The Hemp Connection + thinking

When the Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi Hit “The Big Tomato”

It was 1975, and my father had a powder blue polyester double-knit “leisure suit,” a weight-loss plan disguised as a plan to single-handedly re-roof our house, and a keen interest in alternative nutrition and well-being. The latter took the form of upside-down eating, in which we had our smallest meal at dinner and our largest meal at breakfast. My friends thought it was very strange that we ate steaks and pork chops for breakfast, along with huge salads.

We were also eating texturized soy protein, roughly ground grains made into coarse earthy breads, spoonfuls of lecithin, mung bean sprouts, and a whole lot of strange things that you could only get out of the bulk food barrels at Elliot’s Natural Foods. We had a copy of “The Whole Earth Catalog” on the coffee table, and there was also a well-worn copy of my dad’s new bible, Adelle Davis’ “Let’s Eat Right to Get Fit.” There was some new thinking going on in this middle-aged straight-laced German guy, and I was curious about it. Extremely curious. I read the books, and ate whatever weird stuff I was supposed to be eating.

Things got even more curious when my father signed the entire family up to learn Transcendental Meditation (TM), which was developed by the Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s. Although it started elsewhere, by the 1970s, it had penetrated as far as “The Big Tomato,” my hometown of Sacramento, California. He went to a couple of introductory lectures, and the next thing we knew, all five of us were learning TM! It sure seemed exotic at the time, but it’s a technique I have practiced off on and on for over three decades. It’s so simple, I find it the easiest place to return to when I’m most stressed.

TM is a mantra-based meditation technique that has been scientifically validated for stress reduction, blood pressure reduction and, most recently management of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress in veterans. The National Institute of Health has spent in excess of $20 million validating the benefits of TM. It increases mental clarity, creativity, and overall health, and decreases stress by decreasing the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. When the sympathetic nervous system’s activity decreases, so do adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol levels. Therefore, it is quite effective for stabilizing mood and even controlling appetite, because your appetite tends to go out of control when you’re feeling stressed.

Technically, it must be taught through an authorized trainer (see, but a great deal of introductory information can be gleaned online. I’ve written previously here about the benefits of meditation, and I’d love to introduce you to this technique.

Simply sit quietly and comfortably. This is essential to all forms of meditation. The mantra would be assigned by your teacher, but you can choose a syllable or sound with no inherent meaning (other forms of meditation might focus on a word with a meaning, such as “love” or “peace.”). The act of focusing on the mantra draws your mind out of its normal state of anxiety, chatter, and activity. If your mind drifts, return your attention to the mantra gently and repeatedly, for a period of 20 minutes per day. Results have been verified with as little as eight weeks of consistent daily practice. Optimally, practicing twice a day for twenty minutes each time is the goal, but benefits can be derived from as little as five minutes a day.

Gretchen Kubacky, Psy.D. is a Health Psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles, California. She specializes in counseling women and couples who are coping with infertility, PCOS, and related endocrine disorders and chronic illnesses. If you would like to learn more about Dr. HOUSE or her practice, or obtain referrals in the Los Angeles area, please visit her website at, or e-mail her at You can also follow her on Twitter @askdrhousemd

Dillbeck M.C. and Orme-Johnson D. W. Physiological differences between Transcendental Meditation and rest. American Psychologist 42:879–881, 1987.
Jevning R., et al. The physiology of meditation: a review. A wakeful hypometabolic integrated response. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 16(3):415-24, 1992.
Orme-Johnson D.W. and Walton K. W. All approaches of preventing or reversing effects of stress are not the same. American Journal of Health Promotion 12:297-299, 1998.

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When the Mahareshi Mahesh Yogi Hit “The Big Tomato” + thinking