Archive for June, 2019

Poem for Sali—An Undying Love—heals the heart

June 28, 2019

Interestingly, on Monday morning, at the end of my meditation, I had this loving feeling in my heart, thinking of Sali. So I wrote this poem for her. It contains two haiku and a last line, which brought a quiet healing, knowing the bond of love is eternal; death cannot touch it. I remembered the jyotish reading Sali received from Pandit Shastriji with the nadi leaves, where he told us of some of our past lives together. She had later conveyed a message to me, that we would share again “The Peace that Passeth Understanding” I had written about after she had passed. See “Final entries leading up to and after Sali’s passing.”

An Undying Love

Still love you Sali
An undying kind of Love
That lasts Forever

Souls from the same Source
Incarnating together
Lifetime to lifetime

This thought brings peace to my heart

© Ken Chawkin
Monday, June 24, 2019
Fairfield, Iowa, USA

See these two earlier blog posts, written around a year apart on full moon nights, about the joy we shared together: Capturing an authentic moment in writing, and Haiku of the Heart – for Sali.

This year, Sheila Moschen had asked me to read three of my love poems to conclude her Valentine’s Day Show, Let Your Heart Sing, on KHOE.

Sali can be seen meditating in this 1973 Finnish TV interview with TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

July 2, 2019 Update: I am reminded of this appropriate quote from the Zen poet Ryokan I had included in a post about his poetry. The last half of it is how I feel about the eternal nature of love I share(d) with Sali.

“In all ten directions of the universe, there is only one truth. When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same. What can ever be lost? What can be attained? If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of time. If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us.”

Can you imagine a world without the Beatles? Watch the new film “Yesterday” to find out.

June 20, 2019

I read an article in today’s Newsday on the movie release of “Yesterday” a week tomorrow. Due to a freaky worldwide blackout, the only person who remembers The Beatles and their music is Jack Malick, a struggling singer-songwriter. His life is about to change. The film stars Himesh Patel as Jack, his girlfriend Lily James, Ed Sheeran, and Kate McKinnon. Danny Boyle directed the film based on a screenplay by Richard Curtis. Read the synopsis and watch the previews on the film’s website.

The film poses an interesting question for those who deeply love the Beatles: How would life be different if your favorite band had never existed? Film critic Rafer Guzmán interviewed Long Islanders on the impact the Beatles had in their lives and society in general. A local FM radio broadcaster’s comments are spot on!

For the on-air personality known as Donna Donna, who hosts middays on Babylon’s FM station WBAB, the Beatles’ impact went beyond music. A preteen during the first wave of Beatlemania, Donna says, she remembered the band’s 1964 visit to New York, the British Invasion that followed and, in 1968, the Beatles’ famous trip to India to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

“After they came back from India, I think every town in America had a Transcendental Meditation center,” says Donna, who grew up in Floral Park. “I went and learned TM in Mineola! Right on Old Country Road! We were all meditating.” 

The band’s spiritual side “affected me in a very personal way,” Donna says, adding that she meditates to this day. “I would say they had an impact on world peace.” 

That kind of wide-reaching influence is what makes “Yesterday” such an interesting thought-exercise. According to Boyle, the director, the movie’s conceit couldn’t have worked with any other band. “If you’re going to make something disappear, you’ve got to make it something truly significant,” he says. “These guys literally changed the world.”

Read the rest of this well-written article: With ‘Yesterday’ about to hit theaters, LIers imagine a world without The Beatles.

This west coast Afterglow stays with you awhile

June 16, 2019

This is a beautiful blog post by westcoastwoman—the photo, quote, and six-sentence description. She intimately makes the universal personal. Click here to see the many responses to it, including mine. Having spent some time on the west coast of Canada I appreciate how she captured the magic in words. The experience cannot be pinned down. It’s transcendent—”in-between-time” and “neither here nor there.” The deep silence of nature’s transitions between night and day, twilight and predawn, are like a metaphor for our own inner experiences—the gaps between waking, dreaming and sleeping, and the silent unbounded backdrop to them, our own transcendental Self.

Afterglow

June 12, 2019

DSC_2188
photo credit westcoastwoman ©

“Everyday a new picture is painted and framed, held up for half an hour, in such lights as the Great Artist chooses, and then withdrawn, and the curtain falls. And then the sun goes down, and long the afterglow gives light.”

Henry David Thoreau

Afterglow

Every night they come, the watchers of the sun-set, drawn down by the need to see the light extinguish behind the islands and the sea.

I want to share with them as they slowly rise and disperse that the setting of the sun is only a prelude to the experience they had been called to witness, but I stay silent.

It is this time between the setting sun and rising moon, this short extension of the day, this in-between-time when my heart and mind settle for just a moment.

I watch as the sky paints itself with each night’s original palette, wanting only to share with those who can look out from the same place and feel the colours as they appear, understand the need for silence.

In these moments when I am neither here nor there, anything is possible, magic is afoot and I am caught in the afterglow of another original creation as it slowly fades from sight.

The darkness takes the light, the starlings swoop once more in perfect unison over the water, I share with all who stand watching… being neither here nor there, a silent good night.

westcoastwoman 2019 ©

Written in response to GirlieontheEdge’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt. Prompt word: Extension.

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This reminds me of a poem I wrote down while waking from a dream in a foreign land. It was during the predawn, when “the moon bows / before the rising sun.” See: Indonesian Mystery Poem honoring Nyi Roro Kidul.

Dr. Schneider addresses doctors on the role of managing the mind to manage the aging process

June 11, 2019

Dr. Robert Schneider addressed medical doctors at a conference of the Age Management Medicine Group in Miami, Florida, April 2019. The Review spoke with Dr. Schneider about his presentation and published an article on page 2 of the May 15, 2019 issue (Vol. 34, #15, Maharishi University of Management). A video of his talk is embedded below.

Dr. Schneider Addresses Doctors on the Role of the Mind in Aging

Hundreds of medical doctors specializing in age-management medicine learned about the role of the mind in modulating the aging process thanks to a plenary address by Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, dean of the College of Integrative Medicine.

At a conference of the Age Management Medicine Group held last month in Miami, Dr. Schneider explained how stress, such as anxiety, depression, and social isolation, accelerates the aging process by causing physiological damage, including inflammation and free radicals. These in turn damage telomeres, parts of the DNA that protect cells from premature aging.

“The doctors were very interested to hear how the mind-body connection can speed up or slow down the aging process,” said Dr. Schneider. “I explained that one needs to manage the mind to manage the aging process.”

Dr. Schneider then spoke about the research on the Transcendental Meditation® technique showing that it mitigates a range of physiological conditions associated with aging.

For example, it reduces harmful free radicals, lowers blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors, and increases telomere repair. He then pointed out that indeed research shows reduced mortality rates in subjects who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique.

“The contribution of lifestyle to aging is becoming a major theme in contemporary medicine, so these physicians were fascinated to hear how Transcendental Meditation can modify aging,” Dr. Schneider said. “This was the only session to show research on how science supports the mind-body connection. My talk spoke to their desire for evidence-based recommendations in mind-management medicine.”

Medical doctors can now become certified in age-management medicine. The physicians at the conference received continuing medical education credit for participating in Dr. Schneider’s presentation.

A video of Dr. Schneider’s presentation, The Role of Stress & Stress Reduction in Age Management Medicine, is now available for viewing.

Takeaway: If doctors want to practice evidence-based age-management medicine they should learn TM and prescribe it for their patients.

See more about Dr. Robert Schneider on this blog.

Good Opinion piece on Transcendental Meditation

June 9, 2019

I enjoyed reading Louise O’Neill‘s well-written Opinion piece on TM published Friday, June 07, 2019 in the Irish Examiner. Her experiences with other meditations in the past contrasted markedly when she finally took up the natural and effortless practice of Transcendental Meditation.

Louise O’Neill is the award-winning author of Only Ever Yours, Asking for It, Almost Love and The Surface Breaks, with a reputation for hard-hitting books tackling feminist themes.

‘For years now, I’ve been reading and hearing about Transcendental Meditation’

My first ever experience of meditation was in the prayer room in my secondary school; a class of 20 girls lying down on the floor, listening to our religion teacher read out a guided meditation. (Most of us using it as an opportunity to take a sneaky nap, let’s be real.) 

I didn’t think any more about it until, in my first year of university, I saw a flyer advertising a short course in mindfulness and it was there that I learned a very basic form of meditation — following the breath, in and out.

Coming back to the breath when my mind began to wander. The breath was the only thing that mattered.

This focus on the breath was never something that came naturally to me, although I worked hard at it. I went to an ashram in India to learn more. I joined a Buddhist meditation group in New York and went to weekly meetings, jostling for space in that cramped room above a fast food chain in downtown Manhattan. 

I took up yoga, I bought the Calm app and the Insight Timer app and the Headspace app. I would try to take 10 minutes every morning to focus on my breathing, and sometimes it would feel wonderful — my mind would be clear, my breathing slow and regular — and other days, it would feel like I was fighting an uphill battle, one eye on the clock, waiting for the buzzer to ring and release me from my torment.

For years now, I’ve been reading and hearing about Transcendental Meditation. TM is a non-religious meditation that was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It was popularised in the west in the late 60s when The Beatles undertook a TM training course in India, later denouncing drugs in favour of the meditation and crediting TM for the fertile period of creativity that followed. 

Since then, it seems to have become the meditation of choice for celebrities all over the world. Oprah Winfrey paid for 400 of her employees to take the TM course, declaring: “I’m a 1,000% better person if I do (TM)”. Others such as Jerry Seinfeld, David Lynch, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ellen DeGeneres have all praised the practice for increasing productivity, making them more efficient and less reactive, boosting energy levels and improving their quality of sleep. 

Their claims have been backed up by hundreds of peer-reviewed medical studies, and every time I would read such a testimonial, I would promise myself that I would investigate further. It wasn’t until a friend told me that she found her TM practice incredibly helpful in easing her anxiety that I decided to take a leap of faith and get in contact with the Cork branch of TM Ireland.

Stewart and Nora Anne Luck are a married couple who have been practicing and teaching Transcendental Meditation for years, both here and abroad. 

I met with Stewart (everyone who is interested in learning the technique is encouraged to attend a free introductory session beforehand) and found him to be a gentle, calming presence, as well as being someone who is clearly very passionate about the value of Transcendental Meditation and its ability to change not only our own lives, but to transform the entire world.

For the next four days, I met with Nora Anne for an hour-and-a-half lesson each day. She gave me a mantra; one that I am told is for me only. (Am I very immature that I find this oddly thrilling? It’s like a secret password in a Famous Five novel.) 

We meet again a week later for a check-up, and another session is pencilled into the diary for a month after that again. In order to get the full benefit, I am encouraged to sit quietly and repeat my mantra silently for 20 minutes, twice a day. Once in the morning and once again in the late afternoon/evening, in order to give me an extra boost of energy to enjoy the remainder of my day. And that’s it.

What has surprised me so far is how unbelievably easy I’ve found the practice to be. TM is supposed to be natural and effortless, ‘trying’ to get it ‘right’ is anathema to its very nature.

But unlike every other form of meditation that I’ve attempted to master, I don’t dread the twice-daily 20 minutes that I’ve committed to dedicate to TM. With other meditations, I would sit down and I would often find it difficult to get my racing thoughts to settle, giving up after 10 minutes because it seemed like a waste of my time.

With TM, I go to that quiet place deeply, quickly, and it feels almost obscenely enjoyable. I can only describe it as being akin to the space between waking and sleep, a blissful stillness. 

I feel more rested. I’m much more energetic than I usually am, particularly in the evenings, and I managed to get through an intensive period of work in half the time it would ordinarily take me.

I have a tendency to be evangelical when I find systems or routines that work for me, advising everyone to follow suit and I’m itching to do the same for TM. 

However, I’m aware that it’s early days yet, so my intention is to keep practicing twice a day for the next six weeks and report back on any changes I see.

But for now? I’m hooked.

If my column has whetted your appetite for all things TM and you want to learn more, pick up a copy of Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation by Bob Roth.

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See a video of the book launch party that took place in Manhattan with Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness, and classical guitarist Sharon Isben to celebrate the publication of the life-transforming New York Times bestseller, “Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation” (Simon & Schuster) by long-time meditation teacher Bob Roth. Jerry, Hugh and Bob reveal what the TM® technique means to them, and how this tool can change your life. They also discuss the work of the David Lynch Foundation bringing TM to thousands in need. Bob is the CEO of the DLF. You can find more articles and interviews with Bob Roth talking about his best-selling book listed on The Uncarved Blog.

Tara Gardner‘s experience and understanding of what makes TM unique among the other meditations she’s tried is also impressive. She nails it in this piece she wrote for Glam: How Transcendental Meditation Gives Me Mental Clarity Like Nothing Else.

Another funny and telling cartoon about life

June 9, 2019

This funny cartoon tellingly depicts our obsession with the past and future while ignoring how to be in the present moment with meditation!

Also see this other fortune-telling cartoon. It’s so unexpectedly funny.


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