On the road between our houses in Wisconsin and Missouri lies Fairfield, Iowa. By all appearances, Fairfield is a quintessential small Midwestern town. Surrounded by cornfields. A central square. An Old Threshers Reunion in the summer.
But Fairfield isn’t typical at all. There are two large golden domes, one for men and one for women, to practice Transcendental Meditation and Yogic Flying. The town is chock full of artists, musicians, writers, and photographers.
It all started when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the Maharishi that the Beatles followed for a very short time) bought the Parsons College campus in 1974 to start what is now called the Maharishi University of Management. The university attracts people from all over the world, and The Raj, the super-spa located on the edge of town, is near an airstrip so people who can afford it can fly in and out in private planes.
Several years ago the Maharishi decided to introduce vedic architecture. In a flurry, businesses with south-facing entrances on the square moved, as south was a bad direction for an entrance. The best direction for the entrance is east. “East,” he said, “promotes health, happiness and good fortune.” There is now an entire Vedic City outside of town in which all the entrances face east.
Fairfield has an unusual number of organic vegetarian restaurants. And multiple Indian restaurants on the square. In a way, it’s a bit of a wonderland. Where local farmers in overalls mix with Yogic flyers at the grocery store. Where there’s a good Indian buffet in a rural area where you’d be hard pressed to find one. And where starry-eyed TM students believe that their meditation will fuel their success and bring world peace.