Frederick Travis, PhD, is the director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at the Maharishi University of Management, an institution dedicated to promoting transcendental meditation (TM [image a copyright symbol here]) in all possible venues.
This talk was given at Stanford University.
Published on Aug 1, 2014
Frederick Travis, PhD, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition, explains that the concept "We create our reality" is more than a philosophical statement. It is a physical reality driven by neural plasticity—every experience changes the brain. Therefore, choose transcendental experiences and higher states of consciousness naturally unfold.
The Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition was created in 1972 when Maharishi University of Management was founded. The purpose of the Brain Center was to delineate brain and physiological functioning during higher stages of human development. We have focused our research on practice of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, because this meditation practice readily leads to the state of Transcendental Consciousness, pure self-awareness or inner wakefulness. With regular TM practice, meditation experiences become integrated with waking, sleeping and dreaming. The co-existence of these states is described in the Vedic tradition as the first stabilized state of enlightenment, called Cosmic Consciousness.
Our research has delineated:
sub-stages during Transcendental Meditation practice (Travis 2001);
brain patterns and subjective experiences of Transcendental Consciousness, defined as “pure self-awareness” free from the processes and contents of knowing, a proposed fourth state of consciousness (Farrow and Hebert, 1982; Travis and Wallace 1997; Travis and Pearson 2000);
distinction between TM and eyes closed rest (Travis and Wallace 1999);
brain patterns and subjective experiences of the first stabilized state of enlightenment called Cosmic Consciousness during sleep (Mason, Alexander et al. 1997) and during activity (Travis, Tecce et al. 2002; Travis, Arenander et al. 2004).
This research has culminated in a Brain Integration Scale that quantifies the progressive integration of experiences during Transcendental Meditation practice with waking—becoming more in touch with ones inner resources. Scores on the Brain Integration Scale systematically increase with TM practice in college students (Travis and Arenander 2006; Travis, Haaga et al. 2009). Brain Integration Scale scores are also higher in professional athletes who won medals in the Olympics, World Games or National Games for three consecutive years compared to professional athletes who did not consistently place (Harung, Travis et al. in press). Thus, higher scores on the Brain Integration Scale may reflect greater connection with ones inner resources and so be more successful in life.
Farrow, J. T. and J. R. Hebert (1982). "Breath suspension during the Transcendental Meditation technique." Psychosom Med 44(2): 133-53.
Harung, H., F. Travis, et al. (in press). "High Levels of Brain Integration in World-class Norwegian Athletes: Towards a Brain Measure of Mental Fitness." Scandanavian Journal of Exercise and Sport.
Mason, L. I., C. N. Alexander, et al. (1997). "Electrophysiological correlates of higher states of consciousness during sleep in long-term practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation program." Sleep. 20(2): 102-10.
Travis, F. (2001). "Autonomic and EEG patterns distinguish transcending from other experiences during Transcendental Meditation practice." International Journal of Psychophysiology 42(1): 1-9.
Travis, F. and A. Arenander (2006). "Cross-sectional and longitudinal study of effects of Transcendental Meditation practice on interhemispheric frontal asymmetry and frontal coherence." International Journal of Neuroscience 116(12): 1519-38.
Travis, F., A. Arenander, et al. (2004). "Psychological and physiological characteristics of a proposed object-referral/self-referral continuum of self-awareness." Consciousness and Cognition 13(2): 401-20.
Travis, F., D. A. Haaga, et al. (2009). "Effects of Transcendental Meditation practice on brain functioning and stress reactivity in college students." International Journal of Psychophysiology 71(2): 170-6.
Travis, F. and C. Pearson (2000). "Pure consciousness: distinct phenomenological and physiological correlates of "consciousness itself"." The International Journal of Neuroscience. 100: 77-89.
Travis, F. and R. K. Wallace (1997). "Autonomic patterns during respiratory suspensions: possible markers of Transcendental Consciousness." Psychophysiology. 34(1): 39-46.
Travis, F. and R. K. Wallace (1999). "Autonomic and EEG patterns during eyes-closed rest and transcendental meditation (TM) practice: the basis for a neural model of TM practice." Consciousness and Cognition 8(3): 302-18.
Travis, F. T., J. Tecce, et al. (2002). "Patterns of EEG Coherence, Power, and Contingent Negative Variation Characterize the Integration of Transcendental and Waking States." Biological Psychology. 61: 293-319.