Transcendental meditation in Iowa

Someone from the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) contacted my husband the other day.  MUM is an Indian university that has a campus in Fairfield, Iowa. It turns out that MUM is not your usual (Indian) university. MUM’s philosophy of education focuses on developing pure consciousness and self-actualization, and helping students and faculty achieve their true human potential. They train all students and faculty in transcendental meditation, which is practiced twice a day at MUM. They offer a degree in sustainability. They have an organic farm and serve organic vegetarian meals in the school’s cafeteria. They don’t work on the semester schedule, instead students take one 4-week course at a time. This enables students to focus on one thing at a time, improves learning, and reduces stress from multitasking.

The concept sounds intriguing at the very least, and too good to be true at most. I’d love to visit the place and see for myself how these principles translate in everyday life at MUM in Fairfield, Iowa. But just from reading the website, I find several aspects of this concept very attractive:

  • integrating self-actualization, mind development, self knowledge, and stress management in education. As I learn more about meditation, I think there are so many techniques I’d like to share with my students – to help them, at the very least, learn to manage their attention
  • living a balanced, stress-free life
  • focusing on one course at a time
  • having time and resources (instructors) for practicing meditation, yoga, and pranayama (breathing techniques)

I wonder, is there anything we at “traditional” universities can learn from MUM? Anything we can do, in our own courses, to provide a more holistic education and reduce stress in our and our students’ lives?

7 thoughts on “Transcendental meditation in Iowa”

  1. Dear Friends,
    My Name is Sunil Kumar and I am from India. Recently, I got my application accepted for MS in Computer Science program from MUM. I will have to join the course in first week of Feb, 2009. I want to have suggestions from you guys about joining it. I find that this University follows good techniques like TM for overall develoment of its students. Kindly suggest me what to do about joining the course?

    With Regards!
    Sunil Kumar

  2. Maharishi University of Management (MUM) is again in the news for the achievements of its students. MUM ( is the only univeristy in the United States that combines Consciousness-Based Education with traditional academic offerings. Transcendental Meditation and the advanced TM-Sidhi program, which includes Yogic Flying, are taught to students as a means to expand consciousness, creativity, motivation, focus and learning ability.

    The effectiveness of the program is seen in the achievements of students in all areas of endeavor. The following is an ABC News article just out reporting that for the second year in a row an MUM student has received the Award of Excellence from the Iowa Motion Picture Association.

    Kouider Wins IMPA Award; Second In A Row For MUM

    Make it two for two for the young Maharishi University of Management’s young Communications and Media program when it comes to statewide film success. Amine Kouider has become the school’s second straight student earn the 2008 Award of Excellence from the Iowa Motion Picture Association, winning with a short documentary about Malek Salah, a well-known Algerian artist.

    The film was produced as Salah was preparing to exhibit his art works for the new Modern Art Museum of Algeria. Kouider, himself a native of Algeria, started producing the film initially after sitting down and doing a 20-minute interview with Salah.

    The MUM Communications and Media program’s initial year saw Geoff Boothby win the same IMPA honor last year for a 22-minute film ‘We are Theo.’ Besides submitting his film to other contests around the nation, Kouider will have a showing of film here in Fairfield at the Dalby Auditorium in MUM’s new Argiro Student Center on Thursday evening.

  3. Maharishi School, the K-12 associated with MUM, is one of the top schools in the state, by any measure. Two Maharishi School students were recently awarded top prizes in the Iowa state Science Fair, with all expenses paid to represent the State of Iowa at the International Science Fair. (See the achievements page listed above for a complete list of achievements.)

    Further, a succession of Iowa Governors, starting with Bob Ray, to the present, have praised meditators for their entrepreneurial achievements, calling Fairfield the entrepreneurial capital of Iowa. Businesses started by TM meditators employ hundreds of people who commute daily from surrounding towns.

    Last year, Fairfield’s First Fridays Art Walk was named Iowa’s Tourism Event of the Year.

    The list of achievements of this great community goes on and on. Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation program deserves the credit for these achievements. The TM program deserves serious, in-depth evaluation by anyone seeking to improve his own life, and the life of his community, state, nation and world.

  4. I would not be at all influenced by what John Knapp has to say.He apparently makes most of his income from convincing people that all of their problems are caused by TM . My life’s experience is the opposite . I am a Tm Teacher and have taken its advanced programs and have been practicing tm for 35 years . I am also a successful attorney with a great family and very active in my community . I attribute much of my happiness and success to TM.

    Mum and its community are more remarkable than you can imagine .I urge you to visit there soon . john

  5. Thank you for your comment. The information on your website is very interesting. Meditation is a very powerful tool, and if not used properly can indeed do more harm than good. I, too, an very concerned about practicing meditation without proper instruction (a guru). That being said, I find the concept of this university very intriguing. and I think we can learn from it

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