How We Present
Meditation, business draw residents: Iowa town booms on Eastern ways
by Kari Lydersen
The Washington Post Translate This Article
Washington, DC, United States
11 August 2004
On 11 August 2004 The Washington Post reported:
Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, and it's neighbouring town of Fairfield have become an 'entrepreneurial mecca' of the Midwest.
It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring
fulfilment to the field of business.
Eric Schwartz was named broker-dealer of the year in 2003 by the magazine Investment Advisor. He moved his company, Cambridge Investment Research, from Maryland to southeastern Iowa in 1992 so he could join the community of practitioners of Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation Technique. The gross revenue for his company increased from about $500,000 a year in the Washington, D.C. area to more than $50 million in 2002. He has been practising TM since 1971 and credits it for his success.
The Washington Post quotes Schwartz, 'Even if investors or customers aren't interested in TM, they are attracted to the fact that I moved here to do this, that I'm concerned about more than just making money or having an ocean view'.
Followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi moved in large numbers to Fairfield after the establishment of Maharishi University of Mangagement in 1974. Maharishi Vedic City was incorporated in 2001, the first new city in Iowa since 1982.
Other prosperous businesses run by TM practitioners include: MarathonFoto, the largest event photography company in the country, Creative Edge Master Shop which manufactures intricate marble and granite wall and floor murals for clients such as Disney and the Chicago Bulls, and the Raj Ayurvedic Health Spa. According to City officials, over $200 million in venture capital has been invested in Fairfield and Maharishi Vedic City companies over the past 13 years.
The Post continues: 'For a small town in the Midwest to have so many successful businesses is really unbelievable,' said Rashi Glazer, co-director of the Center for Marketing and Technology at the University of California at Berkeley, who spends summers in Fairfield. 'It means something's going on here.'
Vedic is sanskrit for 'totality of knowledge.' Homes in Maharishi Vedic City are expansive, with small domes—Kailashes—on top. Rooms are placed to correspond with the cycles of the sun and moon. TM practicioners usually meditate for 20 minutes, morning and evening.
The article points out that successful business enterprises are not the only thing drawing attention to this midwest community. The National Institutes of Health have funded Maharishi University of Management to conduct research on the effect of the practice of the TM technique on cardiovascular health in general and particularly on how African Americans with a high risk of heart disease can benefit from the practice.
'The physiological effects of this technique include a high degree of orderliness in the brain waves, which seems to spread throughout the body, along with lower levels of stress hormones, lower blood pressure, less reactivity to stress,' said Robert Schneider, a physician who completed a fellowship in hypertension at the University of Michigan Medical School and now serves as dean of Vedic medicine at Maharishi University.'
The sale of non-organic food is banned in Vedic City which has its own organic farm that sells produce to Whole Foods Market and other stores in Chicago and Iowa. Farm director Dean Goodale notes that the farm includes one of the few greenhouses in the region which grow plants in soil rather than with hydroponics.
Goodale told the Post: 'Conventional farmers associate soil with bacteria and they want to kill all the bacteria,' but 'bacteria serves a purpose in making certain nutrients available to plants. It's a symbiotic relationship.'
Preparations are underway to build a solar- and wind-powered community called Abundance Ecovillage, located just opposite the farm. The developemnt of renewable energy and the operation of recycling and composting programs are being assisted by federal grants from the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture.
The Post interviewed Kent Boyum, an aquatic toxicologist who is currently heading up Vedic City's Rebuild America program which is funded by the US Department of Energy. Dr. Boyum explained that 'The composting program will make use of yard waste from the city, kitchen waste from the Raj restaurant, plant waste from the farm and manure from [a nearby] organic llama farm,' and that the compost would then be used on their greenhouse farm as well as being sold as 'specialty soil from Vedic City.'
For many people, the motivation to relocte to Fairfield and Vedic City was the desire to enrol their children in the Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, which includes the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique along with the study of Sanskrit and Ayur-Vedic medicine as standard components of its curriculum. Others moved because of their own interest in studying at Maharishi University of Management.
In 2001, Ed Malloy, who practices the TM technique and is president of Danaher Oil Co. was elected Mayor of Fairfield. Commenting on the development of the business sector in the city, Mayor Malloy told the Post: 'There weren't many jobs for people moving in, so they had to become entrepreneurial and create jobs. Meditation is about really perfecting and exploring human potential, so it makes sense these people tend to be highly motivated and creative.'
Jonathan Lipman and his wife, Pam Whitworth, had to shift their careers when they decided to move from Washington to Fairfield. Since relocating, Lipman, who is a past president of the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, has devoted his work exclusively to designing homes according to the principles of Maharishi Sthapatya Veda. At the same time, the Post tells us, his wife, Pam, who is an artist, 'started a business making pillows out of old kimonos and other fabrics imported from Japan, which are sold in an exclusive store in Manhattan and have been featured in home design magazines.'
Mario Orsatti, a Fairlield resident since 1978, told the Post that the increasing popularity of alternative medicine, yoga, and meditation have contributed to the area's success. He pointed out that, 'Lots of small midwestern towns are dying, but Fairfield and Vedic City are thriving. People are moving here instead of moving away. Iowa would love to see this happening everywhere.'
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