Retreat from Unconscious Development

tm retreat mum

According to Maharishi University of Management (MUM), it’s time to engross myself in a “TM Retreat.” This realization comes in wake of an email sent explicitly to me from the Department of Development of Consciousness on Thursday April 17th which read as follows.

Dear Xxxxxxxxx:

I want to remind you that you still need to complete a TM Retreat for this semster as part of your DC copurse.It is required in your first semester. Next weekend (April 24-26) is the last Retreat offered for this semester. Space is limited so please let me know by this Saturday if you want to take this one so we can hold a room for you. You can reply to this email and I can add your name to the list,

If this Retreat is not completed, your grade for this semester DC course will be an “NP.”

Please call me if you have any questions about this.

Xxxxxx (***-****)

Though the email invites my questions, I thought best to index the topic of ‘TM Retreats’ via the university’s website ( — as I had prior to my enrollment. I wanted to understand precisely the nature of the TM Retreat in both form and function, but rather than gleaning actual information I encountered a bit of fluff which failed to quench my thirst for understanding. Maharishi University of Management‘s web page featuring TM Retreat information reads as follows:

After learning Transcendental Meditation, one of the most enjoyable experiences a student can take advantage of is a TM Retreat. Sometimes called a residence course, a TM retreat provides a short departure from the rigors of academic study and gives greater emphasis to deep rest and self-discovery. As a new student you will have the opportunity to experience the benefit of a TM Retreat as part of your first academic course at MUM.

TM Retreats have a long history of adding extra richness to one’s practice of Transcendental Meditation in an atmosphere of good company, delicious food and pleasant surroundings. In just two days, you’ll feel refreshed in mind and body and be prepared to return to class with greater clarity, energy and happiness.

It goes further to include this quote from Maharishi himself — to add further clarification.

The value of [a TM Retreat] is in clarifying the understanding about experiences that people keep on accumulating in their daily meditations. –Maharishi

The web page fails to properly inform students of the constitution of TM Retreats, and as the email suggested the retreat’s duration of April 24-26 I desired further information in respect to what I’d be involved with over the course of three(3) days — particularly as my wife deserves some explanation of my absence. Having contacted me by email, it seemed intuitive enough to respond that same day by the same means with my query which read as:


Thanks for your contact. I was wondering if you could share some information concerning the TM Retreat; I have a few questions.

1) Where is the TM Retreat Located?

2) When does the TM Retreat start and end?

3) What is the size of the room — or area — I will be residing in?

4) What sort of bed and bedding will I sleep upon?

5) What type of food am I served, and when am I served it?

6) What items am I allowed — or not allowed — to bring with me?

7) When you say “space is limited”, are you suggesting that there are not enough rooms for everyone who needs to participate in the TM Retreat?

8) Are there bathing facilities included? Are they private or shared?

9) Is there a schedule of activities? If so, what is the schedule? What are the activities?

10) Will I be interacting with other people? If so, who? In what way(s)?

11) I’ve read some information online — on the website I believe — but could you explain the overal purpose and function of this retreat?

12) Could you place the outcome in an academic context — when you say my “grade for this semester DC course will be an ‘NP’” — how does this affect my GPA? The length / duration of my education?

13) What is the penalty if I do not notify you of my participation by this Saturday?

14) Does everyone have great expereice with these TM Retreats? If not, what are some examples?

It would be of great value to see some pictures of what I would expect, but answers to these questions are most important.

Thanks for your foresight, help, and concern.


Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx

I remembered mention of the TM Retreat within the scope of the first course, STC108 — as mentioned on the TM Retreat web page. If I was going to realistically participate in this ambiguous activity I needed some details soon considering the deadline and overshadowing academic penalty — as described in the department’s initial email.

Moreover, being in transit outside of Fairfield when receiving the email, there were some limitations in respect to my availability for phone conversations and office visitations.

The response was swift, 11:43 PM that same day, a reply to my query as follows:

Dear Xxxxxxxxx:

What a lot of questions. I would be happy to talk with you about TM Retreats, but I don’t think there is time to answer all of your questions in an email. Would it be possible for you to come by the DC Department or could you give me a call and we can discuss your questions. My number is ***-***-**** and rings at the office and at home.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Xxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxx
Department of Development of Consciousness

This response underscores the gregarious disposition of the university — They seek to “talk” rather than “do.” The Department of Development of Consciousness seems to reinforce the stress of which it’s aim is to dissolve, as my questions seemed relatively simple. But I understand the ‘role-stress’ that many of the faculty are under serving multiple functions at the university — perhaps this was the result of such. Moreover, limitations in fiscal compensation in wake of stipend allotments may add further resistance to my expected response. Being proactive, perhaps I could coax some answers — if not all — from this helpful faculty member via my email response the following day (Friday) as follows.


I understand some of the time constraints in respect answering questions and addressing concerns. I have some constraints on my end as well, so I’m more than willing to compensate you for your time. Would $20 be sufficient?


Xxxxx Xxxxxx

Unfortunately, there was no response. I found this quite alarming in respect to the deadline of Saturday and the penalty that might come to bear against my GPA and overall academic outlook. Perhaps the Department of Development of Consciousness desired further explanation to warrant a response — not that I wanted to necessarily disclose my private matters. But to save my education, it was worth a try — particularly as the deadline was just hours away. Perhaps I hadn’t properly contextualized the nature of the scenario, and in a deeper iteration I would surely glean the desired results with this follow-up email composed as such:


Unfortunately, I’m not in town; I’m in transit in wake of private — and serious — family matters. I don’t have access to a phone at the moment, and thus email is my primary means of communication.

In respect to your deadline, and subsequent invitation to ask some questions, I’ve asked some questions on behalf of both myself and my wife.

I will still enjoy compensating you for your time, as I understand some of the constraints on your end in respect to time and compensation.

Best Wishes!

- Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxxxx

Hardly a master of communication, I sometimes lack the congenial appeal that Maharishi University of Management might desire. Now Monday, two(2) days beyond the specified deadline cited in the initial email the university sent me — and five(5) days following the date of the initial email’s transmission, I still have yet a response from the Department of Development of Consciousness. Perhaps the Department of Development of Consciousness is “Unconscious?”

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