Posts Tagged ‘Maharishi’

Maharishi on the nature of a settled, silent mind in the November 1993 Science of Mind interview

August 31, 2019

I remember reading this interview in Science of Mind magazine when it first came out over 25 years ago in the November 1993 issue, pages 32-38. Kathy Juline asked good questions, and Maharishi gave erudite answers. A UK TM website posted it, and this website. The blogger also listed the questions, which link to each answer, a convenient option. I added links and updated relevant information in parenthesis.

Settled Mind, Silent Mind

You developed Transcendental Meditation. What is it, exactly?
What are some of its practical benefits?
Can other kinds of meditation produce similar results?
What gives TM such great potential for positive change?
How is TM different from the various other forms of meditation?
Can you offer us more understanding of the “settled state”?
Being in the “settled state,” is equivalent to transcendence?
TM takes the mind from an active, “unsettled” state to the settled state?
What is the nature of transcendental consciousness?
Is the state of unbounded awareness maintained during the day?
How does a person learn to practice Transcendental Meditation?
When people begin to practice TM, does it involve a painful period?
If TM is a program for the mind, what is its relationship to the intellect?
What new applications are you currently exploring for TM?
What recent successes have you had in applying TM to achieve this goal?


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the worldwide Transcendental Meditation Movement, after graduating from Allahabad University with a degree in physics, studied for thirteen years with Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, the world’s foremost exponent of the ancient Vedic Science of consciousness.

Then in 1955, after spending two years in silence in the Himalayas, Maharishi began teaching his Transcendental Meditation technique. In 1957 Maharishi founded the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement and began the first of his many world tours to bring his technique to people on all continents. He has authored a number of books, including on the Bhagavad-Gita A New Translation and Commentary with Sanskrit Text, The Science of Being and Art of Living, and Love and God.

Science of Mind: Transcendental Meditation, which you developed, has enjoyed phenomenal international success. What is it, exactly?

Maharishi: Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural program for the mind, a spontaneous, effortless march of the mind to its own unbounded essence. Through Transcendental Meditation the mind unfolds its potential for unlimited awareness, transcendental awareness. Unity Consciousness – a lively field of all potential, where every possibility is naturally available to the conscious mind. The conscious mind becomes aware of its own unbounded essence, its infinite potential. Transcendental Meditation provides a way for the conscious mind to fathom the whole range of its existence – active and silent, point and infinity. It is not a set of beliefs, a philosophy, a lifestyle, or a religion. It’s an experience, a mental technique one practices every day for 15-20 minutes.

What are some of its practical benefits?

Scientific experiments with people who practice Transcendental Meditation indicate that it tends to produce normalization in all areas of life. It reduces stress, improves health, enriches mental functioning, enhances personal relationships, and increases job productivity and job satisfaction.

Can other kinds of meditation produce similar results?

They can, of course. However, one advantage of Transcendental Meditation is its extreme simplicity. It is very simple for anyone to learn. In addition, it has been the object of scientific research for over 30 years, and its beneficial effects are well-documented.

What gives Transcendental Meditation such great potential for positive change?

To answer that, we must look at the nature of creation itself. Creation has two sides: intelligence, which is the cause of everything, and the manifestations of intelligence, which are the physical and psychological features of the everyday world. Because Transcendental Meditation directly approaches intelligence, rather than the manifestations of intelligence, it solves problems by introducing harmony and well-being at the most basic level, and not by dealing with problems themselves. That’s why it is so effective.

Consider this example: The gardener supplies water to the root of a tree. That water, that nourishment, then reaches all parts of the tree – leaves, branches, flowers, fruit – through the sap. We can think of the sap as analogous to intelligence and the green leaves or yellow flowers as analogous to the manifestations of the intelligence. The leaves and flowers are the intelligence of the sap, after it has been transformed. So intelligence – like the leaves and flowers of a tree – appears as the many different forms of manifest life. Those manifestations include every aspect of existence, from the material and physiological, through the psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. All of those features of life come from transformations of intelligence. In meditation, we directly meet this essential intelligence. Therefore, we have the possibility of nourishing all of its other levels, and thus all levels of manifestation, in a way that is harmoniously related to the whole universe.

How is Transcendental Meditation different from the various other forms of meditation?

The basic difference is that Transcendental Meditation, in addition to its simplicity, concerns itself only with the mind. Other systems often involve some additional aspects with which the mind is associated, such as breathing or physical exercises. They can be a little complicated because they deal with so many things. But with Transcendental Meditation there is no possibility of any interference. So we say this is the all-simple program, enabling the conscious mind to fathom the whole range of its existence.

Transcendental Meditation ranges from active mind – or performing mind – to quiet mind – or resting mind. In this resting mind, one has purity and simplicity, uninvolved with anything other than the mind, uninvolved with any other practice. In Transcendental Meditation, because we deal only with the mind, we nourish all expressions of intelligence. The mind meditates, gains Transcendental Consciousness and brings about transformation in different fields of manifestation. All fields of life, which are the expression of intelligence, are nourished or transformed and made better through experiencing Transcendental Consciousness.

The mind, of course, is always concerned with other aspects, such as the physiology of the body, the environment, and the whole universe for that matter. But since Transcendental Meditation deals only with the performance of the mind, from its active states to its settled state, it remains unconcerned with those other aspects, though it deals with them all, because intelligence deals with them all.

Can you offer us more understanding of the “settled state”? Why is it so important?

The settled state, as we know from physics, is the state of being from which nature’s intelligence functions and administers the whole universe. The settled state is where we find the principle of least action, through which natural law operates. It is important because it is the fundamental level of life.

And being in the “settled state,” or the state of least action, is equivalent to transcendence?

Yes. Transcendence is the state where the mind has moved beyond everything other than itself. That means it has transcended all kinds of activity, small and big, and it has settled down in its own authority, in its own sovereignty, into the unbounded dignity of its own intelligence. And in this state, Transcendental Consciousness turns out to be a lively field of all possibilities.

So, while the mind usually operates in an active, or “unsettled” state, Transcendental Meditation takes it to the settled state?

Exactly! To understand this process, we must ask: how does the mind work? What does it do? We know the mind is always subject to its own nature, which is to evolve. Evolution is the essential nature of existence. The mind is always searching for more and more and more – more knowledge, more happiness. The mind moves on, always toward more and more.

But the mind has two sides. One side is in the direction of diversity, in the direction of many, many. The other is in the direction of unity, the unified state. Gaining unity means rising to Transcendental Consciousness, the settled state, while gaining diversity means moving toward more and more activity. Unity is on one side, diversity is on the other side. Both sides belong to the nature of the mind.

The mind moves to diversity in search of more and more, and it moves in the direction of unity – a quiet state of unbounded awareness, unbounded consciousness, unbounded intelligence – in search of less and less. The move of the mind from its active state to its quiet state is part of nature. Its potential is unbounded, infinite; it enters the field of all possibilities. When the mind gains its unified state, that is Transcendental Meditation.

What is the nature of transcendental consciousness?

It is unity consciousness, an encounter with the field of unified consciousness. In Transcendental Consciousness, the mind experiences itself, intelligence experiences itself. The mind is the observer of its own reality. In that state, the mind is Transcendental Consciousness.

Just as the quiet surface of the ocean is the source from which all waves arise, so the self-fulfilled state of mind, which we call Transcendental Consciousness, is the unified field of natural law, from which all the different laws of nature emerge and conduct their specific activities in the relative world.

Is the state of unbounded awareness maintained during the day, even after the formal meditation period ends?

As a result of regular practice, it is maintained more and more, The situation is as though we were to take a white cloth and dip it in yellow dye. We bring the cloth out and put in the sun and the yellow fades away. Then we put it back again and again into the color and back again and again into the sun. It keeps on becoming yellow and yellow and yellow, then fading, fading, fading. But over time the color becomes permanent. That happens to the mind through regular practice. That unbounded awareness, that pure consciousness, the field of all the laws of nature, becomes ingrained in all activities of the mind. Then the mind begins to live in Unity Consciousness. That’s how Unity Consciousness becomes a living reality.

How does a person learn to practice Transcendental Meditation?

Through instruction. What happens is that the mind, in its active state, learns to experience its own less active states, experience its progressively minimized active states, until eventually it cognizes the transcendental state of consciousness.

But in learning to do this, we must remember that the mind has usually been allowed to wander around so long in the realm of knowledge or power or the pursuit of happiness that it must be taught how to know itself again. That’s why teaching becomes necessary. After learning Transcendental Meditation one knows what the natural state is. But to realize this, one has to be liberated from unnatural programs, performances and experiences.

Most people have no experience with Transcendental Consciousness, pure consciousness, the pure nature of the mind. They are aware of active mind, which is the waking state of consciousness. They are also aware of the complete forgetfulness of the mind, the sleep state, And they are aware of the middle stage, the dreaming mind. But they are not aware of pure or Transcendental Consciousness. So the experience of that consciousness is taught in Transcendental Meditation, though it’s nothing other that the very nature of the mind.

When people begin to practice Transcendental Meditation, do they experience purging or cleansing effects, when negative things come up? Does moving into the unified state of consciousness involve a painful period?

We think about the cloth again. When the cloth is very, very dirty, you begin to rinse it in soap. You rinse it once and then twice. But as it gets cleaner, soiled patches which didn’t seem to be there before begin to appear. However, if you keep on washing and washing, those patches start to fade away and fade away completely. Similarly, when old habits of stress and straining begin to be neutralized through Transcendental Meditation, a person may feel discomfort as other, more subtle habits of stress come up, but only because the natural state is returning and the stress is leaving, This is part of gaining normality and natural status.

For example, some people may say, “I don’t worry about things like I used to. Does this mean I am losing myself, my identity?” To them, this normalization of the mind feels strange, They have been behaving with boundaries, in space and time, and now they wake up to unbounded awareness. So there is often a feeling of difference and strangeness at first.

You say that Transcendental Meditation is a program for the mind. What is its relationship to the intellect?

Transcendental Meditation does not involve intellect. Transcendental Meditation is an experience of the mind, from the active levels to the unified level. It’s just an innocent experience of active mind and an innocent experience of settled mind, silent mind.

Through certain other meditation practices, however, particularly those in which the intellect seeks God through recalling the qualities or names or virtues of God, the intellect is stimulated and begins to thrive, It does so increasingly in the presence of God in the glory of God, in the dignity of God, in the grace of God, in the merciful nature of God. There may then come a point where intellect is in its natural state and comprehends the unbounded awareness of God, the merciful nature of God, the presence of God. The intellect, through pursuing God intellectually, can recognize its natural status as the mind wakes up to its unboundedness.

The intellect thus leads one to the settled state, a non-intellectual experience of pure being. The intellect can finally be enveloped by all the exalted qualities of God as it arrives at its natural state, the level of fundamental intelligence. That will be the same as Transcendental Consciousness, the union which recognizes the unbounded dignity of the light of God, the feeling of God, the experience of unboundedness, pure intelligence. But such is not the approach of Transcendental Meditation, which does not operate through the intellect.

What new applications are you currently exploring for Transcendental Meditation?

We are working in many directions – dealing with education, community planning, prison rehabilitation, and so on – but our primary focus is on promoting what we call “irreversible world peace.” We are seeking to establish several permanent groups of 7000 advanced Transcendental Meditators in various places around the planet. Their meditations will create a powerful coherent influence in the collective consciousness and neutralize built-up stress and tension in the world, creating an environment of progress and peace.

Our goal is to create Heaven on Earth, and we are taking practical steps to accomplish it.

What recent successes have you had in applying Transcendental Meditation to achieve this goal?

There have been many scientific studies validating the effectiveness of this program. Just now I could mention two recent demonstrations – one from the poorest country in the world and one from the richest.

For the last year, the president of Mozambique, His Excellency Joachim Alberto Chissano, has been organizing instruction in Transcendental Meditation for large numbers of his people. Recently, he credited their practice of this discipline with keeping the peace in Mozambique after many years of civil war. (See Psychology Today‘s article, Can Meditation Change the World? and my response to it.)

During June and July of 1993, in Washington DC, about 4,000 experts in Transcendental Meditation demonstrated the power of this technology to eliminate stress and create more coherence and harmony throughout a society. Scientists now report preliminary statistics from the Washington police showing 13% drop in total violent crime during the demonstration compared to the same period in 1992. New reports show that President Clinton and Congress enjoyed much greater success and appreciation during the demonstration than either before or after it. (It actually turned out to be a drop of 24%. See Noetic Science’s Shift article, The Power of The Collective, by John Hagelin, and the Global Union of Scientists for Peace for the latest developments.)

We feel very fulfilled by these results, and wish to invite every government to establish a coherence-creating group in its capital city. This step will ensure that every government has a neat, clean, pure atmosphere in which to make decisions.

This interview with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is from Science of Mind Journal, Vol. 66 No. 11, Nov. 1993, pages 32-38. Science of Mind Journal is published by the Church of Religious Science, 3251 W. 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90020.

Note: I like this self-referral nature of the mind when it transcends during TM: “The mind is the observer of its own reality. In that state, the mind is Transcendental Consciousness.” It contrasts with a quote from the November 1990 Life Magazine article, when the mind is object-referral: “The sight occupies the seer, transforms seer into sight.” I combined both notions in my poem, Seeing Is Being. Maharishi also gave a clear explanation of this difference in perception, of bondage and liberation, in the June 1968 CBC documentary, Maharishi at Lake Louise. You can see more posts about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on this blog.

Update: On August 30, 2019, India PM Narendra Modi unveiled a commemorative stamp of His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Click here to see 3 photos on Twitter, and here to see the photo and description on Instagram. Below is a scan of it.

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

January 15, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Denise Levertov’s poem “Of Being” describes that mysterious moment of expansive inner stillness, joy and reverence

March 6, 2018

Denise Levertov, in her poem, Of Being, describes the mysterious experience of inner happiness, of just being. Though provisional in time, it is removed from great suffering and fear, and hails from an eternal inner source. Her description sounds like a taste of bliss consciousness, which is self-sufficient, not dependent on anything outside itself, and out of time — transcendental pure Being.

Of Being

By Denise Levertov

I know this happiness
is provisional:

the looming presences—
great suffering, great fear—

withdraw only
into peripheral vision:

but ineluctable this shimmering
of wind in the blue leaves:

this flood of stillness
widening the lake of sky:

this need to dance,
this need to kneel:

this mystery:

# # #

Denise Levertov must have also written Primary Wonder after becoming present to the “quiet mystery” that sustains everything.

Denise Levertov’s The Avowel reminds me of the effortlessness of transcending in @TMmeditation

Naomi Shihab Nye says something similar in her poem, So Much Happiness, where “there is no place large enough / to contain so much happiness, / you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you / into everything you touch.”

William Stafford also describes something similar in his poem, Just Thinking, where he appreciates the value “of just being there.”

Here is a poem I wrote on this subject in the early 90’s: Seeing Is Being.

Speaking Of Being, a mysterious bird in this Wallace Stevens poem, Of Mere Being, also uses the image of wind moving slowly in the branches, and teaches us the wonder of just being our self.

Derek Walcott, when he wrote his poem Love After Love, described it as withdrawing into a world of silence, and creating from there, as if in a trance, being blessed by “a kind of fleeting grace” if something happens.

Besides the magical experience of writing such a poem, I also see it as an experience of inner transformation, a time when you first acknowledge the value of just your self. Walcott instructs the reader to “Give back your heart / to itself, to the stranger who has loved you / all your life, whom you ignored / for another, who knows you by heart.”

Watch an excerpt from this CBC film where Maharishi describes the nature of inner life: bondage and liberation, and gaining bliss consciousness through Transcendental Meditation. If you’re interested to know more, watch the whole 1968 film of Maharishi at Lake Louise.

Rememberances of #TranscendentalMeditation and #MaharishiU founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

January 12, 2018

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

January 12th has been traditionally celebrated as the birthday of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This year, January 12, 2018, is the centenary of his birth. After taking a Week of Silence at the start of every year, Maharishi would use the occasion of his birthday to inaugurate a new theme for the new year for his worldwide Transcendental Meditation Movement. See a PDF of Maharishi’s Achievements for each year.

For example, on January 12, 1975, after hearing of a few cities in the United States where 1% of the population were practicing TM and the crime rate had gone down compared to similar cities where it had gone up, he inaugurated the year as the Dawn of the Age of Enlightenment, saying, “Through the window of science, we see the Dawn of the Age of Enlightenment.”

You can read more about this in the description I wrote after Sally Peden’s poem, To Jyotir Math, in this post: Sally describes her journey “To Jyotir Math” with Maharishi and scientists who met to tell the Shankaracharya about the dawning of a new age.

On January 18, 2011, The Times of India published an article about Maharishi by Lane Wagger, The Prime Mover of Life. In this article, titled, Transcendental Meditation, Lane Wagger recalls the legacy of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for his centenary year. Don’t know the date and paper it was published in, but here is an image of the article I had converted into a PDF: Maharishi’s Legacy by Lane Wagger. If you open it, go to Tools, Rotate Clockwise, then Zoom up to 110% to read it.

A very beautiful article is A Remembrance of Maharishi by James Powell. Many articles came out after Maharishi’s passing 10 years ago. See A Tribute to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. And Australian Yoga Life Magazine features Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in their Early Pioneers of Yoga series.

Some of my favorites of or about Maharishi are: Les Crane interviews Maharishi Mahesh Yogi | Watch the 1968 film of Maharishi at Lake Louise | The story behind the making of the International History documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi | Peter Wallace’s story of how he met Maharishi.

Oct 2018, Steve Van Damme wrote a comprehensive personal answer to a question posed on Quora: What do TMers think about Maharishi’s character?

These remembrances are just a fraction of what he had accomplished. He created schools, universities, revived ancient Vedic medicine, architecture, music, encouraged scientific research on TM, and so much more. Maharishi’s Vedic knowledge and technologies continue to transform millions of people’s lives for the better, and for that we are very thankful. Jai Guru Dev.

Growth Haiku written by @kenchawkin and his son Nathanael Chawkin @integralsensei

November 26, 2017

The vegetation in Santa Barbara is varied and lush, with many exotic succulent plants, beautiful flowering bushes, and tall trees. I share my admiration for them as we drive through the city. Nathanael comments: “A tree can only grow as high as its roots go deep.” I write it down and start converting the idea into the first two lines of a haiku. I tell him we need a third line to complete it. After pondering the question for a moment, he recalls a universal phrase from the somatic arts (yoga, dance, martial arts) that his friend and coaching colleague LeeAnn Mallory had shared with him: “Root to rise.” I turn it into the last line to complete this short poem on a basic principle of growth.

Trees for Growth Haiku

Growth Haiku

Trees can only grow
as high as their roots go deep
Root yourself to rise

© Ken and Nathanael Chawkin
Santa Barbara, California
Thanksgiving Day
November 23, 2017

Maharishi always talked about developing 200% of life—100% inner spiritual development and 100% outer material accomplishments. We both say, “Water the root to enjoy the fruit.” Nathanael quotes the SCI Principle, “Outer depends on Inner.” I remember an early analogy: To erect a tall building you have to first dig a deep foundation. It’s similar to: First pull the arrow back on the bow to hit the target. Meditate then act. Established in Being, perform action.

Nathanael does more than just meditate to develop his inner life and establish it on a firmer foundation for living mindfully. Self-inquiry with The Work, various martial arts, and playing classical piano are ways he better understands and integrates himself as a person. He uses an integral approach to inform his work as a martial arts instructor (Integral Martial Arts) and a leadership coach and organizational development consultant (Palæstra).

NB: Nathanael also helped edit this post—a father and son collaboration.

Related: Growth, a spontaneous haiku/tanka @kenchawkin.

For Us—a tanka honoring Sali and what we shared

June 30, 2017

Sali with MaharishiHere is a picture of Sally Peden showing Maharishi a photo that may have been taken during their trip To Jyotir Math with western scientists in the spring of 1975 to tell the Shankaracharya about the Dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. I think it was a picture of the 2,500-year-old banyan tree under which Adi Shankaracharya used to meditate. She had a blurry one of Jerry Jarvis sitting under the tree, but I never saw the framed photo.

Kenny & Sally in Columbia 2007This photo was taken in late May, 2007 at Sali’s step-mother, Petch Peden‘s house in Columbia, MO. I never would have imagined sharing a loving relationship with such a pure, brilliant devotee who had worked closely with Maharishi for so many years. There was obviously a very deep level of recognition between our souls. How else could such a thing have happened?

Sally+Ken bldg opening

At inauguration of Veda Bhavan May 27, 2003

These words, “We’re buddies,” had come into my head when we were introducing ourselves at MUM (another story) around 10 years after we had first met in Washington, DC, summer of 1993, but had both forgotten. She had registered some of us at a large group meditation course.

Years later, not long after she had to move into Parkview Care Center (January 19, 2010), I recalled that incident during one of my visits, and reminded her of it. I also shared the two thoughts that had entered my mind at the time, when she walked up to me to ask my name and check it on her list. I never forgot them—Too bad I just got married (again); Too bad she’s on Mother Divine. She paused, remembered it too, and smiled. What a surprise for both of us!

A Jyotishi, Indian astrologer, who came to town with ancient palm leaves, told us of our past lives together. He said we shared a deep bond of friendship and spirituality, this was a karmic repayment, I was now going to fulfill the promises I had made to her in ancient Vedic times, and that she should be with me at all times—her life depended on it. He also said I had never properly served a woman, that I was spoiling Sali, how it should be. Many adverse situations would spring up over time to test that bond, but I was there for her, right up to the end, and beyond.

Adversity—she experiencing and me watching the challenging changes she would go through in her mind and body due to Dementia—drew us even closer together. I lovingly cared for her, and experienced joy when we were together, even as I continued to grieve and worry about her when we were apart. It also fulfilled a lifelong desire to experience what devotion, spiritual love, was about. It was transforming, to say the least!

I joked that she was making me look good because her friends were calling me a saint, and we both laughed. Early on, when she was going through neurological imbalances that affected her mental stability, I remember saying, “It’s so intense, Sal, what you’re going through, but look at it this way, you must be burning off a lot of karma; you’re evolving quickly.” She looked up at me and quipped, “Hello? So are you!” And we both cracked up laughing. She was my little munchkin.

Sali never lost her sense of humor. Years later, when she could no longer speak, she would still smile and giggle, bringing joy to some of the nurses and aides who looked after her. Her inner nature remained the same; it was always uplifting to be with her.

It will be 9 months on July 1st, 2017 since my sweetheart passed. Sali was a fellow devotee on the spiritual path, my best friend and muse. I have written many poems for, about, and because of her. Most of them are on this blog. They trace a lot of what we went through together. As difficult as it was at times, I would not change any of it.

Our friends would often say how lucky she was to have me in her life, but I always told them I was the lucky one. We both acknowledged the blessing we were given—loving each other at that transitional time in our lives. It’s summed up in this Haiku for Her, repeated here with the hoku from The Rare Gift of Love, now put together in a new tanka.

For Us
A tanka honoring Sali and what we shared

You gave me a taste
Of true Love and Unity
For Eternity

What we shared was glorious
A Gift from God and Guru

Jai Guru Dev

© Ken Chawkin
June 30, 2017
Fairfield, Iowa

Related: ‘In Our Loving Eyes’ a poem by @kenchawkin remembering a special love with Sally Peden

Added October 1, 2017, A tanka remembering Sali and her gift to me on the one-year anniversary of her passing.

Added November 12, 2017: 1st anniversary of my India trip to spread Sali’s ashes on the Narmada River, visit Bijouri campus and Maharishi Vedic Pandits at the Brahmasthan.

Added June 28, 2019: Poem for Sali—An Undying Love—heals the heart.

I would later record these love poems for Sali (COMMITTED, This Quiet Love, In Our Loving Eyes) for a 2019 Valentine’s Day program on KHOE, MUM’s campus radio station. Click here to read and listen to them.

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A Remembrance of Maharishi by James Powell

May 10, 2017
May 4, 2017 | Santa Barbara Independent | Opinion | In Memoriam

His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (photo by Al Bourdet)

His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi 1911*-2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
By James Powell

The first time I met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was in Malibu, on the beach.

It was a typical summer day in Southern California. Not much was happening. There was a south swell. From time to time a sun worshiper atop a towel would flip over, a seagull would sail off into the fog, or a large set of waves would come crashing in.

As I recall, I stood on the beach with some of my surfing buddies. We were probably dressed in the surfer’s uniform of the era: corduroy pants and white Penney’s T-shirts covered by Pendeltons, not tucked in. Unlike most surfers on most beaches that day, however, we each held in our hands a bouquet of flowers.

Suddenly cars arrived. Doors were flung open. A cameraman emerged, and next some guys in suits. A brown, sandaled foot from within the car could be seen feeling for the ground, and then—bearded and wearing a long, flowing, white dhoti—an Indian man stepped out onto the dirt road. He seemed enveloped in a nimbus of such serenity and light that, seeing him, the effect was similar to what one feels deep in a canyon before dawn, when suddenly the sun bursts over the rim.

With the camera now trained on us—the surfer-boy extras in a documentary film—Maharishi approached, clearly enjoying the eternity in each step as he floated across the sand. As he drew near, something happened that I was not at all prepared for. My soul began to swoon. In place of the crashing of the waves, which now seemed far in the distance, was an immensely beautiful sea of silent consciousness. It was, to put it mildly, simply adorable. Lost in it, I could neither speak nor move. When Maharishi tugged on my flowers, I was unable to release my grip. He looked into my eyes, touched my hand, and my fingers opened.

It would be impossible to forget the blithe beauty of those eyes. He looked into each of ours, playfully. After accepting our flowers he looked out to sea, and then, regarding us again and smiling like the happiest man on earth, he asked, “Are you enjoying the ocean?”

Thus began my transcendental studies—lessons such as I had never known. The classroom was the Heart; the assignment was to locate the point within where the soul loses its boundaries and becomes absorbed in something infinite.

Typically, by the time Maharishi arrived at his seat in any of the countless lecture halls he spoke in around the world, he would be hugging to his chest hundreds of flowers accepted from students greeting him on his way in. And in each one of those exchanges was a moment as spiritually transforming as the one I had known on the beach. Yet, Maharishi’s aim was not to establish a personality cult. Each and every flower he accepted in each and every lecture hall he would place reverently before the image of his beloved teacher, Guru Dev, to whom he dedicated every instant of his life. And he tirelessly encouraged each of us to dive into the ocean of consciousness his Guru Dev embodied, by diving deep within our hearts during meditation.

Maharishi, in speaking of his teacher, always emphasized that the events in a spiritually illumined life are not so important. What is important is the state of his or her enlightenment. So I will not list all Maharishi’s many accomplishments throughout the world. Perhaps something of his level of presence can be felt through these few words.

Maharishi visited Santa Barbara on several occasions because some of his dearest friends lived here: Walter and Rae Koch, the family of Tom and Susan Headley, and Arthur and Christina Granville. Over the past few decades, teachers at Santa Barbara’s Transcendental Meditation center instructed more than 10,000 Santa Barbarans in meditation. In addition, Santa Barbara was at one time the home of the fledgling Maharishi International University, now located in Fairfield, Iowa.

“Are you enjoying the ocean?” Although those were the first words I had ever heard him speak, through the years I realized that they contained his entire teaching. For Maharishi was absolutely certain of one fact: His soul was forever floating within an ocean of unbounded bliss. He was well aware that the state of life he was living was adorable, and that anyone could begin to live it.

* The year of Maharishi’s birth is unknown but is believed to have been between 1911 and 1918. (See my note below on this point.)**

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Personal note: I remember reading this beautifully written remembrance of Maharishi when it first appeared, March 13, 2008, in the Santa Barbara Independent. The film being made about Maharishi at the time was never completed. But Alan Waite, who brought out the film crew, would later go on to make, at Maharishi’s request, a film about him called, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi—Sage for a New Generation (1968). It won an award in 1969 for best documentary film at the first Hollywood Film Festival. The judges said they liked the “patchwork style of film-making” when they gave Alan the award. Segments of the film were later included in the International History Channel documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi that I helped produce.

I had attended Maharishi International University, MIU, in Goleta, California, in 1974, and moved to the Fairfield, Iowa campus to complete my last course before returning to Montreal, Canada. MIU would later change its name to Maharishi University of Management, MUM, www.mum.edu.

Oct 2018, Steve Van Damme wrote a comprehensive personal answer to a question on Quora: What do TMers think about Maharishi’s character?

**According to Maharishi’s passport, he was born January 12, 1917, so 2018 is being recognized as his centenary year. See Rememberances of #TranscendentalMeditation and #MaharishiU founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

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@DAVID_LYNCH answers questions from students as part of the 2016 Commencement @MaharishiU

June 24, 2016

2. Hagelin & Morris present Lynch with Doctor of World Peace

David Lynch receives honorary doctorate of World Peace from outgoing president Bevan Morris (right) and incoming president John Hagelin (left) Maharishi University of Management ©2016

During their 2016 commencement ceremony on June 18th, 2016, Maharishi University of Management was proud to feature world-renowned filmmaker David Lynch, who was presented with a Doctor of World Peace honoris causa degree. Instead of a traditional graduation speech, Mr. Lynch held a spontaneous Q and A session with students about life-oriented topics that commencement speakers traditionally address. Here is that lively interactive commencement address. (19:37).

Here is a transcript of the David Lynch 2016 MUM Commencement Q&A. See The 5 Best Quotes from David Lynch’s Commencement Q&A

Selected Excerpts

Behind David Lynch’s Success | Consciousness-Based Education | What Makes a Meaningful Life | Graduates’ Roles for World Peace | What Makes a Good Leader | Falling in Love with an Idea | Following Your Intuition | Filmmaker’s Secret.

News Coverage

Motto* (Words to live by): David Lynch to Grads: Intuition ‘Is the Number One Tool for Human Beings’ Watch the ‘Twin Peaks’ director give his advice to 2016 Maharishi University grads | La Voce di New York: David Lynch: trascendere per migliorare il mondo. Here is a translation of The Voice of New York’s David Lynch: transcend to improve the world | The Fairfield Ledger’s Andy Hallman reports: @DAVID_LYNCH addresses @MaharishiU graduates | The Hawk Eye’s Bob Saar: Filmmaker David Lynch gives MUM commencement address in Fairfield | KTVO’s Stephen Sealey reported on Maharishi University’s special graduation ceremonyFilmmaker David Lynch to Give Commencement Address at Maharishi University of Management | Des Moines Register: David Lynch promises ‘strange’ commencement address in Iowa | Open Culture: David Lynch Gives Unconventional Advice to Graduates in an Unusual Commencement Address

*Advice worth sharing from the world’s most influential people and the editors of TIME

About MUM

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.

MUM Social Media Accounts

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube | Google+

Related News

Market Wired: Professor John Hagelin Named President of Maharishi University of Management | The Gazette: New president named for Maharishi University of Management. John Hagelin takes office Sept. 12 | Ottumwa Courier: Hagelin is incoming president of MUM | Inside Higher Ed: New Presidents or Provosts

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The Hawk Eye’s Bob Saar: Filmmaker David Lynch gives MUM commencement address in Fairfield

June 20, 2016

Filmmaker David Lynch gives MUM commencement address in Fairfield

Physicist John Hagelin named new president as Bevan Morris steps down.

By BOB SAAR for The Hawk Eye | June 19, 2016

Cody Weber/ for The Hawk Eye Filmmaker David Lynch speaks Saturday at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield. Lynch was featured and feted at the 41st commencement ceremony with graduates from 53 countries in attendance.

Cody Weber/ for The Hawk Eye
Filmmaker David Lynch speaks Saturday at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield. Lynch was featured and feted at the 41st commencement ceremony with graduates from 53 countries in attendance. (click to expand photo)

FAIRFIELD — The 41st commencement ceremony at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield began with hundreds of graduates and their family and friends filling the Golden Dome with “America, the Beautiful” backed by the Metropolitan Brass Quintet of Des Moines.

The fact people from 53 countries were in the room participating gives one hope the mission of MUM and its representatives could be viable: world peace.

“If there’s anyplace on this globe where nations are truly united, that place is here,” said MUM executive vice president Craig Pearson.

Among the 366 students receiving degrees Saturday, 42 Ethiopians and 41 Chinese were outnumbered only by American students.

Nepal, Egypt and Bangladesh had hefty handfuls of graduates as well, including a father-and-son pair of co-grads from Cambodia.

Retiring MUM president Bevan Morris, along with his named successor, world-renowned physicist John Hagelin, presented keynote speaker and filmmaker David Lynch with an honorary Doctorate of Peace for his life work seeking to unite people around the world.

Morris listed many of Lynch’s accolades, including four Academy Award nominations, four Golden Globe nominations, Best Director award from seven film societies, the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival in France — the list goes on.

Lynch’s landmark ABC-TV series that ran 1990-91, “Twin Peaks,” garnered 18 Emmy nominations in its first two — and only — seasons.

And, of course, someone’s cellphone clarioned during Lynch’s introduction. No one minded it any more than they minded the small flock of children chirping at the back of the Dome, having fun on the bouncy meditational mattresses that replaced stiff, rigid stacking chairs.

Lynch, with a hard-earned reputation for quirkiness and individual thought, dispensed with a speech in favor of a question-and-answer session with four graduating students who joined him on stage.

“I did not do all those things they mentioned earlier,” Lynch quipped.

Q: How do we reconcile having a job without a purpose in life?

Lynch: Chances are you will find work you love.

Q: What’s one thing you learned on your film sets?

Lynch: Always have the final cut.

Asked to tell an anecdote about the Maharishi, whom Lynch met or tele-conversed many times, Lynch called the leader of Transcendental Meditation “the greatest master who ever walked the earth.”

Q: Can you tell us a moment when you fell in love with an idea?

Lynch likened ideas to fish: “We don’t make the fish, we catch the fish.”

Asked to define consciousness — he is the founder and chairman of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-based Education and World Peace — he said: “Without consciousness we couldn’t exist, and if we didn’t exist, we wouldn’t know it.”

His definition of a good leader was “someone who inspires others” and asked to define peace, he said, “Real peace is not just the absence of war; it’s the absence of all negativity.”

And so it went, but just as his commencement Q&A was coming to a close, Lynch talked about long ago when he was in school:

“I hated school,” he told the graduates. “I hated almost every minute in school. It was so boring. I don’t think I learned anything.”

Ah, but the people in the Golden Dome did not agree, and David Lynch took his seat to a standing ovation.

Andrew Rushing, valedictorian, summed up the collective consciousness of the people in the room when he said, “David Lynch is the king of cool.”

The students who received diplomas Saturday not only know they exist, they know what they’re going to do next.

Whatever they do, it’s going to be good.

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Here is a PDF of what the article looks like in the Sunday issue of The Hawk Eye: Filmmaker David Lynch gives MUM commencement address in Fairfield.

Related news: @DAVID_LYNCH answers questions from students as part of the 2016 Commencement @MaharishiU | KTVO’s Stephen Sealey reported on Maharishi University’s special graduation ceremony and The Fairfield Ledger’s Andy Hallman reports: @DAVID_LYNCH adresses @MaharishiU graduates

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William Stafford’s last poem now seemed prophetic—an unintended literary epitaph

November 21, 2015

Below is the last poem William Stafford wrote in his Daily Writings, the morning of the day he died. He was 79 (Jan 17, 1914–Aug 28, 1993).

An unintended prophetic literary epitaph, you wonder if he knew on some deep level that his life was coming to a close?

In a way, the poem beautifully sums up his life as an awake poet, effortlessly creating (It was all easy) from the revelatory moment where, “For that instant, conceiving is knowing; the secret life in language reveals the very self of things.”*

Kim Stafford says a friend told him his father’s “imagination was tuned to the moment when epiphanies were just about to come into being.” Kim continues: At such a moment, ambition could be fatal to what we seek. Take a deep breath and wait. What seeks you may then appear.**

There is a reproduction of this poem in his own handwriting opposite the inside title of his posthumously published book, The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems, William Stafford, Graywolf Press (1999).

There was no title to the handwritten poem, just the date of the entry, 28 August 1993. It appears on page 46, and underneath the date is the title:

“Are you Mr. William Stafford?”

“Are you Mr. William Stafford?”
“Yes, but. . . .”

Well, it was yesterday.
Sunlight used to follow my hand.
And that’s when the strange siren-like sound flooded
over the horizon and rushed through the streets of our town.
That’s when sunlight came from behind
a rock and began to follow my hand.

“It’s for the best,” my mother said—”Nothing can
ever be wrong for anyone truly good.”
So later the sun settled back and the sound
faded and was gone. All along the streets every
house waited, white, blue, gray; trees
were still trying to arch as far as they could.

You can’t tell when strange things with meaning
will happen. I’m [still] here writing it down
just the way it was. “You don’t have to
prove anything,” my mother said. “Just be ready
for what God sends.” I listened and put my hand
out in the sun again. It was all easy.

Well, it was yesterday. And the sun came,
Why
It came.

Listen to a beautiful musical rendition of this poem by Daniel Austin Sperry from his album: Cutting Loose ~ A Tribute To William Stafford. Follow him on Facebook.com/PoetrySandwich for updates and musical videos. Visit http://cellomansings.com. Buy the digital album online or email to order the CD cellomansings@gmail.com.

See William Stafford—The Way It Is, also recorded by Daniel Sperry, as well as William Stafford—You and Art. Enjoy other favorite Stafford poems posted on The Uncarved Blog.

*Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford, by Kim Stafford, Graywolf Press (2002), page 289, referencing his National Book Award Acceptance Speech.

**Ibid, page 136. “What seeks you may then appear” and in the poem, “Just be ready for what God sends” remind me of the ancient rishis, the Vedic seers who were so awake inside that they heard the Veda humming to itself within their own consciousness; they cognized the richas, the hymns of the Veda that sought them out.

That quality of wakefulness, innocence and readiness—a subtle receptivity to what may be given, or realized, is described in Rk Veda, 5.44.14: Yo jagara tam richa kamayante. He who is awake, the richas seek him out. (Peter Freund’s Favorite Sanskrit Expressions, page 3.)

See Maharishi Mahesh Yogi describe the process of Vedic cognition during a 1976 European symposium on Science and Consciousness: He Who Is Awake the Hymns Seek Him Out.

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