36 INTERVIEWS: Meditation practitioners share their life stories
January 11, 2016
Since 2012, we have been interviewing people who, for years or even for decades, have been regularly practicing one very specific spiritual technique: Transcendental Meditation. How has this practice influenced their lives? What kind of lessons and experiences are these people willing to share? Here are the exclusive stories.
BOB ROTH, U.S. Perhaps the best known TM teacher alive, Bob has taught meditation to a countless number of celebrities and CEOs. But not only. His life’s work is undoubtedly the David Lynch Foundation, a non-profit which offers the technique to those who most need it yet can often least afford it: veterans of war, women suffering from domestic violence, students in inner-city schools.
— Go to interview
JULIA TULSI BAGNOLI, U.S. She is both a TM and yoga teacher. She is a combination of beauty, grace and bliss that folds without effort into incredible shapes—both mentally and physically. “I only became serious about my dedication to my practice after I was in a car accident,” Julia says. “It was kind of a miracle because my car was completely totaled and I was nearly untouched.” — Go to interview
LYRIC BENSON FERGUSSON, U.S. A poet and life-affirming mystic who has been intimate with many of the shades the world has to offer: from dancing on the stages of cabaret to meditating in the caves of India. In this interview, the author of French Kissing God: A Journey to Enlightenment reveals how she overcame serious health problems and how a cow led to her meeting a meditation teacher. — Go to interview
JAVIER ORTIZ CABREJOS, Peru. Talking about experience, here’s a guy who has taught meditation to more than 18,000 students in his country. “We get the highest—enlightenment—first and it is actually really easy to achieve, because the Self is already in yourself. And then all-around success is secured,” Javier says. — Go to interview
LAURIE SLUSER, U.S. Laurie does not fit the stereotypical image of a meditator. Over the years, he has run many big, successful business ventures and his idea of a relaxing involves founding a buzzing Internet startup. Meditation and worldly ambition: How do these two get along? — Go to interview
MARIAM DAUDI, Afghanistan. Mariam’s inspiring story of looking for and finding peace includes her family fleeing her war-torn homeland, then spending years as refugees in Pakistan, and finally migrating to the United States where she now teaches meditation in the bustling city of New York.
— Go to interview
THOMAS REINHOLDT, Norway. Struggling with his studies at university, Thomas Reinholdt set out to find a cure for his short attention span. Once he learned how to meditate, he breezed through law school and embarked on a successful career in finance. Today, he is teaching the winning TM technique to his peers in the finance industry in Norway. — Go to interview
MARK BUNN, Australia. We’ve raved before about the bestselling book Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health. Now we have its brilliantly inspiring author, a former football-pro Mark Bunn talking about iPhones, Jerry Seinfeld, and… meditating in the men’s room. — Go to interview
FABIO PUGLISI aka SOUL BASEMENT, Italy. Urban, soulful, jazzy, sophisticated, smooth… We chatted with Fabio Puglisi, known by his artist name Soul Basement, a musician, producer, songwriter and meditator from Sicily. — Go to interview
KEN CHAWKIN, U.S. a poet and PR-wizard from the US. “I was kind of lost and seeking. I did not think I needed Transcendental Meditation – I thought I would understand everything by reading books!” Ken chuckles, recalling a crucial turning point in his life. — Go to interview
ELENA CHARBILA aka KID MOXIE, Greece.
The multitalented Elena who currently lives in the U.S. is recording haunting tunes and shooting beautiful, transcendent videos. Find out what inspires Elena’s life and learn how she re-made the iconic Blue Velvet theme “Mysteries of Love,” in a successful collaboration with maestro Angelo Badalamenti himself! — Go to interview
ANITA TILLY, Holland. Based in the Netherlands, she is the heart and soul of the eco-friendly fashion brand, Ymani Tilly. Which turning point two and a half years ago inspired Anita to embark on a career as a fashion designer and launch her own designer line? — Go to interview
RAM SHRIVASTAVA, India. Born in New Delhi, Ram graduated from MUM in Iowa, U.S.–before moving back to his native India as a TM teacher. How do people in India react when you suggest they could benefit a lot from learning to meditate? — Go to interview
LEE CHESNUT, U.S. From the picturesque forests of Vermont, the esteemed music producer travels the country for America’s No 1 record label. Why should you not feel disappointed in case you don’t go ‘down all the way’ in your first meditation session? — Go to interview
ALEJANDRO ALTAMIRANO SANDRONI, Argentina. Here is an Argentina-born football coach working in the country known to be crazy about the sport: Spain. Is it possible to become a better coach and better athlete by sitting on your bum and not moving a muscle? — Go to interview
SUPRIYA VIDIC, India. Presently teaching TM in New York and working towards her Master’s at Columbia, this young brave woman served six years as a Sergeant of the U.S. Army. What little signs tell you that a person is really stressed out? — Go to interview
CRISTINA BALLESTEROS & EWAN GILMOUR, Spain / UK. She is from Spain, he is from Scotland — they are long-time good friends drawn together by love. Can one happily combine something as mundane as Internet marketing and as spiritual as the love for deep meditation? — Go to interview
FELI HOO & HENRIK WESTERGAARD, Malaysia/ Denmark. When Feli Hoo, a succesful businesswoman from Malaysia, married Henrik, a Danish teacher of Transcendental Meditation, she was to enter a new world. Where in the universe is the place called ‘our home’, and how to find it? — Go to interview
RUBEN SANCHEZ, Spain. A former football (soccer) pro from Spain who now helps to bring the benefits of Transcendental Meditation to professional athletes all over the world. What is the impact of TM practice on sports performance? — Go to interview
VALERIE GANGAS, U.S. Life coach and author from Chicago, US. How can the brink of suicide be transformed, in the blink of an eye, into a radically joyous world filled with ‘wonderlust’? — Go to interview
PRUDENCE FARROW BRUNS, U.S. One of the first Transcendental Meditation teachers outside India. What did really happen when the Beatles visited Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram, in 1968? Dear Prudence, won’t you come out and play.— Go to video interview
TOM NORTH, U.S. Businessman and writer from California, US. Why is the true story of Tom North’s life – which the Hollywood movie “Yours, Mine, Ours” was supposed to talk about – both more horrible and more elevating than known to the public so far? — Go to interview
JAAN SUURKÜLA, Estonia. Transcendental Meditation teacher with a rich and adventurous life. Among other interesting and things, you’ll learn from the interview: How to explain the impact of meditation to a panel of Soviet apparatchiks prompted by the state’s malicious secret service, KGB? — Go to interview
ANNE-MARIE CURRY, Denmark. She is an not only an actress, model and TV presenter but also a teacher of Transcendental Meditation. She was born in London, raised in Denmark. What can meditation offer to a young, beautiful, and successful person? — Go to interview
CHARLOTTE BECH, Denmark. Successful doctor, book author and columnist, meditation teacher and Ayurveda expert from Denmark. Which diseases are most effectively cured with the help of the Transcendental Meditation technique? — Go to interview
JERRY FREEMAN, U.S. He is a carpenter from Connecticut, United States with an impressively extensive experience with meditation. How would he carve out an easy to follow yet profound and complete description of God Consciousness after 40 years of dedicated TM practice? — Go to video interview
JAY GARDNER, U.S. He is both a writer and a businessman from Montana. What if true happiness and fulfillment was actually available to you all the time – even right now, in this very instant as you are reading this line? — Go to interview
DONALD SOSIN, U.S. Composer and representative of a rare profession – performer of music for silent movies – from Connecticut, United States. How does one create music, and why is meditation so beneficial to this creative process? — Go to interview
BRIAN LEVINE, U.S. A young and brilliant Transcendental Meditation teacher working for the David Lynch Foundation in Los Angeles, US. Is it easy or difficult to bring meditation classes to schools situated in rough, inner city areas of a big metropolis? — Go to interview
ASHER FERGUSSON, Australia. Globe-trotting web analyst, photographer, surfer, skate- and snowboarder and lover of life. Originally from Sydney, Australia. Want to know what a ninja does, besides meditating regularly and riding the waves of success? — Go to interview
FRED TRAVIS, U.S. One of the leading researchers on meditation and brain activity in the world. He lives in Fairfield, Iowa, United States and works as a professor and researcher at Maharishi University of Management. What has been his most exciting, surprising research finding during his 25 years in neuroscience? — Go to interview
SARA WHARTON-ALI, U.S. Talented talent producer based in Los Angeles, but regularly touring the country — in search of Big Foot hunters and tomorrow’s stage-conquering pop queens. How to keep your integrity when working in the show biz? — Go to interview
RICK CUTLER, U.S. Master of the piano and the drums and jazz composition who has accompanied many stars on tours and played on the biggest of stages all over the world. From New York City, United States. Why is meditation ‘like your best friend’? — Go to interview
GUY-PAUL GAGNE, Canada.
A Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada with 30 years of experience in the practice of obstetrics and gynecology. Why is Dr Gagné convinced that meditation practice would be essential for women wanting to give natural birth? — Go to interview
Different paths and base camps: Could it be the same mountain?
We have interviewed seasoned yogis and experienced meditators; we have talked with “freshmen” taking their first steps into meditation practice. Some of these people have been seeking spiritual depths while others were simply looking for a cure for chronic stress or insomnia. Some were old, some were young; some were dwelling under palm trees, others – in the lands of snow and cold wind.
We will keep adding new interviews to this page. The story of meditation – and how it could potentially impact one’s very core of being – is inexhaustible, and it has an infinite number of unique, personal faces.