Since Maharishi’s late 1960’s with the Beatles, Beach Boys, Mia Farrow and Donovan, Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation Movement cultivated celebrity appeal for enhanced recruitment and donations.
Glitz of the rich and famous appeals to many. When I was with the TM Movement, many TMers bragged about their association with various celebrities coming through town or on advanced TM courses. While I met my share the rich and famous, and was friendly with a few, the starstruck twinkle unto itself did not draw me. Many others were magnetically attracted to associate with the stars, much like associating with the popular crowd in high school. Name dropping is a common phenomenon within TM circles.
Many talented individuals gain celebrity status through talent and hard work. But celebrities are fallible human beings, like the rest of us, who can be misled and recruited in vulnerable moments - just like anyone else! Celebrity endorsement unto itself does not mean something is valuable. All that sparkles is not gold, folks!
Oprah Winfrey is TM’s latest celebrity promoter. She paid for her entire staff to be initiated into Transcendental Meditation, sponsoring daily group meditations at work now.
Oprah was recently in Fairfield Iowa with her film crew, creating a TV special on Transcendental Meditation and Fairfield, Iowa. As a celebrity with great publicity potential, Oprah was even allowed to meditate inside the woman’s dome without the special identification badge required of all other dome attendees.
Read about Oprah on Yahoo’s October 19, 2011 associated content : Oprah Winfrey Meditated in Fairfield Iowa Tonight with Other Transcendental Meditation Meditators; Oprah Jets into Fairfield and Meditates
Here is October 22, 2011 Huffington Post’s snipet from the Associated Press about Oprah meditating in Fairfield, Iowa and speaking at Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment (MSAE): Oprah Meditates with 400 Women in Iowa
Transcendental Meditation Movement naturally capitalizes upon the founder of the Huffington Post, Ariana Huffington’s endorsement for TM, January 29, 2011 : “Women of London - meditation is for you!”
You can view a short January 2010 video clip on Oprah’s website, interview with Rosie O’Donnell speaking about TM : "Rose O’Donnell’s Spiritual Practice”.
Ironically, TM markets itself not as a spiritual practice, however Rosie and Oprah speak publicly about what TM insiders know, that TMers do have a spiritual agenda through recruiting others to their practices.
Film producer David Lynch is an ardent supporter of Transcendental Meditation. Having tried to bring TM as a solution to elementary students, veterans suffering from PTSD and abused sex workers through his David Lynch Foundation.
David Lynch Foundation is coordinating the third fundraising “Change Begins Within” concert in Los Angeles, with celebrities Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Brand, Russell Simmons.
Similar to Scientology’s high profile members such as John Travolta and Tom Cruise, high profile supporters of the Transcendental Meditation Movement do not experience manipulative pressures and guilt applied to rank and file TM members who left families, or education to work on TM Movement staff with little or no compensation. Innumerable TM teachers or TM Movement staff live(d) with hopes of attending the next costly advanced meditation course for enlightenment, only eventually to be cast aside with neither retirement funds nor medical insurance.
Celebrities endorsing TM and Scientology similarly are busy with their non-cult careers. They dip in for brief tastes of the marzipan icing offered by their respective organizations. These stars endorse based upon their own perceived benefits, without realizing that common participants in those organizations do not receive special attention and accolades provided to the celebrities. While in fact, the celebrities are being exploited for their star appeal and donations, just as the common cult participants are exploited for their donations and low cost wages.
Don’t be fooled by star appeal folks.Transcendental Mediation is more than a mere relaxation method. Transcendental Meditations’ finely honed recruitment machine is poised to lure vulnerable recruits for increasing involvement with their organization and dictated lifestyle.
For a practical meditation method, I suggest investigating something like Herbert Benson’s "Relaxation Response"or a simple non-glitzy mindfulness meditation which does not herald upon charismatic associations.