“This country and our world need you to be an army of wisdom, compassion, and connectedness, showing the world how to be awake, to be connected, and to be energized by the tremendous power that lies within.” —Tim Ryan, U.S. Congressman
The 42nd graduation of Maharishi University of Management (MUM) was the largest in its 47-year history. On June 24, 2017, in Fairfield, Iowa, 579 students—including 119 undergraduates and 460 graduate students—were about to receive their bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Around the hall, accents from across the United States and languages from India to Ethiopia fell quiet as Congressman Tim Ryan began his commencement address:
“It is an honor for me to stand before you on this most important day at this most remarkable university in this most extraordinary town of Fairfield to speak to you about the brighter future that you are distinctly qualified to create.”
“You Are All Desperately Needed in the Global Challenge to Find a New Path Forward”
“Everywhere I travel I see the outreach of this great university: Transcendental Meditation—the meditation you practice, the meditation you research, the meditation you teach—is now being offered in big companies and small family-owned businesses, in hospitals and clinics, in tough inner-city schools and military bases, in prisons and homeless shelters,” continued Congressman Ryan.
“Transcendental Meditation is helping to unlock the limitless potential of the human mind. It is an essential tool that can immeasurably enrich our lives and help us take on intractable ills like prejudice, violence, and addiction,” he said.
“Your university is working to identify, implement, and bring to scale innovative knowledge and technologies that promise to completely restructure the way we educate our young, heal our sick, grow our food, and safeguard our borders,” he explained.
“And that’s why I’m here today: to put out the call. To you. As students dedicated to developing the full value of human consciousness, you are all desperately needed in the global challenge to find a new path forward,” Congressman Ryan said.
“We Need You to Be Involved in the World”
Congressman Ryan’s address was directed not only to MUM graduates but to TM meditators everywhere. Following his speech, he spoke with Enjoy TM News. “It’s important for all citizens who are awake and spend time each day getting their stress level down, to be involved in creating a new society,” the eight-term U.S. representative of Northern Ohio’s 13th District said in our interview.
As an advocate for prevention-oriented health programs, Congressman Ryan has worked to promote the TM technique and mind-body interventions for veterans and others (see “Meditating Warrior Testifies to Congress”). He organized the “Quiet Time Caucus,” which meets to meditate when the House of Representatives is in session. In addition, he has sought to expand renewable energy and make college more affordable.
“We’re in the midst of needing to create new systems in healthcare, in education, and for the economy. So we need people who are aware and creative and intelligent and resilient to participate in that, because it’s not an easy process. If you’re engaged in practicing TM, we need you to be involved in the world,” he emphasized in our interview.
“Our Most Important Mission Is Right Here on Earth”
In addressing MUM’s graduates, Congressman Ryan offered a striking counterproposal to physicist Stephen Hawking’s recent suggestion that humans should colonize the moon for life to thrive. “Let me joyfully compete with his idea,” Ryan said. “I believe our most important mission is right here on earth.”
He called on everyone to develop a national and global economy that works “for all citizens of the world,” to advance “sustainable practices that respect our planet,” and to create a healthcare system “that actually makes people healthy” by starting with “prevention—a science that this university is renowned for.”
Most of all, “let’s challenge ourselves to relentlessly pursue new directions and new approaches to create peace. And that has been the mission of this university since its founding in 1971,” he said.
How do we advance all of humanity? he asked. “We don’t need powerful rocket engines to make life better, we need powerful tools to unlock our own human potential,” he answered. “The answer is not on the moon, it’s in ourselves.”
Life’s Underlying Unity vs. the Noise of Distraction
Congressman Ryan cautioned everyone to be wary of the toxic effects of “self-induced distraction.” Don’t get “lost in all the bells and whistles of modern life. We have more information at our fingertips than we can ever hope to process,” he said.
“This constant distraction leads to disconnection from our environment, disconnection from our neighbors, and most importantly, disconnection from ourselves,” he explained. If we fall in love with our distractions, he warned, we forget “one simple, important truth: Underneath all the noise, we’re all the same.”
Quoting the political activist and theologian Jim Wallis, Congressman Ryan reminded us, “‘Don’t go further left, don’t go further right: We all need to go deeper.’ And in this depth we experience the underlying unity of life.”
“You Are Those Rare, Positive Disruptors”
“We are living in a moment that calls out for leaders who are wiser, smarter, and bigger than our problems. We need leaders who are established in that underlying unity of life,” Congressman Ryan said.
“This means, graduates, we are living in a moment that calls out for you. Because you are those rare, positive disruptors—creative, open, smart, self-driven, fearless. You are the modern-day explorers. Your meditation practice will assist you in navigating the turbulent waters of modern society,” he said to all those assembled.
“Your consciousness-based education has prepared you to take your place among those leaders who are redefining the rules and changing the way we all see things—and our nation and the world desperately need you now,” he noted.
“The Ability to Access the Silence, the Unity, That Lies Deep Within”
“We have gathered here today to honor and celebrate something both modern and ancient—something as old as human life on earth: the ability to access the silence, the unity, that lies deep within. And that silence, as you well know, is a reservoir of unlimited creativity, intelligence, energy, and happiness. That’s your adventure, to live your life from the deepest and best part of you—the quiet part,” said Congressman Ryan.
“I challenge you: Do something with it,” he declared. “Please don’t keep your talents to yourself. This country and our world need you to be an army of wisdom, compassion, and connectedness, showing the world how to be awake, to be connected, and to be energized by the tremendous power that lies within.”
“Lead Us to the Next Renaissance”
“Graduates, look into your own souls, and find the courage to believe you can make a difference, the courage to imagine the world as it should be, and the courage to take us forward where we need to go,” he said.
“Graduates of Maharishi University of Management, answer the call and lead us to the next Renaissance, for our country and for the world. Graduates, lead—and take us on an adventure,” concluded Congressman Ryan to thunderous applause.
“That silence… is a reservoir of unlimited creativity, intelligence, energy, and happiness. That’s your adventure, to live your life from the deepest and best part of you—the quiet part.” —Congressman Tim Ryan