Posts Tagged ‘Ken Chawkin’

potted purple petunias poem @kenchawkin pays homage to @W_C_Williams’s red wheelbarrow

August 2, 2017

Norman and I get into my car parked across the street from Thai Deli where we just had lunch. It’s hot so we wait for the AC to kick in and cool down. He points out the beautiful petunias on the sidewalk in front of us. They’re purple, planted in pots, and placed on both sides of a doorway. Playing with the ‘p’ sound, I come up with a line that has seven syllables in it. I’m reminded of The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams and think of a similar opening. Noticing the backdrop, I finish the last line of the haiku. Coincidentally, I later discover it has the same word ‘white’ in it. I return the next day to take this photo to go with it.

potted purple petunias

Potted Purple Petunias Poem
Haiku in Homage to William Carlos Williams

there’s something about
potted purple petunias
by a white brick wall

©Ken Chawkin
July 31, 2017
Fairfield, Iowa

Celebrating Poetry Month with one of my poems, Poetry—The Art of the Voice, and what inspired it

April 10, 2017

Since 1996, the Academy of American Poets have designated April as National Poetry Month as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. Since 1998, National Poetry Month has also been celebrated each April in Canada. Being a Canadian living in the United States, I have 2 reasons to celebrate it with a poem I wrote on the subject 17.5 years ago. I’d also like to share what inspired me to write it.

One morning, while recuperating from a cold in my room, I had been listening to the Diane Rehm Show. At the end she announced her guest for the next day, Bill Moyers, who would talk about his latest poetry project. I tuned in and recorded it on Tues, Oct 05, 1999, 10-11 a.m. ET.

In that episode of the show, Moyers discussed his upcoming PBS poetry special: Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers, the result of a visit to the Dodge Poetry Festival, which featured readings by US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and other leading poets. He also mentioned his accompanying book, Fooling With Words: A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft (William Morrow). You can actually see Part One and Part Two of Fooling With Words, produced by and archived at Moyers & Company.

Moyers mentioned that television lends itself well to the human voice reading poetry. He said, “Poetry is music for the human voice,” but what really made an impression on him was watching “people listening to poetry.” His cameras focused in on both the poets reading their poems, and members of the audience listening attentively.

What Bill Moyers said about this dynamic caught my attention: “Poetry is reflected in the face of the listener, in the eyes, and in the intensity of the listener’s response. It’s like a mirror to the poet’s own face. And you watch these faces and you really see that poetry is sinking in, and meeting an audience in that individual listener.”

Diane and Bill then invited 3 poets on the show to read a poem and explain how they came to write it: Marge Piercy, Mark Strand (16:44), and Jane Hirshfield (32:57). After listening to the ideas and images expressed in the conversations and poems, I was so inspired that I wrote a poem about it called: Poetry—The Art of the Voice.

Poetry—The Art of the Voice

How fine will your breath become
from listening to these words?
How soft will they seem to be
as they settle through the mind
like silent snowflakes falling
from a windless winter sky?

I often marvel at the mystery—
how words can work
on a listener’s heart and mind,
upon hearing a poet’s thoughts,
a poet’s breath, flowing
from an inner voice—

a windless wind, speaking
through a voiceless voice.

© Ken Chawkin

Years later, when Freddy Fonseca put out a call for poems from Fairfield poets for This Enduring Gift-A Flowering of Fairfield Poetry (2010), I sent it in along with some other poems.  At Freddy’s suggestion I changed one word, which caused me to refine it even more, taking it to the intended level. He published it, five haiku, and a tanka, and later selected it as POEM OF THE DAY: Poetry – The Art of the Voice, by Ken Chawkin.

Over the years, Bill Moyers has welcomed some of America’s best poets to share their works and inspiration. Many of those writers have performed at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, which Bill and his colleagues covered for television specials including Fooling with Words (1999), The Language of Life (1995) and Sounds of Poetry (1999). Enjoy Poets in Performance, a showcase of such poetry from past and recent productions from Moyers & Company, performed by the poets who dreamed them up, or by other artists who, like Bill, simply adore poetry.

Filmmaker David Lynch to Give Commencement Address at Maharishi University of Management

June 8, 2016

Over 350 to Graduate from Maharishi University, June 18

Over 350 (366) students representing 50 (53) countries will graduate from Maharishi University of Management at the 2016 commencement ceremony at 1:00 p.m., on Saturday, June 18, in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome. The public is invited to attend.

Noted filmmaker David Lynch will offer the 2016 commencement address. He is famous for films such as The Elephant Man, Mulholland Drive, and Blue Velvet. His many awards include a Golden Globe for Best TV Series for his 1990–1991 show Twin Peaks. He recently finished filming a new season of Twin Peaks that will air in 2017.

Graduates include 37 in South Africa

Those receiving diplomas include 74 undergraduates in Fairfield, 37 undergraduates in South Africa, 160 students in the MS in computer science, and 80 students in other graduate programs. About 160 are expected to participate in the ceremony. Those in South Africa attend the Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg for their first two years of college, and then enroll at MUM via distance education for their third and fourth years of study toward a degree in business.

David Lynch to receive honorary doctorate

David Lynch-Adam Bordow

David Lynch photo by Adam Bordow

David Lynch’s preferred method for public speaking is to take questions from the audience; so four students on stage will ask him questions about life-oriented topics that commencement speakers traditionally address.

As part of the commencement ceremony, the university will present Mr. Lynch with a Doctor of World Peace honoris causa degree, “In recognition of the enormous role he has played in promoting Maharishi’s knowledge throughout the world, transforming people’s lives through the work of the David Lynch Foundation, and laying the foundation for a truly peaceful world,” said Dr. Bevan Morris, president of Maharishi University of Management.

His David Lynch Foundation, started in 2005, raises funds to support bringing the Transcendental Meditation technique to those most in need: underserved inner-city students, veterans with PTSD and their families, and women and children who are survivors of violence and abuse. As a result of the Foundation’s activities, hundreds of thousands of people have learned and benefitted from the Transcendental Meditation technique.

“Not only is David transforming lives through his Foundation, he has made countless people aware of the Transcendental Meditation technique throughout the U.S. and around the world,” said Craig Pearson, executive vice-president of MUM. “Many well-known thought leaders in the U.S. have adopted the practice and have publicly endorsed it at events sponsored by his Foundation.”

Lynch’s activities on campus

Lynch has long been an important member of the MUM family, as a member of the Board of Trustees and in lending his name to the David Lynch MFA in Film program. He has connected with the film students via Skype, has spoken in person to a class, and has hosted the students at his studio in Los Angeles.

He has been practicing Transcendental Meditation since 1973, and has spent time on campus on a number of occasions. In 2006, he offered the first of three annual “David Lynch Weekends,” which brought hundreds of visitors to campus to learn about consciousness, creativity, and the brain.

Nominated for 4 Academy Awards

Lynch has been nominated for an Academy Award 4 times: three times as Best Director and once for Best Screenplay. The French government awarded him the Legion of Honor, the country’s top civilian honor, as a Chevalier in 2002 and then an Officier in 2007. He has won France’s César Award for Best Foreign Film two times, as well as the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival. Mr. Lynch has been described as “the most important director of this era” by The Guardian as well as “the Renaissance man of modern American filmmaking” by Allmovie.

About Maharishi University

Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, IA is a private university featuring Consciousness-Based Education. The accredited traditional curriculum offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in the arts, sciences, humanities, and business, but also integrates self-development programs. Innovative aspects include the Transcendental Meditation program, one course at a time, and organic vegetarian meals. Visitors’ weekends are held throughout the year. For more information, call the Admissions Office at 800-369-6480 or visit http://www.mum.edu.

Contact: Ken Chawkin, kchawkin@mum.edu, (641) 472-1314

Editor’s note: Check back here for graduation publicity.

(more…)

Threshold Haiku by Ken Chawkin for Nathanael

April 16, 2016

This haiku was inspired by the overwhelming scent of jasmine that greeted me as I crossed the threshold to my son’s home in the Santa Barbara Riviera.

image

Threshold Haiku

Before entering
The threshold to my son’s home
Pillars of jasmine

©Ken Chawkin
Santa Barbara
April 15, 2016

See more beautiful views to and from Nathanael’s Santa Barbara Riviera home that inspired another short poem.

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.

Haiku of Santa Barbara Riviera in the morning

February 13, 2016

My son takes photos of the changing panorama before him throughout the day and night looking out from the hills of the Santa Barbara Riviera. Today he posted this beautiful early morning image on Instagram. It inspired this haiku.

image

Photo by Nathanael Chawkin

Santa Barbara Riviera Haiku

mystical seascape
white waves rolling in to shore
morning mesa mist

© Ken Chawkin
February 13, 2016

See a haiku, Translation, inspired by a painting of Egrets by Australian artist Gareth Jones-Roberts. The poem was published in two poetry anthologies. Nathanael also likes that combination so I’m mentioning it.

About 6 years earlier, Nathanael had lived in San Leandro as an uchideshi. I had visited him there and witnessed his Sensei demonstrating Aikido, which inspired this tanka, My Son’s Sensei. Someone posted it with a tree that reflected the image in the poem. Nathanael happened to be visiting the dojo and sent it to me. Perfect fit!

The top 25 posts of 2015 on the @TMhome_com website that grabbed people’s attention

December 16, 2015

The popular TMhome.com website publishes a range of beautifully presented articles and interviews on the Transcendental Meditation technique and the people who practice it. They looked back and created a list of their TWENTY-FIVE MOST POPULAR POSTS of 2015.

We made it into the list twice—yours truly (14) and a documentary on Maharishi I facilitated (10), along with a mutual friend, Valerie Gangas (22) and her book, Enlightenment Is Sexy!!!

Well-known supermodel Miranda Kerr (23), Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma (17), business leaders, athletes, the DLF Change Begins Within gala (16) including singer Katy Perry, and TM teachers are listed, along with MUM alumna, singer and mystical poet Lyric Benson Fergusson (7), and former Japan PM Yukio Hatoyama (#24) who delivered MUM’s commencement speech. The telomerase study ranked high (3), and the top post was an interview with Cameron Diaz. The last one is a list of 12 great quotes on creativity. Here are the three I mentioned first.

10

620z_maharishiyogidocumentaryfullmoviehistorychannelw

The full documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,
now available for watching online.
—— read the article ——
.

14

620z_Kenchawkinpoetry_2
.
We invited Ken Chawkin, the man behind innumerable
written lines and at least one great movie (see no 10 above)
to step into the limelight. .
—— read the article ——
.

22

620z_EnlightenmentisSexybookreviewvaleriegangas_1

Enlightenment is Sexy, Valerie Gangas’s book about
falling in love with the universe made a big splash this summer. .
—— read the article ——

Nature’s Jewelry — haiku inspired by photograph

December 11, 2015

This week I went to my local Fairfield bank and picked up two copies of next year’s 2016 calendars for Sali and me. The pictures selected for each month were beautiful artistic photographs of local nature scenes. I recognized three of the photographers, friends of mine.

As I was showing and describing the pictures to Sali, one of them caught my eye and I was inspired to write a haiku, which happens around her! After many versions, here’s what I finally came up with.

Spider+Webs-8118

Nature’s Jewelry
A haiku based on a photograph by Jim Davis

tiny drops of dew
strung along a spider’s web
bright pearl necklaces

© Ken Chawkin
December 10+11, 2015
Fairfield, Iowa

Jim Davis, the photographer and a longtime friend, gave me permission to include this spider web photo from the First National Bank calendar, sponsored in part by the Jefferson County Trail Council. It was used for the month of May, Sali’s birth month. You can see more of his beautiful photographs in the calendar, if you have access to it. Visit his website: Jim Davis Images.

I asked Jim when and how he was able to take such a magical picture and he explained it this way:

The conditions for such a photo generally occur in late August and early September. It is an intersection of more spider webs due to onset of fall and warm days with cool nights creating early morning dew that drops off as the heat rises. Within those few days where the dew is created, there is the rare time when the air is still and the webs do not move. Without perfectly still air the dew drops would appear blurry or out of focus.

I turned the calendar upside down and noticed what appears to be Jim’s head and hat reflected in the large clear dewdrop under the leaf. He confirmed it saying his image would appear upside down in the drop.

Enjoy this other nature post and poem: The magic of fireflies is captured in this beautiful short film by @MaharishiU alum Radim Schreiber.

The story behind the making of the International History documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

November 25, 2015

On November 28, 2007, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation technique, was featured in a biographical documentary on the International History Channel. ITN Factual, a UK-based production company, was commissioned by A&E to produce it.

During an interview with the folks at TMhome I had mentioned it, but they wanted to save it for a second article by itself. That article was published this week along with the complete film, which aired 8 years ago this coming weekend. Some of you may have seen it, or heard about it but never got see it. Well, now you can.

Previously unseen historical footage of Maharishi had been located and edited segments were provided to the producer/director Fiona Procter. Some of the people I had arranged to be interviewed for the film were David Lynch, Donovan, Mike Love, Bob Roth, Theresa Olson, Alan Waite, Bevan Morris, and John Hagelin. Jerry Jarvis was included when the producer was in Los Angeles.

Sally Peden was also interviewed for the film but did not make final cut. However, she provided additional valuable information for the producer to better understand and appreciate the scope of Maharishi’s contribution to the world. Parts of that interview were transcribed and included in the article on how the film came to be made. Read the complete article and watch the film HERE.

Searching For The Meaning Of Your Life

November 12, 2015

In meditation last morning, a thought came that I was “in search of my own doing.” My life is the result of choices, of things I did and did not do that cannot be undone. Life goes on, and I am still wondering what I should be doing with the rest of my life.

Then I thought of my children and their attempts to make sense of their lives, to fulfill their destiny. So, I wrote this philosophical tanka about being and becoming.

Searching For The Meaning of Your Life

Your destiny is
A search for your own doing
What your life will mean

But doing starts with being
Only then can you become

Yogastah kurukarmani
Established in Being, perform action

I’m reminded of what Krishna said to Arjuna on the battlefield of life — to perform his duty and fight. But he also gave him the technique for skill in action — to first transcend, to Be (Ch 2, V 45); and then, established in Being, to perform action (Ch 2, V 48).

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in his translation and commentary on The Bhagavad-Gita (Chapters 1-6), said this was the essence of the Vedic wisdom of life, and his effortless, natural technique of Transcendental Meditation was the way to accomplish it.

So “meditate and act” is the formula for success in life. Do what comes naturally and brings you bliss. And if life sometimes stretches you in ways you’re not comfortable with, keep meditating and acting, and you will have grown stronger in the process, becoming more of yourself.

Here are some related poems: kintsugi: japanese pottery inspires poetry, Two kinds of knowledge about living and learning, and Seeing Is Being.


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