His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Legacy of TMC Inc.
Read Teachers' Reflections
A Teacher Dear to Maharishi
Reflections by Jim Thompson, Member of Purusha
Her inspiration was the genesis for the
Teacher Training Course in Ethiopia
Transcendental Meditation® Centers, Inc., TMC, was the first teaching organization to proudly carry the name of His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's meditation technique for inner peace and enlightenment. (Please see endnote.*)
This is how it began . . .
Stanley Lewis, TMC, Inc. co-founder, is shown with Maharishi at TTC
(about 11 seconds into this clip.)
In 1968, while on a residence course in Squaw Valley, CA with His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Stanley G. Lewis and Dr. Marty Hewlett, two young African-American meditators, were inspired to open a meditation center in South Central Los Angeles, California. Maharishi gave them his blessings and them Transcendental Meditation "Lecturers."
Following the Squaw Valley residence course, they returned to Los Angeles and contacted all known black meditators to organize and give introductory lectures in private homes. Although not yet a teacher, it was Stan, as a TM Lecturer, that drew the people in and inspired them to be initiated. During the first months of operations, initiations were held with the help of guest initiators from two TM organizations, SIMS, the Student International Meditation Society, and SRM, the Spiritual Regeneration Movement. One of the first main guest initiators was a well-known jazz musician, Paul Horn.
This was the beginning of TMC, Inc.
First African-American TM Teachers
Two years later in 1970, while on the Teacher Training Course (TTC) in Rishikesh, India, with His Holiness, Stanley and his longtime friend, Bob Kealing, became teachers of TM. It was at this time that they were given permission to have an official organization to spread TM to people of color and to call it Transcendental Meditation Center, Inc. There were three African-Americans who were the first to become TM teachers. Along with Stanley and Bob was a special woman, Paulene Saxton from Atlanta, Georgia. Paulene held a special place with Maharishi. At one of his lectures, he singled her out to personally ask her to learn TM. Maharishi trusted and felt close to Paulene. She had the honor of traveling with him and preparing his meals. It seems auspicious that the founders of TMC, Inc., along with a teacher so very close to Maharishi together became the first African-American Transcendental Meditation teachers.
Transcendental Meditation Teacher Training Course with His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India, 1970
Pictured here with Maharishi and the 1970 class are the first three African-American Transcendental Meditation Teachers. Stanley G. Lewis is standing in the top row, second from left. Bob Kealing is seated in the fourth row, the fourth person from the right. Paulene Saxton is seated in the front row, the fourth woman from the right. Also, pictured in this photo seated next to Maharishi on the right is Jerry Jarvis, leader of SIMS, the Students International Meditation Society and an early supporter of TMC, Inc.,
Bob Kealing, TMC, Inc., co-founder, conducts a 3-day checking at the first TMC location on Leimert Blvd. in Los Angeles
George Quant and Kibre Dewit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Maharishi speaking to participants at the Teacher Training Course in Ethiopia
Upon their return to the U.S., these new African-American teachers taught the TM technique in their Los Angeles and Atlanta communities. The new Transcendental Meditation Center was opened in a charming upstairs lecture hall on Leimert Boulevard and provided greater convenience to present introductory lectures for people of color in that community. In the new Los Angeles TMC, Stan and Bob also began training new meditators to present the TM introductory lectures. Each week the numbers of people beginning the TM technique increased at this center. The benefits received from practicing Transcendental Meditation prompted several of the new meditators to seek teacher training.
As the word spread about the success of TMC in South Los Angeles, teachers and meditators from minority communities in Atlanta, Oakland, New York City, Detroit, Washington DC, Seattle, St Louis, San Diego, and in other cities formed new Transcendental Meditation Center(s), Inc. for the purpose of direct outreach to these communities. Drawn also to work with TMC were teachers of color from other organizations of the TM Movement. TMC provided them with additional support for their minority outreach. Whether in rental halls or in private homes, it was in these TMC, Inc. locations that people of color were introduced to this technique for enlightenment and inner peace.
Inspired by their experiences, TMC, Inc. meditators began attending TTC in various places from Poland Springs, Maine, to Mallorca, Spain, to Switzerland. Wherever Maharishi was offering Teacher Training Courses there were usually meditators from two or more of the TMC, Inc. locations in attendance. Upon completion of their course, these new teachers most often returned to their home centers. Others branched out to take these teachings to untapped areas that varied from the Black Student Union to the Upward Bound Program. These Transcendental Meditation Centers, Inc. served a vital role in enlivening the awareness of higher consciousness in our communities. As the numbers of meditators grew so too did the need for more teachers.
TTC in Ethiopia – TMC’s Greatest Achievement
The greatest achievement of the TMC, Inc. legacy occurred in 1973 when His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi granted permission for the TMC, Inc. to organize a Teacher Training Course (TTC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This course was inspired by TM Teacher Dee Monroe (Quant). She reminded Stanley of the interview with Maharishi in Ebony Magazine in May 1968 where he stated his desire to hold a course for “Negroes.” Together they called Ethiopian TM teacher Kibre Dawit and George Quant about the prospect of holding a course there. (George had recently arrived in Ethiopia after teaching TM in Ghana.) With Kibre's enthusiastic support, Stanley, Dee, along with James Vishwa Scott, drove to Santa Barbara to see Maharishi were he was a guest of Mike Love of the Beach Boys. (Read Dee's full account here.) Later Kibre and George spoke with Maharishi on the telephone, extending the invitation to hold the course in Ethiopia. He was favorable to the idea. At first, there was the talk of holding a simple rounding course. After discussions back and forth with the National TM office, it was decided that the course would, in fact, be a full Teacher Training Course. Once approved by Maharishi, Kibre made preparations in Ethiopia and Dee coordinated the organizing of the course from Los Angeles.
It was quite an achievement to organize the first Transcendental Meditation Teacher Training Course on the continent of Africa. Along with Ethiopian meditators, there was, of course, a large contingent of meditators from several U.S. cities. Also in attendance were meditators representing China and Latin America.
From shortly after its founding, TMC meditators continued to travel to various countries to attend a Teacher Training Course. As a result of the course in Ethiopia in 1973, there was a rapid and substantial increase in the number of teachers for the Transcendental Meditation Centers nationwide. The increase in teaching activities led to a significant event for the organization that same year. It was deemed beneficial to have West and East TMC headquarters. Dr. Shirley McNeil of Detroit became the National Director of TMC-East overseeing activities generally east of the Mississippi River. Working with her was Don West who remained Director of TMC Detroit. Stan Lewis remained National Director of TMC, focusing on activities in the West of the country.
Much activity was taking place throughout the U.S. Following Los Angeles, the Bay Area in Northern California grew to become second in the number of teachers in a local area. Similar growth of people practicing TM was seen in the East, as well. The floodgates opened for the increase of meditators throughout the entire TM organization following appearances of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Merv Griffin Show beginning in 1975. This phenomenon was reported in much of the U.S. press. Recognizing the growth of people practicing Transcendental Meditation in African-American communities, in June 1976, Ebony Magazine showcased TMC in Detroit. The article was representative of the growth of TM in many underserved communities of color throughout the country.
So, it was that in the early days that people of color heard Maharishi’s message and started TM. Knowing the great benefit of Transcendental Meditation for their community, two of those meditators founded TMC, went to India and returned as teachers. They taught and inspired others who became teachers and that pattern continued. Eventually, the growth of TMC led to Maharishi making new teachers at the Teacher Training Course in Ethiopia. Perhaps the greatest benefit from Maharishi's course is that for the first time he made over 100 teachers at a Teacher Training Course held in Africa. This was the largest number of people of color made teachers of Transcendental Meditation at one time.
Then to Now
From TMC Inc. to TMC@THEARC
As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the original TMC, Inc., we celebrate the continued expansion of theTMC Legacy and Beyond. We trust that there is a greater appreciation of what binds the past to the present. That historical thread is exemplified through recognition of the connection from TMC, known as the Transcendental Meditation Center to what is now The Meditation Center/TMC at THEARC in Washington DC. TMC at THEARC is now headed by Rena Boone, Executive Director and assisted by Je'-Ru Hall, Senior Program Director, whom both attended the Ethiopian Teacher Training Course. Another teacher from that Ethiopian course is Sibongile West who is a Board Member and President of the African PTSD Relief Program and she continues as an active teacher.
Maharishi's desire continues to unfold. The efforts to outreach to underserved communities extends beyond any affiliation with TMC. The hearts of TM teachers continue to expand, as does the teaching everywhere to everyone. Today, much of this is due to the great work of the David Lynch Foundation℠ and the Maharishi Foundation.
*It would be several years later that the national organization requested permission to use our incorporated name, TMC, for all of the teaching centers. Here on this website all references to TMC, TMC Inc., and the Transcendental Meditation Center(s) refers to our original organization, founded in 1969 and made official by Maharishi in 1970 to serve minority communities. Meeting the requirements of the State of California, Stanley G. Lewis was named President, Robert Kealing, Vice President. and Charles Nunley was asked to serve as Treasurer.