Excellence in Action resulting from students optimizing brain functioning


students meditating
Students enjoy practising the Transcendental Meditation Technique, which is the basis of their increased success in all kinds of competitions.



The most enjoyable thing that students will ever do
by Global Good News staff writer
19 November 2011

The school takes any student—there are no entrance exams. Yet, consistently, year after year, the students’ scores on standardized tests are in the top 1% of all US schools. They win speech and drama competitions, tennis titles, and poetry awards. The students of this school have won four world championships, more than any other school in the world, in the creative problem-solving competition, Destination ImagiNation.

Dr Ashley Deans, Executive Director of Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, finds himself repeatedly asked, ‘Where do you keep finding these creative students year after year?’ He emphasizes that he doesn’t go out and find them. ‘We take any student,’ he says, ‘and we allow them to find the source of their own infinite creativity and intelligence deep within themselves.’

In a brilliant talk in the Distinguished Speakers Series, Dr Deans elucidates the fundamental problems in education—and how to solve them. He describes his school’s system of education, Consciousness-Based Education, which can transform a mediocre student into a great one and which can satisfy a student’s quest for total knowledge.

The desire to know everything

Early in his talk, Dr Deans offers the rhetorical question, ‘How much of the totality of knowledge does any one student actually know?’ and quickly answers, ‘Obviously not very much.’ Reflecting on what he has observed as an educator, Dr Deans continues, ‘If you go and visit any kindergarten class, anywhere on earth, what you’ll find are a group of students who want to know everything. Each one of us is born with the desire for total knowledge.’

The educator contrasts this thirst for knowledge seen in very young children with 16-year-olds. He notes that if you talk to the older age group, you won’t even get many questions (except their query about whether or not they will be tested on something). By 16, Dr Deans says, the basic human desire to know everything has been lost. The students just want to know what they need to pass the test and graduate.

Dr Deans also points out that with the increasing specialization as one goes higher in education, ‘even the most highly educated people in society only know a tiny fraction of the totality of knowledge.’

This means, the educator emphasizes, that the ‘fundamental desire for total knowledge that we’re all born with remains unfulfilled.’ He sees this as ‘the essence of the problem in education,’ explaining, ‘When your most fundamental desires remain unfulfilled, that sows the seeds for dissatisfaction and creates stress in life.’

Education for fulfilment

In contrast, Consciousness-Based Education, Dr Deans says, ‘delivers the fruit of total knowledge to every student in a very short time,’ bestowing the ability to know anything, do anything, achieve anything.

Instead of being solely information-based, testing only how much information a student knows (for which he needs a good memory and intellect), Consciousness-Based Education develops something more fundamental than the intellect, the consciousness of the student. Dr Deans points out the significance of consciousness explaining that even if you have a room full of intellectually gifted students, if they aren’t conscious, they won’t learn anything.

The educator elucidates what he means by consciousness, describing it as ‘wakefulness, alertness, intelligence, creativity, receptivity, breadth of comprehension—in other words, all of the qualities that make a great student.’ Consciousness-Based Education fundamentally develops higher states of consciousness in students, ‘higher states of wakefulness, alertness, intelligence, creativity.’ In so doing, this system of education has ‘the ability to unfold the inner genius of every student,’ something missing from modern education.

Experiencing a fourth state of consciousness

Dr Deans speaks more specifically of the fundamental tool for developing consciousness. He starts by referring to the three states of consciousness with which everyone is familiar—sleeping, dreaming, and waking—noting that they are all essential for life. He then brings out a key to successful education—experience of a fourth state of consciousness, Transcendental Consciousness, which physiologists today say is necessary if one wants to be a fully developed human being.

Dr Deans explains that the experience of Transcendental Consciousness is gained not by the awareness going out towards an object of perception. Instead, ‘the awareness dives profoundly within. We experience finer and finer levels of our own awareness, finer and finer levels of the subject of knowledge.’

The technique used to systematically gain the experience of the fourth state of consciousness is Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation Technique, this being the key to Consciousness-Based Education.

In a Consciousness-Based Education school, such as Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, the students begin and end their school day with 15 minutes of practice of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation Technique. Through this simple technique, ‘we take any student and we allow them to find the source of their own infinite creativity and intelligence deep within themselves,’ Dr Deans says.

‘This is something fundamental,’ he adds because gaining the experience of Transcendental Consciousness allows the students to be more wakeful, alert, intelligent, creative, and receptive throughout the day. It is the development of these qualities, which is the basis of Maharishi School students’ remarkable success in all kinds of competition.

Dr Deans further explains that without experiencing Transcendental Consciousness regularly, the brain does not develop fully and the physiology ‘accumulates deeply rooted stress and strain and fatigue that are not released during sleep.’ But because Transcendental Consciousness results in holistic and coherent brain functioning, the educator feels that the ‘experience of Transcendental Consciousness is essential for developing higher states of consciousness in the student.’ And because the Transcendental Meditation Technique allows the mind and body to enjoy a profound level of rest and relaxation resulting in the elimination of deep stress, it is also essential ‘for preventing the epidemic of stress-related disorders that we see prevalent in society today.’

Enjoying an inward dive

In inspiring others to make use of Consciousness-Based Education, Dr Deans offers the point that ’there’s always more than one way to do something. There’s the obvious way but then there’s the more subtle but more intelligent way.’ He uses an analogy of a bow and arrow, saying that you have only to pull the bow back—notably in the opposite direction from the target—and then let go for the arrow to reach the target.

‘So that’s what these students are doing,’ he says. ‘In the Transcendental Meditation Technique, their awareness is diving profoundly within to the source of their total creative potential at the source of their own thinking. And then when they come out of meditation, spontaneously they bring that greater creativity and intelligence to apply to everything that they want to have success for in life, in every undertaking.’

One final essential point: The educator brings up a question often posed to him by teachers, ‘How do you get the students to be still and keep quiet?’ Dr Deans explains, ‘Transcendental Meditation is simple. It’s natural, and it’s effortless. So any child can practice it. But it’s also very enjoyable. It’s the most enjoyable thing that the students will ever do. So it’s easy to get the children to meditate. They enjoy meditating.’

© Copyright 2011 Global Good News®


"The potential of every student is infinite. The time of student life should serve to unfold that infinite potential so that every individual becomes a vibrant centre of Total Knowledge."—Maharishi

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