Posts Tagged ‘Consciousness-Based education’

New David Lynch MFA Screenwriting students use #TranscendentalMeditation to unfold creativity

February 11, 2018

KTVO’S Aish Menon reports for ABC 3 & CBS 3.2: MUM students use Transcendental Meditation in new screenwriting program

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Fairfield, Iowa, TM and MUM make national news

June 10, 2016

Many articles have come out in praise of Fairfield, Iowa. Two and a half years ago, Rox Laird, The Des Moines Register’s editorial columnist, published an Opinion piece, Fairfield defines community action, on the city’s civic collaboration and Maharishi University’s Sustainable Living Center. The Smithsonian named Fairfield 7th out of 20 best small towns to visit that year. BuzzFeed named Fairfield one of the coolest small towns in America. And The Iowan had published an article on how Fairfield thinks inclusively creating rural success in Iowa.

I like to think the positive outcome of this latest article on Fairfield, TM and MUM, by Kevin Hardy in The Des Moines Register and the  USA TODAY NETWORK, resulted from a phone call I received on my birthday.

In April, I went to visit my son Nathanael at his new home in the Santa Barbara Riviera. For lunch he took me to The Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach, a well-known outdoor restaurant on the beach by the ocean. While waiting for our food to arrive, an unknown number called my cellphone. It was Kevin Hardy. He told me he covered business, labor and the economy for the Des Moines Register, and was researching why some towns in Iowa were thriving while many were losing population and failing economically. Then he said something that surprised me.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Fairfield was Iowa’s fastest-growing city among cities of a similar size. Kevin wanted to know what role I thought Maharishi University of Management had played in the demographic and economic growth of Fairfield.

In addition to some of the longtime established businesses, I  gave him an historical overview how hundreds of meditators came from all over the US and Canada after MIU had moved to town from the mid-1970s onwards. Many would stay and relocate their businesses or start new ones. Also told him about today’s younger entrepreneurs, the new successful ventures they started, and gave him a list of people and companies to visit and interview.

Kevin Hardy and Register photographer/videographer Zach Boyden-Holmes really did their homework. They put together an impressive article that became a national success story! It is reproduced here with permission.  See the full article with 14 photos taken May 9, 2016 by Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register. I added links for more information.

Why this Iowa town is thriving when so many aren’t
By Kevin Hardy, June 1, 2016

Click here or on the image below to see a short video of Fairfield entrepreneurs. (1:20)

Fairfield out-performed all of the state’s 15 micropolitan areas in terms of population growth between 2010 and 2015.

FAIRFIELD, Ia. – Take a walk around this town’s bustling square and you’ll see an array of businesses that would rival some shopping malls.

On one corner sits a coffee shop that roasts its own beans in house. Down the block is a store specializing in sustainable children’s clothing and toys. Along another strip, there’s a women’s boutique, a Verizon store and a nutrition company.

The town’s retail center also is home to a salon, a consignment store, a furniture store and an art gallery. Just off the square is a pet spa, a natural remedy store and a photography studio. And for those looking for a bite to eat: a Thai restaurant, an Indian cafe, an Italian spot and a joint peddling pizza and steak.

In fact, local officials count only one vacancy in the storefronts that line shady Central Park. It’s just one more sign of success in this town of 9,500 in a state where most small cities and rural areas are seeing residents leave.

Since 1969, census data show Iowa’s metropolitan areas have gained nearly a half million people, while smaller cities and rural places have lost more than 171,000 residents.

But Fairfield has prospered, particularly in recent years. Between 2010 and 2015, the city saw a 4 percent population gain – a rate that rivaled the growth of some of Iowa’s much larger metro areas.

This southeast Iowa city is known as a magnet for practitioners of Transcendental Meditation at Maharishi University of Management, who flocked here since the 1970’s. Fairfield was able to capitalize on that unique niche, building a surprisingly metropolitan quality of life.

While Fairfield is home to 1,000 fewer jobs than it had 15 years ago, state figures show employers have rebounded in the last five years, adding nearly 700 jobs between 2010 and 2015. During that time, Fairfield went from 714 employers to 751, according to Iowa Workforce Development.

“We have a great quality-of-life culture and an entrepreneurial culture,” said Mayor Ed Malloy. “And we see it is allowing more young people to put down roots in this community.”

Around town, there is no shortage of small-city staples like Casey’s General Store and Pizza Ranch, though Fairfield is better known for its funky coffee houses, shops and restaurants. Locals claim the city is home to more restaurants per capita than San Francisco.

Yet the place that Oprah Winfrey dubbed “America’s most unusual town” is more than just quirky. It’s one of the few nonmetropolitan areas in Iowa posting strong population growth, according to U.S. Census figures. And around town, evidence abounds that Fairfield has done what so many small cities in the Midwest struggle to achieve: attract and retain people.

Troy with MUM Solar Array

Troy Van Beek stands in front of a solar power array his company Ideal Energy installed at the Maharishi University in Fairfield Monday, May 9, 2016. Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register

TM’s long effect
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced Transcendental Meditation, or TM, in India in the 1950’s.

But he brought his technique and “Consciousness-Based education” to Iowa in 1974, when Maharishi International University moved from Santa Barbara, Calif., to the 1 million empty square feet vacated by Parsons College in Fairfield. (The university later changed its name to Maharishi University of Management.)

While some in the community resisted the influx of meditators, locals say most of those tensions were alleviated years ago.

“As time has gone on, everybody’s meshed seamlessly,” said local designer Linda Pettit.

Pettit, who with her husband owns Finishing Touch interior design, has watched Fairfield thrive over the last 32 years from her storefront on the town square. She ticks off quality-of-life improvements such as a new pool and new recreation center.

She boasts about the many restaurants. And she tells of all the new and unusual businesses that have opened.

“We have a very vibrant community,” she said. “I think a lot of small towns don’t have the diversity that we do.”

Pettit hears about layoffs at plants in nearby Ottumwa. She knows how Iowa farmers are struggling with low commodity prices. But she said that isn’t Fairfield’s storyline.

Her business works on residential and commercial projects. But she’s noticed a slant toward more commercial projects in recent years, as new businesses pop up and old ones invest in upgrades.

“It’s a great place to have a business,” she said.

Iowa’s ‘Silicorn Valley’
Over the years, many TM practitioners and others who visited Fairfield decided to stay.

Once here, they had to find a way to make a living. Some Fairfield residents drive to Ottumwa or Iowa City for work. But many have started small businesses in Fairfield, which has been called “Silicorn Valley” for its mixture of tech startups and entrepreneurial ventures.

“People moved here and they had to figure out how to stay here,” said David Navarrete, spokesman for Sky Factory.

The 38-employee company was founded in 2002 by Bill Witherspoon, an artist who moved to Fairfield for its TM community. A serial entrepreneur, he formed Sky Factory as a means of supporting his family. It creates window and ceiling panels that recreate outdoor views like those of a blue sky or a beachfront.

Sky Factory’s biggest clients are health care providers, as research shows even a simulated view of the outdoors can boost moods for those trapped indoors.

“I think there’s definitely an entrepreneurial spirit here, and I think a lot of that comes from the university,” said Witherspoon’s son, Skye Witherspoon, now the company’s CEO.

Fairfield is also home to a surprising array of manufacturing.
Creative Edge makes intricate flooring for some of the world’s best known hotels, casinos, hospitals and universities. Bovard Studios makes and restores stained glass windows for churches across the country. And a host of businesses manufacture agricultural parts, iron castings, polyethylene piping and laundromat washers and dryers.

So many things are made in Fairfield that the Iowa Economic Development Authority will host an export conference here in the fall.

Fairfield’s biggest employers have grown in recent years, too.

Cambridge Investment Research now employs about 700 and boasts more than $70 billion in assets under its management.

Mixed signals
Like many small cities, some employers in Fairfield report trouble recruiting and hiring, especially with Iowa’s unemployment rate remaining below 4 percent.

Lori Schaefer-Wheaton, president of the 170-employee Agri-Industrial Plastics, said hiring is a struggle. She has 20 openings, a number that has held fairly constant over the last two years, she said.

Fairfield is an anomaly among small cities in Iowa, she said, but she thinks recent population growth is largely related to the university.

“That kind of population growth might show up on our census,” she said. “But I don’t think it changes the dynamics of the workforce in our town.”

Iowa State University Economist Dave Swenson said Fairfield definitely out performs many similarly sized cities. But some signals are mixed: While some measures show recent job growth, other data actually point to employment losses, he said.

“They seem to be demonstrating both demographic and economic growth that stands out,” he said. “The big question is this a short term growth or is it sustainable?”

Natives return home
Meghan Dowd came to Fairfield as a child when her parents migrated here for the TM community.

She moved away for college, then ended up working in television in California.

From there, she visited her mom in Fairfield and realized it was going through a “renaissance,” with monthly art walks, a new events center and lots of cool coffee shops and restaurants. She moved back in 2009 and started Shaktea, a maker of kombucha, a trendy fermented drink.

In Fairfield, she says she can do just about anything she could in a metro city. Plus, it’s much cheaper to buy a home or start a business. (She also started Cado, an organic avocado-based ice cream, featured with a photo in the article and video.)

Her children attend a Waldorf-inspired preschool. And after yearning for a yoga studio, she just opened her own.

“A lot of people moved here, the kids grew up here, but then the kids wanted to go out into the world and experience different things,” Dowd said. “I think that happened and some of that is kind of boomeranging back to Fairfield.”

Jesse Narducci followed a similar path. He returned home to Fairfield a few years ago after living in Colorado and California for more than a decade. He opened Jefferson County Ciderworks just outside of town. He brews hard apple cider and runs a taproom featuring hard-to-find craft brews.

Narducci said many of Iowa’s smaller towns are undesirable places to live because they lack quality places to grab a meal or a drink out. Not Fairfield.

“You don’t have to drive to Iowa City to have a good ale or a good meal,” he said. “I don’t really leave that often. … I’m trying to create my own little paradise out here.”

(more…)

Ottumwa Courier photojournalist Rachel Leathe @courierrachel takes a tour of MUM @MaharishiU

March 19, 2016

Rachel Leathe, photojournalist for the Ottumwa Courier called to take a tour of Maharishi University. She had recently transferred to the Courier from Montana and was curious to visit the campus. Click here to see what she put together as it appeared online with 6 photographs from various campus locations. Click here to see 61 more photos at their online photo gallery. And here is a PDF of the article, which took up the back page of the Thursday, March 10, 2016 issue: A tour of MUM.

A tour of MUM

AmineKouider:RachelLeathe:The Courier

Amine Kouider, Science and Technology of Consciousness Instructor, meditates with his class before lunch on Feb. 23, 2016. This is the first class that these David Lynch Master Film students are taking and is also the first class that all students at MUM are required to take. RACHEL LEATHE/ THE COURIER

Walking around the Maharishi University of Management campus in Fairfield, you may imagine you’ve somehow been transplanted to a Buddhist temple or an Indian yoga retreat. You certainly wouldn’t expect to find yourself on a college campus in rural Iowa.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi set up his first university on a small campus in Santa Barbara, CA in 1973. He dreamed of creating a new kind of university, one that not only offered a traditional education but also focused on what he called a “Consciousness-Based education.” One of the main features of this kind of education was Transcendental Meditation.

In 1973 Parsons College went bankrupt due to a myriad of issues including overspending, a sharp drop in enrollment, and a deep deficit. At the same time, Maharishi University was rapidly outgrowing its Santa Barbara campus and looking for a new home. In the summer of 1974, with the help of private benefactors, MUM was able to purchase the former Parsons College campus and move in.

Every new student at MUM is required to first take a class on TM. The class guides students through a seven-step learning process which explains the theory behind TM, the benefits of TM, and teaches students different techniques to help them meditate. Ken Chawkin, Publicist for MUM and TM practitioner for the last 49 years, says that “after meditation, one comes out recharged and more wide awake.” He says this is particularly beneficial to students because it makes them more receptive to what their teacher is saying.

International students make up a little over 75% percent of the MUM student body and on average represent about 85 different countries. MUM offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctorate degrees, similar to most other US colleges. However unlike most universities, nearly 70% of MUM’s students are pursuing their Master’s degrees.

Another unique aspect of MUM is that it operates on a block system. Instead of taking four or five classes at once, “which is very stressful,” Chawkin says, students “go much more deeply into that particular subject.” They attend this one class Monday through Friday, usually from 10 am to around 3 pm with a break for lunch and two daily meditations. Students are also usually expected to attend an additional Saturday morning class.

MUM campus dining services also sets MUM apart by only serving completely organic, vegetarian food. The kitchen receives a small portion of their food from the campus organic farm ran by Director of MUM Farms, Steve McLaskey, PhD. The rest of the produce they receive is from local organic farmers and from a couple outside providers. Executive Chef, Suresh Miller says that the biggest difficulty with an all organic, vegetarian menu is finding a wide variety of vegetables, “Like you can’t get asparagus in the winter time. Whereas meat you can buy all winter long, no problem.”

One Comment was posted so far by TLGreen:
Great article and gleaning of SE Iowa history. I moved to Fairfield in 2004 to attend MUM from Oregon. I was in a grad program at the [ ] and had no intention of changing schools…and then I came to visit Fairfield. I was so impressed by the level of regard to education, for students well being and for the commitment to organic food and lifestyle that my life was forever changed. I loved my experiences and studies at MUM – I was able to be that curious, motivated and engaged student that I longed to be, but struggled with the intense pressures of a traditional & unhealthy grad program.

See Rachel’s photo essay on the March Fairfield 1st Friday’s Art Walk.

Related: ABC News reports on Maharishi University in Iowa.

Maharishi University places 23rd in top 30 great small colleges for certain personality types

February 18, 2016

Here is an interesting ranking of a select number of colleges based on a specific personality type. I’ll copy the introduction for you and include the description and ranking for Maharishi University of Management. MUM is in good company!

30 Great Small Colleges for ESTP Personality Types

Published February 2016

In this ranking, we focus on 30 great small colleges for the ESTP personality type.

About ESTP Personality Types

The ESTP Personality is referred to as “the Entrepreneur” and considered an Explorer. These are people who are smart, perceptive, energetic, bold and original. Some of their best attributes include their excellent sense of humor, their perception skills, and their excitement for life. They have an innate sense of when something, even something minute, is different. School can be a challenge for the ESTP learner, not because of a lack of intelligence, but rather their love of learning by doing. They are people who often subscribe to the motto “rules are made to be broken.” This Myers Briggs Personality type is a risk taker and loves to push boundaries. They can sometimes be seen as insensitive or impatient and their risk taking can lead to trouble. In some instances they can even be seen as defiant.

An ESTP loves to think on their feet and make decisions in the moment. They are extremely social people and love to network and use their social intelligence. Some of the careers for ESTP learners include sales, marketing, business, athletics or exercise profession, entrepreneurship, environmental studies, sustainability studies, coach, sports medicine and athlete. Typically the ESTP career is that of a leader, and not a subordinate.

Best Majors for the ESTP Personality

Each of the Myers Briggs Personality types has a number of career options that are best suited for their specific personality characteristics. ESTP’s may choose to major in a field where they can put their best skills to use. They will hone in on their social prowess and their quick thinking. They are people with naturally born business savvy and an innate ability to negotiate successfully with others. These traits are ideal for the ESTP majors of business, marketing, sustainability, environmental science, exercise or sport science and entrepreneurship.

Qualities or the Best College for the ESTP Personality

For each of the unique Myers Briggs personalities, there is a learning environment that will most ideally allow them to use their individual strengths and interests. For example, an ESTP will benefit from a learning environment that is not restrictive. A smaller learning environment is ideal so they have plenty of opportunities to put their natural leadership skills to work. A college with many opportunities to interact socially will also be a great college for ESTP learners. Those schools with opportunities to participate in athletics will be a huge benefit for ESTP athletes.

For information on how we selected these 30 schools, see the methodology statement at the end of the ranking.

#23 – Maharishi University of Management – Fairfield, Iowa

Maharishi University of Management Best ESTP CollegePoints: 9
University Website

Maharishi University of Management is a pioneering academic institution with great pride in their eminent quality of life. There are a number of unique elements that make this school one of the best for ESTP learners. Students can become active in many extra-curricular activities such as:

  • Helping provide sustainable organic produce in the vegetarian kitchen
  • Opportunities to meditate on campus
  • The ability for students to focus on their studies one at a time

For those non-traditional students who might be juggling work and school, or those who benefit from a more relaxed pace, this school could be an ideal choice. For more than 40 years, Maharishi University of Management (MUM) has forged the way with a cutting edge approach to learning, creating Consciousness-Based℠ education. All students and faculty at MUM practice the Transcendental Meditation® (TM) technique, a simple meditative technique. Research has shown that this meditative model leads to integrated brain functioning, increased creativity and intelligence, reduced stress, improved learning ability, improved academic performance (GPA), improved ability to focus, improved health, and many more. MUM offers bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD degrees in a wide range of traditional fields, such as business, media and communications, art, literature, education, and computer science. The school has also developed several new and exciting disciplines as well, including sustainable living and Maharishi Vedic Science.

ESTP majors with an interest in business can pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA). The BA in Business Administration program prepares students to be leaders in the private or public sectors. The MBA program prepares students to compete effectively in the job markets and to engage in high-level operational and strategic management teams.

ESTP majors with a passion for sustainability will thrive in the Master of Arts in Sustainable Living major program. MUM defines Deep Sustainability as:

  • Going beyond efficiency and substitution to radically re-design systems from the ground up
  • Creating deeply resilient communities, able to adapt to any disturbance
  • Promote individual and social transformation from the deepest level – the level of consciousness
  • Some of the unique features of this graduate level sustainability program include:
  • Enjoy a unique learning environment that enables every student to thrive
  • Work on student-driven projects integrated into each course
  • Move through the course sequence together with other students as a team
  • Cohort system

Enrollment: 1,454
Cost of Attendance: $18,784
Overall School Accreditation:
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
US News and World Report Ranking: Not Applicable
Inclusion on National Ranking Lists:
Best Colleges: 25 Best Colleges for Non-Traditional Students—Ranked #2
Number of ESTP Majors Available: 2

ABC News reports on Maharishi University in Iowa

January 21, 2016

Maharishi University of Management continues to be in the news. Today, a journalist from ABC News visited Fairfield to find out more about this Leading University in Transcendental Meditation.

MUM-SLC-ABC

Maharishi University’s Sustainable Living Center Greenhouse

Thursday, January 21, 2016, Fairfield, Iowa: Campaign Digital Journalist Josh Haskell is in Iowa covering politics for ABC News. When not on the campaign trail he takes time off to see some of the more interesting locations around the state.

Today Josh dropped in on Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield. He was very interested in visiting MUM because of the talk about TM at the New York office. He knew that some of them were meditating including news anchor George Stephanopoulos who had interviewed Jerry Seinfeld and Bob Roth about it.

Josh visited the university’s Sustainable Living Center and was given a tour by David Fisher, the head of the department. David also explained Consciousness-Based Education, a unique feature of this university, and the benefits it brings to students.

Josh saw a very diverse group of students in a Computer Science course meditating at the end of their day in class. He later returned to interview them. He asked about their Transcendental Meditation practice and what it’s like to study at MUM. All the students praised TM and the University for allowing them to think more clearly and learn more effectively in a stress-free environment.

Click the hyperlinked title above the photo or this link to see his 12-minute report: http://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=36431564.

Related: @NylonMag visits the @TMmeditation Capital of the Midwest @MaharishiU in Fairfield, Iowa.

Videos of MUM 2014 Graduation with Jim Carrey

May 31, 2014

Visit the MUM website to see videos of Maharishi University of Management’s May 24, 2014 Graduation ceremonies. See the press release with a video and photos. From there you can also access Jim’s full Commencement Address, his honorary degree award, as well as the 2014 MUM Graduation Valedictorian Speech and 2014 MUM Graduation Salutatorian Speech, and the Full Graduation Ceremony.

Paresh Dave of The LA Times just published Could these be the best commencement speeches of 2014? and Jim’s address is 7th in the top 10! See: Some Reports on @JimCarrey’s Commencement Speech at MUM @MaharishiU #mumgraduation, for a review of some of the amazing news coverage, including two JPEGs of articles not available online. That post has the B-roll footage embedded in it. A little longer is this Highlights video, minus the joke Jim pulls on Bevan, in the third video.

Other videos will be added next week: Dr. Craig Pearson’s introduction, as well as Dr. Bevan Morris’s impressive introduction to Jim Carrey. In it he told a story about Judd Apatow, who, early in his career as a young standup comic, was opening for Jim Carrey. After seeing Jim perform and the response from the audience, Judd decided to quit comedy. He said “Jim Carrey is funniest man on earth. This is something we can all agree on. We can debate forever number two but Jim will always be the king.” Until that video is available, I share this story so you’ll more fully appreciate the humor in the Valedictorian’s opening remarks.

About six months later, November 13, 2014, Jim Carrey was on The Ellen Degeneres Show promoting his film Dumb and Dumber To. One of the things Ellen asked him about was the Commencement speech he had given and what it was like for him. Jim spoke glowingly about MUM and the students, and that he had learned TM. They actually showed a clip of it. Here is the 1:40 minute segment, which starts at 6:36 of the 8:20 interview. After the show over a half-million people visited the MUM YouTube Channel. To date over 60 million people worldwide have seen Jim’s inspiring talk.

Fairfield, Iowa, The Spiritual Sister City, published in Lawrence, Kansas Magazine

February 11, 2014

Susan KrausSunflower Publishing sent Susan Kraus to Fairfield, Iowa to write a travel piece for one of their magazines, Lawrence Magazine, the premier quarterly magazine for Lawrence, Kansas.

Lawrence Magazine Spring 2014Their Spring 2014 issue includes an article on Fairfield, Iowa filed under Journey by travel writer Susan Kraus. Titled, The Spiritual Sister City, the description reads: With a little meditation in the heartland, a rural town in southeast Iowa transforms into a cultural and educational center.

Susan timed her visit last summer to take in a First Fridays Art Walk. Besides exploring Fairfield, she also toured the Maharishi University of Management campus, and learned about Transcendental Meditation, Consciousness-Based Education, and Sustainable Living. She brought her husband, who, decades earlier, when he was a university student, had learned TM.

Susan is also a social worker and her husband works at a university in the video department. They had lunch with Ken West, also from Kansas, who had done some photography in an area Susan was familiar with. They shared a lot about the Kansas and Iowa landscapes, and used some of Ken’s photos for the piece.

Susan wrote an accurate assessment of what she found here in such a refreshing way. You can read her story by clicking on this PDF: Lawrence Magazine spring 2014 for MUM.

See a related article by Des Moines Register editorial columnist Rox Laird. His Sunday Opinion piece features the collaborative civic-minded town of Fairfield and Maharishi University’s Sustainable Living Center. Fairfield defines community action: Jefferson County town shows how to ‘manufacture dreams’ through civic collaboration. MUM obtained permission to make this wonderful article available as a reprint. You can see it beautifully laid out on their website link.mum.edu/GreenFF.

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin delivers M.U.M.’s commencement address—report by KTVO’s Laura Simon

May 26, 2013

An Iowa Senator delivers MUM’s commencement address
by Laura Simon for KTVO News | Saturday, May 25, 2013

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin speaking at the M.U.M commencement ceremony.  / Laura Simon

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin speaking at the M.U.M commencement ceremony. / Laura Simon

FAIRFIELD, IOWA — The Morales-Rivera family moved from Chile to Iowa in 1984 in pursuit of the American Dream.

“We wanted a consciousness-based education for our daughters,” Tina Morales-Rivera said.

That place for a Consciousness-Based℠ education was at Maharishi University. Tina is graduating with a master’s degree and her 26-year-old twin daughters are receiving their bachelor’s degrees.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Tina said. “It’s a great privilege. It’s really an honor to be with my daughters today.”

The Class of 2013 is made up of 334 students who represent 54 countries. This includes 251 graduates and 83 undergraduate degrees.

“They graduated their largest class in history which really underscores the trend the university’s going through right now,” Mayor of Fairfield Ed Malloy said. “They really are on a growth path.”

“I’ve been to a lot of commencements and I don’t think I’ve ever been on a platform where I’ve had as many different nations represented as there are here,” Iowa Senator Tom Harkin said.

Senator Harkin delivered a humorous, yet moving commencement speech. He says the most important thing to remember in life is to be apart of something bigger than yourself.

“Get involved in something,” Harkin said. “Think about the pebble you throw in the pond that makes waves that get bigger and bigger and bigger. Even if you’re a pebble, even if you’re not a senator or a governor, that doesn’t make any difference, you can start something in a community.”

The Morales-Rivera twins plan on taking Senator Harkin’s words to heart, furthering their media and communications education in the fall to obtain their master’s degrees.

“We’ve always loved movies and simply the world of media,” Coral Morales-Rivera said. “We want to change it and bring it to be more self-conscious of the beauty of life.”

For more information see the MUM press release announcing the MUM 2013 Awards Ceremony the night before and today’s graduation. An archive of it can be seen on Livestream. An archive of the graduation will be posted at a later time on the MaharishiUniversity YouTube Channel.

More coverage: Senator Tom Harkin gives Commencement Address during Graduation day at M.U.M.

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

Maharishi University featured in ALT magazine

April 24, 2013

Journalism students from Grandview University in Des Moines, Iowa came to Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa to find out what we were all about. The result of that visit is this article, MAHARISHI, which can be found in Volume 7 of ALT Magazine. You can see it online, pages 25-26/33, http://altmagonline.com/Maharishi, and can download a PDF to see the layout as it appears in print on pages 46-49, http://altmagonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ALTVol7.pdf.

IMG_1157

Google describes Transcendental Meditation as “A technique for detaching oneself from anxiety and promoting harmony and self-realization by meditation and repetition of a mantra.”

In a Southeastern Iowa town, TM, or Transcendental Meditation®, is the method the Maharishi community eats, sleeps and breathes.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi developed the TM technique that the students of the Maharishi University of Management, a liberal arts school (M.U.M.), use everyday to decompress and get away from the stresses of college and everyday life.

STUDENT PERSPECTIVES

Hannelore Clemenson, a 32-year-old student from Des Moines and single mother, has been a student for two years at MUM and practices TM daily.

Clemenson found Fairfield and TM by word of mouth. Her dance teacher suggested going to MUM and when she thought her son was missing out on “small town life” she made the trip to Fairfield and hasn’t left.

Clemenson said, “I came across this school ten years ago and it was always a possibility and something definitely different from all the other schools I had been to before. If I was going to go back to school with my son it was going to have to be a special place.”

The soft-spoken Clemenson said MUM provides students with a Consciousness-Based℠ education that helps get rid of fatigue and stress and keeps students awake in class. M.U.M. uses block scheduling, which means they have only one class a month and attend six days a week.

IMG_1110-300x200Clemenson said the classes are very hands on, which allows her to pursue music depending on which class she has that particular month. With the block scheduling, students take one class for an entire month, allowing them to do more in-depth projects.

Class is only part of the MUM college experience. Clemenson, along with the rest of the M.U.M. students, are required to take a six-week course that introduces the students to Maharishi’s knowledge. In the second week, students are taught how to meditate and learn the proper technique of meditation. Students are required to meditate for 20 minutes before coming to their morning class, and after their morning class is completed they do a ten-minute meditation, which Clemenson said is very helpful.

“That’s really benefited me, even though it’s not a full meditation. I have a lot of stomach problems, so when I started meditating before I went to eat it helped soothe me,” Clemenson said.

When the afternoon classes end around 2:45 p.m., students take a break and attend their second full meditation together.

Clemenson said, “It’s a really nice way to unwind and shake your eyes from the computer screen. It’s just 20 minutes, twice a day, it’s the most incredible thing. I’ve noticed it’s changed me little by little. All these things have improved; the way I operate, the way I think and react to things, it’s just happened and I’m grateful everyday that I do this.”

Clemenson said, “Learning TM was the best thing that’s happened to me; it’s sweet to have that be a part of everybody’s life.”

AHEAD OF ITS TIME

IMG_1143Have you ever been in a building that creates more energy then it uses? Or in a building that is held up by tree logs and made entirely of Earth blocks? It’s unlikely because many of us haven’t been to Fairfield, Iowa to visit Lawrence Gamble and his Sustainable Living Center.

The Sustainable Living Center on the Maharishi campus is a classroom, a workshop and an office building, all while not leaving behind a carbon footprint.

On a sunny day, the center will generate ten or twenty times more power than what is actually used and on an annual basis, the building produces 30% more than what they use, for not only electricity, but for heating and cooling as well. The building has produced 3,000 more kilowatts than what it’s used.

The building is one of a kind, made entirely of earth blocks that were formed by former M.U.M. students and large tree logs that support the building. Everything in the building is all-natural.

The paint that goes on these earth blocks is made of sand, chopped straw and cow manure which helps everything stick together. The building is heated by a flow of water running throughout the entire center and is lit only by strategically placed windows. In classrooms, the desks that students sit in are hand-made from wood.

MISTER GREEN

Gamble, the Curriculum Director for the Department of Sustainable Living, said, “A large percentage of energy in a building like this is for lighting, and there are environmental consequences for building solar panels and wind generators, so we want to use that energy really wisely.”

Gamble continued by saying the classrooms stay lit by, “Putting the windows in the right places.” The building has taller windows that allow more light to enter and the main corridor is designed to let light in.

Gamble said, “In our program, what we are designed to do is give students the skills to be successful in a world that doesn’t exist yet. We are giving them a way of looking at the world with a new set of eyes, and we are trying to give them a broad perspective.”

Sustainable Living Programs are comparable to environmental science classes, and the area that M.U.M. and Gamble decided to focus on was environmental problem solving.

“We rolled our sleeves up and got right to work asking ourselves what are the practical things we can start doing now,” Gamble said. “The development of consciousness, which is kind of the central unique feature of M.U.M., is essential to this whole process.”

Another feature to the Sustainable Living Center is the Greenhouse or student lounge. The windows in the Greenhouse face south and this is one of the main ways the building is heated. Solar panels sit on top of the Greenhouse and provide shade in the summertime. With the sun’s position in the summer, the panels shade the windows so that the building does not get unnecessary heat, keeping the building cool.

Gamble said, “We like to do a lot of project based learning. I’ve taken kids to an island off the coast of Alaska.”

He said that him as well as a group of students over a period of years, helped setup solar powered energy in an Alaskan Village.

The students that worked on that project learned how to install solar panels and when they returned they started their own company. Last year, they sold a million dollars worth of solar panels.

Gamble, as well as every other professor at M.U.M. believes TM is essential for a student to fully maximize their potential in the classroom.

Gamble said, “Transcendental Meditation has such a simple way of allowing your mind to settle down, get deep rest and have that experience of being inside you that everything in nature is connected. Then when you come out of that meditation and you study sustainable living, you are intellectually exploring how everything is connected.”

MEDITATION BENEFITS

Transcendental Meditation, TM, benefits more than studying habits. According to tm.org, the techniques help develop the brain and increase creativity and intelligence while improving decision making and problem solving skills.

THE BRAIN OF TM

Dr. Fred Travis, Director for the Center of Brain, Consciousness and Cognition at M.U.M. studies the brain to understand consciousness.

Travis said, “The brain is the interface between us and the world. The brain is a way that allows us to actually see the world and interact with the world.”

Travis, who taught at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, said M.U.M. is different from other places he’s taught at.

“It’s quite unlike any other place,” Travis said. “The students don’t have their heads on the table, they keep you on your toes with very challenging questions.”

Travis said that when the brain is stressed and tired, it doesn’t allow you to take in as much information as it would if you were rested and aware. By adding TM it opens the student’s mind and brain to an entirely new way of thinking.

Travis observed that stress takes frontal executive circuits off line and so keeps students from being able to see larger implications of what they are learning.  He noticed that the students he taught at Iowa Wesleyan were are able to follow the lecture, but he couldn’t tell them everything that he knew.

“What you would be giving them is very much superficial, facts and how the facts relate,” Travis said. “The more fundamental ideas of underlying principles and how this relates to the meaning of life and how it relates to the environment, you can’t go into that because they don’t have the framework to take it in.”

Travis believes that the scheduling at M.U.M. plays a major role in how the students succeed in the classroom.

“At M.U.M., students take one class at a time. Instead of juggling two or three courses at once, you can focus on one subject,” Travis said. “The part of your brain used when you focus is the memory center. The part of the brain during multitasking is that part of your brain that has to do with sequencing.”

Travis said, “TM practice adds another engine to learning. Learning requires localized areas of the brain to function. In contrast, TM practice is a process of transcending and the brain is restful and alert as suggested by global alpha brain coherence.”

With regular TM practice, these brain changes are seen during a person’s daily activity after meditation practice. This gives a new platform to see the world. You are more awake, and more alert.

Writers Joey Aguirre & Stephanie Ivankovich Designer Allie McFayden Photographer Stephanie Ivankovich

I asked Fred Travis to revise his quotes to appear closer to what he said. – Ken Chawkin

1. Dining Hall 2. Argiro Lobby Flags 3. SLC Tree Posts 4. SLC Earth Blocks 5. Veda Bhavan:CBCC

See this article from Drake University journalism honor students: Students find their centers at Maharishi.

CBS/FOX News: Kelsey Minor’s Report: Meditation Town: Fairfield Iowa’s Key to Education Success

May 18, 2012

MEDITATION TOWN: Fairfield Iowa’s Key to Education Success

Kelsey Minor visits Maharishi School for a special report on Fairfield Iowa’s Key to Education Success, on FOX 28 News at Nine and CBS 2 News at Ten, May 17, 2012.

Thursday, May 17 2012, 10:05 PM CDT | Kelsey Minor | FOX 28 | CBS 2

Tiffany O’Donnell: On the surface it looks just like any other Iowa town square, but if you look a little closer, you’ll find it’s international flare.

Jack Miller: And that’s not the only reason people are flocking to Fairfield. It’s the center of a meditation movement. And our Kelsey Minor spent some time there to uncover the big mystery behind how meditating is helping the people there thrive. Kelsey?

Kelsey Minor: I know Tiffany’s excited about it; she’s been there. Jack, you need to get there.

You don’t often hear of Iowa being associated with meditation, but it’s happening right here in Eastern Iowa, and it’s in the process of shaping some of our state’s youngest minds, as well as the minds of Fairfield’s leaders.

FAIRFIELD, IA (KGAN/KFXA) — Tucked deep in Iowa’s flatland, among the barns and fields, is one of the 12 great places Mother Earth News says you’ve probably never been. It’s Fairfield, Iowa, and something’s been happening in this city of 95-hundred, a mystery, until now.

“Trust me, we want to get the secret out. We’d love for people to come and discover our community. We believe that’s happening now,” says Mayor Ed Malloy.

This small place, less than a two-hour drive away from Cedar Rapids, has its international flavor with its Indian restaurants and Italian coffee houses. But that’s not the mystery. I have to bring you here, to the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, where for nearly four decades, the simple act of meditating, twice a day, everyday, has attracted all sorts of people, including the students in this private school.

“We’ve been the kind of pioneering or flagship school for this approach we call Consciousness-Based education,” says Head of School, Dr. Richard Beall.

It’s like any other college prep school across the State of Iowa but here the students, faculty, and staff all take time to practice Transcendental Meditation or T-M.

“So we are taking a significant amount of time in the morning and afternoon, bookends, before and after school, to practice meditation and yoga, so that our kids when they go into the classroom are wide awake,” Beall said.

Those 20 minutes, says school officials, rids everyone of stress making it easy to learn and perform better.

“Of course there are cynics out there who may say that this doesn’t work, and your argument against that would be what,” CBS 2’s Kelsey Minor asked.

“We kind of welcome skepticism because you can put it to the test and I think it stands up really well,” says Beall.

And so far it has. This consciousness-based learning helps send more than 95 percent of its seniors to top colleges and universities across the country. They always score in the top one percent in Iowa’s standardized test, not to mention the top honors in Math, Science, the Arts, and Sports.

“All that’s evidence that something good is happening here,” says Beall.

But this isn’t just a school thing. Roughly 25 percent of Fairfield’s population practices TM, including Mayor Ed Malloy who’s been practicing for 38 years.

“The science shows that there is an influence of reduction of crime and stress,” says Malloy.

A town that takes TM seriously.

“You have arrived right when people are first arriving for their meditation,” says resident Jim Mayhew.

Each day between four and five o’clock the cars and the people start to arrive, joining together in large numbers for meditation groups. This is the end result of that rush hour traffic—a parking lot full of cars, their owners meditating inside these golden domes. It’s a town like no other, and the people who practice TM say what they do inside these domes helps create change. And it all started here, at the school where consciousness-based learning is helping to shape tomorrow’s leaders.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child and I couldn’t imagine a better village,” says student Caroline Fulcher.

(A great village it is indeed.) Now Transcendental Meditation has become so popular that other schools across the country are now implementing the program for its students. As for Fairfield, there’s plenty to do there, and if you haven’t been already, they sure would like to see you.

In the studio, Kelsey Minor, FOX 28 News at Nine/CBS 2 News.

Links to see this news report on FOX 28 News at Nine: http://www.kgan.com/shared/newsroom/top_stories/videos/kgan_vid_11222.shtml, and on YouTube for CBS 2 News at Ten, which includes introductory comments by the news anchors: http://youtu.be/FZdOStcEkC4.

Related stories on Fairfield: Video segments of Oprah’s Next Chapter on OWN: Oprah Visits Fairfield, Iowa—“TM Town”—America’s Most Unusual Town | The Iowan: Sizing Up Small Towns: Rethinking Success in Rural Iowa: Fairfield Thinks Inclusively | The Cultural Oasis of The Midwest: Fairfield, Iowa | Finding peace in Fairfield by Diane Vance


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