World Journal of Social Science publishes study showing that group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi techniques by √1% of the U.S. population decreased multiple stress indicators in the U.S.. Scientists call for a group to create world peace.

Occasionally in my career I have had the good fortune to make discoveries that show something that is utterly abstract look completely obvious. This study was one of those times. What could be more abstract than the idea that people meditating together radiate an influence of coherence throughout the collective consciousness of a large country like the United States, which reduced the numbers of murders, rapes, robberies, aggravated assaults, infant mortalities, vehicle fatalities, drug deaths, and children and adolescents dying from injuries? Who would ever believe it? Yet, this is exactly what this study shows.

Group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi techniques, including Yogic Flying, in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa. We have been meditating together every morning and afternoon since 1979 for the purpose of creating coherence in the collective consciousness of the United States and world and we have been studying its effects on reducing stress and improving the quality of life.

Figure 1 displays the number of people meditating together in the MIU community from 2000 to 2016. The horizontal green line indicates 1725 participants, the square root of 1% (√1%) of the US population, the group size needed to engage the entire US population at a higher level of coherence. 

Chart, line chart

Description automatically generated

Figure 1 defines the Baseline, Demonstration period, and Post period for the present study. During the Baseline there were around 600 participants in the group until 2006, when MIU undertook a major project to increase the number of participants in the domes, at which point the group quickly increased to reach the target goal of 1725 participants in 2007, the square root of 1% (√1%) of the US population calculated to create coherence for the U.S. as a whole. This rapid increase in the size of the group was stimulated by a special initiative called the Invincible America Assembly, which provided stipends for the participants and paid for 1000 TM and TM-Sidhi experts to come from India to join the group.

The program successfully maintained the group at the U.S. √1% threshold for five years, from 2007 to 2011, the Demonstration period. Then, despite all efforts to maintain the group, funding was lost, and the size of the group decreased, particularly in 2013 to 2014, when the TM-Sidhi experts returned to India and the numbers fell precipitously. 

Figure 2 presents a remarkable image of what happened.  As in Figure 1, the blue line shows the size of the MIU group. The different colors in the chart represent the eight stress indicators from FBI and CDC statistics for the U.S., as well as the U.S. Stress Index (the red line), the average of all eight variables.

Chart, line chart

Description automatically generated

We expected all stress indicators to decrease during the Demonstration period because previous research by Michael Dillbeck, PhD and Ken Cavanaugh, PhD had shown that it reduced violent crimedrug-related deaths, fatal accidents, and murder. We also found for murder and homicides that the effect was reversed when the group size decreased. 

Yet, the simultaneous reduction of all variables shown in Figure 2 and their reversal when the group size fell was astonishing. As soon as the size of the group crossed the √1% threshold in 2007, and not before, all stress indicators simultaneously began decreasing compared to the Baseline when they were not changing much. The one exception was drug-related deaths (the brown line), which was increasing steeply during the Baseline and leveled off during the Demonstration, indicating an abrupt reduction in the rise of drug deaths in the U.S.

When the size of the group began to decrease in 2012, everything went south again, the effect was reversed. At first the rate of decline of national stress only slowed. But then, in 2013, when the 1000 Indian TM-Sidhi experts had to return to India and the size of the group dropped precipitously, it created a shock to U.S. national consciousness. At that point, all stress indicators suddenly began rising towards their Baseline values. What we see in this is that some of the influence of the coherence-creating group lasted for a while after the group began to disband. We have seen this before in previous research, depending on how long the group was in place. The more coherence that is created, the longer it lasts, even when the group size falls below the √1% threshold. 

The rapid decrease in national stress only after the √1% threshold was reached supports a phase transition model. Like water that does not crystallize to ice until 0 degrees C is reached, life in society did not become systemically more coherent until the √1% of the U.S. population collectively engaged in this technology.

Magnitude of Suffering in the U.S.

We calculated the level of suffering in the U.S. during the Baseline, and it is staggering. According to FBI and CDC statistics, each year from 2000 to 2006 there were an average 15,440 murders, 93,438 rapes, 879,281 aggravated assaults, 419,253 robberies, 28,081 infant mortalities, 16,338 drug-related deaths, 42,201 vehicle fatalities, and 86,348 children and adolescents died from accidents. Each year!

We used regression analysis to estimate how many deaths and events were reduced by the meditator group. Figure 3 shows an example for drug-related deaths. The red dotted line represents the Baseline trend projected into the Demonstration and Post periods. This clearly shows that during the Demonstration period drug-related deaths (the black line) fell to 14% below their Baseline trend and were another 15 % lower during the Post period, for a total of 79,941 fewer drug deaths than predicted by the increasing trend that was occurring during the baseline. Sadly, during the Post period, when the size of the TM and TM-Sidhi group decreased, drug deaths increased. By the end of the Post period, they had returned to their Baseline level.

Chart, line chart

Description automatically generated

Similar analyses were conducted for all variables, which estimated that the MIU group averted 28,553 murders, 53,356 rapes, 948,623 aggravated assaults, 485,170 robberies, 31,730 infant mortalities, 79,941 drug deaths, and 59,885 vehicle fatalities. That is an incredible amount of suffering averted!

We used state-of-the-art methods of time series regression analysis for eliminating potential alternative explanations due to intrinsic pre-existing trends and fluctuations in the data. We also carefully studied potential alternative explanations in terms of changes in economic conditions, political leadership, population demographics, and policing strategies. None of these factors could account for the results.

Increase Individual Coherence to Increase Collective Coherence

How can we begin to understand this remarkable phenomenon? Maharishi maintains society is governed by its collective consciousness, an abstract field that is the summation of all the influences of stress or coherence of the individual members of society. Whatever the type of government—democracy, monarchy, socialism, oligarchy, communism, or even anarchy—every individual in the population contributes to national consciousness and, reciprocally, national consciousness influences everyone. It is a universal theory of social organization that is true for all forms of government. Because the individual is the unit of collective consciousness, the key to reducing stress and improving the quality of life in any society is to provide evidence-based educational programs to the population that increase coherence in the individual. 

As a scientist I asked myself, how would I operationally define the concept of “individual coherence?” What does it mean actually? How would one measure it? Coherence means the quality of forming a unified whole. A coherent system is one in which the parts of a system function together harmoniously to support the whole and the whole supports the parts. 

When I began to think about it, I realized that we had already operationalized the concept of individual coherence in the 650 studies showing that practice of the TM technique improves virtually all aspects of the individual’s physiological functioning, cognition, and social behavior. For example, TM increases EEG coherence, which is correlated with creativity, intelligence and higher states of consciousness. It increases creativity and intelligence, reduces anxiety, and decreases hospitalization rates in all categories of disease and age groups. It reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease, is the most effective means for rehabilitating incarcerated felons and for alcohol, drug and tobacco rehabilitation. These are just a few examples of how TM increases coherence in the individual as the basis for increasing coherence and collective consciousness. 

These holistic effects on the individual support the theory that TM’s effects are from the unified field.

Consciousness is All that There Is: The Unified Field

The finding of the present study, that group meditation causes all variables to move up and down together, supports the theory expressed by both Maharishi from the Vedic perspective and by Dr. John Hagelin from quantum field theory, that the TM and TM-Sidhi groups create coherence in collective consciousness from the unified field level of natural law. This is big. It is evidence from more than 50 studies of the existence of the unified field from a completely different approach than using particle accelerators and detecting gravity waves. If the unified field is a field of consciousness, then it makes sense that evidence for its existence would come from within consciousness itself. Many contemporary philosophers and scientists are proposing that recent knowledge supports the view that consciousness is all that there is, as has been so brilliantly expressed by Tony Nader MD, PhD

How do the TM and TM-Sidhi techniques create the effect? By way of explanation, Maharishi has offered the analogy that consciousness is like the ocean. The waves on the surface represent our individual thoughts and behavior. We each have our own individual local reality, but we are influenced by the activities of all the other waves around us. More fundamentally, at the deepest level of the mind is transcendental consciousness, silent, nonmoving, infinite pure consciousness, the Self of all beings, the essence of all things. On that level we are infinite, unbounded, nonchanging, ever the same. It would not be accurate to say that we are all connected in the transcendent because connected implies differences. On that level we are the One, Singularity, Being, Self, Atman, Tao, and the many other beautiful expressions for pure consciousness that have appeared throughout world history, the Supreme Awakening. When we transcend to that unified level of natural law through effective technologies, such as the TM and TM-Sidhi techniques, it enlivens the infinite organizing power of the unified field in our lives and from us radiates into collective consciousness. Enlivens simply means to bring to awareness. When we become aware of something, it modifies the structure and functioning of the nervous system and influences us and all we are connected to. Our paper reviews these ancient and contemporary theories of field effects of consciousness. Although all theories state that we directly influence each other at a distance, no other theory has the practical applications as Maharishi’s has and none have been so extensively empirically verified, as we review in this paper.

Greatest Discovery in the History of Science 

The greatest scientific discoveries of all times are often listed as the wheel, electricity, the printing press, the internal combustion engine, the radio, telephone, internet, satellites, atomic energy, and the unraveling of the genetic code. These momentous discoveries have greatly expanded human knowledge and capabilities. But none have the potential to reduce human suffering as quickly and comprehensively as group meditation has been shown to do. This is the most important study on collective meditation to date because it is the longest term and most comprehensive demonstration of the effect. 

Cost Benefit

The Howard and Alice Settle Foundation funded the project for $75 million in a grant providing stipends for project participants and to bring and house the 1000 visiting TM-Sidhi experts from India to America. Howard Settle commented that whereas $75 million sounds like a lot of money, it is miniscule when compared to the benefits derived by society. For instance, this study indicates that 395,027 lives were saved during the five years of the program, which means that each life was saved at a cost of a mere $190 per life. In addition, an estimated 1,487,698 violent crimes were averted at a cost of $50 per crime. The total economic benefit to the US from this program (estimated to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars) will be the subject of a future research project. But by any measure, this study demonstrates the cost effectiveness of using these technologies to improve the quality of life in any society and emphasizes the importance of having these programs in place on a permanent basis. Mr. Settle is currently working to develop permanent groups at MIU and around the world.

Groups for the World: No One is Safe Until Everyone is Safe

Our paper concludes with a call to create a permanent √1% group for the whole world, 9,000 participants practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi program together in one place. And as an engineering safety factor, a √1% group on every continent would be most effective and reliable. The world is so interconnected, no one is safe until everyone is safe, all living in harmony. This is easily within reach of any government or the world’s wealthiest citizens. The person who does it will be remembered as the greatest leader in history.

Study: Field-Effects of Consciousness: A Seventeen-Year Study of the Effects of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programs on Reducing National Stress in the United States


  • David W. Orme-Johnson, PhD

    Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Maharishi International University

    Dr. Orme Johnson is one of the first and most prolific researchers on the Transcendental Meditation technique, with over 100 scientific papers in the field. In 1973, he was the first researcher to provide scientific evidence that meditation improves how we react physiologically to stress and is beneficial for rehabilitating prison inmates. He led the team that discovered the EEG signature of creativity, Transcendental Consciousness and Cosmic Consciousness. His studies of health insurance statistics found that TM reduces hospitalization in all categories of disease by 50% and slows biological aging. His studies with colleagues on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation and TM- Sidhi techniques on the larger society have found that they improve the quality of life and decrease international conflicts and terrorism.   For a complete listing of Dr. Orme-Johnson’s employment, education, invited positions, service, and works see: ORCID ID: