Hippies of the late 1960s and early 1970s exhibited a fascination with Eastern religions and spirituality. They began practicing yoga and meditation, and these practices eventually spread to other more “mainstream” parts of society. Transcendental meditation provides an example of an Eastern practice that was spread to parts of society beyond the hippie communities. Transcendental meditation was brought to the United States by a man named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and made popular through workshops and lecture series. The Maharishi International University was even established in Iowa in 1973.
Interestingly, Clemson hosted a workshop series about transcendental meditation when it was just beginning to be practiced in the United States. In 1971, the Students’ International Meditation Society (SIMS) sent Eric Dahl to Clemson to lead workshops called the “Seven Steps to Bliss” at the YMCA and in the chemistry auditorium. Dahl claimed that this meditation was “a very simple and effortless technique, whereby we expand the conscious capability of the mind…and thereby improve all aspects of life” (The Tiger, Oct. 8, 1971, 4). Clemson then hosted another lecture in Daniel Hall in 1975 sponsored by SIMS.