Archive for August, 2011

SIERRA: AMERICA’S COOLEST SCHOOLS: Maharishi University of Management

August 22, 2011

The Nonconformist Class | AMERICA’S COOLEST SCHOOLS

Going green may finally be “normal,” but some schools with eco-agendas remain miles from mainstream

By Tim McDonnell

Maharishi University of Management

Courtesy of Shane Ernest

The Beatles’ onetime spiritual adviser, the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (sometimes called the “giggling guru”), founded Maharishi University of Management, in Fairfield, Iowa, as a place for “consciousness-based education.” The school’s buildings face east and have a central nucleus, and rooms are aligned with the sun’s movement according to the strictures of an ancient Indian architectural style. The first U.S. university to offer a four-year degree in sustainable living, MUM balances modern clean technology and 5,000-year-old Vedic philosophy based on Sanskrit texts.

The dining hall serves food that’s entirely vegetarian and organic. To graduate, each student is required to have maintained a plot on the campus’s farm. Above, students celebrate the completion of their permaculture class with a feast made of ingredients harvested from their gardens.

Attending to the earth is hardwired into the school’s signature (and trademarked!) practice, Transcendental Meditation. From it, says Robbie Gongwer, the program developer for MUM’s Sustainable Living Center, “students get this subjective experience of an interconnectedness to life.”

At last—the truth about Frankenstein

August 19, 2011

This is one of my favorite poems, written by a good friend and a fine poet, Bill Graeser. The title links to his blog where the poem is posted:

What You May Not Know About Frankenstein

Although he had not the hands to crochet, the patience to build birdhouses or the nerve to push a hook through a worm in the hope of pulling a fish from the sea, he did write poems and wrote often and late into the night.  Was it pain that made him write?  The pain of all those stitches, of shoes that despite their size were still too small?  Was it psychological pain of social non-acceptance?  Or the electricity that years later still snapped between his fingers?

No, it was simply what his brain wanted to do, the brain they dug up and sowed into his head, it was just grave-robbing luck.  At poetry readings, where everyone is welcome, he read his poems sounding like a man who having fallen into a well and cried out for years was now finally being heard.

Like this there are many so-called monsters with poems to share.  The same is true of angels, of gangsters, shepherds, anyone who fits words together like body parts, revises, revises again, until magically, beautifully, lightning leaps from the pen and the poem opens its eyes, sits up from the page, staggers into the world, and whether it is seen as monster, or friend, it is alive, every word it says is real and it comes not from the grave, but from the sky.

© Bill Graeser

Also see Bill Graeser memorializes Ansel Adams in his award-winning poem “Magic Light”.

In an interview for the Fall 2001 issue of Paris Review, George Plimpton asks US Poet Laureate Billy Collins to describe what it takes to be a poet.


Maharishi University MBA Students Win National Business Simulation Competition

August 19, 2011

Maharishi University of Management MBA Students Place First in National Business Simulation Competition

Also see: Students Place 1st in National Business Simulation and MBA Students Win National Business Competition and this video: CAPSIM winners: MBA teams at Maharishi University of Management

L-R: Peng Wang (China), Ganesh Baniya (Nepal), Abdul Sheikh (Pakistan), Chittaranjan Sahu (India)

Competing against 137 other MBA teams from universities nationwide, a team of four MBA students from Maharishi University of Management recently placed first in a business simulation competition.

Taking place over a six-month period, the simulation had students guide a fictitious company through eight rounds of decision-making, with each round representing a year of business activity.

According to professor Andy Bargerstock, who teaches the simulation in his course titled “U.S. and International Accounting Practices,” the students had to analyze and assess a variety of reports about the industry, competitors, and its own past performance results.

For their simulated company to perform well, the students must decide on research and development strategies, marketing tactics, sales and production forecasts, financing requirements, human resource management tactics, and total quality management initiatives.

The simulation, created by the CAPSIM Foundation, evaluates students on the growth of their company, based on financial results, customer perspectives, internal business development, and learning and growth initiatives.

“Strong analytical skills and informed intuition are valuable for simulation decision-making,” Dr. Bargerstock said. “When our MBA students perform so well against some of the best business schools in the U.S., it validates the quality of their decision-making skills and builds confidence that they can compete in the international business environment.”

The four-member winning MUM team consisted of students from around the world: Nepal, Pakistan, India, and China. In addition, a second team from MUM finished among the top 20%, comprising students from Iran, Cameroon, and Barbados.

Universities who participate regularly in this simulation include Harvard, Cornell, UC-Berkeley, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, the University of North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Boston College, the University of Iowa, and Iowa State, among others.

The game scenario took place in the sensor products industry and began with the premise that the Securities Exchange Commission had broken a monopoly into smaller companies. Each team assumed the role of a company and began with an equal market share and financial resources.

Bargerstock said that the winning team attributed their success to a combination of good decisions about product pricing, building customer awareness, product innovation, automation of production facilities, controlled expansion of capacity, cost control, training and development of personnel, and sound financing strategies.

The simulation creator, Capsim Management Simulations, Inc. of Northfield, Illinois, is the largest business game provider in the U.S.

Also listen to the Sept 8 KMCD MUM Spotlight Show as MUM Professor Andy Bargerstock and MBA student Ganesh Baniya discuss the Accounting MBA program at MUM and their team’s recent win, placing first in the nation, in a national business simulation competition created by the CAPSIM Foundation.

For more information on MUM’s Accounting MBA program visit:

Also see Iowa and Nepal Rotary Clubs Provide Well for City in Nepal, and Maharishi University’s Rao and Bargerstock published in Management Accounting Quarterly.

David Lynch Foundation Television to premiere David S. Ware: A World of Sound

August 18, 2011

“It’s like you’re trying to cognize a world of sound.” — David S. Ware

David S. Ware cognizes and manifests a world of sound. On August 30th 2011, David S. Ware: A World of Sound will premiere on David Lynch Foundation Television. The film profiles one of the most original minds in jazz history – saxophonist/composer/bandleader David S. Ware. In 2010, BBC reviewer Daniel Spicer wrote, “Ware’s playing is astonishing, pushing the limits of brain, fingers and equipment, ideas rushing out in a stream of furious, liquid invention, with an almost superhuman precision.”

“You learn to listen to music with sort of a third ear.” — David S. Ware

David counts Sonny Rollins as an early mentor, from whom he learned circular breathing in 1966 while still a teenager. By the 1980’s, David’s concerns as a saxophonist had shifted away from the rush and fury of extended improvisations, and into the area of concentrated thematic development. He formed the David S. Ware Quartet in 1989 to put these ideas into practice, and they became known as the reigning advanced jazz super-group of the 90’s and into the new millennium. Since that Quartet’s disbanding in 2007, Ware has found expression in a number of different forms; including solo performances and a new quartet entitled Planetary Unknown.

A World of Sound is the latest film by DLF.TV’s Amine Kouider, who has previously profiled several other innovative artists, including installation and performance artist S.B. Woods and Malek Salah, a pioneer of the modern art scene in Algeria.

At Amine and David’s first meeting, David said bluntly, “Good luck trying to finish this film.” The luck turned out to be much needed, as A World of Sound ended up taking over two years to finish. But, when finally completed, film director and DLF.TV founder David Lynch offered high praise, telling Amine, “How cool is cool? … I love this guy, David S. Ware … and I love this film you’ve made for him, Amine … Really good to have documented this great man and his music and his spirit.”

The film (13:36) premieres August 30, 2011 on http://DLF.TV. Also see exclusive bonus footage (8:01) of David S. Ware playing at home.

For more info on David S. Ware, visit and

News Coverage: Chicago Reader: Bleader: Saxophonist David S. Ware, sound and vision | JazzTimes: David S. Ware Documentary to Air Aug. 30: Saxophonist’s relationship with Transcendental Meditation will be explored | Ottawa Citizen: Jazzblog: David Lynch on David S. Ware | Listen to Mike Ragogna’s 2.0 interview (43:48) 20110828 – David S. Ware  on solar-powered KRUU-LP 100.1 FM. It was transcribed, edited, and posted in Mike Ragogna’s blog on The Huffington Post: A World Of Sound: Chatting & Improvising With David S. Ware | Also available on Allie Is Wired | TM Blog: David S. Ware: A jazz musician with “a world of sound”

Interesting interview in All About Jazz: David S. Ware: Planetary Musician

See Beautiful film on Algerian artist Malek Salah by Amine Koudier.

DETAILS: critical eye: Meditation Nation

August 14, 2011

Meditation Nation

Power brokers no longer motivate or medicate—they meditate. How Transcendental Meditation returned as the new status symbol.

Photograph by Adam Voorhes
September 2011 Issue

A funny thing happened on the way to enlightenment. The quest got stripped of yogic posturing, Buddhist trappings, and even the last vestige of spirituality and turned into a search for the kind of clarity that might help us all in our worldly pursuits. Which is why movers and shakers are again embracing that seventies mainstay Transcendental Meditation. You’re likely to hear it spoken of reverentially in interviews: Russell Brand, whose wildman behavior was cartoonish in its intensity, credits TM with helping him to conquer his heroin, sex, and alcohol addictions. “After meditation,” he has said, “I felt this beautiful serenity and selfless connection.” And where celebrities venture (the latest wave of TM-ers includes the likes of Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts), many of us are likely to follow. The rolls of practitioners have tripled in the past three years, according to the Transcendental Meditation Program, the practice’s national organization.

“The game-changer, I think, is David Lynch and his foundation,” says Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, the Georgetown University psychiatry professor who wrote the recent best seller Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation. Lynch, the surrealist director of Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Dr., had been quietly practicing TM since, yes, the seventies, but about six years ago he came out of the closet, launching a foundation to promote the practice and later publishing a manifesto, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.

It’s a process perfectly matched to our self-interested times—”no pain, but a lot of gain,” according to Rosenthal. Bob Roth, an executive director of the David Lynch Foundation, who taught TM to Brand and Moby, explains that when the mind has been calmed with the help of a mantra, a Sanskrit word given to each TM grad, it will effortlessly sink below the level of thought to “pure consciousness.” Practically speaking, sit in a chair, close your eyes, and silently repeat the mantra for 20 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, Lynch says, you cut the elevator cables of your normal-thinking mind to descend to a place that feels different. You may experience a connection with the universe or a mental light show, what Rosenthal calls “four-star graphic effects.” At the very least, you should be blissfully relaxed, which is the foundation of the health benefits that have been measured in the medical research amassed, much of it funded by the government. The deep tranquillity TM promotes quiets the body’s “fight or flight” stress response, lowering blood pressure and anxiety and combating depression.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the so-called giggling guru, who hosted the Beatles and Mia Farrow, among others, was the innovator who stripped Hindu meditation practice of its religious baggage and repackaged it as a systematic, stress-reducing, creativity-building technique. Lynch, a disciple, is responsible for adding a fresh civic-mindedness to the game. His foundation aims to bring TM free of charge to those most in need of its calming effects—at-risk kids, prison inmates, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. That, of course, means fund-raising benefits, which means reeling in rich folk and entertainers (many introduced to TM by Lynch and Roth), all of which attracts media coverage and an increased brand awareness among those in the general public who might be willing to shell out $1,500 for the basic course.

“It was straight out of The Great Gatsby,” Rosenthal says of the poolside benefit party thrown this past June at the Malibu home of Juicy Couture cofounder Pam Levy and her TV-director husband, Jefery Levy. One imagines the vibes spreading to their neighbor Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, the freshly minted Converse-wearing, 36-year-old movie mogul who practices TM twice a day. Kavanaugh, who started out as a stockbroker, has leveraged his connections by allying with the New York hedge fund Elliot Associates, among other investors, giving his company the billions required to dominate Hollywood film production. But his secret weapon is his risk-assessment algorithm, a high-tech quantitative analysis of the big picture that he says allows him to make money even on box-office dogs.

As the New York hard-chargers who flock to the TM courses Roth teaches at the Center for Leadership Performance soon learn, this kind of success is not coincidental. According to published research, TM enhances neural activity in the part of the brain that houses the decision-making “executive center.” “The businesspeople say they’re more focused during the day,” Roth says. As do the other Gotham heavy hitters who’ve evangelized for TM and the Lynch Foundation, from Jerry Seinfeld and Heather Graham to Ben Foster and Howard Stern. Leave it to Mr. Katy Perry himself, speaking at a gala fund-raiser at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this past winter, to get at the essence of TM’s guilt-free marriage of creativity and commerce: “I literally had an idea drop into my brain the other day while I was meditating which I think is worth millions of dollars.”

Also on
Celebrity Om-Meter: The Top 10 Moments in Meditation History
Retreat, Relax, Recharge: Inside the World’s Best Spas
How to Avoid the Office Strain
Guy-Friendly Alternatives to Yoga

Prop Styling by Robin Finlay

Inspiring results from the TM-Quiet Time Program in the San Francisco Unified School District

August 12, 2011

Click on these links and you’ll be inspired as I was by the amazing results of the TM-Quiet Time Program in some San Francisco schools:

Schools Students and teachers speak about their experiences with TM-Quiet Time Program in San Francisco schools.

Laurent Valosek, director of the Center for Wellness and Educational Achievement, discusses the implementation and results of the TM-Quiet Time Program in the San Francisco Unified School District.

James Dierke, Principal of Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco, presents research findings on the TM-Quiet Time Program.

David Lynch, founder of the David Lynch Foundation, gives an inspiring address to educators about experiences with the Transcendental Meditation program. (Q & A with Bob Roth).

See the complete presentation of Meditation for Students: Results of the David Lynch Foundation’s Quiet Time/TM Program in San Francisco Schools

Dr. Catherine Ulbricht interviews psychiatrist and author Dr. Norman Rosenthal for Natural Standard

August 9, 2011

Q & A with Dr. Norman Rosenthal

Dr. Catherine Ulbricht, Founder and CEO of Natural Standard, interviews world-renowned psychiatrist and author Dr. Norman Rosenthal. Dr. Rosenthal’s research has pioneered the use of light therapy for seasonal affected disorder (SAD). His latest book Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation discusses the value of this technique for healing and transformation.

Complimentary access to the webinar is available August 1-31, 2011 (Requires Windows Media Player). The interview is 49:20 minutes long. The transcript is also available as a PDF file.

Norman Rosenthal, MD, mentions this on his blog: Interview with Dr. Catherine Ulbricht on Transcendental Meditation (TM) and Addiction.

Bob Roth Speaks at Maharishi School Graduation

August 6, 2011

Bob Roth, Vice President of the David Lynch Foundation, addresses students, parents, faculty and staff at the Maharishi School of Age of Enlightenment graduation on June 12, 2011 in Fairfield, Iowa. In his Commencement Address, Bobby shares a list of 10 ideas, or guidelines to live by to become a great person: 1) Meditate, 2) Be true to yourself. Think for yourself, 3) Energy is everything (fatigue is your enemy), 4) Live with conviction. Be persistent, 5) Be powerful. Be gentle (“It’s polite to apologize”), 6) Thank your teachers (Wisdom is priceless), 7) Love your parents (No one loves you more), 8) Truth triumphs, 9) You are the Master of your own destiny (Don’t complain), 10) Be happy. Enjoy your life! Bobby concludes his very inspiring talk, filled with wonderful stories, by reading a beautiful passage from the Talmud, given to him by Jane Pitt, who asked him to share it with the graduates. (Bobby is my hero!)

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