About Me

My name is Gina Catena. I’m a Certified Nurse-Midwife and mother of three adult “children”. My parents were devotees of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (The Beatles’ Guru). For years, friends and acquaintances encouraged me to tell stories about the effects of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation Movement on my family. I avoided such discussions because I tried to be “normal”. Time provides perspective to discuss “undue influence” “coercive persuasion” ..errr… “brainwashing” pure and simple.

My parents raised me in devotion to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation Programs, seasoned with a myriad of other psychic healers, astrologers and mystical life directives while avoiding licensed medical providers and discrediting mainstream education. We believed powerful thoughts and meditation would overcome all. I dutifully married, twice, within Maharishi’s organization before stumbling into mainstream life with three children to obtain higher education and a career. Those three cult-born “children” are now self-sufficient, compassionate adults. Whew! We came to life together.

Current: My work as a Certified Nurse-Midwife at a tertiary care medical center blesses me with an intimate view into the next generation America’s marginalized families. My coworkers are brilliant, humble, compassionate, dedicated and overworked – together we support all variations of birth.

22 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Sol

    Dear Gina, dont you think your overworked coworkers would benefit from a little extra deep rest to help them recover and enjoy more energy to spend again on their dedicated great work ?

  2. ComingToLifeStories Post author

    Hello Sol, Thanks for visiting. Are you referring to “deep rest” as the oft-used code terminology for “Transcendental Meditation.”?

    I think those (of us) working in the USA health care system would appreciate a more functional system for health care access and delivery.

  3. Stephanie

    Dear Gina,
    Just wanted to express appreciation for all that you have shared about your TMO experiences. I too was brought into the movement by my parents who became devotees in the sixties. Both went to TTC in Rishikesh and brought our family to courses in Humboldt, Mallorca & Fuiggi, etc. At 17 I, along with my younger brother and sister (14 and 11) were, no other word for it, pressured to become initiators. My mother and those 2 siblings remain very involved with TMO, while my youngest sister and I have taken pains to distance ourselves from the movement, while still staying connected as a family. My father left long ago, disgusted with MMY’s lack of compassion and unwillingness to take responsibility for the many people damaged by “heavy unstressing”. My husband and I cut our ties long ago as well, after learning first hand about MMY’s unscrupulous business dealings and lavish spending on his lifestyle. I never,ever wanted to become a teacher, but was the sort of young person who “goes along with the program” and does what parents say. I thank God that I was old enough when I started TM and experienced the movement to have my own (hidden) thoughts and opinions that eventually developed into actions and decisions that released me from the grip of TMO. My youngest sister always had a mind of her own and so was never sucked in. The other 2 are a different story.

    Thank you again for your work and your voice and kudos for being a midwife as well! (All my children were born at home with midwives attending)

    All The Best to you and your family!

    1. ComingToLifeStories Post author

      Thank you, Stephanie, for your kind words! We may know one another from years ago.

      Kudos to you and your husband for seeing through Maharishi’s smoke-and-mirrors, to leave and create your own life! Good job!

      Yes, the TMO “family” is a big bag to carry — Ongoing family juggles here too, into the next generation.

      Best of luck with yours!

      Again thank you for your kind support.
      If you travel west, please jot me a line and we can meet for Raja’s Cup tea or Amrit Kalash (NOT!)… coffee, wine or a hike!

      g 🙂

      1. Stephanie

        That would be lovely! Will certainly make contact next time I’m in the Bay Area. If you ever find yourself in Oregon, please let me know as well.

        Many, many thanks,


    2. Maggie

      I am the sister that Stephanie is referring to and I deeply resent being spoken for. To clarify, I was never pressured into anything. I chose on my own with no input or pressure from anyone to be involved with Maharishi and to become a TM teacher. I love Maharishi to the depths of my soul. He was nothing but good and kind and wonderful to all of us. He was and is and always will be an inspiration and a very great saint. I am so proud to be associated with him and his amazing technique. Stephanie, you really should speak for yourself and not others. Your impressions have nothing to do with the experiences I had and still have. It has been an amazing journey and I would not have traded my experiences being with Maharishi for anything.
      And as far as unscrupulous business dealings go, that is a complete and utter lie and I would venture to say that it is actually the other way around and the exact opposite of what was just written. If any of you had any idea of the tireless hours he spent in dedication to trying to help humanity, you would not be uttering such disgusting slop about something you know nothing of. All of you should be ashamed of yourselves to speak such garbage about such a great soul!

      1. Maggie

        PS – you might think about finding something better to do with your time than bashing a great saint. Shame on all of you for your utter nastiness. Might want to try to take some responsibility for your own lives rather than bash others – just a thought! All of you disgust me.

      2. Mr. Greystone

        Great saint? Ha! How’s the levitation going? Are you experiencing perfect health and invincibility? You sound a little angry. The lies and damage inflicted by the TMM far outweigh any modest benefits that one may obtain by practicing TM (which when I last checked costs $2,500 to learn the most basic technique). One can learn effective relaxation techniques for free without surrendering one’s mind to the empty promises and lifestyle dictates of the TM Movement.

      3. Lori

        Bless you for saying this – I too have nothing but great things to say about Maharishi and my experience with TM/Siddhes program. Reading this stuff these people are saying is absolutely nuts and I’m wondering if they are all crazy or I’m wondering what their problem is!! TM is a very great blessing to this world.

      4. flavioamaral

        You almost convinced me. Yes, not everyone suffers from abuse in a “cult”. We can even say that severe cases of abuse are the exception, not the rule. But when you started with “disgusting slop”, “great saint” and so on… well… that was a good example of fanaticism that we find in cults.

  4. David


    Just found your site and taking my first tentative steps to trying to understand cults. A search on Hasmukh Taylor lead me to your site, as I have lost a friend to this guy!
    How do I find out more about him and other similar cases?


    1. ComingToLifeStories Post author

      Hello David,
      Thanks for visiting.

      Clearly (from my post) I’ve had reasons to distrust Hasmukh.
      I don’t know anything further about him nor his activities.

      To learn more about about cults of various sorts you could begin by perusing the cult-related links listed on the right side panel of this blog’s homepage.

      It’s an educational journey!
      Good luck with all!
      Gina 🙂

  5. Lewis Wilson

    I’ve been doing TM and the TM-Sidhi program since ’71 and ’78 respectively. I am grateful to have them and feel a great benefit from practicing these techniques. I guess I will read over your posts more before commenting more.

  6. Erik

    Hello Gina:

    How are you? I read your story about the Pandits and the TM movement in Fairfield, and wanted to speak to you more about the MUM. I am going to be attending this school. Could you please contact me?

    1. ComingToLifeStories Post author

      Hello Erik :

      It is right to investigate a university’s value before spending money and time.

      I cannot address MUM from personal experience, since I did not attend that school

      As I’ve told my own children, It’s important to investigate the value of any university before enrolling. I suggest you review a University’s stated goals, teaching methods, reputation among other institutions, faculty qualifications, funding sources and alumnae data (not just isolated alum stories).

      Best of luck in your higher education!

  7. Paul Mason

    Hi Gina
    Generally, I can’t abide cults! Can’t imagine the problem of how it might be to be born in one and then to come up with an escape route! I too have spent time around Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s meditation movement, and there were times when the beliefs and the attitudes irritated me, it sometimes felt like there was a deliberate attempt to humilate.Even when it didn’t appear cultish there were elements that seemed distinctly foreign and these were namely two things, the belief systems and the mantras. So-o-o-o-o, I experimented with disallowing any of the belief system to prevail in my life, and then to abandon the use of a mantra, in favour of just letting my mind settle down an choose not to pay attention to the ‘mental chatter’ and then the ‘chatter’ subsided and I was rewarded with moments of tranquility. So I kept going on this track and believe I have escaped the clutches of cultism whilst embracing the goal of the meditation i.e. enjoying the promised ‘tranquility without pills’. I would like to share my findings with those who are interested in finding tranquility without getting caught in the cult trap, so I have created a website which tells all:- http://www.thoughtfreemeditation.com

  8. Mr. Greystone

    Gina, thanks for sharing your story. I attended MIU (now MUM) for a time, and the lies, mind/lifestyle control and brainwashing were off the charts. I pity anyone who still believes all the TMM empty promises and submits to their dictates.

  9. Bill Smith

    Hi Gina,
    Brilliant Interview! I still do Effortless Mantra Meditation, and I still use my Original TM Mantra as it is an original mantra – it woke up in me after about a year – it cured me of ‘Anorexia Nervosa,’ and I consider my mantra to be my personal Ishta Devata!
    I will continue, but I understand where you are coming from, and I can’t say anymore right now for obvious reasons!
    I don’t have or practice any advanced techniques, and I have nothing to do with or have any involvement with the TM Organization – basically I think it’s a brilliant Technique because I got a the mantra they gave me – Not so much the technique – much more to do with the energy contained in the Mantra !
    The mantra is the key, and it must be authentic!
    Warm Regards,

  10. Pingback: Meditation, Yes! But Please Be Careful and Do Your Homework Regarding Transcendental Meditation (TM). – Freedom of Mind

  11. firad

    Dear Gina,

    I happy to see that there are people like you are.
    I was meditating for over a year , using various meditations on youtube when severe head pressure occurred and remains even though I do not meditate any more pressure is there 24-7 for months almost a whole year. I have seen many doctors , did MRI and EGG , tired many anti anxety pills . I also tried various alternative medicine such as acupuncture and craniosacral therapy but nothing helps .
    I came across many people on internet that suffer from same symptoms as result of meditation and usually get explanations such as kundalini syndrome etc.
    I work public work and this is destroying my life.
    Do you know what should I do, to whom should I address for help.

    Please help,
    Many thanks

    1. Mohit

      Why dont you also try homeopathy or ayurveda and also some meditation guided by humans and not machines .. maybe it will reverse it . the powerful rays of phones laptops connected to internet directly wired to the head especially during meditation might have caused your headaches. All the best and I hope you get better.


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