John Thompson’s Letter to Rolling Stone’s Editor
My name is John Thompson and I am a manager at a New Jersey Dahn Yoga center. I am writing now in response to your story about something which has great personal meaning for me–Dahn Yoga. I am disappointed that you did not do a balanced piece. You missed out on many interesting and amazing stories about Dahn Yoga and its practitioners.
I would like to share about myself to Rolling Stone, as I have been a 30+ year reader of your magazine. Before working for Dahn, I was a professional symphonic double bassist for 25 years, the last 15 of which I spent as a member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. When I began my path at the Dahn Yoga center, I was not a college-aged youngster looking for a job and career, but a seasoned professional in the prime of my career. I was an instructor at William Paterson University and worked alongside such renowned artist as the late James Williams and Mulgrew Miller. I was a bass and cello coach for the Greater Newark Youth Orchestra and also was a mentor to many of these young, talented musicians. And, I was an active recording engineer and collaborated in recording projects with musicians in New Jersey, North Carolina and Tennessee. Additionally, as member of the American Federation of Musicians for twenty-five years, I was a union activist who negotiated CBAs, and when necessary, represented and protected my colleagues before our employer. I love being a musician and I am very proud of the things which I have had the privilege to do as a musician.
As a young musician, I was very influenced by the work ethic and spirituality of players like Carlos Santana, John Coltrane and the Allman Brothers–people covered by RS and very influential in the late ’60s and early ’70s. However, I also copied the drug abusing lifestyle of many of these same musicians. As a young teenager, my constant companion was the RS Rock ‘n Roll Reader, edited by Ben Fong Torres. My aesthetic as a player and a person was set by these early musical role models.
By age 40, I was not in great shape physically and I recognized that my personal life was stagnant. This is when one of my bass students, Kermit Driscoll, ten-year member of the Bill Frisel Trio, introduced me to Dahn Yoga. I was very surprised that in my adulthood and well into my career, I actually found a spiritual practice which satisfies my deepest yearning and one which reflects the desire from my youth of bringing healing to myself, the society and the planet. I am now the most physically healthy that I have been in my whole life. I wake up every day happy and grateful for another chance to contribute to society and consciously engage in my personal growth. And, I am no longer plagued by the loneliness and emptiness which I tried to fill with outside stimulation. When applied sincerely and diligently, the Dahn Yoga practice can bring huge benefits to a person–this has been my experience and this is why I spend my time for my own practice and working for Dahn Yoga. I am just one among many thousands of Dahn Yoga practitioners worldwide who can share how much healing and positivity Dahn Yoga has brought to my life.
I do not see any useful or beneficial purpose in writing about a group of miscreant former employees. Among them, Lucie Vogel is known to have operated a ponzi scheme, which cost Dahn Yoga hundreds of thousands of dollars and negatively affected the lives of many people–including the lives of many of the plaintiffs in the now mostly-dismissed lawsuit against Dahn and Ilchi Lee. And among this group are some who embezzled money from Dahn–I have seen the evidence first-hand. Why would one wish to share their story when there is a much more compelling and positive stories to tell?
Of course, Rolling Stone Magazine is free to write about anything it chooses. And as a consumer who is seriously interested in the musical world, I will also exercise my choice when reading about the music industry and patronizing advertisers. I will choose that which is positive and which brings healing to our humanity and our planet.
BR Holistic Healing