Archive for December, 2014

Winding up the year with inspiration from Hafiz

December 29, 2014

We are coming to the end of the year 2014. It seemed like a rough one for many, personally, and collectively for the world. I’ve finished reading A Year With Hafiz: Daily Contemplations, translated by Daniel Ladinsky. There is usually one poem a day per page. It was a gift from friend and author Steven Verney. Here are 3 poems towards the end of the book, end of the year, that talk about endings, and, in a way, new beginnings. May they inspire you as we transition into the new year, and for some, into a new life in 2015.

A Prayer I Sometimes Say

It is the Beloved who is revealed in every
face, sought in every sign,

gazed upon by every eye, worshipped in
every object that is adored, pursued in the
visible and in the unseen.

Not a single one of His creatures, not a
single one, my dears, will

fail to someday find the divine Source
in all of its primordial and glorious nature.

And be forever united with the Infinite,
because that—God—is really you.

Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi, look what your
words have become—the restoration of
Truth, the regeneration of Life itself.

December 23, page 391

* * * * *

The Tender Mouth Of The Earth

What will the burial of my body be? The
pouring of a sacred cup of wine into the earth’s

tender mouth and making my dear sweet lover
laugh one more time.

What is the passing of a body? The glorious
lifting of the spirit into the sacred arms of the

Sky, and making existence smile, one more, one
more time.

December 28, page 396

* * * * *

A River Understands

I used to know my name. Now I don’t. I
think a river understands me.

For what does it call itself in that blessed
moment when it starts emptying into the
Infinite Luminous Sea,

and opening every aspect of self wider than
it ever thought possible?

Each drop of itself now running to embrace
and unite with a million new friends.

And you were there, in my union with All,
everyone who will ever see this page.

December 29, page 397

* * * * *

One poem about a river is beautifully told by William Stafford in his poem, Ask Me, where he looks to the stillness in the river to inform him, and the person asking him about his life, and, in a way, the creative process in the moment. Another poem of his, Something That Happens Right Now, also leaves you with a similar unbounded feeling as this last Hafiz poem does.

See other inspiring poems by Hafiz, translated by Ladinsky, posted here.

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From Jerry Seinfeld to the US Army, regular TM energizes, clarifies, and heals mind and body

December 21, 2014

You don’t have to be a wounded warrior returning home traumatized and depressed to benefit from Transcendental Meditation. Even comedian Jerry Seinfeld says his regular TM practice gives him a rested body and a clear mind, and the energy to do almost anything. For Jerry, it’s his ultimate work tool for success! Here are two articles about TM’s value.

TM is the ultimate work tool for Jerry Seinfeld

New York Magazine’s Dan Hyman interviewed Jerry Seinfeld, again, for Vulture: Jerry Seinfeld on the Comedians in Cars Season Finale and Late-Night TV. It’s excellent and revealing! At the end, Dan asks Jerry how he stops obsessing about creating his comedy bits and web series, and mentions his longtime TM practice. Jerry’s reply beautifully sums up the value of regular Transcendental Meditation practice!

How do you relax when not obsessing over your bits or working on your web series? I know you’re a longtime practitioner of Transcendental Meditation.

I’m obsessed about that, too. In fact, that’s what I’m going to do as soon as we hang up. I started doing TM in ’72, and that’s kind of how I recover from doing things that are tiring. It keeps my energy really high. I don’t know if it clears your mind. What it really does is it helps your body and mind to rest. They don’t really get a good rest in sleep. And this has been studied by virtually every medical school in America these past 40 years or whatever that this stuff has gotten popular here. And if you just look at the medical research of what goes on in the brain and the body in this process, it’s totally different from sleep. So forget about relaxation or anything like that: It’s the ultimate work tool to me. It’s like you have a phone and someone hands you the charger and you go, “Just try plugging this in and watch what your phone will do now.”

It’s the ultimate work tool to me. It’s like you have a phone and someone hands you the charger and you go, “Just try plugging this in and watch what your phone will do now.”

Listen to Jerry Seinfeld talk about TM in other venues posted here.

US Army uses TM to help heal wounded warriors

This article, Transcendental meditation: A path to healing, is archived on WWW.ARMY.MIL, The Official Homepage of the United States Army. Written by Wesley Elliott, DDEAMC Public Affairs Officer, it first appeared on the front page of The Fort Gordon Signal: Soldiers meditate as alternative therapy.

After nine months of combat in Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Todd Knauber was wounded. Upon his return home he was told things would get better, but instead they got worse. He was in pain, depressed, taking a cocktail of medications, and didn’t know where to turn for help. Then someone gave him an opportunity to participate in Transcendental Meditation as part of his treatment at the Eisenhower Army Medical Center. TM was being offered as an alternative way to help heal his wounds, both physical and mental. It turned his life around. Here is an excerpt from the article.

“I got to a tipping point. Things were bad, but then I was given the greatest gift I have ever received from a stranger.”

Knauber was offered an opportunity to participate in Transcendental Meditation as part of his treatment at Eisenhower Army Medical Center.

Transcendental Meditation was something he had never heard of but it offered him the possibility of dealing with the medications, the nightmares, and the physical and emotional pain.

“It was not a branch for me to grab hold of but rather a taproot under my feet. A stable platform which gives me a moment’s respite so I can put my pain into perspective enough that I can reattempt the climb.”

Since he began meditating, there has been a change in his life. He meditates twice a day for 20 minutes and over the course of four months, he has been able to entirely discontinue two medications, Prazosin and Trazadone, and has reduced his Zoloft by half.

In addition to the calm he says he experiences through Transcendental Meditation, Knauber says it has made it easier to manage his physical pain from his injuries.

“I typically have a regimen of several pain medications to manage my physical injuries. Rather than taking a handful of pills seven days a week, I can manage my pain regularly with a few tablets, two to three times a week.”

Others have even told him that he looks like an entirely different person after starting to meditate.

“I am vibrant, I smile, and I look much more grounded. The truth is you can’t practice Transcendental Meditation without it positively affecting you.”

The truth is you can’t practice Transcendental Meditation without it positively affecting you.” — Staff Sgt. Todd Knauber

Doctors promised him through medication and hard work he could potentially heal over the course of years, but since Transcendental Meditation he has moved much closer to achieving his recovery in months.

“At times the troubling thoughts and nightmares come back, but as a whole, the progress is palatable.”

“I feel more in control of my life now, and I’m becoming hopeful about rebuilding and getting better.”

See many more articles on the value of TM for Veterans posted on this blog, here, here, and here. Check out this website to find out more about TM for Veterans.

The David Lynch Foundation brings support and programs to Veterans and their families. Visit their website: Operation Warrior Wellness.

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

December 21, 2014

See the full article with more photos and quotes featured in the 21st issue of Enlightenment: The Transcendental Meditation® Magazine: The “Dear Prudence” Story by Rolf Erickson. Reprinted here with permission including the video: Dear Prudence: A Portrait Of Prudence Farrow Bruns.

The “Dear Prudence” Story

BY ROLF ERICKSON

photo_prudence01Prudence Farrow Bruns, PhD, is the daughter of actress Maureen O’Sullivan and award-winning writer/director, John Farrow. She has been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique for 48 years, and has been a teacher of the TM program for 46 years.

It all started so simply. It was 1966, and 18-year-old Prudence Farrow was sitting on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at her brother’s home in Los Angeles. She was reading a book on meditation when she heard a voice say, “If you’re interested in meditation, I know just the meditation for you.”

The voice was that of Peter Wallace, a friend of her brother. Peter had spent six months traveling through India, where he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and began the Transcendental Meditation technique. He told her how simple and effortless the technique was, and yet how profound the experience and benefits could be.

“It was the simplicity of the practice that struck me most,” Prudence said. “I’d been trying different methods of meditation for some time, but they had all been complicated and difficult. When Peter described a simple, natural practice of diving deep within, I knew he was truly onto something.”

So Prudence learned the TM technique at UCLA. After experiencing the positive effects of TM for herself, Prudence wanted more. She wanted to meet Maharishi and to study with him. “At that time Maharishi had courses in India,” says Prudence. “He brought people there, and they studied for three or four months with him. You meditated for long periods under his guidance.”

On January 23, 1968, three days after her 20th birthday, Prudence traveled with Maharishi from New York to Rishikesh, India to attend her TM teacher training course. And that’s when the “Dear Prudence” story really began.

The Beatles Make the Scene

One month after Prudence arrived in Rishikesh, The Beatles showed up to study with Maharishi. While they all spent some time there, John Lennon and George Harrison stayed the longest.

“The Beatles were all very nice, humble, modest, kind, and down-to-earth people,” Prudence remembers. “I was closest to John and George, since they were my ‘course buddies’ during our studies with Maharishi. We were supposed to look out for each other during the course.”

photo_prudence02

Prudence (left) sat next to Ringo in course photo.

Prudence soon became known for her tendency to keep to herself in her room, focused on her meditation practice. “I was deeply immersed in my studies and meditation, locked away in my quarters. John, as my course buddy, was concerned and wanted to bring me out of my room to enjoy the experience more.”

John and George would come over to her room and play their guitars, encouraging her to come out and sing with them. It was this experience that became the inspiration for their song “Dear Prudence” in which John sings, “Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play?”

Before he left Rishikesh, George mentioned to Prudence that they had written a song about her, but she had no idea what it was. She didn’t hear the song until it came out on their 1968 album The Beatles, commonly known as the “White Album.”

Prudence’s dedication to her meditation practice did pay off. After four months, she graduated from the course and became one of the first and youngest teachers of the Transcendental Meditation technique at that time.

But that was just the beginning of the “Dear Prudence” story.

Prudence Comes out to Play

Once she completed her teacher training course in India, Prudence definitely did come out to play. Over the past 46 years, she’s instructed thousands of people in the TM technique throughout the United States and Canada. She married TM teacher Al Bruns in 1969, and they have three children and four grandchildren.

She’s produced Hollywood feature films and a play in Manhattan. She was an assistant to the curator of the “Theatre Collection” of the Museum of the City of New York. She has been a magazine writer. She’s written two books.

Prudence earned a BA, an MA, and a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. She received her doctoral degree in 2007, with a major in South Asian Studies and Sanskrit. She has made presentations to conferences at numerous universities, including Harvard, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Hawaii. She’s taught courses at UC Berkeley and Rutgers University.

TM and Yoga

Prudence continues to teach the TM program in Florida. In fact, she’s the most successful teacher in the U.S. at setting up Affiliate Programs in yoga studios. Maybe that’s not so surprising, considering that she’s a lifelong yoga practitioner, and she opened a yoga institute in Boston back in 1967.

photo_prudence03

Prudence attended India’s Kumbh Mela last year.

Maharishi Foundation created the Affiliate Program to bring TM to yoga studios and fitness centers. When a studio becomes an Affiliate, their members can learn TM at a reduced course fee, and the studio receives a share of the income. Everyone benefits—the new TM student, the yoga studio, and the local TM teachers.

Today most people think of yoga as a series of physical postures. But Maharishi has explained that in the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali identifies eight limbs of yoga, and the eighth limb is Samadhi or transcendental consciousness. Maharishi said that with the practice of TM, Samadhi is actually the easiest limb of yoga to achieve, since no effort is required. We simply tap into the natural tendency of the mind to go within, to transcend, and that transcendence nourishes and supports all the other limbs.

“I do think that Transcendental Meditation is—of the meditations that are available to us—the most direct, and the simplest,” says Prudence. “When you meditate, when you transcend, it allows your heart and mind to balance. And when they’re balanced, that’s when you are really healthy. You are happy. You’re happy mentally, happy emotionally, and happy spiritually. Those three are all components of what make a human being, so that connection to transcendence is absolutely necessary for health.”

Creating a Better World

Fortunately for us all, Prudence did come out to play.

“The years of meditating have enriched my life so much,” Prudence says. “And that’s why at this point in my life, I’m giving back. We need a better world. We need people to be more conscious, to be more evolved. And expanding the mind, like TM does, is absolutely vital to bring about stronger people. If you can strengthen people inside, you’ve changed the world.”

So even today, 48 years later, the “Dear Prudence” story continues.

###

Last year, Prudence Farrow Bruns participated in a series of Consciousness Talks at Maharishi University of Management, called Our Conscious Future. Here is a clip from her talk where she discusses a conversation she had with George Harrison about his spiritual awakening. Prudence, George and John Lennon said they felt it was happening to many in their generation, and that it would continue long after they were gone. To listen to Prudence describe The “Dear Prudence” Story, and other fascinating presentations, visit ConsciousnessTalks.org.

Here is a video with lyrics to The Beatles – Dear Prudence.

Another beautiful song that John Lennon wrote about his experience with Transcendental Meditation was, Across the Universe. Here is a video with the lyrics to the song. 

This article was also published in GGN: World Peace News. Here are some related videos and interviews with Prudence Farrow Bruns: The Beatles “Dear Prudence”: A Portrait of Prudence Farrow Bruns, Maharishi and TM and Ted Henry interviews “Dear Prudence” Farrow Bruns about her life with TM and Maharishi and Prudence Farrow — subject of the Beatles song Dear Prudence — visits India’s Kumbh Mela.

Prudence’s memoir is now out: Dear Prudence: The Story Behind the Song. Listen to an interview with Prudence about the book online at Spirit Matters with Dennis Raimondi and Philip Goldberg. Read an interview about the book in Rolling Stone: The Real ‘Dear Prudence’ on Meeting Beatles in India. Read this excellent article in the Pensacola News Journal: Woman behind Beatles ‘Dear Prudence’ reads at Open Books.

Watch the A&E biographical film, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on History International Channel (November 2007) and the earlier CBC documentary of Maharishi at Lake Louise. TMhome also posted the International History Channel documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: How it was made: The story behind the film.

Hafiz, via Ladinsky, reminds us when we love those in our care we are brought closer to God

December 21, 2014

Another small but profound poem by Hafiz is titled Riches Everywhere. Published in A Year With Hafiz: Daily Contemplations, and translated by Daniel Ladinsky, each poem is read for a specific day of the year. This poem, found on page 389, is dated for today, December 21.

Riches Everywhere

Don’t envy my talents, or seek them.
For few could bear the suffering it took
to mine the jewels I have brought to town.

There are divine riches everywhere. The
most natural way for most to find them
is by caring for those who are close to
you as if they were our Beloved.

This poem reminds us to not covet other people’s wealth, but to find riches everywhere, most naturally within our own hearts.  By loving those close to us as we would love God, our hearts come to know the divine within them, and ourselves, the only true and lasting riches. In loving, we come to be loved; we come to the Beloved.

Other beautiful poems by Hafiz selected for posting on The Uncarved Blog are: Hafiz’s poem, God Pours Light, awakens the soul and frees the mind from debating words about it | Winding up the year with inspiration from Hafiz | 3 beautiful and profound short poems by Hafiz about the nature of God within us | Hafiz via Ladinsky describes the spiritual transformation of loving deeply within himself | For Hafiz the role of an enlightened poet is to connect humanity with the joy of the divine | Hafiz said to leave something in the marketplace, and Jesse Winchester sure did before he left us.

Poetry helps us imagine what it’s like to be human. ~ Mark Strand (1934–2014)

December 5, 2014

Mark Strand, former U.S. poet laureate (1990-1991) and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1999), felt strongly that writing and reading poetry could make us better human beings. “Poetry helps us imagine what it’s like to be human,” he said in an Inscape interview last year.

Percy Bysshe Shelley had famously said, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” When Mark Strand was asked what he thought the function of poetry was in today’s society, he replied: “It’s not going to change the world, but I believe if every head of state and every government official spent an hour a day reading poetry we’d live in a much more humane and decent world. Poetry has a humanizing influence. Poetry delivers an inner life that is articulated to the reader.”

Indeed, especially if they were as transformed by poetry as Mark Strand, who wanted to feel himself “suddenly larger . . . in touch with—or at least close to—what I deem magical, astonishing. I want to experience a kind of wonderment.”

Last week, one of my poet friends, Roger Pelizzari, emailed me about the passing of Mark Strand, and included a favorite poem of his, My Name. Roger included a link to an earlier Paris Review interview: Mark Strand, The Art of Poetry No. 77, with his friend Wallace Shawn, from which I’ve included interesting excerpts.

I was surprised and sorry to hear the news of Strand’s passing and checked the Paris Review for an update. I found Memoriam Mark Strand, 1934–2014, under The Daily by Dan Piepenbring, and sent it to Roger.

Media from around the world published Obituaries reviewing the Canadian-born, American poet’s accomplished literary career. The LA Times described Mark Strand as “a revelatory poet who addressed love and death in his poems, but in radically lyrical, revelatory ways.”

This poem is filled with the wonderment he sought, and seems a fitting memorial, prophetically written in the poet’s own magical words.

My Name

Once when the lawn was a golden green
and the marbled moonlit trees rose like fresh memorials
in the scented air, and the whole countryside pulsed
with the chirr and murmur of insects, I lay in the grass,
feeling the great distances open above me, and wondered
what I would become and where I would find myself,
and though I barely existed, I felt for an instant
that the vast star-clustered sky was mine, and I heard
my name as if for the first time, heard it the way
one hears the wind or the rain, but faint and far off
as though it belonged not to me but to the silence
from which it had come and to which it would go.

(more…)

Poets Kenneth Rexroth and William Wordsworth Experienced Transcendence and Self-Awareness

December 3, 2014

Transcendence and a self-referral awareness are described by great poets when they interact deeply with nature. In the process, they experience their own inner nature. Their poetic expressions describe a state similar to what practitioners of Transcendental Meditation experience, where the body is deeply restful, more than deep sleep, and the mind is highly alert, peaceful, unobstructed by thoughts, unbounded.

Kenneth Rexroth describes this experience in his poem, The Heart of Herakles, (The Collected Shorter Poems of Kenneth Rexroth). Looking up into the night sky through a telescope, he sees the enormous constellations and soon loses his sense of self. “My body is asleep. Only my eyes and brain are awake. … I can no longer tell where I begin and leave off.” In this expanded state he becomes aware of different aspects of nature being collectively self-aware with an “eye that sees itself.”

The Heart of Herakles

Lying under the stars,
In the summer night,
Late, while the autumn
Constellations climb the sky,
As the Cluster of Hercules
Falls down the west
I put the telescope by
and watch Deneb
Move towards the zenith.
My body is asleep. Only
My eyes and brain are awake.
The stars stand around me
Like gold eyes, I can no longer
Tell where I begin and leave off.
The faint breeze in the dark pines,
And the invisible grass,
The tipping earth, the swarming stars
Have an eye that sees itself.

William Wordsworth describes a similar experience of an inner physical suspension along with a deep seeing and joyful knowing while recalling a transcendental experience in his poem, Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798. Here are some excerpts from that long poem.

That blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened: — that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on —
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul;
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.

His initial experience of transcending within his own mind has matured as he recognizes that same transcendental essence throughout nature, thereby unifying his inner Self with the same Self of all conscious things.

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

(more…)


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