Gina’s parents joined Transcendental Meditation before the famed rock band The Beatles got involved. She moved all over the world, enrolling herself in various public schools and spending significant time caring for herself and other children as her parents followed the Maharishi.
Gina had a relationship as a minor with a much-older man, who she eventually married, and became a parent herself within the group, also known as TM.
She said suicides were common within her community.
“I think part of it is disassociation,” she said. “’I’m not in the world, I am in the world.’ But also questioning – if you question something and the continual answers that come from the Maharishi schools and the devotee parents are ‘Maharishi says’ … end of conversation. … You’re surrounded by everybody answering with such fantastical, nonsensical responses, a person then doubts their own self, doubts their own worth.”
Gina left the group with her three children when she was almost 30 years old and struggled to find her place outside TM society. Her children, who were used to their former tight community, also struggled during their initial transition.
“I did not know how to interact with other people. My daughter had the hardest time, I think, because she loved our community. .. and now out in mainstream world, without the connections of the close families they had been raised with … it was hard for the kids to make friends and find their way.”
How did Gina support her family and how did they eventually adjust? Why does she look back at her time in TM with concern and what would she tell someone now who is interested in joining?
Find out on Friday, Oct. 19 when a new episode of Generation Cult returns wherever you get your podcasts.