How does TM work? (long version, cont.)
Accelerating your fall down the TM rabbit hole: your three post-trance indoctrination sessions
At the end of the second introductory lecture, when you signed up for instruction, you agreed that after personal instruction you come back for three group meetings, which the teachers know among themselves as the "The Three Days of Checking After Initiation."
You need to return for two important reasons: (1) to reinforce your new skills in auto-trance-induction and (2) because Mahesh wants you to be indoctrinated into his highly dogmatic spiritual doctrine.
But you were told that TM involved no spiritual doctrine? Well, former U.S. President Clinton also said "I never had sex with that woman!" Of course Clinton was mentally holding a different definition of "sex" then the public was. This is called a mental reservation.
And it turns out that the TM teacher is holding a mental reservation also; that is, he is deceiving you! What most members of the public mean by "spiritual doctrine" is not what Mahesh and your TM teacher mean by "spiritual doctrine." Just like Clinton, they are secretly holding a very limited meaning of the term. Unlike Clinton, you teacher doesn't think he has anything bad to hide, He is merely protecting you because you aren't ready for the truth." Without this benign deception you might not have agreed to learn TM, and that would have been truly a tragic thing for your "spiritual evolution." The teacher is just looking out for you.
What happens in these meetings is basically this:
Everyone who learned how to auto-induce trance over the same weekend will meet together in a group, along with the teacher or teachers who conducted their individual trance inductions, usually on each of the following Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights.
The meeting starts off with some initial patter, and there is a new form to fill out. These forms ask you about your experiences with "meditation" (i.e., with inducing trance by yourself) at home (you are supposed to have been doing it for 20 minutes twice a day at home).
Soon there is group trance induction, which they will call a "group meditation." You are led into this group trance induction via another rote trance induction script called the "group checking procedure" (if you follow the link, search for the text string "group meditation procedure").
Oops, it's not just a "relaxation technique" after all!
The group is led out of the trance. Then the whole group starts to receive spiritual instruction from the teachers. What do I mean by "spiritual instruction"? Well, they will with Mahesh's spiritual dogma about "stress release" on the first night. Supposedly, (a) "stress in the nervous system" is the only thing that keeps us from "happiness", and (b) this "stress" cannot be entirely released by ordinary rest or sleep, and (c) only TM can produce deep enough rest to release all of this "stress", and (d) eventually we can release all of this stress and achieve "happiness."
But this is merely an elaboration of what you started to learn in the introductory lectures. TM always turns up the heat on you gradually (for example, you won't find out what "stress release" really supposedly does for you until the third night's meeting).
The doctrinal content rapidly becomes more intense over subsequent meetings. Here is the script for spiritual indoctrination on the second night.
This "relaxation technique" results in moral perfection!
It becomes so much more intense that by the end of the third night you will have been told that by regularly practicing TM for 20 minutes twice a day you will achieve a state called "Cosmic Consciousness" (CC). CC is a state of complete and total happiness. In CC you will experience a state of "bliss consciousness" 24 hours a day, including during sleep. This state is what is generally called "enlightenment."
And in CC every one of your thoughts and actions will enjoy "the support of Nature." The concept of "Nature" is not specifically defined. But as you fall down the rabbit hole you will gradually understand that by "Nature" is meant all of the positive spiritual forces of Creation. The "support of Nature" means that all of these spiritual forces will ensure that everything you do will be successful.
Sounds dangerous, because what if you had negative intentions and these were supported by these powerful Cosmic forces? Not to worry, because another aspect of CC is that all or your thoughts and actions will be totally "life supporting" and you will exhibit "spontaneous right action" at all times. CC is a state of moral perfection!
Why do people believe this stuff?
All of this from relaxation!? Yet, some of the group will actually fall for this indoctrination. Why? One reason is that an appreciable number of people are not only susceptible to suggestion about what they should experience in a trance, they are also much more likely to uncritically accept and believe what they are told immediately after a trance such as the "group meditation." In these people, trance greatly enhances suggestibility!
Not everyone is susceptible enough to post-trance indoctrination to swallow this dogma whole. But you don't actually have to swallow it whole, you just have to swallow it enough to take the next bite, to swallow enough to start the gentle fall down the TM rabbit hole as I'll discuss next. And over the decades a large number of people have come to accept this idea of "moral perfection via relaxation and release of stress."
That's the end of the basic course, but you aren't finished yet.
You've slipped over the edge of the TM rabbit hole and are just beginning