“You are right about most of the flower people but they’ll find out” — Lennon on the hippie scene and the growth of meditation
ALS signed “John, x,” one page, 5.5 x 7, September 6, 1967. Addressed from his “Kenwood” estate, a handwritten letter from John Lennon to Caroline Mayne, in full: “You don’t have to wait for our new Academy — you can start right away. — S.R.M. Foundation Movement. 20. Grosvenor Place, London, S.W.1. If there is a nearer place they will tell you — I only have the one address — but I know there are quite a few around Britain. You are right about most of the flower people but they’ll find out. I can’t help you personally — maybe some later date — but this is the place we are learning at.” In fine condition.
The Spiritual Regeneration Movement, the Maharishi's London organization headquartered at 20 Grosvenor Place, Westminster, was first registered in Britain in 1962 as a charitable organization, which has set up training centers for meditation in 50 countries. The Beatles began practicing transcendental meditation in 1967 after an introduction to Eastern spirituality and methods of 'expanding their consciousness.' They became associated with the Maharishi and traveled to his ashram in Rishikesh in February 1968, where they found creative inspiration and wrote prolifically over the course of seven weeks — 18 songs written during their time there appeared on the White Album.
Although George Harrison is perhaps the member most closely aligned with the teachings of the Maharishi, Lennon likewise became deeply involved in the practice of Transcendental Meditation, expressing his thoughts on the technique in a letter from March 1968: ‘Meditation takes the mind down to that level of consciousness which is Absolute Bliss (Heaven) and through constant contact with that state — ‘the peace that surpasses all understanding’ — one gradually becomes established in that state even when one is not meditating. All this gives one actual experience of God.’ Amid allegations of sexual impropriety, questionable business negotiations, and conflict over drug use, the Beatles returned to England and publicly severed their relationship with the Maharishi.
On September 5th, the day before this letter was sent, the Beatles were at EMI’s Abbey Road studios to start recording sessions for their Magical Mystery Tour album. Sessions began at 7 pm and ended at 1 am on September 6th, with the group recording 16 takes of Lennon’s song ‘I Am the Walrus,’ which they finished when they returned later that evening to start recording the George Harrison song ‘Blue Jay Way.’
Accompanied by the original mailing envelope hand-addressed by Lennon, and by a letter of provenance from the original recipient: “At age 17 I was already drawn to yoga and eagerly followed the Beatles’ journey into Eastern philosophy. I wanted to know more — to find what they found. At the time I saw the ‘Flower People’ as superficial, and I needed to convey my own sincerity in what was to be a life-long interest. This was the gist of my letter to John in 1967. George was the main man in my life but perhaps I wrote to John in response to an interview he gave or something. How amazed was I to find a hand-written reply from John Lennon on my doormat one morning. The envelope was even hand-written in his own unique style."