Greetings from Utopia Park

Greetings from Utopia Park


In this engrossing, provocative, and intimate memoir, a young journalist reflects on her childhood in the heartland, growing up in an increasingly isolated meditation community in the 1980s and ’90s—a fascinating, disturbing look at a fringe culture and its true believers.

When Claire Hoffman’s alcoholic father abandons his family, his desperate wife, Liz, tells five-year-old Claire and her seven-year-old brother, Stacey, that they are going to heaven—Iowa—to live in Maharishi’s national headquarters for Heaven on Earth. For Claire’s mother, Transcendental Meditation—the Maharishi’s method of meditation and his approach to living the fullest possible life—was a salvo that promised world peace and enlightenment just as their family fell apart.

At first this secluded utopia offers warmth and support, and makes these outsiders feel calm, secure, and connected to the world. At the Maharishi School, Claire learns Maharishi’s philosophy for living and meditates with her class. With the promise of peace and enlightenment constantly on the horizon, every day is infused with magic and meaning. But as Claire and Stacey mature, their adolescent skepticism kicks in, drawing them away from the community and into delinquency and drugs. To save herself, Claire moves to California with her father and breaks from Maharishi completely. After a decade of working in journalism and academia, the challenges of adulthood propel her back to Iowa, where she reexamines her spiritual upbringing and tries to reconnect with the magic of her childhood.

Greetings from Utopia Park takes us deep into this complex, unusual world, illuminating its joys and comforts, and its disturbing problems. While there is no utopia on earth, Hoffman reveals, there are noble goals worth striving for: believing in belief, inner peace, and a firm understanding that there is a larger fabric of the universe to which we all belong.

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  • 001 Greetings From Utopia Park
    Duration: 14s
  • 002 Preface
    Duration: 06min
  • 003 Chapter 01
    Duration: 33min
  • 004 Chapter 02
    Duration: 31min
  • 005 Chapter 03
    Duration: 21min
  • 006 Chapter 04
    Duration: 16min
  • 007 Chapter 05
    Duration: 26min
  • 008 Chapter 06
    Duration: 29min
  • 009 Chapter 07
    Duration: 17min
  • 010 Chapter 08
    Duration: 36min
  • 011 Chapter 09
    Duration: 25min
  • 012 Chapter 10
    Duration: 28min
  • 013 Chapter 11
    Duration: 26min
  • 014 Chapter 12
    Duration: 25min
  • 015 Chapter 13
    Duration: 13min
  • 016 Chapter 14
    Duration: 35min
  • 017 Chapter 15
    Duration: 27min
  • 018 Chapter 16
    Duration: 31min
  • 019 Chapter 17
    Duration: 14min
  • 020 Chapter 18
    Duration: 24min
  • 021 Epilogue
    Duration: 06min
  • 022 Credits
    Duration: 31s
  • sample
    Duration: 01min