Whole Life Magazine

February / March 2018

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20 wholelifetimes.com CLEAN BAY CERTIFIED RESTAURANTS CLEAN BAY CERTIFIED RESTAURANTS B efore Maharishi Mahesh Yogi stepped onto America's shores in 1959, there was no "meditation" or "mantra." Within 10 years he made these into household words. His brush with celebrities placed him into the spotlight. But his true legacy is his gift of Transcendental Meditation (TM). Fifty years ago, when Mia Farrow, her sister "Dear Prudence," the Beatles, Donovan, and Mike Love visited Maharishi's ashram in Rishikesh, India, shock waves reverberated around the world. The result was the iconic record album The Beatles, a.k.a. the "White Album," written in India, and Maharishi's meteoric rise to fame. In recent years TM has enjoyed a stellar comeback—becoming a cool club again due to efforts of fi lm director David Lynch and his David Lynch Foundation, endorsed by dozens of superstars. For 22 years I resided in Maharishi's ashrams in the Himalayas, Swiss Alps, Fairfi eld, Iowa, and elsewhere. I served on his per- sonal staff for six years. For extended periods, I enjoyed close proximity to the most renowned guru of the 20th century. In the tradition of the East, chela (disciples) devote themselves to gurus, and gurus elevate disciples to higher consciousness. Starry-eyed seekers often view this path through rose-colored glasses. Yet there's nothing romantic about it. What isn't widely known is that enlightenment means extin- guishing the ego. That's why it's defi ned as "egoless." Loyal disciples wouldn't divulge how this occurs through a kind of "open-ego surgery" performed by gurus on their disciples. They wouldn't risk soiling their gurus' reputation—nor embarrass- ing themselves. And gurus generally don't reveal their closely guarded methods. Ego demise isn't exactly lollipops, butterfl ies, and daisies. It can be devastating and shattering. Out of six million who learned TM, only a handful spent any time in Maharishi's direct pres- ence. Those who witnessed his antics rarely understood his mo- tives. Many scorched by his fi re still remain baffl ed, or consider themselves victims. The perfect cliché of hippiedom—that was me in 1966. A "fl owerchild," I fully embraced the counterculture lifestyle. But it wasn't all sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. We fl owerchildren were seriously seeking altered states of consciousness—specifi cally, nirvana. And under the madness of the Vietnam War, we were also desperately seeking world peace. By Susan Shumsky, Ph.D. 100TH BIRTHDAY OF THE BEATLES' GURU yoga & spirit Looking Back on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

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