Dear Fairfield Lifers, In response to the recent discussions on this list about the TM course fee [Why does T/M cost so much to join? A little help?], I'll re-post my controversial essay from a few years ago. I first posted it on this list, and then to my amazement it got forwarded/networked all over the world - to meditators' e-mail lists, to other TM-related discussion groups - and even translated into many languages. It generated more encouraging and appreciative e-mail responses to me than any other essay I've written.
So here's another go-round (slightly edited to bring it up-to-date). I hope that this essay is of some use to you. It is offered in a spi- rit of love and compassion and humility to the tradition. Respectful comments or questions from readers are very welcome via e-mail, either privately or on this list. Namaste, Michael ------------------------------------------------------------------------- TM Course Fees and The Real Goals of the Movement By Michael Dean Goodman The issue of the higher ($2500) TM course fee has stirred up a lot of controversy over the years. Something that someone wrote about that finally prodded me into action and I wrote the following re- sponse. I hope it gives you some food for thought: When I started TM in 1970, as an adult I paid $75 to learn (and by a few years later it was $125). It is estimated that prices for many things have almost doubled every decade. In 1970, gasoline cost .29/gallon; today it costs 2.39/gallon - 824% of the original cost. In 1970, a new mid-sized Ford with a big engine cost $2500; today it costs almost $20,000, 800% of the original cost. Applying that same percentage factor, my $75 TM would cost $618 today, simply based on adjustment for inflation. Actually, today TM costs $2500, about 4 times that $618 inflation-adjusted figure. Like [deleted] wrote, I feel that I would have paid a huge amount had I known how effectively the TM program would have brought me back home to my goal. Please be careful in your assumptions here: I'm not talking based on some "true belief" or some faith in what the future might bring; I'm talking based on my own simple direct personal experience over these years. The time/money/energy that I invested in the TM program was far and away the best investment I've ever made. It's made this life worthwhile. I appreciate that some of you don't feel that way - some feel disappointed, tricked, abused, misled - and I'm sincerely and deeply sorry that you've found yourself on a different road. Even knowing as little as I did before I started, I came up with $75 - which is equivalent to $618 today. Today the TM movement is charging 4 times that, or $2500. Back then, when I learned, would I have come up with 4 times the $75 that I paid (or $300)? After really letting myself get back into the feelings that I had back then, I say yes - I would have. Certainly, because of the greater amount of money involved, I would have slowed down, thought more deeply about my decision, weighed it as more than the "cheap lark" that I saw it as, but as drawn as I was to have that inner stability and peace that I saw in the TM lecturer, I would have paid the $300. That $300 was 3.75% of an average year's income in 1970 - a little under 2-weeks' wages. It was also 13% of the cost of a new car back then. In my life since then, a lot of income and a lot of cars have come and gone - and a lot of money has been foolishly spent on things that have disappeared or were a mistake to begin with - but what the TM program delivered me to, the Self, goes on forever. In fact, think- ing back over those days when I was initiated and my behaviors and attitude toward TM back then, I feel that I would actually have taken the whole thing a lot more seriously - especially the 3-days of in- struction after initiation, and the regular practice of TM thereafter - if I hadn't thought that it was such a cheap bargain at $75. Today, based on what TM brought me, $2500 is a steal. But I am realis- tic, and I understand through direct personal experiences with friends and counseling clients over these past years that many people don't see that value at first, and that $2500 is a very significant, often daunt- ing, obstacle in some peoples' minds. It is daunting for me to tell people "$2500", especially when I assume that they're not serious spir- itual seekers - but merely looking for some relative benefit (like re- ducing their stress level or improving their relationship or making school easier) - and therefore might not see the deeper value that I now see in hindsight. So why does TM cost 4 times more today than it did back in 1970 (af- ter adjusting for inflation)? And, as a corollary: is Maharishi, as some people assert, either a bumbling idiot about practical financial matters, or just overly greedy - or is he a brilliant seer of the fu- ture? Let's investigate. I've thought back over many things I've heard from Maharishi over my years around him decades ago, and many things that I've recognized based on my own personal experience and understanding, and I'd like to share with you my take on the Movement and the $2500 TM course fees. PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMER PARAGRAPH SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY - AND IF YOU FEEL THE NEED TO ARGUE WITH ME ABOUT WHAT I'M ABOUT TO SAY, TO "PROVE ME WRONG", OR TO TRASH ME FOR BEING SUCH AN "IDIOT" - PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH AT LEAST A COUPLE MORE TIME: This is my subjective opinion, seen through my history, colored by my consciousness and my issues; it is not presented as "fact" or "truth". And since it is merely personal opinion, there is no need to engage in debate over the accuracy of each of my 'facts', because personal opin- ion is not based on fact. It's based on how our nervous system sees the world. We can all gather plenty of facts and/or quotes to bolster our opinions. This is simply offered as my world view - and perhaps you're a voyeur and would benefit from seeing the world through my eyes for a few minutes. If not - if you don't want to innocently open your mind to some thought-provoking ideas - simply use your "de- lete" key and move on. I want to discuss the $2500 course fee on three levels (they get deeper as they progress, and all tie together, so please persevere): ANSWER #1 - THE SNOW PLOW EFFECT: My personal experience is that when I started to meditate in 1970, the going was tough. The "collective consciousness" of the world was thick...thick...thick. Meditations were boring. Rounding courses were tedious - they felt like hard work. I didn't have a clear inner experience of unbounded awareness till I'd gone through 2 1/2 years of meditation, 2 months of rounding at Humboldt, 10 weeks of long-rounding on TTC in La Antilla, and a week of silence where we meditated 16 hours a day straight through. Today, many people have deep, clear, powerful experiences soon after starting TM. They have no idea the boredom, roughness, and darkness we went through - the battles we fought. Maharishi used an analogy that really seemed apt, based on my own experience. He asked us to imagine a mountain road after a huge blizzard. Snow is piled up four feet deep. A big snow plow truck, with a huge diesel engine, and chains on its massive truck tires, labors along at 2 MPH to push aside all that obstruction - putting great wear and tear on the truck's transmission, tires, and crew, all through the night. The cars that follow in the morning easily cruise the mountain passes, unaware of the effort that went into clearing the road by those who first attacked the snow in the cold and dark of night. So those of us who "cleared the road" paid way less in money and way more in personal effort in plowing through all that thickness. That was our karma. Those who start today have an easy time of it, so they pay way less in personal effort and way more in money - they pay a premium toll for getting to drive comfortably down that already-clear- ed highway. ANSWER #2 - MAHARISHI'S REAL MISSION: I was in Seelisberg Switzerland when the first results from the ori- ginal experiments with the sidhis occurred (at the couples' six-month course in Arosa in September 1976). Maharishi came back that night from Arosa so excited. He walked down the hall clapping his hands together, over and over, like a little child, and repeating "something so good has happened!" He told everyone, no matter what their normal evening program, to come quickly to the big gold lecture hall for a meeting. The poor visiting guest speaker that night, a chemist I believe, got out only a few sentences before Maharishi found a way to politely segue from his talk into the real topic. Maharishi was so excited about the results of the experiments he'd been conducting on the ef- fectiveness of the sidhis (from Maharishi Patanjali's Yoga Sutras). It appeared that Maharishi had been investigating: a. Did we have enough transcendental consciousness established to provide the basis for the sidhis to work? b. Would they be effective in this time of such thickness of world consciousness? c. Could the increased power of evolution that they promised be included in a systematic and relatively safe program for people to do at home - not "in the ashram" (on a course) under a Master's personal supervision (as had been the case traditionally)? d. Was the world ready - not just for vanilla, abstract transcenden- tal consciousness that we'd been promoting for decades - but for sidhis, for concrete results in the relative that would challenge the paradigm (world view) that most everyone had about how life works, about how the laws of nature work? Much more than vanilla transcending did, this threatened to confront peoples' comfortable lives in "The Matrix". Maharishi was exploding with joy - the answer seemed to be "yes!" He said that, with the first signs of success of the sidhis, "now the whole thing is accomplished". [Basically, as it would come out later, because now we no longer needed 1% of the world's population meditating - 36 million people in those days - a daunting goal; now we only needed the square root of 1% doing the sidhis- 6000 people in those days - a much more realistic goal.] An enthusiastic Movement leader in the audience asked: "Are you say- ing that this is enough to bring the Age of Enlightenment for the whole world?" Maharishi answered quietly but with that deep look that he gets when you feel he's seeing into the future: "Enough for this world, and many others" [which suddenly expanded everyone's vision in a giant leap]. A second gung-ho "insider" commented: "Maharishi, now we can have another huge wave of initiations, like the Merv Griffin days!" He obviously thought Maharishi would run with this enthusiastic, posi- tive idea. This commentor was still operating under the old assump- tion that the goal was to initiate big numbers of people (1% of the world). But Maharishi surprised and shocked us all (most of us having spent years focussed on creating TM Centers and increasing the numbers of initiations). He said (his exact words): "Now it is ALL accomplished, EVEN IF NOT ONE MORE PERSON STARTS TM!" [An aside: That was in 1976. So why these repetitive accusations by a few people that Maharishi is some kind of fool for pricing himself out of the market, or making statements that alienate po- tential meditators, etc.? Getting more people to meditate may be your goal - but it has not been his for a long time. He has a very different mission/goal, as we'll get into below. And we should be judging his actions based on whether he accomplishes that goal.] My take on it in hindsight was that he foresaw that the 2 million meditators that had already been initiated would yield 100,000 sid- has, which would yield some committed groups of sidhas (like Fair- field, etc.) and some big group-flying courses, which would soften up the thick atmosphere of kali yuga enough to jump start the revi- val of vedic knowledge, especially in India (the home of the vedas), which would get Indian government/culture/family structure to open up to their own tradition, which would create schools and groups of potential pundits, who would eventually be gathered into a permanent group of 8000 (or multiple groups of 8000 just for safety - to ac- count for (a) lack of full establishment of Self-realization in the pundits, (b) thickness of the age of kali yuga, (c) potentially im- perfect performances, misunderstandings, etc., and (d) non-stable group accommodations, groups having to disband/move/etc. 1. PHASE ONE OF THE MOVEMENT: From its inception in the 1950s until 1976 This phase focussed on initiating as many people as possible into TM: at first that meant the whole world (3.6 billions people); then the realization of the 1% effect reduced our job to 36 mil- lion meditators (still a daunting task). 2. PHASE TWO OF THE MOVEMENT: Announced that night in Seelisberg in 1976 and lasting into the 90s This phase focussed on creating as many TM-sidhas as possible - eventually understood to be the square root of 1% of the world, or 6000 people (8000 with today's larger world population), reducing our job even further. 3. PHASE THREE OF THE MOVEMENT: Which we shifted into somewhere in mid-to-late 90s This phase focusses on establishing long-term, stable groups of 8000 TM-sidha/pundits, who can permanently safeguard and maintain the vedic tradition and keep the highway of evolution clear and open. I don't believe that Maharishi ever trusted that dynamic Westerners, with our attachments to activity in the relative and to material "success" and personal independence, and with our relative lack of any deep spiritual tradition, would ever lead the way by gathering in large groups with any longevity or stability. And we've proved him right. As an aside, I remember when we had the big Taste of Utopia course in Fairfield in the 80s. With almost 8000 sidhas, the atmosphere was incredible - the transcendent was lively and continuously present all throughout programs, instead of an occasional occurrence. Correla- tion/unity among everyone was rampant - huge blissful waves of uni- fied collective hopping happened over and over in each program, in- stead of maybe a couple of times a week when our numbers were much smaller. It was, for me and many others, a little taste of heaven. And then I remember when the course ended, and I stood in the park- ing lot of the MIU Fieldhouse and watched most of the 6500 from out- of-town board buses to go to airports to fly home. I gently cried as I watched them leave. Part of me couldn't understand; they had just had such a clear experience of what we could create by just being together, something that the world hadn't seen for thousands of years, something that could transform the Earth and bring so many of us back home - yet they were leaving. It made me sad, and angry, and depress- ed. Yet another part of me understood completely; they had families, and jobs, and lives to go tend to, and dreams to make manifest. That is the nature of our culture - those are the values that we've been deep- ly trained to prioritize. We value independence, personal achieve- ment, making our individual lives better. We can't help ourselves. But we are not the kind of people who will easily give that up - not for the sake of creating world peace, not for the sake of reestablish- ing vedic civilization, and not even for the sake of gaining our own Self-realization and God-realization. It just isn't our culture, it isn't our way. (Maybe it is for a few of us, but not for enough to create the stable, permanent groups that are needed for the shift Ma- harishi has been assigned to produce in the world). And Maharishi saw that right from the beginning. America may be "the most creative country on Earth", but it's not the most intelligent - it's a place that values creativity, change, moving on to new and better things - but it's not a place that values tradition, stability, long-term spi- ritual commitment. And if a shift in world consciousness is going to happen, if a 10,000- year "blip" of sat yuga (age of enlightenment) is going to emerge in the midst of the 432,000-year darkness of kali yuga, then permanent, stable, big groups must exist. And if you want to be sure that your work in bringing about that change of age is going to last - then you must set up a situation where the long-long-long-term stability of those groups is guaranteed. Because you can't mess with world consciousness, you can't have that kind of powerful group existing and then disappear- ing, without causing huge disruptions - potentially devastating to the world (nuclear, biological, financial melt-down, natural disasters, etc.). And if the world gets devastated - then there's no basis on which to create a golden age - the very foundation, existence itself, is removed. MAHARISHI'S PLAN REVEALED You want a blast-from-the-past? Go find and listen to that old, week- ly-meeting audiotape called "TM, Religion, and India" that lots of TM teachers still have. Maharishi never hid his big plan; he laid it all out there in that tape from around 1970. He explained how he'd use the curiosity and creativity of the West (our desire to embrace new things, our openness, our dynamism, our lack of obstructing tradition) as a kind of "middle-step" in his assignment to revive and reestablish the vedic tradition in its homeland. That was a tradition that India had lost sight of, and he realized that he'd have to come all the way out into the West - the field of lack-of- vedic-tradition, in order to get modern India's attention, to intrigue India (with Western "objective scientific research", with improvements to the relative accomplishments of life that India was growing so ena- mored of - increased mental potential, improved health, better social behavior). He needed to get India's attention in order to get India to wake up to its real spiritual dignity as custodians of consciousness and vedic civilization and world peace. That's why that one Shankaracharya lauded Maharishi with the appellation: "He is the very reason for the survival of the tradition". We were in great danger of the vedic know- ledge completely disappearing off the face of the Earth; it was getting very close to zero percent as kali yuga stormed in over the past 5000 years. When vedic knowledge disappears, then the highway of evolution, the path of realization, is completely closed. Maharishi's mission, his assignment, his job - is NOT to bring en- lightenment to any one person (you or me), nor even to bring en- lightenment to everybody who's around now, but to create a revival of vedic civilization, a repair of the highway of evolution, so that all of us - and many other souls in this and many other worlds for 10,000 years - can get on that highway and automatically and easily get Self-realized and beyond. He is a kshatrya, a warrior, enlisted to do battle with and defeat the huge stresses of kali yuga, and re- establish the rule of natural law on Earth. It is a MUCH bigger picture than that which many people use as the basis of their dis- cussions as they try to evaluate Maharishi's thinking and decisions. I know that I've had to deal personally with giving up my irritation about not getting enough attention from Maharishi or the Movement, not being led individually enough through the process of evolution, not having my personality quirks and dramas "taken seriously" enough, not having this cosmic force that Maharishi represents act "properly" and within the boundaries that my individual intellect feels comfor- table and safe with, not having my personal path through this huge phase transition be nice and comfortable and "respectful" of me and smooth and painless. To the extent that there's any individuality in me, anything that identifies as separate from this world consciousness that's being wrestled to the ground and transformed, then I'm going to sometimes feel ignored, abandoned, abused, hurt, angry, scared... Because some- thing potentially so big is happening that at times it can feel like it's just rolling over and crushing pockets of constriction, of appar- ent individuality, on the way to its cosmic fruition, and my indivi- duality can feel lost, ignored, even attacked. The trends of time are being changed; Kali herself is being challenged! My individuality has learned to either ride that wave or get out of the way, because it's not about ME (in the individual sense of "me"); it's about everything. It's war, the biggest war that our modern history has ever recorded - with every layer of constriction that parasitically drains human consciousness, and every demonic layer of power that confuses and dulls human consciousness, being challenged and defeated; it's war for the future of evolution on Earth, although it may be on a subtle level that isn't readily apparent on the sensory/chhandas level of life where many people tend to live. It's no holds barred; no polite rules apply! So those who think Maharishi has lost sight of how to make TM "more successful", of how to get more people meditating right now, are still stuck back in PHASE ONE. And those who think Maharishi has lost sight of how to make TM-sidhis "more successful", of how to get more people doing group sidhis program right now, are still stuck back in PHASE TWO. If you're still making those arguments, then you really have set your sights on a much smaller level than Maharishi is dealing with. He's focussed on PHASE THREE - the fi- nal stage - creating long-term, stable, "institutionalized" groups of vedic pundits, practicing TM and the TM-sidhis in groups, living committed lives of vedic focus most of the day, doing powerful ve- dic yagyas, employing many other vedic technologies, etc. This is a quantum leap up from mere twice-daily group practice of the TM- sidhis that we've been doing for decades [PHASE TWO], which itself was a quantum leap up from the TM practice that people did for de- cades before that [PHASE ONE]. THE STORY OF MONEY It's sometimes humorous to me how concerned a few people are on some mailing lists about how the Movement deals with money, when it's the world of money that Maharishi's so vigorously doing battle with for the whole world's benefit. When the cold war ended, when the Soviet Union disappeared, Maharishi said that there's only one more layer of stress (the last and deepest layer) still enslaving and constricting world consciousness - the peo- ple who control the world's money, the international bankers and crea- tors of money. And from many levels I completely agree - based on my own intuition, based on my research into money and banking for so many years that really opened my eyes into what's going on behind the scenes, and based on my personal experience in running a multi-million dollar business. These money-controllers drain half of the creative intelligence off the face of the Earth through their money schemes; they play "let's you and him fight" with nations and foster wars for their own gain; they promote terrorism if it's expedient for their plans; they choose or eliminate the leaders of great nations and dictate their actions. They have money beyond belief, money beyond human ability to spend; they aren't even in it for the money anymore, but for pure power, pure control. They are demonic. Maharishi is one of the rare people on Earth who see them clearly for what they are, who are not gripped by their money game, and who have actually taken them on, stood up to them, challenged them. He is the hope of the world. There was a time when the Movement's power had not yet been fully sol- idified, when we had to be careful of the damage that could be done to us by the extensions of that central money power through its govern- ments, churches, news media, intelligence agencies, courts, etc. But now what we've established, what we've evoked, is invincible. That's why Maharishi can openly create a world government, can openly create a currency, can openly set up independent economic development plans for segments of developing nations utilizing that currency, can openly criticize governments, religions, can openly negotiate with leaders of nations and of indigenous peoples, etc. Even if these things have not much manifest themselves yet, the mere declaration of them is an open challenge to the powers-that-be, a "throwing down of the gauntlet", a declaration of war. It's symbolic of the level of power that we've established, a level sufficient to openly take on and defeat the last great stress on the face of the Earth - the international money control- lers. Maharishi understands money in its deepest sense; he plays with mon- ey; he toys with the controllers of the world's money. He messes with our heads about money and our relationship to our own money. He is restructuring the way that money is distributed into the world. A few people regularly seem so concerned about the way that Maharishi and the Movement shepherd the money that comes to them. We should be WAY more concerned about the way that money is currently created and distributed and manipulated in the world, the way that controls us, the way that half of all our work gets drained off to feed the parasitic controllers of money. In any big phase transition, there is always the possibility of evo- lution or revolution, of peaceful smooth transition between states, or of violent destructive transition. The cold war could have ended the way it did, with the Soviet Union disappearing quietly in the night, or with someone pushing the button(s) and launching enough nuclear weapons to make the Earth uninhabitable for hundreds of years. Obviously, Maharishi was putting all his attention and skill on man- aging the transition so that it happened in the evolutionary, peaceful way it did. In the same way, he has to guide the world through this last, and deep- est, transition. The nature of money and power in the world has to change - and again it can be via evolution or disaster. We can have a smooth, almost imperceptible change in the world financial system and who holds power over it, or we can have economic collapse, a melt-down that will make the Great Depression of 1929 look like kindergarten. Ask yourself what would happen to your life if money suddenly was worthless, if banks and financial markets collapsed? If money dis- appeared, life would revert to local bartering. Everyone's financial holdings (bank accounts, investments, retirement plans, insurance, etc.) would disappear into worthlessness. Debt collection would be- come impossible, ownership of property would become debatable, courts would be overloaded. With no money system, how would companies stay open, pay their bills, meet their payroll? You would have no job - huge numbers of people would have no jobs! How would utilities con- tinue to function? What would your life be like if electricity, na- tural gas, etc. wasn't available? Would you chop wood each day to stay warm? What would life be like if the grocery stores shut down, and everyone armed themselves and competed for the small amount of locally grown food? How would you move about if gasoline production and trans- portation disappeared? Most of us probably don't realize how close we've come, a number of times, to this kind of financial collapse - what a delicate house of cards our worldwide financial system is (having been built for over 400 years with such disregard for natural law - built on deception, usury, slight-of-hand, divisiveness, and parasitic values). EVOLUTION VS. REVOLUTION - ONE FINAL TIME Maharishi once expressed a very useful analogy: consider trying to boil some milk in a pot on a gas stove. If you turn the flame down too far, the milk will "never" boil; it will take forever. If you turn the flame up too far, the milk will suddenly boil over quite dramatically and make a huge mess all over the stove! If you're in a hurry for hot chocolate, the trick is to keep the flame just as high as you can without letting the milk boil over! In the same way, if we're in a hurry for the age of enlightenment, the trick is to keep the flame of consciousness, the process of stress release for the world, just as high as we can without causing the world to "boil over" into disaster. Alertly watching and constantly adjusting the "burners" is what Ma- harishi has been doing for decades, and continues to do. He wants - he has been assigned the job - to open the almost destroyed highway of evolution for everyone, to bring on that transition of world con- sciousness. But he has to restrain himself and do it in a way, at a speed, that doesn't cause world catastrophe in the process. [There is an old expression among treasure divers who bring up barnacle- encrusted relics, for example ancient pots: "Be careful, in scraping off the barnacles from the ancient pots, that you don't scrape so vigorously that you break the pot in the process".] Have you ever considered that, if Maharishi boldly says to do some- thing, and then doesn't manifest the money to make it happen, that he really doesn't want it to happen YET, that the world's not ready for it to happen yet, that it would cause "the milk to boil over"? That he's speaking the desires of the future, of a time soon to come. That the Earth is not quite ready. That he's playing the overture to the symphony that will follow. That he's warming up the path, getting our attention, waking us up from our dreaminess, showing us where to focus our attention, giving us advance notice and front row seats? That by publicly declaring his intention, and by focussing his attention there, he's preparing the ground, softening up the situation, and even testing how ready the world is. And could it be that he's also giving all those people of money/power, who are deeply enmeshed in their money karma, yet another compassion- ate opportunity to cleanse themselves, to purify their money, to climb free of the deep pit they're in? ANSWER #3 - THE FINAL ACT - PROFESSIONAL STATUS FOR TM TEACHERS I think that we can all agree that one of two things is going to happen, and probably pretty soon. Either: (1) Maharishi is going to complete his mission, establish big, stable groups of pundits, and bring about a remarkable shift in the world, (2) or not. (1) If he does complete his mission, if he does produce the results that he predicted, then all of this complaining and hurt feelings and anger and negativity will be forgotten, and will have been in vain. We will all - "true disbelievers" and "true believers" (and the vast majority who never cared either way) - enjoy a golden age, an age of enlightenment, that will last for millennia, with easy evolution and smoother relative life for everyone who wants it. (2) If he doesn't complete his mission, if he doesn't produce the re- sults that he predicted, then all of this will be forgotten within a hundred years, or more likely even a few decades. It will have been, in the cosmic scheme of things, a waste of time, a flop. Then all of this complaining and hurt feelings and anger and negativity will have been, also, a waste of time. Because if the shift doesn't happen, then there will be little survival of whatever knowledge (or lack of it) has been propounded by Maharishi in this age of darkness, chaos, deluded intellects, animal instincts - when things sink quickly into the mud. Those who think that Maharishi or the TM Movement are evil or deluded or dangerous will have little to worry about - the remnants of the unsuccessful Movement will disappear into the mud of history with lit- tle trace. So time will tell, and fairly soon, whether it's going to work or not. It seems kind of foolish to waste much time debating in the meantime, since the evidence is not quite in yet. PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER - THE MAIN POINT: In terms of the main question - the high price of TM - there are two possibilites: (1) IF MAHARISHI IS RIGHT Maharishi obviously believes that he will accomplish his mission, that a shift of world consciousness will happen soon (when he feels that the world is ready to handle the shift without self-destructing in the huge waves of the phase transition). When that happens, incredible changes will happen in society, and will be taken for granted (just as today hardly anyone remembers how remark- able it was when the Soviet Union - that great "evil" superpower - dis- solved overnight, and the Iron Curtain fell and all those Eastern Euro- pean countries regained their sovereignty, and the Berlin Wall came down, and Germany reunited). When this last layer of world stress is removed, the attitude of major institutions toward spiritual develop- ment (and toward the TM program in particular) will soften and trans- form. You'll see TM offered (and paid for) by the military, the Vet- eran's Administration, health insurance companies, schools, founda- tions, religions... TM will be everywhere and universally available to anyone who's serious about it. And all those who've been waiting because of the "high" pricing will be well-served. And when, after that transition, a health insurance company comes to the Movement and asks: "How much does TM cost?" Or when some govern- ment agency says: "We'd like TM instruction for all our people; how much do we need to budget for that?" We can't say: "Oh, it cost $500 yesterday and for the last 20 years, but now, because you see the light and want to pay for it and have it, we've upped the price to $2500!" No matter how much we've changed the age, they'll be offended and feel that we're taking advantage of them by suddenly raising our prices. But if we can say to them: "The price has been $2500 for many years; that is our regular rate", then they'll simply accept that as the going rate, and pay it. Health insurers are used to paying FAR more than $2500 for far less suc- cessful results (expensive operations, years of therapy, nursing care, decades of medicine, costly treatments with small chance of results, etc.). [A recent example: I watch over my aging mother. Medicare just paid $38,000! for 4 days of out-patient hospital IV drips recommended by her neurologist, that they knew had only a 30% chance of producing ANY reduction in her peripheral neuropathy pain in her feet, and defi- nitely no real cure of the problem. And for $38,000 she got no results and two months of dibilitating nausea!] Businesses and institutions are used to paying big bucks for things that produce debatable results - for consultants, staff development pro- grams, continuing education, etc. Government agencies are used to paying huge amounts for nonsensical pro- grams, and inflated services. So $2500 for the TM program will not fluster any of them, especially considering the results they'll see and the financial savings they'll reap from those results. THE MAIN QUESTION Why do we want to be able to charge $2500, instead of the inflation- adjusted $618, for TM when society comes asking for it, when the shift in world consciousness happens? We want to set the price of TM at that level because I (and many of you) remember what it was like to be a TM teacher when we survived below the official "poverty level", when we couldn't buy a nice car or a 2nd nice suit or dress, when we were embarrassed to be teaching the most profound knowledge in the world and to be merely surviving, when we went in to negotiate multi-million dollar real estate deals for the Movement with bank presidents and had to park our $100 junker car around the block so they wouldn't see what we drove up in. That was OK for those early days of tapas, for those days when we were all going through a late and foreshortened version of the student phase of life (in terms of the vedic ashramas). But that no longer befits the dignity of this knowledge and it's teachers. For a revival of knowledge that is going to last 10,000 years, we need to create a stable situation where teachers of this knowledge are re- cognized as among the most highly valued professionals, the most pre- cious resources, in our society. They can't have that dignity, nor can society attract serious committed people, on subsistence wages. They must be seen on a par with our valued professionals: doctors, lawyers, scientists, professors, leaders of business, etc. They must be compensated financially on that level, so that teaching vedic know- ledge becomes an occupation of respect, pride, dignity, and longevity. I deeply believe that Maharishi foresees that time, and has vehemently insisted on stabilizing the TM prices at $2500 (instead of the $450 inflation-adjusted dollars it would cost under the old philosophy) so that, when the shift in world consciousness comes, his teachers will live on a dignified, professional level of respect in society, instead of that old survival/subsistence level. This is the legacy that Maha- rishi is leaving to us by his insistence on pricing TM properly - even though people think he's crazy or greedy. There is a "sacrifice" to be made in order to do this. For these past past years of higher TM prices, some people have been unable or un- willing to start TM - pushed away so to speak. Some of them are our friends, and we get frustrated and angry that they can't enjoy what we do right now. I know that I do. It must pain Maharishi deeply, given his level of compassion for the suffering of the world. In the big picture these people, who've been put off by the $2500 fee, have already waited a long, long time for this. According to Shankara, in the Crest Jewel of Discrimination, there are only three great bless- ings of life: 1. To be born with a human nervous system [and thus the capability to transcend the relative field of life]; 2. To have the desire for liberation; 3. To be offered instruction by an illumined teacher who can give ef- fective fulfillment to that desire. Shankara continued: To have all three of these in one lifetime is a rare and precious occurance, based upon tens of thousands of "well-lived lives". Shankara concluded: Nevertheless, there are those who somehow manage to obtain [these], and yet are so deluded that they do not struggle for liberation. Such men are suicides. They clutch at the unreal and destroy themselves. For those who are still waiting to learn TM, this is not just some technique to lower their blood pressure, or give them better grades in school, or calm them down socially; this is the path back to the Self, back home, out of the raging storm of samsara, out of the wheel of birth and death. And they have already persevered through so many lifetimes to get here. In the big picture, this $2500 pricing is just a short, temporary obstruction on their path. If they are really seekers, if they are really ready to take TM seriously, persevere, see it through - then they will still be serious even if they had to wait 10 years till the shift occurs and it's paid for by their health insurance or school or whatever. Or if they're in a more serious hurry, they'll figure out a way to come up the money in the meantime, or use the new bank loans that finance learning TM, or even find TM on the "black market". As an aside, it's my feeling that the reason that so many people started TM, and then fell away from it over the years was mostly NOT due to any lack of follow-up, or to massive organizational mistakes on the Movement's part - but due to: a. Many people being tempted to start by the easiness of approaching this rare knowledge [lack of prerequisites or proof of commitment]; b. The very low bargain price [kings used to approach great rishis and give up half their kingdoms for this knowledge, and then still be doled out tiny little doses over many years until they'd proven their sincerity], c. The widespread availability; d. Or because it was the "in" thing to do. Many started for these reasons - even though they were not really serious seekers, but were just looking for an adventure or an exper- ience, and they didn't value it even when they had it in their hands. This points out that being the "most creative country on Earth", as Maharishi has called the U.S., has it's drawbacks: we try things, and then move on to newer things; we don't have the patience to persevere, to go deep (or often even the desire to). (2) IF MAHARISHI IS WRONG If Maharishi is wrong, and the shift in world consciousness is NOT about to happen, then this insistence on higher TM course fees will have merely deterred some people from starting for a while. [Remember, even at the lower course fees of a decade ago, people weren't exactly beating down our doors to start, so we're not turn- ing away huge waves of seekers.] Was any great harm done? Were these few seekers prevented from furthering their own evolution in the long run? Did they not still have access to many technologies of growth? And if you believe that TM is still the best technique for personal Self-realization for your friends, regardless of whether the TM Move- ment creates an age of enlightenment or not, then be comforted in knowing that if the world shift doesn't happen soon, more and more teachers will get discouraged and defect, the Movement structure itself will weaken over time, TM will be taught at cheaper, "un- authorized prices" more frequently, and our waiting friends will still get to learn without having to come up with the $2500. Or they can take advantage of the new financing program, learn TM now, and pay off the $2500 over five years of small monthly payments. So there's really no excuse anymore. But from Maharishi's perspective, you can see why he'd want to take this risk, keep the course fees high, and make a small number of people wait a little while longer or struggle a little harder to get the money together - so that TM teachers for a long time to come can live professional lives and therefore huge numbers of people can be well-served in learning TM. It's a war, and the good of these few was temporarily obstructed for the potential good of so many more. Think about it - if Maharishi was actually greedy, motivated by the money as some people acuse, or if he was egotistical, motivated by the adoration as some people acuse, he'd just go back to low TM pricing and focus on big waves on initiations, with big PR campaigns, speaking tours, celebrity endorsements, etc. - like in the "good old days". He'd go back to making TM the McDonalds of spiritual prac- tices and make huge amounts of money that way (with 25,000 initia- tions a month at $600, and the Movement getting even 50%, easily a hundred million a year from TM alone, without counting all the "add ons" from further courses, Ayur veda, etc.). And he'd be way more popular, with hundreds of thousands of new adoring "disciples". If Maharishi were in it for the money or fame, he'd just step way back to PHASE ONE and be content there. But that's not his mission. His vision is much beyond that, his vi- sion is set on bringing about a change of age, for this world and many others, for this year and 10,000 more to come. CONCLUSION: (2) Will Maharishi be remembered, if at all, as crazy or foolish or lying? [ = IF MAHARISHI IS WRONG, UNSUCCESSFUL...] (1) Or will he be remembered as the divine and dutiful warrior who successfully changed the mind of Kali herself, changed the trends of time? [ = IF MAHARISHI IS RIGHT, SUCCESSFUL...] I believe that we'll know soon - in the next 5 years. Stay tuned. It's an exciting drama, isn't it! It's an exciting time to be alive. Namaste, Michael PARA - THE CENTER FOR REALIZATION Michael Dean Goodman Ph.D., D.D., Director Boca Raton (Palm Beach County) Florida * 561-350-3930 * [EMAIL PROTECTED] Counseling * Workshops * Individual Education * Spiritual Guidance Satsang * Presentations * Books and Articles In person or by phone Clients and programs throughout the United States, Europe, and India PARA MEANS "BEYOND" Go beyond what you already know Unlock your full potential Set yourself free from constriction Enjoy peace/awareness/bliss (sat/chit/ananda) SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE: Meditation/Yoga for Self-realization Dive inward - transcend - wake up and remember who you really are Tantra for God-realization Expand outward - unfold your masculine/feminine, God/Goddess nature Vedanta for Unity Integrate these two - inner & outer - for wholeness of life COUNSELING & HEALING: Rapid, effective, solution-oriented counseling Compassionate to and experienced with non-traditional lifestyles Specializing in removing old, life-sabotaging programming Heal emotional & physical constrictions to success & happiness Move beyond depression/anger/fear into bliss/love/unity Integrate your sexuality/love/spirituality EDUCATION & COACHING: Put the full flow of life into action Relationship tune-ups - build communication, power exchange, devotion Body/energy work - unlock breath, movement, sound, attention, intention Moving meditation - learn to dance as a healing & polarity practice Ayurvedic diet & daily routine - attune to the laws of nature Sex education - draw upon modern & ancient secrets for love & ecstasy Darkside exploration - befriend/harness your "shadow" side for wholeness Fantasy fulfillment - say "yes" to your desires in safe, healing ways Copyright © 2004 Michael Dean Goodman, [EMAIL PROTECTED], 561-350-3930 All rights reserved. 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