Home Is Where the Heart Is (part one)

Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower, and draws all good things toward you. Allow your love to nourish yourself as well as others. Do not strain after the needs of life. It is sufficient to be quietly alert and aware of them. In this way life proceeds more naturally and effortlessly. Life is here to Enjoy!
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

When my brother and I heard the loud mechanical roar of the Champion juicer coming from the kitchen, we knew it was safe to emerge from our bedrooms following our afternoon meditation. Walking into the kitchen, past the 50 pound weekly bag of carrots that was nearly my size, my father yelled over the juicer’s roar, “Your juice is almost ready,” while forcing another large carrot into the juicers’ grinding blades.

My throat gagged at the sight of rising frothing carrot juice in the stainless steel bowl. Chunks of dry clumped carrot pulp filled the plastic bag, rubber banded to the juicer’s pulp ejector. I scrounged through kitchen cabinets for a fine strainer to further filter my required glass of carrot juice, so that I could tolerate swallowing. Carrot juice made my tongue and lips itchy and swollen, so I swallowed as quickly as possible.

Dad reminded us daily how important the carrot juice was. If my friend Elaine visited, she benefited from carrot lore and a glass. Friends gradually stopped coming over.
Dad often said:

This juice contains most of the nutrition you need for the day. The Beta Carotene and other vitamins are more pure and more nutritious than any other foods. By concentrating the nutrition of seven or eight carrots into one glass, without the needless pulp, your body will be more pure and more strong than it would be by eating regular foods.

Dad made a special concoction of one third carrot, one third celery, and one third apple juice, to counteract his slowly debilitating rheumatoid arthritis.

I downed my carrot juice, after running it through an extra fine kitchen strainer, purposely holding my throat open to guzzle without tasting. My father slowly drank his special mix, “You have to masticate the juice Gina. The juice is concentrated, but it needs the benefit of your saliva to be digested and used in your body.”

He spoke while swishing the juice around his mouth with chewing motions, his lips and cheeks alternating swelling in and out. “Doctors won’t tell you this, because it would keep you healthy and put them out of business. The medical profession wants people to be sick, so you have to keep returning to them for more and more drugs to weaken your nervous system and keep you dependent upon them.”

My father was convinced the medical profession was evil. He would beat the medical system through carrot juice and meditation.

We drank our juice exactly 20 minutes before dinner, to allow the nutritious juice to be absorbed, prior to taking in solid food which would slow our digestion and make us dull.

In the middle 1960’s, Our parents directed the family focus for eternal enlightenment. With the mystical key of our specially awarded mantra, twice daily without fail, we meditated in silence. After school, Dad returned home from his job as civil service mechanical engineer before five p.m. Our parents took the kitchen’s pink wall telephone off the hook, wrapping the receiver in a towel to muffle the inevitable dial tone and warning bleep which emanated from a phone off the hook.

Our parents meditated in the living room – Dad reclined in his green naugahyde lazy-boy lounger while my mother sat cross legged upon the zippered plastic covers of the brown danish modern sofa. Gunnar and I retreated to our respective bedrooms, allowed only to emerge when our parents finished meditating. We individually chanted our Word of Wisdom, or children’s meditation, silently while playing or otherwise engaging ourselves in our rooms.

While neighborhood children played outside after school, our family silently meditated. To further prevent interruptions, my mother hung a sign on the front door with the words, Do Not Disturb. Meditation in Progress. The sign humiliated me by the public proclamation of our differentness. Mom and Dad were happy with the sign, because no neighborhood children knocked on the door for us when the sign was up.

The loud whirr of the Champion juicer grinding carrots signaled that we could leave our rooms.

By the time we finally sat to dinner, other neighborhood children had finished eating and were outside playing. Gunnar and I could hear their shouts and street games; we wanted to join them.

No,” Mom said each evening, “Dinner is family time; we have to sit together.” Sitting in our assigned dining places, my brother across the table and a parent on each side, we closed our eyes and bowed our heads while Mom whispered Maharishi’s dinner grace,

In thy fullness, oh Lord
Filled with thy grace
For the purpose of union with thee
To satisfy and glorify thy creation
With thanks to thee with all our heart
And all adoration for thy blessings
We accept this gift as it has come to us
This food is thy blessing
In thy service
We accept with all gratitude, my Lord
Amen

Mom slowly opened her eyes and lifted her head after grace, as if coming out of a deep trance. My brother and I knew to wait for Mom to appear fully awakened before we could begin eating.

Our family time consisted of a simple, almost raw food, dinner and listening to the latest spiritual lessons. Interaction with our parents was minimal. They downloaded scripted spiritual messages to us.

Dinner consisted of a salad without dressing, because dressing was deemed tomasic, or toxin laden. Vegetables were lightly steamed to avoid draining their nutrients. We were not allowed salt nor condiments. My brother and I wanted fish sticks, potatoes, hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs, cookies, and ice cream.

Our parents relented, by allowing us to drink milk, even though they said “Milk is for cows. Humans are the only animal that think it’s acceptable to drink milk after infancy. Drinking milk will give you too much calcium and create bone problems later in life.

My brother and I relished the forbidden smooth white liquid. Mom often reminded us, “You father’s arthritis is because he drank too much milk growing up on the farm in Norway. That calcium settled in his joints causing arthritis.” Gunnar and I guzzled milk anyway.

Dinner was family time, but my brother and I were not allowed to participate in conversation. We often played footsie beneath the table, sometimes resulting in one of us unable to restrain laughter and spraying a mouthful of milk across the dinner table. In such situations, Mom yelled, “Leave the table now! If you must behave like animals, then you don’t deserve to sit at the table! Go to your rooms!

We ran giggling down the hall to our bedrooms, glad to escape to our records and comic books.

When Gunnar and I behaved, by eating in silence, mother expounded on spiritual lessons. Usually we behaved by eating quietly and listening to Mom’s teachings, so that dinner would end as quickly as possible and we could be excused.

About a year after our childhood initiation into TM, my mother held up a new book at the dinner table, A Hermit in the Houseby Helena Olson had just been published in 1967.

This book was written by Helena Olson. You two were initiated in the Olsons’ house; Dad and I visit them often. Did you know the Olsons were the first family to host Maharishi when he came to California? The Olsons had the vision to see that this tiny Indian man is a great sage. They offered their home for Maharishi to establish his Spiritual Regeneration Movement in the west. To this day Helena Olson is called Mother Olson, for being the mother to the Movement. Mother Olson wrote about the time Maharishi lived in their home. You two were initiated in this home; your father and I were initiated by Roland Olson.

I asked, “So? What does that have to do with us?

My brother and I listened disinterestedly while chewing our broccoli, cashews and brown rice. Mom flipped through black and white photos of Maharishi lounging in the Olsons’ TV room, or with their daughters. She continued:

The Olsons were grateful to have meaning to their previously materialistic life in Beverly Hills. By supporting Maharishi, they have a new purpose to bring spirituality to mankind. Your father and I attend Los Angeles meditation meetings at the Olsons’ home. They tell wonderful stories about Maharishi! Many of her stories in this book, but not all.
When I helped Helena in the kitchen, I confided that while Roland initiated me, I had a vision that he was an Egyptian pharaoh performing a ritual. I asked Helena “Was Roland once a pharaoh in a previous lifetime?”
Helena looked at me, she then looked down and smiled as if she was embarrassed, “Not a very good one, I’m afraid.”

(My mother chuckled with such an intimate revelation.)

You see, children, even though Roland was not a good pharaoh, he learned management skills from that lifetime. We all carry our lessons from one life to the next. Those skills served him as a business man in this lifetime, and now he uses his experience from being a pharoah to spread Maharishi’s teachings. You won’t read stories like that in this book, because most people would not understand higher spiritual truths the way we do.

I loved ancient mythology, I was interested that we had been in a real pharaoh’s house! Immediately I asked, “Do you know which pharaoh he was?” I wanted to look him up in our encyclopedia, or school library. How exciting that we were associated with ancient royalty! I didn’t care about this new book, I wanted to know which pharaoh he was, and if we were in his court.

Mom responded, “No, I didn’t ask which pharaoh. It doesn’t matter, since he wasn’t a good one anyway.

Then how can I look him up?” I was disappointed, even bad kings were in history books. I wanted to know which ancient royalty were our friends!

My mother excused herself to use the bathroom. In Mom’s absence, Dad asked about our school day. Gunnar and I talked about playground games. Retching and splashing sounds came from down the hall, as if Mom was vomiting into the toilet.

Is Mom sick?” I asked.

No.” Dad said, “She’s always done that when she eats too much.

She does what?” asked Gunnar.

She empties her stomach.” Dad calmly responded.

Ugh! Why would someone want to barf?” I exclaimed, imagining the experience and taste from being sick.

We heard the toilet flush, the water from the sink, and the rubbing sound of a toothbrush, as Mom presumably cleaned up. Then she returned to the dinner table. She sat at her place, smiling, looking perfectly normal.

Mom, are you sick or did you just make yourself barf?” I asked.

Yuk!” Gunnar said.

No, I’m not sick. Since I taste dinner while preparing it, then sometimes I overeat when joining the family for dinner. Vomiting afterwards is a natural way to relieve my over filled stomach. Since I already absorbed the carrot juice’s nutrients, there is no problem with getting rid of extra food. Ancient Roman royalty vomited after feasts. They ate, drank, celebrated, then emptied their stomachs so they could rejoin their party and continue.

I thought that she made barfing after dinner sound like a royal tradition!

Gross!” Gunnar said while placing a hand on his stomach and mimicking retching movements. “How do you make yourself do that?

Just put your finger into the back of your throat. It’s easy. Try it sometime.” Mom calmly explained while reaching for more rice.

Ugh! How can you eat again right away? That’s weird!” I said,
May I please be excused? I can’t eat anymore.” My mother gave me permission to leave the table. I carried my plate and utensils to the kitchen while wondering about the pharaoh who was my parents’ friend.

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24 thoughts on “Home Is Where the Heart Is (part one)

  1. Tom

    I grew up in a dysfunctional family. But not the TM kind. While I can, on one level, relate, yet on another, despite knowing you, knowing all about TM, knowing all about Mahesh — it’s almost impossible for me imagine what this kind of craziness was like.

    We went to church on Sunday, I went to the church school. But we didn’t exactly bring it home as you experience.

    For me, the real strangeness of family came after I left home. My mother became increasingly strange and my father increasingly distant. But, looking back, neither was actually *present* when we were being a family.

    Gina, we have know one another a long time, now. Your ability to explain, to reminisce (not quite the right word I want), has helped me in so many ways to see my own family and personal TM involvement is clearer, objective and **liberating** was. shall never be able to thank you sufficiently. But, for the record: thank you, a thousand thankyous.

    Reply
    1. Tom

      OY!

      My ability at proofreading (something I did for Mahesh from the SCI course onward) seems to have evaporated.

      That last paragraph should read:

      Gina, we have known one another a long time, now. Your ability to explain, to reminisce ([still] not quite the right word I want), has helped me in so many ways to see my own family and personal TM involvement in clearer, objective and **liberating** ways. I shall never be able to thank you sufficiently. But, for the record: thank you, a thousand thankyous.

      Reply
  2. Maureen

    I don’t know where to start. Can hardly see the keyboard. Tears of laughter (I erupted with the opening quote from Maharishi, god that brings back memories… talk about Theatre of The Absurd). And then as I kept reading – amazingly, unexpectedly – the other kind of tears. That wound was kept so secret for so long. To see my experience, different in details but somehow similar, shared by another…
    Thanks for keeping this blog, Gina.

    Reply
  3. Bjarne

    I do thank my good stars for leaving the TM-organization in the -70ties to marry a TM-teacher with all 4 legs on the ground. She has saved my ass more than once. We chose to live professional lifes with piles of problems, children, crisis, wine, meat…fun etc. however, we kept our spiritual quest until today and also lots of good friendships within the TMO. Recall one episode in the 80-ties our family visisted Denmark and a TM academy. TM-teacher families lived there permanently and we invited some of the kids to the local McDonald, my God we were popular among those kids and still dont know if their parents ever knew what we did.
    Problem is that part of what your parents did was quite right (it IS healthy to eat carrots, but not to the extend when your skin turns yellow as my did in the -70ties). Half truths and illogical extrapolations from there is many times worse than plain lies…

    Reply
    1. ComingToLifeStories Post author

      WOW! Thanks for your quick responses, all!

      Maureen, yes such insanity in which we were raised. IMHO, there is a difference between those who fell as hard as our mothers did, and those who took the good things lightly, but maintained their own critical thinking. From my view, TM (and most cults) attract those who have some problem to address. When you look closely at their personal lives, the problems worsened, rather than improved, with the addition of TM-think/lifestyle.

      Yes, carrot or juice can be healthy. But extremes (in anything), or believing there is a magic bullet to solve life troubles, is hazardous. Decades later my father had not only orange colored skin, but so many years of carrot juice altered his liver enzymes! Liver enzymes self corrected when he stopped the carrot juice. My sister in law had convinced my father to see a rheumatologist in latter years, but arthritis damage was too severe for any help by that point. Maharishi Amrit Kalash, yagyas, and their gemstones hadn’t helped him either, just enriched MVEDs coffers.

      And, I had a childhood allergic reaction to carrot juice.. tongue and lips swollen and itchy daily. whew!
      Yes, many TMkids were protein deficient, downing milk, cheese, meat at any opportunity. McDonald’s was the big sin for TM kids. You did a good thing, Bjarne!

      Appreciation to all!
      g 🙂

      Reply
  4. paul rio

    To Gina: do you remember anything positive about practising TM despite the strange lifestyle? I can comprehend some of your frustration and reactions.
    That regiment was extreme & maybe opressive.

    I am completely perplexed as to the
    fanaticism of TMers. How they can spend so many
    thousands on TM stuff(yagyas, sidhis, etc.) w/out
    reservations is beyond my comprehension.
    Have you read the tm blog stuff?

    Reply
  5. bren

    So much of this is familiar. When I was in college, I had to live at home, ‘program’ twice daily, and eat ‘sattvic’ food with the family. Why eat in the college canteen with my friends? Why live with people my age and allow myself to be exposed to ‘kali yuga’ influences? The word ‘rakshasa’ used to be used a lot.

    Talking about what I studied at the table was a no-no: apparently Immanuel Kant was an ‘eccentric’ whose findings hadn’t been proved, but Charlie Lutes was an ‘enlightened man’. 😛

    I was seeing a girl who was studying to be a butcher, and gently persuaded that such a profession carried ‘bad karma’!

    It wasn’t until a few years later that it came home to me that my sidha parents and a couple of teachers were grooming me for something they called ‘purusha’. So why bother with girlfriends and a social life, or study the work of ‘unenlightened’ philosophers like Kant, Descartes, Newton, or Quine?

    Sorry for going on so much – enjoyed this very evocative, well-written post.

    Reply
    1. Bjarne

      Bern what You say abot “Rakshasa” is deeply interesting. My good friend Gunnar muhlman resently explained the different criteria of cultsucces on his webside http://www.meditation.dk in danish, here part of the part about “enemy images” translated by Google:

      Heat of battle is a potent, and
      often lethal addiction mode
      for war is drug
      Chris Hedges

      There is perhaps no better Neolithic dynamic instrument than raising people in an area sensation by turning them towards a common fear or common enemy. The moment from the lookout post shouts: The enemy is coming!, We as a genetically pure in a kind of ecstatic survival’mode. “War or danger cry makes us ecstatic pack animals. Ecstatic pack animals may be an economic bonanza.

      Everyday small problems put aside in favor of an adrenaline rush and the hormone that makes us high. We forget ourselves, our small egos and feel ecstatic with single flock.

      A historical example of social dynamics that mobilize a community around the enemy is Adolf Hitler’s use of Jews. Adolf Hitler was a master in mobilizing violent ecstasy from hatred.

      The adrenaline shock which occurred when a tribe was attacked by a second race has certainly been the species historically required a period of human evolution.

      Gasoline taken from enemy images are also used in a variety of contemporary organizational phenomena.

      Reply
    2. ComingToLifeStories Post author

      Bern, just this morning I thought of your remarks here while listening to my mother :

      A telephone conversation with my aging mother. Once again (we have nearly 50 years of TM-think in my family), she rambles bestowing her wisdom upon me, her blessed daughter. After listening politely through today’s speech, I asked some questions about the source and context of her statements.

      Instantly she quipped, “Gina, I told you I don’t want to talk about this! I’m going to hang up the phone now!

      This time, I persuaded her not to hang up. I brought up the value of dialogue, and growth that can come from listening to various points of view.

      My mother’s response, “There’s no need to talk with someone from a different point of view. You see things your way. I see things my way. I was just telling you what’s happening in the world now.

      Me: “Mom, thank you for sharing. You’re telling me what your sources say is happening right now. But there may be other sources of information that could be equally valid.

      My mother, “Gina, your father and I always shook our heads about you. We never understood how someone as smart as you, with your early exposure to “the knowledge” could come out with the thoughts that you have! We love you anyway. I don’t want to talk about this. I just tell you what’s happening. I’m going to hang up now. Good bye.

      – and thus, a vision of deeply embedded brainwash, or struggling to maintain a psychological house of cards –

      g:)

      Reply
  6. ComingToLifeStories Post author

    sigh. Research about brainwashing / coercive persuasion explains a lot of the blind throwing money at advanced TM snake oil. Within the TM community, there is spiritual status for having used more of the products and courses. The desire for life of “more and more” (M’s teachings) was translated to buy more and more enlightenment accessories from the TM Movement.

    Paul Rio: Your excellent points and questions can be answered by reading through cult information on the various cult information sites. The answers are too long and complex to answer on this forum. They apply to all cults, not just TM.

    Yes, on TMFree there is an interesting recent comment about the interaction between a cult leader(s) and the follower desire-to-believe. Discussion of such interaction is a huge step toward self-reflective healing in a former cult member.

    As one moves along a cult path, the coercive persuasion gradually leads the follower into a juvenile mentality, dependancy upon another for life direction. The group belonging supercedes critical thinking and independent decision making. It’s happened in many ways throughout history. Waking up from such a mindset is painful. To avoid such pain, a cult follower will usually resist efforts to speak logically. That is why exit counseling (deprogramming) is a therapeutic specialty.

    “Doctrine over person” – One of Lifton’s criteria of thought reform. Maharishi’s teachings were/are more important than having an intellectual discourse with a beloved college student son, or encouraging his individual adult life (Purusha as the ultimate life goal – OMG! My parents wanted me to join Mother Divine!). That explains the one-sided “conversations” that cult-kids experience with their parents.

    David Sieveking, filmmaker of “David Wants to Fly” articulates the situation well in this interview, read down a few paragraphs :
    ExBerliner interview with David Sieveking.

    Thanks all, for your kind words. Glad to hear that these stories validate your own experience.
    More to come, betwixt an already demanding life.

    Happy Spring-Summer day!
    g 🙂

    Reply
    1. ComingToLifeStories Post author

      Hmm, Bjarne, it must be that our jyotish is aligned today, how auspicious! Support of Nature!

      By using our own inner language, we simultaneously sooth ourselves with common instant bond and deemed depth of communication (in reality, it’s a false bond and shallow communication). We also validate our world view while immediately excluding outsiders from meaningful communication. We think they are not enlightened enough to understand our spiritual talk.

      For example : Do you see the dome numbers charted on a daily basis on the Invincible America website? They are close to the desired 2000 yogic flyers. We are nearing the numbers to bring about a phase transition to establish Sat Yuga right now. There is talk about MUM further subsidizing dome participation so that more committed sidhas can align and uplift global consciousness to bring peace and health to all. You can feel the soma flowing in the atmosphere as the consciousness unites among everyone. Dome attendees say their experiences are more refined and they feel lighter than ever, as Patanjali’s predictions manifest. The few rakshasas in this part of the country cannot survive with such pure consciousness.

      Back to “relative” reality : and WHY would MUM need to subsidize the cost of dome participation? Why cannot devoted siddhas support their own group program habit? Many devoted sidhas gave their money to TM programs and products, while meditating for many daily hours, over many years. The well intentioned ‘space cadettes’ brains are hypersaturated with endorphins and cannot focus for the “crude, meaningless, dull, relative” work world. sigh. Neuroscientists (real ones) found the same excess endorphins in autistics.

      Sarcasm: After all, Maharishi taught “no one has the right to suffer”, so let’s keep them high on endorphins for hours daily, locked in a padded room wearing pajamas, then they might just forget they could have had a life of their own.

      So sad.

      A benefit to meditation? – Absolutely yes! Although I avoid TM.
      A seductive lure to a cult is a different concern.
      Something good is offered initially, then a subtle bait-and-switch, slowly lure the vulnerable in.

      Those who were raised only in TM world, and later choose to leave, have a struggle to free themselves from the TM-think. Daily there are little value system cues that the person must weigh within him or herself “was this a useful life directive, or not?

      Forgive my ramblings, just thoughts that came in response to some comments here – to a middle aged, sleep deprived brain (Gina-the-midwife welcomed a couple of babies into this world last night. Must nap now).

      Jai to all of YOU!
      g 🙂

      Reply
  7. noodlebowl

    There is a cool website, called Heartless Bitches International, that has a list of red flags to watch out for in a potential relationship.

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:YhiaZLr1Xp8J:http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/redflaglist.shtml+labor+intensive+esoteric+diet+heartless+bitches&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&strip=1

    One warning reads:

    “He or she is on a labor intensive, esoteric diet that has to be endlessly catered to. People like this can limit your social horizons and isolate you, very quickly. ”

    Now imagine being BORN into such situation, with no choice in the matter.

    Even when one factors out off beat religious beliefs, a rigid diet can exert an isolating effect on children.

    In Turbulent Souls, Stephen Dubner, told how he and his brothers and sisters gave up trying to bring friends over for meals, because their mother followed Adelle David and as a result, the meals were so ‘healthy’ that they were considered weird and unappealing to kids whose families were not into Davis. A woman I knew said her own mother was a Davis fanatic and shuddered at the memory of what she’d had to eat as a kid.

    And at least these people could eat cooked food and get some meat now and then.

    Ive been hearing rumors about families who make their little kids eat raw food and I wonder just what is gonna happen when the kids get old enough to see that there are other options.

    Here, BTW are a couple more gems from the 169 item red flag list on the Heartless Bitches website.

    “He (or she)seems quiet gentle, even courteous most of the time, but blasts off like a raging maniac while watching sports on TV or ranting about social or religious injustice. This may be the sign of a secretly angry person who hides the fury behind a public false self and has to vent that anger in private.”

    “If he/she is in a spiritual or helping profession, make sure he or she isn’t using the good cause work to conceal an essential narcisissm. Some selfish people covertly use spirituality as a psy-ops weapon. It does indeed happen that someone can be an asshole in private will conceal this behind a public facade and do lots of good away from home as a renowned therapist, a much loved social justice activist, or as a charismatic and saintly spiritual leader. Being partnered with a Jekyll/Hyde type who is a saint in public and a schmuck in private is a nightmare because no one wants to believe that such an altruist could possibly be abusive in private.”

    “There is a small but important subsection of assholes who go into good cause work or the ministry precisely to conceal, even to themselves, their own dark sides. They may need to marry in order to be employable as ministers. So be very careful if dating people like this.”

    Reply
  8. Karina

    Hi Gina — You write so well—-I felt that I was there. Oh, I just remembered, I WAS there! I too used the telephone-off-the-hook-with-the-towel trick, had a Champion juicer, and probably believed almost all the same things your parents did, at least at one time. But, at least I had no kids then to try to mold with my own belief system. I know you were really just one of hundreds, maybe thousands, of children similarly affected by TM practice. I’m glad you are writing about it.

    Now, decades later, I wonder how did your parents get you to sit quietly through a dinner, and WITHOUT TALKING?? I have eleven-year-old twins and I’m embarrassed to admit that my husband and I can barely get a sentence or two of any adult communication in at dinner time, and it is not getting better. Is it the “Children are different these days” theory, or were there severe familial repercussions for speaking up, or did the “Wisdom Word” meditation actually do something? I am serious — how did they get you to comply with going to your room to meditate?

    Your transition to the bulima incident was really the kicker though. The contrast was so stark after all the talk about health. And I loved the Roland as Pharaoh incident. Yes, I remember all the fantasy talk about past lives.

    I do have a question — You are a very warm caring person. Where did it come from? From this vignette, your parents appear to be so distant, and self-absorbed, yet you must have had some good memories of them, and some healthy nurturing along the way. There had unusual beliefs, and you felt embarrassed by your family’s oddities, but showing your parents with more complexity (good and bad) would make the selection even better……IMO.

    Keep it up! I look forward to the next installment.

    Reply
    1. ComingToLifeStories Post author

      Thanks, Karina, for kind words and feedback on writing.

      Quick answers because am swamped w/ my 79 year old mother visiting.. shopping for assisted living facilities. She still does TM-Program twice daily, spouts mixed Maharishi-isms and Tea Party-isms. Go figger!

      How my brother and I silent at dinner? If not, we’d be sent to bed w/o supper, or hit w/ wooden spoon. We were silent at meals because we were hungry. Guess I should add that into the essay.

      My parents often sent me to live w/ various relatives for periods of time, while they were busy w/ Maharishi. Uncles and aunts provided caring role models.
      Thanks for writing tips! Really.. many thanks! Will try to work in more of my parents complexities mixed with True Believer idealism. Like most of the well intentioned TMers we know – they meant well. They had their issues, and were grasping at straws in attempts at self definition.

      Reply
  9. paul rio

    Has anyone investigated “TM Blog”, not “TM-Free
    Blog”? Will the D. Lynch Found. succeed in brain
    washing America’s youth? Complete mind control?

    Reply
  10. Tom

    Hey, Gina, Bjarne, Noodlebowl, Karina, Paul Rio and Bren

    I am so happy to read your very clear and penetrating perceptions of the wacky world we escaped from.

    I’ve wrestled, pretty much in isolation, with the demons of the past until just a few years ago when I met Gina and the other writers at TM-Free.

    I was and remain fascinated as well as humbled and grateful for the singularly cogent fact that talking about our crazy daze of yore actually helps, is actually liberating.

    Yes, I am really concerned that Maheshism NOT spread and that the David Lynch Foundation run aground in its misguided efforts to feather the nest of the Maheshites.

    But on a personal level, the old daze of TM-think no longer rise up to bite me!

    What a relief.

    To Gina and all of you, THANK YOU, A THOUSAND THANKYOUS.

    Reply
  11. oneperson

    Ahh Gina!

    Another awesome entry to your story of coming to life. The scenes are so well painted. I giggled and spewed my milk right along with you and Gunnar.

    Yet the gravity of the situation, the undertone of false purity and perfection, is so well communicated.

    Sadly, I thought of my own children as I used to sit with them at the table reading to them our own indoctrination books, having them recite their scriptures, wanting them to “behave” properly. (Different brand of purity from the TMO, yet same underlying techniques.)

    Such a mixed bag it all was.

    Thankfully, we are all doing well now…they as young adults and me as an older adult rediscovering life again.

    I look forward to the next chapter. Keep it up!!

    To life!
    ~carol 🙂

    Reply
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  13. Tanemon

    Quite a story segment, Gina! Very vivid.

    You quote MMY thusly: “Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower, and draws all good things toward you. Allow your love to nourish yourself as well as others. Do not strain after the needs of life. It is sufficient to be quietly alert and aware of them. In this way life proceeds more naturally and effortlessly.”

    It’s odd, but in certain aspects of life, I find what he said to be true. But it’s not so pertinent (in my experience) in “the practical dimensions”. For instance, employers are generally not looking for “shiners” or “love muffins” but competent people who are ‘right for the role’. Employers are more interested in your experience, training/education, appearance, etc.

    “Do not strain after the needs of life. It is sufficient to be quietly alert and aware of them.”?? A lofty and beauteous philosophy if you have been born rich.

    Did TM practice make people more competent?

    Reply
  14. Pingback: All Around the World News

  15. Deone Benninghoven

    Gina, I’m being initiated into the world of TM because a dear friend was
    sucked into it in Glasgow and more than likely fast tracked to be the
    Midwest governor in the Iowa City area.

    I want to thank you so much for creating a place to build community around the topic of cults. It’s been a mind bending learning curve for me.

    I see what you mean by something needing to be worked out by TM
    initiates. My very intelligent and accomplished friend hide behind
    the Hindu veil of duty for years. Instead of growing beyond that, he fell down the TM rabbit hole. On the other hand, I do carry a sense of family duty, though I take responsibility for my growth and self-correct as needed. As a result, possibly, I
    didn’t fall into TM though I was initially unbiased and quite interested because I practice yoga and meditation.

    In any event Gina, may your coming to life continue to blossom and bring forth the bounty you and the others so richly deserve!

    Reply
    1. ComingToLifeStories Post author

      Hello Deone:
      What a kind message from you. Thank you for stopping by!

      “mind bending learning curve” – no kidding!

      Good for you! You have enough sense of self to carefully analyze before jumping into something that remains secretive in its presentation. It can be tempting to join TM, or another group, when someone you love & respect sincerely recruits.

      Iowa City, Iowa is a lovely small city. It is only one hour drive to TM-mecca of Fairfield and Vedic City, Maharishi’s “Heaven on Earth.” Lacking a professional intervention, I don’t know how to save someone from such dedication. Other than my children, I’ve failed to get my own family out!

      Hopefully, with your kind friendship and ongoing support, your friend may one day question his/her TM involvements, and seek support through you as his ongoing friend.

      Links along the margin of my site, and elsewhere online, can help you with needed resources for your friend, if you choose to so prepare.

      Wishing you, likewise, a marvelous holiday! Lumps, bumps, laughter and tears, celebrating freedom!

      Again, many thanks for taking the time to write!
      g 🙂

      Reply

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