the pieces of the Earth’s crust along the fault move over time and can cause earthquakes.
Fault lines among people are potentially disruptive boundaries between what people perceive as
incompatible or irreconcilable differences. What makes a previously harmonious relationship quake?
Why is it that individuals who once got on so well find they are no longer compatible? And what can be
done to reestablish harmony, ‘kiss and make up’?
I work with young students and their parents as a school psychologist. I have a family of my own
including two sons. Sometimes I feel like I’ve seen all the possible manifestations of relationship
problems, from mild to annoying to really worrisome. And one thing that everyone seems to wonder is,
“Whose fault is it?” when something goes awry. I’ve come to the conclusion that the fault is universally
the same: We are alienated and stressed by differences that appear to separate us because we are not
grounded in what unites us.
Individuals are unique and reflect their own glorious independent attributes. What makes humanity
truly interesting is its varied characteristics. What would make humanity great would be the embracing
of its diversity.
From my perspective as a trained school psychologist, the first step is to help each person achieve her
own inner confidence because being relaxed and comfortable with one’s own individuality is paramount
in achieving comfort with others. From my perspective as a trained teacher of the Transcendental
Meditation technique, the first step in being comfortable with oneself—and by extension with
others—is to step out of the boundaries of our individual experience and have the experience of the
underlying field of boundless universal Being. By uniting the individual mind with its unbounded nature,
we establish the full range of life within our self. In Sanskrit, this unification is called yoga. In modern
terminology, the benefit of yoga is to live the full range of human potential—the unity underlying the
individual self in infinite Being or Consciousness along with our individuality that arises from it.
During the practice of TM, each individual experiences a settling of thoughts and some periods of quiet
and silence. In this state, the more surface aspects of life begin to fade as the individual’s awareness
remains alert but calm. And what remains in that silence is Being – always there, but not noticed when
our mind is caught up in the rush of daily life and the dynamics of relationships with others. This period
of time resting in the silent state of Being during meditation is the basis of being comfortable with
oneself in daily life.
I see this need to connect quietly and regularly with themselves so often in school children. Their time in
class and outside of school is often highly scheduled, and iPhones, computers, TV, video games and
social media all make it difficult to find time to just “be” or to daydream or to think quietly without
interruption or direction. Even activities that were once considered relaxing, like art or music or reading,
often take on a competitive quality having to do with achievement rather than expression. Instead of
knowing themselves, children are left seeing themselves through the eyes and responses of others. In
this situation, with fewer and fewer opportunities to settle down and sense who they are, many
students (and adults) have no basis on which to appreciate themselves, to feel a steady sense of calm
identity. They find it a huge relief when they learn the TM technique and become aware of that ongoing
quiet Being at the core of their sense of self.
At the same time, by regularly tapping in to that silent Pure Consciousness, which is the same basis of all
life, of all individuals– awareness of deeply human similarities grows. Feeling secure in ourselves and
feeling a part of the human family, tolerance, compassion, patience and happiness increase—we then
enjoy the differences, the diversity, in friends, family members, and peers. We feel confident in our own
Self and secure that our Self cannot be impinged on by any other Self.
TM practice reduces the friction that creates the “fault” in fault lines in two main ways: TM enhances
individual confidence and awareness and it connects humans by direct experience at the deepest level
of shared humanity. Differences will always be there. But they will be appreciated as interesting
expressions of another self, rather than barriers to the harmony we can all find and enjoy amidst our