This transformation is not based on curriculum changes, new teaching methods or improved school facilities. It goes to the very heart of the word ‘education’, which derives from the Latin to ‘draw out’ the potential that lies within each student.
Through the cultivation and drawing out of each students inner potential, their well-being moves swiftly and naturally in the direction of education’s purpose, which is the complete inner and outer development of our children.
This full development creates a sound foundation for lives of achievement, success, and happiness. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi the founder of the Transcendental Meditation® program, beautifully expresses this point.
The purpose of education is to culture the mind of a man so that he can accomplish all his aims in life. Education, to justify itself,should enable a man to use the full potential of his body, mind and spirit. It should also develop in him the ability to make the best use of his personality, surroundings, and circumstances so that he may accomplish the maximum in life for himself and for others. – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Mainstream educational systems in the United States and most developed countries are full of wonderful people and programs, albeit some are better than others. Yet the overall focus is on developing and preparing children for the purpose of one day being employable in the workforce, and fitting in with society.
This outward orientation is the primary focus, and thus our system produces outwardly focused students. The question remains, “is this outward focus the best thing for our children, and has it created the world we want?”
Whereas the core of one’s being holds the key to great fulfillment both of the inner and outer values of life. Being disconnected from one’s source of love, authenticity, creativity, peace, and leadership creates a weakness that impacts one’s worldly success and achievement.
Worldly achievements and focus are important and have a rightful place in a happy and fulfilling life, but are only a part of the picture. To think of our current system as complete denies us the opportunity to experience so much more that is accessible to us, individually and as a world society.
Now more than ever, our world needs more than just outwardly focused and driven people. It needs people whose actions are an extension of their own connection to deep inner wisdom, authenticity, power, and love.
Our educational system must be built on and connected to inner values of knowledge for our children to access all that life has to offer. Happiness and worldly success are simply incomplete unless both inner and outer values of life are nurtured. As the Dalai Lama says so eloquently.
When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget
to educate their hearts. – Dalai Lama
What would it look like if all mainstream education systems introduced a simple program that would give each student easy access to the inner values of life – the source of their own inner potential, guidance and brilliance.
A progressive new wellness program called, the “Quiet Time” program (QTP) is being pioneered by educational visionaries throughout the world. The QTP utilizes the simple, natural, highly effective, and non-religious technique of Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice per day.
The TM® technique is widely practiced and accepted by education professionals because of the very tangible benefits that one experiences from the practice. These benefits have been confirmed by 50 years of rigorous scientific research and documentation.
Over 350 published research studies have found that the TM technique effortlessly produces a state of restful alertness that markedly reduces the harmful effects of stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression, and promotes balanced functioning of both mind and body.
The TM technique acts like a key for each student to access and draw upon deep inner peace, silence and intelligence – their inner potential. Students learn to love themselves through this simple practice of self-care that naturally expands their heart, mind and state of wellbeing.
Through TM health and wellness are powerfully restored, and after meditation there is greater ability for sharp focus, creativity, calmness and productivity. Children who have this kind of self-connecting tool, naturally become more constructive participants in their environment, school, family, and community.
The QTP is becoming a mainstream phenomenon here in the US where hundreds of private and public schools have adopted it as part of the school day. It is resulting in positive new trends for students, educators and the school environment as a whole by powerfully restoring the education system and its students.
Our Foundation was established to ensure that any child in America who wants to learn and practice the TM program can do so. – David Lynch
The David Lynch Foundation (DLF) is the organization behind the QTP, that,”serves urban schools that have high rates of youth behavior challenges, teacher turnover, and academic achievement gaps. By introducing meditation to the entire school community—students, teachers, and principals alike—this innovative program has effectively restored a positive culture of academics and wellbeing in high-need school communities.”
The David Lynch Foundation was set up in 2005 by film director David Lynch as a way to take TM to our most at–risk populations, including hundreds of thousands of inner city school children. Founder of Def Jam records Russell Simmons and comedian Russell Brand work closely with the DLF to support the QTP in schools.
There’s a story that the Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation, Bob Roth likes to tell about the DLF’s Quiet Time program — where thousands of at-risk children are taught TM in school.
It involves a little girl he called Jessica (not her real name) who lives in a crime-infested neighborhood of San Francisco. Jessica showed up one day at school wearing a white dress splattered with what her teacher, at first glance, thought was red paint. It was blood — blood from Jessica’s uncle who had been shot that morning in a random drive-by shooting while waiting with her at the bus stop. Instead of running home, Jessica ran to school so that she could meditate, she told her teachers.
The DLF Quiet Time program had been in her school for about a year at the time and for her, it made school a safe place whereas her home was often not. “For me,” said Roth, “that says it all.”
The QTP has been used successfully by some of the most violent and dysfunctional schools in the US, including Visitacion Valley Middle School in the San Francisco School Bay area.
In 2007 Visitacion Valley Middle School became the first public school in the US to adopt the QTP. The trend of positive benefits produced by the QTP caused a tremendous transformation, which can be seen in the data, measured and reported by these programs.
In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved remarkedly.
The San Francisco Chronicle
Now about 20 percent of graduates are admitted to Lowell High School – before Quiet Time was implemented, getting any students into this elite high school was a rarity. Remarkably, in the annual California Healthy Kids Survey, these middle school youngsters recorded the highest happiness levels in San Francisco.”
The San Francisco Chronicle described the school as, “An island of safety in a sea of trouble”.
Principal of Visitacion Valley, James Dierke is a man who understands that for students to become better learners and engaged world citizens, then they must be given a practical tool to reduce harmful stress while at the same time strengthening their connection to themselves.
Dierke says that, “All of this indicates that we are winning the battle against the predictor power of demographics. Our kids are coming to school. They are more motivated, more confident, more focused, more successful and more joyful. And our teacher turnover and absenteeism is almost zero.”
Carlos Garcia, Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District says, “Isn’t it ironic that we teach students about everything except about themselves? Quite simply, Quiet Time should be in every school.”
The Quiet Time Program is breathing new life into the current education system. It is inspiring a new paradigm of education that has its individual and collective basis firmly established in knowing one’s self.
When a solid foundation of self-knowing, self-love, inner balance and strength is established, it then acts as a base for a more successful and holistic educational experience and worldly life. Subsequently, the outer value of academics becomes so much more meaningful, rewarding and complete when the inner values of life are nurtured and taken care of.
Stillness is critical for young people. More often than not, it is the lack of stillness that separates a kid from a good education. This is something we need to give kids. Teaching them to meditate is like teaching them to learn. It makes it easier for them to learn. – Russell Simmons
The Quiet Time program provides us with a means to create an education system that can do justice to the love and aspirations of parents. It provides an opportunity for a brighter future for our world, and those in real need. It naturally compliments the skill and commitment of teachers, while doing justice to the hopes and dreams that lie within the hearts and minds of all students.
We owe this to our children and our society. And we deserve it ourselves.