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7 April 2009
A charity concert in which former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performed together for the first time in seven years, is expected to bring Transcendental Meditation to thousands of school children in South Africa.
The 'Change Begins Within' benefit concert took place in New York on Saturday, in support of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace. The aim of the concert is to bring meditation to 1 million at-risk school children across the world.
All the performers who participated in Saturday's event at Radio City Music Hall are practising meditators and included Moby, Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Jerry Seinfeld.
According to the UK's Times Online, tickets for the concert cost US$500 with all proceeds going towards global Consciousness-Based Education (CBE) schools.
CBE Schools South Africa , headed up by Dr. Taddy Blecher, the founder of South Africa's first free university, is among the global beneficiaries of the charity concert. Blecher's centre will receive funding to teach Transcendental Meditation (TM) to 30 000 school children across the country.
'We have some of the most violent schools in the world and violence is caused by stress, peer pressure. This [TM] can have a major effect on calming a school down,' Blecher told The Weekender.
According to the David Lynch Foundation, published research on the TM programme in educational settings has shown a wide range of benefits to the overall performance of students and teachers.
'Benefits for students include decreased stress and stress-related disorders, reduced substance abuse, increased intelligence, increased learning ability, improved memory, improved academic performance, and improved standardized test scores.
'Benefits for teachers include decreased stress and stress-related disorders, decreased anxiety, reduced substance abuse, increased creativity, improved job satisfaction, improved interpersonal relationships, and reduced health care utilization and costs,' reads the Foundation's website.
Speaking at a press conference prior to the concert Lynch, an award winning filmmaker, said 'I've seen schools that were in bad trouble adopt this technique and within a year, there is a 180 degree turn-around. It is so beautiful.'
Blecher, a former actuary, has begun introducing TM to South African youth at the Johannesburg-based Maharishi Institute and believes strongly in its power to transform young people.
According to Blecher research has shown that TM improves school discipline by increasing self-awareness and improving self-esteem. It also 'develops and wakes up the brain' and increases intelligence.
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