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Skelmersdale's yogic flye
08 August 2007
Skelmersdale's yogic flyers are celebrating after a ban on meditation in the town was lifted.

Elders at the Maharishi centre of meditation in Skelmersdale believe crime figures have risen in the town because of an order from their guru which stopped them from teaching meditation two years ago.

It was in 2005 that the leader of the movement, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,  halted teaching of trans-cendental meditation because he was unhappy with Britain's invasion of Iraq.

Since then numbers in the Skelmersdale community have fallen to around 200, with followers taking the "peace-creating" practice to other countries. At the same time Home Office statistics show violent crime had increased by 9% over the last year in the district.

Bursar at the centre, Phil Mitchell, said the recent lifting of the ban will improve the matters.

"When a large percentage of the population meditate there are measurable benefits, like falling crime," said Phil, an Up Holland resident. "That was the reason why we came to Skelmersdale in the first place.

"But, since the ban a lot of people in Skem have left the movement to go and join other groups. The group has shrunk and the rising crime levels are definitely a spin-off of that.

"Skelmersdale has benefited immensely from TM in the past, and hopefully more people will now start doing it again."

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the 95-year-old sage who set up the TM movement — supported during his lifetime by Beatle George Harrison – and whose cosmic notions entranced The Beatles in the 1960s, claimed Britain had become a “Scorpion nation”.

He banned meditative teachings because he felt they served to “feed the destroyer of the world”, although TM was allowed.

But his holiness has now lifted the ban since reviewing the policies of new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

Phil added: “It is great news. It was disappointing when the ban came in but we can now look forward to the future.”

The Skelmersdale base, or “dome” was set up over 25 years ago and built up a 400-strong community. With meditation has come an award-winning school, a gym, a business centre and new houses.

by Richard Lackey

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