This beautiful story started in 1969 when a young college student traveled across the country to learn Transcendental Meditation. Fast forward to the present day, and there are now four generations in her family, ages 10 to 94 years old, practicing the technique.
Susan Michael recorded the family saga for the Maharishi School web page.
Dolly, the grand matriarch
“In 2013, the Honkanen family gather for a family reunion in Fairfield. They celebrate their newest meditator. Ava is 10 years old and has just been taught Transcendental Meditation by her great aunt Susan. They celebrate with Grandpa John’s famous pancakes at Great-Grandma Dolly’s house.
Dolly is the grand matriarch. She is originally from Michigan but when her husband retired they moved to Washington to be close to family. After he passed away, Dolly moved to Fairfield to be near family again. Today at 94 years old, she is sharp as a tack, she remembers the birthdays and anniversaries of all of her family members including one brother, 5 kids, 11 grandkids, and 7 great-grandkids. She meditates daily and remarks, “It’s a routine.”
Grandma Maeghan and grandpa John
Dolly’s son John, and his wife, Maeghan, live in Fairfield along with one of their daughters, Ilie, and grand-daughter Danae, a Maharishi School student. Two other daughters, Soma and Carissa, have travelled from Colorado where they now live. Nena and her husband, Christian, have travelled from California with their daughters, Ava and Bella.
“It’s blissful to have all my daughters and granddaughters together in Fairfield,” Maeghan smiles.
It had been John and Maeghan’s dream to join the Iowa meditating community since it began. Nena, the oldest daughter, remarks, “We used to make up songs about moving to a community of meditators.”
The exodus to Fairfield
That was when they were living in a tiny mining town in Washington where no one else in the town knew anything about meditation. The family’s exodus to Fairfield began with Nena heading to MIU, now MUM, when she was ready for college.
She was followed by Ilie and Carissa. Her mother, Maeghan went on staff and Soma became a student at Maharishi School.
When John realized they weren’t coming back, he sold the beautiful land and home he built with his own hands, and headed east to Iowa to join them. He packed up their horses and dogs in his pickup truck and headed for that community that they had always dreamed of living in. Today they have a beautiful piece of land in Iowa with horses that their grandchildren come to ride, and the biggest meditating community in the USA.
During their reunion, the Honkanens are led in a group meditation by Susan, John’s sister. Four generations of meditators close their eyes together as they experience that deep silence they are all so familiar to. It is a four generation meditation.