by Global Good News staff writer
6 May 2012
When Oprah Winfrey arrived at the Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa, she looked up at the school’s name engraved above the door. She was struck by it—‘Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment’ she read. ‘I always wanted to help create an Age of Enlightenment, but I didn’t know how,’* She commented to her host, School Head, Dr Richard Beall.
Upon entering the building, Oprah quickly saw a place where something special was happening. Knowing it to be a school of ‘Consciousness-Based Education’, she queried, ‘By consciousness, you mean being awakened to life?’
‘Right,’ Dr Beall replied and then elaborated. ‘And literally that’s a physiological development. It’s getting the kids rested and dissolving the stress and fatigue and balancing the brain physiology.’
The principal then remarked, ‘Here they come,’ referring to the young children practising a special technique, a walking meditation for children starting at age 4 to utilize until they learn the sitting Transcendental Meditation Technique at age 10.
Oprah was delighted as she saw the little ones silently go by, engaged in their practice.
In the Hall of Bliss
Next, she went to the Hall of Bliss to observe the older students who begin and end their school day with the practice of Transcendental Meditation programme. She was in a room full of girls from all over the world who were doing yoga asanas in preparation for their meditation.
Oprah talked first to Essa, a high school student who has been practising the Transcendental Meditation Technique since age 4. Oprah asked, ‘What do you think it has done for you?’
A very poised Essa responded, ‘I think that being in that inner silent space in yourself twice a day, everyday, I think that it affects my interactions with others and how I perceive the world in a positive way.’ An impressed Oprah said, ‘Fantastic! Fantastic! Thank you.’
She then moved on to interview Melat, a 7th grader who learned the Transcendental Meditation Technique in 5th grade. Oprah again wanted to know, ‘What does it do for you?’ Melat thoughtfully answered, ‘It really helps me concentrate and be myself.’
‘It helps you be yourself?’ Oprah repeated, taken by the comment. ‘How do you feel that?’
Melat explained, ‘When I used to go to public school, I didn’t feel that way. I used to feel like I had to be somebody else to get people to like me. But here I don’t,’ she said with a smile and laughter.
Oprah again asked, ‘You can just be yourself?’ and when the young girl affirmed, Oprah looked at her and added, ‘Which is so much easier, don’t you think?’
‘Yes, it is,’ Melat replied and as they both laughed, Oprah agreed, ‘I do, too.’
‘A giant leap forward’
As Oprah was about to leave Maharishi School, she was greeted by faculty and staff in the lobby. Despite her tight schedule, she graciously shook each person’s hand. The TV hostess expressed her deep appreciation for teachers, who, she knows from her own experience, can change lives.
Oprah remarked on her surprise that such a school existed in America’s heartland. ‘Who knew that there was a school in Iowa based on consciousness?’ She went on to express how meaningful what she had seen at Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment was to her. ‘I’ve done a lot of TV shows and often feel like it’s stepping backwards. With you guys, it’s a giant leap forward.
‘My whole life I’ve been trying to raise awareness and help people live better lives. You guys are doing this. This is a dream come true to see a school based on consciousness. It’s a very special day to actually see it.’* Oprah and her audience applauded each other in mutual respect and appreciation.
She had seen the how of creating an Age of Enlightenment and planned to help it happen through her TV show.
*from Oprah Winfrey Visits Maharishi School posted in MSAE’s School News and Staff & Faculty Blogs
© Copyright 2012 Global Good News®