About

Ken Chawkin is a media relations director for Maharishi University of Management and helps promote Transcendental Meditation, and the David Lynch Foundation. For questions about these organizations you can reach him at kchawkin@mum.edu.

The Uncarved Blog is his first attempt at social media and contains articles, audio and video clips, primarily related to the TM technique, consciousness, and enlightenment. You can also follow him on Twitter @kenchawkin.

Ken also shares his love of poetry and posts a few of his own poems as well as those of other poets he appreciates. Some readers have wondered about the name of his blog and how it came about. We’ll let Ken explain that one.

How The Uncarved Blog got its name

Heather Hartnett at the David Lynch Foundation, encouraged me to set up my own blog and post all the TM-related articles I was sending around. So, when I thought of the word, blog, it reminded me of the word, block, the uncarved block, specifically, a term from Taoism that means the uncreated pure potentiality from which all things are created, the Tao, the source of the 10,000 things. It also reminded me of the unmanifest pure Creative Intelligence Maharishi talks about in his Science of Creative Intelligence, the field of pure potentiality; also the Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature, the Veda within Atma, Sutratma, the Self. And since ‘block’ and ‘blog’ sounded so similar, I thought it was a clever poetic way of coming up with a name.

I first read about the uncarved block in a wonderful book, Creativity and Taoism, by Chang Chung-Yuan. In it he described how the Taoist artist, a sculptor in this case, used to meditate, fast, purify himself first, and then go into the forest to find the right tree that for him contained the vision of what he was called to create. He would take that block of wood back to his studio and carve it out. Think Michelangelo freeing the statue from the marble he was carving.

Same message in the Bhagavad Gita translated and commented on by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program and Maharishi University of Management: Transcend, Be, then act; and, established in Being perform action. Established in the Self, act in tune with Natural Law. Then you’ll be more successful in actualizing whatever inspired vision, or idea, you had that motivated you to create, whether it’s a poem, a painting, a piece of sculpture, or a blog post.

I certainly enjoy blogging, and glad I started. It’s a fun creative process using digital words, images, and sounds, to carve out something meaningful for myself and hopefully my readers. Of course, there’s so much more one can do in terms of the look and functionality of a blog. But that takes up even more time, so I’ll leave it up to the good folks at WordPress.com to keep coming up with more ways to improve the experience, both for bloggers and readers. Enjoy exploring The Uncarved Blog, and thank you for visiting!

And in case you were wondering what the small colored abstract square you see next to the link in your browser at the top left, or on the right next to my comments, is all about, it’s one of Ken West’s photos, used as the blog picture, or icon, for The Uncarved Blog. Here is the complete photo © 2008 Kenneth G. West Jr.. Click on it and it will open up in a larger format. I chose it for its beauty and ambiguity; its abstract quality can imply different things. For more information and links to a video and photo gallery, check out this blog post: Ken West and his unique landscape photographs are featured on IPTV show Iowa Outdoors.

UPDATES

In the summer of 2014 I retired from my position at MUM. A year later I was featured on the TMhome website: PR to poetry – how things sometimes happen to Ken Chawkin, followed up with a second article: International History Channel documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. A nice way to go out. I continue to write, blog, and freelance as a publicist.

On July 27, 2017, Feedspot selected The Uncarved Blog among the Top 75 Consciousness Blogs and Websites Winners on the web! This is the most comprehensive list of the Top 75 Consciousness Blogs on the internet chosen from thousands in their index using search and social metrics. Click here to read about their selection criteria for the 24th Best Consciousness Blog on the planet.

32 Responses to “About”

  1. Janet Bray Attwood Says:

    Good for you! This is great! love Janet

    Like

  2. Willy WIlson Says:

    Hey Ken, thanks for sharing my article on Felicia Hoo in your blog.

    Willy Wilson

    Like

    • Ken Chawkin Says:

      You’re welcome, Willy. That was a while ago now. What’s happening with you these days? Did Felicia complete her TM Teacher Training Course?

      Like

  3. julieeagleton Says:

    Wonderful blog, Ken!

    Like

  4. Carla Brown (@TMChicago) Says:

    I love your blog. It is consistently uplifting, like you.

    Like

  5. How The Uncarved Blog got its name « The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] How The Uncarved Blog got its name by Ken Chawkin […]

    Like

  6. Valerie C. Gangas Says:

    You are totally awesome!!

    Like

  7. Elliot Majerczyk Says:

    Hello Ken,

    Yes, I just started doing TM on a regular basis over the last few months. Its been years since I tried to incorporate the practice twice a day. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I don’t know why I didn’t embark on this regularity sooner.

    I did work for the CBC, however I left for various reasons of dissatisfaction. I returned to school and became a Pediatric Audiologist and practiced for around 8 years. When I moved to Charlottesville (my wife teaches at UVA), I re-entered the radio world. I now produce a show for the NPR network called With Good Reason. I sometimes still do on the air work for the show.
    I also record and play electronic music. Here is an interview that I did on the NPR station WMRA.

    http://wmra.org/post/elliot-majerczyk

    By the way, are you originally a Montrealer or did you just live there for a while?

    Like

  8. Ken Chawkin Says:

    Hi Elliot,

    Am now enjoying your interview with Martha Woodroof and your audio samples. Interesting how you’ve been connected to music through your brother and the Montreal scene, and later to audio as a pediatric audiologist, radio producer, and music/sound sampler/composer. Enjoyable.

    Yes, I am a Montrealer, or was. Grew up there, and after I left, discovered there was a whole world outside Montreal called Canada! But I’m still a Canadian at heart. I returned to Montreal twice several years ago, once for my father’s funeral, and the following year for the unveiling. I found a different city. It had changed. But then, so had I.

    BTW, there is a TM Center in the Charlottesville, VA area. It’s always easier to get back into TM and to stick with it after you’ve had your meditation checked. Here’s their page. http://www.tm.org/transcendental-meditation-charlottesville

    Nice to connect with you. You look much younger than me!

    Best wishes,

    Ken

    Like

  9. Elliot Majerczyk Says:

    Hello Ken,

    So nice to hear from you and thank you for the kind words about the interview. It was recorded live in one take. I haven’t listened to it in a while due to an inability to relax and not be hyper-critical when I hear my own voice being played back to me.

    I also go back to Montreal to visit my mother who is now 89. I usually stay in an AirBnB in the Mille End area (around Bernard, St. Viateur, and Jeanne Mance). That area is very vibrant, heterogenous in people, with great restaurants, bakeries, coffee, bagels, etc.

    Yes, it is no longer the Montreal of my youth. However I do enjoy showing the city off to my 15 year old daughter when our family visits. She gets to see different cultures and hear different languages. Something that is missing in Charlottesville.

    I’m actually going to approach her about learning TM. It will be her decision, however I hope that she may be opening about being instructed in the technique. I think she would benefit immensely.

    By the way, another acquaintance from Montreal at Maharishi University is David Goodman. I doubt that he would remember me, but I do remember David as kind soul who encouraged me to stick with my meditation practice.

    All the best,

    Elliot

    Like

    • Ken Chawkin Says:

      OMG! I met David on a Residence Course. He was 17 at the time. I think we became TM teachers together and used to teach at the downtown TM Center on Sherbrooke Street above the Walter Klindoff Art Gallery, beneath a Charm School above us. He graduated from McGill. My sister also graduated there in music. She was an opera singer and also became a TM teacher along with our younger sister. David teaches at MUM in the Business department. I’ll tell him we connected when I see him. You can also email him at dgoodman.david@gmail.com. I’m sure he’d be happy to hear from you.

      Maybe you also know Sebastian Lange, a filmmaker in Montreal who lives and works in that area you describe. I stayed at his place when I was in Montreal. He graduated from the Maharishi School in Fairfield.

      If you ever come for a visit, bring your daughter to see the Maharishi School. Most kids fall in love with it and don’t want to leave. It was listed as one of the Cool Schools in the younger People magazine. http://maharishischooliowa.org

      BTW, our Commencement speaker this year at Maharishi University of Management will be another famous Canadian, Jim Carrey. He learned TM when he played the role of Andy Kauffman in Man on the Moon, but didn’t stick with it. He visited Fairfield last year with a friend and MIU, now MUM, graduate who’s his friend and publicist. Jim had his meditation checked and is very serious about his spiritual development. Lot’s going on here. You should come for a visit some time.

      Here’s a course open to the public and meditators that may be of interest for your family http://www.experiencetheself.org.

      All the best,

      Ken

      Like

  10. Gregory Fraser Says:

    Dear Ken Chawkin,

    I wonder if you might be able to put me in contact with former Missouri professor Margaret Sayers Peden? I need to ask her permission to reprint several translations she did of the poems of Claribel Alegria, this for a feature essay in The Birmingham Poetry Review. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’m having a hard time tracking down an email address or phone number for her.

    Sincerely,
    Gregory Fraser, Ph.D.
    Professor of English
    University of West Georgia

    Like

  11. Anuj Agarwal Says:

    Hi Ken,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog The Uncarved has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 75 Consciousness Blogs on the web.

    http://blog.feedspot.com/consciousness_blogs/

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 75 Consciousness Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.

    best,
    Anuj

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Michael Bell Says:

    We thought you might be interested in this new music video honoring John Lennon & human rights activist Victor Jara (Chile). Feel free to share or use as a resource. Peace – Michael Bell & Duane Arnold – THE PROJECT (Indianapolis, IN). https://youtu.be/UTA3bjW9VqM

    Like

  13. Reny Parker Says:

    Ken, I really enjoy your posts.
    I suggest you check out my husband’s — Keith Parker — essay on how serving others breaks the binding influence of action. I think your readers would find the essay interesting since it addresses what’s near and dear to all TM practitioner’s hearts: achieving contentment, steady intellect and balance in success and failure. Basically, Keith shows that by serving the desires of others we break the cycle of impression-desire-action at the level of our desire to find contentment in sensory experiences. He’s a longtime TM teacher and many in the Movement would enjoy reading his essay. Here’s his URL: http://www.grooveofservice.com.
    Best Regards, Reny

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ken Chawkin Says:

    Thanks, Reny, I’ll look at it. My first reaction to what you’re saying is that it sounds like something Christ would have said, (Love they neighbor as yourself, and Do unto others as you would have them do unto you) as well as the Dalai Lama, who advocates compassion.

    Serving others does take us out of our own small self-ish desires, which never bring lasting contentment. Of course if we serve the desires of others, in a sense aren’t we participating in their karma?

    Also, maybe the desire to help others is still a desire, albeit a morally good one. Guess it’s better to function within that altruistic cycle than the more shallow selfish one.

    I remember reading a book by a holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, the founder of Logotherapy. I think he described one inmate who gave of his food and helped others. He stayed healthier longer and was more likely to survive. It also gave meaning, and therefore happiness, to his life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl.

    I also think full-time TM Teachers are constantly giving of themselves helping others by teaching them how to transcend and heal from within. They also grow from this process. It’s an uplifting profession, if you can do it full time.

    Best regards,
    Ken

    Like

    • Keith R Parker Says:

      Ken — Reny forwarded your email exchange to me.

      The key to understanding the value of service is how serving others breaks the binding influence of action. Re Bhagavad Gita 2.39.

      Regards, Keith

      Like

      • Ken Chawkin Says:

        Keith, my copy of Maharishi’s translation and commentary of the Bhagavad-Gita, Chapters 1-6, Chapter 2, Verse 39 reads:

        This which has been set before you is
        understanding in terms of Sankhya; hear it
        now in terms of Yoga. Your intellect
        established through it, O Partha, you will
        cast away the binding influence of action.

        I don’t see any mention of serving others there.

        BTW, Dr. Tony Nader will be giving a Live Facebook talk on Jan 9, 2019: How Karma Works. You can submit or present your questions. Here’s the link: https://www.mgcwp.org/ico/ANNOUNCEMENT_NATIONAL_DIRECTORS/2019/2019-01-09_Karma_Facebook/index.html

        Regards,
        Ken

        Like

        • Keith R Parker Says:

          True. MMY says very little about the value of service in the BG and nothing at all about it in 2.39.

          My point in refering to 2.39 is that breaking the “binding influence of action” is key to understanding how any type of Yoga works, including TM. That’s what Yoga does, beak the binding influence of action; breaking the binding influence of action is the nitty-gritty to rising to higher levels of consciousness.

          So, serving others — putting their desires ahead of ours — is the practice of Karma Yoga. And the key to understanding the positive and evolutionary value of serving others (eg, why service makes us feel content and happy) is to understand how service breaks the binding influence of action.

          In short, when we serve others we put their desires ahead of ours and we break the cycle of impression-desire-action (commentary 2.50) at the level of our desire to find contentment in sensory experiences. Our outward flow of attention ceases and we turn within (2.45) to find contentment (ie, our experience of Being) where it has always been, deep within. Contentment begets steady intellect begets balance of mind. I go into more detail in the section “Liberation — Breaking the Binding Influence of Action.”

          So, please forgive my shorthand in referring to 2.39 without explaining why “breaking the binding influence of action” is fundamentally important to understanding the mechanics of how we achieve contentment (and its byproducts of steady intellect and balance of mind) by serving others.

          Let me know if I’ve created more fog than clarity in this exchange.

          — Keith

          Like

          • Ken Chawkin Says:

            Keith, I see your point, and it has merit. I think Maharishi’s thesis is to transcend the field of action itself and become established in the Self, and from there to perform action, without its binding influence. BG 2:45 & 48.

            Chapter 3 Verse 34 mentions the highest form of service.

            Know this: through homage,
            repeated inquiry and service,
            the men of knowledge
            who have experienced Reality
            will teach you knowledge.

            I would think offering service to an enlightened master would be the highest form of service for one’s own enlightenment.

            JGD
            Ken

            Like

            • Keith R Parker Says:

              I agree re service to the master being the ultimate . That said, service is service and all service to others breaks the binding influence of action. So even those not in direct contact with the master — and the opportunity to serve directly or indirectly — have the opportunity and power “be without the three Gunas” through serving others.

              Like

            • Ken Chawkin Says:

              I still don’t completely agree with your thesis. There is also the element of TM, which you have supposedly been doing for years. So you may have evolved your nervous system to the point where helping others has become just as natural as helping yourself. Maybe the two have become one. It’s all part of your evolution as a human being. But suggesting to others that they only do good to others as a way to attain freedom from bondage may be putting the cart before the horse. On the other hand, I’m willing to admit, I’m not there yet, if that makes any sense.

              Like

            • Keith R Parker Says:

              I hear you. It’s interesting how understanding and experience support and enliven each other. Probably why MMY taped so many lectures. Pleased they’re being made available to us. I hear a depth now that wasn’t available to me before. Too, that’s one of the GREAT things about the BG: we reread it over time and through our experience with TM knowledge opens up for us in all ways. Pretty cool stuff. Count ourselves lucky. Onward.

              Liked by 1 person

  15. Reny Parker Says:

    Thanks for that info Ken. We live in Fairfield part of the year so get dome announcements as well as TM Governor emails. Perhaps we will connect with you in Fairfield, we will likely arrive in May. Appreciate your blog, Reny
    P.S. tried to do an email reply but it did not work.

    Like

  16. Ken Chawkin Says:

    Reny, thanks for the link to your website. The floral photos are beautiful! Lovely video presentation too.

    Like

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