Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Good Friends, Good Music, Mixed Memories

Although I stopped meditating almost 15 years ago and have no regrets, there are occasions when I do look back on my involvement with the TM organization positively. These positive memories are not about the TM organization, which I lacked respect for even while I was still meditating, but arise instead from the people I came to know and warm friendships I made. Granted, we were all in the thrall of a delusion, but we were all in it together, and that created strong bonds.

My nostalgia was recently triggered by a lovely online article about the jazz musician Charles Lloyd, who is still going strong (see Charles Lloyd: His Mystical Journey) 40 years after he was voted Jazzman of the Year by Down Beat Magazine. I was on a long TM rounding course with Charles back in the 1970s, and got to know him a little bit. He was everything you would expect a jazz musician to be... eccentric, creative, private... but he was also fascinating and friendly if you caught him at the right time. He seems to be one of those people who gets all the benefits of TM while experiencing none of the problems. Maybe he was already spaced out before he even started meditating.

I still listen to his CDs, and about a year ago I went to a performance of his at a local jazz club and (re)introduced myself after the set. He remembered me right away, and we spent a few minutes talking about old times. In that brief conversation I almost forgot that the TM organization was so wacky... our chat instead triggered some of my sweeter memories. After all, I didn't meditate for 22 years because it was bad, I meditated because it felt good. That is, I thought it was good for me at the time. Now, of course, I have a very different take on the past.

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