Posts Tagged ‘samadhi’

Who was Dear Prudence the Beatles sang to in India? What happened to her? Here is her story.

December 21, 2014

See the full article with more photos and quotes featured in the 21st issue of Enlightenment: The Transcendental Meditation® Magazine: The “Dear Prudence” Story by Rolf Erickson. Reprinted here with permission including the video: Dear Prudence: A Portrait Of Prudence Farrow Bruns.

The “Dear Prudence” Story

BY ROLF ERICKSON

photo_prudence01Prudence Farrow Bruns, PhD, is the daughter of actress Maureen O’Sullivan and award-winning writer/director, John Farrow. She has been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique for 48 years, and has been a teacher of the TM program for 46 years.

It all started so simply. It was 1966, and 18-year-old Prudence Farrow was sitting on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at her brother’s home in Los Angeles. She was reading a book on meditation when she heard a voice say, “If you’re interested in meditation, I know just the meditation for you.”

The voice was that of Peter Wallace, a friend of her brother. Peter had spent six months traveling through India, where he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and began the Transcendental Meditation technique. He told her how simple and effortless the technique was, and yet how profound the experience and benefits could be.

“It was the simplicity of the practice that struck me most,” Prudence said. “I’d been trying different methods of meditation for some time, but they had all been complicated and difficult. When Peter described a simple, natural practice of diving deep within, I knew he was truly onto something.”

So Prudence learned the TM technique at UCLA. After experiencing the positive effects of TM for herself, Prudence wanted more. She wanted to meet Maharishi and to study with him. “At that time Maharishi had courses in India,” says Prudence. “He brought people there, and they studied for three or four months with him. You meditated for long periods under his guidance.”

On January 23, 1968, three days after her 20th birthday, Prudence traveled with Maharishi from New York to Rishikesh, India to attend her TM teacher training course. And that’s when the “Dear Prudence” story really began.

The Beatles Make the Scene

One month after Prudence arrived in Rishikesh, The Beatles showed up to study with Maharishi. While they all spent some time there, John Lennon and George Harrison stayed the longest.

“The Beatles were all very nice, humble, modest, kind, and down-to-earth people,” Prudence remembers. “I was closest to John and George, since they were my ‘course buddies’ during our studies with Maharishi. We were supposed to look out for each other during the course.”

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Prudence (left) sat next to Ringo in course photo.

Prudence soon became known for her tendency to keep to herself in her room, focused on her meditation practice. “I was deeply immersed in my studies and meditation, locked away in my quarters. John, as my course buddy, was concerned and wanted to bring me out of my room to enjoy the experience more.”

John and George would come over to her room and play their guitars, encouraging her to come out and sing with them. It was this experience that became the inspiration for their song “Dear Prudence” in which John sings, “Dear Prudence, won’t you come out to play?”

Before he left Rishikesh, George mentioned to Prudence that they had written a song about her, but she had no idea what it was. She didn’t hear the song until it came out on their 1968 album The Beatles, commonly known as the “White Album.”

Prudence’s dedication to her meditation practice did pay off. After four months, she graduated from the course and became one of the first and youngest teachers of the Transcendental Meditation technique at that time.

But that was just the beginning of the “Dear Prudence” story.

Prudence Comes out to Play

Once she completed her teacher training course in India, Prudence definitely did come out to play. Over the past 46 years, she’s instructed thousands of people in the TM technique throughout the United States and Canada. She married TM teacher Al Bruns in 1969, and they have three children and four grandchildren.

She’s produced Hollywood feature films and a play in Manhattan. She was an assistant to the curator of the “Theatre Collection” of the Museum of the City of New York. She has been a magazine writer. She’s written two books.

Prudence earned a BA, an MA, and a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. She received her doctoral degree in 2007, with a major in South Asian Studies and Sanskrit. She has made presentations to conferences at numerous universities, including Harvard, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Hawaii. She’s taught courses at UC Berkeley and Rutgers University.

TM and Yoga

Prudence continues to teach the TM program in Florida. In fact, she’s the most successful teacher in the U.S. at setting up Affiliate Programs in yoga studios. Maybe that’s not so surprising, considering that she’s a lifelong yoga practitioner, and she opened a yoga institute in Boston back in 1967.

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Prudence attended India’s Kumbh Mela last year.

Maharishi Foundation created the Affiliate Program to bring TM to yoga studios and fitness centers. When a studio becomes an Affiliate, their members can learn TM at a reduced course fee, and the studio receives a share of the income. Everyone benefits—the new TM student, the yoga studio, and the local TM teachers.

Today most people think of yoga as a series of physical postures. But Maharishi has explained that in the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali identifies eight limbs of yoga, and the eighth limb is Samadhi or transcendental consciousness. Maharishi said that with the practice of TM, Samadhi is actually the easiest limb of yoga to achieve, since no effort is required. We simply tap into the natural tendency of the mind to go within, to transcend, and that transcendence nourishes and supports all the other limbs.

“I do think that Transcendental Meditation is—of the meditations that are available to us—the most direct, and the simplest,” says Prudence. “When you meditate, when you transcend, it allows your heart and mind to balance. And when they’re balanced, that’s when you are really healthy. You are happy. You’re happy mentally, happy emotionally, and happy spiritually. Those three are all components of what make a human being, so that connection to transcendence is absolutely necessary for health.”

Creating a Better World

Fortunately for us all, Prudence did come out to play.

“The years of meditating have enriched my life so much,” Prudence says. “And that’s why at this point in my life, I’m giving back. We need a better world. We need people to be more conscious, to be more evolved. And expanding the mind, like TM does, is absolutely vital to bring about stronger people. If you can strengthen people inside, you’ve changed the world.”

So even today, 48 years later, the “Dear Prudence” story continues.

[In July 2018, this article was updated and published in Enjoy TM News.]

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Last year, Prudence Farrow Bruns participated in a series of Consciousness Talks at Maharishi University of Management, called Our Conscious Future. Here is a clip from her talk where she discusses a conversation she had with George Harrison about his spiritual awakening. Prudence, George and John Lennon said they felt it was happening to many in their generation, and that it would continue long after they were gone. Listen to Prudence describe The “Dear Prudence” Story. For other fascinating presentations, visit ConsciousnessTalks.org.

Years later, The Beatles released many versions of their songs on the 50th Anniversary of The White Album, now out on Spotify, which include The Esher Tapes. There are 3 versions of Dear Prudence there: the Esher version of John Lennon singing on guitar; one of just vocal, guitar, and drums; and the 2018 mix.

Another beautiful song that John Lennon wrote about his experience with Transcendental Meditation was, Across the Universe. Spotify included John Lennon on guitar singing Across The Universe–Take 6.

This article was also published in GGN: World Peace News. Here are some related videos and interviews with Prudence Farrow Bruns: The Beatles “Dear Prudence”: A Portrait of Prudence Farrow Bruns, Maharishi and TM and Ted Henry interviews “Dear Prudence” Farrow Bruns about her life with TM and Maharishi and Prudence Farrow — subject of the Beatles song Dear Prudence — visits India’s Kumbh Mela.

Prudence’s memoir is now out: Dear Prudence: The Story Behind the Song. Listen to an interview with Prudence about the book online at Spirit Matters with Dennis Raimondi and Philip Goldberg. Read an interview about the book in Rolling Stone: The Real ‘Dear Prudence’ on Meeting Beatles in India. Read this excellent article in the Pensacola News Journal: Woman behind Beatles ‘Dear Prudence’ reads at Open Books. Here is another interview: In Conversation With: Prudence F. Bruns, Transcendental Meditation Teacher and Inspiration Behind “Dear Prudence”. Prudence Farrow Bruns | Conversations with Jeff Weeks | WSRE Pensacola PBS.

Watch the A&E biographical film, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on History International Channel (November 2007) and the earlier CBC documentary of Maharishi at Lake Louise. TMhome also posted the International History Channel documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: How it was made: The story behind the film.

Watch this November 8, 2018 Lyndsey Parker interview for Yahoo Music: Mike Love remembers ‘beautiful, spiritual’ beginnings of the Beatles’ ‘White Album’ in India.

Read The Story Behind ‘Dear Prudence’ by Jennie McKeon, Dec 23, 2018, for wuwf 88.1, NPR for Florida’s Great Northwest.

John Hagelin speaks on meditation as a powerful tool for health, education & post-traumatic stress at TEDxWomen 2012

December 6, 2012

Enjoy this powerful, clear and concise talk by John Hagelin at TEDxWomen 2012 in The Paley Center for Media, Washington, DC. The theme of the 2-day conference was The Space Between. Dr. Hagelin’s PowerPoint presentation highlighted meditation as a powerful tool for health, education and post-traumatic stress. He concluded his presentation with a short video of how people’s stressed lives were transformed by the Transcendental Meditation technique. These at-risk groups were able to learn TM through scholarships from the David Lynch Foundation. Dr. Hagelin’s concluding remarks beautifully summed up the saliant point of his talk delivered in Session Two, Saturday morning, Dec 1, 2012, published Dec 4, 2012 by : “The Space Between” –TED Conference Explores the Value of Meditation.

“Medically, scientifically, the most powerful antidote to stress, and the key to optimal brain functioning, is to transcend.” — John Hagelin.

John Hagelin, Ph.D., is a world-renowned quantum physicist, science and public policy expert, educator, author, and leading proponent of peace.

Dr. Hagelin has conducted pioneering research at CERN (the European Center for Particle Physics) and SLAC (the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). He is responsible for the development of a highly successful Grand Unified Field Theory based on the superstring—a theory that was featured in a cover story of Discover magazine.

In addition, Dr. Hagelin is one of the world’s preeminent researchers on the effects of meditation on brain development, and the use of meditation to address critical problems in the field of education, rehabilitation, and post-traumatic stress.

Dr. Hagelin is a recipient of the prestigious Kilby Award, which recognizes scientists who have made “major contributions to society through their applied research in the fields of science and technology.” The award recognized Dr. Hagelin as “a scientist in the tradition of Einstein, Jeans, Bohr and Eddington.”

Dr. Hagelin has appeared often on ABC’s Nightline and Politically Incorrect, NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN’s Larry King Live!, and other programs. He has been regularly featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other major metropolitan newspapers.

TEDxWomen was curated and produced by The Paley Center for Media. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Also see The Power of The Collective, by John Hagelin | John Hagelin — “Only Higher Consciousness Can Transform Our World” — Beyond Awakening Blog | Conscious TV: John Hagelin – The Core of Nature | John Hagelin, Ph.D., Speaks on the Nature of Consciousness and the Universe

Samadhi is the beginning, not the end of Yoga

May 24, 2010


JUNE 2010 Issue

Samadhi is the beginning, not the end of Yoga

By Neil Dickie

Yoga or union of the mind with divine intelligence, begins when the mind gains Transcendental Consciousness. The process of diving within is the way to become established in yoga. —Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

This article is for the many people who suspect they could take their yoga practice to a higher level by practicing meditation, but who delay starting, thinking meditation to be either too difficult or too advanced for them.

One reason many assume meditation to be difficult is a common misunderstanding of the eight-limbed or Ashtanga system of yoga laid out in the revered Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. In the text of the Yoga Sutras, the eight limbs of yoga are laid out in the following order: the five yamas or personal virtues, such as ahimsa or non-violence, and satya, truthfulness. Then the five niyamas or rules of life, including shaucha, purification, and swadhyaya, study. Then pranayama, the breathing practices; then asanas, the poses of yoga; then three stages of mental practice. And finally, comes the eighth limb, samadhi, the union of the busy thinking mind with its deepest most silent level, the unified field of consciousness. Think of an individual wave settling down and experiencing the unbounded ocean.

However, despite the fact that Ashtanga translates as eight LIMBS, and not eight STEPS or stages, many have thought Patanjali meant that his eight-fold approach should be practiced only in step-by-step, sequential order, starting with the personal virtues and observances, and that only advanced practitioners should attempt samadhi.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi created a stir in the world yoga community some 40 years ago when he travelled the world teaching Transcendental Meditation, a simple, easily-learned technique to bring the direct experience of samadhi. Maharishi was teaching anyone interested, irrespective of their knowledge of the other limbs of yoga. As the popularity of TM spread, so did concern in the yoga community. In Germany, an upset delegation of yogis came to him and demanded an explanation. They knew that Maharishi had been for many years the closest disciple of the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, a highly respected spiritual leader and the elected custodian of the Vedic tradition in Northern India. But in spite of this traditional background, Maharishi was now teaching meditation to the masses. What could be the reason, they asked?

Maharishi welcomed the delegation and began by establishing common ground with them—his respect for the authority of Patanjali. He then, however, explained his view that Patanjali had, due to the long lapse of time, become badly misinterpreted. The order of Patanjali’s famous eightfold yoga had, he said, become the reverse of what Patanjali intended. “The practice of Yoga was understood to start with yama, niyama (the secular virtues), and so on,” Maharishi said, “whereas in reality it should begin with samadhi. Samadhi cannot be gained by the practice of yama, niyama, and so on. Proficiency in the virtues can only be gained by repeated experience of samadhi.”

For example, Maharishi said, one can only truly progress in ahimsa or non-violence as one grows in the realization that there is a common unity of all things. This unified reality of life is directly experienced in samadhi. Similarly, he said, asteya or non-covetousness can only be realized when one feels fully contented, and the only way to be truly happy inside is to realize the field of bliss-consciousness—again only possible through repeated experience of samadhi.

But there’s a second, perhaps even more common reason for the widespread belief that meditation is difficult—as it is generally taught, it is. Patanjali defines yoga as “the complete settling of the mind” (Yoga Sutras, 1:2). Our experience of teaching meditation during the past 20 years is that most other types of meditation today involve concentration, effort, and control. As such, they effectively prevent the mind from completely settling down. Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation, in contrast, involves no concentration, effort or trying of any kind, and allows the mind to quickly and easily dive within to its silent core.

But can an easy, effortless meditation be “real” meditation, leading to enlightenment? Yes. Some have misunderstood that the simplicity of Maharishi’s TM means that it is watered down, or “westernized.” But TM is actually the revival of meditation in its pure and original form. It is simple and easy not because it is watered down, but because it is natural, in full accord with the nature of mind and body. That is also why it is so efficient. Nature has tremendous efficiency. Activity in nature always follows the path of least action. In the same way, the TM practitioner effortlessly dives within the mind, gains samadhi, and enjoys, even outside of meditation, steadily increasing access to that field of pure intelligence and infinite joy.

See www.tm.org or www.doctorsontm.com for information on the many published scientific studies on the benefits for mind, body and behaviour resulting from this practice.

Neil Dickie is a certified Transcendental Meditation instructor who treasures his daily yoga asana practice (neil.c.dickie108@gmail.com). For more information, or to find out the dates of upcoming free introductory talks, call 613-565-2030. Email: Ottawa@maharishi.ca


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