Subject: Negative side effects of TM Newsgroups: alt.meditation.transcendental
This is a response to the CAN thread which was cross posted. There was a good deal of discussion about reports of psychological problems documented at Trancenet. Someone pointed out that these problems are rare. I wish to put two related things together:
(1) From day 1, TM has been touted as without, absolutely without negative side effects. (2) Although most TM meditators have not experienced the catastropic negative side effects documented at Trancenet, a large proportion of us have experienced "unstressing" of various intensities.
Unstressing is a negative side effect, as is the spaciness and exaggerated emotions experienced on courses, the inability to make rational decisions, etc. It doesn't matter that TM provides an explanation for these things. They are real, they are negative, and they are clearly recognized by all teachers of TM. It is a blatant lie to on the one hand say that TM has no negative side effects and on the other to have a set explanation and "remedies" for unstressing or to instruct people at the beginning of a rounding course that they are not to make any decisions during the time they are on the course. Its "natural" to have sex, to make rational decisions, to not have tremors, to not shout or twitch or hop on one's butt when sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. TM interferes with "natural" human function. These are negative side effects which are white washed by deception.
The amazing thing is that people believe it (including myself for 28 years) and keep coming back for more. It's not good to get lost in the details of an argument and fail to see the obvious. TM is not all good. It can only be seen as such by someone who knows anything about it if they are systematically deceived - and they must participate in the deception themselves. I certainly did, because my investment was so great, not just in time and money, but in hope. I didn't think I would grow old, sick, or die. I thought that the day would come when I would feel no pain, emotional or otherwise. In return for this unworldly and foolish hope, I paid by constraining my way of life to allow for twice daily long periods for TM and sidhis practice. I paid by seeking low excitation at all times, by avoiding excitement, and in so doing missed out on the joy of life for decades. It's good to be excited, to have ups and downs, to live as a fragile human being rather than as an aspirant to godhood.
The time came when I lost hope of gaining enlightment. I became unable to satisfy myself with the answers with which I was trained, for example the idea of unstressing applied to a long term meditator I know with serious psychological problems. Or the explanation of why maintain the purity of the teaching when the mantras and other details about TM were posted on the Internet and actually have been in the public domain at least since the TIME article in the late 70's. Or the explanation that TM is not a religion but that every time I repeat my mantra I was thinking: "glorious glorious Saraswati, I bow down." Or the explanation that the new meditator is only asked to witness the puja, but the new meditator must bring several items to be used in the puja, is invited to accept and hold a flower during the ceremony which is taken from him/her at the end and offered to the picture of MMY's master. The new meditator is then invited with a gesture to kneel before the picture of MMY's master. Of the 400 I have instructed, all have followed through with all these things except 2 who did not kneel, and one of those was a child who clearly did not understand the meaning of the gesture. Or numerous other explanations which, in the face of common sense, are clearly bullshit of the most infantile sort.
One day, my friend Marcy asked me, "How many mantras are there?" For the thousandth time on being asked a question in this area I became uncomfortable and for the thousandth time I said that that information is private." This is the kind of secret which I held dear and from which I suffered in my relationships with those from whom I kept it. It was a simple pure question. My unwillingness to say "less than 50" and my loyalty to a foolish secret over her caused her immense pain. Later that day she found TM-EX on the Internet complete with mantras, etc. She expressed with passion that she felt that this was assault on her Judaism. It was clear that, in her eyes and in the eyes of any Jew who had not been totally assimilated as I had that I was lost to Hinduism. I was tainted and had led her to be tricked into a practice which she absolutely would never have considered had she known what she now knew. I was sick with very real justifiable guilt. My "simple" "innocent" faith in TM had caused her very great harm. I became unwilling to ever again answer those questions with the pat answers I had been taught.
But what of my own TM and sidhis practice. I did not want to give these up. But I had to and did within a week. Because the answers no longer satisfied me, the whole closed system of logic which supports TM unraveled. I experienced considerable superstitious fear: What about my hopes for enlightenment and perfect health? I decided that even if the yogi was right, I was willing to give these up. What about my invoking a Hindu goddess many times each day for decades? What would be the nature of the spiritual warfare to which I was assured by others I would be subjected? Again, I decided, so be it, come what comes. What would I do when I felt tired or overwhelmed? To where could I retreat? And with this one I became acutely aware of the extent to which I had depended on TM to live my life and how much I had missed because of it. Our dictionary defines enlighten as "to free from ignorance and prejudice, to inform". This is what the information to which I was subjected via Trancenet, TM-EX, etc. provided me. And it only took a few weeks.
In 1981, I went to India for the Vedic Science Course. There was a period when I lived in a tent in the New Camp, just inside the Ring Road. I was absolutely penniless, had eaten nothing but toast, catchup, tea, and ice cream (occasionally provided by the course) for months. I was very thin, weak, bored, and miserable. My wife was sent back to the USA against her will 3 weeks before me. There was no warm water at the showers. I thought I was one of the fortunate ones of the ages. I just got back from Hawaii and am having the time of my life.
Stop quibbling over logic and assaulting John Knapp's integrity - He and others like him saved my life. And stop deceiving yourselves. You could spend the rest of your life as you are. I could have spent another 28 years in thrall to my fears, meditating 3 hours a day, shivering every night, twitching every day, cowtowing to the movement upper crust hoping for another opportunity to see the great man in person, feeling overwhelming sleepiness every time someone tried to tell me something I didn't want to hear, unable to concentrate when I read, unable to feel pain or respond in a human fashion to others, unable to be a part of my family, unable to pierce the deception upon which my life was based. Virtually every idea, belief, understanding I have I must reevaluate. They are all based on the theory of life and creation which is promulgated by the yogi. And this is not my theory, nor my religion. I am an American Jew. I no longer seek personal salvation, nor escape from the life I lead today in favor of the promise of enlightenment someday, Hindu style. I seek to live to the full, to make a substantive contribution to my family, my workplace, and my community. Those Hindu values from India don't cut it for me. And why should they?
Read everything you can that's out there. Read about cults, independent studies on TM. Maybe you'll hear something. The TM system of logic is closed. Step outside of it. Ask questions and listen to the answers, not with the idea of answering them from within the system, but rather with as open a mind as possible. Clinging to the closed system of logic is an act of fear. No matter how many points on which I was forced to give way regarding the scientific research, the weak explanations of TM as a religion, the puja, etc., I always clung to the idea that TM and the sidhis have helped me, my practice is mine, and it doesn't matter about the other stuff; I'm going to continue with my personal practice.
Don't read this and other posts as if you are going to war. It's just information. I'm not selling a technique for $1000 or a course for a whole lot more, nor is John Knapp. There's no deception here. This is my story and the insights I have to offer from it. I'm alive today and I was damn near dead. Take a look at your local TM teacher, particularly if he's a member of Purusha. How's his color? Would he look out of place in a coffin? How about you? Can you fly? How long have you been meditating and are you enlightened? or even close? I'm not and I was at it for 28 years, a teacher for 21, a sidha for 19. And I was using a good percentage of my full potential when I started. I use less today, I think largely due to the long term effects of TM. But some of my capabilities are returning now that I've stopped: my memory, my ability to tolerate mild discomfort, my ability to sustain alertness when criticized or tired, my ability to think critically about TM.
I see that this came out to be a bit more than I expected. So be it.
Don Krieger email@example.com crossposted to newsgroup alt.meditation.transcendental, and mailing lists: trancenet, minet-l