Archive for June, 2013

Grammy Award winner Omar Akram says TM brought him closer to his source of creativity

June 26, 2013

Enjoy this great interview Christopher Caplan conducted with Omar Akram, published June 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm in RYOT Reports. I was pleasantly surprised to learn how Transcendental Meditation freed the creativity of this Grammy award-winning composer and recording artist, and the respect he has for David Lynch and the David Lynch Foundation.

Q&A: Omar Akram, first Afghan American to win a Grammy, talks Transcendental Meditation

Omar Akram, 2013 New Age Music Grammy Award Winner

I recently sat down with Omar Akram, the first Afghan American to win a Grammy award to learn a bit more about his creative process. He has been referred to as a cultural diplomat by many, and the musical equivalent of Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, in that he is (gradually) mending cultural differences between war-torn nations through art. His recent article on The Huffington Post bespeaks of a well traveled life in which he has mingled with Cuban dictators and contributed to peace in the Middle East. What’s particularly interesting about Omar is the way he uses Transcendental Meditation in his creative process, as well as his support and admiration of the David Lynch Foundation.

Q: When and how did you first discover Transcendental Meditation?

I began using TM about 5 years ago. I was going through some creative blocks, so to speak, and a friend of mine suggested it. I’d known about it for years, but I had never taken the time to try it. I started to meditate slowly, and after doing it a few times, I got hooked.

Q: How has TM helped your creative process over the years?

I think it definitely brings you closer to the source of creativity. I feel this way almost every time. I remember David Lynch was talking about it. He said it was like “searching for the big fish,” or in other words, reaching deep down. I can reach deep down inside of myself and get to the big fish — that big creative idea. That’s what it’s all about, the big creative idea, and TM helps me find this.

Q: Have you tried other forms of meditation?

Yes, I’ve tried straight meditation, on and off for many years. But five years ago I became a lot more serious about it.

Q: How do you feel about David Lynch’s recent advocacy of TM?

I think what he’s doing is fantastic because he is really trying to get it out to school kids and to people that have never been exposed to it before. I think that once people try it, I mean really try it, they realize how beneficial it is.

Q: How do you think TM can help children and students?

One thing that I know is that kids sometimes have a hard time focusing on anything. Especially nowadays because they are being bombarded with so much media. I think it’s really helpful for kids once they give it a chance. They learn the value of meditation and focus. It will be hard in the beginning to understand what they’re doing, but with proper guidance they’ll learn. I think that not only will it help them become more creative, but they will improve in all aspects of schooling and self-esteem.

Q: Do you use TM when you are in the recording studio?

I try to do it a couple of times a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. It has been really helpful both with creativity and dealing with the stress and deadlines of my upcoming album, “Daytime Dreamer.” It kind of sets the course of my whole day. Once I’m in the studio, I like to take a few minutes, but it’s hard to do it during the day, and that’s my routine. When I do it the morning it helps me focus for the whole day, and shift everything so I have a clearer sense of what I need to do. In the evening I can absorb everything that I’ve done, and refresh my mind all over again.

Q: What do you see for the future of TM and its continuing acceptance in the mainstream?

I think the more people are exposed to TM the more they’re going to realize the benefits of it. A lot of people are not aware of TM, and that’s what David is doing, he’s going around and introducing it to a lot of people that otherwise would never be exposed to it. The more people are exposed to it, the more practitioners there will be, and I think it’s going to be huge. Guys like David Lynch are pioneers in that. I have nothing but respect for him, especially with what he’s doing in schools. I think it’ll make a huge difference.

posted by Omar Akram. Check out his blog: www.omarmusic.com.

RYOT NOTE: Transcendental Meditation not only helps to reduce stress, it also helps with clearing the mind and allowing people to be more creative. The David Lynch Foundation provides millions of dollars of free services every year, implementing these scientifically proven stress-reducing modalities for at-risk populations and communities. See other related articles on David Lynch from RYOT posted at the bottom of this article, and click the gray box to learn more, donate and Become the News!

You can read more about Omar Akram’s background and musical influences in this PRWeb press release: Grammy Award Winning Artist Omar Akram Becomes Latest Entertainment Client to Join YM & Associates PR Marketing Firm at Beverly Hills.

Great article on TM helping students boost grades shows the Beatles were way ahead of their time

June 22, 2013

Here is that great article written by , Science Correspondent for The Telegraph, published June 11, 2013, 9:00PM BST: Transcendental Meditation may boost student grades. He says, It may have seemed simply a phase in pop history, but it seems the Beatles may have been on to something after all during their fabled journey to India.

BEATLES_2587635kIt seems the Beatles may have been on to something after all during their fabled journey to India.  Photo: GETTY IMAGES

A form of meditation made popular by John Lennon and his band mates during the “flower power” era has been found to improve students’ grades.

A study of school pupils found that performing two 20-minute sessions of Transcendental Meditation each day improves academic achievement.

The practice involves sitting still with eyes closed while chanting a mantra – also sometimes derided as “oming”.

It became synonymous with hippy culture in the 1960s after The Beatles embraced it following a visit to India where they were taught the technique by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Now a growing body of research is suggesting it can have a positive effect on people’s lives.

Recent studies have shown that it can be used to treat high blood pressure and help people overcome psychological problems.

The latest research found that US school pupils who performed the meditation technique had higher graduation rates than those who did not.

The effect was even greater among those who had the lowest academic grades, the research conducted by the University of Connecticut and Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, found.

Researchers found that Transcendental Meditation increased the number of students graduating by 15 per cent while among those with the lowest academic grades, a further 25 per cent graduated compared to those not meditating.

Professor Robert Colbert, from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, said: “Transcendental Meditation appears to hold tremendous promise for enriching the lives of students.”

He added that the meditation technique was a viable method for turning around “poor student academic performance and low graduation rates”.

Sanford Nidich, a professor of education at Maharishi University of Management who conducted the research, added: “These results are the first to show that the Transcendental Meditation program can have a positive impact on student graduation rates.

“The largest effect was found in the most academically challenged students.

“Recently published research on increased academic achievement and reduced psychological stress in urban school students may provide possible mechanisms for the higher graduation rates found in this study.”

It is estimated that around 6 million people now practice Transcendental Meditation around the world.

The technique aims to concentrate the mind inwards by uttering the mantra and is intended to empty the mind of thoughts and feelings.

Proponents of the technique claim it can aid concentration and help to rid them of negative emotions.

The Beatles’ time with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, at his teaching centre in the foothills of the Himalayas in 1968, produced some of the most famous images of the Fab Four, dressed in white and draped in flower garlands.

It was also one of their most productive periods musically, with Lennon declaring that between them they wrote around 30 new songs during their visit to Rishikesh.

The tracks, which ended up on The Beatles, also known as the White Album, and Abbey Road, include Back in the USSR, Blackbird, Revolution and Mean Mr Mustard.

In an interview conducted in 2009, Paul McCartney and drummer Ringo Starr spoke candidly about how the meditation technique helped them.

Starr said: “Since then, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, I have meditated. It is a gift he [the Maharishi] gave me.”

McCartney added: “It wasn’t all about meditation, it’s just you were focused – but yeah, there were very blissful moments.

“It is one of the few things anyone has ever given to me that means so much to me. For us, it came at a time when we were looking for something to stabilise us at the end of the crazy sixties.”

McCartney has also in the past called for Transcendental Meditation to be used in schools.

He said: “I believe that in the future meditation could be as commonplace in schools and society as eco-awareness is now. It interests me that an ancient cure may be the solution to a modern problem.”

The new research, which involved 235 students in their senior year at an urban school on the US east coast, was funded by the David Lynch Foundation, which has been campaigning to have meditation incorporated into the school day.

They claim that where meditation has been used in schools, it has helped to reduce stress and anxiety in pupils while also lowering suspension rates.

The foundation was set up two years ago by film director David Lynch after he used meditation to overcome his own anger issues.

Describing the difference it has made to his life, he said: “When I started meditating I had a real anger in me, and I would take this out on my first wife.

“Two weeks after I started meditating, this anger lifted.”

See EurekAlert! press release for the study: Transcendental Meditation positively impacts student graduation rates, new research shows.

See this related post on some of the news coverage: New study shows TM significantly improved school graduation rates, world press reports.

This article was later highlighted on the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education website on their Spotlight page reporting the latest news: Transcendental Meditation May Boost Student Grades.

See The former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunion for David Lynch’s benefit concert airs on New York’s THIRTEEN, Sunday, April 29.

New study shows TM significantly improved school graduation rates, world press reports

June 14, 2013

New Transcendental Meditation Study Published in Education

This week the world press have been reporting on a collaborative study conducted by researchers Robert Colbert of the University of Connecticut and Sanford Nidich of Maharishi University of Management on meditation and graduation rates. The study, Effect of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Graduation, College Acceptance and Dropout Rates for Students Attending an Urban Public High School, was funded by the David Lynch Foundation, and published in the journal Education, Vol. 133, No. 4, Summer 2013.

The new study is the first to look at the effect of Transcendental Meditation practice on graduation, college acceptance and dropout rates, and follows previously published research by Nidich et al on increased academic achievement and reduced psychological stress in urban school students. The press release, Transcendental Meditation positively impacts student graduation rates, new research shows, included two graphs, and was sent out worldwide to over 5000 science writers by EurekAlert!/AAAS. Here is the Summary and citation for this latest study:

High school graduation rates remain low with racial and ethnic gaps adding to the decline. Graduating versus dropping out translates into higher earning potential, less crime and incarceration, and less dependence on government assistance. A new study published in the journal Education shows practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique resulted in a 15 percent higher graduation rate compared to controls. In low academically performing students a 25 percent difference in graduation rates was observed.

Colbert, R.D. and Nidich, S. (2013). Effect of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Graduation, College Acceptance and Dropout Rates for Students Attending an Urban Public High School. Education, 133 (4), 495-501.

World Press Reports

Many science and medical news websites have reported the news, including PhysOrg; ScienceBlog; Science Codex; RedOrbit; Medical Daily with the headline Transcendental Meditation Boosts High School Graduation Rates, As Policymakers Look To AlternativesMedical News Today; PsychCentral, with their succinct headline, Transcendental Meditation Linked to Higher Graduation Rates; The British Psychological Society, Meditation improves behaviour in school; Counsel & Heal; and examiner.com, How transcendental meditation impacts public high school graduation rates.

The mainstream press then reported the news, led by UK’s Richard Gray, respected science correspondent for The Telegraph, and his wonderfully topical and comprehensive piece, Transcendental Meditation may boost student grades. Underneath the top headline was one of the iconic photos of the Beatles with Maharishi in India and this subheading: It may have seemed simply a phase in pop history, but it seems the Beatles may have been on to something after all during their fabled journey to India.

This prompted Anna Hodgekiss of The Daily Mail to follow up with: The best way to boost brain power and improve exam grades? Chant ‘Om’ like the Beatles did, using an earlier picture of the Beatles with Maharishi taken at the London Hilton when they first met. BTW, there is no chanting in TM, and “Om” is never used.

These articles must have influenced The Times journalist William Chester to write, Exams go better with a Sixties mantra in mind, which was posted on the NW London TM Blog: Exams go better with a Sixties mantra in mind – The Times June 12th 2013.

Other international press also reported on the study. ANI sent out their version of the release and it was picked up by The Times of India, Transcendental meditation boosts grades, Newstrack India, OnePakistan, newKerala.com, and Medindia. India.NYDailyNews.com reproduced the Telegraph article but used a different photo of the Beatles, Donovan, Mia and Prudence Farrow with Maharishi in Rishikesh.

In Chile, the science journalist from El Mecurio, Sebastián Urbina, emailed questions about the study, which were answered by Sandy Nidich. I also suggested he interview Rafael de la Puenta, the TM national leader, and he did. The article appeared as the top story in their Life, Science and Technology section, A15, with a photo of a member of the Trinity College Women’s Squash Team meditating on the court. See a PDF of the article: www.meditacion.cl/prensa/MT_MERCURIO-Santiago-06-11-2013.pdf.

Other countries reporting on the study that we know of include France’s HuffPost C’est La Vie; Italy’s AGI; Spain’s Tendencias21 and La Razon; Holland’s Volkskrant; and Brazil’s Veja.

Some of the previous articles were reproduced on many blogs and websites. Will add any other newer articles as they are found. A few are slated to come out from reporters who asked for the paper, but this report should give you an idea of the kind of news coverage that came out on this promising study. For example, The TM Blog later reported New Study Finds Transcendental Meditation Boosts Student Grades, Graduation Rates.

See the Great article on TM helping students boost grades shows the Beatles were way ahead of their time. That article was later highlighted on the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education on their Spotlight page reporting the latest news: Transcendental Meditation May Boost Student Grades.

Ted Henry interviews “Dear Prudence” Farrow Bruns about her life with TM and Maharishi

June 9, 2013

This wonderful interview is also available from on Vimeo. Retired TV journalist Ted Henry conducts interviews with spiritual people for Souljourns. Last month he interviewed Prudence Bruns Farrow. You can also see the interview on their Vimeo channel: http://vimeo.com/67166559. Here is their introduction to the video:

From the very beginning Prudence Farrow Bruns recognized an added layer or texture to her life, a spiritual dimension that would take her deep within.

She was among the first in the West to become initiated into Transcendental Meditation and in the mid sixties she traveled to Rishikesh, India to learn to become a TM teacher. Her own teacher in India, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who is credited for bringing TM to the world.

In India with her at this time, her sister and acclaimed actress, Mia Farrow, The Beatles, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Donovan and others.

Prudence and her husband, Albert Bruns who is also a TM instructor, live in Seagrove along the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida.

The interview was recorded in Seagrove, Florida in May, 2013.

See this related BBC news item: Prudence Farrow — subject of the Beatles song Dear Prudence — visits India’s Kumbh Mela. And this video: The Beatles “Dear Prudence”: A Portrait of Prudence Farrow Bruns, Maharishi and TM.

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

Fairfield Artists and Musicians Share in Iowa Gold

June 9, 2013

“Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.” (Field of Dreams) But as Jane Roman Pitt would answer, “Yes, it’s Iowa.” And this is her version, along with Ken West, of what makes their new music video Iowa Gold a heaven on earth.

Fairfield singer/songwriter Jane Roman Pitt and Iowa landscape photographer Kenneth West combined their talents to create a beautiful music video called Iowa Gold. Jane wrote and sang the song. Ken contributed his photographs and produced the video. Tim Britton engineered and produced the music. Musicians were Arthur Lee Land, guitar; Lauryn Shapter, violin; Paul Fauerso, piano; Tim Britton, bass; and David Hurlin, drums. The result is this beautiful video, pleasing both to the eye and ear; heart and mind.

Iowa Gold–Jane Pitt & Ken West

Iowa musician Jane Pitt and photographer Ken West have collaborated on the amazingly beautiful video, Iowa Gold. Jane is an award-winning musician and Ken’s award-winning photography has been featured on IPTV’s Iowa Outdoors and at the National Center for Nature Photography, America’s first and only center devoted exclusively to nature photography. Ken’s photographic work is featured on the Iowa Byways website.

Ken and Jane are offering use of this video to us. The Iowa Gold video can embedded into any Audio/Visual presentation directly from YouTube. Iowa gold can also be enjoyed at either Jane or Ken‘s websites. There are no fees or contracts for the use of this video. It is their simply their gift to the Governor, Mrs. Branstad and the state of Iowa. The song was officially honored by the Iowa State House of Representatives, and has been enjoyed by schoolchildren throughout the state.

Here is Jane’s description of the video, which you can also see and Like on her IOWA GOLD Facebook page.

“The song ‘Iowa Gold’ came to me as I was driving through the Iowa countryside one day. I’d just been visiting a big city, and my appreciation of the simple beauty and richness of the landscape flowed out in this song. Award-winning photographer Ken West has perfectly captured the beauty of the Iowa landscape with his collection of photographs of Iowa’s Scenic Byways, commissioned by the Resource and Development Councils of Iowa. … I hope you enjoy this love song to Iowa!”

For highest quality select 720p HD setting and expand to full screen.

This music video is intended solely for noncommercial use promoting the beauty of Iowa and its scenic byways. Use of this music video, including resale or other commercial use is strictly prohibited. This music video may not be reproduced by any means, whether in its entirety or in part, without the written permission of Jane Roman Pitt and Kenneth West.

All Photographs © 2009-2011 Kenneth West, except for the following two photos: Pacific Ocean Photograph © Jeffrey Banke | Dreamstime.com, and The New York City Uptown Skyline Photograph © Kropic | Dreamstime.com

Organizations or Individuals interested in licensing this video please contact Ken West kwest@ioscapes.com

News Reports on the Iowa Gold Song

Listen to Talk of Iowa’s interview Jane and Ken on Iowa Gold and Wisconsin Heroes. Download the MP3 of the show.

In 1911 “The Song of Iowa” by S.H.M. Byers became Iowa’s official state song.  The lyrics “You asked what land I love the best, Iowa, tis Iowa, The fairest State of all the west, Iowa, O! Iowa, From yonder Mississippi’s stream…” were set to the tune “O Tannenbaum.” Songwriter Jane Roman Pitt thinks Iowa can do better.  She has written a song called Iowa Gold,” and now Pitt and photographer Ken West have put together a video that showcases Iowa at it’s best.  The video is part of their campaign to make “Iowa Gold” the state’s next official song.

The Des Moines Register’s Kyle Munson’s mentioned Jane Pitt and her song, Iowa Gold, in his report on the opening day of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. The Heartland Youth Choir sang the first choral rendition of the song. Here is an excerpt from Kyle’s report, Munson: Weather receives early blue ribbon:

Then there’s Jane Pitt from Fairfield. She wrote the song “Iowa Gold” 25 years ago during a drive from Detroit as she relocated to Iowa, inspired by our state’s “surprisingly rolling hills.” A quarter-century later she was able to relish the first public performance of her folk-tinged song as sung by the 32 young voices (grades 1 through 12) of the Iowa Heartland Youth Choir.

Could this become a new state song? (The official state anthem, Samuel Hawkins Marshall Byers’ “Song of Iowa,” was written more than a century ago to the tune of “O Christmas Tree.”)

KTVO’s Laura Simon reports collaboration of composer and landscape photographer to showcase Iowa.

Fairfield Ledger reports: Local artists present ‘Iowa Gold’ to governor, state fair

Click here for a free mp3 download of Iowa Gold. Here are previous posts on Ken and Jane: Ken West and his unique landscape photographs are featured on IPTV show Iowa Outdoors and Lady Lullaby Sings Welcome Home to Love and Dance Like The Wind.

Article on the multi-talented Lanny Shuler: artist, consultant, surfboard designer, and TM instructor

June 9, 2013

What’s going on in that purple building?

You might have noticed Shuler Surfboards before – it’s located in a purple building south of Seaside at milepost 24 on U.S. Highway 101.

Lanny Shuler, owner of Shuler Surfboards, rides the waves of creativity in business and in life

Thursday, June 6, 2013 8:00 am

Article and photos by DWIGHT CASWELL for COAST WEEKEND: ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: COASTAL LIFE. URL for article: http://bit.ly/1278dWi.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by that purple building just south of Seaside. The sign by the side of U.S. Highway 101 says “Shuler,” and the windows are lined with surfboards. I always wonder, “A surfboard factory in Seaside?”

My curiosity finally got the best of me, and I stopped by. What I found surprised me. Yes, there are surfboards being made here – custom-made, state-of-the-art boards – but there’s a lot more going on. There’s an artist, a materials consultant to Corning and Dow, a creativity consultant to Nike, a Transcendental Meditation (TM) instructor.

From the outside, the building doesn’t seem large enough to house all those people, and it couldn’t if not for the fact that all those people are one: Lanny Shuler, who has been doing all those things on the North Coast since relocating here in 1983.

Shuler grew up in West Long Beach and Huntington Beach, Calif., where he learned to surf at the age of 7 and built his first surfboard 10 years later. “We were water kids,” he says of his childhood friends, “so surfing was a natural thing to pursue, and I was never attracted to organized sports. It was easier to just go surfing, to have fun even if I wasn’t with friends.” Surfing was, at the time, an outsider sport. “This was before the Beach Boys,” he says, “and before ‘Gidget,’” the first surfing movie, made in 1959. “That was the beginning of cultural awareness of surfing,” he continues, “but I was never interested in surfing culture.”

As a young man in 1972, Shuler moved to Astoria to help his father, Don, build a commercial fishing boat, eventually moving back to southern California to make and lose a fortune in real estate. He studied art and architecture in school and began to practice TM, a mantra-based meditation technique that is practiced twice daily for 15 to 20 minutes. Through TM, Shuler found an inner peace and wakefulness, and he left formal education to study under TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, eventually becoming a certified TM teacher.

In 1983, having discovered that “a simpler life was more to my liking,” he returned to Oregon, just in time to catch the wave of windsurfing tourism in the Columbia Gorge. In addition to his surfboard business in Seaside, Shuler opened Shuler Sailboards in the Gorge and discovered that building both sailboards and surfboards gave him a more diverse outlet for innovation and creativity, as he constantly modified and reinvented his cutting edge board designs.

Shuler’s innovations with resins, fiberglass and foam led to consultancy work with Dow Chemical and Owens Corning. Word of Shuler’s creativity also got around to Nike’s product development team, called the “Innovation Kitchen,” prompting their visit to the purple building for inspiration on long-term maintenance of creativity. Shuler credits TM for his daily charge of inspiration and enthusiasm in new ideas, and his capacity to incorporate them into his career. Since that first meeting he has been invited to the Nike Campus to bolster employee creativity through lectures and TM lessons.

Shuler stresses that “It is a challenge for everyone to have many dimensions and diversities to integrate into one’s life, many demands into one combined fulfilling experience.”

The latest aspect of Shuler’s diversity is his return to art. “My art interests have often fallen aside to other priorities,” says Shuler. “Regardless, whenever I applied artwork on my surfboards, people would take notice.”

Lanny Shuler with a sample of his surfboard art.As an art student Shuler was uninspired painting on flat surfaces, but his enthusiasm returned when he began painting the sculptural form of his surfboards. “I found inseparability between my color interests and the three dimensionality of the surfboards I was painting on. Without my intending it, my art had become more challenging and engaging.”

Shuler’s “relationship with the aesthetic of the three dimensional form” also resulted in his art becoming more abstract. “It’s much less calculated and more intuitive, and there is a more intimate relationship with the creative silence of my daily meditation, with inner restful alertness and more abstract consciousness.”

Shuler is now working on a gallery show of paintings on what he calls “nonfunctional painted sculptures that can’t be surfed on.” He explains, “My surfboards have always been painted sculptures, but because they were functional, their value was mostly perceived in the terms of sporting equipment rather than higher valued art. That’s changing now.”

Which is not to say that he is abandoning functional surfboards. In fact, he is introducing an entirely new type of board designed to allow novices and experienced surfers alike to more easily develop their surfing skills and have more fun surfing in a variety of conditions.

The new boards and Shuler’s art will soon make an appearance on a redesigned website, www.shulersurfboards.com, and stay tuned for the next dimension of Lanny Shuler’s multifaceted life.

© 2013 Coast Weekend.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin inspires M.U.M.’s Class of 2013 with his Top Ten Rules to Live By

June 2, 2013

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin Inspired M.U.M.’s Class of 2013 with his Top Ten Rules To Live By at the University’s largest graduating class.

In true David Letterman-style, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin presented the M.U.M. Class of 2013 with his top-10 list—Harkin’s Top Ten Rules To Live By. Senator Harkin gave the Commencement Address after receiving an honorary doctorate from the University and inspired everyone with his humorous wit and down-to-earth wisdom.

Senator Tom Harkin receives an honorary doctoral degree from M.U.M. President Dr. Bevan Morris.

Senator Tom Harkin receives an honorary doctoral degree from M.U.M. President Dr. Bevan Morris. / Ken West Photography

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin received an honorary Ph.D. from Maharishi University of Management before delivering the Commencement Address at the start of M.U.M.’s Graduation exercises, which took place last Saturday, May 25, 2013, in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge.

The University’s 38th Commencement graduated its largest class ever of 334 students from 54 countries, out of the 88 represented on campus. The Class of 2013 included 251 graduates and 83 undergraduates. Check this link to see a menu of videos from M.U.M.’s Commencement 2013 http://www.mum.edu/commencement-2013. See the full PRWeb press release here bit.ly/17bxT6k for more details.

Senator Harkin was awarded a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa degree for his extraordinary lifelong service and compassionate and progressive leadership for the state of Iowa and the United States of America. He has served in the Senate since 1985 and also served in the House of Representatives from 1975–1985. He is chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and is the seventh most senior Senator overall.

In his introduction, M.U.M. president Dr. Bevan Morris said, “We honor you for a lifetime of service to the State of Iowa and the United States of America, and your compassionate and progressive leadership. You have recognized that the quality of American life is shaped by the quality of American education.”

He said that Senator Harkin has been a very good friend of the University and greatly enjoyed all his visits here. “He has given us advice and encouragement for all the University’s programs—for natural methods of prevention of disease, organic agriculture, sustainable living, our Sustainable Living Center, as well as to our town, which is rising to being one of the greenest in the nation, under the leadership of Mayor Ed Malloy.”

Senator Harkin began his commencement address on a humorous note. He thanked the University for this distinguished award and said, “I come before you with a measure of humility. I realize I was probably selected to be your speaker today because Oprah wasn’t available.” This elicited a lot of laughter as he was referring to Oprah’s visit to Fairfield last year, which she aired, including a profile of the Maharishi School on the M.U.M. campus.

He then went on to say, “But I do want you to know of my highest respect and admiration that I have for this university, for what you have done, what you have become here, in Iowa, the nation, and the world, and especially for what I consider to be the best holistic approach to education and wellness in life at any university anywhere on the globe.”

He was referring to Maharishi University’s unique system of Consciousness-Based education and leadership role in wellness research and sustainability. M.U.M. was designated as a Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention and has received over $25 million from the NCCAM and NHLBI over the past 20 years to conduct collaborative medical research on the use of Transcendental Meditation as a complementary alternative approach to treat hypertension and cardiovascular disease in underserved minority populations, the results of which have been published in top peer-reviewed scientific journals.

The most recent study was published and publicized by the American Heart Association. Last year the AHA Journal Circulation published a long-term study showing a 48% lower risk of heart attack, stroke and death in a group already afflicted by heart disease that learned the practice of Transcendental Meditation. And this year the AHA published a paper recommending Transcendental Meditation as the only meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure.

“Graduation,” Harkin said, “is one of the five great milestones in life; the others being birth, marriage, death, and the day you finally pay off your student loans.”

“I know exactly what you’re thinking. You’re wondering, ‘How long is that guy gonna talk?’ The answer is not long.”

To answer he quoted advice from Father John Ryan, the Irish priest in his hometown when he was first asked to give a commencement address. The role of a commencement speaker is like the body at an old-fashioned Irish wake: “They need you in order to have the party but they don’t expect you to say very much.”

Senator Harkin said he chose a method for the day’s occasion that has imparted wisdom to millions of people throughout the years—“I speak of course, not of the Ten Commandments, but of David Letterman’s top ten list.” But his were more like suggestions for students to choose, depending on which ones they liked.

Harkin’s Top Ten Rules To Live By

10. Don’t panic. You will find a job. Don’t worry. “My confidence is based on one thing — because you came to the right school. I have nothing, as I said, but admiration for what this university has accomplished in such a short period of time. In a unique way you have put the ‘higher’ in higher education.”

“You folks would agree with William Butler Yeats who said that education is not about filling up a bucket but lighting a fire. And you carry that one step further. At this university education is also about training, focusing, freeing the mind. It’s about raising consciousness. Here you have been beautifully prepared intellectually and spiritually for all the challenges you will face in the world out there, so you should go forth with confidence.” He encouraged students to move to smaller Iowa towns to make a contribution.

(more…)


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