Overview and Comments
3 Days Checking Notes, 2
35 "Science of
Creative Intelligence." During the introductory lectures TM teachers
frequently reassure you that TM is not a religion, philosophy, lifestyle,
and so forth. Yet during the Second Night, without explanation or
warning, they begin discussion and indoctrination into the Maharishi's
theology. SCI has been found by American
courts to be religious and a religion, and so subject to the
constitutional sanctions and protections of all other religions.
"A new page of the book of history of his life" Note the
heightened, even apocalyptic language that the Maharishi uses to describe
the second day of meditation. Lifton discusses
"loading the language," "sacred science," and
"dispensing of existence." One theme that neither he nor other
theorists discuss to my knowledge is "apocalyptic vision."
Although this theme might be considered a cross set of Lifton's eight
themes, it is such a prevalent characteristic in its own right, that I
would argue it deserves it's own status as a ninth.
How does one motivate a "customer" to buy a product right
now? "One-day" sales. "Going out of business"
sales. "Normally, I wouldn't do this, but I need to make my quota
today...." "You never know when an earthquake might hit, you
better be prepared now." "You never know when your loved
one might have a blowout on the highway."
The sales person looks for some specific reason to act now or
lose the opportunity -- even hinting at dire consequences if you fail to
act in time.
"Cults," especially religious ones, have raised this technique
to an art form. In multi-level marketing, the group leader urges that you
must join at the earliest possible level to become wealthy and avoid
poverty -- several even suggest you can preserve the "American way
of life" only if you join as soon as possible. Religious cults
nearly all portray their organization as the only means to defeat the
"forces of evil," perhaps even to avert the destruction of the
Here in this innocent phrase, the Maharishi begins to prepare the new
initiate for this apocalyptic vision. Using language reminiscent of
"being born again," he begins to intimate that there is much
more to TM than simple relaxation -- with forces and consequences at
stake far beyond reducing personal anxiety.
It is not unusual for long-term, committed TMers to assert that TM
"saved their life," "saved America," even averted
World War III. This belief is frequently cited as justification for
whatever deception the TM movement and the Maharishi used to trick them
into starting meditation.
More than one TM supporter has insisted that TM includes no rite of
confession as defined by Lifton:
"sessions in which one confesses to one's sin ... accompanied by
patterns of criticism and self-criticism, generally transpiring within
small groups with an active and dynamic thrust toward personal change
.... An act of symbolic self-surrender.... Makes it virtually impossible
to attain a reasonable balance between worth and humility" TM-EX
refers to the checking procedures as similar to
confession -- and this seems reasonable. But by far the most obvious
example of confession in the TM movement takes place in the dozens of
forms, requiring intimate details of one's personal life, which one must
complete before each level of instruction, subjected to a thorough review
and judgment at the local, national, and international levels. As I point
out in the discussion of these forms, they are one
of the main engines of fear and control in the TM movement.
theory of "stress release" is unique to TM, with no known
correlate in Western Science or Vedic literature. The closest analogue is
the "burning of the seeds of karma" in the Bhagavad Gita, and
the kriyas in Kundalini and similar Tantric yogas.
Maharishi refers to "stress" as a "foreign material"
in the physical body -- a highly pseudo-scientific understanding. See the
German Study for an
interesting discussion of this theory. The Study also discusses the
relationship of stress and
"snowplow" analogy goes something like this: "When a
snowplow clears a road it throws snow off to the side. That way, it not
only removes the obstruction but moves ahead at maximum speed. TM is like
that. We don't bother with the stresses one at a time -- or obstruct our
path with piles of debris from release of stress. With maximum grace and
efficiency, we clear the way and advance at the same time."
"We may feel some uneasiness, some roughness." Try as hard as
you might, you will find no reference to "roughness" in the
introductory lectures to TM. Yet here two days after instruction, the
Maharishi is letting new initiates in on the secret: "Fasten your
seat belts, we're in for a bumpy ride." Initially, he talks about
roughness only in meditation, but in the later in this evening he will reference
roughness outside of meditation -- the infamous "unstressing,"
or negative side effects of TM, that begin showing up for many TMers
within a short time. Also the neat use of reframing. New meditators don't want to
quit TM because it is boring, actually "something good is
"During meditation, unknowingly, some little effort has occurred and
owing to that some stress has accumulated." According to the
Maharishi, not only is TM powerful, but even a slight mistake can be
"dangerous." A far cry from the "easy, natural
technique" promised in the introductory lectures! Interestingly
enough, the Maharishi's insistence that "straining" or
concentrating can cause headaches and other unpleasant sensations seems
to simply be false. Silva Mind Control, most Yogic meditations,
candle-gazing, in fact most meditations, recommend intent concentration.
But there is no indication that any of these produce any more headaches
or discomfort than does TM. In fact, during my nearly 20 years of
teaching TM, the few practitioners of "other systems" that I
instructed all questioned this point vociferously. I suspect that the
Maharishi is laying down a smoke screen here: If anything is unpleasant,
it must be your fault for trying.
case some of it continues to be felt after two minutes, don't mind --
easily get up and start activity." More reframing of a normal experience as somehow
magical. Sleep researchers find that most people move from light Stage I
REM sleep to Stage II or even III sleep within 20 to 30 minutes. This can
disrupt the body's clock. We all experience waking up from a light
afternoon nap refreshed. But if we are awakened from Stage II or III
sleep, the body and mind have begun the process of shutting down,
becoming immobile, and so forth. The result? If we awaken from too deep
an afternoon nap, we may feel groggy, sluggish, feel disoriented, or have
various unpleasant sensations in the body. No need to invoke "stress
release" or any other cosmic process. Yet this experience becomes
yet another "proof" that TM works for the committed TMer.
"Whether during meditation we find the inward or outward
predominates...." More nonfalsifiable
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