Friday, July 13, 2007

Vickie Tells Her Personal Story (long)

Victoria Keeler submitted the following personal story on July 5, 2007. Other readers interested in sharing their stories can contact me directly at

I didn’t realize how deeply my SELF was lost in the TM stuff until I started getting out of it.

I became a teacher at 28 in 1976. My husband and I worked at the TM center in Pasadena, CA until it closed around 1980 or so. We did all the center things – he was a full-time teacher and I helped fill in the gaps. I worked to give us insurance and have some regular income. Our son learned at age 8 and I gave him the sitting technique at 10.
I taught about 70 people.

We lived in back of my parents during this time and my Dad charged us very little. He said that I had been brainwashed and that TM was the work of the devil, and told me about Maharishi’s private jet and where does all the money go? We had sold EVERYTHING to go to TTC and could not make ends meet.

I know why I started and why I continued. I was weak. I had low self-esteem and TM made me feel special. Maharishi told us often how special to be a TM teacher imparting the absolute to others. No one else had this special knowledge but him and the teachers. I felt I was justified as a human being, that I was better than any “regular” people no matter what they did for a living. I had also taken the siddis course and was enjoying the hopping, especially while others just sat there. I was really evolving!!

My marriage didn’t last and I remarried in 1984. My husband learned TM and took the siddis course but not the flying part. I was going to UC Riverside and becoming exposed to the real world.

I credit my husband, Lou, for helping me get my life back. He supported my going to college and supported whatever TM stuff I chose or chose not to do. I had the experience of demons coming in my meditations. Years later when I saw the movie “Ghost” there they were! I had a period of a few years where I vacillated between trying to get back into the program and not wanting to do it ever again. I was afraid to stop!! I thought I would be turning my back on God and I would be doomed to hell. Lou was my sounding board and my anchor.

I made the decision to stop and have been seeing that my experiences were not unique. Thank God for the internet! As I read about others I see myself and feel compassion - experiences I had during the tm years are put in perspective and I can stop blaming myself and maybe help someone else get free.

Teacher Training was in Vittell and Biarritz, France 1975-6. In Vittell I wanted to go home but was convinced to stay to become a teacher. We were moved to Biarritz after two months. We were taken during the night by bus and plane. At the little airport there was a group coming home from the new “6-month” course. They looked awful, pale and spaced out.

My first meditations in Biarritz were like I was a boulder glued to the chair while two jets of hot steam blew vertically out of my shoulders. As more meditations, etc. were added I felt so consumed with fatigue I can’t put it into words! I thought I was really progressing and kept doing the program.

Our food sometimes ran out and rumors were constant. The most scarey one was that we were going to be given enemas and put on a diet of only grape juice to purify our systems and have better experiences. “Better”??

At the end of the course I remember all of us sitting in the lecture hall, waiting for Maharishi, punchy as it was the middle of the night. We were ushered into another big room where puja tables were set up for each person. Maharishi talked, we did puja, and we were given the mantras over individual earphones. I saw that the mantra I had been given when taught was wrong. Maharishi immediately said don’t worry if you see that.
I thought he had read my mind!

At home as teachers there was always some new course to go on and for a few years my husband and I did it. We both had advanced techniques, went to teacher refresher courses, world peace assemblies and did whatever we were told to do at our center.

I never felt comfortable teaching or lecturing. I didn’t feel prepared to deal with anything off of the memorized words we were given and told to stick to – “maintain the purity of the teaching”. I didn’t really believe that the mantras were not names of hindu gods but everyone else seemed to. We were allowed to teach our families for free.

Our entire existence was within the TM framework. We worked (the center had closed) came home to change and go to the program facility (2-3 hours). My husband still taught from our house and we went to conference calls telling us what we should be doing – the latest project to sink ourselves into. I just wanted a regular life without feeling that I was not measuring up.

I spent about ten years faithfully doing my program and taking in “knowledge”. Knowledge came in the form of lectures on teacher training and all other courses through the Siddis, and conference calls where we would meditate before getting the latest word from Maharishi. There were also books to read and tapes to listen to after doing our individual programs or group program.

There were many injuries to heal from. Some were:
1. I matter because I am a teacher of TM.
2.. Everything can be explained through the TM framework.
3. I am safe and don’t have to worry about religion because I have the answer to all religions.
4. Maharishi made me a teacher and therefore, I am safe because he is enlightened.

Then when I wanted to stop TM they became:
1. If I stop doing my program I fall off the path to enlightenment into the mud of darkness (those demons).
2. TM is the only way to God – everything else is in the realm of ignorance.
3. The world will end and I won’t be saved - neither will my non-meditating family.
4. I will have no connection to God.
5. I will have no identity.

I started TM when I was immature. I was a young mother and had lived a sheltered life. I was simple and innocent and needy. I did not know that people in their 20’s go through a period of getting to know themselves, trying things and deciding on what they were going to base their lives on. I put my heart and soul into TM and thought I was helping the universe and doing God’s work. I thought Maharishi was the incarnated Jesus Christ. That was my turning point.

I started to reason and see that the actions and goals of Maharishi were not unselfish, that he did not care about people except as numbers on courses. And he didn’t care that people were suffering and becoming permanently harmed by what he directed the course participants to be doing. He wanted the numbers, the money, the property, etc.

My brain was not washed clean it had sustained repeated injuries. There was still in me the spark to reason and to see that Maharishi was/is wrong. He is not one to be followed. He does not allow himself to be followed – he uses people. That is nothing having to do with God.

Just one year ago, after being in and then trying to get TM “program”ming out of my system, I found what God is about. He is about love, caring, gentleness and goodness.
And I don’t need a mantra to become good enough to have Him in my life.

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