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TBC Staff

Conference promotes transcendental meditation in school [Excerpts]

The BostonGlobe, USA

May 6, 2006

Twenty minutes of deep breathing and silence twice daily can help boost students' grades, improve their social skills, and ignite their creativity.

That's the message Transcendental Meditation practitioners brought to more than 100 Boston-area educators [on May 5] during a three-hour conference on how to help students overwhelmed by social pressures and the stress of getting into college.

The concept excited many attendees, who took notes intently and walked out chatting animatedly about how they might introduce the program to parents and students.

"It sounds very powerful," said Jose A. Solis, a counselor at MadisonParkTechnical-VocationalHigh School in Boston. "I think it could work."

Donald Brown, principal of RoxburyCharterHighPublic School, said he was already considering creating a pilot meditation program for ninth-graders.

"I had never heard of it before this," he said. "We all talk about how we want to create an environment conducive to learning. This sounds like this is it."

Maryalice Foley, assistant principal of B. F. Butler Middle School of Technology in Lowell, said the school had begun experimenting with different ways to reduce student stress this year over of the rise of gang violence.

"Anything that can bring cohesiveness to the brain, that can calm them down, is good," she said.

She said she thought some parents might be concerned about the unusualness of the practice.

"I don't know if we would immediately call it Transcendental Meditation," she said.

Transcendental Meditation is practiced in at least 15 schools nationally, according to the committee. Supporters believe the program, which requires participants to sit quietly in a deep rest for 20 minutes at the start and at the end of the school day, allows the brain to tap into a reservoir of energy and intelligence.

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[TBC: TM is a westernized (in terminology only) version of Hinduism. The politically correct call for separation of church and state really means nothing other than 'anything other than biblical Christianity is welcome.']