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Chapter 6 of 7



It is notable that for the main part only those people gave up T.M. who had not gone past a particular imaginative threshold within the movement. They were usually just ordinary meditators, didn't go on many courses and didn't meditate longer than one hour daily. Insiders found it very difficult to break the T. M. habit. Only a few managed to do it, and some became even more involved with T.M. after they had attempted to get out of it.

Table 47: Continued membership.
table GIF

54% had given up T.M.; 38% (11) from group 1, 88% from group 2, 12% (3) meditate still, but without contact with the organization) and only one from group 3.

Table 48: Reasons for giving up T.M. or /breaking off contact with the movement.
table GIF

Most gave up T.M. (8) because they found another group or organization. Next were those (7) who noticed negative effects on their personality; 6 meditators had negative experiences with the organization, 5 found that the meditation had brought nothing of value to their lives. 3 were motivated to stop as a result of a bad experience with the meditation and 3 stopped after they had received information on the background of T.M.


"...because I found out that T.M. is a load of humbug - I found absolutely no positive effects for me in doing it. (2)

"I distanced myself from the organization - the aims of the organization are false..." (2)

"...didn't bring anything of value..." (2)

".. .the lack of readiness to transform meditation into social activity, i.e. to help others..." (2)

"...they didn't let him in the center anymore because of his sickness he's not a good advertisement for T.M., a sort of banning from the center - he blames himself, it was his fault and not the others - today they don't want to see him in the center anymore. " (1)

"...because T.M. doesn't bring results, in spite of the promises they give, and because of the bad experiences I've had...' (2)

"...because the promises weren't fulfilled (T.M. teacher)...I had no joy in my work anymore, and I couldn't be responsible any longer for telling others that it was good..."(2)

"...the over-sensitivity that is developed doesn't go well with a teaching job..." (2)

"...he stopped T.M. because he had a nervous breakdown and had to undergo psychiatric treatment - he also had to take medi[c]ation - he had no friends anymore, was totally socially isolated, now he just lies in bed, looks into the distance, idles around a lot and doesn't speak anymore..."(l)

"...when I discovered that I was dependent, I didn't want to do it anymore - I noticed that it really put me out when I wasn't meditating anymore..." (2)

"...I stopped T.M. because I can't do it anymore - they should have at least tried to help me..." (2)

"...had to leave, was sent away by the movement because she had a nervous breakdown" (1)

"...because of the madness and the voices..."(l)

"...a christian had pointed out to me that T.M. was essentially a religious practice because of that I viewed it objectively - I had noticed even before that how meditators did not give one an impression of freedom." (2)

"...I was introduced to something new. " (2)


Other difficulties listed by people after the termination of links with T.M. were - no apartment (i.e. no place in which to live), bad job prospects and tight financial situation. Meditators who were completely involved in the organization had to build a new existence for themselves, since they had in most cases sacrificed years of time, money, and energy on the T.M. movement.

Table 49: Difficulties in relation to living accommodation, work, financial situation, in social and personal aspect. (more than one indication possible).
table GIF


"He's now living at home again, even thought[sic] he didn't live there before. He's unable to work, can't take any pressure whatsoever and has no income." (1/97)

"He spent 14 days at home and after that had to stay in various clinics; is unable to work. We [parents] supported him financially." (1/97)

"We had to leave our apartment, of which a part was used as the local T.M. center. Our son was only fit to work as an unskilled laborer." (1/97]

"I had to leave Seelisburg and had no place to stay, so I lived with my girlfriend. As regards work, I could do just about nothing." (2/97)

"I had signed a guarantee to a financial institution, which I now had to honor." (2/97)

"Little work satisfaction, headaches, slow in thinking. It took two years for me to start on a new basis. I was also earning a lot less after two years" (2/97)

In the social sphere 57% (21) had difficulties after stopping T.M. Ex-meditators report of social isolation, withdrawal symptoms, desperation and inability to work. Not only were problems resulting form[sic] physical illness alleged, but also as a result of the shift in the framework of perception and the leaving aside of the mantra, which, after years of use cannot be forgotten and crops up in all types of situations; and with it all the memories of the T.M. period. It often takes years before ex-meditators can come to terms with what happens during this time.


"A lot of furniture had to be taken away, because they were a reminder of the T.M. thing." (2/97)

"He made several attempts to become independent of Seelisburg. After Seelisburg was over, everything went forward again, and L. was more reality-oriented."( 1/97)

"I had withdrawal symptoms. When I stopped the mediation, I slept an awful lot. During my holidays I took up with the mantra again, and I went all funny again, I just wanted to sleep again," (2/98)

"Since I've stopped meditating, everything with the T.M. people is wrecked, they were really angry with me. They had a huge amount of arguments ready and were able to give me an answer for everything. A friend and two others really let me have it, they were living in the T.M. center." (2/98)

"Towards the end of my T.M. phase I had become so sensitized, that I had to take drugs so that I could make it bearable." (2/98)

"I had no contact with meditators or my social surroundings, I lived in isolation." (2/98)

"Inside I was often just despairing." (2/98)

"I thought I wasn't normal and wasn't suited to the others. I had no pattern anymore, spoke a lot faster and didn't know what to do with myself." (2/98)

Table 50: Help for those leaving practice of T.M. (more than one indication possible)

table GIF Confidants (52%) and families (32%) were the most common forms of help for those stopping the practice. Also a help were groups, manual work (28%), holidays (20%), new aims or tasks (20%) and medical treatment (20%).

Those meditators could be helped most effectively who still had good surviving relationships to their families, who met with an understanding person with whom they could discuss their experiences, and who in a group took on a cheerful lifestyle (physical, mental or musical activities). In this way ex-meditators were able to build up a critical barrier against the specific T.M. oriented perception of reality. They learned to deal with everyday reality, normal stress situations, and have a relationship with people who were themselves non-meditators.

Up until then T.M. was seen as a fulfilling set of meaningful values. After they stopped T.M., meditators, as a rule, distanced themselves from those meaningful values as well. A vacuum is created which some meditators fill by getting involved in other Hindu-oriented and antrophosophical organizations*, or by conversion to Christianity. 47% of those in our investigation had learned T.M. because they sought a meaningful purpose. They were disillusioned with T.M. They had to look for more durable truths and values.

*[translator's note:] I have used the word antrophosophical; it has to do with teachings like Rudolf Steiners.

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