Dear Prudence: Won’t You Come Out to Play?

by Keith Deboer on December 4, 2010

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Most people sitting in their room practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique don’t motivate John Lennon and Paul McCartney to write a song. But that’s exactly what happened to Prudence Farrow Bruns when she sat to meditate in Rishikesh, India.

Prudence, the daughter of Hollywood actress Maureen O’Sullivan and film director John Farrow, as well as the sister of actress Mia Farrow, says she began the TM program in 1966 at a summer course at UCLA while visiting her older brother.

She remembers sitting on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean outside his home, reading a book on meditation, when suddenly a voice seemingly manifesting itself out of nowhere said boldly, “If you’re interested in meditation, I know just the meditation for you.” Startled, she turned to find a tall, lanky friend of her brother’s named Peter Wallace peering over her shoulder at the large, opened book on her lap.

Peter had recently come back from six months in India where he spent time traveling with the renowned saint Anandamayi Ma, who introduced him to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It was there that he began the practice of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation technique. Prudence says that although she was enthralled by his story of India, it was his description of meditation that captured her attention.


Prudence is seen here sitting in the front left next to Ringo Starr

“It was the simplicity of the Transcendental Meditation practice that struck me most,” Prudence said. “I had been actively reading and trying different methods of meditation for some time. They had all been complicated and difficult. When Peter described a simple, natural practice of diving deep within, I knew he was truly onto something.”

So began a journey that would lead her to India in 1968, and the rest, as they say, is history. Prudence remembers being in India: “It was a very special time for me. I knew that to be able to study meditation under the direct tutelage of a master of the caliber of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi comes but once in a lifetime. So I would rush straight back to my room after lectures and meals in order to get the most from this precious time. In the evenings John, George, and Paul would sit around jamming—playing and writing music.”

“I could hear them from my room, which was next to theirs. Sometimes they would come into my room and play their new music, thinking they were cheering me up. As much as I appreciated their attention, I preferred to be left alone to meditate.”

John Lennon and George Harrison describe bringing their guitars to her room to encourage her to come out and sing. It was this dynamic that became the inspiration for their song, “Dear Prudence” in which John sings, “won’t you come out to play?”


John Lennon & George Harrison sit by the Ganges river in Rishikesh

George Harrison mentioned to Prudence that they had written a song about her, but Farrow did not actually hear it until it came out on the 1968 album The Beatles, commonly known as the “White Album.”

Prudence’s dedication to her meditation practice allowed her to graduate from the course four months later and become one of the youngest teachers of the Transcendental Meditation technique at that time. She then returned to India for further training with Maharishi in 1970.

Since that time, Prudence has instructed thousands of people throughout the U.S. and Canada in the practice. She also became a published Sanskrit scholar with a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Broadway and Hollywood producer.

prudence-brunsCurrently Prudence teaches the Transcendental Meditation program in northwest Florida with her husband, Albert. She also has three children and four grandchildren.

Web References:

Prudence F. Bruns, Ph.D. official website


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  • Kevin Purcell

    The same thing can be said for George’s ex-wife’s sister, Jennifer Boyd. Donovan wrote the song “Jennifer” to Patti Boyd’s sister:
    Jennifer, Juniper, lives upon a hill
    Jennifer, Juniper, sitting very still
    Is she sleeping/ I don’t think so
    Is she breathing/ Yes ever low
    What [are] you doin’, Jennifer my love?

    Another beautiful girl just sitting meditating that became the subject of a best-selling and beautiful song!!! Kevin Purcell

    • Keith DeBoer

      I wasn’t aware of that. Thanks for the insight!

  • Evolving Entirety

    “If a man wants to live in peace permanently, it is necessary for him to withdraw the mind from the gross field of sense perception for some time and take a dive within and directly experience the glories of subtle nature within himself and finally experience the absolute bliss.”

    – Maharishi – (1958)

    “Nothing from outside can stop a man from enjoying lasting peace and permanent joy, for it is the essential nature of his own soul.”

    – Maharishi – (India, 1955)

    Whereas, most prevailing forms of meditation require some level of concentration or mind contol or contemplation, Transcendental Meditation is the only Technique wherein the mind spontaneously moves inward and effortlessly settles in its most original, pure, least excited and simplest state of self-awareness, in its simplest state of pure being. And it is the practice and maintenance of this self-referral state of the mind, which forms the basis of all ideal health, joy, energy, performance, creativity and fulfillment in everyday life.

    Thank you for sharing this very beautiful and inspiring post.

  • ronan Skelly

    This post was lovely to read,as an avid Beatles fan, I learned to meditate when I was 15, there was only two teachers here in Ireland at the time, Ciaran Killroy, and Desmond Hourie. Desmond thought me to meditate and I still remember it as the most precious evening of my life, and cherish the limitless gift that Maharishi brought to me and the world. A day does not go by in whic I don’t feel such gratitude for being born at that time.
    thank you for the most interesting post.
    Jai Guru Dev

    • Keith DeBoer

      Thank you Ronan for a sharing your story. Cheers! Keith

  • Sally Jackson

    Dear Keith,
    I know this blog post is over a year old, but as long as it is still available it is not too late to fix the typo in the link to Prudence’s web site. Enjoying your post once again today, I clicked on the link and found that it needs her middle initial to reach the intended site.
    Thanks for good stories.

  • admin

    Dear Sally,

    Thank you for noticing! I have fixed the link. Is it working properly for you now?


    • Sally Jackson

      Yes, thank you.

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