Greetings From Utopia Park

Surviving a Transcendent Childhood

Book cover utopia park da4f82d471a1f12d0b33bce903b8a9371a9f2248271d44eadcb7b23393c29281
Enter your email to be informed about upcoming book events:

“Claire Hoffman brilliantly captures a world that is at once familiar and exotic: Fairfield, Iowa – ground zero for the Transcendental Meditation movement in America. Yet this book is more than just a window into another world. It is also a deeply personal spiritual journey. It is about the meaning of faith in the modern world and how the simple desire for spiritual connection can sometimes lead to devastating consequences. I love this book.”

—Reza Aslan, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Zealot

order now
Amazon 959d47d69a8bcb90c4b58a6e1a97c90f844a31da552d0f4879ca4e5ee6505de6Indiebound 77760354c5189a6df6bec5900cb9345ce254faaa083ac3259ca5ee19e919a06bBn 20a2a7862f903e30815390e7a5a3e4385f50293ce7cc34770c057c26be79956eBam 3125c2ff89429cd96f522490161f83932158c2f1b649f01e8634be61433d9056Apple d2efcc5d6fe2d3bbe679651d149191f1b673160d736472a17e6d829e412377ddHarper e00eaeeabe29b1a44b18205bd001c2fe9e707d6e23e611b40f3af9d16142e975
Surviving a Transcendent Childhood

In this intimate memoir an acclaimed 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 is five-years-old, her mother informs her 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 .

At first this secluded utopia offers warmth and support, and makes these outsiders feel calm, secure, and connected to the world. Claire attends the Maharishi school, where her meditations were graded and she and her class learned Maharishi's principals for living. But as Claire and Stacey mature, their adolescent skepticism kicks in, drawing them away from the community and into delinquency and drugs. Eventually, Claire moves to California with her father and breaks from Maharishi completely. A decade later, after making a name for herself in journalism and starting a family, she begins to feel exhausted by cynicism and anxiety. She finds herself longing for the sparkle filled, belief fueled Utopian days in Iowa, meditating around the clock.  So she returns to her hometown in pursuit of TM’s highest form of meditation — levitation. This journey will transform ideas about her childhood, family, and spirituality.

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.