Natural Law Party Promotes MeditationThe Sunday Oklahoman, David Zizzo, August 2, 1992
Monday, August 14, 2000
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|Heck with the ``no new taxes'' stuff.|
Try reading these lips: how about increased intelligence, worldwide peace, and ``invincible'' defense system and elimination of crime and all other problems?
Such is the heaven on earth being offered by the newly launched Natural Law Party, which is fielding candidates for president and vice president.
If the party fizzles in American elections like it did in England, as least it can boast unrivaled promises.
The party is a creation of the Transcendental Meditation movement that was founded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Eastern guru who rode to Western stardom by hitching with the Beatles.
Officials say the party is on the ballot in about eight states and is working to qualify in several others, but not Oklahoma.
The recipe for the platform: Solutions are heavy on ``reducing stress'' and ``living in harmony,'' with a few holistic suggestions for farming, health care and the environment tossed in and the word ``scientific'' sprinkled liberally throughout.
Longtime Maharishi watchers say the Natural Law Party is just another in a series of occasional stunts to lure new followers and income for the movement.
``It's one public relations scam to raise money,'' said Diane Hendel. The Washington, D.C. nursing student operates a hotline for TM-EX, an organization of former TM followers.
``One of the things the TM movement appreciates is public relations,'' she said. ``Every few years they announce a new project. Nothing much happens but they get a lot of press.''
``Always a new thing, always a new angle,'' said Patrick Ryan, former TM follower who now counsels people on how to break ties with cults.
Jim Walters, TM instructor in Edmond, admits the new party offers the movement valuable access to the media, the ``ability within the political arena, to state our point.''
Hagelin was asked why the TM movement needs to fool with mere politics if mental mingling alone can create nirvana.
``The idea of considering the political forum was one of a shortcut'' to those goals, he said.
Still, Natural Law Party officials steadfastly deny any ``legal connection'' between the party and the TM movement.
``It's totally not connected with any organization teaching transcendental mediation,'' Hagelin said. ``TM is part of our scientifically developed programs.''
Then it's probably just a coincidence that Hagelin, a physicist, is taking a leave of absence from the faculty of Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, the Maharishi's headquarters.
And that vice presidential running mate Mike Tompkins lists a doctorate in the ``science of creative intelligence from Maharishi European Research University in Switzerland.'' And that party chairman Bevan Morris is chairman of Maharishi International University.
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