Oprah and Other Celebs Endorse TM
Oprah, who has long been closely associated with a number of famous TM’ers, such as Deepak Chopra, has finally joined the ranks and become an official TM initiate and advocate. She is now connected to this controversial movement and given its meditation the Oprah stamp of approval. Maharishi captured the hearts and minds of a generation of youthful seekers, including celebs such as, The Beatles, Donavon, and Mia Farrow. And his teaching continues to resonate with many rich and famous followers—Clint Eastwood, Deepak Chopra, and Dr. Oz—to name a few. David Lynch, who is a staunch supporter and practitioner of Transcendental Mediation (TM), continues to provide funding for the Maharishi Schools and a variety of programs that promote the teaching of TM worldwide. He continues to fund a program that makes TM available for soldiers recovering from PTSD; he has already committed to helping 10,000 Vets across the country.
I Learned TM in the 70’s
In the 70’s, I became one of Maharishi’s followers, and took to my mantra like a duck to water, became immersed in long meditations accompanied by yoga, and eventually became a TM Teacher. I remember the hours I spent listening to the guru’s lilting voice and giggles along with his promise that his meditation technique could enlighten the masses and create heaven on earth. He energized a generation that was disillusioned with organized religion, a world of war, and racial strife, and the paradigm of gross materialism.
So, where do I stand? Well, like many who have been avid followers and strayed from the straight and narrow teachings of any path, I feel I’ve saved the baby and thrown out the bathwater. I love doing a mantra meditation (not necessarily TM) and I still read all kinds of Eastern scriptures and teachings—not necessarily Maharishi’s—that’s how I’m wired. I guess I consider myself a reincarnated Indian. I’m grateful for the gifts and for the practice that helped me give up a wicked cigarette addiction, binge drinking, and drug usage. Maharishi opened me to a universe of concepts that have influenced me and enriched my life. The late 60’s and early 70’s were both exhilarating and dangerous times, and I emerged miraculously unscathed, in large part, due Maharishi’s influence.
But, I have long since dropped away from the TM movement or organization, preferring a more eclectic view of spirituality and preferring to think for myself (another blog altogether) than to follow the seemingly endless do’s and don’ts and should’s and shouldn’t(s) generously and frequently offered by the organization and its late founder. The TM movement has always claimed it is not a religion, but offers a simple meditation technique that can become a part of anyone’s daily practice. Yet I found that once you join the organization’s fold, the rules and regulations abound.
And, I predict that Oprah, who I respect very much, and who by nature seems to be an open-hearted and genuine seeker, will continue to embrace all the branches of that illusory Tree of Knowledge. Oprah has shown she likes variety—in shoes, in reading material, and in teachers. I think she will continue exploring and synthesizing the wisdom of the great teachers and teachings all over the world.