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Friday, November 24, 2006

digging a tunnel to Wonderland

Thanksgiving at the Maharishi University of Management.
I spend mornings at the 2nd Street Coffee House. I talk with this guy who's wife is taking one of the courses here. Meditation many hours a day. He is not so into it, but they are thinking of moving here. He says that its cheap enough here that he could retire. He thinks of it like a 3rd world country. He voices his complaints with "the movement".
"If you're not a part of it, there's really not much to do here," he says.
"So, if you move here, you'd be comfortable with that?" I ask him.
"Its no problem," he assures me. "I'm fine just spending the days watching football."
"We'll take several months a year and drive down to Mexico."

I give him my email and he emails me the next day saying he has more questions about TM. I call him and meet him at the coffee shop again and we continue discussing.

I ask my mom later if she knows any couples where one is into TM and the other isn't. "No, but I'm sure there must be," she says.

Trying to find opposing points of view on TM, one comes across sites such as this site which describes TM as falling down a rabbit hole, a metaphor they encourage. How does one find common ground with Wonderland? It requires double vision and patience. I'm interested in physics, as are they. But that is a dead end. They site the Vedas as the source of their knowledge. If I tunnel in from literary criticism and philosophy of religion, can I end up anywhere near them? Its certainly not designed to be easy. Maharishi (Mahesh Varma) closes off all easy exits. His goal is that all attempts to leave end either by returning, or ending up in a swamp of difficult scholarship.

I talk to a son of a friend of my mom's who is a "Parusha", basically a TM monk. He is articulate and tries to tell me what's so great about TM. I finally feel like I've gotten somewhere. I know the tricks. There are certain words that one cannot be seduced by. "Subtle" and "enliven" are two such words. When one hears these words, one knows that the person talking is not thinking, and by asking them to use a more neutral language, they are required to find their own approach. Its a fun conversation. He ends by telling me of his own doubts about the "scientific" end of the enterprise. I tell him I respect the lifestyle and even partially respect the attempt to use scientific language to describe one's subjective experience.

But today I'm feeling beaten again. Its too big. There is no common ground.
It would be intersting to read up on the freedom of religion legal and moral arguments.
"I wish I could believe it," I tell my mom. "It just doesn't work for me."
"Its a free country," she says.


Sarah Silbert said...

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving there.

Boaz said...

Thanks. Besides some tiring aspects related to this stuff I've been writing about it was good. Went on some nice walks and had some good vegetarian food.
Hope yours was good too... talk to you soon.