The Beatles visit to India in 1968 to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought the world’s attention to the Transcendental Meditation technique. This recent article in Great Britain’s newspaper, The Telegraph is a look at how the Fab Four were indeed ahead of their time.
Below are excerpts from science correspondent, Richard Gray’s June 11th article in The Telegraph.
It may have seemed simply a phase in pop history, but it seems the Beatles may have been on to something after all during their fabled journey to India.
Transcendental Meditation became synonymous with hippy culture in the 1960s after The Beatles embraced it following a visit to India where they were taught the technique by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi .
Now a growing body of research is suggesting it can have a positive effect on people’s lives.
Recent studies have shown that it can be used to treat high blood pressure and help people overcome psychological problems. The latest research found that US school pupils who performed the meditation technique had higher graduation rates than those who did not. Researchers found that Transcendental Meditation increased the number of students graduating by 15 per cent while among those with the lowest academic grades, a further 25 per cent graduated compared to those not meditating.
Professor Robert Colbert, from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, said: “Transcendental Meditation appears to hold tremendous promise for enriching the lives of students.” He added that the meditation technique was a viable method for turning around “poor student academic performance and low graduation rates.”
The Beatles’ time with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, at his teaching centre in the foothills of the Himalayas in 1968, produced some of the most famous images of the Fab Four, dressed in white and draped in flower garlands. It was also one of their most productive periods musically, with Lennon declaring that between them they wrote around 30 new songs during their visit to Rishikesh.
The tracks, which ended up on The Beatles, also known as the White Album, and Abbey Road, include Back in the USSR, Blackbird, Revolution and Mean Mr. Mustard.
In an interview conducted in 2009, Paul McCartney and drummer Ringo Starr spoke candidly about how the meditation technique helped them.
“Since then, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, I have meditated. It is a gift he [the Maharishi] gave me.”
“It wasn’t all about meditation, it’s just you were focused – but yeah, there were very blissful moments. It is one of the few things anyone has ever given to me that means so much to me. For us, it came at a time when we were looking for something to stabilize us at the end of the crazy sixties.”
McCartney has also in the past called for Transcendental Meditation to be used in schools. He said:
“I believe that in the future meditation could be as commonplace in schools and society as eco-awareness is now. It interests me that an ancient cure may be the solution to a modern problem.”
The new research (on TM), which involved 235 students in their senior year at an urban school on the US east coast, was funded by the David Lynch Foundation.
To read The Telegraph’s article in its entirety, click here.
You can view an interview with Paul McCartney where he talks about how he started Transcendental Meditation and what he feels about the current upsurge on interest in TM, by clicking on the video link below.