After idyllic years at Park School, Mill Valley Middle and Tam High, the Mill Valley native garnered a degree in mechanical engineering from Loyola Marymount University and impulsively took a “leap into the unknown” and moved to New York City. He landed a job at David Yurman Jewelry Co., the nearly 40-year-old designer jewelry firm that spawned from its founders’ artistic pursuits in sculpting and painting.
Cressman did quite well, working with Yurman’s design team and managing product lines, determining the manufacturability of new designs and mechanizing the assembly process. But while his professional accomplishments grew, Cressman says he knew all was not as well as it seemed.
“On the outside, I was doing pretty well, but on the inside I was feeling totally all over the place and out of sorts, and it had been that way since college,” he says. “There was this internal stress that was eating me from the inside out, and I leaned on alcohol and cigarettes. I realized, ‘this is not going in the right direction. I needed to course correct.”
That course correction was spurred by the first friend Cressman made in New York City, a Vedic meditation teacher who espoused the benefits of finding ways to slow down.
“He was just a regular guy and not some monk,” he says. “That helped me see the benefits with an open mind and think, ‘maybe I have a chance to realize this for myself.’”
“After a few weeks, I was sleeping like a baby and happy for no particular reason, walking down Broadway,” he says. “My mind was calm without all the chatter and distraction, with the chaos of New York around me. That really motivated me to keep it going – to be in that sort of peak mind flow state felt really good. And it got better the more I did it.”
That fevered enthusiasm for his personal meditation practice triggered a strong desire to share it with others, a quest that only grew over time. Five years ago, he moved to the Himalayas in India for a 12-week intensive training program under the guidance of world renowned master teachers. He began teaching Vedic meditation soon after through his The Modern Mind practice.
Cressman describes Vedic Meditation as different from other forms of meditation, which generally involve concentration (focusing the mind through effort) or contemplation (thinking about the meaning of something) – both of which keep the mind active. Instead, Vedic Meditation is an effortless technique that naturally and spontaneously de-excites the mind and body.
“You get to sit comfortably with your back supported, close the eyes, and silently use a specific sound (or personalized mantra) to settle into a state of deep physical and mental rest,” he says. “To anyone watching, it simply looks like resting.”
Cressman’s practice, working with individuals and consulting with startups seeking to incorporate well-being into their mission, flourished in New York and provided opportunities to regularly come back to the Bay Area for conferences and other events.
Earlier this year, he decided to come home.
“It’s been amazing to be back in Mill Valley,” he says.
Part of the program through the American University of Mayonic Science & Technology is virtual via reading and writing assignments, and the rest of hands-on, with trips to India to tour temples to see Vaastu design in practice and to “meet some of the families who are keeping that knowledge intact and alive.”
“It’s about knowing that you can follow these design principles and bring about an experience of upliftment and well being where you feel at peace and calm and happy from the architecture itself,” Cressman says. “It’s very exciting and I’ll be consulting on building projects locally and giving lectures as well.”