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The Maharishi's Children:

Childhood in the Movement

Unfiltered When you think of "Heaven on Earth" what images pop into your mind? If you were told that by following a few simple techniques your life would become this "Heaven" would you follow them? Many of the followers of the TM movement were given this promise.

I was a movement child. I was born into this "Heaven" in the year 1972.

My mother started meditating when she was 17. I was born when she was 22. She married my adoptive father who she met on a Teacher Training Course in La Antillia, Spain. At this course there was no hot water where we were staying. My mother said it was very cold. Parents were washing their children's diapers in cold water. There was a nursery where kids went sometimes. Other times children were left in rooms in playpens for hours, which I have found was a common occurrence on the early days of the courses. Sometimes babies screamed all night while their parents attended round-the-clock sessions.

Today many people come up to me with stories of what a "blissful" baby I was. "I remember the time you gave Maharishi a flower. You were so radiant." Yeah, right. That's the "bliss ninny" version. According to others, I spent a great deal of time screaming uncontrollably -- like so many of the other babies.

While at the course I suffered a severe burn to my left arm. My mother says I rolled up against a space heater while I was sleeping. I was not sleeping in the same room as her I guess. I've asked how she couldn't notice. I must have screamed -- I have a scar from my wrist to my elbow.

In 1973 we moved to Colorado to start our new life. We lived in Denver, Greeley and Fort Collins. My parents always lived around their movement friends. During program time I would be expected to entertain myself an hour-and-a-half or two hours at a time.

My mom told me of a time where I was screaming, locked in the room next to theirs. Although I was screaming for over an hour, they didn't come and get me.

I was a very angry little girl. My anger was the topic of conversation within my parents' group of friends. I was only two at this time.

Shortly after we got back from the course my mother went on another course, leaving me with my father and one of their friends. This woman has now been clinically diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder. My father and she had an affair. I was ignored.

Later my father went and joined my mother on the course. I was now cared for by a woman and her boyfriend -- I think the woman was from the Center or something. The woman was very nice, but her boyfriend thought it was funny to tell me my mother would never be coming home. I would get very angry and tell him she was coming home. Every night I would lie in bed, repeating to myself, "She will come back, she will come back." I remember sitting on a rock and wishing I could kill myself. I was two years old.

My mother got pregnant with my brother at this time. We spent a lot of time at the center. I was allowed to play downstairs while my parents taught TM or did program for hours.

In the basement of the center one particular man would play with me, tickling, touching, fondling. I liked to play games, and I was proud of how well I could keep a secret.

Life was pretty much the same for the next couple of years. My brother was born. My parents continued their involvement with the movement. They were not happy together, they fought a lot about money and how they should spend it.

There was always enough money for the TM courses and the Sidhis.

When my mother would go to courses, sometimes for months, I became my father's surrogate wife. I mean, I was not like his daughter, I was like his mistress. He would dress me up and have me model clothes for him. I slept in his bed with him. He had other affairs while she was away, too.

My mother called him from a course and told him they were going to have a celibate marriage. "Maybe you are, but I'm not," he said.

My parents were meditating at the center on St. Paul street in Denver. My 3-year-old brother and I (7 years old) were left in a park alone. I was afraid because I had heard people at the center discussing how unsafe this neighborhood was. It was a run down, black neighborhood. My parents assured me they would be back before it got dark and we would be safe.

It started to get dark. I started to get nervous and look for my parents, but they were no where to be found. I didn't know my way back to the center and I knew it was dangerous to cross busy streets, especially with my brother. I kept thinking,"They will come back, they will come back," and tried not to let my brother see my fear.

A group of teens were gathering in the park as the sun descended. I was afraid of the teenage boys there. They kept looking at my brother and I, making remarks about "us little white kids." I decided it would be safe enough to cross one street to a store that was open. At this time it was almost dark, all of the street lights were on. I took my brothers hand and we crossed the street.

This is the first time I realized that my parents' beliefs did not fit in with the rest of societies. They believed "Nature was supporting" -- that nothing bad could happen to us because we were meditators.

I asked the store clerk if we could wait there for our parents.

He looked at my with a funny face and said, "Where are your parents?"

"They're flying," I replied.

"FLYING," the man asked.

"Yes, flying," I said.

"FLYING WHERE... IN AN AIRPLANE?" the man asked, his voice getting louder.

"No, they are flying at the center... you know, flying," I said.

The man just looked at me calmly at first and then said, with a look of anger in his eyes, "Don't you know what can happen to kids like you after dark...?"

I was very scared, because for me after dark meant getting raped. I thought this man meant he was going to rape me. I took my brother and left... crying, back to the park to wait for my parents in the darkness.

They came about a half hour later -- in the dark. I didn't even know my way back to the center. They had been gone two, two-and-a-half hours. All they said was, "Well, everything's fine. Nothing happened." And we were off home.

My parents divorced in 1980. My father moved in with a fellow governor. We spent weekends with him and his roommate, "Steve."

Their house had two bedrooms and an office. I was happy because "Steve" really liked me. I knew him from the center. We played games together, sometimes these games would make me feel funny, but they didn't hurt me.

I knew he was my special friend and looked forward to spending time with him on the weekends. He would ask my father if I could sleep in his bed with him at night. My father always said yes. Sleeping naked was the thing to do, and being tickled naked was fun, being on top of this man with his hard penis rubbing up and down my body was fun too.

This game lasted for a while, although it was getting boring for "Steve." Sometimes "Steve" would go out at night. I still slept in his room. My bed was at the foot of his bed. I awoke one night to the sounds of heavy breathing. I looked and there was "Steve" on the bed with a grown woman, who I learned later was a prostitute.

"Steve" asked me to come to bed. I went, but in the middle of it I got sick to my stomach. I ran out of the room to the bathroom, puking.... I wasn't used to the taste of a vagina.

My father was very angry, I guess he didn't want anyone else touching me, although I was still allowed to sleep with "Steve."

I found out we were moving to Fairfield that summer... the summer of 1980. I did not want to move.

Before I go on, there are a couple points I want to make clear. The movement set up an environment in which abuse could and did thrive. Sexual, physical, but even more damaging and manipulative . . . emotional abuse.

A lot of people may be wondering why I never told my mother, a teacher or someone else who could help me. First, I was not aware that what was happening was not normal. From such an early age men molested me. I did not know there was something wrong with it. I knew it felt funny, but growing up I was always told that meditation was protection, that nothing bad could happen to you if you meditated. We were the "chosen ones" we were lucky to have this protection. And most of all, we were better then everyone else.

Second, within the movement and my family there was a rule that no one is to focus on "negativity." "What you put your attention on grows." "We only speak the sweet truth here (at MIU school )." There was no room for any sort of anger, sadness, or even questions. Thinking of anything negative or asking questions that were of negative nature was cause for judgment, ridicule, and most important, shame.

To be thought of as "bad." to have your state of consciousness judged daily does not set up any sort of environment for growth, only denial. To this day if you speak of negativity to many movement people you will get the same responses.

Imagine being a child in this environment. If you are told you were special, that you had the power to CHANGE THE WORLD through your behavior and meditation, that your level of consciousness was superior to the rest of the world, how is it that a child is to grow into a healthy adult with this sort of pressure put on him/her?

There was a man at the TM center in Denver who must have seen that I was in need of attention and love. This man took me to movies, played with me like I was a child, and was very nice to me. Every time that we would go somewhere or were alone together I was waiting for him to become sexual with me. He never did.

Instead of being relieved, I felt like he didn't like me. As I said before, sexual abuse was so common I thought it was normal.

I would like to thank you, Brian, for never touching me.

blackball.GIFPart 2, Generation Next in Heaven on Earth

blackball.GIFAnnie Replies to her critics

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Creation has two sides: intelligence, which is the cause of everything, and the manifestations of intelligence, which are the physical and psychological features of the everyday world. Because Transcendental Meditation directly approaches intelligence, rather than the manifestations of intelligence, it solves problems by introducing harmony and well-being at the most basic level, and not by dealing with problems themselves. That's why it is so effective.

Consider this example: The gardener supplies water to the root of a tree. That water, that nourishment, then reaches all parts of the tree - leaves, branches, flowers, fruit - through the sap. We can think of the sap as analogous to intelligence and the green leaves or yellow flowers as analogous to the manifestations of the intelligence. The leaves and flowers are the intelligence of the sap, after it has been transformed. So intelligence - like the leaves and flowers of a tree - appears as the many different forms of manifest life. Those manifestations include every aspect of existence, from the material and physiological, through the psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. All of those features of life come from transformations of intelligence. In meditation, we directly meet this essential intelligence. Therefore, we have the possibility of nourishing all of its other levels, and thus all levels of manifestation, in a way that is harmoniously related to the whole universe.

How is Transcendental Meditation different from the various other forms of meditation?

Maharishi: The basic difference is that Transcendental Meditation, in addition to its simplicity, concerns itself only with the mind. Other systems often involve some additional aspects with which the mind is associated, such as breathing or physical exercises. They can be a little complicated because they deal with so many things. But with Transcendental Meditation there is no possibility of any interference. So we say this is the all-simple program, enabling the conscious mind to fathom the whole range of its existence.

Transcendental Meditation ranges from active mind - or performing mind - to quiet mind - or resting mind. In this resting mind, one has purity and simplicity, uninvolved with anything other than the mind, uninvolved with any other practice. In Transcendental Meditation, because we deal only with the mind, we nourish all expressions of intelligence.

The mind meditates, gains Transcendental Consciousness and brings about transformation in different fields of manifestation. All fields of life, which are the expression of intelligence, are nourished or transformed and made better through experiencing Transcendental Consciousness.

The mind, of course, is always concerned with other aspects, such as the physiology of the body, the environment, and the whole universe for that matter. But since Transcendental Meditation deals only with the performance of the mind, from its active states to its settled state, it remains unconcerned with those other aspects, though it deals with them all, because intelligence deals with them all. -- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, unknown interview, copyright presumablyheld by Maharishi Vedic University, The Maharishi Foundation, or another group within the TM family.

Cults come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Categories of cults that are recruiting successfully today include:

Eastern meditation: characterized by belief in God-consciousness, becoming one with God. The leader usually distorts and Eastern-based philosophy or religion. Members sometimes learn to disregard worldly possessions and may take on an ascetic lifestyle. Techniques used: meditation, repeated mantras, altered states of consciousness, trance states.

Religious: marked by belief in salvation, afterlife, sometimes combined with an apocalyptic view. The leader reinterprets the Scriptures and often claims to be a prophet if not the messiah. Often the group is strict, sometimes using physical punishments such as paddling and birching, especially on children. Members are encouraged to spend a great deal of time proselytizing. (Note: included here are Bible-based neo-Christian and other religious cults, many considered syncretic since they combine beliefs and practices). Techniques used: speaking in tongues, chanting, praying, isolation, lengthy study sessions, many hours spent evangelizing, "struggle" (or criticism) and confession sessions.

Political, racist, terrorist: fueled by belief in changing society, revolution, overthrowing the "enemy" or getting rid of evil forces. The leader professes to be all-knowing and all-powerful. Often the group is armed and meets in secret with coded language, handshakes, and other ritualized practices. Members consider themselves an elite cadre ready to go to battle. Techniques used: paramilitary training, reporting on one another, guilt, fear, struggle sessions, instilled paranoia, long hours of indoctrination. -- Captive Hearts, Captive Minds, Lalich and Tobias, Hunter House, 1993.