Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 22, 2014

Finding peace in Fairfield

By DIANE VANCE, Ledger staff writer | Apr 12, 2012

At the Transcendental Meditation Blog, www.tm.org/blog, Mario Orsatti wrote on April 4, the TM.org website was flooded with visitors the week following Oprah Winfrey’s televised take on TM, Fairfield and her October visit here.

The hour show, one in her series of “Next Chapter” programs first aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network TV channel April 1. It was repeated on Easter Sunday and will air again at 6 p.m. this Sunday. Video segments also are available online.

It’s resulted in “thousands of Americans learning the TM technique,” Orsatti wrote.

While Oprah’s endorsements have propelled other products, some may doubt her embrace of TM will make much difference in Fairfield.

However, the planners and shakers in the TM community are preparing.

A summer session will be newly offered at the Maharishi University of Management, moving its annual graduation ceremony to May 26, rather than its typical mid-summer date.

“Experience the Self” course, offered as a one- or two-week course in July, promises to address consciousness, one’s body and mind, allow participants to discover sustainable living projects, relax in nature and celebrate the cultural opportunities of Fairfield.

As I mentioned in my introduction column the fourth day of Ledger employment in October, I was a student at M.U.M. in the Spring 2010 semester. It was not my first time on campus.

I moved to southeast Iowa in the summer of 1997 with my former husband and two children. We had moved after five years in a small town north of Davenport, after my spouse left 13 years of active duty Army in 1992. (Yes, this San Diego native has now lived in the Midwest 20 years!)

At my job at Keokuk’s newspaper the Daily Gate City, I heard remarks about those weird “flyers” up in Fairfield.

As the education reporter, many press releases from schools around the state and region passed through my desk. I began learning more about M.U.M.

When Vedic City, became incorporated, we drove up here to look around. Dirt lanes took us past cute little white houses with golden topknots and white picket fences.

In October 2007, my spouse and I traveled to Fort Hood, Texas, (where we lived in 1981) to hug our youngest good-bye. His Cavalry Scout unit was deploying to Iraq for 15 months. He was on the older side of 23 years of age.

Having a child at war makes it hard to breathe.

He was at a remote place in the Diyala Province. His care packages needed to include the basics, such as razor blades, toothpaste, etc. He asked for canned soup because it could be heated on the Bradley’s radiator when they spent days at a time away from base camp.

Sending a small Christmas tree and chocolates (chocolates and other meltables can only be mailed October-March) comforted me probably more than my son.

Still, the weeks dragged on. And on. I had a large wall map of Iraq on the wall of my cubicle. I read daily Associated Press stories about Iraq and the U.S. military. I always volunteered to do the stories on local veterans and active military.

When a press release about an April 2008 David Lynch weekend landed in my in-box, I investigated.

The TM promise of stress relief kept calling. I signed up, received a scholarship for the four-day weekend, came to Fairfield and fell in love with this place.

I was delighted to see, and hear, John Hagelin, because I had watched “What the Bleep Do We Know” video a few years earlier. I was astounded to see Donovan, a musician from my youth! And though I didn’t know who David Lynch was, I enjoyed his interaction with all of us visitors that weekend.

I traipsed around in the light rain and mud to view the on-campus green house and one of the golden domes. I ate organic, vegetarian meals (new experience).

And yes, I learned TM that weekend, in a comfortable, non-threatening space from a sweet woman, Linda Mainquist, who happens to be married to Mario Orsatti, where I started this column.

I have to admit to being sort of a slacker; I don’t always make time in my day for 20 minutes each morning and evening. But TM has helped with my stress levels — a good thing!

My son returned from Iraq in January 2009 having survived through two I.E.D.s blowing up the Bradleys he rode in.

And I have survived — and hopefully thrived; through my son-in-law’s year deployment to Guantanamo in 2008; both Army “sons” in Iraq in 2009 and 2010; and my divorce in 2010.

Calming peace is good to have in any form it comes.

 

Diane Vance is a Ledger staff writer.

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