small-deviation effect.
The apparent correlation of the number of meditator-hours with the slope of the cumulative deviation is modest, so while it looks promising, the differences in the numbers are too small assert that this confirms a model where the number of meditators drives the effect. It is, however, consistent with the idea. We have not done a quantitative correlation because things are not defined well enough for that to be viable.
This particular analysis looks promising as an objective measure providing evidence for effects of a consciousness field. Experience shows, however, that we have to be cautious in our interpretation because the next round of tests may very well show opposite trends, or (worse yet) an uninformative null outcome. Only over the long run can we develop confidence in these subtle effects.