Archive for February, 2013

Prudence Farrow — subject of the Beatles song Dear Prudence — visits India’s Kumbh Mela

February 23, 2013

Beatles song muse visits India’s Kumbh Mela
By Amitava Sanyal, Allahabad, for BBC News India
February 21, 2013 | Last updated at 06:37 ET

Prudence Farrow at Kumbh Mela
Prudence Farrow says the Beatles were “real people”

The subject of a Beatles song is among the many foreign pilgrims visiting India’s Kumbh Mela festival.

Prudence Farrow, about whom John Lennon wrote the song Dear Prudence, is also sister of Hollywood actor Mia Farrow.

The Kumbh Mela, which is held every 12 years, is billed as the world’s biggest gathering of humanity.

Millions of Hindu ascetics and pilgrims take a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in Allahabad city.

Ms Farrow says she waited for four decades to come to the Kumbh Mela.

She had first visited India in 1968 as a student of meditation and met the Beatles at Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s retreat in Rishikesh.

“I wanted to come to the Kumbh with the Maharishi, but that never happened,” she told the BBC. Her guru died in 2008.

This year Ms Farrow finally made it to the Kumbh Mela with her husband Albert Bruns.

‘Exotic’

“India has changed so much since I first came here,” says Ms Farrow, 65, sitting in the brightly-painted porch of her rented flat in Allahabad.

“Back then it was exotic. We were staying in the forest outside Rishikesh. Life was quite agricultural even in the cities.

“There were animals on the road, there were very few telephones and there was hardly any electricity where we were staying.”

Ms Farrow says she was in for a shock when she first arrived at the festival ground last month.

At first, she insisted on staying in one of the tens of thousands of tents that have been put up on the banks of the river.

Ms Farrow, who has a doctoral degree in South Asian studies and runs foundations to promote meditation, says she was in search of “an inner silence”.

But, ironically, the blare of three loudspeakers every morning at the festival grounds shattered her peace and she shifted into the city.

This was, she says, in sharp contrast to the peaceful times she spent with her sister Mia at her guru’s retreat in Rishikesh in 1968.

At the retreat, the Farrow sisters met the Beatles.

“Because of Mia there were too many people coming in and out of our block,” says Ms Farrow.

“And then in the evenings George Harrison would jam with John Lennon and others would join in. I wasn’t getting the silence.

“People said: ‘You are being too fanatical, you should come out.’ Yes, I was extreme because I thought it was a privileged time. I still think it was the most important time in my life.”

So while the rest of the students partied, Ms Farrow says she locked herself up in her room and practised meditation.

That is when, she says, Lennon, wrote the song Dear Prudence, which appears on the band’s White Album.

DEAR PRUDENCE

Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play

Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day

The sun is up, the sky is blue

It’s beautiful and so are you

Opening verses of Dear Prudence, written by John Lennon

The song’s hand-written lyrics, lined with doodles, sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 1987 for $19,500 (£12,800).

“The reason he wrote I was beautiful – and there were much more beautiful people around – was because I was so much like George,” says Ms Farrow.

“George and I were there for very much the same reasons – we were both very spiritual and we wanted to find a solution for ourselves and the world. George would say that through his music he wanted to help people become more settled, more quiet and more sensitive.”

Ms Farrow says she did not want to meet the Beatles as “great people never lived up to their image”.

Did they disappoint her?

“What didn’t disappoint me was that they were still real people. They weren’t more important than anybody else,” says Ms Farrow.

“Fame has that quality – it corrupts you. You begin to feel that you’re separate from other people, you’re more powerful. But they didn’t have that.

“They were going through the same things as we were. That’s why they were the voice of the times.”

Article URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-21530477

See the Dear Prudence Foundation http://dearprudencefoundation.org

For information on Maharishi and his Transcendental Meditation technique visit: http://www.tm.org/maharishi

Also see Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on History International Channel (November 2007)

See: Who was Dear Prudence the Beatles sang to in India? What happened to her? Here is her story.

Here is a related post: Varanasi by Mary Oliver in A Thousand Mornings.

See Ted Henry interviews “Dear Prudence” Farrow Bruns about her life with TM and Maharishi, and an interview with PRUDENCE FARROW BRUNS by MicCameraAction after her return from the Kumbh Mela. She talks about her time with Maharishi and the Beatles in India and her new Dear Prudence Foundation to make Transcendental Meditation available to those who want it but need a scholarship to help pay for it. And this video: The Beatles “Dear Prudence”: A Portrait of Prudence Farrow Bruns, Maharishi and TM.

This is a funny video of Prudence’s sister, Mia Farrow: Dear Prudence.

Prudence’s memoir is now out: Dear Prudence: The Story Behind the Song.

Here’s a photo of Prudence and Albert getting ready to bathe in the Ganges at the Kumbh Mela. I’ve never seen them looking so happy!

Prudence and Albert getting ready to bathe in the Ganges at the Kumbh Mela

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Craig Pearson interview and articles on awakened consciousness, transcendence and enlightenment

February 22, 2013

Since the theme of The Uncarved Blog deals with Transcendental Meditation, consciousness & enlightenment, and poetry, I’d like to introduce someone to you who has been studying these ideas in great people’s lives for some time now and has complied them all in a book.

Craig Pearson-EECraig Pearson, Ph.D., is the author of the forthcoming book, The Supreme Awakening, Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time — And How We Can Cultivate Them. He has spent many years researching the expression of higher states of consciousness in the writings of great philosophers, saints, scientists, artists, and writers. Find out more here: http://craigpearson.mum.edu

Dr. Pearson is the Executive Vice-President of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. He has served the University in a variety of roles over the past 33 years, including Dean of Faculty, Dean of Students, Director of Maharishi University of Management Press, Director of Freshman Composition, and Professor of Professional Writing.

In this interview for Issue 5 of Enlightenment Magazine, Linda Egenes asks Craig Pearson about humanity’s age-old quest for enlightenment. Dr. Pearson highlights his answers with examples of exceptional people throughout history who had described experiences of higher states of consciousness. Here is an excerpt from The Quest for Enlightenment: Transcendence in the Lives of Great Seers and Thinkers.

Enlightenment: What is the relationship of enlightenment and human potential?

Dr. Pearson: Enlightenment is a term that has been used for thousands of years, in traditions east and west, to refer to the most fully developed expression of human potential, far beyond the ordinary.

Enlightenment: How common is it?

Dr. Pearson: Although this extraordinary experience has been described by individuals in different cultures over the millennia and is celebrated in the world’s spiritual traditions, it seems to be exceedingly rare. But obviously it lies within the realm of human potential.

Enlightenment: What has Maharishi contributed to the understanding of enlightenment?

Dr. Pearson: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is often credited with reintroducing the concept of enlightenment in a systematic manner in our modern age. He has put forward a comprehensive understanding of enlightenment that embraces the great traditions and thinkers who have described this experience across time. Maharishi was also the first to promote scientific investigation into enlightenment, bringing the phenomenon of spiritual development into the arena of modern science.

Enlightenment: How does Maharishi describe enlightenment?

Dr. Pearson: For Maharishi, enlightenment is the ultimate development of one’s inner potential as a human being. It means being established in the highest state of human consciousness.

Enlightenment begins with experiencing the reality of your innermost Self as unbounded and eternal and being established at that level. This means the consciousness of an enlightened person is no longer subject to the ups and downs of emotions, mind, and body but steadfast, anchored in inner silence.

Enlightenment brings the ultimate unfoldment of one’s creativity and intelligence. It means living in harmony with all the laws of nature and easily fulfilling your desires. It means being of maximum use to yourself and others and creating a powerfully nourishing effect in one’s environment.

At the highest stage, enlightenment means experiencing the universe as the expression of your unbounded Self. It is a state of perpetual freedom and bliss, supreme fulfillment.

Enlightenment: Can we relate this in any way to our day-to-day experience?

Dr. Pearson: Although this vision of human development may seem idealistic, we have all had experiences in this direction. Some days we just feel happier inside, more appreciative of others—life is easier, fuller, richer, and more rewarding. We may have moments of enhanced mental clarity or heightened levels of creativity, when we surprise ourselves with how quickly the solution to a problem may come. Athletes sometimes experience the zone—periods of peak performance that are effortless and euphoric.

At these times we are using a bit more of our potential. But enlightenment is far, far more than this. It goes far beyond just having a good day. People who have had experiences of enlightenment report that words simply cannot capture the sublimity of the experience.

Enlightenment: You have researched how individuals from different historical epochs and different parts of the world have shared this same experience. Can you talk about that?

Dr. Pearson: In traditions throughout time we find remarkably similar descriptions of this extraordinary experience of human life lived to its fullest—in the writings of great philosophers, religious figures, artists, scientists, and writers, as well as in the great religious traditions of the world. The terminology may vary from tradition to tradition and age to age. But when you have the clear and precise description of enlightenment provided by Maharishi, it becomes easy to appreciate what these people are talking about.

Enlightenment: So the experience is universal?

Dr. Pearson: Yes. And the recognition that many have shared this experience throughout history is not new either. Some scholars have called it the perennial philosophy or the primordial tradition. The perennial philosophy holds that although various spiritual and philosophical traditions appear different on the surface, at their core all traditions share common, universal principles.

Enlightenment: What are these universal principles?

Dr. Pearson: The perennial philosophy has three basic tenets: (1) Underlying the diversity of the world is a field of unity. (2) We can subjectively experience this field of unity deep within us. (3) The purpose of life is ultimately to experience and live this inner, divine reality of life.

This inner field goes by different names. Laozi called it the Tao. Plato called it the Good, the One, and the Beautiful. Aristotle called it Being. The Greek-Roman philosopher Plotinus called it the Infinite. In Judaism it is called Ein Sof, in Christianity the kingdom of heaven within. In more modern times, Ralph Waldo Emerson called it the Oversoul.

These different names are not referring to mere philosophical or spiritual ideals. They point to the inner reality of life—a reality that can be experienced directly and, when experienced, brings fulfillment beyond words.

Enlightenment: How does Maharishi talk about this inner field?

Dr. Pearson: Maharishi characterizes it as an unbounded field of pure consciousness, an all-pervading ocean of creativity, intelligence, and bliss, beyond space and time. Maharishi asserts, moreover, that this field of pure consciousness is identical with the unified field of natural law that modern physics describes mathematically. Thus the inner field that gives rise to all our thoughts and feelings is the same field that gives rise to the entire universe.

Enlightenment: And we can experience this inner field of pure consciousness?

Dr. Pearson: Every human being has the natural ability to experience this field. It simply requires “diving within,” allowing the mind to settle inward, beyond the thinking process. This is called transcending.

People throughout history have described and celebrated this experience. It is a simple and natural experience—but by most accounts seems to be rare and fleeting. People have lacked a technique for experiencing it systematically. This is the gift Maharishi has given us—the Transcendental Meditation technique, a simple, natural, effortless procedure by which anyone can dive within at will.

Until Maharishi started teaching in the West, the understanding of how to transcend had for the most part been lost. The Transcendental Meditation technique, which has its origin in the ancient Vedic tradition, provides direct experience of pure consciousness. It is easy to learn and practice, validated by hundreds of scientific research studies, and practiced by millions of people throughout the world.

Read the rest of this fascinating article, which includes experiences from Rabindranath Tagore; Alfred, Lord Tennyson; Hakuin Ekaku; and a woman known as Peace Pilgrim.

Many other experiences have also been written up by Dr. Pearson and posted on the TM Blog. Here they are, from recent to earlier posts:

‘Freedom and Self-Realization’: Excerpts from Jack Forem’s book on TM
Howard Thurman: Experiencing “the Great Silence” within us
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook: Connecting with the “deep soul”
The Buddha: Rapturous Joy Transcending Any Other
Meister Eckhart: It is in the purest thing that the soul is capable of
D.H. Lawrence: Sitting in a Timeless Stillness
St. John of the Cross: Transcending all knowledge
William Wordsworth: We are laid asleep in body, and become a living soul
Emily Dickinson: The Soul’s Superior instants
Albert Einstein: There is Neither Evolution nor Destiny; Only Being
Zhuangzi: Why don’t you try wandering with me to the Palace of Not-Even-Anything
St. Teresa: A state of great quiet and deep satisfaction
Johannes Brahms: In tune with the Infinite
Rumi: I have passed beyond all thoughts
Plato: And this state of the soul is called wisdom
Jesus: The kingdom of God is within you
Henry David Thoreau: We become like a still lake of purest crystal
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty
Walt Whitman: The luminousness of real vision
Alfred, Lord Tennyson: A state of transcendent wonder
Helen Keller: I feel the flame of eternity in my soul
Laozi: His mind becomes as vast and immeasurable as the night sky

Update: Craig Pearson’s book, The Supreme Awakening, is now available. Executive Vice President Dr. Craig Pearson was interviewed on KHOE’s “A Chat With The Dean” by Dr. Cathy Gorini on his new book, “The Supreme Awakening – Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time, and How You Can Cultivate them.”

Listen to a presentation Dr. Pearson gave in Dalby Hall on the book, which was recorded for broadcast by KHOE.

Listen to Dr. Pearson on KRUU FM, Writers’ Voices recorded Feb 21, 2014.

Listen to Craig Pearson on KRUU FM show, Writers’ Voices, discussing his new book, The Supreme Awakening.

Here is a video of Dr. Pearson’s recent presentation on his book, The Supreme Awakening, in Dalby Hall on the MUM campus seen on the MaharishiUniversity channel.

Craig Pearson has since updated his book with new entries. Here is an informative interview by Jeanne Ball, April 20, 2016, in the Huffington Post: The Supreme Awakening: What Did Buddha, Emerson, Einstein and Saint Teresa Have in Common?

David Lynch receives the Plus Camerimage 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award for Directing

February 17, 2013
David Lynch receives Plus Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award for Directing © Marta Pawłowska

David Lynch receives Plus Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award for Directing 2012 © Marta Pawłowska

The International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography PLUS CAMERIMAGE is the greatest and most recognized festival dedicated to the art of cinematography and its creators – cinematographers. This 20th Plus Camerimage Festival took place November 24 to December 1, 2012 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

Plus Camerimage contributes to the growth of cinematographers’ prestige. The unconventional format of the Festival, which awards films according to their visual, aesthetic and technical values, has turned out to be an alternative for traditional film festivals. As all their guests emphasize – PLUS CAMERIMAGE is unique. Find out more here.

David Lynch in PolandDarek Kuzma talks with David Lynch, the recipient of the Plus Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award for Directing at their 2012 festival. Different topics are brought up and David discusses the value of Transcendental Meditation for him and his work when answering the 4th question. He seemed very relaxed and happy to be there.

1. Do you feel that your films inspire people or may change their lives?
2. Can you call yourself a believer in the magic of cinema?
3. Now, when special effects, gadgets and digital cinema are so developed, people don’t have to imagine things…
4. What motivates you to keep working even if there are obstacles in the way? A: (2:46–5:02)
5. This edition of Plus Camerimage festival is devoted to the theme of “digital versus film.” What is your stand on it?
6. How do you feel about the Plus Camerimage festival and it’s 20th edition?

This video was published by pluscamerimage2012 Nov 29, 2012.

See the humanitarian work of the David Lynch Foundation healing traumatic stress and raising performance in at-risk populations.

“Sanctifying Morning” is a poem by Ken Chawkin on one way to be “spiritual but not religious”

February 17, 2013

Sanctifying Morning is a poem I wrote four years and one month ago today. It may remind you of the phrase, “spiritual but not religious,” how millions of Americans now identify themselves, a trend I was not aware of until I learned about it from Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda. TM* is my way of being spiritual but not religious.

Sanctifying Morning

Charcoal in a church,
Incense-filled smoke,
Knees on the ground,
Wafer on a tongue —
Prayers ascend the sky.

It’s Sunday morning,
And I have my own rituals.
The smell of burnt toast sanctifies the morning air.
Orange rinds round out the debris of breakfast.
Fumes float upwards from a hot coffee cup.

Having pacified the body’s urges,
With no work to be done today,
Though the senses focus outward,
It’s time to bring them within,
And prepare for this peaceful morning.

I retire to my meditation room,
Sit comfortably, and close the eyes.
Thinking my mantra, effortlessly,
I descend to the depths of my mind,
And transcend.

My body follows —
Breath slows, and suspends,
Heart beats quieter,
Brain cells speak softly, in unison —
I’m at peace with myself.

This is the true communion of the spirit
Within the church of the Self.
No pews are required here
As one prepares to meet the maker
Of one’s life.

© Ken Chawkin
January 17, 2009
Fairfield, Iowa, USA

*TM stands for Transcendental Meditation. It’s not a religion. To me, it’s a spiritual practice that is compatible with any or no religion. Today millions of Americans admit to practicing some form of meditation. Members of different faiths practice Transcendental Meditation, including monks, nuns, priests and rabbis. Even atheists and agnostics meditate. You may too, some day, if you haven’t, already.

War veterans say Transcendental Meditation could help with PTSD

February 11, 2013

War veterans say meditation could help with PTSD

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 6:27 EST

Meditation might sound an unlikely activity for men trained in killing people and blowing things up in Afghanistan and Iraq. But US war veterans say meditation could help heal the post-war mental disturbances that afflict a growing number of American soldiers, including possibly the ex-Marine who gunned down the country’s most famous sniper over the weekend.

Luke Jensen, a former undercover police officer who fell apart mentally on arrival in Afghanistan, said that after trying to commit suicide in front of his family, he agreed to try Transcendental Meditation — and was saved.

“There’s a lot of coping methods out there that are offered to our veterans. This needs to be one of them,” the heftily built man said in a shaking voice at a meeting of the David Lynch Foundation, which promotes meditation for treating post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jensen said he has since taken a job in the government’s Department of Veterans Affairs, helping other stressed out vets. Just two weeks ago, one of those he worked with committed suicide.

Transcendental Meditation “needs to be implemented. It needs to be an option,” Jensen told the panel in New York.

After years of being a little-talked about subject, PTSD is increasingly acknowledged as a mental health epidemic in the United States and one of the less easily quantifiable costs of America’s wars on the other side of the world.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD occurs in between 11 and 20 percent of veterans from the Afghan and Iraq wars, and in 31 percent of Vietnam war veterans.

Although combat is commonly assumed to be the main cause of PTSD, simply witnessing the effects of bombings, for example, or the stress of being in a hostile country, are also blamed.

Another major source of PTSD, though less often discussed, is what the government calls military sexual trauma. Veterans Affairs figures show that 23 percent of women report sexual assault in the ranks, while more than half have experienced sexual harassment.

The most frightening result associated with PTSD is the rising number of suicides, which now run at 22 a day among military veterans, according to a government study released last week.

And the problem is no less alarming among active duty soldiers, with a record 349 killing themselves in 2012 — more than were killed by the Taliban or other enemy in the field.

In the latest incident to highlight the violence engulfing former soldiers, an ex-Marine in Texas was accused Saturday of shooting dead another veteran who had devoted himself to helping comrades adjust to peaceful life.

Adding to the shock value, the victim, Chris Kyle, was an author of a best-selling book about his former exploits as a sniper with 150 confirmed kills.

In the effort to address the problem of PTSD, meditation is an outlier.

However, early studies show remarkable success, and demand is growing, advocates at filmmaker Lynch’s foundation said.

Transcendental Meditation involves entering “a state of rest in many cases deeper than sleep,” said Bob Roth, executive director of the David Lynch Foundation. “This allows deeply rooted stresses to be dissolved.”

Retired rear admiral Richard Schneider, president of the private military institute Norwich University, said tests showed that cadets using the techniques increased focus in class and were better “emotionally prepared.”

The meditation instructor, a chisel-faced air force veteran called David Zobeck, said a stigma long attached to meditation was evaporating among students, who are preparing for careers as officers.

“They’re not getting the weird stares anymore,” he said.

Jerry Yellin, a fighter pilot in World War II who spoke of losing comrades and making dangerous missions in the bloody Pacific theater, said he began suffering nightmares, then behavioral problems on return home at a time when PTSD was rarely discussed.

“The hard stuff began in my life, because I didn’t sleep,” he said. “I had an addiction that ruled my life.”

Meditating, he said, “got my life back 100 percent.”

The Raw Story published this report from Agence France-Presse.

See more articles on PTSD and TM posted on The Uncarved Blog.

Reposting that wonderful poem by E.E. Cummings for Valentine’s Day

February 5, 2013

The Uncarved Blog

For Valentine’s Day: i carry your heart with me by E.E. Cummings

“[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]” Copyright 1952, © 1980, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust, from Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Used by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.

Source: Complete Poems: 1904-1962 (Liveright Publishing Corporation, 1991)

Listen to E. E. Cummings read this poem here.

This is beautiful: I Carry Your Heart (The Song) – Single, by Julia Smith.

See more love poems, and quotes by e.e. cummings.

This poem, so love tanka,was inspired by e.e. cummings and my muse.

See Emily Dickinson succinctly describes the eternal nature of Love in this short but powerful poem.

Another beautiful poem about love is by Derek Walcott, Love After Love.

View original post

Blue Dragonfly—A Love Renga for Valentine’s Day

February 2, 2013

Here’s a poem for those alone on Valentine’s Day.

Blue Dragonfly

A Blue Dragonfly
Flits about the light-filled pond
Looking for its mate

Do you get blue sometimes too
Wandering the world for love

If you’re still enough
You may find yourself being
The one to attract

As sattva gathers the means
So love comes to those who wait

© Ken Chawkin
February 2, 2013
Fairfield, Iowa, USA

The best preparation to love another is to first love yourself. Nobel Poet Laureate Derek Walcott explains it beautifully in Love After Love.


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