2006-11-17 / Family
Businessman finds energy, relaxation through Transcendental Meditation
Almost 35 years ago, when Paul Squillo came across a Scientific American magazine article about the Transcendental Meditation program of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he had no idea how greatly the technique would affect his daily living.
But today the Moorpark resident, who will be 55 in December, sees it as a turning point in his life. Twenty minutes of TM time twice a day both relaxes and energizes him in his daily tasks.
"You are starting the day with this really deep rest, so when you start into activity, the cobwebs aren't there," he said. "Your mind is alert and ready to go."
The TM technique is not a religion or a philosophy. There are no awkward or uncomfortable positions necessary and it requires no effort, concentration, special skills or a lifestyle change.
Squillo said the idea is that a person meditates before beginning the first activity of the day and then does it again after completing the day's activities, maybe just before dinnertime but before the evening begins.
"The idea," he said, "is you're adding this deep rest into your program of daily activity so that you're rested and alert all the time. You don't have to get overtired ever, which is another nice thing."
TM was created for the participant to gain deep relaxation, eliminate stress, promote good health, increase creativity and intelligence and attain inner happiness and fulfillment. More than 6 million people of all ages, educational backgrounds, cultures and religions have learned the TM technique.
Created by Mahesh Prasad Varma, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi technique was first practiced in the U.S. in 1958. Varma was born in the central region of India. He is now 89 years old and lives in Holland.
Maharishi's Vedic Science and Technology, a meditation program that embodies natural law in human consciousness to improve all areas of life, is the most widely practiced program of self-development in the world, based on the number of participants.
According to Patricia Young, head of the Maharishi Enlightenment Center in Ventura, the benefits of practicing TM are reflected in four areas-mental potential, health for the individual, social behavior and the impact on the rest of society.
Regarding mental potential, she said, the benefit is "because we know we're using maybe 5 to 10 percent (of it), we look at it in terms of increased use."
In terms of health, Young cited chronic illness such as high blood pressure and cholesterol and said that TM's lowering of these conditions has been documented in more than 600 studies during the last 40 years.
"One of the important things to know is that there has been more documentation about it than any other form of meditation, self development (or) realization techniques," she said.
"We look at it in terms of social behavior and how we begin to interact with others," Young said. "Again, from the point of view of the individual, and how we begin to increase our ability to evaluate situations in a form that allows us to understand really what's going on."
Young said that practicing TM twice daily can be done while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed "anywhere that someone's not talking to you."
Squillo said that it was simple to learn the TM technique. He quickly learned that its use triggers a natural body response.
"You don't even have to believe it's going to work," he said. "There are often misconceptions with anything that's new and different. The technique is for everybody."
Squillo, whose business is Paul Squillo Music and Theatre Systems in Moorpark, grew up in the Evangelical and Reformed Church, which is now part of the United Church of Christ. He and his wife, Eileen, attend Our Lady and All Angels Liberal Catholic Church in Ojai.
Eileen Squillo, a classical singer with a master's degree in voice from USC, has been meditating for 38 years. For most of those years, she also taught the TM technique, and in the 1970s helped to found one of the largest TM centers in Los Angeles.
Young said there are four states of consciousness-waking, dreaming, sleeping and transcendental consciousness. In transcendental consciousness, brain activity looks like restful alertness. The body is fully at rest while the mind remains alert.
Squillo said this restful alertness usually occurs six hours into sleeping, but in TM it happens within a span of a few minutes.
The adoption of TM to gain deep rest and contact with that inner reservoir of creativity, energy and intelligence has made many small differences in Squillo's lifestyle.
"I guess it's the stability in that my baseline happiness comes from deep inside of me," he said. "It doesn't matter if I lose a sale or something else might go wrong. It's that my self-worth and my value are constant. I'm always feeling that kind of enjoyment from the inside."
After initially wondering, "Where am I going to find 20 minutes twice a day?" Squillo found that TM became a practical part of his life. He discovered that "you get more done in six hours than you used to get done in eight. For me, maybe it was because my mind was better focused and less distracted."