10 Weekender Friday, December 9, 1977
You'll believe it when you don't see it
TMers levitate, disappear
By CAROL HANNER
When Tommy Dean says he can fly, he doesn't mean
in an airplane.
Dean, the owner of a Chapel H ill natural food store,
recently finished the newest Transcendental
Meditation course the sidhi program which
claims to teach meditators how to acquire
"supernormal abilities" such as levitation.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of India brought TM to the
U nited States 20 years ago as a technique for removing
stress and improving the growth of consciousness.
Last January, he announced the new sidhi program
by sending 450 "executive governors" trained in the
techniques to teach them to meditators, mainly in the
Bill Cahill, a TM teacher and chairperson of the
Chapel Hill TM center, has also learned the sidhi
techniques, which besides "flying" include invisibility,
super-strength, and increased intuition, friendliness
"The word 'sidhi' means perfection," says Cahill.
"Through the TM program we experience aquiet state
of the mind where there is more silence and orderliness.
The sidhis bring this silence and orderliness into more
active states of the mind and allow us to perform these
The levitation sidhi progresses in three stages, adds
Cahill first, "shaking," then "hopping," in which the
person goes up perhaps a foot and lands a few feet
away, then actual "flying."
To learn the techniques, meditators must attend four
to eight weeks of "preparatory courses" at $245 a week.
Then they spend eight weeks actually learning the
sidhis, which are practiced along with meditation and
cost approximately $3,000.
Dean and Cahill admit the cost is high, but Cahill
says, "Of all the big expenditures I've had, this one is
Dean, who has practiced TM for seven years, says,
"The bliss (of the sidhis) almost just takes your head
off. I had more fun in the first five minutes (of sidhis)
than I had in my entire life. It's like a light switch you
want to fly, you fly."
Both are quick to add that even though they enjoy
the sidhis, the purpose is "a quick path to
enlightenment" by removing stress so they can use their
' The reaction to TM claims of levitation has been
skeptical partly because Maharishi will not allow his
sidhi pupils to demonstrate their abilities.
"Why won't they show me?" says Hewitt Rose, a
Duke graduate student in Law and Public Policy.
He practiced TM for a month but says he quit
because "the benefits were modest compared to the
time I put into it (approximately an hour a day). As a
law student, I have a very busy schedule."
Rose adds,"There is no scientific explanation for the
sidhis, and in a logical decision-making process, I have
to believe the laws of nature are more realistic than the
claims of people who won't show me that they can
"As for invisibility, I'll believe it when I don't see it."
Dr. Sherman James, an assistant professor of
epidemiology and psychology at UNC's School of
Public Health, also says he doubts "whether it is really
possible for the body to lift off the ground.
"There is a concern among TM watchers that some
trickery is involved in the levitation claims. Besides, the
program is much too expensive for a person with an
average paycheck," James adds.
However, James says he is "very excited" about TM
as a method of allowing individuals to "generally
function better, particularly in cases of stress-related
health problems such as high blood pressure and
TM teacher Cahill explains, "Psychologists say the
average person uses only one to 15 percent of his
"It's easy to see how a person using 100 percent of his
mind's potential would appear as supernormal, but the
sidhis are just natural by-products of this development
through the TM program."
Cahill says no demonstrations are allowed, probably
because "Maharishi would like people who perform
levitation to be fairly proficient, and most people now
are in the hopping stage. He wants it to be as dignified
l . - v -
:' ' '"!v '"tyV- .
I ' -
. . ' ' S ' ' i
fey"' ' $
t-. S v . i "
Some just meditate, others levitate and some even
evaporate. The new TM technique of Sidhi enables
meditators to reach supernormal potentials, some
claim. This man seems content with just sitting. Photo
by L. C. Barbour.
Cahill says he does not know when public
demonstrations will become available.
Tony Meadows of 30 Fidelity Court in Carrboro
who is also a Chapel Hill TM teacher, says a frequent
question is whether the sidhis can be misused by
"You don't have to worry about criminals turning
invisible and slipping into banks," Meadows says with
a smile on his face. "The sidhis won't work unless the
individual has established enough orderliness in his
"By the time a criminal had mastered the sidhis, his
consciousness would be too evolved to want to rob a
Meadows' next-door neighbor, Mrs. Carolyn
Donnelly, looks at Meadows and says, "I'll believe it
when I see someone sitting on my front porch float
away across the yard."
She shrugs her shoulders and says, "Oh well,
anything to help the energy crisis."
Please don't eat the onions
or the carrots or the tomatoes
Decorative Metal Containers from England
(J i$k I
Stuart Nye Silver
Hand Wrought Jewelry
Just a few of the many gift items
available to you at Huggins.