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BOOK REVIEW: "Strength in Stillness" by Bob Roth

Simon & Schuster
Author Bob Roth is the CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, which brings TM to at-risk communities.
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Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation by Bob Roth (Simon & Schuster) 2018

Having been interested in Transcendental Meditation for years, I finally tracked down a TM teacher here in Oklahoma City and learned this technique, brought to the West in the late 1950’s by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian native and the 20th century’s foremost scientist of consciousness and meditation.

Nearly six years ago I reviewed Dr. Norman Rosenthal’s book on TM – Transcendence – and learned how this technique, many thousands of years old, can bring about healing, transformation and, of course, transcendence.

I learned a lot, but did not learn TM until just recently. And thankfully I did, because while it took a little while, I began to notice that the day-to-day stress that would take hold from time-to-time just didn’t have the grip on me that it once did. Yes, I admit to being skeptical at first. And it was not until the end of the first two months of doing TM for 20 minutes, twice a day, that I began to really notice a difference.

My overall well-being had improved. It was really quite remarkable and I consider TM to be a true gift to humanity, thanks to the efforts of Maharishi and his guru, Guru Dev, who modernized the technique for the rest of the world in the mid-20th century.

And so when The Beatles embraced TM in 1967, eventually traveling to Rishikesh, India, the four lads from Liverpool spoke highly of the technique and all continued to practice it throughout their lifetimes. Needless to say, the Maharishi and TM caught the imagination of a generation – and still does.

TM was one of the many fascinating things to come out of the West’s countercultural interest in all things Eastern. And while he was skeptical at first, Bob Roth would come to embrace TM by the early 1970's, when the technique was rapidly spreading through the youth culture. Roth was amongst them and took it to heart, appreciating the fact that it was exceedingly useful while free of gimmickry, mystical verbiage and obscure theories.

Plus, in the 45 years that Roth has practiced TM, he sees a rapidly-growing need for everyday folks, people in low-income communities, prisons and so forth (those latter groups assisted in the use of TM to better their lives). 

AS Roth says, he understands people don't want to pay the nearly $1,000 cost to learn the technique but explains that the money is used to pay for the teachers, the course and so forth. And if you can't afford it, there are those who are willing to help cover the cost, the author notes.

Also, Roth writes that with stress being so commonplace in our society, even with those of young age, meditating is good sense for better life, improved health and productivity at work. Also, Roth says, "(a)s this growth continues naturally over time, you will develop expanded mental faculties that Maharishi and the ancient meditation texts calls 'cosmic consciousness.'"

Plus, as film director David Lynch (Mulholland Dr, Twin Peaks, etc.), whom the David Lynch Foundation is named after, has said, diving into TM freed him of the "suffocating rubber clown suit of negativity" and the controlling anger that affects so many people. The anger only prevents the ideas from coming in, or "catching the big fish." Having meditated for a while now, I have to say that Lynch is correct. Ideas do flow far more easily when one embraces TM.

And for those who say they can't make the time, twice a day, to do TM, Roth says it can be done. Roth gives the example of a busy mom who said she just could not make the time. But when she did make time for it, her whole being improved. It got to where her children demanded she meditate twice daily. It was having a positive impact.

Roth's book is another important tome addressing this deeply analyzed and studied meditation technique that is utilized by individuals around the world. I'm glad I found it. I view it as a gift I will have for the rest of my life. That gives me a lot of comfort.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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