In 2003, Maharishi University of Management became the first accredited university to offer a 4-year Sustainable Living degree. Since it’s so new as a discipline, there are no broadly accepted guidelines about what constitutes a Sustainable Living education. Just like the world in which we live, our program is constantly changing. Sustainability is defined neither by the challenges we currently face nor the solutions to those problems. Rather, it is framed by accurately perceiving our natural, social, cultural, and economic environment and adapting our behaviors to allow us to effectively achieve our goals as individuals and as members of the community of life on this earth.
Our approach to sustainability seeks to integrate human economy with the economy of nature, which uses the daily input of solar energy to renew and restore materials as it flows through the biosphere. Similarly, sustainability seeks to renew and restore human capital — the relationships and communities on which human economy also depends. This includes humanity getting back in touch with its own internal, spiritual nature.
MUM’s Sustainable Living program offers education which is truly relevant to the life of individual students, their careers, and their relationships within society. We believe that the purpose of education is the development of the student. We provide students with not just content through lectures and books, we provide an integrative framework for connecting the parts of knowledge with the wholeness of knowledge, and for grounding the knowledge gained to the student’s own experience. Consciousness-Based Education connects knowledge from all disciplines to basic operating principles of nature so that in learning about any specific discipline, the student is also learning about the nature of reality and the functioning of the universe. Through this framework, knowledge is simultaneously universal and specific; profound and relevant; and stable yet adaptable.
Additionally, for knowledge to be complete it must be accompanied by practical experience. Many of the skills we need to create the future we envision cannot be taught in books or lectures but must be gained through repeated practice and experience. Many of the courses taught in our department include a practical hands-on component. For example: