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Transcendental Meditation


Vets use Transcendental Meditation (TM) to treat PTSD—with the Pentagon’s support

“Mary-Ann Rich rises at precisely 4:45 every morning. After feeding her cat, she returns to bed and rests with her back against the headboard, her eyes closed. There she sits for 20 minutes, motionless, her mind drifting far from the images of burned and blown up bodies that have haunted her for a decade. ‘I would rather miss sleep than miss meditation,’ the 63-year-old Rich tells me in her home in San Francisco. ‘I will be late for work rather than miss my meditation.’ …Rich says she’d always been ‘suspicious’ of such things. But by the time she found TM, she was isolated, agitated, and desperate for a breakthrough. She suffered through recurrent dreams of being covered in blood, laid out on top of garbage bags stuffed with severed limbs. ‘We did an awful lot of amputations,’ she explains. She says that TM, more than any kind of therapy or pharmaceutical, has kept these horrors at bay. She’s one of thousands of veterans who have turned to TM to treat their PTSD—with blessing of the Pentagon and the Veterans Administration, which are struggling to treat the epidemic levels of PTSD and suicide among Iraq and Afghanistan vets. (Twenty percent of recent combat vets have PTSD or depression, and approximately 20 veterans commit suicide every day.) The effort has been spearheaded by the David Lynch Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks director to promote TM worldwide. Aided by $30 million in grants from the Pentagon and the National Institutes of Health, Lynch’s foundation has worked with VA centers, Army and Marine bases, and veterans’ organizations to bring TM to vets and active-duty soldiers. …In 2012, the Department of Defense put up $2.4 million for an ongoing study comparing TM with prolonged-exposure therapy, one of the VA’s preferred treatments for PTSD. …In January 2016, 74 active-duty service members with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress participated in a study on TM at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Half learned TM; the other half did not. After a month, only 11 percent of those who practiced TM had increased their medication levels, compared with more than 40 percent of those who weren’t meditating. …Vets like Castano and Rich don’t see TM as a cure for their PTSD. Rich’s eyes well up when she recalls working on victims of torture who arrived at her hospital with ‘every bone in their body broken,’ or burn victims who knew they were going to die. Those painful memories are still there, but increasingly, they seem like a thing of the past. ‘Very recently,’ she says, ‘I’ve started to feel happiness, which I hadn’t felt in years.’” (Mother Jones, 07/22/17) [8.3]

Transcendental Meditation is taking over Wall Street—here’s how it works

“Five years ago, Ray Dalio—founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates—declared Transcendental Meditation (TM) to be ‘the single biggest influence’ on his life. Over the past few years, TM has made its way into the mainstream, with celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld and Arianna Huffington proclaiming its benefits, and doctors around the United States recommending it to patients with anxiety and high blood pressure, given its approval by agencies like the American Heart Association.… Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, TM’s founder, was a young man with a physics degree when he traveled to the Indian Himalayas to study as a Hindu monk under Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, the leader of the monastery in Jyotir Math. When the Maharishi—a title that means ‘seer’ and is commonly used as shorthand—began his global tour of spreading TM in 1958, he made it clear that although he and his guru were Hindu monks and TM was rooted in the ancient Vedic scriptures, his practice was not tied to the Hindu faith.… ‘I think where we are today is where Maharishi always wanted it to be,’ DLF [David Lynch Foundation] director Bob Roth told me, ‘which is science-based, and evidence-based, and fits in with medicine and mainstream wellness programs.’’’ (Business Insider, 11/10/16) [IT 8.2]

Work advances on “peace palace” in Rendlesham

Richard Johnson, the national director of the Maharishi Foundation, is working on building a peace palace in Rendlesham, United Kingdom. The palace is being built for beginner and advanced courses in Transcendental Meditation (TM) that include consciousness-based education and natural health care known as Ayurveda and a program of community events. The palace is scheduled to open in September of 2016. (East Anglian Daily Times, 08/13/15) [IT 7.1 2016]

Hollywood filmmaker David Lynch, a Transcendental Meditation (TM) practitioner for 40 years and creator of the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, teaches the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s version of meditation in his Hollywood studio and around the world (where he speaks mostly to college-age audiences). His approach seems to have two strains: the first strain includes relaxation techniques aimed to assist a range of individuals as disparate as school children and war veterans suffering from PTSD; the second strain, and apparently unconnected to the first, is a spiritual approach to existence. Lynch’s initiates include numerous public figures, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Ellen DeGeneres, Russell Simmons, Katy Perry, Susan Sarandon, Candy Crowley, and Soledad O’Brien. Some of them assist in his fundraisers, and some became involved thanks to testimonials from Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Jerry Seinfeld, and other celebrities. The name of Maharishi Mahesh Yoga, and past controversies concerning TM, do not seem to appear in Lynch’s program. (The New York Times, 2/22/13) [IT 4.2 2013] 

The Maharishi Free School in Lancashire, a government-supported school where students practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice daily and receive “consciousness-based” education, has been reprimanded for failing to have any of its pupils take compulsory national curriculum tests. The school Web site says, “Creativity and intelligence are systematically developed with a few minutes of transcendental meditation at the beginning and end of the school day.” (BBC News, 12/13/12) [IT 4.1 2013] 

Regarding Robert Schneider’s defense of his Transcendental Meditation paper: “A trial with barely 200 patients cannot be expected to provide broad answers about the health benefits of a novel intervention.” And why did the “Archives of Internal Medicine ... withdraw the paper only 12 minutes before its scheduled publication”? Moreover, how can there be “a new and improved version” in 2012 of the original 2007 paper,unless there were serious flaws in the earlier version? ... I am deeply concerned about the way this trial [of a TM heart disease treatment mode] will be used, or misused, to “sell” the brand of Transcendental Meditation in the broadest possible population, ie, [sic] everyone. TM may reduce heart disease risks for healthy people as well as those with heart conditions, and meditation may help the latter, “but it will never be a cure for heart disease and won’t replace other treatments.” [The article concludes with a technical response by Sanjay Kaul to the foregoing critique, written by Larry Hurston.] (Forbes, 11/25/12) [IT 4.1 2013] 

A number of land trusts in Delhi, Chattisgarth, and Madhya Pradesh founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi were “illegally sold off” by some trust members without any authorization from the trust, this according to rivals who claim to be the real trustees and disciples of Maharishi. The trusts became “non-functional” following the death of their founder in 2008. (Daily Pioneer, 1/23/12) [IT 3.2 2012] 

The movie David Wants to Fly, which is critical of Transcendental Meditation, was shown again February 15, 2012, on Bavarian TV. [IT 3.2 2012] 

Transcendental Meditation (TM). A German translation of the book Behind the Mask of the Clown, by Swedish author Conny Larsson, is now available. For many years, the author was a follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and later of Sai Baba. A movie critical of TM, David Wants to Fly, has been shown repeatedly on TV. [IT 3.1 2012] 

Transcendental Meditation (TM) has experienced some setbacks from the movie David Wants to Fly, by David Sieveking. Nevertheless, “Raja” Emanuel Schiffgens, head of TM Germany, hopes to make Germany invincible. He also has proposed a “cosmic constitution” for Germany and plans to build a “Tower of Invincibility” at Oebisfelde near Wolfsburg. [IT 2.1 2011]

In a letter to the Orlando Sentinel in April, a mother reports that when her son studied Transcendental Meditation in his high school philosophy class he began chanting and burning incense at home. She sued to remove the course from the curriculum. The school board’s lawyer argued: “This is not a class in religion. It’s only a course in philosophy.” A judge ordered an end to the offering, citing a New Jersey decision that TM involves instruction about a Supreme Being or power, which violates the First Amendment.[csr 8.2, 2009) 

Physicist Victor Stenger, in Quantum Gods: Creation, chaos, and the search for cosmic consciousness, debunks the uses of quantum physics concepts in certain contemporary belief systems. One approach—Stenger calls it “Quantum theology”—offers quantum physics as a way for God to act in the world without violating natural laws. Transcendental Meditation provides an example of this specious way of thinking. “Quantum spirituality” is equally untenable. It is rooted in the idea that quantum physics connects the human mind to the universe, allowing people to create their own reality. But there is no evidence, Stenger says, that the brain operates quantum mechanically. [csr 8.2, 2009) 

Beatles Ringo Starr and Sir Paul McCartney spoke earlier this year about what Transcendental Meditation had done for them. They were appearing in a concert at Radio City Music Hall, in New York City, organized by filmmaker David Lynch to help bring TM to a million children. McCartney told the audience, “It started for us when we met the Maharishi in India, and it is going to get bigger and bigger and rule the world.” At a press conference, Starr said, “”Over 40 years ago, we ended up in Rishikesh. That is where we hung out with Maharishi. . . Since then, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, I have meditated. It’s a gift he gave me.” [csr 8.2, 2009) 

The women were part of an inner circle of residents at the ashram, one of the largest Hindu worship centers in the U.S. and part of the widespread Jagadgru Kripalu ParharP), an organization founded by Krippalu, who is considered a living saint by tens of thousands of followers, almost all of them in India. Practices include twice-daily meditations as well as service and devotion to the gurus, who are felt to be mediums who can “grace” devotees to enter God’s presence. One of Kripalu’s accusers says: “It was just his [Kripalu’s] nature to charm women,” adding that her intimacy with him never went beyond kissing and fondling. Another woman, who came to the ashram after two decades of Transcendental Meditation, told how she remained there for many years even after an early groping incident with Kripalu. Yet another tells how, as a teenager, the guru fondled her on many occasions when she spent the night sleeping next to his bed. One woman says she performed oral sex on him. Another maintains that he groped her private parts. The testimonies of many of these women make it clear that more experienced followers assisted the guru in effecting his sexual liaisons. [csr 8.1, 2009)

Film director David Lynch, who has practiced yogic flying for 34 years, is organizing a “global benefit” to be held in New York in April to raise money to teach Transcendental Meditation to school children. He believes that the world will change “overnight” if enough children learn the practice, and that if one per cent decide to practice TM in groups, they will bring about world peace. Lynch became close to TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi when he attended the guru’s Millionaire’s Enlightenment Course. [csr 8.1, 2009) 

A settlement has been reached in a suit brought by the estate of a former student at Transcendental Meditation’s Maharishi School of Management, in Fairfield, IA. It is alleged that the school was negligent in not preventing the stabbing death of Levi Butler at the hands of fellow student Shuvender Sem in 2004, even though Sem was a paranoid schizophrenic with a long history of violent assault who had earlier in the same day as the murder attacked another student by stabbing him in the face with a ballpoint pen. “Had defendants followed their own stated policy of reporting all serious crimes to local authorities,” the suit says, ”Shuvender Sem would have been arrested after the attack on John Killian, and Levi Butler would be alive today.” . . . Authorities are considering an application from a private school, where students practice TM, to sponsor and run two government-funded schools as part of the Labour party’s flagship academies program. Pupils would meditate for 10 minutes twice a day. Proponents say that this would lead to increased creativity and improved intelligence. TM says the schools would be open to students of all faiths and that meditation is not based on religion. [csr 8.1, 2009) 

The estate of the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder and leader of Transcendental Meditation, is conservatively estimated to be worth £600 million. The guru’s anointed successor is Lebanese former research scientist Maharaj Nader Ram (formerly Dr. Tony Nader), who said that 48 “towers of invincibility” would be built in 48 countries in order to continue the Maharishi’s teachings. Another report says that the guru’s successor is Allahabad Maharaja Adhiraj. [csr 7.3 2008) 

The ashes of Transcendental Meditation founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the “physicist-turned spiritual guru” who died in Amsterdam in February, were in April “immersed” in India’s Narmada River. [csr 7.2 2008) 

Transcendental Meditation’s Global Country of World Peace says it’s getting closer to beginning construction of a $13 million peace palace project in three municipalities near Cleveland following a revision of a plan rejected in 2007 by one of the towns. Said the Mayor of Mayfield Heights: “We’ve never had a problem with their plan or their beliefs. It’s always been because the building they wanted to build would have been too close to the street and a neighboring lot.” [csr 7.1 2008) 

A group of Montreal-area school principals wants to introduce Transcendental Meditation into the curriculum, an idea derided by The Gazette newspaper editorialist on the ground that TM is a religious practice best promoted in community-based programs. [csr 6.1 2007] 

A Transcendental Meditation (TM) spokesman says TM meditators in Iowa and Washington, D.C., deserve credit for improvements in Lebanon, Gulf Coast weather, and the stock market, among other positive world developments. . . In light of strongly voiced criticism from anti-cult lawyer Ford Greene, and the David Lynch Foundation’s withdrawal of promised funds to mount it, a Marin County, CA, high school has dropped plans to set up a TM program there. Nonetheless, the school principal, who proposed the program, said she’d encourage students to pursue interests in meditation, which she believes is an effective way to reduce stress.[csr 5.3 2006] 

The Chairman of the Transcendental Meditation Society in Israel has called on the government to recruit a group of 256 “Yogic Flyers” who, using an advanced TM technique, would create a shield of invincibility around the country and bring an immediate end to the violence with Hezbollah. He says the advanced meditation technique brings consciousness to a level where thinking is without content, where the Flyer connects with the “source of all energy and intelligence — beyond any thought and at the same time the source of all thought.” [csr 5.3 2006] 

Transcendental Meditation is building a new establishment in Smith Center, KS, that will house 2,000 professional mediators who, the organization believes, will bring peace and invincibility to the U.S. “The feeling is that unless you reduce the stress in collective consciousness, no (other) effort to create peace is ever going to bear fruit,” a TM spokesman said. Leading a group of ministers opposed to the new project, the pastor of Smith Center’s Evangelical Free Church declared, “They say they’re not a religion. I say they’re a sect of Hinduism. Bottom line is, I don’t buy you can be a Christian and a Hindu at the same time.” The mayor, reflecting apparent widespread hostility, said, “Their way of life and this community’s way of life are just about as opposite as you could get. Is it going to affect us? Yes. Because cultures will clash. We just hope we can co-exist.” A newly formed local group has called in cult experts and former TM practitioners to denigrate the movement. The town has placed a moratorium on land use changes and many vow to boycott businesses that deal with TM. Others say the establishment will help the moribund local economy.[csr 5.3 2006] 

A Marin Independent Journal editorial of 10/16/06 says parents of students in San Rafael, CA, have legitimate concerns about Terra Linda High School’s decision to offer Transcendental Medication (TM) as the stress management part of a new wellness program because TM has religious overtones. The proposed TM unit is made possible by a $175,000 grant from filmmaker David Lynch’s foundation. At a presentation on the benefits of TM, anti-cult lawyer Ford Greene asked pointed questions that dominated the session, and one parent, who said she’d taught TM for 35 years, called it a “destructive cult.” . . . In response to the threat of a lawsuit, Smith County, KS, officials have decided not to use a zoning moratorium in an attempt to keep a TM affiliate from building 12 marble “peace palaces” on local farmland it has purchased. County commissioners say they are still seeking ways to prevent the development.[csr 5.3 2006] 

Transcendental Meditation (TM) plans to open up a second Iowa City Maharishi Enlightenment Center soon, and the organization hopes to inaugurate a third in Coraville and a Peace Palace in Iowa City. Global Organization for World Peace is heading the effort to establish 300 enlightenment centers and 3,000 Peace Palaces worldwide. . . Maharishi Global Financing, an arm of TM, is offering $14 trillion worth of “World Peace Bonds for Poverty Removal” and promising a return of up to 15 percent per year, a goal it will likely not achieve, according to financial analysts. [csr 5.1 2006] 

The International Meditation Society of Israel has established an organization called “A Rule of Order, Strength and Peace: The Actualization of the Universe’s Constitution in Israel’s National Life.” The new entity calls on leaders to adopt the techniques developed by Transcendental Meditation founder Maharishi Mahesh to banish social ills and bring world peace. . . Deepak Chopra says that Maharishi lost his temper and broke with the Beatles because they were taking drugs during a visit to his ashram. . . Maharishi, now 89, continues to head the TM movement and to think and speak about world peace from his home in Vlodro, Netherlands. His aides say that Maharishi, who doesn’t want to speak about the past, is disappointed that TM became identified with the counterculture. . . TM plans to open a grade school and university in Lancaster, MA, expanding upon a health center that’s been there since 1985. [csr 5.1 2006] 

The Global Country for World Peace, “the organization at the heart of Transcendental Meditation [TM] practice worldwide,” has bought land in St. Paul, MN, on which to build a two-story, 12,000-square-foot building to house yoga and meditation classes and store literature and health products. . . Discussing TM’s claims that its meditation can lower blood pressure, a Wall Street Journal article says most of the research data supporting the claims comes from scientists with ties to the movement. Cardiologists say it may work, but cite high costs in time and money. . . Recent civil lawsuits allege that TM’s Maharishi University of Management, in Fairfield, IA, failed to protect a student stabbed to death by a deranged fellow student whom the administration had taken into custody following the non-fatal stabbing of another student only hours earlier. The school at first explained the actions of the killer — who was found guilty by reason of insanity — as the result of improper meditation. The suits allege that TM meditation was dangerous for the mentally ill student and that it can “magnify psychological problems, including the likelihood and severity of aggressive and violent behavior.” [csr 5.1 2006] 

Transcendental Meditation’s Global Country of World Peace has purchased from the Unification Church a heavily wooded property near Pittsburgh and plans to build a $3 million, marble-clad, two-story Maharishi Peace Palace there. An introductory lecture on TM was scheduled for the local Holiday Inn. . . . The TM organization has broken ground on a planned $14 million World Capital of Peace, in Smith Center, KS, which will be devoted in part to organic farming. The mayor of the town of 1,800, who says, “We don’t have much going for us,” added that he’s glad he went to the groundbreaking “because the rumors are it’s a cult and they are going to make underground bunkers and build nuclear weapons. That’s not what they are about.”. . . TM held a seminar in Colorado Springs, CO, in April attended by about 100 people, some of them educators from local school districts who, organizers hope, will suggest bringing meditation into the classroom. TM says its technique reduces high blood pressure, increases creativity, boosts brain function, and helps with attention deficit disorder. . . . TM on April 28 was to have begun the “Greater Cincinnati 30-day Experiment for Peace,” aiming to get at least 3,000 people to pray and meditate for a month, thereby inducing a “peaceful field of consciousness” that will change “the energic climate in which thoughts are formed.” This will, they say, create the “Maharishi effect,” thus reducing the crime rate. [csr 5.1 2006] 

Book Warns of Dangers 
Walt Larimore, a physician and co-author of Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook, says a recent Washington Post article that praised Transcendental Meditation failed to describe the potential emotional damage shown to be associated with the practice. [csr 4.1 2005] 

"One study showed that almost half of those that were active as transcendental meditation trainers reported episodes of anxiety, depression, and confusion, while some of them have frustration, mental and physical tension. . . It was really dramatically negative." He also notes another study documenting psychiatric hospitalizations and attempted suicides among practitioners. He added that TM, by opening the mind, makes it vulnerable to evil spirits. (Mary Rettig, Agape Press, 1/18/05) [csr 4.1 2005] 

Considered for Schools 
The Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago is considering Transcendental Meditation to help underperforming students do better. A ministry official said a seminar for teachers on TM aims “to open up their eyes” to the benefits of meditation. [csr 3.3 2004] 

The featured presenter, Dr. Alarik Alexander, of Iowa’s Brain Research Institute [a department of Maharishi International University, the seat of the Transcendental Meditation movement], said he has seen TM practice “improving self-confidence, social interaction, and academic performance.” The president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association, although unaware of the consideration given to TM, has said: “Anything dealing with prayer and meditation” being implemented in the schools would be a positive thing. (Trinidad and Tobago Express, Internet, 5/15/04) [csr 3.3 2004] 

Considered for Schools 
The Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago is considering Transcendental Meditation to help underperforming students do better. A ministry official said a seminar for teachers on TM aims “to open up their eyes” to the benefits of meditation. [csr 3.2 2004] 

The featured presenter, Dr. Alarik Alexander, of Iowa’s Brain Research Institute [a department of Maharishi International University, the seat of the Transcendental Meditation movement], said he has seen TM practice “improving self-confidence, social interaction, and academic performance.” The president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association, although unaware of the consideration given to TM, has said: “Anything dealing with prayer and meditation” being implemented in the schools would be a positive thing. (Trinidad and Tobago Express, Internet, 5/15/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004] 

No Tax Exemption 
The North Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that the Transcendental Meditation center near Boone is not tax exempt, thus upholding a lower court ruling that the Maharishi Spiritual Center of America’s primary purpose is the practice of meditation rather than educational, charitable, or scientific work. (Emery P. Delsio, AP in Raleigh News & Observer, Internet, 5/3/03) [csr 2.2 2003] 

“Peace Palace” Planned 
Transcendental Meditation has announced plans to build a $4.5 million “peace palace” in Birmingham (England) aimed to reduce crime and violence through mind power. A TM representative says that scientific research has found that large groups practicing TM and yogic flying [hopping on a mat in a yoga position] reduce “negative trends in society, most notable the crime rate.” (Tony Collins, Birmingham Post, Internet, 8/21/02) [csr 1.3 2002]