“Because the individual is cosmic, everything about individual life should be in full harmony with cosmic life. Maharishi Vedic Architecture gives dimensions, formulas and orientations to the buildings that will provide cosmic harmony and support to the individual for his peace, prosperity and good health – daily life in accord with natural law, daily life in the evolutionary direction.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Invincibility. That is the hallmark of the new Maharishi Invincibility Center, or Transcendental Meditation (TM) center, or Peace Palace, now serving the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota. Not invincible in the sense of having power over…but in the sense of not having any enemies, the creation of such a peaceful and harmonious influence in ourselves and in our country that enemies do not arise.
In May of this year, the new center opened just north of Interstate 94 at Ruth Street in St. Paul. This palatial 12,000-square-foot structure was constructed by following ancient Vedic principles so the building itself would radiate harmony, serving as a sanctuary where such practices as Transcendental MeditationÂ®, Consciousness-Based(SM) education, leadership training, health and wellness courses, Maharishi Vedic Vibration Technology(SM), Yogic Flying(SM) and many others services and practices can be shared with the community at large. It is one of 20 such Peace Palaces in the United States.
Since the 1960s, TM centers have served the Twin Cities – on University Avenue, in a mansion on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, in a storefront location on Nicollet Avenue in downtown Minneapolis – offering instruction in one of the most thoroughly researched and widely practiced techniques to reduce stress and anxiety and to develop total brain functioning. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced Transendental Meditation worldwide in 1957, and in less than ten years the mantra meditation was the rage among well-known musicians and celebrities, such as The Beatles, Donovan and The Beach Boys. More than five million people worldwide have learned TM, and many notable people have cited its importance in their lives, including Deepak Chopra, Shirley MacLaine, Jerry Seinfeld and David Lynch, whose foundation is now teaching TM in schools around the globe.
“The main thing that sets us apart from other holistic or meditation centers is the emphasis on transcending, and the importance of developing the Self in any of the programs,” says Billie Jean Billman, co-director of the Twin Cities center. “It’s really the underpinning and the prime movement of individual intelligence and cosmic intelligence.
“By cosmic intelligence,” she says, “we are not talking about something far out. We are talking about that cosmic intelligence that not only maintains the entire galactic universe, but is also digesting my lunch right now. It’s the intelligence that knows and blinks my eyes and grows my hair. It is very intimate to every individual, and when individual life is out of alignment with cosmic intelligence, then we experience stress and ill health. This building actually helps to harmonize life on all different levels.”
Ms. Billman says the Twin Cities Maharishi Invincibility Center faces due east, because the direction of the rising sun brings influence of the early morning rays of the Sun, which are the most creative.
“They are the ones that bring an enlightening influence to the human race and all of life on the planet Earth,” she says. “The American Indians knew that. Many of the great cathedrals in Europe face due east. It is a timeless architectural principle that you also see in Vedic architecture. Orientation was important in choosing the location for the center. The other aspect of Vedic architecture that was really important was the proportion of the building – the actually dimensions, sizes of the rooms, the ceiling heights, the exterior heights, the elevation heights of the top of the roof and the top of the roof ornaments, all being prescribed Vedic dimensions.”
Ms. Billman, who came to the Twin Cities from San Diego, CA, where two peace palaces were constructed, said Vedic principles also determined how the various rooms would be used. “For instance, upstairs in the kitchen when you cook, you face east or north, but we do not do things like facing south, and the stove has to be in a particular place or it brings too much of the fire influence into the building, which you want to avoid.”
The mathematical center of the building is known as the Brahmasthan. A large marble cube sits there, with Holy Basil or Holy Jasmine plants placed according to principle. Ms. Billman says the cube “protects the silence” of the building’s space, preventing anyone from walking across it or disturbing its center.
Many daily practices
Each day, men and women use the building to practice the advanced programs of TM, such as TM Siddhi. They enter a room with the floor covered with mattresses so they can do what is called yogic flying. “The body lifts up and then when it comes down you don’t want to wreck your spine,” Ms. Billman says. “It’s more of a bouncing experience at this point, but it’s the most powerful technique that we have. It’s known today in terms of creating total brain integration and coherence where the body actually lifts off. That’s one of the technologies that is available here at the Maharishi Invincibility Center.”
Yogic flyers like Ms. Billman, who does it at least once a day, are advanced meditators who have spent years with the program and have completed the TM Siddhi program. Ms. Billman says such advanced meditators not only are transforming their own lives, but they are helping all of us, collectively.
“This has the most powerful influence of anything we can do for the environment, especially when it’s done in groups,” she says. “It has a good influence when we are by ourselves, but we have to tickle the unified field in order to create world peace. Human beings can directly experience the unified field. God gave us a nervous system so that we can actually experience it directly, not just talk about it or study it and know about it. The New Age has been really good about talking about it and studying, and maybe not so good at giving reliable, repeatable direct experience of that field. It is a huge boon to one’s personal evolution to be able to take the advanced techniques and the TM Siddhi program. It just hastens the whole process of development of Unity Consciousness, which is the state where one is fully realized and fully enlightened.”
Ms. Billman points to photos of brain scans on the wall that explain how maximum brain functioning is achieved during the TM Siddhi flying.
“All of the different parts of the brain are firing together at the same time at the same frequencies, and we find the maximum coherence when the body is actually lifting up off the ground,” she says. “First the body shakes, and then it shimmers, and then the body starts to lift up. Ancient Vedic records record people flying. It’s not a new phenomenon.”
There is a room in the center where Transcendental Meditation is taught to beginners, and where they come for free follow-up checks on their practice. There is a larger room for introductory presentations, for videos, and for classes on how individual awareness can transcend the 5 or 10 percent of the brain that we are said to be using to a point where both hemispheres of the brain work more coherently together.
“Normally people are not using this other potential, but with TM we actually transcend all the thinking to that level of maximum coherence, pure consciousness, that light of consciousness, that absolute inner wakefulness,” Ms. Billman says.
This new Maharishi Invincibility Center is large enough that some programs that once required hotels, such as the Maharishi Vedic Vibration Technology, that promotes healing of specific ailments, can be offered on site, says Jim Horwath, also a co-director of the center.
“We used to do that in hotels because we didn’t have enough rooms for the teaching of Transcendental Meditation,” he says. “We offered it at the other center, but it just wasn’t quite as quiet and deep as what we are able to achieve in this building.
“Like Billie Jean said, there are so many yoga centers around, and some of them do have a mind meditation, a sit down meditation, but in this system of meditation the mental technique gives the mind direct access to that transcendence, and what we offer is this whole theory of unified field. This puts one in touch with the level of life that is the source of Intelligence of nature.”
Ms. Billman says TM is like diving. “In diving, you take a correct angle and then you let go. TM establishes the correct angle in the mind and body, so that a person can let go and let nature conduct the process of meditation. That’s all that TM is doing. Our job is to ensure with our lifetime program that a person is going to always receive maximum benefit from the technique.”
A personal experience
It was 1967 and the Vietnam War was waging overseas, and in the hearts and minds of the nation. Billie Jean Billman was a 17-year-old high school student in Los Angeles. Her “cool” aunt who had learned TM invited her to an introductory lecture given by the Maharishi himself.
“I thought, ‘Oh, boy! If he could get 1 percent of the population meditating, then you won’t have any more war. I want to do that.’ This was back in 1967 when meditation was not a household word. Nobody meditated. But we were interested in peace and we were interested in developing the Self and expanding consciousness, and so the promise to do this legally and in a way that was good for me was very attractive to me.”
She has now been meditating for 42 years, and looking back on that span of time, she says it’s hard to imagine that she would still be doing something for that long if it was an effort or an uncomfortable discipline.
“It’s a self-sustaining practice,” she says. “You look forward to doing it, you don’t want to miss it. It’s not that you have to do it, it’s just that you want to do it twice a day because you feel so refreshed in the evening. I feel much younger than my biological age. TM inspires youthfulness, and also the ability to deal with anything. Some problem comes and it may be quite overwhelming for most people, but I see how a solution comes much more quickly. Inner happiness and joy is really important to me, and I just find that quality has grown in just a very steady way in my mind.”
Jim Horwath was attending St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, in 1976 when he learned about Transcendental Meditation. “When I was there, teachers were giving TM lectures on campus. In my first freshman year I had a philosophy course and one of the teachers was invited to speak to our class. Then I heard a guy speak about TM in the library on campus and that got my interest up. But I was a student at the time and I didn’t have any extra allowance or anything, so when I came home for the summer I earned some money so I could learn it.
“Nobody dragged me to the lecture,” he said. “I was looking for something. I was a seeker. I was interested in Asian culture and meditation and Zen. I had a philosophical bent, and I also knew that my mind was jumping around too much on the college campus. It was all this gruel of the social life, friends and parties and everything. I just wanted something to kind of pull me together.
“I was always interested in increased creativity, increased learning ability, and I think it has given me that. In my creative life, I’ve branched out in all directions. I also feel like when some problem comes up, the mind is more eager to dive into it and sort out and see the options and find a good outcome. And then there’s the energy part of it. You have to be able to put in the physical energy to achieve something, a business project or this or that, and what TM gives is this great resilience and great flexibility of the physiology, so that even if you work until you’re extremely tired, you can go back and meditate and recoup and get back out there again. There is a faster recovery from any kind of experience of physical exertion. Those things are very noticeable.”
The Twin Cities Maharishi Invincibility Center is located at 399 N. Ruth St., St. Paul, MN 55119. For more information, call 651.714.0254 or visit www.twincitiestm.org.
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