Posts Tagged ‘Transcendental Meditation’

Physician recommends wider use of evidence-based mind-body interventions for prisoners

February 1, 2017

Medical doctor calls for mind-body approaches to help prisoners reduce stress, trauma, and recidivism

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A group of female inmates practicing Transcendental Meditation experienced significant reductions in trauma symptoms compared to a control group. Photo credit: The Oregon Department of Corrections*

A randomized study published online January 17, 2017 in The Permanente Journal on 22 female prisoners found that those practicing Transcendental Meditation for four months had significant reductions in total trauma symptoms compared with a control group. And a similar study in the same journal published October 7, 2016, involving 181 male prisoners found a 47% reduction in total trauma symptoms compared to a non-meditating control group.

In an editorial, published February 1, 2017 to accompany the two studies on Transcendental Meditation in their Winter 2017 print edition, Charles Elder, MD, MPH, FACP, a clinician and researcher with Kaiser Permanente, called for wider use of evidence-based mind-body interventions for prisoners.

Advantages of mind-body interventions for prisoners

Dr. Elder cited many of the advantages of these interventions.

Charles Elder, MD, MPH, FACP

Charles Elder, MD, MPH, FACP

“Mind-body interventions can provide the patient with a simple self-help tool that can effectively reduce anxiety, help treat substance abuse, reduce inmate recidivism, and help address a range of medical conditions,” he wrote, citing research on Transcendental Meditation that supports these benefits.

In addition to these benefits, he points out that a mind-body intervention can be cost-effective. Since Transcendental Meditation has been shown to reduce recidivism — the percentage of inmates returning to prison after their release — it can save money that would otherwise be spent on incarceration. And, he points out, a prisoner who becomes a productive member of society provides an economic benefit, instead of a deficit.

Rebecca Pak of The Women’s Prison Association agrees with Dr. Elder, “The results inside correctional facilities and schools with Transcendental Meditation have been simply astounding. If we shifted our focus from punitive responses to interventions designed to improve mental and physical health, we would have much greater impact.”

Convenience of mind-body interventions

Dr. Elder also describes the convenience of mind-body approaches.

“Once taught the technique, an individual can use the skill for the duration of his or her life, as a stress management tool, providing ongoing benefits across a range of domains…. In addition to helping the inmate cope with the stress of incarceration, there is a range of additional ‘side benefits,’ ranging from reduced recidivism to improved cardiovascular health.”

He says a trained instructor can take Transcendental Meditation directly to the prisoners, rather than their going to a clinic or meditation center. And direct personal instruction is better than trying to learn a mind-body intervention online, since many may be unable or unwilling to engage an online format.

Effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation

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Sanford Nidich, EdD, lead author

Led by Sanford Nidich, EdD, Director of the Maharishi University of Management Center for Social and Emotional Health, the two recent studies published by The Permanente Journal were conducted at three prisons in Oregon. The hypothesis was that Transcendental Meditation would help prisoners deal with serious trauma and stress. Surveys have shown that prisoners have one of the highest rates of lifetime trauma of any segment of society, with 85% having been a victim of a crime-related event, such as robbery or home invasion, or physical or sexual abuse.

This trauma leads to stress and poor lifestyle choices, including crime and substance abuse. In addition to these recent studies, earlier ones have found that Transcendental Meditation helps inmates deal with trauma and stress and reduces recidivism. Here is a sampling, with some listed in the editorial:

• 2017 — the study described above that found reduced trauma in female prisoners in Oregon

• 2016 — the study mentioned above that found a 47% reduction in total trauma symptoms in male prisoners in Oregon over the course of the four-month study, including a reduction in anxiety, depression, dissociation, and sleep disturbance, as well as a significant decrease in perceived stress

• 2003 — A study of 17 subjects at La Tuna federal penitentiary in Texas showed a reduction on the MMPI psychasthenia scale, suggesting a reduction in obsessive–compulsive behavior, and a decrease in social introversion.

• 2003 — A retrospective followup on 152 inmates who had learned Transcendental Meditation at Walpole prison in Massachusetts found that these inmates were 33% less likely to have returned to prison after 30 days compared to a control group that participated in counseling, drug rehabilitation and religious activities, and 47% less likely compared to all non-meditating control subjects.

• 2003 — A retrospective analysis of 248 inmates at Folsom State Prison used Cox regression analysis to calculate that prisoners who learn Transcendental Meditation are 43.5% less likely to return to prison.

• 1987 — A study of 259 inmates who had learned Transcendental Meditation at several different prisons in California found that they were 40% less likely to have returned to prison one year after release compared to matched controls, and 30% less likely after six years.

• 1978 — A study of 115 inmates at Folsom Prison in California found a reduction in anxiety, negativism, and suspicions, as well as improved sleep.

“The overall body of research suggests that Transcendental Meditation could be used more widely to help prisoners deal with trauma and stress,” said Dr. Nidich, lead author of the recent studies conducted at Oregon prisons.

Source: Mind-Body Training for At-Risk Populations: Preventive Medicine at its Best.

About the Transcendental Meditation Technique

Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) is a simple, natural technique practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. The TM technique is easy to learn and enjoyable to practice, and is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. Unlike other forms of meditation, TM practice involves no concentration, no control of the mind, no contemplation, no monitoring of thoughts. It automatically and effortlessly allows the active thinking mind to settle down to a state of deep inner calm. For more information visit www.tm.org.

*Photo: The Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon.

MarketWired: Medical doctor calls for mind-body approaches to help prisoners reduce stress, trauma, and recidivism

Related posts: New study shows Transcendental Meditation reduces trauma symptoms in female prisoners and Transcendental Meditation reduced stress and trauma symptoms in male prisoners in 4 months

How and why Transcendental Meditation is effortless, distinguishing it from other practices

December 31, 2016

imageStudents at Maharishi University of Management practice the effortless technique of Transcendental Meditation twice a day on campus. This study involved 87 students who had been practicing TM from one month to five years. Credit: Maharishi University of Management

As the value of meditation becomes widely recognized, researchers are increasingly trying to understand the differences among approaches. A new study published in Brain and Cognition reports subjective experiences and cortical activation patterns that distinguish the Transcendental Meditation technique from other meditation practices.

It seems TM is able to easily activate the Default Mode Network (DMN), a deeper more integrated structure in the brain, when other types of meditation requiring some form of effort turn it off.

For a clearer explanation of how and why the TM technique is effortless, and can be easily learned and practiced by anyone, with immediate results, read this report: Research validates the defining hallmark of Transcendental Meditation—effortlessness.

For more information on Maharishi University of Management, visit www.mum.edu, and Transcendental Meditation, www.tm.org.

Sunshine Superman Donovan is a Very Mellow Fellow, a Hurdy Gurdy Man with Loving Vibes

September 9, 2016

DONOVAN was here over Labor Day Weekend. He played two concerts Sunday night during Fairfest 2016, Fairfield, Iowa’s Roots Music Festival. The first was a fundraiser for Maharishi University’s Global Scholarship Fund at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center‘s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, and the second was with Bonnie Paine and friends to close out the 3-day musical event on the Main Stage outside. Donovan had never played back-to-back performances like that, but it turned out very well.

In the Green Room with Donovan.png

After arriving and having lunch, Donovan met the band at the Sondheim theater and went to work rehearsing with them. It was impressive! They consisted of Elephant Revival’s singer Bonnie Paine (percussion), and two from her group, top to bottom: Daniel Rodriguez (guitar, banjo) and Dango Rose (bass), joined by Arthur Lee Land of Great American Taxi (guitar), and Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth (violin, organ).

The MUM concert in the Sondheim was special and intimate, filled mostly with meditators. Donovan then joined the band on the Main Stage after their performance. In both the rehearsal and the concert, Donovan encouraged each one of the musicians playing his songs. They all really enjoyed themselves, as did the audience, and drew the largest crowd of the 3-day event! See video clips below. After the concert, Donovan invited them back to his Green Room to share stories about the music business. What a magical treat for them all!!! Producer Michael Sternfeld took the group photo, choreographed by Donovan.

Donovan Day in LA

donovan-day-city-hall-los-angeles

Thank you Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councillor Koretz of City Hall Los Angeles for this singular honor to mark the Fiftieth Birthday of my song SUNSHINE SUPERMAN reaching number one on the Billboard Top 100. A love song for Linda yes, but also when we met we both knew we were on the same journey to raise awareness of a higher consciousness for the future generations. We are still on that journey. Come to my 21 city SUNSHINE SUPERMAN AMERICAN TOUR and share this birthday with me. — Donovan

New addition: Donovan Presentation–LA City Council Meeting.

Some News Coverage

Donovan left Fairfield early Tuesday morning to continue the American wing of his “Sunshine Superman” Tour, which was unofficially launched at East Hampton, Donovan: Flower-Power Icon of Change, then officially on Good Day LA, which discussed Donovan Day in LA. That night he performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, who said Donovan’s tour was starting in Fairfield, Iowa! After his performance, Jimmy whispered in Donovan’s ear that his interview with Howard Stern was the best ever. Fox News Video also posted this clip: Donovan shows no sign of slowing down.

Billboard later published: Donovan Reflects on ‘Sunshine Superman’ 50th Anniversary, Hanging With The Beatles & Jimmy Page, Flower-Power Era. And then this news, which is so appropriate: Donovan to Be Honored With John Lennon Real Love Award at Tribute Concert. “Donovan is a beautiful soul who was positively influenced by John,” Yoko Ono said in a statement. Read how this came about in this fascinating billboard article.

It’s interesting that Donovan will receive this award in John Lennon’s name. Donovan also had a positive influence on John when the Beatles were with Maharishi in India. John had asked Donovan to show him how he played his guitar. Donovan said it was the claw hammer style he had learned from another musician. It was based on a banjo-picking style converted to guitar.

In a way, it came full circle for John, since his mother, Julia, had taught him how to play chords on a banjo she had given him before he picked up the guitar. John wrote Julia and Dear Prudence using that style. Paul picked it up his way and wrote Mother Nature’s Child and Black Bird. George Harrison said Donovan was all over The Beatles White Album. Donovan mentions all this and more in a Rolling Stone interview (April 19, 2012) after he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Watch the video: Donovan: On teaching guitar technique to Beatles.

Fairfield News Coverage

Some regional articles came out to promote the event. The Iowa Source published an article by Michael Sternfeld: Donovan: Sunshine Superman. Michael Braunstein wrote a very interesting article for The Reader in Omaha. Musician and journalist Bob Saar, who has covered David Lynch Weekends and MUM Commencements, wrote a great article for The Hawk Eye: Donovan to perform at FAIRfest 2016. Iowa City’s Little Village’s Arts Editor Genevieve Heinrich published: Musician Donovan Leitch talks legacy of ‘Sunshine Superman’ and importance of Transcendental Meditation, and showed up for the concert with her family. Mark Newman from the Ottumwa Courier dropped by during rehearsal: Donovan performance mends Fairfield hearts. Mark surprised me with a mention, helping Donovan set up.

Highlights of FairFest Roots Music Festival

donovan-fairfest-by-wernerelmker

Werner Elmker posted this photo of Donovan from the solo concert, and these Fairfest 2016 Highlights of Day One, Day Two, and Day Three, which contains excerpts from Donovan’s Sondheim and Main Stage concerts.

Professional photographer Kim Green came down from Cedar Rapids and posted a slideshow: Fairfest ~ Labor Day weekend 2016 – Prairie Moon Media- An eclectic mix.

Andy Hayward posted clips from both shows of Donovan at FAIRfest ’16.

FairfieldRocksMe posted these videos:

Fairfield Celebrates Donovan

A Labor Day lunch was hosted by Mayor Ed and Vicki Malloy. Some guests brought their Donovan records and posters for him to sign, and took pictures. In attendance were Bevan Morris, John and Kara Hagelin, and other leading members of the Fairfield/MUM community.

After lunch, Donovan regaled us with stories from Rishikesh, India at Maharishi’s ashram with the Beatles, Mike Love, Prudence Farrow, and others. He told us stories of his times with Maharishi, and a vivid dream he had of him, a week before coming here for the America wing of his 50th anniversary tour.

Donovan then asked me to share the story of what Maharishi had said about him. When I was with Maharishi at Lake Louise, one of my course mates had asked Maharishi about George Harrison and Donovan. About Donovan, Maharishi said he was the most sensitive boy he had ever met.

A few months before he was to join the Beatles and the others in India, Donovan said he was interviewed by John Carpenter for Rolling Stone’s premier issue, (1st and 2nd issues, Nov 9 & 23, 1967). In Part 1, he made a statement that summarized his approach to music: “There’s only one thing in the end, and that’s singing truth in a pleasant way.”

Carpenter asked him about composing, performing, his phenomenal success, and his very recent meeting with Maharishi who had taught him how to meditate. He describes that experience towards the end of Part 2: You just spent three days with Maharishi in Los Angeles. What’s he like?

Read more posts on Donovan here. If you can, see him in concert this time around. Check Donovan’s website for a list of concert dates and locations.

donovan-fairfield-friends

After his last interview for A Fairfield Documentary, a few of us had our picture taken with Donovan. He directed the photo shoot, taken by Werner Elmker. From the tallest to the shortest: Michael Sternfeld, who produced the Sondheim Concert, Bill Goldstein, who introduced the MUM International scholarship students, Donovan, and myself, Ken Chawkin. (Click photo to enlarge it.)

I must say, of all the times I’ve interacted with Donovan over the years, I found him to be most generous and patient with his time and energy while interacting with everyone. Not much ego there, but a very sensitive loving soul, who was kissed by the lord and filled with song to wear his love like heaven. He truly is an evolved Hurdy Gurdy Man, a gift of a rare flower to our garden! Looking forward to seeing him in Fairfield again, next time with his lovely wife Linda.

Five great articles on #TranscendentalMeditation in The Quad-Cities Online @Dispatch_Argus

July 1, 2016

Here is a series of five stories exploring Transcendental Meditation written by Jackie Chesser and published in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. Click the titles to see each one of them online with photos at QCOnline. Or click Dispatch-Argus-May 2016 articles to see a PDF of them all together, courtesy of The Dispatch/Argus.

May 14, 2016: Transcendental Meditation could improve your life

May 15, 2016: Transcendental Meditation a lifesaver for vets with PTSD

May 15, 2016: Q-C instructors are passionate about Transcendental Meditation

May 16, 2016: Transcendental Meditation pays off in the classroom

May 17, 2016: ‘It has been a godsend!’: Q-C people talk about Transcendental Meditation

@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

*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 Fairfield Ledger’s Andy Hallman reports: @DAVID_LYNCH addresses @MaharishiU graduates

June 20, 2016

Lynch addresses M.U.M. graduates

By ANDY HALLMAN Ledger news editor | Jun 20, 2016

David Lynch

Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo: Filmmaker David Lynch addresses the graduating students of Maharishi University of Management Saturday in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome. In the fall of 2013, the university debuted the David Lynch Master of Arts in Film program.

Saturday was a gorgeous day for a graduation as 366 students at Maharishi University of Management received their degrees in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome.

The list of graduates included 268 graduate students and 98 undergraduates from 53 countries. The foreign country with the most students graduating was Ethiopia with 42, followed by China with 41. Nepal, Egypt and Bangladesh each had at least 10 students graduating. Nearly one half of the students graduating, 168, earned their degrees in computer science.

The graduating class included a few interesting pairs. Touch Phai and his son Pakrigna Phai, both from Cambodia, had the honor of receiving their degrees together Saturday. Brothers Christian and Nicolas Martina from Argentina graduated together, as did the brother-sister pair of Naamee and Nahshon Yisrael from Chicago.

The commencement speaker was someone the students and faculty have come to know well: filmmaker David Lynch. M.U.M. president Bevan Morris read a long list of accolades Lynch has earned in his career, such as his Golden Globe for Best TV Series for his 1990–1991 show “Twin Peaks,” which he is filming a new season of that will air in 2017.

Adam Delfiner, Afomeya Bekele, Asaad Saad, Laure Muzzarelli

(left to right) Adam Delfiner, Afomeya Bekele, Asaad Saad, Laura Muzzarelli

Lynch’s speech was unconventional in that rather than deliver prepared remarks, he asked four graduating students to join him on stage and ask him questions. He insisted that he not be told of the questions ahead of time. The four students selected for this honor were Afomeya Bekele, Asaad Saad, Adam Delfiner and Laura Muzzarelli.

The students asked the accomplished filmmaker a wide range of questions about what makes a meaningful life, what the world will look like in 10 years and whether he would have done anything differently in his youth.

When Bekele learned she was one of the students who would ask Lynch questions, she turned to Facebook for advice on what questions to ask. She asked him when it was appropriate to trust one’s intuition, to which Lynch said that intuition should generally be trusted and that it was the No. 1 tool for artists, businessmen and women and many other careers.

Bekele said she particularly liked what Lynch said about getting ideas, which was that they are not so much invented as “caught.”

Saad is a computer science major and a graduate instructor. He sent emails to his students to ask what questions to ask, then chose the best ones. He asked Lynch about his interactions with the founder of the university, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Lynch has begun filming scenes for a documentary on Maharishi’s time traveling from northern to southern India, and Saad was curious when the documentary would be finished.

Lynch said of Maharishi that he was the “greatest master who ever walked the earth” and he gave out profound knowledge during his lifetime. Lynch said there were two keys to a better life: practicing Transcendental Meditation and drinking coffee.

On the question about his documentary of Maharishi, Lynch said that he was busy with the third season of “Twin Peaks,” but that once that is finished, he would be able to devote more time to finishing his other projects.

Andrew Rushing

Andrew Rushing

Andrew Rushing, who majored in Maharishi Vedic Science, was the school’s valedictorian and also gave a speech. Rushing said he had little more than a week to prepare his speech.

“My goal was to inspire the 2016 class to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and to encourage them to do great things,” he said.

During his speech, Rushing told the audience, “Just by being your true self, you act as a conduit for goodness in the world.”

Runzjao Xie

Runzjao Xie

Twenty-year-old business student Runzhao Xie was recognized as the youngest graduate. Xie graduated from Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment in 2012, and said he could have graduated from M.U.M. as early as last year but a professor whose class he needed was not available to teach it.

“My parents were both in education, so that got me interested in academics at a young age,” he said.

Xie said he specialized in accounting and took five accounting classes in a row before university officials advised him to branch out into other subjects. He has a summer internship with Andrew Bargerstock, chair of the accounting department.

John Hagelin

Physics professor John Hagelin speaks about the exciting opportunities and responsibilities he will have Sept. 12 when he becomes the university’s new president, taking over from Bevan Morris, who held the position for 36 years.

Also announced during Saturday’s ceremonies was that John Hagelin will become the university’s new president effective Sept. 12, known as Founder’s Day at the university. He will assume the role held by Bevan Morris for the past 36 years. For the first time in its history, M.U.M. awarded post-doctoral degrees Saturday, which it bestowed upon both Morris and Hagelin. (Correction: These new post-doctoral degrees were announced and described, but will be bestowed on Drs. Morris and Hagelin Sept. 12, 2016.)

Hagelin has been a member of the faculty at M.U.M. since 1984. In addition to teaching physics, he has held many positions of leadership such as director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy and president of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.

Reprinted with permission. All photos taken by Andy Hallman for Ledger photo. The 4 photos, embedded here in the article where relevant, are in an online slideshow format, with their captions, underneath David’s photo, starting with John Hagelin. The article and 5 photos appear on the front page of Monday’s Ledger concluding on page 7.

Related news: @DAVID_LYNCH answers questions from students as part of the 2016 Commencement @MaharishiU | The Hawk Eye’s Bob Saar: Filmmaker David Lynch gives MUM commencement address in Fairfield and KTVO’s Stephen Sealey reported on Maharishi University’s special graduation ceremony.

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KTVO’s Stephen Sealey reported on Maharishi University’s special graduation ceremony

June 19, 2016

Maharishi University of Management held a special graduation ceremony

MUM Commencement 2016-KTVO

Class of 2016 were greeted with a special guest at Maharishi University of Management’s commencement (Stephen Sealey/ KTVO).

The Maharishi University of Management celebrated the class of 2016 with a special ceremony Saturday afternoon.

KTVO’s Stephen Sealey was there to see it all and reports how there were even a few surprises in store.

Maharishi University of Management’s 2016 Commencement was home to big names, big surprises and a diverse graduating class.

Award-winning director, writer and producer David Lynch was given the Honorary Doctorate of World Peace before doing his commencement speech which was a Q and A session.

Lynch said he enjoyed speaking to the class and believes they will succeed.

“They’re going out into the world to do great things. And they get it from Transcendental Meditation which is the key that opens the door to the treasury within every human being.”

Doctor Bevan Morris announced his retirement to the class, while appointing Dr. John Hagelin as the new president of MUM.

“Now I’m going to be the International President of MUM for different countries around the world. That would mean I’ll come here very often also,” Morris said.

Newly graduated students were so happy to be finished with school, but a few told me MUM will hold a place in their hearts.

“I thought that this school was like a gem. Someone once told me that Fairfield is in the middle of nowhere but the people make it somewhere”, said MUM Graduate Andrea Zapata.

“Internally, these four years have made me a better person,” said MUM Graduate Nicolas Martina.

“I feel well-rounded as a person. Feel like I can do anything. I have no breaks, no obstacles. If I do, they’re only steps to get to the next stage,” said MUM Graduate Shivanand Howard.

366 graduating students and 53 countries that were represented.

Vice President Craig Pearson said, “If there is a place in the United States that is truly united, that place is here.”

KTVO would like to congratulate MUM’s class of 2016 on their graduation.

Reproduced with permission from KTVO. (Article link | Video link)

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

Des Moines Register: David Lynch promises ‘strange’ commencement address in Iowa

Related event: An Evening With Chrysta Bell, David Lynch’s Muse, Happening June 19

Related news: @DAVID_LYNCH answers questions from students as part of the 2016 Commencement @MaharishiU | The Hawk Eye’s Bob Saar: Filmmaker David Lynch gives MUM commencement address in Fairfield and The Fairfield Ledger’s Andy Hallman reports: @DAVID_LYNCH adresses @MaharishiU graduates

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Fairfield, Iowa, TM and MUM make national news

June 10, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Troy with MUM Solar Array

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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Australian Yoga Life Magazine features Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in their Early Pioneers of Yoga series

June 7, 2016

AYL-50-coverAustralian Yoga Life is Australia’s longest running yoga magazine and one of The Top Ten Best Yoga Magazines In The World. Their 50th issue (March-May 2016) featured Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his contribution to meditation. AYL senior writer Peggy Hailstone wrote the article for a new series, Early Pioneers of Yoga, which explores the yoga pioneers of the early 20th century who have shared the teachings of modern yoga. The article first appeared in Australian Yoga Life magazine www.ayl.com.au and is available with permission on The Uncarved Blog. It opens with these two paragraphs.

If not for Maharishi Mahesh, Western meditation might look significantly different. Instead of coming to the cushion, couch, or chair in our aesthetically-pleasing comfortably-furnished lounge room, we’d probably be seated legs akimbo on our roo-skin mat in our sparsely furnished garden shed. And while the loincloth might have given way to shorts and a t-shirt, meditation would likely have endured as an impenetrable pursuit for the mystical and numinous.

This simple act of making meditation accessible is one of the Maharishi’s greatest legacies. Others include opening meditation to scientific investigation; removing the requirements of religiosity, reclusivity and renunciation; packaging and promoting meditation as effortless, simple and natural. The Maharishi’s offering – which he eventually named and trademarked Transcendental Meditation® (TM) – has since produced 40,000 meditation teachers (worldwide) and five million practitioners.

Click this AYL PDF to read the rest of this respectful article on Maharishi.

Related: A Tribute to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi | 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


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