Since his death on February 5th 2008, Maharishi, of Transcendental Meditation, has been much on my mind. He has had a big effect on my life in that his Meditation technique has largely contributed to my happiness and to my sanity throughout the difficult moments of my life.
I started his meditation in its early days in the UK, largely because I felt it would contribute to my state of mind as a painter. At that time the majority of meditators were middle-aged and elderly “weirdo’s”- I was one of the rare young ones.
Courses then were small and intimate. This was before the Bangor Course, attended by The Beatles and Mick Jagger (and me!), which made Meditation OK in the UK. I went to one in rural West Wales: during the Course Maharishi spoke of his wish to have TM (as it was called) represented at an Exhibition in Canada. A small group of us connected with the Arts and Media were invited to come up to London to discuss this with him.
He wanted Artists to depict the variety of people who meditated. Being very serious and channel-visioned, I argued that I could not do this as my paintings at the time were abstract and if I did a realistic painting it would not be a good one and would be recognized as such. However, when we said our farewells he appealed to me: “You will paint me a picture won’t you?”- what else could I answer but “yes”.
With no intention of following this up, I returned to Malvern, where I was living. I embarked on a painting of my original Conker tree (see January Post “My Conker Trees”); like Cezanne with his Mont St. Victoire, I painted it endlessly.
This time I painted a very diagrammatical painting of it: a very large painting with delicate, meticulous blue lines on a white background- finally, when exhibited, entitled “Blue Lines Surrounded by Orange”- the orange referring to the return edges.
It was only after the painting was completed that I realized that what I had painted was a diagram that, throughout the Course, Maharishi had drawn to show us the process of Transcending.
I had painted Maharishi’s painting- and it was a Tree.