You are on page 1of 14

REVIEW ARTICLE

VEDIC PRINCIPLES OF THERAPY


R.W. Boyer, PhD1#

This paper introduces Vedic principles of therapy as a holistic integration of healing and human development. The most integrative aspect is a consciousness-based approach in which the bottom line of the mind is consciousness itself, accessed by transcending mental activity to its simplest ground state. This directly contrasts with unconsciousbased approaches that hold the basis of conscious mind is the unconscious, such as analytic, humanistic, and cognitivebehavioral approaches. Although not presented as a specic therapeutic approach, interventions associated with this Vedic approach have extensive support in the applied research literature. A brief review of experimental research toward a

general model of mindand cutting-edge developments in quantum physics toward nonlocal mindshows a convergence on the ancient Vedic model of mind. Comparisons with contemporary therapies further show that the simplicity, subtlety, and holistic nature of the Vedic approach represent a signicant advance over approaches which have overlooked the fundamental ground state of the mind. Key words: Veda, consciousness-based approach, nonlocal mind, effortless meditation, transcendental consciousness, higher states of consciousness (Explore 2012; 8:26-39. 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.)

INTRODUCTION In pursuit of deepening and integrating applied psychology through international perspectives and multicultural skill sets, Vedic principles are overviewed with respect to consciousness, mind, motivation, personality, and human developmentimportant bases for therapeutic interventions. Similarities and differences are noted with psychoanalytic/psychodynamic, humanistic/existential, cognitive/behavioral, somatic, solution-focused/positive psychology, and transpersonal/integral approaches. The Vedic approach is drawn from the ancient tradition of Veda, which can be translated as total knowledge. Like modern science, it concerns pursuit of total knowledge of the laws of nature. Long classied as prescientic mythology, ancient Vedic technologies for natural healing and higher development practically had been lost. A pivotal contribution to their reemergence is the work of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a contemporary proponent who has revived and tested their practical applications in the scientic context as Maharishi Vedic Science and Technology. Not a faith-based belief system, it focuses on theoretical consistency and empirical validation as in modern science. However, it emphasizes systematic experiential means in Yoga that applies the inner direct subjective rst-person approach to gain knowledge, complementing the experimental means in modern science that applies the outer indirect objective third-person approach. In this Vedic approach the bottom-line of the mind is pure consciousness itselfa fourth state in addition to ordinary waking, dreaming, and sleep. This consciousness-based approach distinctly differs from westernized unconscious-

based approaches that posit the unconscious as underlying conscious mind. According to this Vedic approach, conventional therapies do not access the most fundamental level of mind necessary for holistic mind-body healing. Rather, they focus on bringing to conscious attention underlying unconscious irrational thought patterns or traumatic memories to gain insight or work through and replace them within ordinary waking experience. Conventional therapies are viewed as overly intellectualized, pathologizing, and not grounded in consciousness itself and the natural tendencies of the mind. The Vedic approach as described here is a subtler approach that emphasizes effortless transcending of all mental activity. The expanded awareness and deep rest that occurs as a result of this transcendent state of restful alertness are held to activate natural healing mechanisms that dissolve deep-rooted stress and stabilize expanded awareness for healthier, more coherent behavior.

THEORIES AND PRINCIPLES IN THIS VEDIC APPROACH The strong call for integration in contemporary applied psychology attests to its current fragmentation. To further this important objective, this paper proposes integrating the disparate therapeutic approaches into a new paradigm based on holistic understanding of the consciousness-mind-body connection. In order to evaluate this holistic Vedic approachand how it fundamentally differs from contemporary therapies as well as common descriptions of its practices and outcomes in scientic and popular literature deeper consideration of its core principles is required, especially with respect to the nature of consciousness.

1 Institute for Advanced Research, Faireld, Iowa # Corresponding author. Address: Institute for Advanced Research, Malibu, CA e-mail: rw.boyer@yahoo.com

THEORY OF CONSCIOUSNESS Consciousness has been the constitutive issue for psychology,1 and is now also a key issue in diverse elds from physics to biology to neuroscience. To address this issue, developments in

26

2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved ISSN 1550-8307/$36.00

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1


doi:10.1016/j.explore.2011.10.006

quantum physics toward levels of nature more fundamental than the physical are briey notedin order to help clarify what is meant by the consciousness-based Vedic approach. Consistent with the physicalist worldview in mainstream modern science, consciousness is commonly dened as the ability to be aware of an object of experience. It is attributed a functional role in attention, intention, and the sense of self. It is characterized as fading out during sleep and coma, restricted by brain malfunctioning, and ceasing when the body no longer sustains life. In this view, consciousness is an emergent property of complex neural processes in the brainthe common view in conventional therapies. The physicalist view has been critically challenged by major progress in quantum physics over the past century, evidenced by recent developments noted here leading to the rational conclusion now widely appreciated in physics that matter doesnt have a material basis. This progress is also leading to deeper understanding of mind and consciousness, with major implications for therapeutic practices. Progress Toward Nonlocal Mind A simple description of the original orthodox (Copenhagen) interpretation of quantum theory is that quantum wave functions are mathematical representations of nature rather than real quantum processes in nature.2,3 However, more recent interpretations propose that quantum waves interact with the physical environment in a matter that spontaneously reduces or decoheres quantum wave coherence into classical physical objects called objective reduction. If quantum waves causally interact with the classical environment, the quantum level is a real level of nature and not just a concept or mathematical model.2,3 Also, the major experimental nding in the 1980s of quantum entanglement veried the phenomenon of nonlocality, in which particles that interact with each other then separate remain connected no matter how far apart.4 This experimentally veried phenomenon is not accounted for in the classical physics view that matter interacts only locally (within light-speed). It further implies that nature is interconnected on real levels beyond the classical physical level. Quantum gravity theories go even further. String theories posit abstract geometric objects (strings and branes) as the basis of all physical matter.4,5 Loop quantum gravity theory posits a pure geometry of information space underneath ordinary space and time that generates all physical objects.6 The neorealist interpretation posits a real, nonlocal, nonphysical mind-like information eld permeating the physicalthe implicate order.7,8 In this interpretation the gross local physical world or explicate order associated with the body (physical matter) and the subtle nonlocal implicate order associated with mind both emerge from a super-implicate order akin to unied eld theory as the source of everything. It is crucial to recognize the monumental signicance of these developments in quantum physics, which are fundamentally changing the scientic worldview and its technological applications. These cutting-edge theories interconnect nature, including individual human minds, in a way not envisioned in classical physics that has been the basis of conventional therapies as well as conventional approaches to healing in general.

In the classical reductive physicalist view there is no logical place where conscious mind could exist, and thus it must be an epiphenomenon of the physical brain or even nonexistent. However, these new developments suggest that for the rst time in modern science a logical framework is emerging to address anew the age-old mind-body problem, based on theories of a nonphysical, nonlocal eld that is a real level of nature where individual conscious minds might actually exist.9-11 The Unied Field as Universal Being The ancient Vedic tradition, as well as others albeit with various cultural and language differences, further has long posited an underlying transcendent universal essence of nature. This has obvious similarities to the unied eld as the source of everything. Most of these traditions hold that direct experience of the transcendent universal essence of nature is possible because it is the essence of individual consciousness universal Being as the basis of individual being.12-14 This view contrasts dramatically with the physicalist view that can be characterized as a mattermind-consciousness ontology in which conscious mind must be nothing other than the physical brain. Just the opposite, it is a consciousness-mind-matter ontology in which universal Being held to be consciousness itself, universal consciousnessis the basis of mind and matter.10,11 It is in this most fundamental sense that the holistic Vedic approach is distinctly identied as a consciousness-based approach.

THEORY OF MIND The scientist-practitioner model in evidence-based applied psychology reasonably would be expected to be supported by an accepted general model of mind. But applying the outer indirect third-person objective means to gain knowledge, it has been quite difcult to establish a general model of mind even after 3000 years of Western science and philosophy. Scientic psychology began by using direct introspective methods to investigate the mind, which did not result in reliable ndings to build a general model. Unobservable mental concepts were then placed in a black box in the behaviorist paradigm and rejected as legitimate topics, in favor of studying only observable behavior. However, the cognitive paradigm quickly superseded the behaviorist paradigm, focusing on indirect thirdperson means to investigate the unobservable mind experimentally, given no reliable means to investigate it directly using rst-person experiential means. Certain conceptions have arisen repeatedly in experimental research that point to a general model of mind. But the conceptions had not been clearly mapped together. The two main research strategies to develop models of mind are a disembodied functional, information-based approach as in cognitive science and an embodied structural, biologically based approach as in neuroscience. The following is a brief summary of historical progress, showing that it is converging on the ancient Vedic model of mindwhich underpins the Vedic approach to mindbody healing. Reliable, systematic rst-person direct means to investigate the mind has been missing in modern science and is precisely what the Vedic approach as described here purports to add.

Vedic Principles of Therapy

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

27

The Functional Cognitive Model The shift from behaviorism to the cognitive paradigm came with evidence that stimulus-response relationships depend on the unobservable, abstract information value of stimulus input. Extensive research led to the conclusion that inside the black box between stimuli and responses are complex information processing functions of discrimination, attention, innate drives, and intelligent decision makingall of which are now assumed in contemporary approaches to therapy. Initial functional cognitive models conceptualized a horizontal linear sequence of stages through which parallel inputs narrow down to serial behavioral output, such as Broadbents15 lter theory. Two-process theories proposed an automatized or zombie-like unconscious mode and an effortful, controlled conscious mode of processing.16,17 Further research added a vertical component called depth of processing, contrasting shallow automatized unconscious processing with deeper conscious processing:

der sensory functions on the top and deeper higher order functions on the bottom, summarizes a massive body of experimental research in the past 150 years that had not been mapped together into a general functional model of the human mind:11

Similar two-process theories were prominent before the behaviorist paradigm rejected unobservable subjective processes. These historical introspective theories delineated focal conscious attention and a peripheral fringe.18-22 The fringe region can be viewed as including both shallow input processes and an interior fringe deeper than focal attention. This is somewhat implied in contemporary global workspace theory (GWT) in which consciousness is a generalized workspace analogous to center stage of a theatre with peripheral cognitive processes surrounding it,23 akin to a holistic conscious self. Theories of a conscious fringe deeper than focal attention are relevant to an important debate concerning the primacy of either cognition or affect. The debate directly relates to cognitive versus humanistic therapeutic orientations exemplifying the current fragmented state of applied psychology. One side argued that emotions depend on cognitive evaluations in attributing meaning to events.24 The other side argued that cognitive evaluations depend on deeper undertones of conscious affect that are more powerful contributors to the intentional direction of behavior than conscious cognitive thinking.25 The term affect includes both emotions and feelings. To emote is to express subjective feelings in objective behavior. To delineate them, emotions are observable behavioral expressions associated with psychobiological processes in the body; and feelings are inner felt senses that are unobservable, deeper interior processes in the mind.26 Cognitive processes are deeper when comparing cognition and emotion; affective processes are deeper when comparing cognition and feeling. Affect as feelings deeper than cognitive thinking adds to the model of levels of depth. In the functional model conscious processing has a vertically deeper conscious inner fringe of feelings, including a felt sense of unitary self. The human information processing system as a unitary self is reactive to bottom-up input, but also fundamentally proactive and consciously directed by top-down feelings and thoughts to achieve intentionally its own valued internal and external states. The general functional model of mind below, which depicts shallower lower or-

Vedic Model of Mind The functional model (not considering physical structure) depicted above is reasonably consistent with the model in the Sankhya aspect of Vedic literature. Sankhya enumerates what is held to be the totality of nature from its source in the unied eld to the gross level of matter.14,27 A key part of Sankhya is a model of levels of mind, depicted below (Vedic terms are on the right):

Similarities with the general functional model are apparent. However, of fundamental importance is that in the Sankhya model consciousness underlies all the levels of sensory, cognitive, and affective processes of the individual self both functionally and structurally. This means that individual mind is not just in the brain. Rather, it is held to be a nonlocal mental space underlying the physical, consistent with some cutting-edge quantum theories as noted earlier underlain and permeated by universal consciousness or Being (Purusha) akin to unied eld theory. This sharply contrasts with therapies that still accept the Freudian model of the unconscious as underlying conscious mind. Such models are based on physicalism and ordinary waking state experience within which conventional approaches to therapy have developednow being superseded by recent developments briey noted earlier in this paper.

THEORY OF MOTIVATION In scientic psychology the most fundamental motivation is theorized to be meaningless biological survival. This widely accepted view seems on its face to be inconsistent with therapies that emphasize personal responsibility and the natural impetus to self-actualize for higher levels of personal achievement. Motivational theories attempt to account for inner needs and intentions that direct behavior. Maslows original need hierarchy

28

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

Vedic Principles of Therapy

theory described higher order needs that direct behavior as lower order needs are met, from physiological, safety, social, and esteem needs to self-actualization. This theory was expanded to a synergistic model in which optimal combinations of needs, including basic survival needs deciency motivationsupport the more inclusive need for self-actualization growth motivation.28 Individual and species survival may adequately characterize motivated behavior of lower animals. But in humans, survival can be placed into a meaningful context of ethical, religious, and spiritual motivations consistent with self-actualization. The need for safety and security can be viewed in terms of an ultimate sense of safety and security, beyond the sense of duality of self and other. This is associated with the deeper concept of selfrealization or enlightenment in a nondual state that ultimately transcends all dualities, including the fundamental subject-object duality of ordinary waking consciousness that characterizes scientic thinking. Although with major controversial implications, it further can be conceptualized in terms of the pursuit of permanent survivalthat is, the concept of eternal life. In many ancient cultural, religious, and spiritual traditions permanent fulllment in enlightenment is the overriding direction of evolution, not meaningless biological survival. In this expanded view the survival instinct, hierarchy of needs, and self-actualization are special cases of a superordinate instinct of increasing happiness toward permanent fulllment that naturally emerges in higher life forms.29 In the Vedic tradition as described here the principle of motivation that shapes selective attention in an expanded model of evolution is that the purpose of life is the expansion of happiness13,14 appreciated in other traditions as well.30 All subordinate intentions even those appearing to contrast with individual survival or immediate satisfaction of desiresare held to be part of this inherent superordinate instinct. It is also the basis for the principle that the natural tendency of the mind is to go toward increasing enjoyment or happiness.13 Attention is drawn by the integrated complex of needs, desires, and motivations in the natural pursuit of increasing happiness and fulllment. This includes biological survival, most prominent under threat. These two principles are fundamental to Vedic developmental technologies.

Formal Operations or Abstract Reasoning Piagets inuential perceptual-cognitive theory proposes qualitatively distinct stages of cognitive development that emerge through a childs active perceptual experience of the world.33,35 Formal operations conventional, abstract, representational thought considered the necessary basis for scientic thinkingis theorized to be the end-state according to Piagets theory.33 This theory of the developmental end-state is consistent with modern education, which is heavily committed to this type of psychological development. Scientic reasoning frequently becomes the end-state of development by default, due to xation on the surface, objective, materialistic physical level by virtue of the intensive focus of training typical of modern science and education. Beyond Formal Operations and Abstract Reasoning However, contemporary developmental theories propose higher postformal, postrepresentational36-38 and postconventional development, involving self-actualization and advanced moral reasoning.28,36,39 Research suggests that less than 1% of the general population may achieve a mature level of self-actualization.40 Loevingers theory of postformal development focuses on growth of individual ego or self to the highest level of selfactualizing and integrative experiences.41,42 Kohlberg and Ryncarz43 theory extends moral judgment to a natural law orientation in which, . . . human responsibilities, duties, and rights are not arbitrary or dependent upon social convention but are objectively grounded as laws of nature. This highest stage is said to involve transpersonal experiences of a connection between the individual and the cosmos. It is sometimes associated with transcendence of the experiential gap between self and other, the subject-object duality of ordinary waking again typical of modern science and education. Proposed Higher States Reports of transcendent experiences appear in the literature of most cultures.28,31,44-46 Until recent years, however, it had been quite difcult to investigate such reports using outer, third-person, objective experimental methods. This was due to lack of comprehensive theories to interpret the reports, lack of experimental paradigms to examine the reports formally, and especially lack of means to replicate them under testing conditions.44 It has been estimated that as little as one-tenth of 1% of the college population may have such experiences.41 According to the Vedic model as outlined in this paper, higher development is facilitated by direct experience of the fourth state of consciousnessidentied by Vedic terms such as turiya and samadhi. The Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, drawn from Yoga, has been a reliable technology through which large numbers of practitioners report frequent experiences of transcendence.44,47-51 Reports of even higher state experiences in the direction of enlightenment also are being researched.36,52,53 Results of major tests of the Vedic model of human development have appeared in peer-reviewed journals.54-60 For example, research showing increased EEG coherence in Transcendental Meditation practitioners has been shown to be positively correlated with emotional stability and moral maturity directly rel-

THEORY OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT It also seems reasonable to expect that therapies purporting to develop the inherent potential of clients would have articulated models of higher developmental stages and states. However, such models are not generally part of conventional approaches, which typically have goals associated with symptom reduction in the context of the reductive, physicalist, disease-oriented medical model. Developmental psychologists have sought to identify the role of developmentally higher and peak experiences in the range of human potential, and further to characterize the highest or end-state.31-34 Prominent theories are noted here to establish the context for their natural extension in the developmental model associated with Vedic principles of therapy.

Vedic Principles of Therapy

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

29

evant to therapeutic goals and outcomes in the direction of psychological health.52,60-62 Seven States of Consciousness In scientic research as well as most historical literature, a sequential model of higher human development has been absent. It thus has been challenging to comprehend the guidance of purported highly developed or even enlightened individuals who seem to differ among themselves, perhaps due to perspectives from different higher states.63 In the Vedic model the range of human development covers a sequence of seven states of consciousness, each with its own perspective or phenomenal reality. This model provides milestones that help clarify purported higher states and corresponding worldviews. Respecting cultural and language differences, historical and contemporary reports of higher states can be viewed in this developmental model. In simple terms, the seven states of consciousness are distinguishable by the experience of self and environment (subject and object, self and other) on a continuum from virtually no wakefulness to full wakefulness of the total unity of nature:11,36 Sleep(Sushupti Chetana)virtually no experience of self or environment Dreaming (Swapn Chetana)imaginary individual self and environment Waking (Jagrat Chetana)individual self and relative environment Transcendental consciousness (Turiya Chetana) unbounded wakefulness, universal Self only Cosmic consciousness (Turiyatit Chetana) universal Self and separate relative environment Rened cosmic consciousness (Bhagavad Chetana) universal Self and maximum value of relative environment Unity consciousness (Brahmi Chetana)individual self and environment are the universal Self Clearly, this model describes development beyond ordinary waking experience, abstract scientic reasoning, and self-actualization. Also, healing and health promotion are placed in a vastly expanded framework with respect to therapeutic goals and interventions, far beyond meaningless biological survival.

the natural environment. It posits a profound integration of psychology, physiology, and the structure of nature itself, with major signicance for diagnosis, planning, and treatment. No similar integration has been proposed in conventional therapies or in the history of scientic psychology. In the Vedic approach there are three fundamental qualities or forces of nature,14,26 which can be associated with creative, maintenance, and dissolution operators in physics. These three forces structure ve fundamental qualities or constituentssimplistically translated as space, air, re, water, and earth. It is reasonable to suggest that these ve constituents relate to particle-forces in physics.64 One speculative delineation generally consistent with sequential symmetry-breaking of the unied eld and Sankhya is that the gravitational force relates to space; gravitational and strong nuclear forces to air; gravitational, strong, and weak nuclear forces to re; gravitational, strong, and weak nuclear, and electrical forces to water; and all the forces including magnetism to earth.10,11 The ve senses also correspond to these ve basic constituents: hearing to space, touch to air, sight to re, taste to water, and smell to earth. In other words, sensory qualia directly relate to the basic structures of the objects of sense, allowing for an integrated system of health-promoting behavior in accord with the fundamental structure of nature.11 Mind-Body Typology On the physical level the three fundamental forces correspond generally to the terms vata, pitta, and kapha called doshas. This is the basis for the system of classication into mind-body types that dene features of individual personality. In this model vata dosha is most prominent in the qualities of space and air; it is associated with ow and motion, and primarily concerns regulation of motor functions. Centered in the colon area, it concerns, for example, circulation throughout the body, and controls the other two forces or qualities. Typical psychophysical tendencies of individuals with a predominance of vata include light, thin build; cold hands and feet, dry skin; bursts of energy but quickness to becoming tired; tendency for insomnia and irregular digestion; quick performance of actions, including grasping and forgetting new information; enthusiasm, imagination, excitability, restlessness, worry, and changeability. Pitta is most prominent in the qualities of re and water; it primarily concerns regulation of metabolic functions. Centered in the small intestine, it regulates digestive and metabolic processes as well as many glandular, hormonal, and respiratory functions. Typical psychophysical tendencies with a predominance of pitta include medium build, strength, and endurance; sharp intellect and speech; tendency toward irritability or anger under stress; strong digestion, hunger, and thirst; warm, ushed, fair or ruddy, often freckled skin with heavy perspiration; determined, orderly, commanding or joyful demeanor. Kapha is most prominent in the qualities of water and earth. Centered in the chest area, it concerns primarily cohesion in the body. Typical psychophysical tendencies of individuals with a predominance of kapha include solid build, physical strength, and tendency to be overweight; steady, graceful action; slow digestion and heavy sleep; cool, pale, soft, often oily skin; slow to grasp and forget information; affectionate, possessive, tranquil, complacent, and earthy.

THEORY OF PERSONALITY A consistent theory of personality can make an important contribution to the identication of functional and dysfunctional behaviors, as well as treatment strategies that match client needs. A major aspect of applied psychology is standardized tests to establish reliable classications of personality types with predictive and explanatory power regarding behavioral patterns. Maharishi Ayurveda, which deals with natural medicine and the life span, provides a framework for the Vedic theory of personality. Numerous published studies examine the efcacy of its approaches to mind-body healing. It details the consciousnessmind-body relationship associated with Vedic principles of therapy as described in this paper. Importantly, it identies a fundamental correspondence between the senses, the body, and

30

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

Vedic Principles of Therapy

Each individual is composed of the predominance of certain permutations of vata, pitta, and kapha, which relate to specic behavioral tendencies. These genetic aspects of personality react differently to biorhythms and other natural cycles such as times of day, seasons, and life span stages. Vata is associated approximately with late autumn and winter, the periods of 2-6 a.m. and 2-6 p.m., and later adulthood. Pitta is associated with midsummer and early autumn, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and early/middle adulthood. Kapha is associated with spring and early summer, 6-10 a.m. and 6-10 p.m., and childhood. When the qualities or doshas are in proper balance called prakritimental and physical health are promoted. When aggravated or imbalanced called vrikriti disease can result. Illness is understood to be the consequence of behavior not in tune with the natural balance for the individual mind-body or personality type in the time, place and conditions of daily life. This integrated system allows rapid identication of risk factors, preventive strategies, imbalances, and specic interventions. This brief introduction lays out some of the Vedic principles that directly translate into practical therapeutic applications. In the next section specic Vedic technologies are described. In the nal section similarities and differences with contemporary therapy approaches are considered.

APPLIED DEVELOPMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES The Vedic approach applies the principle that the individual is cosmic. 65,66 This means that the individual human being is drawn from the ultimate unity and is composed of all levels of nature. Also, each developmental technology is drawn from the totality or unity. In other words, the parts come from the whole, opposite of the whole emerging from a compilation of parts as in reductive physicalism. All the parts, and the specic technologies, are connected to the whole. That is the basis for this holistic approach. The numerous conventional approaches based on fragmented reductive views of nature that have developed in recent years reect insights, intuitions, and sometimes evidencebased theories not established in the understanding and experience of the unity of nature. They produce some benet in one part, but tend not to be well coordinated with other parts, and thus can have negative side effects. For example there has long been criticism that the strategy in pharmacotherapy of isolating and extracting active ingredients removes them from the larger integrated context of natures intelligence.

According to this Vedic approach, lack of understanding of how the mind effortlessly settles down to a deep state of inner stillness has resulted in a long history of confusion in mental and spiritual development. In trying to still the mind, the common experience is that the mind is ckle and wandering. Traditions have developed based on the view that the mind must be controlled to attain inner stillness. Methods based on this common understanding apply forms of either contemplationreective thinking on some idea or object of attention or concentration effortful focus on a particular object such as an image or the breath. In contrast, an essential Vedic principle revived by Maharishi is that transcending is accomplished through lesser and lesser mental activity and softer thinking in an effortless process likened to a wave naturally settling back into the unbounded ocean.13,14 Effortlessness is held to be essential for the efcacy of TM practice. It is claimed that it is in transcending mental activity to pure unbounded awareness that the state of consciousness of the individual naturally expands, the theorized basis for its documented benets. Over 600 studies on TM practice have been published, about 400 in refereed journals,67-70 such as major meta-analyses on anxiety reduction, psychological health, and self-actualization,71-75 as well as research on neurophysiological indicators of reversal of chronic stress conditions and stress reactivity.62,76-79 The TM technique is said to be a reliable, systematic procedure for avoiding mental effort or engaging in sensory, intellectual, or emotional processing that can interfere with the natural settling process and even prevent transcendence. Although simple and natural, it is subtle and in vivo instruction by a qualied teacher is initially needed. The Process of Normalization Transcending is described as relaxing, enjoyable, and frequently blissful. Spontaneously maintaining transcendent inner silence is said to require purifying the mind-body system of deep-rooted imbalances. This renes the system and allows it to stay in the deeply settled state for more than brief episodesand eventually permanently as an unbounded inner wakefulness underneath and along with waking, dreaming, and sleep in the more advanced fth, sixth, and seventh states. From the deep ground state, healing mechanisms that remove obstacles to healthy functioning are said to be naturally activated, similar to how sleep and dreaming rejuvenate from fatigue. Research has shown that subperiods during which subjects report having experienced transcendental consciousness are positively correlated with breath quiescence or virtual breath suspension indicative of profound physiological rest. It also is positively correlated with simultaneous increases in skin conductance and peak alpha EEG power, again indicative of a unique integrative state of deep rest and increased alertness simultaneously.71-73 The contrast of transcendental consciousness and active mental states associated with other practices is becoming clearer based on experimental comparisons. Some mental practices correlate with increased gamma synchrony, proposed as the best measurable neural correlate of consciousnessthat is, the ordinary active waking state.9,17 This EEG pattern is not correlated with the theorized fourth state of consciousness,

THE TM PROGRAM An important principle in the Vedic approach as described here is that rest is the basis of activity. This is consistent with deep rest as the natural antidote to stress and disease, and the rst commonsense prescription. The deepest rest is said to be gained when activity in the mind settles down to the deepest level of inner silence, the fourth state, or transcendental consciousness, held to be the most restful ground state of the mind. Compared to either ordinary rest or sleep, there is strong evidence for increased EEG coherence associated with restful alertness and simultaneously greater reductions in stress markers such as cortisol, respiratory rate, skin resistance, and plasma lactate during TM practice.67-69

Vedic Principles of Therapy

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

31

which typically involves peak alpha power indicative of restful alertness.52,61,68,80 Advances in neurophysiological ndings on EEG coherence and brain integration show that EEG alpha coherence and synchrony are positively correlated with neural integration and improved mental health, such as emotional stability and moral maturity.52,81-83 Extensive research has accumulated on the benets of TM practice in areas such as the neuroendocrinology of stress, stress reactivity, cardiovascular health, rehabilitation, substance abuse, academic performance, IQ, cognitive efciency, attention-decit/hyperactivity disorder, posttraumatic stress, and self-actualization as well as reduced anxiety and depression67,68,84-86all directly relevant to therapeutic outcomes. With sufcient degree of deep rest, biochemical, and structural imbalances in the nervous system are said to dissolve naturally, termed the process of normalization. Correspondingly, this activity in the body increases mental activity, bringing the mind outward into active mental states. Because thoughts arising in this way during the practice occur subsequent to physical processes of normalization, they do not directly facilitate it; attention is not placed on them, and time is not spent analyzing them. On occasion, some of the resulting thoughts can be somewhat distressing or uncomfortable. Alertness is understood to be expanded and stronger when experiencing deeply settled states, and the strongest when mental activity is transcended. This is said to strengthen the mind during normalizing processes. Cases in which individuals report experiences such as depersonalization are placed in the context of normalization, and procedures are included to reestablish correct practice and smooth out these occasionally reported experiences. The TM technique has been taught to a wide range of individuals with different educational, religious, and cultural backgrounds in diverse conditions, including prisons, psychiatric wards, substance abuse treatment programs, nursing homes, as well as discipline-challenged school settings. Extensive research shows signicant benets across these challenging groups and settings. In addition, insurance statistics indicate that utilization rates for many chronic medical and psychiatric conditions are lower in regular TM practitioners compared to matched samples from the general population.47,50,68,69 These ndings document its safety and wide applicability. To keep TM practice itself simple and avoid straining or interfering expectations, the emphasis is on cumulative benets outside of the practice with gradual progress as expanded awareness grows underneath mental activity and is naturally integrated into daily activity toward permanent higher states. In contrast to problem-focused unconscious-based therapies, Vedic principles emphasize gentle naturalness to rene and integrate consciousness, mind, and body. Effortless transcending is held to be the key missing elementthe holistic active ingredient. Once established as a daily routine, additional technologies accelerate growth, including the advanced TM-Sidhi program also based on Yoga.11

THE TM-SIDHI PROGRAM Yoga is increasingly popular with todays focus on healthier lifestyles and appreciation of the mind-body connection in al-

ternative and preventive medicine. Frequently the emphasis is on the part of yoga associated with body postures and physical exercise, hatha yoga, a benecial physical approach; but yoga primarily is a mental technology. Detailed in the Yoga Sutras, yoga refers to union, and sutra to stitch or thread. The Yoga Sutras include mental practices to stitch or thread together the consciousness-mind-body relationship, called sidhis, revived and systematized as the TM-Sidhi program. In a scientic context the Yoga Sutras serve not only as means to develop higher states but also empirical tests of the degree they are stabilized. Practice of the Yoga Sutras is said to involve softer thinking to the nest levels of individual attention while maintaining unbounded inner silence called samyama. The Yoga Sutras cover a wide range of empirical outcomes. For example one sutra develops compassion, another renes the distinction between intellect and consciousness itself, and others rene the ve senses and enliven intuition. One of the most tangible sidhi practices is yogic ying,described as developing in stages including a hopping stagesomewhat analogous to a jumping frog. This stage is frequently reported among TM-Sidhi practitioners. Electrophysiological recordings have shown that the highest global EEG coherence occurs during yogic ying practice.87 More advanced stages of yogic ying have not yet been documented, although anecdotal reports have appeared throughout religious and spiritual historical literature in both Western and Eastern traditions.88 Experimental research supports the claim that regular experience of transcendental consciousness produces increased coherence in psychophysiological functioning, evidenced, for example, in increased EEG coherence. It is a reasonable thesis that individuals who are less stressed and more coherent in mind and body have a more orderly inuence in their environment. The individual coherent effects are said to be magnied to a sociological scale in large group practice, associated with the concept of collective consciousness. About 50 studies have been published (33 in peer-reviewed journals) that report signicant improvements in health, economic growth, crime rate, and other positive indicators of quality of collective life on local, state, national, and international levels when large groups practice this technology together.88-93 Social effects are typically explained in terms of the communication of ideas and feelings between people via direct contact. For example, a courteous response, compliment, or random act of kindness may result in the recipient extending a similar courtesy to others, and in this way the positive inuence transmits through a social network via ordinary physical means of communication. But these processes do not account for the empirical ndings of the coherent inuence of collective consciousness. In many physical systemssuch as magnetism, laser light, crystallization, primary organizer cells in the embryothere is a phase transition to a coherent state in a system when about 1% of the elements function coherently. A physical analogy is the quantum mechanical version of the Meissner Effect, associated with superconductivity and superuidity. A similar eld effect is theorized to occur in social systems when mental temperature is reduced to deeply settled states and a threshold level of collective coherence is produced. It is proposed to be a eld effect

32

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

Vedic Principles of Therapy

on the nonlocal level, consistent with quantum eld theories noted earlier.12,94 This subtle eld effect is generalized from a physical system to a social system including a region, nation, and world population.12 Collective coherence suggests a practical means to inuence societal trends in healthy and more orderly directions. It is held to be a systematic approach to healing on a sociological scale. It could be viewed as a type of group therapy, but far subtler than how this concept is applied in contemporary therapies. A growing body of well-designed research supports the bold thesis that this may be a viable means to create a more peaceful global societyin contrast to failed treaties and repeated wars.12,89,95

BIOBEHAVIORAL INTERVENTIONS In the Vedic approach sensory experience is directly related to the effects of objects of sense in the form of smells, tastes, sights, touches, and sounds. For example, with respect to the gustatory sense there are six basic tastessweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, astringent each with its own effect on body and mind. Ingesting foods in a balanced or imbalanced manner promotes or disturbs natural psychophysiological balances in the individual. This principle is applied to all stimulus input from any of the ve senses, whether through eating, respiration, or even visual and auditory inputsuch as watching TV or movies. Counteracting the negative effects of unhealthy personal habits involves establishing balance in behavioral lifestyles and routines that encompass all ve senses. Mind-Body Types and Behavioral Technologies The Vedic approach also includes diagnostics to identify imbalances due to behavior that does not sustain natural health. Ayurvedic experts, called Vaidyas, are trained to identify the individual mind-body type, the basic constitution or prakriti, and the vrikriti or current state of the three doshas, introduced earlier. For example, one important diagnostic procedure, called Nadi Vigyan, involves feeling the pulse. Activity in the body is understood to send information to the heart via the bloodstream, coded in the heartbeat, and accessed through the carrier wave of the pulse. The pulse is said to contain information on the condition of the whole person as well as the various parts of physiology. Each of the three doshas has ve subdoshas related to particular areas and functions, such as the liver, stomach, skin, and spinal column. Information about these 15 subdoshas can be accessed through the pulse. Applying this method, an expert pulse diagnostician is said to be able quickly to obtain considerable information about the mind-body system relevant to health status and treatment needs. In addition to mental techniques, there are numerous bodyoriented approaches that address the ve senses. These include Vedic sound vibration therapy, music therapy called gandharvaveda, a wide variety of herbal regimens including rasayanas, body purication therapies called panchakarma, gentle body movement and exercise routines based on principles of hatha yoga called asanas, simple breathing exercises called pranayama, Vedic light therapy, dietetics, aromatherapies, and daily and seasonal routines called behavioral rasayanas.

Another important and interesting approach, called Vastu, addresses architectural design and construction of structures such as homes and ofce buildings, as well as city planning. Chaotic environments typical of suburban sprawl, for example, are thought to decrease coherence in mental and physical functioning. Orientation with respect to the four cardinal directions, relationship to bodies of water, approaching and surrounding roads, energy ow including air and light through a building, the proportions and dimensions of rooms and their layout for purposes such as studying, cooking, and sleeping are considered in this approach. The shape and slope of the building site and relationship to the local ecosystemas well as the health effects of construction materialsare considered as well. Also, the center of a building is designed to be an open area called the Brahmasthan that establishes a core of silence in the building. Hallways and windows are positioned to facilitate unrestricted ow of light, air, and energy through the core of the building in order to reduce physical and psychological restrictions and support health-promoting behavior. The important emerging eld of green technologies can benet from focus on family homes, community buildings, and neighborhood designs applying principles of Vastu that are said to foster subtle healing energies. These biobehavioral and environmental approaches are considered quite important components in the multimodal system of therapy, healing, and human development associated with this Vedic approach.96

TALKING THERAPY Verbal aspects of the Vedic approach to therapy can be placed in the broad category of psychoeducation, which integrates therapeutic communication and practical knowledge. An example is the prototype case study of the classic Vedic text the Bhagavad Gita.14,97 In this context it is viewed as a counseling session between the exemplary counselor of total knowledge, Krishna, and Arjuna, the exemplary warrior.14 According to this prototype case study, Arjuna arrives at a point due to the apparent opposing demands from his loving heart and dutiful mind at which he is unable to take action. Principles of counseling, teaching, and communication are portrayed in preparing Arjuna for practical knowledge of the ultimate integration of heart and mind for effective action according to the particular duties in his life. It provides a systematic model of therapeutic communication and knowledge to address the inevitable dilemmas arising in daily life that are commonly addressed in therapy. The verbal aspects of therapy, and also TM practice, do not involve probing and bringing to conscious attention past traumatic memories, pathogenic beliefs, or irrational schemas to work through them in the ordinary waking state of conscious mind, or conversely trying to put them out of the mind. Verbal communication is subtler and purposely simpler. This is based on the fundamental principle that what you put your attention on grows in your life.13,14 Placing attention on what was wrong in the pastperhaps necessary in certain circumstancesis considered to reect lack of subtlety of understanding about the natural functioning of the mind and is not generally encouraged. In the following quote, Maharishi makes this point quite strongly:

Vedic Principles of Therapy

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

33

Analyzing an individuals way of thinking and bringing to the conscious level the buried misery of the past, even for the purpose of enabling him to see the cause of the stress and suffering, is highly deplorable; for it helps to strengthen directly the impressions of the miserable past and serves to suppress his consciousness in the present (pp. 258-259).13 Contemporary approaches most consistent with this fundamental principle are solution-oriented. Attention to solutions tends to be more enjoyable, constructive, and proactive than struggling to end problems. The entire focus in the Vedic approach is on developing higher states of consciousness, which are understood broadly in this context to occur as a natural result of progressrather than directly focusing the mind on psychological and behavioral problems or symptom relief. The general emphasis is direct experience of pure consciousness, which naturally expands the mind for growth-oriented and solution-oriented personal evolution in daily activity. When strong emotions arise, however, it is of course helpful to allow them to be expressed in a safe environment. This is exemplied in the counseling dialog in the Bhagavad Gita, which demonstrates careful timing in dealing with the levels of behavior, thinking, and feeling.98 In this framework the basic approach to healing of settling down the mind can be viewed as also applicable to talking therapy. In the model of mind described earlier, levels of mind involve outer emotional behavior, inner rational thinking, and even deeper inner feelings and sense of self. Effective listening, validating, and empathic skills help settle down emotions to deeper inner levels consistent with the principle of rest for natural healing.7 Although applying observational and listening skills, it is said to avoid thinking patterns resulting from pastoriented and problem-focused interventions that complicate the mind and train it in a manner that could dissipate health-oriented psychological energies. To exemplify these principles of talking therapy further, many issues in psychotherapy deal again with the relationship of cognition and affect. The major orientations in psychotherapy, cognitive and humanistic, can be viewed as due to lack of integrated understanding about these levels of mind. Cognitive therapies focus on thinking to recognize and test irrational beliefs; and humanistic therapies focus on emotional awareness, getting in touch with feelings, and working through unnished emotional business. In this Vedic approach to therapy deep feelings guide thinking, and thinking directs behavior. The level of the mind associated with rational thinking is in between inner feelings and outer behavior. It integrates information from inner goals or motivations deep inside and outer environmental input in order to plan and direct effective behavior. It is a fundamentally differentand purposefully simplerview about how the mind naturally functions and how to train it in the therapeutic context to promote mental health and higher development. The deepest and most rened feelings are sometimes attributed to the inner intuitive sense. Intuition can be an important basis for decision making and behavioral choices when these deepest levels of feeling are not overshadowed by accumulated stress and strain. As body, mind, heart, and ego or self are increasingly rened and stress-free, the intuitive sense is enlivened and gives more reliable input for behavioral choices. But when

overshadowed by deep-seated imbalances, it can be less reliable. Under these common circumstances, the rational thinking mind is usefully relied upon to gain more knowledge and evaluate intuitive-like feelings carefully before taking action on decisions. Assuming that an intuitive feeling is right because it comes from the heart, or just following your heart, frequently results in relationship problems with negative consequences over the longer term, even with the best of initial intentions. These are common issues presented in therapy, which can lead to confusion and ineffective counsel without an integrated model of mind that identies how cognition and affect subtly interact.98 The Vedic model of levels of mind is helpful for understanding how to integrate inner levels of heart and mind for assertive balance that respects both personal goals and the goals of others in the social environment. The integration of Vedic principles and psychological models summarized in this paper, as well as comparable work in a wide array of disciplines including foundational mathematics, physics, physiology, chemistry, literature, art, education, management, and sustainable living environments, can be found in research publications of Maharishi University of Management.99

BRIEF COMPARISONS WITH OTHER APPROACHES With this overview of principles and practices associated with the Vedic approach as described here, it now can be compared to the major contemporary psychotherapies, using very brief summary descriptions of them. This section highlights the contrasts, and importantly shows an integrative progression that is clearly in the direction of holistic Vedic principles of therapy.

PSYCHOANALYTIC/PSYCHODYNAMIC APPROACHES The psychoanalytic approach derived primarily from Freuds insights and speculations on unconscious psychobiological drives, emphasizing sexuality and animalistic instincts from genetic evolutionary history. It focuses on the rst few years of life as setting the stage for inner conicts that play out later. It generally views humans as motivated by uncontrollable, unconscious psychological forces with no overall purpose or meaning other than biological survival. It is for the most part pathology oriented, with no clearly articulated model of psychological health or higher development. It generally views life as chronic intrapsychic conict with no end-state other than trying to cope with the challenges of daily living and eventual complete extinction at death. Further, it is time-consuming, typically involving multiple sessions weekly, perhaps for a decade or longer. It also typically is provided to highly intellectual, nancially wealthy patients. There has long been critical concern it is overly psychologizing and pathologizing. Research outcomes tend to show quantiable benets are at least not appreciably different from rates of spontaneous recovery; and direct comparisons usually support other approaches. As discussed earlier, the Freudian model of mind common to many contemporary therapies that emphasize underlying unconscious processes is in many ways opposite of the Vedic model. Psychodynamic psychotherapies developed in reaction to psychoanalysis, deemphasizing sexual issues but still emphasiz-

34

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

Vedic Principles of Therapy

ing unconscious processes, childhood experiences, and interventions such as dream analysis, free association, and their intellectualized, sometimes complicated speculative interpretations similar to psychoanalysis. Treatment is time limited, more interactive, and outcome studies are more supportive of their efcacy. Jungs Analytic Psychotherapy emphasizes personal responsibility and the search for meaning. A key addition is the theory of the collective unconscious based on Jungs reections about universal patterns of behavior in symbols and myths across cultures, or archetypes quite different from collective consciousness in the Vedic approach.

HUMANISTIC/EXISTENTIAL APPROACHES Developed by Rogers, the client-centered aspect of humanistic therapy is nondirective. It holds that under appropriate therapeutic support with genuine concern, unconditional positive regard, and empathy the client can improve self-esteem, strengthen self-control, and become more open to new ways to solve problems and apply positive attitudes, without explicit direction. There is less focus on past history, diagnoses, or problems, and more emphasis on healthy acceptance of the individual as a whole, unique person. As with analytic approaches, it is considered less effective with individuals who are severely disturbed or have lower intelligence. In this context it is due to not providing substantive guidance, which is generally considered imposing limitations on the client. Its principles have been incorporated into other therapies, rather than being applied as a formal approach in itself. Existential Therapy was inuenced by philosophies in the aftermath of World Wars I and II. It emphasizes individual uniqueness, personal meaning, and coping with the depressing state of human civilization and loss of a grounded sense of right and wrong. It encourages confronting life challenges of existential isolation, lack of inherent meaning, coping with freedom, and individual extinction. It shares the analytic model of conscious and unconscious processes, but focuses more on the present rather than childhood traumas, toward acceptance of the transience of life and inevitable annihilation at death. Gestalt Therapy emphasizes the whole person in the context of his or her environment including family, friends, past and present. Viewing conventional morality as constrictive, it focuses on what is going on inside and outside oneself in the here and now. It is highly interactive, relying on trust between client and therapist to apply engaging techniques such as role playing, letter writing, visualizations, and body awareness. Techniques are used to facilitate emotional expression and work through blocked past experiences and develop meaning in the face of freedom, existential isolation, and death. Broadly within the humanistic approach, Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) focuses on social relationships as a major source of distress. It emphasizes the exploration of social roles and expectations in romantic partners, family, friends, and coworkers, and on building new skills such as assertiveness. Family Therapy focuses on the clients family of origin as a system of relationships resistant to change. It examines different roles taken by family members, and intervenes to change entrenched dysfunctional enmeshment and disengagement. Strategies frequently

involve role playing, confrontation, and in some cases building a generational map genogram of family patterns. Narrative family therapy somewhat similarly involves reecting on and devising stories of family histories to gain insights into family roles and dynamics toward developing more self-sufciency and balance in relationships. Generally these humanistic approaches view the individual as an integrated whole who is striving for acceptance, meaning, and balance individually and socially. They emphasize insight and general coping skills within ordinary daily experience, and also sometimes emotional release. They generally have not incorporated specic means to expand conscious mind, and traditionally have not recognized and included such means to develop human potential. However, importantly, they do accept the basic principle of the natural ability to grow psychologically as inherent to human life.

COGNITIVE/BEHAVIORAL APPROACHES Behavior Therapy, which also developed in reaction to psychoanalysis, emphasizes conditioning processes that can be objectively measured. Treatment is time limited, highly structured, with specic problem-focused interventions. Analysis of past traumas is not involved. It includes recording of behaviors, relaxation training, and practicing alternative behaviors in and out of therapy. It is considered useful for specic symptom patterns such as phobias, and not as applicable for generalized disorders. Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) focuses on changing thinking patterns that maintain specic dysfunctional behaviors. Like behavior therapy, it is problem-focused and formulaic in the disease-oriented medical model. It is interactive, generally present-oriented, emphasizing the challenging and testing of distorted beliefs and coping skills such as assertiveness and relaxation. Research frequently shows positive outcomes. Its emphasis on diagnostics is helpful for treatment specicity and explanatory value, but also can subtly add negative schemas from authority gures that can complicate treatment. Closely related approaches are Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), which emphasizes direct confrontation of irrational thinking and beliefs, Reality Therapy (RT), which emphasizes choice theory and personal responsibility, and SchemaFocused Therapy to identify old patterns stemming from negative childhood experiences and systematically testing out positive alternatives in daily interactions. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a more recent development incorporating aspects of behavior therapy with self-acceptance. It involves recognition of failed control strategies as a step toward genuine openness to new ones. New strategies emphasize selfobservational skills focusing on present awareness, less entanglement in self-critical automatic thoughts, and acceptance of both desirable and undesirable experiences and fostering commitment to work toward achieving personal goals. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), also a more recent development, focuses on reducing emotional dysregulation, typically applied in treating substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression including self-harm and suicidal ideation. It includes working in and out of individual sessions, group work, and skills training to manage dysfunctional thinking and emo-

Vedic Principles of Therapy

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

35

tional patterns. It also emphasizes dialectical acceptance of contradictory thoughts and building tolerance for distressing situations by fostering an observing self that is said to increase resilience. It is inuenced by Buddhism, especially Zen, but not necessarily other religious aspects of the tradition. Mindfulness Therapy draws further from Buddhist teachings applying focused attention and concentration. It emphasizes sustained attention to the present moment, said to facilitate letting go of painful thoughts and emotions and learning how to get out of automatic reactions and habitual behaviors. It incorporates training in dispassionate observation and monitoring of mental content to gain perspective or psychological distance that reduces judgmental interpretations and increases compassion and tolerance. Sometimes it also incorporates group work, which may involve challenging of restrictive patterns of selfimage and self-concept. Mindfulness-based practices in cognitive therapy are derived from long traditions involving various forms of mental attention to manage cognitive processes through states described as bare attention, presence of mind, and lucid (sometimes even called pure) awareness.100,101 These active mental states are distinct from pure awareness in the sense of transcendence of mental activity in transcendental consciousness, which has been shown to have different psychophysiological correlates. According to Maharishi, mindfulness practices have developed in the absence of systematic means to transcend.13,14 In further contrast to mindfulness-based practices, the approach applying Vedic principles is most fundamentally to strengthen the mind and body directly by repeated experience of inner bliss in the natural process of transcending mental activity. Transcendental consciousness is unbounded self-referral awareness, distinct from the mental activity of being aware of something as in ordinary thinking and feeling. When increasingly fullled from the inside due to repeated experience of unbounded awareness and resultant reductions in accumulated stress and tension, more freedom and less bondage to the gains and losses associated with the inevitable ups and downs of daily living is said to grow automatically through time. Inner silence, growing awareness, and contentment spontaneously develop self-sufciency, compassion, acceptance, and nonattachment. Ultimately, inner bliss is said to be the foundation for natural freedom from boundaries, even in the midst of boundaries.102,103 According to the Vedic model, in permanent enlightenment the limitations that characterize individual life are permeated by fulllment in unity and are no longer overshadowing or binding to the individual. Inner contentment is said to bring balance and freedom in daily life spontaneously, not practice of a mood or intentional mental state of nonattachment, equanimity, or unity in the individual boundaries of the ordinary waking state.13,14

gentle as well as more strenuous deep tissue massage for emotional release, and other body movement techniques including yogic postures and breathing exercises, as well as music and aroma therapies for relief from tension and stress. Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a more recent technique that involves forming a snapshot in focal attention of a traumatic memory and combining it with a visual tracking task that may provide distraction and disruption of the distressing memory. This and similar methods involving visual tracking or repetitive touch such as tapping are used to reduce trauma-based anxiety. Hypnotherapy is an old mental technique now used for a variety of health concerns including pain management, phobias, smoking cessation, as well as enhancement of athletic performance. It applies the power of suggestion to alter ordinary waking experience into a state in some ways similar to sleep while also responsive to instructions. Physiological patterns are mixed, suggestive that aspects of experience are dissociated from each other. The neural mechanisms associated with hypnosis are not understood, and its effectiveness may be limited to those who believe it will work. As described earlier, there are extensive body-oriented treatments associated with holistic Vedic principles of therapy. These include such interventions as dietetics, body purication therapies, gentle exercise routines, simple breathing exercises, aromatherapies, music and sound vibration, and light therapies mentioned earlier, as well as many others in the context of Ayurvedic natural medicine.

SOMATIC PSYCHOTHERAPIES AND RELATED APPROACHES Approaches focusing on the mind-body relationship emphasize emotional stress held in the body, frequently associated with the concept of cellular memory, which can be released through physical manipulation. These body-oriented approaches include

POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY/SOLUTION-FOCUSED APPROACHES Positive psychology emphasizes personal virtues common across cultures. Expressions of positive feelings associated with altruism, optimism, humor, and gratitude are encouraged as part of the therapy work. Solution-Focused Therapy applies similar principles to guide attention toward positive evaluations of actions and their results. Actions are not thought of as successes and failures as much as feedback toward solutions. It is designed to provide subtle guidance for inevitable change in the direction of solutions, applying the principle that even a small change can trigger change in a whole systema relationship, family, or larger social organization such as a company. Every therapist action is considered an intervention. Diagnostic labels using pathological terms, historical reviews of past trauma, conditions that amplify the clients sense of problems such as medical-type settings, testing as well as other procedures focusing on negative symptoms, irrational thinking, and attention to dysfunctional behavior are minimized. The role of the therapist is more of a consultant than an authority gure such as an analyst or doctor. As a subtler approach to therapeutic communication, it is more consistent with the important principle guiding the verbal aspects of Vedic principles of therapy that what you put attention on grows in your life.63

TRANSPERSONAL/INTEGRAL APPROACHES Transpersonal/integral approaches explicitly apply spiritual principles that address the broader connection of the individual

36

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

Vedic Principles of Therapy

to human culture, the oneness of nature, and even sense of the Divine. Experiences beyond traditional scientic understanding including intuitive, psychic, shamanistic, and mystical ways of knowing especially in the transpersonal approachare encouraged as strategies to integrate body, mind, and spirit. This may include different mental techniques in the general framework of meditation, religious practices such as prayer and forms of positive afrmation, and a wide variety of other treatments that are similar to, but also in some cases outside of, conventional therapies. These approaches draw from a range of religious and spiritual traditions including Buddhism, which have their origins in the Vedic tradition. Thus, they tend to be more similar to the approach described in this paper with respect to philosophical principles, especially compared to more conventional approaches. However, specic methods such as meditation techniques, mind-body integration interventions, and talking therapy procedures differ signicantly, as noted in this paper. Also, the Vedic approach has emphasized rigorous experimental validation of its technologies, in addition to direct experiential validation. This brief overview importantly reveals a progression toward positive approaches in therapy and counseling that are clientempowering, present and future-oriented, health and solutionoriented, client-therapist interactive, with multimodal treatments moving from dysfunctional neurosis and pathology to self-actualization, and toward spiritual realization. However, for the most part there continues to be neither generally accepted models of mind nor systematic stages of human development as a foundation for treatment strategies, largely reecting the fragmented physicalist worldview still prominent in modern science but also clearly extending beyond it such as in transpersonal/integral approaches. The overview shows that the progression is toward principles that are consistent with the models of mind and higher development in the holistic Vedic approach of Maharishi Vedic Science and Technology based on the work of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. CONCLUSIONS The intent of this paper is not to add another therapeutic approach to the hundreds already available. It rather is to emphasize simpler, subtler, more integrated methods based on a holistic understanding of the consciousness-mind-body connection. A key point is that consciousness is understood quite differently from the common therapeutic notion of becoming more aware of in terms of insight and mindful attention within the ordinary waking state. It views expansion of awareness as occurring systematically through effortless transcending of mental activity. Direct experience of the fourth state, pure consciousness itself, is held to be the most fundamental holistic active ingredient for healing. Further, the verbal aspects of this Vedic approach as well as communication skills, dietetics, herbal formulas, gentle purication treatments, balanced daily routines, and health-promoting living environments also are consistent with the principle of settling down and rening emotions and thinking that explicitly avoids common overly intellectualized, psychologizing, and pathologizing methods. This introduction to Vedic principles of therapy underscores the value of historically rich perspectives in international psy-

chology and ancient traditions of knowledge. It points out that contemporary approaches are unconscious-basedfor the most part embedded in the physicalist worldview that is becoming recognized as untenable given theoretical and experimental progress in quantum physics over the past century. The ancient holistic Vedic approach as described here can be viewed as a new alternative to the view of nature that has shaped our disintegrated and stress-laden modern civilization xated on fragmented reductive physicalism, fundamental randomness, and meaningless biological survival. Its core technologies are increasingly validated by rigorous research for their efcacy and wide applicability. It purports to be a holistic system of healing and human development that actualizes the integrative direction in which applied psychology fortunately has been steadily progressing. REFERENCES
1. Miller GA. Trends and debates in cognitive psychology. Cognition. 1981;10:215-225. 2. Herbert N. Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics. New York, NY: Anchor Books; 1985. 3. Penrose R. The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf; 2005. 4. Greene B. The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory. New York, NY: Vintage Books; 1999. 5. Greene B. The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf; 2004. 6. Smolin L. Three Roads to Quantum Gravity. New York, NY: Basic Books; 2001. 7. Bohm D. Wholeness and the Implicate Order. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; 1980. 8. Bohm D, Hiley BJ. The Undivided Universe. London: Routledge; 1993. 9. Stapp HP. Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer. Berlin: Springer-Verlag; 2007. 10. Boyer RW. Think Outside the Bang: Beyond Quantum Theory and Hidden Dimensions to a Holistic Account of Consciousness, Mind and Matter. Malibu, CA: Institute for Advanced Research; 2010. 11. Boyer RW. Bridge to Unity: Unied Field-Based Science and Spirituality. Malibu, CA: Institute for Advanced Research; 2008. 12. Hagelin J. Is consciousness the unied eld? A eld theorists perspective. Modern Sci Vedic Sci. 1987;1:29-87. Available at: www. mum.edu/msvs/. 13. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Science of Being and Art of Living. Washington, DC: Age of Enlightenment Publications; 1963. 14. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the BhagavadGita: A New Translation and Commentary. Chapters 1-6. London: Penguin Books; 1967. 15. Broadbent D. Perception and Communication. London: Pergamon Press; 1958. 16. Shiffrin RM, Schneider W. Controlled and automatic human information processing: II. Perceptual learning, automatic attending, and a general theory. Psychol Rev. 1977;84:127-189. 17. Hameroff SR. The conscious pilot: synchronized dendritic webs move through brain neurocomputational networks to mediate consciousness. April 11, 2008; plenary session; Toward a Science of Consciousness Conference, April 8-12; Tucson, AZ. 18. Wundt W. Outlines of Psychology. Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelman; 1907. 19. Wundt W. An Introduction to Psychology. London: George Allen; 1912.

Vedic Principles of Therapy

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

37

20. Titchener EB. Lectures on the Elementary Psychology of Feeling and Attention. New York, NY: MacMillan; 1908. 21. Titchener EB. A Text-Book of Psychology. New York, NY: Macmillan; 1913. 22. James W. The Principles of Psychology. New York, NY: Holt; 1890. 23. Baars BJ. In the Theatre of Consciousness. New York: Oxford University Press; 1997. 24. Lazarus RS. On the primacy of cognition. Am Psychol. 1984;39: 124-129. 25. Zajonc RB. Feeling and thinking. Preferences need no inferences. Am Psychol. 1980;35:151-175. 26. Damasio A. The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness. New York, NY: Harcourt; 1999. 27. Bernard T. Hindu Philosophy. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers; 1947. 28. Maslow AH. The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York, NY: Penguin; 1976. 29. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Maharishi Speaks to Educators: Mastery over Natural Law. Vol. 2. India: Age of Enlightenment Publications; 1997. 30. Dalai Lama, Cutler HC. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living. New York: Riverhead Books; 1998. 31. James W. The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York, NY: Modern Library; 1929. 32. Maslow A. Toward a Psychology of Being. Princeton NJ: Van Nostrand; 1962. 33. Piaget J. Intellectual evolution from adolescence to adulthood. Hum Dev. 1972;15:1-12. 34. Walsh R, Vaughan R. Paths Beyond Ego. New York, NY: Putnam; 1993. 35. Piaget J, Inhelder B. The Psychology of the Child. New York, NY: Basic Books; 1969. 36. Alexander CN, Langer EJ, eds. Higher Stages of Human Development: Perspectives on Adult Growth. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 1990. 37. Commons ML, Richards FA, Armon C. Beyond Formal Operations: Late Adolescent and Adult Cognitive Development. New York, NY: Praeger; 1984. 38. Arlin PK. Problem solving and problem nding in young artists and young scientists. Adult Dev. 1989;1:197-216. 39. Pascual-Leone J. Reections on life-span intelligence, consciousness, and ego development. In: Alexander CN, Langer EJ, eds. Higher Stages of Human Development: Perspectives on Adult Growth. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 1990. 40. Cook-Greuter SR. Maps for living: ego development stages from symbiosis to consciousness universal embeddedness. In Commons ML, Armon L, Kohlberg FA, Grotzer TA, Sinnot JD, eds. Adult Development: Models and Methods in the Study of Adolescent and Adult Thought. Vol. 1. New York, NY: Praeger; 1990:119-146. 41. Loevinger J. Ego Development: Conceptions and Theories. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 1976. 42. Snarey J, Kohlberg L, Noam G. Ego development in perspective: structural stage, functional phase, and cultural age-period models. Dev Rev. 1983;3:303-338. 43. Kohlberg L, Ryncarz RA. Beyond justice reasoning: moral development and consideration of a seventh stage. In: Alexander CN, Langer EJ, eds. Higher Stages of Human Development:Perspectives on Adult Growth. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 1990:191207. 44. Alexander CN, Boyer R, Alexander V. Higher states of consciousness in the Vedic Psychology of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: a theoretical introduction and research review. Modern Sci. Vedic Sci. 1987;1:89-126. Available at: www.mum.edu/msvs/.

45. Alexander CN, Boyer R. Seven states of consciousness: unfolding the full potential of the Cosmic Psyche in individual life through Maharishis Vedic Psychology. Modern Sci Vedic Sci. 1989;2:325371. Available at: www.mum.edu/msvs/. 46. Pearson CA. The Supreme Awakening: Maharishis Model of Higher States of Consciousness Applied to the Experiences of Individuals Through History. Doctoral dissertation Maharishi University of Management, Faireld, IA. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertation Services; 2002. 47. Orme-Johnson DW. Medical care utilization and the Transcendental Meditation Program. Psychosom Med. 1987;49:493-507. 48. Travis FT, Pearson C. Pure consciousness: distinct phenomenological and physiological correlates of Consciousness Itself. Int J Neurosci. 2000;100:77-89. 49. Orme-Johnson DW. The Cosmic Psyche: an introduction to Maharishis Vedic psychologythe fulllment of Modern Psychology. Modern Sci Vedic Sci. 1988;2:113-163. 50. Orme-Johnson DW. Summary of scientic research on Maharishis Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program. Modern Sci Vedic Sci. 1995;6:60-155. 51. Wilber K. The Eye of Spirit: An Integral Vision for a World Gone Slightly Mad. Boston, MA: Shambhala; 1998. 52. Travis F, Arenander A. Cross-sectional and longitudinal study of effects of transcendental meditation practice on interhemispheric frontal asymmetry and frontal coherence. Int J Neurosci. 2006;116: 1519-1538. 53. Wallace RK. The Neurophysiology of Enlightenment. Faireld, IA: Maharishi International University Press; 1986. 54. Alexander CN, Cranson RW, Boyer RW, Orme-Johnson DW. Transcendental Consciousness: a fourth state of consciousness beyond sleep, dreaming, and waking. In: Gackenbach J, ed. Sleep and Dreams: A Sourcebook. New York, NY: Garland Publishing; 1986: 282-312. 55. Alexander CN, Heaton DP, Chandler HM. Advanced human development in the Vedic Psychology of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: theory and research. In: Miller ME, Cook-Greuter SR, eds. Transcendence and Mature Thought in Adulthood: The Further Reaches of Adult Development. Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littleeld; 1994:39-70. 56. Alexander CN, Walton KG, Goodman R. Walpole study of the Transcendental Meditation program in maximum security prisoners I: cross-sectional differences in development and psychopathology. J Offend Rehabil. 2003;36:97-126. 57. Alexander CN, Orme-Johnson, DW. Walpole study of the Transcendental Meditation program in maximum security prisoners II: longitudinal study of development and psychopathology. J Offend Rehabi. 2003;36:127-160. 58. Alexander CN, Orme-Johnson DW. Walpole study of the Transcendental Meditation program in maximum security prisoners. III: reduced recidivism. J Offend Rehabil. 2003;36:161-180. 59. Alexander CN, Rainforth MV, Gelderloos P. Transcendental Meditation, self-actualization, and psychological health: a conceptual overview and statistical meta-analysis. J Soc Behav Pers. 1991;6:189247. 60. Chandler HM, Alexander CN, Heaton DP, Grant J. Transcendental Meditation and postconventional self-development: a 10-year longitudinal study. J Soc Behav Pers. 2005;17:93-122. 61. Travis FT, Haaga DH, Hagelin JS, et al. A self-referential default brain state: patterns of coherence, power, and eLORETA sources during eyes-closed rest and the Transcendental Meditation practice. Cogn Process. 2009;11:21-30. 62. Travis F, Haaga DA, Hagelin J, et al. Effects of Transcendental Meditation practice on brain functioning and stress reactivity in college students. Int J Psychophysiol. 2009;71:170-176.

38

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

Vedic Principles of Therapy

63. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Science of Creative Intelligence: knowledge and experience. [Syllabus of videotaped course]. Los Angeles, CA: MIU Press; 1972. 64. Hagelin JS. Restructuring physics from its foundation in light of Maharishis Vedic Science. Modern Sci Vedic Sci. 1989:3:3-72. Available at: www.mum.edu/msvs/. 65. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Maharishis Global News Conference. 2003 Dec 12. 66. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Celebrating Perfection in Education: Dawn of Total Knowledge. India: Age of Enlightenment Publications; 1997. 67. Nader T. Human Physiology: Expression of Veda and Vedic Literature. 4th ed. Vlodrop, The Netherlands: Maharishi Vedic University; 2000. 68. Dillbeck MC. Scientic research on Maharishis Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programme: Collected Papers. Vol. 6. Vlodrop, The Netherlands: Maharishi Vedic University Press; 2011. 69. Orme-Johnson DW. Available at: www.truthabouttm.com 70. Scientic Research on Maharishis Transcendental Meditation and TMSidhi ProgrammeCollected Papers. Vols. 1-5. 1977-1990 (Various editions). Faireld, IA: Maharishi University of Management Press. 71. Badawi K, Wallace RK, Orme-Johnson D, Rouszere AM. Electrophysiologic characteristics of respiratory suspension periods occurring during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation program. Psychosom Med. 1984;46:267-276. 72. Farrow JT, Hebert JR. Breath suspension during the Transcendental Meditation technique. Psychosom Med. 1982;44:133-153. 73. Travis FT, Wallace RK. Autonomic patterns during respiratory syspensions: possible markers of Transcendental Consciousness. Psychophysiology. 1997;34:39-46. 74. Eppley KR, Abrams AI, Shear J. Differential effects of relaxation techniques on trait anxiety: a meta-analysis. J Clin Psychol. 1989;45: 957-974. 75. Alexander CN, Rainforth MV, Gelderloos P. Transcendental Meditation, self-actualization, and psychological health: a conceptual overview and statistical meta-analysis. J Soc Behav Pers. 1991;6:189247. 76. Barnes VA, Treiber FA, Davis H. Impact of Transcendental Meditation on cardiovascular function at rest and during acute stress in adolescents with high normal blood pressure. J Psychosom Res. 2001;51:D97-D605. 77. Brooks JS, Scarano T. Transcendental Meditation in the treatment of post-Vietnam adjustment. J Counsel Dev. 1985;64:212-215. 78. Orme-Johnson DW. Autonomic stability and Transcendental Meditation. Psychosom Med. 1973;35:341-349. 79. Rosenthal NE. Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation. New York, NY: Tarcher/Penguin; 2011. 80. Travis F, Shear J. Focused attention, open monitoring and automatic self-transcending: categories to organize meditations from Vedic, Buddhist and Chinese traditions. Conscious Cog. 2010;19: 1110-1118. 81. Hebert JR, Lehmann D, Tan G, Travis FT, Arenander A. Enhanced EEG alpha time-domain phase synchrony during Transcendental Meditation: implications for cortical integration theory. Signal Process. 2005;85:2213-2232. 82. Palva S, Palva JM. New vistas for alpha-frequency band oscillations. Trends Neurosci. 2007;30:150-158. 83. Sauseng P, Klimesch W. What does phase information of oscillatory brain activity tell us about cognitive processes? Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008;32:1001-1013. 84. Alexander CN, Robinson P, Rainforth MV. Treating and preventing alcohol, nicotine, and drug abuse through Transcendental

85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90.

91.

92.

93.

94.

95. 96.

97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102. 103.

Meditation: a review and statistical meta-analysis. Alcohol Treat Q. 1994;11:13-87. Deans A. A record of excellence. Faireld, IA: MUM Press; 2005. Schneider RH, Fields JZ. Total Heart Health. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, Inc.; 2006. Travis FT, Orme-Johnson DW. EEG coherence and power during Yogic Flying. Int J Neurosci. 1990;54:1-12. Pearson C. The Complete Book of Yogic Flying. Faireld, IA: MUM Press; 2008. Oates RM. Permanent Peace. Faireld, IA: Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy; 2002. Borland C, Landrith G III. Improved quality of city life through the Transcendental Meditation Program: decreased crime rate. In: Orme-Johnson DW, Farrow JT, eds. Scientic Research on the Transcendental Meditation Program: University Press; 1977:639648. Davies JL, Alexander CN. The Maharishi Technology of the Unied Field and improved quality of life in the United States: a study of the First World Peace Assembly, Amherst, Massachusetts, 1979; MERU Research Report No. 323. In: Chalmers RA, Clements G, Schenkluhn H, Weinless M, eds. Scientic Research on Maharishis Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program: Collected Papers. Vols. 2-4. Vlodrop, The Netherlands: Maharishi Vedic University Press; 1989. Orme-Johnson DW, Cavanaugh KL, Alexander CN, et al. The inuence of the Maharishi Technology of the Unied Field on world events and global social indicators: the effects of the Taste of Utopia Assembly. In Chalmers RA, Clements G, Schenkluhn H, Weinless M, eds. Scientic Research on Maharishis Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program: Collected Papers. Vol. 4. Vlodrop, The Netherlands: Maharishi Vedic University Press; 1989:27302762. Cavanaugh KL, Orme-Johnson DW, Gelderloos P. The effect of the Taste of Utopia Assembly on the World Index of International Stock Prices. In: Chalmers RA, Clements G, Schenkluhn H, Weinless M, eds. Scientic Research on Maharishis Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program: Collected Papers. Vol. 4. Vlodrop, The Netherlands: Maharishi Vedic University Press; 1989:2715-2729. Dillbeck MC, Cavanaugh KL, Glenn T, Orme-Johnson DW, Mittlefehldt V. Consciousness as a eld: the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program and change in social indicators. J Mind Behav. 1987;8:67-104. www.truthabouttm.org/truth/SocietalEffects/Rationale-Reaearch/ Index.cfm. Lipman J, Arenander A. Maharishi Vedic Architecture: background and summary of scientic research; 2010. Available at: www.maharishivastu.org/. Dillbeck MC. The Bhagavad-gita: a case study in Maharishis Vedic Psychology. Modern Sci Vedic Sci. 1991;4:96-134. Boyer RW. Cool Mind, Warm Heart: How to Communicate with Body, Mind, Heart and Soul. Faireld, IA: Seven Roses Inc.; 2008. Available at: www.mum.edu/msvs/welcome.html. Chiesa A, Malinowski P. Mindfulness-based approaches: are they all the same? J Clin Psychol. 2011;67: 404-424. Finkelstein E. The Buddhas meditation. Available at: elephant journal.com, Jul 1 2011. Dillbeck MC. Testing the Vedic Psychology of the Bhagavad-Gita. Psychologia. 1983;26:232-240. Dillbeck MC. The concept of self in the Bhagavad-Gita and in the Vedic psychology of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: a further note on testability. Psychologia. 1990;33:50-56.

Vedic Principles of Therapy

EXPLORE January/February 2012, Vol. 8, No. 1

39