From Wartime Iraq to Maharishi University | by Warren Goldie
“Many of my military friends were starting careers in government contracting or going back to Iraq and Afghanistan. Others went to universities to study business and psychology. Some struggled with depression, PTSD and behavioral issues. But no one seemed truly fulfilled. As I thought about this, I realized that not one person I knew, civilian or military, was truly happy.”
As a soldier, she had supervised field missions, led teams in the combat theater, participated in diplomatic conferences, worked at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and ran strategic communications for generals and staff officers. In her spare time she learned Arabic and volunteered in the intensive care ward of a hospital that served Iraqi nationals.
“I had accomplished a lot and should have felt on top of the world,” she says. “But I didn’t really know who I was or what I wanted to do.”
Supriya revered aspects of her Vedic heritage (the Vedas are the ancient sacred texts of India) and decided to use Google in her quest for direction.
“I searched ‘Vedas’ and ‘GI Bill’,” she says, hoping to find a school that could marry those two seemingly disparate needs (the GI Bill helps veterans pay for college). “The only school that came up was Maharishi University.” She spent time poring over its website.
“When I got out of the army, the very next day I was sitting in a classroom at Maharishi University.”
Supriya studied Media & Communications, immersing herself in coursework and the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® (TM) technique, and discovered a passion for writing and marketing. With the department’s help, Supriya worked internships at Galaxy Ninja, StartaGIG, Dean Draznin Communications, and the David Lynch Foundation.
Today, Supriya helps shape communications at both the David Lynch Foundation and the Maharishi Foundation, organizations that promote TM. She oversees fundraising, outreach, image management, web content, and social media marketing. She lectures to audiences and coordinates projects with celebrity meditators like Russell Brand, Ellen DeGeneres, Donna Karan, and Oprah. Her interviews with wounded veterans have contributed to a $2.4 million research study on TM and PTSD, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Supriya, a passionate networker, grabbed the opportunities available at MUM. “Because the campus is small, there is a real connection between students and teachers,” she says. “The networking opportunities led to jobs. And because the people there are so sharp and creative due to the meditation, there is support that helps you find your hidden potential.”
MUM’s Consciousness-Based Education℠, which is based on the teachings of founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, takes an approach that values the learner as well as the learned. “Maharishi approaches everything as if it’s subjective — nothing is object-oriented,’ says Supriya. “The ‘you’ is just as important as the ‘other’ or the subject. That view helps you see the totality of things.”
Supriya developed a clarity of mind at MUM that continues to grow with her TM practice. “I see not only fragments but the complete picture,” she says. “Even when I focus on specifics, when I’m down in the weeds, I can hold the big picture at the same time. That’s incredibly practical because it allows me to work smarter and better.”
Supriya credits the two organizations that remain near and dear to her. “My success today would not be possible without the military,” she says. “And as for MUM, it provided the nurturing I needed when I needed it.”
Currently Supriya is a graduate student at Columbia University, working toward a Master of Science in Strategic Communications. In addition, she works full-time and is a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique.