Posts Tagged ‘Ken Chawkin’

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 on the TMhome website: International History Channel documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: How it was made: The story behind the film. The film is also posted on The Uncarved Blog.

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.

A profound poem from Karen Karns asks us — WHAT COULD BE MORE INTIMATE?

October 25, 2015

Last Friday night, as I was walking into Revelations for some dinner, I saw a sign in the window for a poetry reading by a friend I knew. It also said a birthday cake would be shared afterwards. I bought a big bowl of soup and headed downstairs. The place was packed and I had to stand at the back by a desk having my soup. The birthday poet was Karen Karns. Her husband, Don (aka, Ark-hal) Karns, offered me his seat, but the owner brought me a chair in time. Don, Karen and I used to work together as Maharishi Ayurveda technicians in the late ’80’s & early 90’s.

Karen KarnsKaren Karns has a Masters in Divinity from Earlham School of Religion, a Quaker seminary, and is a Life Counselor. She has twenty years of experience in Fairfield, Iowa offering individual, pre-marital & couples counseling, which she continues to do in the afternoons. As a Sidha, Karen has been on the Invincible America Assembly continuously since its inception in 2006!

I’ve always found Karen to be a very friendly, cheerful, compassionate and gentle person. You’d never know she had reached retirement age. Maybe all that meditation has kept her looking eternally young and beautiful, inside and out!

Now I discover she’s a poet! Karen was shy about reading her poems in front of an audience, but she did well. The last poem took our collective breath away as she shared an intimate experience of a poem coming to her during a deep meditation in the Ladies Golden Dome.

When a poem comes to you and you don’t write it down, you never forgive yourself. That’s what happened to Karen the first time. But, luckily for her, and us, it came back again during her next meditation in the dome and she quickly wrote it down. This happened during Guru Purnima this year, a special gift. I’ll let her words speak for themselves as the poem asks us, tells us, what could be more intimate.

WHAT COULD BE MORE INTIMATE
than these shimmering sheets of light
enfolding the features of each face
as we meditate in silence together,
our spines, divining rods for the deepest
currents and reservoirs of peace.

What could be more intimate
than to be held captive by this
moment, its piracy complete
with all the spoils and riches
from past and future laid
immediately at our feet.

What could be more intimate
than this play of hide and seek,
peeking around corners, into doors—
only to find ourselves hidden
in the marrow of every beam
and rafter in our own huge house.

What could be more intimate
than the waking up of sleep
inside itself
spellbound by the sound
of its own sweet voice
humming an ancient lullaby.

What could be more intimate
than the filling and emptying,
the steady pump of liquid love
as it funnels its way into the portals
and pathways of our bodies, joyfully
mothering each tender cell.

What could be more intimate
than the downpour and drench of bliss.
What could be more intimate than this?

Karen Karns
Guru Purnima 2015

I was so blown away I had to post it on my blog. Luckily she agreed, so I could share it with all of you. I also took her photo to go with the poem.

When I asked Karen if she just wrote it down as a scribe or if she had to work at it, she replied, “I scribed and scrubbed both,” with a smiley face.

That’s been my experience too—creative expression is a collaborative process, especially when the muse whispers something to you! You start with a seed idea, words, even lines, if you’re lucky, and you work at it until it’s done, you polish it until it’s right. Karen sure got this one right!

The discussion on Vedic cognition at the end of “Are you Mr. William Stafford?” is very relevant to Karen’s experience as a poet!

(more…)

BLUE: a translucent painting by Bill Teeple at ICON Gallery on Fairfield’s 1st Fridays Art Walk

August 7, 2015

image

It’s Fairfield’s 1st Fridays Art Walk and tonight I’m at ICON Gallery talking with owner/curator Bill Teeple about the creative process, painting, poetry, and consciousness. I’m moved by one of his new images on the wall in the smaller gallery/studio upstairs. It’s deeply blue and draws me in like a magnet.

Bill tells me it’s made of multiple layers of acrylic paint, like a glaze. It’s translucent; it glows in your awareness. Tiny white specks look like stars in the night sky. Bill says it’s the paper, meant to be part of the painting.

Click on the blue image to enlarge it and you’ll see them. Enlarge it again and stare into the BLUE, and like the Hubble telescope, you’ll discover a world that previously was not visible.

The simplicity and minimalism of the piece inspires me to write a haiku. I do, and share it with Bill who says, “That’s it!”

BLUE: A Translucent Painting by Bill Teeple

Ten Layers of Blue
Look at it looking at you
Aglow between two

image

I can’t help myself when it comes to rearranging words in lines and their meanings. Here is a second version of the haiku.

BLUE: A Translucent Painting by Bill Teeple

Ten Layers of Blue
Looking at it look at you
A glow between two

Here’s a related poem about the mystery of the creative process: Sometimes Poetry Happens.

The Fairfield Weekly Reader posted 3 articles on the screening of Greg Reitman’s Rooted in Peace

August 5, 2015

ROOTED-V.10js_r3The Fairfield Weekly Reader published 3 articles about Greg Reitman’s film ROOTED in PEACE: an article I wrote about the film’s upcoming Iowa premiere, a second short announcement about the screening, and a follow-up report on the reaction to the film shown at the Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, including 2 photos, and 4 quotes from prominent members of the Fairfield community.

Click on the numbers and dates to read PNGs of these front cover articles published on July 23, pages 1 and 2, July 30, and August 6, 2015.

Click here to see previously published news about the film, including radio and TV reports. I also wrote an article in the July issue of The Iowa Source: Getting Rooted in Peace, which you can read in an earlier post. In case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the trailer.

Ledger’s Andy Hallman reports on Greg Reitman’s documentary playing in Fairfield, Iowa on Sunday

August 1, 2015

Documentary filmed partially in Fairfield to play Sunday

By ANDY HALLMAN Ledger news editor | Jul 31, 2015

t1200-Donovan, Greg Reitman, and students at tree planting ceremony

During his visit to Fairfield, film producer Greg Reitman planted a tree with MUM students outside the university’s library. Reitman is the man in the center with the necklace. The man to the right is the singer Donovan, whom Reitman interviewed for his film “Rooted in Peace,” which will be shown at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by: Nicole Hester-Williams/Ledger

A documentary that was filmed partially in Fairfield will make its Iowa debut at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Steven Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts.

The film, “Rooted in Peace,” is a product of Greg Reitman, founder of Blue Water Entertainment, Inc. In a press release, Reitman said the film challenges viewers to examine their values as Americans and human beings.

“Today we are at war within ourselves, with our environment, and with the world,” reads the press release. “Director and award-winning filmmaker Greg Reitman invites viewers on a film journey to take notice of the world we live in, proactively seek ways to find personal and ecological peace, and stop the cycle of violence.”

Reitman interviewed numerous celebrities for the film such as author Deepak Chopra, film director David Lynch, musicians Donovan, Mike Love and Pete Seeger, media mogul Ted Turner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and more.

He also interviewed Fred Travis, professor of Maharishi Vedic Science at Maharishi University of Management.

The press release states that Reitman learned kernels of wisdom from all those he interviewed.

“Reitman’s journey is an example of transformation — how one person can learn to make the necessary changes to enjoy a better life — and in so doing inspire others to want to improve their own lives, and society as a whole,” reads the press release.

Reitman said he became interested in documentaries while studying abroad in Florence, Italy, where he took a class on Italian cinema. He would go on to produce the 2008 SUNDANCE Audience Award-winning feature documentary “FUEL.”

After that, he started thinking about doing a film about all the violence in the world. An experience at JFK Airport in New York City opened his eyes to a whole new world.

“I almost got arrested for not giving up a bottle of water,” he said. “I was seeing racial profiling going on. It made me start thinking about our rights, and about what fear can do. It mirrored a world that I had lived in at age 19, when I was living in Israel during the first Gulf War.”

Reitman got in touch with Ken Chawkin, who was then the public relations officer at MUM. Chawkin encouraged him to visit Fairfield, and mentioned that the Beach Boys were going to be in town for a concert. Reitman’s wife is from Iowa, so the two decided to attend the concert.

Reitman came back a second time with Donovan for the David Lynch Film Weekend. During his second trip to Fairfield, he interviewed Donovan, David Lynch and Bob Roth.

After the film, Reitman will hold a question-and-answer session with the audience.

One of the common questions Reitman has received in his other Q and As is, “Why did the film take so long to make?” The film took five years in all, which Reitman said is not too far out of the ordinary for documentaries.

“The reason it took me so long was that I had to find peace first,” he said. “When I talked to Ken, he said, ‘Greg, you’re not going to understand peace until you come to Fairfield.’”

Reitman said he greatly enjoyed his time in Fairfield. It reminded him of another small town he filmed in, Carbondale, Colorado, with a population of just over 6,000.

Part of the film is autobiographical, where Reitman shares his person story of living in Israel and visiting Hiroshima, Japan. That said, he feels it’s more an inspirational film than a dry, descriptive documentary.

“It’s one man’s quest to seek inner peace and coming upon the roadblocks that lead him to enlightenment,” he said. “It’s about him having to unlock each of those pearls of wisdom, to understand the concept of a healthy heart and a healthy body. Then you can understand what a healthy world looks like.”

This three-column cover story with large photo carries over to a page 7 three-column section with two photos, one of Greg Reitman with Donovan playing guitar, the other of Mike Love singing on stage from the Beach Boys concert. This article is republished here with permission from The Fairfield Ledger. Click FF Ledger Documentary 7-31-2015 to see a PDF of the whole 2-page article with photos.

See other news about the film here.


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