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Old June 27th, 2014, 14:43   #1 (permalink)
DanielKotzer (Offline)
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Default What is the difference between TM and Vipassana?

I hear there are many types of meditation techniques
But I don't really see much difference between them. They all come with the same basic idea: you have to pick an object to observe or listen to or feal for, and while you are doing the observation, you need to ignore the thought. the only difference I can see is in the object of observation. it can be a mantra or the breath, or body sensations, or thought itself. So what is really the difference between lets say, TM and Vipassana meditation?
 
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Old June 27th, 2014, 16:12   #2 (permalink)
GilesC (Offline)
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As you say the underlying principles of many types of meditation are the same, and often it's just a matter of preference for people as to which one they use.

TM Meditation is essentially the same as the mantra meditation offered for free on this site as the "Discover Meditation" CD's, though with TM, they teach it with more ceremony and "secrecy", which is essentially unnecesssary. Vipassana, though I've not done this specific technique myself, seems to me to be more about not just meditation, but also about self awareness practices. How they actually teach that and practice it I'm not sure.

The way I tend to view meditation styles is that they all fit into 2 main categories, one of which itself has 2 sub categories...
The two main categories are "Subjective Meditation" and "Objective Meditation", with "Objective" having the two subcategories of "Focused" and "Unfocused".

Subjective Meditation is the styles of meditation where we meditate to observe the meditation, and often use it to seek answers, typically through a 'guided' meditation technique, where we observe and follow the thoughts. Sometimes the meditation is simply following the guide (a person or recording) and observing the experience as it is described to use; Other times the meditation is begun by stating a purpose or asking a question, and then following the minds thoughts to seek the answers/enlightenment to that. This style of meditation is not what I would class as a 'deep' meditation, as it maintains awareness/focus on the thoughts at that high level, preventing access to deeper states of awareness.

Objective Meditation that is focused is those such as focusing on the breath, or a candle flame etc. This allows the awareness to be brought to a singular point, allowing the thoughts to arise and pass without becoming attached to them. For some, this type of meditation can be tricky as the focus often takes on the form of using the mind, sometimes causing the meditator to try and control the focus e.g. not allowing the breath to happen naturally (speeding up, slowing down, going shallow or deep etc.) but instead trying to make it take on a regular and consistent pattern; thus the mind is interfering with the meditation and people can struggle to get to a deep state of awareness this way.

Objective Meditation that is unfocused is the style of meditation based on a mantra. The mantra is not physically observed, but is allowed to be repeated as it requires (slow, fast, loud, quietly etc.) in the mind without any need to control it. This is actually easier than the focused meditations, though without good instruction/teaching in the first instance, many make the mistake of trying to regulate the mantra with their breathing to get a steady rythm going, and hence start to control their breath at the same time, so really they are doing a focused breathing meditation (and often not well). When the mantra is allowed to flow without control, it becomes simply observed by our self awareness and we detach from the thoughts, even detaching from the mantra as it does it's job of leading us to the deeper state of awareness, to the point that we simply become awareness itself (often referred to by being "At One" or simply "to BE" etc.)

Yes, deep states can be reached through the Objective Focused meditation but it can be more tricky from my experience and from what I have observed of others practicing such techniques. (I have tried many different techniques myself)

Hugs

Giles
 
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Old June 29th, 2014, 01:27   #3 (permalink)
DanielKotzer (Offline)
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If I've understood you correctly, you are saying that the mantra meditation (TM), if done correctly, is the easiest way to go into deep state of awareness. But it is not so easily done correctly. If you repeat the mantra, at the rhythm of the breath, you are in fact doing breathing meditation, not mantra meditation, and you don't do it properly, because you control the breath, so you use the mind.

That is strange because in some classes of meditations they teach you to do just that - say the mantra with the inhalation and exhalation of the breath.

How long are you meditating?
Did you get an out of body experience?
 
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Old June 29th, 2014, 13:31   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Daniel and welcome to the community

Here's a piece from the Principles of Meditation and Entrainment that has helped many here:-

"All techniques whether mantra, focus on the breath, contemplation of a koan, or any other, are simply the vehicles we use to take us into (hopefully) a meditative state. Put another way, the purpose of repeating a mantra is not to get proficient at repeating a mantra. The purpose is to take us to a meditative state where the mantra slips away and is no longer necessary"

To read more please click on the following link:-

Principles of Meditation & Entrainment

Here's what Dan O'Leary posted on Facebook:-

Dan O'Leary

"For nearly. 20 years I had not been successful at meditation. In spite of the best efforts of friends, for some reason I just didn't seem to get it. For all intents and purposes I had given up. But Project Meditation taught me how. Anyone can learn and it is FREE!"

You can download Discover Meditation for free from the top left of the community. You can also get the LifeFlow demo if you want to speed up the process. I too had tried to meditate for years using a variety of methods."

I began with Discover Meditation and LifeFlow around 7 years ago and the difference in my life is truly phenominal.

Here's another piece from the community you may find really helpful with regards to rigid active mantra techniques and passive mantra techniques:-

"In a rigid mantra technique you're taught to say (either out loud or mentally) your mantra, over and over and over. And if you find at any time you've gotten off the mantra you pull yourself back and start saying it again, etc. In this type of technique, anything but the active recitation of the mantra is considered off limits. Now, that's fine, and that works for many people, however, it does have some drawbacks. First, repeating the mantra is an active thought process which automatically means you're engaging in a form of thought. This is considered acceptable because, while it is thought, it is limited thought. If your attention is tightly focused on the mantra it is not being distracted by those million-and-one other things it could be focusing on. So you're substituting one thought for many thoughts, and that is a step in the right direction of finding mental quiet.

Michael's technique employs a similar strategy. But in active mantra techniques, such as you've used previously, most people make the mistake of thinking that the recitation of a mantra is meditation. It isn't. It's a technique designed to get you into a state of meditation, and in the state of meditation you are no longer repeating any mantra. The meditative state is quiet and largely devoid of active thinking of any sort and that means no mantra, either. The big drawback to using any active mantra meditation technique is that you've been so conditioned to "return to my mantra" whenever you find it is no longer present, that when you do begin to experience a bit of meditative silence you interpret that as "loss of mantra", which is the great taboo, and you push yourself back into repeating the mantra, thus defeating the whole purpose of using a mantra in the first place. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that instructions on how to perform these types of meditation techniques either gloss over the need to release the mantra entirely once a state of meditation has been achieved, or they omit it entirely. This is particularly true if you have learned the technique from a book. When you receive personal instruction you're more likely to get the full picture, but even that is not always the case.

This is a huge drawback to the active mantra techniques. The other problem is that because of the instruction to always return to your mantra and to keep that mantra going at all costs, they tend to require a tremendous amount of energy to practice. There is often a lot of strain and effort involved in holding so tightly to the mantra, and strain and effort at those levels of intensity work against you ever getting to a state of quiet and relaxation in anything but the most superficial sense. Certainly there are people who make this sort of technique work, but for the vast majority of people a rigid mantra technique will bring up at least as many problems as it seeks to solve.

On the other hand, passive mantra techniques, such as the one Michael teaches, do not require a rigid repetition of a mantra. A mantra is repeated, but in a different way than the active techniques. By way of analogy, in an active technique you are "saying" the mantra. In a passive technique it is more like "listening" for the mantra to repeat itself in your head. I've used this example before, but think of being somewhere out in nature, perhaps in a large box canyon or on the shore of a lake which is surrounded entirely by forest. You shout out, "Hellooooo.....!", and then you go silent and listen. You will hear your shout return to you in short order as an echo. And it will repeat again, and again, each time becoming more faint and indistinct.

In Michael's technique you are focusing your attention on hearing that echo for as long as possible. In an active mantra technique you simply keep shouting the word "Hello" over and over. Do you see the difference?

That is why Michael's instructions tell you that your mantra will fade sometimes, get louder sometimes, perhaps even disappear for a bit leaving you in silence. It does all these things because you are not actively shouting it, you're passively listening for it, so to speak. It does what it will and you are merely along to notice it as an observer.

To be sure, it is possible you may occasionally get lost in thoughts and have to actively repeat your mantra a couple of times to clear out all those other thoughts. But having done that, you return back into listening mode and passively follow the mantra. You don't keep actively repeating it.

Moments of silence are not times to try to get the mantra going again. Those moments, at the instant you first notice them, are the edges of the meditative state arising. Relax and allow yourself to slip into that state and remain there for as long as it chooses to remain. Should you suddenly discover that thoughts have intruded into this silence, it's often effective rather than immediately jumping to repeat your mantra, if you simply start listening intently to see if that mantra is still there somewhere, perhaps faintly repeating itself in the background and waiting for you to notice it again. This is preferable to an active repetition. But if all else fails, go ahead and give it a repitition or two just to get the ball rolling again, and then go back into passive mode."

Project Meditation also have EnlightenQ (a very sophisticated and powerful meditation technique that provides immediate and ongoing feedback) You will know (unlike with various other meditation techniques) if you are doing it right. The individual feeling/sensation, and the ability to both generate it and recognize it, becomes a constant mechanism for feedback.
I don't think EnlightenQ is available at the present moment but anyone particularly interested could contact the support staff at Project Meditation.

The Q Technique is devised with a brief, high-intensity phase, followed by the “recovery period” built right into the method. This recovery period actively encourages the meditative state to appear; in fact makes it almost an inescapable outcome, and then the technique requires you to drop all technique and just be in the meditative state.

EnlightenQ is a very effective meditation technique particularly useful for those who struggle with other traditional meditation techniques. The tools of EnlightenQ help you intentionally cultivate moments of transcendent awareness, and over time and repeated exposure to them, you become more and more proficient in bringing these moments back with you into your normal life. EnlightenQ works really well on it's own or you can speed up the process with the LifeFlow entrainment tracks.

Please let us know if this helps and I wish you much peace and joy
 
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Old June 29th, 2014, 15:01   #5 (permalink)
DanielKotzer (Offline)
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This was very helpful for me. It is always those small details you miss, that make you fail, and the 2 replays I got here, filled me in, on many of those small details and nuances which make all the difference.

Thank you very much.
 
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Old June 30th, 2014, 10:53   #6 (permalink)
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I read the post "Principles of Meditation & Entrainment" and at the end it says: "Whenever we become very relaxed and the usual chatter of the mind slows down a little bit, if we remain aware and do not slip into sleep or unconsciousness, we begin to perceive things that we had not noticed before" and this is summarized in principle 18: "Principle #18: Mental/physical noise blocks perception of feelings and sensations that were always there."

I believe this is the main thing that happens in meditation you move your awareness from the level of thought to the level of sensation, and once you are in the level of sensation, you seek to attach yourself to the more subtle sensations, which originate from the soul, leaving the gross sensations that originate from the body.

The sensations that originate from the soul are sensations of happiness, and they are also a form of seeing they are a gateway to the absolute truth. As opposed to thought, which also lead you to the truth, but by using criticism to distinguishing between true and false, 'seeing of the heart' leads you to the truth, by developing your sensitivity, and your ability to empathize with your surroundings, basically 'seeing of the heart' is empathy. When you meditate you gain a sense of empathy, and you start knowing everything out of loving everything.

Now the question is: how can this be accomplished?

I think the general idea of all meditations are to quiet all mental/physical activity, and then the attention is dragged naturally to the inner sensations. This is not the unique part of TM, as some say.

The hard part is to quiet the mental activity. How do you stop yourself from thinking? Thoughts about the past and about the future, tend to spoil our happiness sensation in the present. What can one do to stop thoughts from spoiling his happiness, at least for 10 minutes, so he can rejuvenate himself?

Some people escape their thoughts by being over active, but you can't constantly escape your thoughts like a rabbit from the hunter, it's exhausting and eventually you will get caught. Also, It doesn't give you the rejuvenating quiet, it only increases the noise.

The second approach is to put the thought into a cage. What is the cage of thought? The senses are the cage of thought. You can't listen while you are absorbed in your thoughts, and the other way around is also true: you can't think while you listen, or active on any of the other 5 senses level. This is the approach of the 'focusing meditations'. You observe the sound or sensation of your breath, or you gaze at a candle, or you listen to sounds, and while doing so, if a thought arises, you cut the thoughts out of your awareness. This approach gives you quiet, but you have to struggle with your thought until it settles down. After a while thought will uprise again and you need to suppress it again. This method does work but it's not an easy way.

The Mantra meditation (TM) is not cutting the thought completely. It gives the mind a very quiet thinking activity to engage with. This activity is occupying the mind, preventing very noise thoughts from going in, and is quiet enough not to disturbed your attention from being dragged inwards. This is more or less making peace with your thought. Instead of fighting it you give it a small share, to keep it satisfied.
 
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Old June 30th, 2014, 16:22   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DanielKotzer View Post
If I've understood you correctly, you are saying that the mantra meditation (TM), if done correctly, is the easiest way to go into deep state of awareness. But it is not so easily done correctly. If you repeat the mantra, at the rhythm of the breath, you are in fact doing breathing meditation, not mantra meditation, and you don't do it properly, because you control the breath, so you use the mind.

That is strange because in some classes of meditations they teach you to do just that - say the mantra with the inhalation and exhalation of the breath.

How long are you meditating?
Did you get an out of body experience?
When they teach to use the mantra on the inhalation and exhalation of the breath, this does not mean that the breath should be controlled, but rather to allow the "sound" of the mantra to follow with the natural breath. Again, it depends on how well this is explained in the teaching; or it could be that that style of meditation is simply providing a double-focus for the student... not just focusing on the physical breath, but also sounding the mantra in the mind to help keep the minds focus away from arising thoughts.

How long have I been meditating... or how long do I meditate for each time? To answer both, I've been meditating for over 10 years, and when I meditate it's for at least 20 minutes (often 40 minutes) twice a day.

Out of Body Experience... well, that depends what you mean by that exactly. The normal meaning of an OBE is to find yourself aware of being in a specific place that is "somewhere else" from where you started your meditation. Whilst I've experienced OBE's before, that's not something I correlate with meditation. For meditation the state we reach is not easy to put into words. It's like a state of complete awareness of everything all at the same time, not just limited to this planet, whilst at the same time being in a state of complete bliss; however these are just descriptive words and cannot describe it fully, it's something you know when you become it.
 
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Old June 30th, 2014, 16:40   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DanielKotzer View Post
Now the question is: how can this be accomplished?

I think the general idea of all meditations are to quiet all mental/physical activity, and then the attention is dragged naturally to the inner sensations. This is not the unique part of TM, as some say.

The hard part is to quiet the mental activity. How do you stop yourself from thinking?
You don't.
The thoughts are a process of the mind, and you cannot rid yourself of the mind; it's a part of the whole; so thoughts will always flow. The point of meditation is not to qieten the mind, but to avoid attachment to those thoughts as they flow, so perhaps it's better phrased as "quietening the attachment to thoughts".

Thoughts about the past and about the future, tend to spoil our happiness sensation in the present. What can one do to stop thoughts from spoiling his happiness, at least for 10 minutes, so he can rejuvenate himself?
Practice meditation and practice awareness. People such as Eckhart Tolle have written things about 'living in the Now', just as there are courses on self awareness (I spent several years studying on a course of "Practical Philosophy" which was based on Advaita Vedanta and the practices of self awareness and living in the present moment). It takes practice and dedication; but does become easier with time, just as many things do that we continue to practice.

Some people escape their thoughts by being over active, but you can't constantly escape your thoughts like a rabbit from the hunter, it's exhausting and eventually you will get caught. Also, It doesn't give you the rejuvenating quiet, it only increases the noise.
Well, they delude themselves into believing they're escaping their thoughts, but all they are doing is redirecting their attention to something else, and often in the process re-enforcing their belief that the thoughts they want to be rid of are something bad, which just makes them come back and feel worse. Kind of like a self deprecating spiral.

The second approach is to put the thought into a cage. What is the cage of thought? The senses are the cage of thought. You can't listen while you are absorbed in your thoughts, and the other way around is also true: you can't think while you listen, or active on any of the other 5 senses level. This is the approach of the 'focusing meditations'. You observe the sound or sensation of your breath, or you gaze at a candle, or you listen to sounds, and while doing so, if a thought arises, you cut the thoughts out of your awareness. This approach gives you quiet, but you have to struggle with your thought until it settles down. After a while thought will uprise again and you need to suppress it again. This method does work but it's not an easy way.
Agreed.

The Mantra meditation (TM) is not cutting the thought completely. It gives the mind a very quiet thinking activity to engage with. This activity is occupying the mind, preventing very noise thoughts from going in, and is quiet enough not to disturbed your attention from being dragged inwards. This is more or less making peace with your thought. Instead of fighting it you give it a small share, to keep it satisfied.
Mantra Meditation is not just TM. It's also what is provided free on this site, and is also taught by many others. TM is just the well-known version, because of it's marketing and because it's what The Beatles practiced. For example, the London School of Meditation was established some years before the TM organisation, but also teaches meditation in the same way, with the techniques and ceremony brought across from the Indian teachers. That school of meditation was even approached by the Maharishi who wished to turn it into his TM organisation, but they refused on the basis that they did not agree with the prinicples of control etc. he wished to impose, so he went away and set up his own organisation instead. Before you think I'm biased towards that school of meditation, it's not where I learnt meditation myself, I learnt mantra meditation from an independant teacher who taught without the ceremony; these are just what I have learnt about the various teachings. (other meditation techniques I have learnt elsewhere)

Mantra meditation simply assists us in not becoming attached to the thoughts as they flow, and gives us an anchor point to come back to if we become aware that we have become attached.

Hugs

Giles
 
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Old July 1st, 2014, 09:44   #9 (permalink)
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I saw many videos on YouTube about TM. People describe TM as a method of meditation, which gives you more result for less effort. I personally tend to believe that there is something unique about this method, so I was trying to look for something unique about it. After listening to many speeches of Maharishi, trying hard to figure out what he means, I came up with my idea, of what is special about TM.

You describe Tm as just another type of mantra meditation, and you describe Mantra meditation as "an anchor point to come back to if we become aware that we have become attached (to thought)." If you are right, then it's just another form of 'focusing meditations', and I personally was convinced that there is something special about it. I don't encourage people to pay hundreds of dollars to learn it (I didn't do it, at least not for the time being), but I was just trying to figure it out.
 
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Old July 1st, 2014, 16:13   #10 (permalink)
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It's not a focusing meditation as the intention is not to focus on the mantra, but to let the mantra flow and simply observe/be aware of it. The difference can seem subtle, but there is a difference.

The main thing with TM, is that it's portrayed/marketed as being unique/special, but in fact it's not. If you went to learn meditation at the London School of Meditation, and also with the TM organisation, you'd find the method of teaching, and indeed the ceremony used, are pretty much identical, even to the point that they will tell you the mantra is personal to you and that you should not tell anyone else what it is (which is not the case, they have a selection of mantra they use). I've spoken with various people, some who've learnt TM and some who've learnt at other places; and not only have they confirmed the same teaching methods, but I was able to tell them what their 'personal' mantra was, which suprised them, but also enlightened them. TM uses the idea that the technique and mantra contains 'secrets' to intrigue people into thinking it must be special and different from others; but meditation isn't about secrets, and the ceremony used by these organisations is not something that is required for meditation, it's just more dressing around the whole thing to make it seem as though you're getting more from it.

Now, it may sound as though I'm against TM and suchlike, but I'm not (there are plenty of people out there who are though!). There are plenty of people who learn meditation through them, or other similar places, and are happy with their meditation, so that's great. In practice the meditation itself is what matters, and it works. I simply disagree with the misleading belief of there being a 'secrecy' to it, or that students don't have it explained to them what the ceremony is about (I'm told, if they ask, they are told that it's not relevant as it's for the teachers benefit, they are just asked to go along with it). My own teacher of mantra meditation taught it without any ceremony, and only charged a small amount to learn it, enough to cover his time and expenses (he provided a buffet lunch for all of us learning). Likewise though, he told us that our mantra was personal and secret, yet I know this is not the case as it too (and I confirmed with other attendees) is the same as those used by TM.

Meditation isn't something that is 'magic', regardless of how it's taught. Any idea that any specific meditation teaching has something 'special' about it usually comes about through the way it has been marketed or portrayed. Meditation is something that should be freely shared in my opinion (cost of time/materials accepted), so the fact that Michael offers free downloadable CD's on this website is great, though you don't get the personal tuition side of it to check you're ok and answer any questions (though these forums are a good place to get such support).

In fairness to TM and other schools they typically do offer teaching for free for people who really can't afford to pay, or they ask you to pay a percentage of your wage, or percentage of your 'spare' money after you account for normal living expenses etc. so they are typically open to anybody to learn if they really want to.

Not only have people like the Beatles made TM famous, but also people like David Lynch (the film director and Twin Peaks creator) who learnt TM and has gone on to set up his own meditation foundation to try and get meditation included in more schools, following the benefits he's found it gives to students in their learning etc. So, there has been some benefits to come out of the TM organisation, even if we account for all the negative aspects that have been reported about it and the Maharishi.

Hugs

Giles
 
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