Tomorrow I’ll be appearing on On Point with Tom Ashbrook, a news and current events program broadcast nationally over NPR. They’re devoting one hour of the program to discussing the life and legacy of Maharishi. The show originates on WBUR in Boston, where it airs from 10:00 AM to noon ET. I’ll be appearing during the second hour of the show. You can find a list of affiliate stations and air times for your area here. The On Point home page is here.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation movement, died this afternoon at his home in Vlodrop, Netherlands. Believed to be in his early nineties, Maharishi formally resigned as the head of his organization last month. The cause of death is currently unknown.
Maharishi was a major influence in a lot of lives. It will be a time of loss and grieving for many. Peace to them and to us all.
If you missed the interview I did on “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” you can hear it online at:
Click the “Listen” button to hear the show. Note that the audio is in streaming RealMedia format, which may not be compatible with your software. If your media player doesn’t handle the audio, you can download RealPlayer from www.real.com. I personally use the VLC media player available at www.videolan.org.
I’ll be discussing “The Maharishi Effect” on “To the Best of Our Knowledge,” a program that airs nationally on the NPR, PRI and XM satellite radio networks. Dates and times vary by station, but most listeners will hear the program on Sunday, December 30th. Click here to see a program schedule and here for a list of stations and air times. I’m the third author interviewed in the first hour of the show, after Satish Kumar and A.J. Jacobs but before Philip Roth.
I’m really pleased with this interview. Of all the media appearances I did to support my book, this was the best by far.
One of the unexpected joys of managing a web site is monitoring the traffic that comes in through search engines like Google. The web host software gives me a list of the search terms that people use to find my site. Usually, it’s just some variation of my name and the title of my book. Sometimes, though, the search engines cough up comedy bits or Zen koans. I’ve had people searching for “Volvo” and “Paxil,” neither of which have anything to do with my site. One person was looking for “Maharishi bullshit.” A couple of days after I posted my “Quantum Failure” essay, somebody got to my site by searching for “double slit mysticism.” Money can’t buy stuff that good.
The Maharishi Effect has been out for a little over a year. By now, I’ve had plenty of time to think of all the things I would have done differently. If I had it all to do over again, I’d beef up the scientific material, particularly the sections where I discuss how quantum physics gets filtered through pop culture. I’d also like to say more about the new age belief that “you create your own reality” and the effects it has on believers and the culture as a whole.
I put my current thoughts on these subjects into an essay called “Quantum Consciousness, Quantum Miracles, Quantum Failure.” It’s available here as a PDF file.
Comments welcome, of course.
I’m going to be one of the talking heads in a new TV documentary about Maharishi and Transcendental Meditation. The program is “Maharishi Mahesh Yogi: A Biography,” produced by ITN Factual of London for the Arts & Entertainment network. The program premieres on the History Channel International on Wednesday, November 28, at 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM Eastern. Click here to see the HCI web page with the schedule for the air date.
I assume that the show will go into rotation after that. Also, I’ve been told that the program will air on the Biography Channel at some point.
If you’d like, feel free to discuss the show in comments to this post.
My radio tour ends next week with a taped interview on KCBX, an NPR affiliate station in Santa Barbara. It’s an appropriate homecoming. In the early 1970s, I was one of the first students at the original Santa Barbara campus of Maharishi International University. Like a lot of other people who were there, I have really good memories of those days. In my book I said that it was “like Hogwarts Academy, except for real.”
I recall sitting under the palm trees by the pool listening to a radio station that played the kind of programming I couldn’t get back home in Wisconsin. They had stuff like Duck’s Breath Mystery Theatre and the King Biscuit Flower Hour and Dear Friends with the Firesign Theatre. I can’t say for sure, but there’s a good chance that the station was KCBX. In any case, I’m happy that my radio tour is ending where it all started.
After a couple dozen interviews, I see the truth of the old saw that “radio is a funny business.” It’s all by the seat of your pants and you never know what you’re getting in to until you’re on the air. If you’re an author, you might have to summarize your book in a couple of sound bites between commercial breaks. On another show, you might have to explain it in depth while fending off hostile callers. It’s great practice for honing your message. For me, at least, it’s also a lot of fun.
Back in June I did an interview with Bob Keeton of the Living Successfully show on Sirius satellite radio. Bob sells CD copies of his radio programs on his web site. You can purchase a copy of my interview with him here. I don’t make any money off of this, but I thought that Bob did a good job and I’m happy to support him.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be doing a number of radio interviews to promote The Maharishi Effect. Check the appearances page on my web site for more information. My first interview was on the Michael Dresser Show on the Lifestyle Talk Radio Network. Click here to listen to an audio file of the interview.
I’m pleased to announce that The Maharishi Effect won the 2006 August Derleth Book-length Nonfiction Award sponsored by the Council for Wisconsin Writers. You can learn more details on the Council’s web site.