Unnatural Law Party Logo: Natural Law Party FAQs

What Are Your Motivations for this Site?

Why do you critique the Maharishi, Natural Law Party, and John Hagelin? Are you fundamentalist Christian, TM-hating, disgruntled former members?

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Monday, September 11, 2000
11:48:01 PM







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There are as many motivations for creating this site as there are contributors.
Dozens of former Transcendental Meditation movement members and Natural Law Party officials -- some with more than 20 years experience at the upper reaches of the TM movement -- have contributed to this site.

In our collective experience with the TM movement and the Natural Law Party, there is no room for discussion of the issues we raise. People who question the effects of the products or the policies of the TM movement are labeled as "negative"or "unstressers" -- buzzwords for people to be shunned -- and usually are barred from future courses or participation in the TM movement. We know this for a fact because as TM teachers many of us sat on "Initiator Councils" where we decided who would be allowed to go on courses and who would not. And after all, the discussion of most of the issues we raise at trancenet.net was forbidden by the various secrecy agreements we had to make. (Also see the various forms TM course participants are forced to sign with their repeated refrain requiring secrecy regarding course contents.)

In our minds open discussion is always positive. Natural Law Party officials and TMers have written trancenet.net urging us "[not} to raise doubt where none exists." "Doubt," or critical thinking, is an important thing to foster. It is the very foundation of scientific thinking; and we would like to remind readers that the TM movement holds its products, policies, and beliefs out to the public as a scientific body of knowledge. It is right and proper to hold the feet of scientific claims to the fire of doubt in the process of deciding their merits. It is exactly this doubt, or critical analysis, that is missing in the discussion of the Maharishi's claims to specially revealed knowledge. There is a hoary maxim in the scientific community: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." That is the level of critical thinking to which we would urge all readers to hold the TM movement.

Some of us are disgruntled former members.
Yes, and some of us are angry to boot.

We believe anger is an appropriate emotion for people to feel when they believe they have been swindled and spiritually raped. Since 1995, it's been our experience doing lay counseling at trancenet.net that most people leaving Transcendental Meditation, Scientology, the Unification Church (Moonies), the Natural Law Party, and other similar "high demand" groups experience a period of deep anger. When we talk with veterans of these movements, one of the most reassuring things we can tell them is that it's okay, it's natural, it's human to feel angry about their experiences. To deny the deep emotions you experience when you discover that you have been lied to, psychologically coerced, financially defrauded, and worse can actually worsen the emotional damage.

This doesn't negate the documented evidence we have to offer. Just as with whistle blowers and inside informants reporting on the tobacco or pharmaceutical industries, former members who stumble out of high demand groups, which many label "cults," are frequently the only sources of secret internal documents, practices, and scandals.
Just as with industry insiders, many contributors here are not willing to "go public" out of fear of reprisal, shame, or a desire not to break connections with friends or family still involved with Transcendental Meditation or the Natural Law Party. But far from the work of a few bitter "failures," contributors to trancenet.net include: Mitchell Kapor, founder of software giant Lotus, Inc.; Michael Doughney, co-founder of dot-com success story Digex, Inc.; Don Krieger, Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh; and other now well-adjusted, successful but former members of TM and the Natural Law Party.

We are often asked -- by Natural Law Party and Transcendental Meditation movement members -- if we are fundamentalist Christians. The short answer is, "No."
No one currently involved with the web pages on Transcendental Meditation and the Natural Law Party is a Christian, although over the years we have had volunteers who were Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and agnostic. In fact, trancenet.net currently maintains three web sites on Christian-based groups that former members have labeled cults. Our largest traffic goes to No Way Out, a site on The Way International, such a Christian-based group.

Too often we have found within the TM organization disparaging language and attitudes regarding Christians. Such people are somehow less, not to be taken seriously, definitely inferior, obstacles to be overcome, fair game to be lied to, people who are filled with "stress" -- who hopefully will realize the error of their ways when the full dawn of TM's Age of Enlightenment arrives.

Christians are just like anyone else. There are good people and bad people among them -- just as is true of TMers. Shouldn't the followers of the Maharishi show them the same respect that any human deserves? Should we expect anything less of a movement such as TM and its followers who claim to be following a spiritual path?

We have noted over the years an almost irrational fear of fundamentalist Christians on the part of present -- and even former -- members of the TM movement. We believe that inner members -- ourselves included -- may have experienced unconscious phobia indoctrination regarding Christians at the hands of the TM movement and, later, the Natural Law Party. We suspect the reasons for this has historical roots: It was a group of fundamentalist Christians that first successfully challenged the teaching of TM in the public schools in the U.S. (New Jersey Court Case). Generally, only devout Christians were motivated to challenge TM teachers at public lectures regarding the religious implications of the Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation. It is also possible, in our opinion, that many TM teachers and insiders harbor some guilt about lying to Christians about the religious nature of the TM initiation ceremony and the mantras, which are the names of Hindu gods.

Although we agree with the U.S. courts' ruling that TM is fundamentally religious and does not belong in our public school systems, we again are not Christian ourselves.

We are concerned, however, that the rights of people of strong faith are abrogated when their children are taught TM in the public schools, prisoners are taught TM using public funds, or government funds are used for "scientific" research into TM, because the teachings of the TM program (for instance, the Science of Creative Intelligence) are fundamentally at odds with Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and other faiths.

Other Natural Law Party members have warned us that by exposing material that we former insiders vowed to keep secret, we will suffer "bad karma."
To those of us who spent decades within the TM movement and Natural Law Party, the term "bad karma" has a force of ingrained phobia similar to "mortal sin" for a Roman Catholic -- only more so, since "bad karma" can not be forgiven. After all, as TM teachers we were required to sign a "pledge of loyalty" to the Maharishi and his dead teacher that the TM movement claimed relied on the "laws of karma for enforcement -- which operate for all eternity." (Remember, after four months of 6-hour a day meditation-induced trance and round-the-clock indoctrination, most of us would have signed anything.)

Far from bad karma, we believe exposing the inner workings of the TM movement and the Natural Law Party is simply good civics. A good citizen owes it to others to raise an alarm if he or she suspects a danger may exist to fellow citizens.

Where would we be if good citizens around the world did not report, and even litigate, their problems with medications, cigarettes, and other products that may have dangerous side effects for a significant number of people.

Finally, many former TM teachers feel it is a sad duty that we atone in whatever way we can for the thousands of people we misled over the years through lies, misrepresentations, fraud, and hiding the serious side effects of Transcendental Meditation and cultic involvement with the organization.
As a formerTM teacher and faculty member of Maharishi International University explains we misled our students when we told them that TM was not religious, had no side effects, led to levitation, and on and on, when we knew -- or at the very least suspected -- these were not the case. "I deliberately withheld information from students because I was instructed to by the Maharishi and the leaders on my TM teacher training course.... Some TM teachers will lie to you knowingly under the justification that it is OK to deceive people to bring them to higher knowledge. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has taught for many years that the 'wise do not confound the ignorant,' which justifies all sorts of deception."

A final note: Many of us are not critical of meditation itself for most people. Meditation is one of nature's miracles. For most people it is an extraordinary experience that adds much to life. Dr. Herbert Benson, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard University, and other researchers have shown that many forms of meditation offer specific benefits, such as lowered blood pressure and increased relaxation when practiced regularly. And TM seems to be as good or better than any of the forms of meditation that we know of. (Coauthor, with Maharishi University of Management's Keith Wallace, of seminal research on Transcendental Meditation, Dr. Benson later denied that the results from TM were substantively different from other forms of meditation.)

We believe that the majority of people who practice TM will find that they enjoy it. We believe it is as good as similar techniques taught by Hindus, Christians, Muslims, hypnotherapists, and others. We do, however, think there is evidence that it is either not effective, not enjoyable, or downright dangerous for a certain percentage of the population, on the order of 10% to 20%. But the bottom line is if you enjoy Transcendental Meditation and the religious aspects or repressive policies of the TM movement do not conflict with your beliefs, why not do it?

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Some topics discussed on this site:Natural Law Party, NLP, John Hagelin, politics, TM, ayurveda, Transcendental Meditation, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Ayur Veda, Alternative Medicine, Psychology, Politics, cult, thought reform, mind control, mantra.

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