by James Wilson at Enlightenment, The TM Magazine, issue 17
My life at this point seems to be a perfect series of events that led and inspired me to learn the Transcendental Meditation technique.
I was raised to see the world as a blank canvas with infinite possibilities for discovering what I truly wanted. Not in the traditional sense of becoming a pirate, a ninja, or anything I wanted to be when I grew up, but in a much deeper and fundamental sense of having the complete freedom to shape my own reality.
My parents allowed me to think critically and for myself. And along with critical thinking came the gift at a young age of discovering what it means to be unique. Instead of playing with G.I. Joes as a kid, I grew up dancing ballet, which meant that I didn’t always fit in with the other boys.
There’s not a whole lot to say about high school, except that I didn’t really care for it. I sensed an extreme lack of emphasis on developing the basic requirements for living a truly fulfilled life. Intuitively I knew that there was more I should be learning. I felt what most teenagers can relate to when they ask the question, “Why does this information matter to me?”
What I wanted to learn was the basis of it all. How I, James Wilson, see the world; and how all this knowledge relates to me. I felt that these precious topics should be considered first, before being overloaded with knowledge. Without that, the knowledge I was gaining just seemed baseless.
At age 19, I joined the United States Air Force in search of something more. This would prove to be one of the best decisions I ever made. It was not so much what I learned in the military, but rather who the military allowed me to become that changed my life.
I found a way to satisfy my desire for being unique even under the stringent “uniqueness filtration systems” implemented by the military. I became a meteorologist, and was surprisingly satisfied with the uncertain and abstract nature of studying atmospheric physics. In an effort to become even more uncommon, I later became a battlefield meteorologist, where I was stationed and deployed with Army combat aviation and infantry units in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East.
Since I am actually opposed to war, I’m often asked why I was in the military. The real answer is probably the fact that I made the decision when I was 19. But I do believe that members of the military hold one of the most valid responses to this question. After all, they are the ones who have to go to war, so why wouldn’t they logically be inclined to oppose it?
Maharishi said that the true purpose of having a military is to “Avert the danger before it arises,” and that the military should serve as a means to prevent war. I vividly remember coming to this conclusion on my own while deployed to Iraq at the unsuspecting yet perceptive age of 23.
My experiences in Iraq allowed me to see life beyond my own existence in a very visceral way. They put the idea of death through meaningless acts of war at the forefront of my mind. This was a spiritual and eye-opening experience for me. In my mind, spirituality began to leave the mystical realm and make its way into my reality.
The most important thing I carried into Iraq with me was not an M4A1 assault rifle, or an M9 Beretta. It was a copy of The Science of Being and Art of Living by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The funny part was that I didn’t understand a word of it. But somehow I did sense the immense power of it all. Reading Maharishi’s book began to satisfy my inner desire to find what was missing from my life.
At this point, I felt torn between my life in the military and the spiritual calling to something higher. Upon completing a very successful six-year stint in the Air Force, I moved back to my hometown of Seattle at age 25. That’s where I learned Transcendental Meditation, and my entire idea of success underwent a massive makeover.
I realized that true success can only come from within. It’s that simple. I felt so grateful to have learned a systematic technique which allowed me to experience such a profound state of deep rest and clarity. I began to see the world in an entirely new way.
After I learned TM, I went back and read The Science of Being again, and was amazed at how I not only understood the words, but felt a very deep connection to them. When intellectual knowledge is combined with direct experience, it becomes so much more powerful, and an essential part of life.
When my TM teacher told me about Maharishi University of Management (MUM) and Consciousness-Based Education, my first response was, “That’s a real thing?” At which point I made the quick decision to move to Iowa, of all places.
I had been looking for a unique and worthwhile college experience. I’d seen my friends spend unimaginable amounts of money on an educational system that did not effectively address the inner experience of each student. I knew that I needed to learn more about myself before learning anything else.
Attending MUM combines my personal inner experience of Transcendental Meditation with knowledge directly tailored to my understanding of consciousness. The intellectual knowledge strengthens and deepens my experiences in meditation.
Within the first year of enrolling in school I joined the Enlightened Leadership Program, which trains young, aspiring leaders at MUM to govern from within their own consciousness. Through the practice of TM, we become more in tune with the intelligence of Natural Law, and this is where the creation of a truly peaceful and harmonious world is possible.
I was also able to intern with the David Lynch Foundation in Washington, D.C., where I worked on the project Operation Warrior Wellness, which helps bring TM to military veterans and their families.
Now at the age of 26, I feel inspired going forward. I know that I can make a difference in the world simply by encouraging others to follow their own intuition and develop their inner desires and passions through the practice of TM. I am learning to promote peace on earth through the expansion of knowledge and inner experience, not through force.
I feel this is the beginning of a new life, and the next step in the perfect series of events which are leading me to exactly where I need to be.
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