Leonard Stein has been practicing Transcendental Meditation for over 40 years. He is a TM teacher and the director of the David Lynch representative office in Geneva, Switzerland. Join us to learn more about his journey and the impact which TM has had on his life.
Leonard Stein spent his childhood between the United States and Switzerland, in Seattle, Washington and Geneva, respectively. However, he received most of his formal education in Switzerland, graduating from the University of Geneva with a degree in Literature, Philosophy, and History of Religion.
He was sixteen when first heard about Transcendental Meditation, having seen a small poster at his school and joking to a friend that, “[TM] must be some weird practice involving standing on your head and burning incense sticks…” However, fueled by a desire to access the hidden potential in us all, and after seeing that The Beatles had learnt TM, as well as noticing the “special sparkle” in the eyes of his friends who practiced the technique, Leonard learned TM at the age of eighteen.
“I clearly remember,” says Leonard about the experience of learning TM, “opening my eyes after my first meditation, seeing things around me somehow glowing with beauty and silence. And a couple of days later, riding my moped in the cold of January, feeling this new happiness bubbling inside. I didn’t expect anything in particular and these experiences came completely naturally. I have not missed a single meditation ever since.”
Leonard and his wife spent three and a half years at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa (USA), which he calls some of the best years of their life. There he earned a Master’s Degree while meditating in groups of over 2,000 people from around the world. Leonard also had the opportunity to teach TM in the Philippines and the Middle East.
Having practiced TM for such a long time, Leonard says that it is hard for him to imagine going through his daily routine without the “profound rest and inner wakefulness” provided by diving deep twice daily into what he calls “[an]inner field of bliss and energy.” Practicing TM also helped a great deal, says Leonard, when he and his wife were raising their two children (now young adults), saying, “what a boon it was to be able to take turns and enjoy a moment of deep silence, regaining energy and the ability to give.”
When asked what inspired him to become a TM teacher, Leonard states quite simply that, “It just sounded like the right thing to do – the desire to share what you enjoy is a natural thing.” Having seen the experiences of friends who had become teachers, he too wanted to help create a better world and share the benefits of TM. At the age of only twenty-one, Leonard travelled to Thailand for nine months of intensive training, including several weeks with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Indian sage who brought TM to the world. At one point the King and Queen of Thailand visited the course participants. At the age of twenty-two he returned to Geneva as a certified TM teacher, and has been sharing the technique with his students ever since. “It’s a profession that gives energy,” he says, “it’s so satisfying, each time you teach, to see the relaxation, the relief, the new energy in each student.”
Leonard recently opened a representative office of the David Lynch Foundation for Switzerland in Geneva. This charitable organization, founded in 2005 by the American filmmaker (who himself has been practicing TM since 1973), brings Transcendental Meditation to at-risk populations in thirty-five countries: victims of traumatic stress, prisoners, at-risk youth, women victims of domestic violence, HIV AIDS patients, and many others.
Aside from his work as a TM Teacher, Leonard helps prepare students for the International Baccalaureate as a part-time teacher of French at the International School of Geneva. He also coordinates Switzerland’s committee of Parents and Teachers for Stress-free Schools.
When we asked Leonard if he had any suggestions for people who may be interested in learning the TM technique, he answered in just three words : “Go for it!” and encouraged those interested to meet with a local certified TM teacher to have all their questions answered. “It’s OK to be skeptical,” he insists, “You will enjoy the benefits as long as you practice regularly. TM does not involve any changes in your beliefs or lifestyle. It will not cause you to withdraw from society or from the pleasures of life. It is for people who want to create, to succeed in whatever they are interested in.”
“In short,” Leonard says, “[TM] has definitely made my life worth living! Too many people live a life of ‘quiet desperation’ as the poet Thoreau put it — it doesn’t have to be that way. Anyone can easily get rid of stress and blocks and start enjoying life more. When asked what the prerequisites were to learning TM, Maharishi once simply said, ‘the desire to live a better life.’”
Leonard’s website: http://leonardstein.ch
David Lynch Foundation office in Geneva: http://www.davidlynchfoundation.ch