It was Matt Spangler's freshman year of college and he found himself torn. The 2003 La Cañada High School graduate had enrolled at Cal State Fullerton, but was simultaneously pursing an acting career. It meant long commutes across Southern California to get from classes to auditions and back.
He decided to leave school in order to focus on work, but the decision weighed on him. Spangler had a panic attack, and struggled to manage self-imposed pressure to make a success of his acting. So when a friend invited him to attend an event featuring Thom Knoles, the most celebrated vedic meditation teacher outside of India, he agreed.
"I was having a tough time, so I was open to it," Spangler said. "I didn't have any friends or family at the time who meditated, so it was relatively new to me but I felt open minded about it."
After seven years of practice and study, a trip to India and three months of intensive training in Flagstaff, Ariz. with Knoles, Spangler himself is now a vedic meditation teacher. Last year he founded the Vedic Meditation House, run out of his home in Glendale, where he leads about 50 students through introductory and group meditations.