Where Have All the Flower Children Gone? Part Two

This is the second article in a two-part series by this title.

Click through at the end of this post to the continuation of the article, or view it in full on the page listed at the left on this screen.

The hippies were an aware generation, on the edge of discovering and achieving remarkable things. Spiritual growth divorced from restrictive religion. A government accountable to the people. Wars that couldn’t happen because kids wouldn’t serve in them. The questioning of authority. Noncompliance with idiocy. Community empowerment through back-to-the-land living and support of local trades and local commerce, breaking the growing stranglehold of Big Business.

The flower children challenged all the assumptions: spiritual, political, social, economic. They asked the big questions and were willing to go to jail for their principles. The hippies knew something was wrong with the world, and even tried to name it: the Establishment, the System. They were so close to the truth that they had to be stopped. Since they couldn’t be stopped, they had to be diverted.

The hippie movement was poisoned from within. Drugs, thrills and depersonalized sex ate away at flower-power vision and resolve. Heads were clouded by pot and heavy metal. Icons announced that getting the latest kick was the way to personal freedom. Drugs weren’t bad – the Establishment only said that to stop our having fun. Drugs would set our mind free. Multi-partnered sex would set our soul free.

The focus turned from activism to pleasure, thrills that never satisfied. We grew bloated with decadence, and longed for a way out. We wanted to be spiritual, but didn’t believe in Jesus. We lost our self-confidence, mourned our lost innocence. If only someone would show us the way back to feeling wonderful again.

That’s where Maharishi found us in the 1960s and 70s when he made his trips to America. He tossed life vests into our turbulent sea. We followed his voice and made it to the shore. We’d be forever grateful.

The hippies could not be allowed to grow into adults and assume responsible places in society. Not without being purged. Our enemies corrupted us, and then we begged for purging. One of their own, Maharishi obliged us. He taught TM to take our “stress” away. We gladly gave it to him. But “stress,” our cares, were attached to our souls. When TM took them away, it took part of us with it. Instead of working our problems through and becoming integrated, we gave them to a mantra, the hypnotic song that transported them, with pieces of our personality, into another dimension.

Is it a stretch to allege that the death of the hippie movement was intentional? A form of cultural genocide? The Establishment lost its critics once the hippies were assimilated. Gone were the voices crying “foul!” and “fraud!” The Establishment and the agenda that drives it wanted the hippie movement killed. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was their henchman … Click here to continue with this article

Paying the Meditation Tithe: Soma for the Gods

Why does mantra meditation feel so great at first and later on destroy the people who practice it? Why do people keep doing it even though it hurts them? The allegory at the bottom is my attempted answer.

Energy, or life force, is what the gods and gurus siphon off when people “bow down” (through hymns, chants, mantras, or the physical act of bending before their pictures or persons). The act of bowing gives them psychic permission to have power over a person.

India’s scripture Rig Veda names the energy these entities seek “Soma.” According to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, it’s what the Greek myths meant by “ambrosia” and “nectar of the gods.” Soma is food for the gods. Maharishi said it is a half physical/half ethereal substance generated in the body in meditation. Advanced meditators learn how to direct more of their soma to the gods through chants and hymns.

“Flow, Soma, for Indra to drink,” goes one of the lines in the 9th Mandala of Rig Veda. This is the scripture advanced TMers are instructed to read immediately following every meditation. The line is repeated in various ways throughout the entire hymn. Indra is king of the gods, and our Soma , in their twisted thinking, “belongs” to them.

Here is my allegory, describing how Transcendental Meditation turns from a blessing to a curse as you advance in the teachings. In the story, “money” is meant to be taken more than just literally. I use it as a symbol of the life force, the Soma energy, that meditators must pay more of over time. It is the tithe that binds.

Suppose you want to go visit the ocean, only you know of no road that goes there. One day you find one. It’s owned by a man who tells you you’re free to use his road anytime you like. He seems like a real nice fellow. After you use his road a few times, though, you learn he’s been stealing a dollar from your pocket every time you pass by. You don’t mention this, as it seems a small price to pay for the use of the road. Or maybe you do mention it, and he tells you that’s his toll-road charge. He took it without saying for your own good, because if you knew you had to pay you might have backed out of your first excursion and never would have had that wonderful experience. Now that you’ve been there, he’s sure you won’t mind paying the dollar. This explanation seems a little off, but you buy it. After all, what really matters is the great time you’re having at the beach.

After a while, the man announces he’s raising the toll. Now it will cost you five dollars every time you pass. You go to the beach every weekend, and it’s great, but the price for using the toll-road keeps getting higher. It’s very expensive now, hundreds of dollars a week. You inquire again if there are other roads that will take you to the sea, free ones maybe, but the man and your friends who use the road tell you this route is the only one .

So you keep going there and paying. But after a while, the beach isn’t such fun anymore. You’ve taken a second job to support the toll-road, and by the time you get to the sea you have no energy left for anything but a nap. You only go into the water on rare occasions. While you’re sleeping on the beach, goons who work for the toll guy patrol the premises, picking the pockets of all the sleeping sunbathers. You hear rumors among the crowd that someone is robbing people, but you don’t believe it. True, you’re missing some money, but you’re sure you left it at home and only thought you had it with you.

The fact that this starts happening every weekend doesn’t disturb you. You’ve been so spacey and foggy-headed lately, that you can’t expect yourself to remember if you had your money when you got to the beach or not. All that matters is the sun and the sand feel so good. You’re so tired, and they are so soothing. You’ve forgotten about boating and swimming, picnicking and flying kites in the wind, all the things you used to enjoy in the early days when you would come to the oceanside, back when it was practically free. All that matters now is how good it feels to get to the beach and fall asleep. Yours cares dissolve away. You don’t think you could live without it.

One day you wake up from a beach nap to see a couple of people flying kites on the sand, in between all the snoring bodies. A couple more people are playing in the surf. You call out and ask them, where do they get so much energy? They yell back that they’ve found a free road that takes them to the beach and they don’t have to work to pay the toll-guy anymore, so they aren’t so tired. In fact, coming to the ocean energizes them now, the way it used to do back when the toll-road only cost a dollar or two.

You say, that’s impossible. Everyone knows this toll-road is the only route to the beach. No, say the others, the toll-guy lied to us. This free road has been there all along. It’s even older than the toll-road. In fact, it’s not even the only free road that will take you here. There are plenty of them. They just take a little work to find, and then you’re on your way.

You hear this, and you start to get mad. Who are these guys, coming in here telling you nonsense like that, and saying bad things about the toll-guy? If it weren’t for him and his generosity, letting you use the toll-road, your life would be empty. You never would have found the beach. You are eternally indebted to the toll-road guy for that.

You wonder why these kite-flyers and swimmers are lying, telling you all the money you’ve spent on the toll-road all these years was a waste. You simply can’t accept that. It would mean you’ve been a fool, and you won’t let anyone make you look like one. No, they must be lying. They’re just here to make trouble. You lay back down in the sand, tune out everything you just heard, and fall back into the welcome numbness of sleep.

Bronte Baxter

© Bronte Baxter 2008

Where Have All the Flower Children Gone? Part One

This is the first article in a two-part series by this title.

Click through at the end of this post to the continuation of the article, or view it in full on the page listed at the left on this screen.

The climate of the 60s: America’s youth uprising. Questioning everything, challenging “the system” and the established worldview. Refusing to serve in a war, bringing about the end of it. Experimenting with sex and drugs, toying with every new or forbidden philosophy. A better world was around the corner – we were sure of it. Soon we’d be, as Arlo sang, “walking hand in hand with every man, sleeping in the sun with everyone.” The times, they were a’changin’.

Fifty years later, the world is no utopia. We’ve had two more wars. The only sleeping in the sun we do is on vacations. There’s less freedom, more surveillance. Independent journalism has virtually disappeared, original voices in the press replaced by dumbed-down TV nightly news. Our schoolteachers teach to standardized tests instead of teaching to kids.

What happened? Where have all the flowers gone, and all the flower children? How did something as radical, colorful and vital as the hippy movement simply vanish one day when no one was looking? Perhaps the answer lies with the Maharishi.

Maharishi MaheshYogi, 1970s version. Founder of Transcendental Meditation and the Students International Meditation Society. SIMS was an organization that descended on US campuses, grabbed pothead kids by the scruff of their raggedy necks, cleaned them up and turned them into upstanding members of society.

Just by giving them a mantra and teaching them to meditate. It soon became the rage – hippies converting to TM, trading in swear words for mantras, tie-dyed shirts for three-piece suits. Most kids were recruited to become teachers, pulling in still more people … Click here to continue with this article