Lighten Up With Levitation

Good old Elon Musk has been making news lately with his hyper loop high speed transportation idea. It’s not like he actually invented the idea, though. The idea for running a magnetic levitation train through a vacuum tunnel has been around a long time, decades at least. Maglev transportation was talked about in the early 1900’s. Before 1950, anyways.

You can also levitate stuff with sound, light, air, electrostatics, electromagnetism, both diamagnetically and electrodynamically, or, if you just want to levitate really tiny things, you can just use the Casimir force.

But that’s all proper sciencey levitation. Anybody can do that kind. The other kind needs special skills, occult skills.

Take walking on water, for example. Liquid water, not the frozen kind. You’re not sinking so you must be levitating. We all know Jesus did it, but he was a late comer to it. Pythagoras and the Buddha did it a good 500 years before the son of god got around to pulling it off. Jesus presumably used god power, but how did the other two get away with it? Well, Pythagoras was said to be the son of Zeus and the Hindus say Buddha was an incarnation of their god Vishnu, so I’d say they used the same propulsion methods that Jesus did.

Then there’s yogic levitation. You can learn it at the Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa. That’s only $1895 for an eight day course, which includes learning the basic Transcendental Meditation© technique, but does not include room and board. The school was founded by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, guru to the Beatles and the Moody Blues, among others. You can watch videos demonstrating their yogic flying abilities on YouTube. They look like they are bouncing on their butts in lotus posture, but who am I to judge?

Levitation used to be popular among Roman Catholic saints. St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, merchants, and, more recently, ecology, was frequently seen suspended above the earth, often to a height of three or four cubits. St. Alphonsus Liguori, when preaching at Foggia, was lifted before the eyes of the whole congregation several feet from the ground. St. Teresa of Avila claimed to have floated up about a foot and a half while in prayer, but nobody saw her do it. She’s a saint, so we have to believe her.

Catholic saints have slacked off in the levitating department in recent centuries, although the recently sainted, lately departed, Padre Pio is said to have been seen floating about. He could bilocate, too, but then he did have stigmata. That’s bleeding holes in his hands and feet from identifying with the crucified Christ and not be be confused with astigmatism. I have astigmatism and it just makes me wear glasses. I also have presbyopia, which makes my glasses bifocals, and has little to do with Presbyterians.

I’m going to leave off here. We needn’t sully religiously induced levitation with demonically produced flitting about, ala Linda Blair. That would be levitatious and I wouldn’t want to introduce levity into such a serious topic.

First shared on the Squatcher’s Lounge Podcast:

For the reading impaired, an audio version of this quasi theory may be found here:

10 thoughts on “Lighten Up With Levitation

  1. saijanai

    TM’s yogic flying is a practice that comes from the Yoga Sutras. It is one of the _samyama_ techniques and is meant to accustom the brain to remain in a near-samadhi state while engaged in some kind of mental activity.

    The thing about the vayusiddhi (mastery of the air) is that even the beginning stage, “hopping” or “jumping like a frog” can be photographed and so the TM organization uses it for publicity purposes. [see chapter 3, verses 40-16 of the Shiva Samhita for more about the traditional “stages” of Yogic Flying:

    the practice is said to “destroy the darkness of the world” (see verse S.S. III.42 in the above link) and so the tmTMorganization makes it a vital part of their “group meditation for world peace” project, for which you can get paid (up until recently) $700/month to participate in if you live in the USA:

    The fact that no-one is floating [*as yet*, as the organization would emphasize] doesn’t detract from its meditation-effects, which are the reason why the TM organization teaches it in the first place.

    New developments around the world have siphoned money away from funding the very expensive USA group meditation project. The same $700 to pay for one month’s room and board for someone living in the USA will pay for the full educational requirements of 14 girls living in this Buddhist boarding school in Thailand (, and so it’s a numbers game, and the nun-in-charge receives large amounts of money from US donors. For example, she recently got $1 million from the Tiger Woods Foundation to help build her school’s new dormitory.

    Her latest project is to build a 1,000-girl Yogic Flying Hall at the school:

    she was recently in the USA to receive an honorary doctorate from the TM university in Iowa:

    and I assume met with wealthy investors while she was there as she announced she intended to build a 4-year university similar to the TM university ( once the yogic flying hall is finished (some really wealthy people do TM and donate for such projects behind-the-scenes).

    Other projects involving Yogic Flying include the work of Father Gabriel Mejia
    who uses TM and Yogic Flying as therapy for the children in his care. The Roman Catholic Church thinks that this is rather odd, but won’t condemn him as hte before/after of his orphans is overwhelming. All the kids in his care are either former child prostitutes, forced to perform sex acts as young teens on the streets of Medillin or former child rebels, forced at gunpoint to machine gun down villagers and given into father Mejia’s care by the Colombian government.
    When the Bishop of Colombia asked Father Mejia why he was teaching such bizarre practices, Father Mejia simply said “talk to the children,” and so his Bishop did.

    After reviewing the before video — — and the after video — — and realizing that all the kids he had been speaking to had been in such awful circumstances just a few months earlier and had changed that much, that fast, with Father Mejia’s program, he walked off without a word.

    Now, the Roman Catholic-run schools in Latin America are starting to offer TM and even Yogic FLying (sidhis) instruction to many thousands of kids, especially in Peru, where the David Lynch Foundation had already taught 30,000 kids for free:

    The David Lynch Foundation, which teaches TM for free to kids and veterans with PTSD in the USA, has been building levitation halls at select schools throughout Latin America for the past few years, teaching every child in various schools to meditate and levitate, and inviting the governments to evaluate the results:
    In Rio de Janeiro, where the DLF taught 5,000 children TM, the government has had the one millionish students of Rio in all 1,000 public schools, on the waiting list to learn TM, pending the training of a few thousand Portuguese-speaking TM teachers (at least one per school):

    In Oacaca, Mexico, where teh DLF has taught 50,000 kids TM, including 20,000 Yogic Flying, things are really hopping… 😉 It turns out that the culture of the various tribes is very _advaita vedanta_ in outlook and so meditation, levitation and enlightenment are accepted as “of course” by the tribe. The school-age children of entire tribes in that state have learned TM & Yogic Flying and the DLF built the first Yogic FLying hall a a public school in that region.

    the state government, after evaluating the effects of TM and Yogic Flying in 44 public schools, now mandates TM instruction and TM-SIdhis instruction for high schoolers at all 350 public schools. This is described in this video at 2:26:50:
    (you may need a special plug-in for the video, sorry).


    Just thought you’d find this info interesting.

    For your moment of Zen, a brief video of levitating boy scouts in Colombia: (taken from that longer “after” video of Father Mejia’s kids)


  2. Bhai Din Post author

    saijanai– Thanks for your extensive comment. I write these “quasi-theories” primarily for entertainment, with a little push toward broadening the reader’s horizons. With that in mind, I found it necessary to leave out a real discussion of yogic siddhi. TM has, I think, been a force for good in the world, overall.

    Personally, I began practicing hatha yoga my freshman year in high school, way back in 1966. I also started reading books on Hinduism and Buddhism. The local town library had a broad selection of books in the 200.00 religion/philosophy section of the Dewey Decimal catalog system. Advaita vedanta was well represented. I read “Autobiography of a Yogi”, by Paramahansa Yogananda, a book that should be read by those who find themselves on the spiritual path.

    Later in college, while considering paying for TM initiation, I encountered initiates of a different guru, Sant Kirpal Singh. No fees were required for initiation, only a spiritual thirst and an agreement to become a vegetarian. Initiation was very simple: you were given instruction on the meditation technique itself, a description of what to expect to experience as a result of the technique, and then sat and did it for an hour.

    The form of meditation was called surat shabd yoga, although it has had many names over the centuries.

    Paramahansa Yogananda’s guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, says in his book, “The Holy Science”, that all meditation techniques should ultimately lead to surat shabd yoga. “The Holy Science” largely presents the yogic path from the Shankya perspective.


  3. saijanai

    What i wrote wasn’t meant as a direct invitation fro you to learn TM or Yogic Flying (which is rather expensive to learn) but only to clarify what TM levitation was about and how it is used in the world.

    One interesting difference between TM and what you describe is that no experience is considered special during TM. In fact, the experience of TM is characterized as “the fading of the experiences,” [4:29]

    with samadhi being that ultimate in the fading of experiences. However, experiences during TM are cyclical cyclical and not everyone has any episodes of samadhi (one study found that people reported an average of one samadhi episode per week). The point is not to have samadhi experiences during TM but for the more efficient mind-wandering rest found during TM to become the “new normal” outside of meditation, which spontaneously occurs merely by alternating TM with normal activity, rinse and repeat a few [tens of] thousands of times.

    It turns out that the activity of the brain during mind-wandering is where our sense-of-self emerges, and that samadhi or “pure consciousness” is where the brain is left full-on in mind-wandering mode even as it has no external or internal objects of attention for it to dwell upon —

    “The state of Being is one of pure consciousness, completely out of the field of relativity; there is no world of the senses or of objects, no trace of sensory activity, no trace of mental activity.There is no trinity of thinker, thinking process and thought; doer, process of doing and action; experiencer, process of experiencing and object of experience. The state of transcendental Unity of life, or pure consciousness, is completely free from all trace of duality. ”

    — which makes task-positive networks — the networks of the brain associated with doing and remembering stuff — fade in activity, even as the brain is in full-on mind-wandering mode. The result is that, in the long-run, mind-wandering during activity starts to resemble this absolutely quiet mind-wandering mode found during _samadhi_ and as this happens, a “pure” sense-of-self, not associated with any kind of memory, perception or physical activity starts to emerge, and eventually becomes permanent. When this “pure” sense-of-self becomes permanent — present whether one is awake, dreaming or in deep sleep — the person is held to be in the first stage of enlightenment. As this process continues, people start to appreciate that all activity — memory, emotional, intellectual, perceptual — in the brain emerges out of that quiet, pure sense-of-self.

    Physiological and psychological research on people reporting [at least] this pure sense-of-self continuously for al least one year has been published as summarized in this review paper ( and as part of the research, subjects were asked “describe yourself.” These were some of the responses by the enlightened subjects:

    • We ordinarily think my self as this age; this color of hair; these hobbies . . . my experience is that my Self is a lot larger than that. It’s immeasurably vast. . . on a physical level. It is not just restricted to this physical environment
    • It’s the ‘‘I am-ness.’’ It’s my Being. There’s just a channel underneath that’s just underlying everything. It’s my essence there and it just doesn’t stop where I stop. . . by ‘‘I,’’ I mean this 5 ft. 2 person that moves around here and there
    • I look out and see this beautiful divine Intelligence. . . you could say in the sky, in the tree, but really being expressed through these things. . . and these are my Self
    • I experience myself as being without edges or content. . . beyond the universe. . . all-pervading, and being absolutely thrilled, absolutely delighted with every motion that my body makes. With everything that my eyes see, my ears hear, my nose smells. There’s a delight in the sense that I am able to penetrate that. My consciousness, my intelligence pervades everything I see, feel and think
    • When I say ’’I’’ that’s the Self. There’s a quality that is so pervasive about the Self that I’m quite sure that the ‘‘I’’ is the same ‘‘I’’ as everyone else’s ‘‘I.’’ Not in terms of what follows right after. I am tall, I am short, I am fat, I am this, I am that. But the ‘‘I’’ part. The ‘‘I am’’ part is the same ‘‘I am’’ for you and me

    There’s no easy way to describe the above just as there’s no easy way to describe experiences during TM except in the negative “fading of the experiences.”

    But you CAN hook people up to equipment and watch what happens when they meditate.


    1. Bhai Din Post author

      No problem. I didn’t take it in any bad way.

      What happens during particularly deep meditation used to be not allowed to be described. There were prohibitions in most spiritual lineages against revealing one’s inner experiences. This is still the case in most schools. In the 1970’s the phenomena of the near death experience became a public topic, primarily through the book, “On Death and Dying”, by Kubler-Ross. Later books documented the phenomena more fully. Darshan Singh, my guru’s successor, decided that the time had come to reveal what the basic, first steps, in inner experience are. When your attention is fully focused in the ajna chakra, the third eye, between and slightly above the eyebrows, you begin to feel yourself withdrawing upward, into the chakra. A tunnel of light appears, you pass through the tunnel into the upper regions of the Anda, or astral region, where your guru appears to you in his, or her, radiant astral form. This radiant form is the real Guru Deva, the source of the Sanskrit term.

      The Guru Deva then guides the soul higher and higher through the inner planes until the individual self, atma, is merged in the brahman, the unmanifested source of all being and beings.

      I am not revealing any of my inner experiences, just repeating what has already been made public. Sri Yukteshwar describes much the same thing. I can say that my personal experiences during meditation confirm at least the beginning stages of the near death experience.

      The experiences in the paper you quote are at the beginning stages of the whole journey. They are excellent to have. If more people meditate, the better the world will be. Please believe that I am not criticizing TM, or any other technique. The world is always helped by right mindfulness.


  4. saijanai

    Well, depends on what you mean by “right mindfulness.”

    In modern interpretations, mindfulness is the exact opposite of mind-wandering and so practicing mindfulness reduces sense-of-self.

    Remember: Shankara, the founder of Advaita Vedanta Hinduism, where self is everything, used to debate BUddhists and, according to tradition, won the debate, basically driving them out of India. Many modern Buddhists consider the very concept of a permanent, pure sense-of-self to be completely hostile to what BUddhists are interested in. Certainly, teh physical effects of mindfulness are 180 degrees different than the physical effects of TM.


  5. Bhai Din Post author

    So, I am curious. You skipped over commenting on the whole near death experience being achievable in certain forms of meditation, and focused on what ‘right mindfulness’ means. Why?

    I have had similar conversations with people who practice all sorts of meditation, with Christians of all sorts, Muslims, many Hindus, Sikhs, self-professed pagans, etc. Some of the Hindus, most of the Sikhs, a few of the Christians, and a few of the Muslims, especially if they were Sufis, knew what I meant, understood the whole idea of consciously leaving the physical body.

    The rest of them found the idea odd, or in the case of some Christians, Satanic.

    All the schools of Vedanta, Advaita or otherwise, along with the Shankya Yogic schools, speak of the existence of vehicles that the Atma functions through. You’ve got the annamayakosha, pranamayakosha, etc., or the roughly equivalent linga sharira, sthula sharira, etc. Even in early Christianity St. Paul referred to the sarke, psyche, and pneuma, which is body, soul, and spirit. Modern Western terms would be physical body, astral/mental body, and pure spirit, more or less, Western thought on these things being more than a bit muddy.

    So, back to my question, reworded, what do think of the idea that meditation can lead to the near death experience, but completely under the control of the meditator, no being hit by a car needed at all?


    1. saijanai

      Well, the TM explanation for such things is that they don’t discuss them.

      Maharishi’s belief was that enlightenment is a physiological state of the brain and all the discussions about the state actually tend to detract from growth into the state.

      As far as near-death experiences go, he didn’t go into that much, if at all. He said that he thought that episodes of samadhi might allow the meditator to fear death less, and that was it.

      The current research on TM centers around samadhi episodes during TM, the varying type of experience (inward directed vs outward directed) found during TM, enlightenment outside of meditation, and TM’s therapeutic effect on certain conditions, especially PTSD.

      As far as samadhi goes, he “described” it thusly:

      The state of Being is one of pure consciousness, completely out of the field of relativity; there is no world of the senses or of objects, no trace of sensory activity, no trace of mental activity.There is no trinity of thinker, thinking process and thought; doer, process of doing and action; experiencer, process of experiencing and object of experience. The state of transcendental Unity of life, or pure consciousness, is completely free from all trace of duality.


  6. Bhai Din Post author

    I don’t know how old you are, of course, but I’m 65 now and remember seeing Maharishi on the Carson show. I read “Science of Being and Art of Living” way back when it was first published.

    I have always appreciated that TM, as the organization founded by Maharishi, has pursued the physical, scientific examination of the effects of meditation.

    From descriptions of the experiences of TM practitioners during meditation, and the measurements of its physiological effects, I am pretty sure that surat shabd yoga produces similar, if not identical, effects.

    The techniques are similar, the primary difference being that, during the silent repetition of the mantra, TM, from what I understand of it, you do not focus your attention on anything but the mantra. In surat shabd yoga, the mantra is repeated mentally, but your attention, in the sense of your visual attention, is focused at a point in the center of the visual field, about a foot in front of your face, but you have your eyes closed. If your attention drifts, you go back to repeating the mantra as soon as you notice, and again focus at what we call the eye focus. The more you meditate, the better you get at it. Sooner, or later, you see the tunnel of light. Your surat, your attentive faculty automatically shifts from your physical eyes, to your third eye, the ajna chakra, shiv netra, the eye of Shiva.There are near endless names for it

    I’m not revealing anything here that is not publicly available. Nor am I going to say anything concrete about my inner experiences. But, while the calming of the waves of thought, chitta vritti nirodha, as Patanjali said, is desirable in itself, the effects of rising above physical consciousness are profoundly blissful.

    Please give this a read:


    1. saijanai

      It’s impossible to say when one practice is like another because, it turns out you can attempt to copy TM intellectually and get teh exact opposite effects. The secret is in HOW it is taught not just the “what.”

      TM rehearse an interactive teaching play for 5 months, learning the exact words, gestures, body language, even tone-of-voice Maharishi used when teaching and answering questions, so that they can literally “play the part” of Maharishi when teaching meditation. He called it “cloning myself,” and as much as is humanly possible, there’s really only one TM teacher and thousands of clones.

      What you practice may be identical to (or in some way better than) TM in its effects but we can’t know just by comparing notes of our practice.

      Description of TM is no more reliable than a description of the river at some instant in time.

      On the other hand, sometimes it seems likely that we CAN tell the difference. When someone says things like “concentrate as hard as you can on something,” I’m pretty sure they’re not talking about TM or anything remotely like TM.

      In the meantime, enjoy your meditation practice, whatever it is!



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