As the COVID-19 virus pandemic impacts peoples' lives worldwide, society is shutting down in an effort to contain it. Many were already highly stressed before the viral pandemic; now things are worse. People find themselves isolated at home, anxious and seemingly powerless. We ask: “What can we do in these challenging times to restore sanity to our day-to-day living during this new normal of high collective stress?”
Our answer to Georgia’s current dilemma lies within us rather than outside of us. By going within, one can reduce deep-rooted stress, gaining clarity and happiness. A proven way of utilizing our inner resources is the non-religious Transcendental Meditation (TM) program.
Hundreds of independent research studies on TM have found major increases in calmness, clarity of mind, happiness, creativity, and energy through the practice. This evidence-based approach is highly effective for improving stress-related conditions, brain functioning and orderly thinking, and cardiovascular health.
How Could TM Improve the Stressful Situation in Georgia?
TM can greatly contribute to the reduction of the stress and tension which has been constantly accumulating and increasing in our Georgian population during this pandemic. It is an effective means for managing the pressures of life and work for the highly stressed and at-risk segments of the population, as well as for the general public during these challenging times.
One example of a highly stressed segment of society is war veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Studies in cooperation with the United States Department of Defense have shown that the implementation of the TM technique for rehabilitation of war veterans helps them recover from trauma, deep stress, depression, anxiety, alcohol or drug addictions. The most recent study appeared in November 2018 in the Lancet, one of the most highly respected medical research journals in the world.
Also, the David Lynch Foundation Caucasus (DLF-C), in collaboration with Transcendental Meditation Georgia (TMG), has helped many women who are victims of domestic violence and who suffer from trauma. In a special project called “Women of Vision”, DLF-C offered TM scholarships to women who were at risk and needed psychological help. After three months of practicing TM, all the women in the TM group showed significant improvements in health, energy, stability, and joy of life. They were able to return to a normal routine of living and enjoy more creative activities.
Since violence towards women is quite high in Georgia, likely even higher right now due to people being locked down in close quarters, the DLF-C is working to provide relief not only for these women but also for their families.
The TM technique can be implemented in any rehabilitation program or health care organization. It is easy to learn and significantly enhances all other rehabilitation efforts.
In addition, TM can be included in any educational institution to help improve educational outcomes and teacher burnout. Research shows that TM is beneficial both for teachers and students to help them gain more energy, clarity, and focus; to increase IQ; and to improve academic progress.
TM can be beneficial for any citizen of Georgia, especially during these hard times. Once the lockdown is no longer in effect, most of the population will have an acute need to eliminate their accumulated stress and anxiety and will need inner strength to help them smoothly return to their everyday lives.
How Can This Program be Launched in Georgia?
It is necessary to increase the awareness of our Georgian population and inform everyone about the existence and availability of such a life-transforming technology. We hope to involve our governmental and private sectors to help finance such TM projects, especially for the Georgian at-risk population who are in dire need of social support. The Georgian military as well as our schools would greatly benefit from TM implementation. Anyone who is desirous of living a better life and creating a healthier planet Earth can learn to practice TM. Courses are being organized to begin after the lockdown has been lifted, and in the meantime interested people can participate in daily online meditation sessions here: https://www.facebook.com/DrTonyNader and view videos featuring a variety of types of breathing techniques which will help to produce a calming influence.
Re-evaluate Georgia’s Approach to Societal Issues
As large numbers of people learn Transcendental Meditation, and in particular the advanced TM-Sidhi program, Georgia’s high levels of collective stress would be greatly reduced, which would create a healthier society less likely to succumb to stress-related diseases.* Extensive peer-reviewed scientific research repeatedly confirms that large groups of TM experts meditating in unison twice a day generate a powerful influence of peace, orderliness and calm which affects the surrounding population. This societal calm can be measured by charting the decreases in violence, such as war deaths, terrorism, and crime.
COVID-19 may be an opportunity for Georgia to re-evaluate its approach to societal issues and try something new. Georgia has no time to lose: as the coronavirus impacts its citizens and its economy during this stressful time, Georgia needs to come up with immediate and effective solutions to the high collective stress caused by the pandemic before it is too late.
*There have been many randomized controlled trials on the effects of TM in heart disease and mortality which provide compelling evidence that TM practice provides health benefits in these domains. While there are not yet specific studies related to the effects of TM on viral disease in individuals, it makes sense for scientists and researchers to consider conducting well- controlled studies on TM’s effects on viral diseases in the near future. At this time, the extensive body of TM research does not yet indicate that meditation will makes society immune to the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, we urge all readers to continue to follow their health authorities’ recommendations to avoid getting the virus and spreading it to others.
About the Authors:
Giga George Agladze is a famous Georgian film director, musician and composer. Since 2017 he has been the president of David Lynch Foundation Caucasus.
Arlene Schar has served as Dr. Leffler’s Executive Assistant at the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS) since 2015.
Dr. David Leffler served as an Associate of the Proteus Management Group at the Center for Strategic Leadership, US Army War College. Currently, he serves as the Executive Director at CAMS.