Posts Tagged ‘education’

The Atlantic’s Jennie Rothenberg Gritz visited schools where @TMmeditation was being used for stress-reduction and well-being

December 11, 2015

Jennie Rothenberg grew up in Fairfield, Iowa, went to Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, and attended UCBerkeley on a scholarship to study Journalism. She became a professional writer, a wife and a mother. Jennie is a former senior editor at The Atlantic, is now a senior editor at Smithsonian magazine.

The last piece Jennie wrote for The Atlantic, published November 10, 2015, was about the Quiet Time program, promoted by the David Lynch Foundation, and its success sponsoring the Transcendental Meditation technique in schools across the country.

The magazine introduces the article: After growing up with Transcendental Meditation as a spiritual practice, the author visits public schools where it’s being used as a simple tool for stress-reduction and well-being.

In 1974, the year before I was born, my parents had a small wedding in my aunt’s living room and then spent their honeymoon becoming teachers of Transcendental Meditation. Those were the days when just about everyone seemed to be doing it. “Plainly,” wrote the author Adam Smith in The Atlantic’s October 1975 cover story on meditation, “TM was the greatest thing since peach ice cream.” Meditation was enough of a cultural phenomenon that Woody Allen could use it as a punch line. The L.A. party scene in Annie Hall ends with Jeff Goldblum’s character placing a businesslike call to his instructor: “Yeah, I forgot my mantra.”

Considering how many 20-somethings learned to meditate in the 1970s, one might have predicted an explosion of meditating schools in the 1980s. Instead, Americans mostly forgot about the trend as they settled into the Reagan era. My parents were exceptions: They enrolled me in a small private school where the day began and ended with TM. It was an idyllic childhood in many ways, but my classmates and I always knew we lived in a bubble. One summer, at a resort in the Catskills, I listened as my aunt tried to explain my upbringing to a couple of her friends.

“Sure, I remember TM,” one woman replied. “I guess some people got caught up in meditation, just like some people got caught up in drugs.”

“And the rest of us,” her husband finished, “grew up and moved on with our lives.”

So I was fascinated when meditation recently started becoming mainstream again. Coworkers told me about mindfulness apps they were trying and friends mentioned yoga retreats they were planning to attend. The general idea seemed to be that meditation was not so much a technique for spiritual enlightenment as a common-sense lifestyle habit, like getting enough exercise or eating green vegetables. ….

Jennie visited several schools in poor, stressed inner-city locations where children from different ethnic backgrounds and broken homes came to school already traumatized. She wondered how administrators, teachers and students would react to such a program, and how it could be implemented.

It’s hard to change the circumstances that create this kind of stress, though plenty of people are trying. But if you teach kids to meditate in the meantime, the thinking goes, you can help them reduce the stress itself. That reasoning always made sense to me, as someone who has been practicing TM since childhood and seen the research on adults, especially for stress-related problems like heart disease. Struggling schools need lots of things: better food, stronger math programs, and higher-quality teachers, to name just a few. One of those needs seems to be a way to reduce stress so kids can absorb information and go into the world as well-balanced, successful people.

Still, I had a hard time envisioning how meditation programs actually worked when they were dropped suddenly into public schools. Who were the principals who brought them in—did they have hidden mystical streaks, or were their motivations purely practical? Were the teachers enthusiastic or did they see meditation as yet another gimmick imposed on them from the outside? And how did the students really feel about it? Did they roll their eyes when the meditation bell rang or did they actually enjoy it? What was it like to grow up with just meditation—and no spiritual trappings surrounding it?

The article continues with visits to some of the schools where the program was introduced. Jennie interviews principals, teachers, and the students to get their personal reactions to this meditation program and its effects on them.

Read the rest of this objective revealing report: Mantras Before Math Class by Jennie Rothenberg Gritz. This is journalism at its best!

PDF: Quiet Time Brings Transcendental Meditation to Public Schools.

You can follow Jennie Gritz on Twitter.

A year later, Jennie moved to The Smithsonian and published this excellent article: Director David Lynch Wants Schools to Teach Transcendental Meditation to Reduce Stress. The acclaimed filmmaker has become the champion of the practice that’s now been adopted by thousands of kids.

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.

“Moving America Forward,” a national TV show hosted by William Shatner, to feature Fairfield

March 6, 2014

Fairfield to be featured on national TV
By ANDY HALLMAN for The Fairfield Ledger, Jan 30, 2014

Doug Llewelyn, left, interviewed Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, center, and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott last week in Los Angeles for the television show, “Moving America Forward.” The two men were interviewed as part of the show’s episode on Fairfield’s entrepreneurial spirit. The episode will air later this year at a time and channel to be announced. Llewelyn is perhaps best known to television audiences for hosting “The People’s Court” with Judge Joseph Wapner.

Doug Llewelyn, left, interviewed Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy, center, and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott last week in Los Angeles for the television show, “Moving America Forward.” The two men were interviewed as part of the show’s episode on Fairfield’s entrepreneurial spirit. The episode will air later this year at a time and channel to be announced. Llewelyn is perhaps best known to television audiences for hosting “The People’s Court” with Judge Joseph Wapner.

In the past few years, Fairfield has been in the national spotlight as numerous television programs and magazines have publicized what makes this town such a great place to live.

This year appears to be no different. That’s because Fairfield will be featured on a television show called “Moving America Forward,” hosted by William Shatner. The show will focus on the town’s entrepreneurial spirit and how this affects the residents’ quality of life.

Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy and Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Rustin Lippincott flew to Los Angeles last week to be interviewed for the show. Their interviewer was Doug Llewelyn, who is most famous for hosting “The People’s Court” with Judge Joseph Wapner, which aired from 1981 to 1994.

The episode about Fairfield will air on YouToo TV this spring. After it airs on television, viewers can see it on the website YouTube.

Lippincott said he and Malloy chatted with Llewelyn for a few hours before taping began to give him an idea of what Fairfield is all about.

“We touched on what it’s like to live in Fairfield, and we covered the areas that make us a great place to live,” said Lippincott.

Fairfield will be the first town “Moving America Forward” has featured on its show, which normally highlights the accomplishments of individual business owners rather than whole cities. Lippincott said the show’s producers heard about Fairfield through the Smithsonian Magazine, which in 2013 named Fairfield the seventh-best small town to visit.

“Fairfield was recognized for fostering the environment that helped these businesses grow,” he said. “What makes this a unique recognition is we have 9,000 people but we have accomplished so much. That is, at its core, why we were recognized by ‘Moving America Forward.’”

Malloy said he began talking to the show’s senior producer Ruth Collins last year, who informed him Fairfield was a candidate for a spot on the show.

“She said they had done some research on our city and they found it fascinating, with all these different elements such as the entrepreneurship, sustainability and arts and culture,” he said. “She said, ‘We’d like to know more,’ so we sent them links to some of our websites.”

Collins said Fairfield was chosen from a pool of 70 candidate cities.

Malloy said Fairfield is often referred to as “Silicorn Valley,” a play on “Silicon Valley” near San Francisco, for the numerous technology and computer companies that were born here. He said many of those businesses were started in the late 1980s by software engineers educated at Maharishi International University, now known as Maharishi University of Management.

“Everyone who came to study and wanted to stay had to bring their own livelihood with them,” he said. “Because there were so many people who had a background in computers, there were a good dozen to 20 companies that were developing software. It became a phenomenon that these companies were originating from a small town in Iowa.”

Malloy said a financial journalist was doing a story about the entrepreneurial boom in Fairfield at the time, and referred to this technological enclave as the country’s “Silicorn Valley.”

During their interview with Llewelyn, Malloy and Lippincott mentioned not only the town’s strong IT sector but also its many other strengths such as manufacturing, tourism, education and agricultural economy.

The taped interview with Llewelyn lasted 15-20 minutes. Although Shatner is the host of the show, he was not on set for the interview. He introduces the clips and provides commentary throughout the show.

Malloy was filmed answering a set of questions about Fairfield. Shatner will be filmed asking those questions, and the two clips will be spliced together to make it appear Shatner is talking directly to Malloy.

Lippincott said the answers he and Malloy gave to the questions were not scripted, although the producer had an idea of what they would say from talking about their town with Llewelyn that morning.

In addition to the interviews with Malloy and Lippincott, the segment on Fairfield will include still photographs and silent camera footage of noteworthy places and events in town to be shown during the interviews. Malloy said he and others submitted videos to the producer, and the producers will get more video footage on their own later.

Even if residents miss the opportunity to watch the episode when it’s broadcast on television, chances are they will be able to view the video later. That’s because three Fairfield entities pooled their resources to purchase the video to use as a promotional tool once “Moving America Forward” is done with it.

Rights to the video cost $11,700, and the three entities who chipped in to purchase it were the city of Fairfield, the Fairfield Economic Development Association and the Fairfield Iowa Convention and Visitors Bureau. The three entities will own the video collectively.

Malloy said he felt the asking price to purchase the video was a bargain. He said he is glad the city will be able to show the “Moving America Forward” segment on the Fairfield Media Center’s public access cable channel, FPAC–9.

Reprinted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger

Related articles on Fairfield, Iowa’s entrepreneurial spirit:

@DMRegister’s Rox Laird Features Fairfield, Iowa’s Civic Collaboration and @MaharishiU’s Sustainable Living Center

Des Moines Register: Oprah in Iowa: Fairfield meditation segment airs Sunday

The Iowan: Sizing Up Small Towns: Rethinking Success in Rural Iowa: Fairfield Thinks Inclusively

See an article on The Power of the Entrepreneurial Class: Turning Fairfield, Iowa into a Rural Renaissance City, by Burt Chojnowski, published in the Economic Development Journal.

New study shows TM significantly improved school graduation rates, world press reports

June 14, 2013

New Transcendental Meditation Study Published in Education

This week the world press have been reporting on a collaborative study conducted by researchers Robert Colbert of the University of Connecticut and Sanford Nidich of Maharishi University of Management on meditation and graduation rates. The study, Effect of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Graduation, College Acceptance and Dropout Rates for Students Attending an Urban Public High School, was funded by the David Lynch Foundation, and published in the journal Education, Vol. 133, No. 4, Summer 2013.

The new study is the first to look at the effect of Transcendental Meditation practice on graduation, college acceptance and dropout rates, and follows previously published research by Nidich et al on increased academic achievement and reduced psychological stress in urban school students. The press release, Transcendental Meditation positively impacts student graduation rates, new research shows, included two graphs, and was sent out worldwide to over 5000 science writers by EurekAlert!/AAAS. Here is the Summary and citation for this latest study:

High school graduation rates remain low with racial and ethnic gaps adding to the decline. Graduating versus dropping out translates into higher earning potential, less crime and incarceration, and less dependence on government assistance. A new study published in the journal Education shows practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique resulted in a 15 percent higher graduation rate compared to controls. In low academically performing students a 25 percent difference in graduation rates was observed.

Colbert, R.D. and Nidich, S. (2013). Effect of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Graduation, College Acceptance and Dropout Rates for Students Attending an Urban Public High School. Education, 133 (4), 495-501.

World Press Reports

Many science and medical news websites have reported the news, including PhysOrg; ScienceBlog; Science Codex; RedOrbit; Medical Daily with the headline Transcendental Meditation Boosts High School Graduation Rates, As Policymakers Look To AlternativesMedical News Today; PsychCentral, with their succinct headline, Transcendental Meditation Linked to Higher Graduation Rates; The British Psychological Society, Meditation improves behaviour in school; Counsel & Heal; and examiner.com, How transcendental meditation impacts public high school graduation rates.

The mainstream press then reported the news, led by UK’s Richard Gray, respected science correspondent for The Telegraph, and his wonderfully topical and comprehensive piece, Transcendental Meditation may boost student grades. Underneath the top headline was one of the iconic photos of the Beatles with Maharishi in India and this subheading: It may have seemed simply a phase in pop history, but it seems the Beatles may have been on to something after all during their fabled journey to India.

This prompted Anna Hodgekiss of The Daily Mail to follow up with: The best way to boost brain power and improve exam grades? Chant ‘Om’ like the Beatles did, using an earlier picture of the Beatles with Maharishi taken at the London Hilton when they first met. BTW, there is no chanting in TM, and “Om” is never used.

These articles must have influenced The Times journalist William Chester to write, Exams go better with a Sixties mantra in mind, which was posted on the NW London TM Blog: Exams go better with a Sixties mantra in mind – The Times June 12th 2013.

Other international press also reported on the study. ANI sent out their version of the release and it was picked up by The Times of India, Transcendental meditation boosts grades, Newstrack India, OnePakistan, newKerala.com, and Medindia. India.NYDailyNews.com reproduced the Telegraph article but used a different photo of the Beatles, Donovan, Mia and Prudence Farrow with Maharishi in Rishikesh.

In Chile, the science journalist from El Mecurio, Sebastián Urbina, emailed questions about the study, which were answered by Sandy Nidich. I also suggested he interview Rafael de la Puenta, the TM national leader, and he did. The article appeared as the top story in their Life, Science and Technology section, A15, with a photo of a member of the Trinity College Women’s Squash Team meditating on the court. See a PDF of the article: www.meditacion.cl/prensa/MT_MERCURIO-Santiago-06-11-2013.pdf.

Other countries reporting on the study that we know of include France’s HuffPost C’est La Vie; Italy’s AGI; Spain’s Tendencias21 and La Razon; Holland’s Volkskrant; and Brazil’s Veja.

Some of the previous articles were reproduced on many blogs and websites. Will add any other newer articles as they are found. A few are slated to come out from reporters who asked for the paper, but this report should give you an idea of the kind of news coverage that came out on this promising study. For example, The TM Blog later reported New Study Finds Transcendental Meditation Boosts Student Grades, Graduation Rates.

See the Great article on TM helping students boost grades shows the Beatles were way ahead of their time. That article was later highlighted on the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education on their Spotlight page reporting the latest news: Transcendental Meditation May Boost Student Grades.

‘Tiny House’ offers big benefits to save energy and money — KTVO’s Kate Allt reports from MUM

May 15, 2013

Tiny House’ offers big benefits to save energy and money

by Kate Allt | Posted: 05.15.2013 at 4:48 PM
Students and volunteers raise the walls on Heather Caldwell's tiny house. / KTVO's Kate Allt

Students and volunteers raise the walls on Heather Caldwell’s tiny house. / KTVO’s Kate Allt

FAIRFIELD, IOWA — We often say that bigger is better, but a tiny house movement sweeping the country is proving otherwise.

Fairfield has several tiny houses, most of them about the size of a typical college dorm room. Wednesday, students in the Sustainable Living program at Maharishi University started construction on the newest one — a 12-foot-by-20-foot home designed by student Heather Caldwell.

“A lot of people believe that – in the tiny house movement – that we just consume too much, we’re living in spaces that are way too big, we don’t need that much space,” Caldwell said. “And so these people are building tiny houses to live in them. The thing that I’m interested in once I graduate is not only building tiny houses, but building a community, tiny house communities. So there’s a tiny house movement right now where a lot of people individually are building tiny houses and pretty soon we’ll see more tiny communities popping up and that’s what I’m majoring in.”

The building course is new at Maharishi University, but they plan to teach it for a long time.

“It’s a global movement, people are doing it everywhere and the idea is to downsize and simplify and to lower your energy demands and to be able to live off of renewable energy,” said Professor Mark Stimson, of Maharishi’s Sustainable Living Program. “One of the greatest things is — well, two things — to become self-reliant. It used to be in the old days in this country everybody knew how to build their own house, but since then we’ve gotten kind of specialized in all that. So this is sort of going back to that era of self reliance. And then the greatest part also is just the idea of living mortgage-free. If you can save a few thousand dollars or just salvage materials from places, you can build a very comfortable, snug home for very little money and not have to pay a mortgage for 20 or 30 years.”

Heather designed every element of her tiny house and will be moving on with two kids, four cats and a dog.

“I didn’t believe it at first,” said Heather’s daughter, Ellie. “It’s one of those projects our parents say they’re going to do and then they don’t do. But it’s happening, so it’s fun.”

Caldwell said one of the most challenging aspects is utilizing the small space available to make a fully functioning home.

“One of the big keys to tiny houses is finding multiple uses for the same spot,” she said. “Like the reading nook in the tiny house is also a guest bed and it also houses the dining room table which slips out from underneath and that’s our dining room table.”

Heather’s family hopes to move in in late June and will live in the tiny house for a year. On top of being smaller and more energy-efficient, Heather’s house is also being designed to be entirely off the grid, with solar-powered windows, composting and mud plaster.

To learn more on Heather’s house and to see progress over the next few weeks, visit her blog by clicking here.

To learn more about the Sustainable Living program at MUM, click here.

Retired Principal James Dierke writes about “a Quiet Revolution” that took place in his school

March 25, 2013

Leadership Cover Sept:Oct 2012Established in 1971, the Association of California School Administrators is the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the nation, serving more than 16,000 members. In the ACSA Leadership magazine, President David A. Gomez reviews highlights of the September/October 2012 issue in a letter to readers: 21st century school: Learning and teaching in the classroom and beyond.

Here is what he says about Jim Dierke’s article: Classroom learning can’t happen if students aren’t in school, or if behavior problems and stress levels inhibit success. A San Francisco program called Quiet Time, which engages students in classroom meditation, has tackled these problems successfully. “No matter how much effort we put into teaching, if we don’t effectively address the pervasive underlying tension and trauma experienced by our youth, we can’t make real progress,” writes Jim Dierke, who initiated the program in his middle school (page 14).

A Quiet Transformation by Jim Dierke (pages 14-17) tells the story of what took place in Visitacion Valley Middle School when he was principal. Stress not only contributes to violence and behavior issues, it impacts focus and memory, fundamentally impairing a child’s ability to learn and make good decisions. Dierke’s decision to implement the Quiet Time program transformed the lives of hundreds of students, teachers, staff, and the school as a whole. As a result of the dramatic turnaround, James S. Dierke was selected as the NASSP National Middle School Principal of the Year in 2008. The program was so successful, the Superintendent implemented the Quiet Time Program in a few other schools in their district. See this video and others mentioned at the end of the post: The David Lynch Foundation Quiet Time Program in San Francisco Schools.

When you open the PDF of the article use the Open With Different Viewer option in the upper right. Save the pdf and open it with Adobe and it should have the missing part of the last sentence I added. The last sentence should read: I retire with the lowest blood pressure I have had in 10 years and a great optimism about our ability to realize this vision for education. If you download the digital version of the issue, you’ll be able to read it as it appears in the magazine.

John Hagelin speaks on meditation as a powerful tool for health, education & post-traumatic stress at TEDxWomen 2012

December 6, 2012

Enjoy this powerful, clear and concise talk by John Hagelin at TEDxWomen 2012 in The Paley Center for Media, Washington, DC. The theme of the 2-day conference was The Space Between. Dr. Hagelin’s PowerPoint presentation highlighted meditation as a powerful tool for health, education and post-traumatic stress. He concluded his presentation with a short video of how people’s stressed lives were transformed by the Transcendental Meditation technique. These at-risk groups were able to learn TM through scholarships from the David Lynch Foundation. Dr. Hagelin’s concluding remarks beautifully summed up the saliant point of his talk delivered in Session Two, Saturday morning, Dec 1, 2012, published Dec 4, 2012 by : “The Space Between” –TED Conference Explores the Value of Meditation.

“Medically, scientifically, the most powerful antidote to stress, and the key to optimal brain functioning, is to transcend.” — John Hagelin.

John Hagelin, Ph.D., is a world-renowned quantum physicist, science and public policy expert, educator, author, and leading proponent of peace.

Dr. Hagelin has conducted pioneering research at CERN (the European Center for Particle Physics) and SLAC (the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). He is responsible for the development of a highly successful Grand Unified Field Theory based on the superstring—a theory that was featured in a cover story of Discover magazine.

In addition, Dr. Hagelin is one of the world’s preeminent researchers on the effects of meditation on brain development, and the use of meditation to address critical problems in the field of education, rehabilitation, and post-traumatic stress.

Dr. Hagelin is a recipient of the prestigious Kilby Award, which recognizes scientists who have made “major contributions to society through their applied research in the fields of science and technology.” The award recognized Dr. Hagelin as “a scientist in the tradition of Einstein, Jeans, Bohr and Eddington.”

Dr. Hagelin has appeared often on ABC’s Nightline and Politically Incorrect, NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN’s Larry King Live!, and other programs. He has been regularly featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other major metropolitan newspapers.

TEDxWomen was curated and produced by The Paley Center for Media. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Also see The Power of The Collective, by John Hagelin | John Hagelin — “Only Higher Consciousness Can Transform Our World” — Beyond Awakening Blog | Conscious TV: John Hagelin – The Core of Nature | John Hagelin, Ph.D., Speaks on the Nature of Consciousness and the Universe

The Age features Transcendental Meditation and the Maharishi School in national education article

October 22, 2012

Australia’s The Age features Transcendental Meditation and the Maharishi School in a national education article written by Denise Ryan: School puts stress on staying calm: Meditation techniques embraced by the Beatles are helping students in Reservoir. October 22, 2012. (I added links.)

Students practise Transcendental Meditation at the Maharishi School in Reservoir. Photo: Eddie Jim

MOST children wouldn’t describe their primary school as “peaceful” or all their teachers and classmates as “kind”. But that’s how Bridgette Nicolosi views her new school.

The year 4 student says she used to feel “confused” in her former mathematics class, but since she has learnt Transcendental Meditation at the Maharishi School in Reservoir, she is no longer as “scared” of maths as she was. She also feels more accepted and included.

Isabelle Coates, the year 6 captain, is not surprised. She has compared how “calm and happy” she feels with the state of mind of friends at other schools. “I seem to be more relaxed,” she says. “I think if I didn’t meditate I would be more stressed.”

Fellow year 6 student Supreeya Bullock says meditation has helped her with schoolwork and in playing sport. Perrin Broszczyk says it has helped him relax and has improved his tennis.

These students are making big claims but their positive experiences from two 10-minute Transcendental Meditation sessions each day is backed by a wealth of international research.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Photo: Trevor Dallen

Transcendental Meditation was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and was first taught in India in the 1950s. Pop group the Beatles extolled its virtues, writing almost 50 songs while studying with Maharishi at his ashram in the foothills of the Himalayas in the late 1960s. Hollywood stars Mia Farrow and Shirley MacLaine also took it up. It is practised by millions world-wide, despite Maharishi’s death in 2008.

Some might regard the practice as New Age or bohemian but it has become mainstream, particularly in the US where it is used in some hospitals to help chronically or terminally ill patients manage their stress.

Principal Frances Clarke
Photo: Eddie Jim

Maharishi School founder and principal Frances Clarke says meditating in silence has profound results. Since the 1970s hundreds of research studies on Transcendental Meditation have been undertaken at more than 200 universities and research institutes across many countries.

These studies report benefits such as increased creativity, intelligence and learning ability, higher levels of brain function, improved memory and school behaviour. Studies have reported an increased sense of calm, decreased anxiety and reduced conflict.

When Ms Clarke founded this independent school with like-minded families in Bundoora in 1997, it had 20 students. The school gained a following since moving to Reservoir, drawing families from local suburbs such as Northcote. It now has 80 students, rising to 100 next year.

The school teaches the standard curriculum but adds a subject called Science of Creative Intelligence, and also the meditation sessions. In the extra class, students might do maths as part of learning such principles as that every action has a reaction.

An ancient system of architecture and design known as Maharishi Vedic principles have been included in two new buildings. For example, they are entered from the east, capturing early morning sun. The principles are different but are along the lines of Feng Shui, in that they seek to maximise health and success.

Ms Clarke first learnt to meditate at age 22. She found it helpful to deal with stress when she became a secondary school teacher. When she heard that the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment in Iowa was getting outstanding results, she decided to visit.

The Iowa school is open entry yet it continues to record some of the top academic results in the state and its students regularly win awards for sports, science, art and problem-solving competitions. TV star Oprah Winfrey has highlighted the school’s results on her program.

Some US schools that deal specifically with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder have adopted Transcendental Meditation techniques after also witnessing its success at a Detroit Middle School.

A Maharishi School in Lancashire, England, has performed in the top 2.5 per cent of schools for 25 years, despite also being open entry. As a result, the education department has fully funded it. Other Maharishi Schools are being established there too.

Ms Clarke’s husband Larry, who has also taught Transcendental Meditation for many years, says it has a following in the US, Europe, South America and Thailand but has been slower to take off in Australia, despite the established benefits.

“It’s a bit of a sleepy hollow here, yet 6 million people have been trained world-wide.”

Transcendental Meditation differs from some other forms of meditation in that it allows the mind to effortlessly “transcend thought”.

“It does not require contemplation or concentration,” says Dr Clarke. He regards concentrating on breathing or an object, such as a candle flame, as an arduous practice where the mind is still active.

“In TM the mind becomes quieter and quieter until it is doing absolutely nothing. TM uses the natural tendency for the mind to move towards something more interesting or charming. It moves into subtler and subtler states until thought dissolves into silent wakefulness, or pure consciousness.”

Ms Clark says meditation helps children find their passion. “Around years 3 or 4 they discover what they love, and go for it.”

She says this is because children can concentrate. “Some schools spend all their time doing English and mathematics but our students focus so well they have time for everything else.”

The small scale also helps. “Students don’t get lost. Everyone has the opportunity to have a go at everything, whether it be a science or drama competition or to be in the school concert.”

Parents pay $1300 each term to send their children to this alternative school. At least one parent must practise or learn Transcendental Meditation also. The school offers a four-day course for parents. On weekends children meditate with their parents.

Students up to the age of 10 meditate with eyes open, walking about. Older children are seated in comfortable spots in the classroom. Ten-minute sessions are held about 9.30am and 3pm each day, which means students head home in a calm state. “But they don’t want to go home,” Ms Clark says. “It’s a small community and parents and students love to hang around after school.”

Teacher Samantha Russell loves the strong relationship between staff and parents. “I feel really sorry for my friends in other schools who don’t see the parents and don’t have the same objectives as them.”

She says parents talk to her about their experiences of meditating and it makes for a closer bond.

Students sometimes get a shock when they move from this environment to high school.

“They often express surprise that other students don’t want to learn and spend a lot of time mucking around,” says Ms Clarke.

She sees the government’s recent pressure on teachers to improve what they do as misplaced. “Transcendental Meditation develops the consciousness of the student so they are much more capable of learning. You can’t teach a class if children aren’t awake, alert or aware.”

Article URLs: http://bit.ly/TBUgpw and updated http://bit.ly/RqwoWW.

Earlier this year the Maharishi School was featured on Australian TV: Cool School: Melbourne school teaches meditation to students.

URLs for Maharishi School: http://www.maharishischool.vic.edu.au and TM in Australia: http://tm.org.au

Here is an image of the layout in Monday’s Age in Melbourne, Australia. Will replace it with a better resolution when available. (more…)

Meditation for Students: Results of the David Lynch Foundation’s Quiet Time/TM Program in San Francisco Schools

December 24, 2011

David Lynch Foundation Event in San Francisco: Meditation for Students

The David Lynch Foundation held a benefit gala in San Francisco on June 1 at the Legion of Honor, to showcase the successes of a five-year project to bring the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique to students in inner-city San Francisco schools. In this video, you will hear James Dierke, principal of Visitacion Valley Middle School talk about the unprecedented academic achievements of his meditating students; iconic filmmaker David Lynch talk about the inspiring work of his foundation among at-risk populations; and Dr. Norman Rosenthal, internationally renowned psychiatrist and NY Times bestselling author, discuss the amazing results of scientific research on the TM technique. See other featured past events posted on the David Lynch Foundation website. To hear more about the David Lynch Foundation and it’s programs, please visit: http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

Uploaded by on Jul 7, 2011.

See selected highlights of Inspiring results from the TM-Quiet Time Program in the San Francisco Unified School District.

The San Francisco Examiner—Meditation program mends troubled Visitacion Valley Middle School

May 8, 2011


Meditation program mends troubled Visitacion Valley Middle School
By: Dan Schreiber
05/08/11 4:00 AM
Examiner Staff Writer

Every day before class, Visitacion Valley Middle School students pass an informal memorial known as the “R.I.P. wall,” a reminder of trouble that awaits them when the afternoon bell rings.

In 2004, two students discovered the partially decomposed body of a 19-year-old stabbing victim. Later that year, a gunman brazenly stormed into the school, threatened to kill a teacher and robbed two employees. In the 2009-10 school year, one-fifth of the students had one or both parents incarcerated.

“Everybody in this school was either related to somebody who has been shot, who did the shooting, or who saw a shooting,” said Jim Dierke, the school principal. “We had kids who couldn’t learn.”

In the spring of 2007, Dierke decided he would try a simple solution.

The quiet time program involves the ancient techniques of transcendental meditation, conducted twice daily in 12-minute sessions before and after class.

The first announcement comes over the school’s intercom around 8:45 a.m. — “Prepare for quiet time,” — and the teachers ring a little bell to mark the beginning of the exercise. Most students close their eyes; others cover their faces with their hands and focus on the repetition of a mantra.

“It takes away the anger,” said Charles Ollie, an eighth-grader at the school. “Your brain is like a lake holding in water, and when we meditate, the flood gates open and the water is released.”

Dierke and the school staff credit the program with reducing violence, increasing attendance and test scores and dramatically decreasing suspensions.

Other good things are happening, too, teachers said. The volleyball team made the playoffs this year for the first time in a long time, and some of the eighth-graders are making it into The City’s top high schools, such as Lowell.

Most of the annual $175,000 funding for the program is provided by the New York-based David Lynch Foundation, founded by the TV and movie director. The money is used to pay for dedicated staff to run the quiet time program.

Opponents call it “stealth religion” that violates church-state separation laws because of its association with Eastern religions, but advocates insist that the practice predates Hinduism by thousands of years.

“They come from broken homes, foster care and group home settings,” said Brian Borsos, a special education teacher. “This is a practice that helps them go back and face what they need to face. It’s a skill they take with them for the rest of their lives.”

Program is director Lynch’s brainchild
A handful of San Francisco’s troubled public schools have turned to a transcendental meditation program known as quiet time to relieve high stress in students, made possible by grants from the New York-based David Lynch Foundation.

The TV and film director launched the foundation in 2005 with support from two surviving members of the Beatles and their former meditation instructor Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. But foundation leaders say the practice has nothing to do with religion and is not a church-state separation issue.

Save some minor grumbling and initial skepticism, the San Francisco version of school meditation has not experienced nearly the opposition faced in 2006, when the foundation withdrew funding after parents at Terra Linda High School in San Rafael denouced it as a cult.

Bob Roth, the foundation’s vice president, said the programs in San Francisco have gotten better reception.

Ellie Rossiter, executive director of the nonprofit Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco, said she has heard no opposition to the program. Some of The City’s school officials have even provided testimony on the Lynch Foundation’s website.

“It’s an anchor, it’s a balance for them and I believe it opens them to learning,” Everett Middle School Principal Richard Curci said in a YouTube video.

Soothing results
The meditation program at Visitacion Valley Middle School was instituted in the spring of 2007.

45: Percent reduction in multiday suspensions for quiet-time students in program’s first year
85: Suspensions in 2005-06
10: Suspensions in 2009-10
2.5: Average GPA in fall 2006
2.9: Average GPA in fall 2010
40: Point gain in API score in testing in 2009-10

Source: Visitacion Valley Middle School

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

Related articles: San Francisco Bay Area News: From time-out to quiet time: meditation comes to SF schools | New research shows Transcendental Meditation improves standardized academic achievementMindShiftKQED: How we will learn: Amidst Chaos, 15 Minutes of Quiet Time Helps Focus Students | and this TM Blog report with video: Breaking the “predictive power of demographics”: SF principal talks about how TM helps his students. And here’s a wonderful report from the The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF): Edutopia: SF School Uses TM to Overcome Problems.


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