Common objections and frequently asked questions (FAQ)
I have already learned TM and this all sounds pretty scary! Am I in a cult? Should I stop meditating?
Well, it's healthy that you can entertain doubt; it's when the capacity to doubt disappears that things get scary.
There are three reasons to stop TM once you have started it:
(1) Stop if you continue to have any contact whatsoever with the TM organization. This includes checking sessions, group meetings, and especially residence courses. The main problem with TM is that it is taught by a cult, and no one can tell ahead of time whether they are one of the many people who automatically and significantly suspend "reality testing" during and after a dissociative experience (trance).
Being susceptible to cult recruitment is not a matter of intelligence. Dr. John Hagelin is a truly incredible world-class genius yet he was totally sucked into the TM alternate reality. Also, a person doesn't have to have significant psychological issues in order to be vulnerable to recruitment. And "strength of will" is most definitely not a factor at all, just consider Tom Cruise.
The more you expose yourself to the TM organization the more likely you are to be succumb. For some people recruitment happens gradually over a period of years.
(2) Stop if you have symptoms of dissociation outside of meditation. This is usually experienced as "spaceyness."
(3) Stop if you start having any other sort of problems associated with TM, such as headaches. Don't go to "have your meditation checked."
Otherwise, if you like it then enjoy it. You've already taken the risk of having your reality testing suppressed and of being led into TM Wonderland, and have survived.
People end up with different levels of participation in TM.
Most begin TM and then quit again very quickly! These are the people who are not susceptible to trance induction, or who at least are not susceptible to the trance induction techniques used in TM. They therefore don't get anything at all out of TM and quickly drop it.
Others in fact do enjoy some "relaxation" benefit, but they do not internalize TM dogma and they never have problems with "unstressing." These people proved susceptible to the TM trance induction script and are indeed getting relaxation out of it. But they haven't drunk the Kool-Aid. Their only problem (a) they ran the risk of ending up bouncing on foam rubber , and (b) is that they paid a lot of money or a benefit they could have gained elsewhere, such as, for example, with the "Relaxation Response." This is a secular version of TM that produces relaxation without the intense dogmatic indoctrination of TM. And there are other things that one can do for oneself that aren't taught by a cult.
Other people experience some "unstressing" or "headache" difficulties from even the basic "twenty minutes twice a day" practice. In such cases the TM checkers and teachers will encourage them to continue with the TM practice even though they should really quit because they are experiencing toxic side-effects. However, I don't know that anyone who has completely limited themselves to "twenty minutes twice a day" has ever had dramatic psychological damage as a result. Still, these "unstressing" symptoms indicate that they shouldn't really be continuing the practice, and they probably wouldn't continue in the face of such difficulties if TM personnel didn't talk them out of quitting. As with the prior group, I believe that these people are susceptible to TM trance induction techniques but have not proven susceptible to TM dogmatic indoctrination. However, these people have proven sensitive to even the amount of trance, dissociation, and toxic suggestion that even the basic "twenty minutes twice a day" brings. Hopefully they will stop paying attention to the TM checkers and teachers and will quit the practice of TM entirely.
Consider a hypothetical new drug therapy. The pharmaceutical company did not reveal negative clinical trial results that showed an unacceptably high incidence of serious liver complications at some of the higher dosages. The positive results of the therapy are, however, indeed positive when they occur.
Based on the partial data available, the drug becomes officially certified as an acceptable therapy and it becomes fairly widely prescribed and used, often at the higher dosages. After introduction to the public, however, the drug therapy does in fact continue to have an unacceptably high rate of dangerous liver complication. The pharmaceutical company publicly dismisses reports of such complications, denying that they are a result of the drug therapy, pointing as proof to their "excellent" clinical trial results. They claim that those having negative results must have had some sort of undiagnosed pre-existing condition.
If the drug company then revealed that they had known of the incidence of complications, yet still marketed the drug, the public outcry would be tremendous.
The tragic thing is that there were other drug therapies on the market that provided acceptable "positive" benefits, and which did not have the same risk of dangerous complication. (The reason that "relaxation response" is not dangerous is that is not being taught by a cult.)
Some patients and some physicians begin to engage in "consumer warning" campaigns. They recommend to the public, and to the medical profession, that they use the other safer therapies instead.
Are they being "too negative"?
Mahesh won't tell you about the people who experience a negative impact from TM.
I am a TM teacher (or a satisfied TM practitioner) and this whole web site is a personal attack on my integrity.
My strong sense of my own integrity was perfectly intact when I was a TM practitioner, and also when I was a TM teacher. At most, I now wish that I had told everyone everything up front, rather than "protecting" them from things they "weren't ready for". So I assume that your personal integrity is intact too.
I have validated Maharishi's teachings through my own innocent experience, without any exercise of faith. And his teachings have been scientifically validated and are intellectually sound. I am not in a cult!
I accept your sincerity. I was of the same opinion myself once. However, none what you said of itself rules out the possibility that you are in a cult. See "Nobody who is in a cult is in a cult."
Furthermore, your experience was never, ever, "innocent"!
What is wrong with you? Why drives you to do such a horrible thing as to betray your oath as a TM teacher, to betray the Holy Tradition, and to attack TM?
Yes, I did sign an oath as a TM teacher that included statements along these lines:
It is my fortune, Guru Dev [Mahesh's deceased master], that I have been accepted to serve the Holy Tradition and spread the Light of God to all those who need it. It is my joy to undertake the responsibility of representing the Holy Tradition in all its purity as it has been given to me by Maharishi and I promise on your altar, Guru Dev, that with all my heart and mind I will always work within the framework of the Organisations founded by Maharishi. And to you, Maharishi, I promise that as a Meditation Guide I will be faithful in all ways to the trust that you have placed in me.
Pretty heavy, yes?
Why don't you just get over your anger and resentment, drop this whole vendetta, and get on with your life?
I'm not at all angry at Mahesh. Truthfully.
I think that Mahesh was an incredibly brilliant and talented sociopath. This means that he was
completely devoid of the
facility that we call "conscience." He was acting completely within the limits of and
in accordance with his nature. One might as well be angry at a hurricane.