Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Why Michael Braunstein meditates using TM, what it is and isn’t, and the benefits, for him.

September 13, 2019

I enjoy Michael Braunstein’s writing style, the way he talks to his readers. It’s simple, direct, and gets to the point, mixed in with a little humor. In his first article, Meditate. Your Mind Wants To., published January 13, 2019, Michael Braunstein shared his fascinating story of how he was inspired to learn Transcendental Meditation. During recording sessions, first with Paul McCartney, later with George Harrison, he became aware of TM’s effect on them. But it was Ron Altbach who inspired Michael to want to learn to meditate. Ron shines in this second TM article as well. Enjoy reading Why I Meditate, published August 24, 2019 in The Reader (Omaha, NB), posted August 27, 2019 in Heartland Healing, and now on The Uncarved Blog, with permission from the author.

Why I Meditate

by Michael Braunstein

My first brush with meditation turned out to be something other than meditation. As a sophomore in high school, our Jesuit theology teacher wanted to teach us and he gave it a go. (I love the Jesuits. They taught me freedom of thought and respect for intuitive knowledge.) After a brief description of some of the benefits, he told us to close our eyes then asked us to imagine a snow-covered frozen lake. At one corner of the lake was a man with a snow shovel and we were to imagine the man slowly walking in a straight line from shore to shore pushing the shovel in front of him. And that was it. My sophomoric high school mind wasn’t impressed. Only years later did I come to realize that he was teaching us more of a visualization than a meditation.

Years later, in April 1983, was the next time I thought about meditation. Living in Hollywood, whenever I stayed at Mimi’s cottage townhouse in Westwood I would find her rising before me early in the morning and sitting in a chair downstairs with her eyes closed. She had told me to expect that she would be meditating in the morning. One day I asked her what kind of meditation she did. She told me she learned Transcendental Meditation and followed with, “If you ever want to learn meditation, learn TM. When you learn TM, you know that you are truly meditating. TM is sort of like the ‘Cadillac of meditation.’” Those words stayed with me.

One year later. Ron Altbach was executive producer of a major live concert album and television broadcast I engineered. It starred the Beach Boys, America, Ringo, Hank Williams, Jr., Julio Iglesias, Three Dog Night and a host of others. It was a complex project and required tremendous technical expertise both on the day of recording and in post-production. Problem-solving techniques often saw me huddling with my techie assistants mulling solutions. As we geniuses bantered about which way to proceed, on more than one occasion, from the back of the room came a quiet and unassuming comment, usually along the lines of, “What if you…? Would that work?” The speaker was Ron. And each time, his solution was a good one.

After two or three of his successful suggestions, I asked him, “Ron, you’re not an engineer or tech. How are you coming up with these solutions? Where’s that coming from?” His answer was simple: “I think because I meditate, I’m able to assess situations more clearly.”

We talked about the meditation he learned, Transcendental Meditation, and it stuck with me. Three months later I learned TM at the Beverly Hills TM Center on 3rd Street. It took four sessions over 5 days and was easy. It wasn’t free or even cheap to learn. But it may go down as the best money I ever spent. Extrapolated over the years since, it’s worked out to about two cents daily. And it’s becoming a better deal everyday.

What it is and isn’t. I often have occasion to talk to people about their meditation. Some say they listen to a recording. Others say they sit and listen for answers. Some stare at candles. Some even say things like, “Mowing the lawn is my meditation;” or “I’m meditating when I’m on the treadmill at the gym.” Well, my comment about that is that listening to a recording is just that: listening to a recording. It’s not meditation. Mowing the lawn, staring at a candle or working out are fine. They are exactly what you say they are but they’re not meditation. Meditation is a specific skill best passed from teacher to student. It’s not a byproduct of another activity. In a simple description, it is intentionally sending the mind toward a state of thoughtlessness; not thinking. It is clearing the mind, releasing it from the random thoughts of the conscious, babbling intellectual mind and seeking to quiet the mind. It is not actively using the mind to request things, hear guidance or watch candles burn. That’s as simple as I can state it. It is experienced, not described.

Benefits of meditation. There is an extensive list of benefits to actual meditation. And, admittedly, there are some minor ones that become available to simple relaxation and focused attention like just resting for a period of time. Descriptions of the many benefits of meditation are easily found in books or online. Transcendental Meditation has been studied more than any other technique and research statistics are plentiful. It’s surprising that it’s not covered under health insurance or Medicare.

For me. I’ve been doing TM daily since 1984, missing maybe a half-dozen days at most. Do I do it for the benefits listed? Maybe. I don’t think about it. Have I experienced TM leading to amazing health benefits for me? I have experienced some examples so I guess you could say so. But there is one overriding reason why I do TM every single day: It feels good. If it didn’t, I’m sure I would stop. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, (who, by the way, does TM everyday,) “Do you want to feel good? Well, do ya?”

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.

Parents performing “I want to hold your hand” to their baby gives new meaning to this Beatles song

September 7, 2019

I saw this 30-second loop video on AMOK’s Twitter feed and fell in love. Look at the sweet, innocent, loving expression on this baby’s face as she listens attentively to her mother sing that famous Beatles song! I tracked down their 43-second YouTube video and discovered Us The Duo. Found their music and bio on Spotify, then their website, both posted below.

Published on Feb 13, 2019, Us The Duo‘s Michael and Carissa Alvarado sing “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles to their new baby girl, Xyla Rose. Mom is holding baby girl and the camera, while dad plays the piano and holds Xyla’s hand. They say, “This video makes us so happy! We can’t wait to show it to her someday” 🙂 For more daily content of Us The Duo and their baby girl Xyla, check out their instagram @UsTheDuo!

When Michael & Carissa Alvarado met in 2012, they had no idea their romantic relationship would eventually turn into the pop-duo musical sensation known as Us The Duo. These two multi-instrumentalists and singers went from sharing half-faced singing videos on the internet to performing around the world, supporting speakers and artists such as Oprah Winfrey, Pentatonix, and Tori Kelly. Their love of songwriting has led to 5 original album releases, over 100 million Spotify streams and a major feature in the Golden Globe Nominated film, “The Book of Life.” When the band isn’t putting together innovative ad campaigns for brands such as Amazon, AT&T, Target, and MGM Resorts, they are continually creating music videos (over 200+ million views) for their loyal social media fanbase of over 7 million followers. Now, they’ve begun their biggest adventure yet with the arrival of their new baby girl, Xyla. For continual snapshots of their daily family life and musical creations, be sure to visit @UsTheDuo on social media. Visit their website: Us The Duo.

Followup: I’ve discovered more about this couple. Watch this video, Our Story – Us The Duo, how they met, fell in love, and started making music together. They also performed on America’s Got Talent. See their audition and performances: Best Of Us The Duo On Season 13 Of AGT – America’s Got Talent 2018. They had discussed wanting to have a family, and even announced their pregnancy: Us The Duo: Singing Couple ❤ Announces PREGNANCY On Judge Cuts | America’s Got Talent 2018, and would later perform during her pregnancy, prompting the judges to call them, Us The Trio! Earlier on, YouTube Music sent them a box and challenged them to write a new song with the stuff inside. See Band in a Box Challenge! – Us The Duo.

Related: Can you imagine a world without the Beatles? Watch the new film “Yesterday” to find out. And this: Lady Lullaby Sings Welcome Home to Love and Dance Like The Wind.

What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo

July 10, 2019

Sunday, July 7, 2019 was Ringo Starr’s 79th birthday. He asks everyone wherever they are at noon that day to make the peace sign and say “Peace and Love,” what he wishes for the whole world. Here he is on the cover of Parade Magazine on his birthday. I highlighted some Q&As that caught my attention. You can read the whole article here.

Ringo talks peace & love, sobriety, turning 79, drumming in The Beatles, plus, what he really thought of Yoko Ono, in this week’s cover story.

After answering a question about why he always flashes the peace sign, Ringo gives a brilliant and succinct description of Transcendental Meditation, what it does for him, and why he starts his day with it! He clearly describes transcending, which allows his busy thinking mind to settle down and experience the unbounded state of just being.

Why has the message of peace and love become so important to you? You’re rarely photographed without flashing the peace sign.

I loved the mid-’60s, when all this peace and love started. [The Beatles] went right along with it. The press used to give me a hard time: “Oh, he’s doing that peace and love thing again.” But I’m only peace-and-loving. And they still like to sh-t on me! It’s connected to the Maharishi [the Indian spiritual leader the Beatles famously visited in 1968]. If you think to do good, then the planet will support you. It’s like a pebble in the ocean; it’s rippling out. And it will get to shore. But you can’t be impatient [laughs].

The mindfulness aspect of your peace-and-love message connects to meditation, which has become a major part of your life. What does it do for you?

It gives me a break from myself. Some days there’s absolute peacefulness and a feeling that I’ve been somewhere away, and I only know that because I come back. It’s very important for me to “not think.” I do enough thinking. You can just “be.” It’s a transcendent feeling. That’s why they call it Transcendental Meditation!

How do you stay in such great shape?

I get up in the morning and I meditate. I go to the gym and I have a trainer, and I work out myself too, when I’m on the road. I’m a vegetarian. When we’re on tour, to get out of the hotel, I usually go to the local organic shop just to see what they’ve got. But I’m only a vegetarian, not a vegan. I eat goat cheese. A vegan is very hard, and they eat a lot of sugar. I’m careful about sugar.

Ringo is a humble guy. I thought this last quote from 10 Inspiring Ringo Starr Quotes About Peace, Love and the Beatles was very enlightening!

10. “I’ve never really done anything to create what has happened. It creates itself. I’m here because it happened. But I didn’t do anything to make it happen apart from saying ‘Yes.’”

If you’re interested in learning more about TM, now is the time. See Transcendental Meditation Turns 60.

Enjoy this in-depth interview between Ringo and TM teacher and CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, Bob Roth. It was recorded a few years ago for Bob’s Sirius XM radio show “Success Without Stress.” The Foundation had honored Ringo with a Lifetime of Peace and Love Award.

Ringo Starr discussed meeting Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, how he came to write the Beatles popular Octupus’s Garden song (years later made into a colorful children’s book), inspiring others to meditate, and bringing Transcendental Meditation into schools.

Of David Lynch and the global efforts of his Foundation, Ringo said, “My sense of David and his work is brilliant. The big one for me, of course, is bringing meditation to schools and how they know from the research that the violence goes down. How far-out is that? And the Foundation goes into tough schools. That is incredible. You have to support David for that.”

A month later: ‘Dear Prudence’ Bruns in Parade discusses world peace, the ’60s, and why kids love the Beatles.

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.

Lissie @lissiemusic and her connections to Twin Peaks, Fairfield and #TranscendentalMeditation

May 11, 2019
Lissie at Paste Studio NYC live from The Manhattan Center
Streamed live on Feb 28, 2018

I heard an interview this week on Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa with Charity Nebbe. She spoke with singer/songwriter Lissie. During the conversation her connection to Twin Peaks, Fairfield and TM came up. Listen to Singer Lissie On Ditching The West Coast For Life On An Iowa Farm.

I had never heard of her and was impressed with her powerful voice and candid nature. She can sometimes sound like Stevie Nicks or Adele. Listen to this Fleetwood Mac cover of Dreams and you’ll understand why.

Around 9 minutes in she talks about a peace she found in Mt. Pleasant at her great-grandmother’s funeral. She carried it with her to California and always came back to visit family. Then she says, “I went to Fairfield and took a TM course, Transcendental Meditation.” We checked and verified that Lissie had learned TM in June 2014.

Lissie says the same thing in a video with this Des Moines Register article from Aug. 15, 2017: An Iowa musician was featured on one of this summer’s favorite TV shows. They’re referring to Twin Peaks.

They embed the video from Oct. 11, 2016: Folk musician Lissie escapes back home to Midwest. After leaving the Quad Cities area for the fast-paced lifestyle in Los Angeles, Folk-style musician Lissie discovered an Iowa farm was better for her soul than the fast lanes of Southern California.

I’ve been to Fairfield to learn Transcendental Meditation.

Lissie says: “I spent my time growing up in Iowa. I had this kind of romanticized dream or idea that some day I’ll have a farm in Iowa. I visited the Bridges of Madison County. My mom and I took a road trip and we went to John Wayne’s house. You know, like I’ve done some things in Iowa. I’ve been to Fairfield to learn Transcendental Meditation. And I’ve just always had this soft spot for Iowa.”

Lissie identifies as a Midwesterner from the Heartland and says how much she loves Iowa, describing all the reasons why. It’s where her heart belongs. Looks like she found her roots and is at peace with herself.

I mentioned this to Erin Skipper (The Light That Seeks You). She said, “David Lynch is a fan and had her be a Roadhouse performer on Twin Peaks.”

Dean Hurley, the show’s music director, and a collaborator since 2005, said she “is an incredibly emotive performer who completely embodies her music and gives everything. Lissie was definitely one of the acts that David wanted involved from the beginning. He’s been a big fan of hers for years and discovered her by a series of videos she posted on YouTube covering Lady Gaga, Metallica, etc.” (See others including Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan.)

In that interview, The Music of Twin Peaks: The Return: Lissie, Dean further explains what David looks for in a musical performance when realizing his ideas for the series. He blends intense music, emotion and acting, so the power of Lissie’s music fulfills that for him.

He said “David doesn’t attend a lot of concerts, but when she came through LA years back, he wanted to go. I can’t emphasize how rare that is for him to want to go out to a show.”

He added, “An artist like Lissie thrives in the live performance arena, she’s one of these people that almost can’t be contained on a recording because she’s the fullest realization of herself live.”

It was Lissie who suggested she sing Wild West, which fit in perfectly with an episode. See Lissie sing Wild West in Twin Peaks, Season 3, Part 14.

See the Update below where Lissie explains how she and David connected, how she learned TM in Fairfield, Iowa, then went to have coffee and talk with him in LA, and ultimately received an email from him asking her if she wanted to be part of the new Twin Peaks.

I enjoyed this short video profile on iHeartRadio: Lissie – Artist Stories – Interview (2016) – Part 1 and Part 2. It starts with her intention: “I would like to be successful with my music, but it’s about more than that, it’s about, like figuring out what my purpose for being on this planet is.”

This is an interesting description from that interview: With a career that has seen her open for renowned artist Lenny Kravitz an early supporter, Tom Petty, and even been asked to perform at Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore’s wedding, Lissie has had a wealth of incredible experiences that have made her the confident and determined artist she is today.

This is also worth watching: Lissie On Staying True To Herself At The Patch. From Cali to Iowa: Lissie keeps it Lissie. Join her at The Patch as she performs “Ojai” and “Don’t You Give Up On Me” and talks about giving in to her ambitions, not giving them up.

Verse 2 of Ojai is pure poetry; so succinct yet says so much!

I miss the seasons, I miss the land
I miss them for reasons I don’t understand
I took it all for granted
I bloomed where I was planted

She sums up her approach: “You know, I’m not trying to do anything. I’m not trying to be cool. I’m not trying to ever have a fresh sound or a cool look for an image. I’m just singing songs about my life in the most heartfelt genuine way I can, and I’m gonna be moving on to more songs very soon. And it’s as simple as that.”

I think these developments came about after she learned TM. Lissie had the courage to trust and act on her inner yearnings and is happier for it. She followed her heart and is now living her life on her own terms.

Lissie has a new album out: When I’m Alone: The Piano Retrospective: https://lissie.lnk.to/WIATW. Here’s the title song with lyrics.

Lissie – When I’m Alone (Piano Version) [Lyric Video]

Here are 3 examples of the first song on the album—Don’t You Give Up On Me—the official video with her band, a live version with her guitarist in the studios of 89.3 The Current, and on this new album as a Piano Version. Listen to her on Spotify, YouTube and VEVO.

It’d be nice if she decided to visit and play Fairfield one day. Some of us are reaching out to her. She’s on tour, so we’ll see if anything happens.

Update: Now that I’ve been finding and listening to more of her performances and interviews on YouTube, I noticed Lissie mentions again her learning TM in Fairfield, in last year’s BUILD interview, and also says it’s where Maharishi University is located in Iowa.

Further into the interview she’s asked how she got into Twin Peaks, and extends what Dean Hurley had mentioned about David Lynch going to see her in concert. “We ultimately ended up talking on the phone and he came to my show. He’s really into TM, so after I had been in Iowa to take this TM course, I had reached out, and ended up joining him at his home and drinking coffee and catching up on life. And so we just stayed in touch over the years and he’s just been very supportive and kind to me. So I think it was 2015, I got an email, ‘Hey would you want to be on the new Twin Peaks?’ So of course, like yes, that’s amazing, like this legendary status. Ya, he wanted me to be a part of it, and I performed in episode (14) for Twin Peaks!”

I love the passion and precision of the tango in these pieces by Alacrán and Gotan Project

April 25, 2019
One of many videos on YouTube with this music

Reflejo de Luna’‘ by Alacrán, a Latin group (Ignacio Egaña, Fernando Arbex, Oscar Lasprilla). The words to this tango are: Eres color / Eres calor / Eres sonido en mi corazon / Manos de luz / Reflejo de Luna; which, translated into English are: You are colour / You are warmth / You are sound in my heart / Hands of light / Reflection of the moon.

Tango Santa Maria – Gotan Project

There are many videos of this song Tango Santa Maria by Gotan Project as well with visuals. You can see the musicians playing it in this extended version: Gotan Project – Santa Maria (HD,1080) “Live” from La Revancha Del Tango (2005). The words: Hay milonga de amor / hay temblor de gotán / este tango es para vos. / Argentina Buenos Aires. Hay milonga de amor hay temblor de gotán. Argentina Buenos Aires El Puerto de Santa Maria del Buen Ayre. (Repeats) In English: There is a milonga of love / there is trembling of gotán / this tango is for you. / Argentina Buenos Aires. / There is milonga of love / there is trembling of gotan. Argentina Buenos Aires The Port of Santa Maria del Buen Ayre. (Repeats) Also found on Gotan Project – Best Of Gotan Project (Full Album).

MUM @maharishiuni professors explore secrets of world-class performers in World-Class Brain book

March 26, 2019

What Do the Brains of World-Class Performers have in Common?

The brains of world-class performers are different from the brains of average performers. No surprise there. But what is surprising is that regardless of whether these top performers are athletes, musicians, or CEOs, their brains share one feature that makes them stand out: More integrated functioning. A world-class brain works in a more coherent, relaxed, wakeful, and efficient way.

A new book tells the story of these top performers and offers an easy-to-read introduction to the research showing that their brain function is different. This short book also describes other features that these top performers have in common, such as intensely happy and fulfilling peak experiences and a greater moral sense. Readers also learn how they, too, can effortlessly develop greater brain integration.

New Book Explores Secret of World-Class Performers

World-Class BrainA new book coauthored by former MUM professor Harald Harung of Oslo Metropolitan University and professor Fred Travis offers an easy-to-read account of the defining characteristic of world-class performers – an integrated brain – and how one can develop it.

Titled, World-Class Brain, the 130-page book begins by outlining the results of three studies: on Olympic athletes, top managers, and symphony orchestra musicians. These top performers were found to have high levels of brain integration according to EEG measurements.

The book then explains in simple terms what brain integration means and presents various ways to increase it, such as playing a musical instrument, exercising, and meditation.

The authors then discuss the research on the Transcendental Meditation technique showing that it is the most effective way to develop high levels of brain integration.

The book goes into detail about peak experiences associated with brain integration in the several groups of subjects. It then discusses research on long-term practitioners of Transcendental Meditation who are experiencing higher states of consciousness and describes the defining characteristics of these higher states.

The final two chapters explain the research showing that brain integration can affect organizations and all of society.

World-Class Brain: A Textbook Teaching Tool

Co-author Harald S. Harung described editor Jim Karpen‘s great contribution to the book, “which mainly had two components: The smooth progression of chapters and ideas, and making the language very easy, enjoyable, and readable.”

Co-author Fred Travis, director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition, and dean of the Graduate School at Maharishi University of Management, said they used the structure of the book’s chapters to structure how the knowledge was taught to MBA students in China.

Dennis Heaton, professor and dean of the College of Business Administration at Maharishi University of Management, said, “I’m using World-Class Brain with my MBA and PhD students, and they really appreciate how readable it is. The authors have written about the key to top performance in a way that’s interesting and easy to understand. In addition, in the later chapters the book does an excellent job of distilling decades of research and theory, including higher states of consciousness.”

The book is available on Amazon.

Visit Dr. Harung’s website for a list of English articles and YouTube videos of their research on top performers: www.harvest.no.

Visit Dr. Travis’ website for the mission of the Brain Center, presentations, books and videos, and more: drfredtravis.com.

Related articles: Research breakthrough: High brain integration underlies winning performances | What do world-class athletes, top-level managers, musicians, and TM meditators have in common? | New study highlights unique state of “restful alertness” during Transcendental Meditation | Dr. Fred Travis at GIBS: Mind-Brain Development for Excellence and TM Develops Brain Coherence

Dan Fogelberg’s song, Longer, and my 3 love poems complete today’s Valentine’s Day Show

February 14, 2019

Sheila Moschen asked me to read 3 of my love poems for a Valentine Day’s Show on her KHOE radio program, Let Your Heart Sing. This 38-minute show (#56-R) aired on Monday and Tuesday this week at 1:00 and 7:00 pm, and will soon go into her archive. The last musical selection Sheila played was the beautiful love song, Longer, by Dan Fogelberg (at 33:05). My poems complete the show (at 35:34). They’re about a special relationship I shared with my sweetheart Sally Peden. Listen here on Google Drive or OneDrive.

CELEBRATING VALENTINE’S DAY WITH MUSIC AND POETRY

 

COMMITTED
a two-haiku poem

When the tide rolls in
bows of boats bump each other
tethered to the dock

With our ups and downs
we remain tied together
solid as a rock

~

This Quiet Love

This is a quiet love
One of simplicity and easiness
No complications here
It’s too late in life for that sort of thing
Just time to be best friends

~

In Our Loving Eyes

Some people are stargazers
We were soul-gazers
Looking in each other’s eyes

Windows to the Soul
A Self-reflecting mirror
Drawing us nearer

Love … looking … at Love

 

jfahsq8

 

World Radio KHOE 90.5 FM is broadcast from the campus of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.

Some favorite love poems: i carry your heart with me by e.e. cummings | Emily Dickinson succinctly describes the eternal nature of Love in this short but powerful poem | Love after Love, by Derek Walcott, resonates deeply when you first acknowledge yourself.

@eltonofficial Christmas TV ad for @jlandpartners tells story of the power of a gift to change a life

February 4, 2019

“Some gifts are more than just a gift”

Just saw this tweet from 15 Nov 2018 by @JKCorden of an amazing TV advert—a narrative about gift-giving featuring @eltonofficial—made for @jlandpartners, a large department store chain, played on Liverpool’s @RadioCity967. This artistic production also delivers a powerful message at the end—the power of a gift to change a life. It makes a statement! They must’ve aired it weeks before Christmas to get people in the spirit of shopping for gifts at their stores. But the message is timeless.

The Boy and The Piano

Watch the new John Lewis & Partners Christmas TV advert, The Boy and The Piano. This year’s story is about the power of a gift. And how that gift inspired, changed and influenced the course of a little boy’s life. That little boy just happens to be Elton John. The film begins in present day and works backwards chronologically through Elton’s life right until the moment on Christmas morning when he received the special gift that changed his life. Here is the video: John Lewis & Partners Christmas Ad 2018#EltonJohnLewis 🎹

The Independent published a story behind the making of the video of the commercial: John Lewis Christmas advert: Behind the scenes of the film starring Elton John. They also include their video: The Making of The Boy and The Piano | John Lewis & Partners Christmas Ad 2018 #EltonJohnLewis 🎹

Michael Braunstein shares his fascinating story of how he learned #TranscendentalMeditation

January 15, 2019

Michael Braunstein wrote a great article for The Reader’s Heartland Healing Magazine in Omaha on Jan 13, 2019. It’s a fascinating story of how he learned about Transcendental Meditation when he worked as a recording engineer in a studio where famous musicians like Paul McCartney and George Harrison showed up. But more specifically from a meditating musician some of you may remember from the early days at MIU. Enjoy reading Meditate. Your Mind Wants To.

Let’s get something straight right out of the box: You do not have to sit funny in order to meditate. All that is necessary to meditate is to learn it correctly then apply it. Since learning Transcendental Meditation in 1984, I have meditated in airports, hospital waiting rooms, sitting in the stands at soccer games, in the lobby of a busy Manhattan office building, on mountain tops and in quiet, darkened spaces wafting with incense, all with unequivocal success. Meditation doesn’t require special needs. Look, meditation is a natural state of mind that the mind craves. It’s healing. It’s transformative. And it’s easy. All you have to do is learn it correctly.

All About the Bass. You can’t start a tracking session without the bass player and the bass player was late. So I was on my knees in the studio dressing cables and doing busywork as we waited. A bass guitar case plopped on the floor right in front of me. I looked up. I stammered, “You must be the…  bass… player.” The hesitations came because the “bass player” was Paul McCartney.

It was back in my LA days as a recording engineer. During the next 14-plus hours of cutting a track, McCartney’s demeanor impressed me. Accustomed to over-amped and often crazy rock ‘n’ rollers in those days, I will never forget his gentle presence and the restrained command he offered the session. The details of the recording session are unimportant but the impression he made on me as a person remained powerful. A few months later, working on a different record with George Harrison, I observed the same sense of centered-ness and clarity.

Another musician I worked with had a similar demeanor in the studio. Readers wouldn’t recognize his name but he, Harrison and McCartney share a common link. This third musician had an even deeper effect on my life. He was the ultimate catalyst that made me decide I wanted to learn how to meditate.

My Two Cents. Ron Altbach was executive producer of a major live concert album and television broadcast I engineered. It starred the Beach Boys, America, Ringo, Hank Williams, Jr., Julio Iglesias, Three Dog Night and a host of others. It was a complex project and required a lot of technical expertise both on the day of recording and in post-production. Some of the problem-solving techniques of the day included me standing around in the control room with my techie assistants mulling solutions. As we geniuses would banter about which way to proceed, on more than one occasion, from the back of the room came a quiet and unassuming comment, usually along the lines of, “What if you…? Would that work?” The speaker was Ron. And each time he was right.

After two or three of his successful suggestions, I said to him, “Ron, you’re not an engineer or tech. How are you coming up with these solutions? Where’s that coming from? You seem to see things in a clear overview.” His answer was simple: “I think because I meditate, I’m able to assess situations more clearly.”

We talked about the meditation he learned, Transcendental Meditation, and it stuck with me. Three months later I learned TM at the Beverly Hills TM Center on 3rd Street. It took four sessions over 5 days and was easy. It wasn’t free or even cheap to learn. But it may go down as the most valuable thing I ever spent money on. Extrapolated over the 34 years since, it’s worked out to about two cents a day. And it’s becoming a better deal everyday.

Read the rest of this article in Heartland Healing at The Reader.

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