Friends in High Places

from Nora Tomosoiu

The Communist dictatorship ruling Rumania in 1982 banned everything spiritual. Somehow, though, a man named Aman, from Switzerland, came to Bucharest and was allowed to teach Transcendental Meditation. Artists, professors, film directors, and intellectuals of all types took his courses.

Then the dictator Ceausescu began to think his regime would be overthrown by the power of meditation. He instigated a reign of terror against all those who had participated. They were fired from their jobs and reassigned to menial work, even sent out of Bucharest into the countryside. My coworker and I had taken all the classes, and every day we expected to be targeted.

My family and I prayed to St. Anthony of Padua, but without much hope. Everyone we knew was getting sacked. Eventually the turmoil stopped. Of all those who’d taken the classes, we were the only ones who did not lose their jobs.

Seven years later, when the dictator was killed, we found out why we had been saved. The dictator’s son, who was not so crazy as his father, was a friend of a friend of my coworker. Given the intensity of the purge, this was too tenuous a connection to warrant special treatment; but the son had issued an order that we were not to be touched.