Meditation center opens doors in Cape Girardeau

Sunday, November 18, 2007
Tom Zimmer, left, Linda Castillon and David Zimmer practiced group meditation Thursday at the at Transcendental Meditation center in Cape Girardeau. The three have helped more than 2,000 people internationally with TM methods over the years. (Kit Doyle ~ kdoyle@semissourian.com)

For $2,500, Linda Castillon and David Zimmer are offering the key to developing potential and cultivating inner peace. In less than a week, they said, the Transcendental Meditation technique can be taught, and one can learn how to relax the body and mind.

The pair opened a center for TM in Cape Girardeau two weeks ago.

"Transcendental Meditation allows people to explore their inner life. ... The technique of TM is developing one's consciousness," Castillon said. A brochure in the office says the program can be used to "develop higher states of consciousness, create perfect health, and establish national invincibility."

There are Maharishi Enlightenment Centers, where TM is taught, in Kansas City, St. Louis and Columbia. Started by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian guru, in 1958, the TM movement says an estimated 5 million people worldwide practice it.

Practicing TM is not a religion, nor does it conflict with religious beliefs, according to Castillon and Zimmer. The first step in learning TM is an introductory lecture, which is followed by a preparatory lecture, a personal interview and then four sessions of learning and checking the technique.

"Basically just sit comfortably, close your eyes and start to relax. You start thinking a sound in your brain that you've been trained, and when you think this sound it redirects your thinking process and it's what ultimately causes all the changes," said Dr. Vishnu Subramani, who meditates for 20 minutes twice a day. Subramani, a Cape Girardeau cosmetic physician, said he recommends TM to patients for stress reduction.

Zimmer and his brother, Tom, started a center in Cape Girardeau in the 1970s. David Zimmer went to Italy to learn to teach the technique. Only men are allowed to teach men and women to teach women.

The center lasted five or six years, he said, and then Global Country for World Peace, TM's not-for-profit organization, took an inward turn, focusing on research. There are now 600 studies on TM's effects, Zimmer said.

"We went through the '70s, '80s and '90s, and there was an explosion of knowledge, life and also materialism," Zimmer said, saying people are now seeking more in life. "We're going to see people returning to native values," he said.

Zimmer is not sure how many people in the area know the technique. Once someone has been trained, they can return to have their technique checked periodically for free.

Taught in France, Castillon has moved at the request of Global Country for World Peace, teaching where needed in North Carolina, Houston, Nashville, the former Soviet Union and the former Czechoslovakia.

Eventually Zimmer and Castillon hope to launch a Peace Palace, a permanent structure where TM could be taught.

Those interested can call Castillon at 334-9108 or visit www.TM.org. The center is at 3065 William St., Suite 304.

lbavolek@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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