Group presents benefits of meditation

BY IAN MURPHY | MARCH 14, 2014 5:00 AM

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Keeping refreshed during midterms is a near impossible task for students, and one local group is offering a way to help students reinvigorate themselves.

“As students, we go from one thing to the next to the next,” said Penelope Makeig, the president of the University of Iowa Transcendental Meditation Club. “It’s like plugging my whole body into a charger.”

The meditation offers benefits to students. Makeig, who has been doing the meditation since she was 10 years old, said she couldn’t imagine her life with out it.

A group of approximately 15 people attended a presentation at the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St., Thursday put on by Eric Hoffmann and Linda Rainforth, certified instructors, and the Transcendental Meditation Club.

According to two transcendental meditation teachers, it is a complex process designed to take a person past the point of thought.

“We allow ourselves to go from the surface level of thought to finer and finer thought until we go beyond the field of thought to experience pure wakefulness,” Hoffmann said.

Hoffmann compared the human mind and its thoughts to a pond with ripples on it to help explain the process. Each ripple represents a different thought and these waves can ruin a person’s focus, Hoffmann said. The process can help a person clear up the ripples until the water becomes more clear.

The actual meditation involves the use of a mantra, Rainforth said. Instructors select a mantra for the individual and then teach them how to use it.

Hoffmann said there is a source of action in thinking, and in thinking, there is a source of thought.  Transcendental meditation allows a person to go beyond the source of those thoughts.

The meditation practice continues to grow in popularity and is used by such celebrities as Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, and Clint Eastwood.

“People like to say if you ever think this is a hippy thing, talk to Clint Eastwood,” Rainforth said.
UI student Raul Clement said he was not surprised by the presentation.

“I know of the benefits of meditation,” he said. “It’s pretty much what I thought I would be. “

Stress management can be another benefit of transcendental meditation.

“The only thing we can absolutely guarantee you is rest and release of stress,” Rainforth said. 
The practice can help students tap into their full potential, she said.

“Deep inside ourselves, we have this resource of creativity and bliss,” Rainforth said. “It allows you too look inside yourself.”

Hoffmann said the method is not a contemplation, concentration, or effort intensive meditation program.  He also said it is not a religion or belief system.

“It can be done anywhere, by anyone,” he said.

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