David Lynch's Peace Plan

The filmmaker discusses his love for Transcendental Meditation--and why he's seeking $7 billion and 8,000 meditation students.

ryan_

07/31/2009 07:51:53 AM

TM is great because it can be done easily and by anyone. Even professionals like Jerry Seinfeld say:... “I’ve been practicing Transcendental Meditation most of my life. I think that does something to your nervous system. It has given me a calmness I don’t think I had at 19.” It great and there are enormous health benefits from meditation Warm wishes, ryan PS if you want more information on TM check out http://www.alternative-spiritual-healing.com/how-to-do-transcendental-meditation.html

Saarro

06/01/2008 06:14:53 PM

So you guys think everything should be free right? You think nothing of spending that sort of money on a new pc or holiday? When will ppl sit up and take notice? The more you thin you cannot make a differnce the more you dis empower yourselves. Stay bubbled in your safe cocoons, slating the fact that ppl charge reasonable money to learn an ancient art that could just change your life and the world around you. And then when it all come crashing down - look around with bewilderment and confusion as to where it all went wrong. Inaction is the greatest travesity of the modern world. Apathy and procrastination, selfishness and self absorbment, materialiasm and greed - they are our modern plagues. Long live the 'I can't be bothered to do anything brigade' three cheers for you.

maya3

02/10/2008 10:40:19 AM

2500 dollars!!? No, this has lost all my respect now. You surely cannot have world peace in mind if only those who are rich can afford to learn to meditate for peace. My ashram certainly would NEVER charge that much money for anything, and we meditate for peace just fine. Maya

protestant_irish

01/18/2008 05:32:40 PM

I think it could help, but to bring world peace gonna take whole lot more out there then that.

Lewis-Eliot

04/26/2007 07:50:54 PM

"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom." [ Malcolm X ]

Deodar

04/22/2007 08:54:29 PM

Does self-preservation come from the Eternal, the instinctual, innate reaction that comes upon us and keeps us from harm? We have all experienced this, just as a child exhibits these instinctual tendencies when reacting to the extreme heat of an open flame or hot burner. We all know, from what we experience externally and internally, that our conscious acts spring from our desires and our fears. Intuition tells us that this is true also of our fellows and of the higher animals. We all try to escape pain and death, while we seek what is pleasant. We are all ruled in what we do by impulses; and these impulses are so organised that our actions in general serve for our self preservation and that of the race.

Deodar

04/22/2007 08:53:06 PM

Hunger, love, pain, fear are some of those inner thoughts which rule the individual's instinct for self preservation. At the same time, as social beings, we are moved in the relations with our fellow beings by such feelings as sympathy, pride, hate, need for power, pity, and so on. All these primary impulses, not easily described in words, are the cause of man's actions. The provocation of action would be substantially lowered if those powerful elemental thoughts were to be conveyed within us. Though our conduct seems so very different from that of the higher animals, the primary instincts are much alike.

Deodar

04/22/2007 08:51:52 PM

The most evident difference springs from the important part which is played in man by a relatively strong power of imagination and by the capacity to think, aided as it is by language and other symbolical devices. Thought is the organising factor in man, intersected between the causal primary instincts and the resulting actions. In that way imagination and intelligence enter into our existence in the part of servants of the primary instincts. But their intervention makes our acts to serve ever less merely the immediate claims of our instincts. [ A E ] Self-preservation doesn't work entirely the same as violence; which perpetuates from an aberrant religiousness to the material world. When we look outside ourselves' do we find order? Then why do we follow the pattern? Meditation is an altruistic way to harmony and symmetry.

shaktiwoman

04/11/2006 02:14:58 PM

There was actually a study in Washington DC in June-July 1993 that proved that the larger the group meditation (TM), the lower the crime rate. Google it. You may not be able to wrap your mind around it, but meditation doesn't only help you, but it helps everyone else around you. It is both a self-nurturing AND socially beneficent thing to do. Similar to the power of prayer. Just do it- meditate!

DonnaRowe

04/10/2006 11:21:17 AM

Inasmuch as inner peace will manifest itself in more peaceful behavior, then, yes, meditation can be helpful towards achieving world peace, although it won't do it by itself. Following the Golden Rule, whatever version of it one's faith or culture teaches, would help, too.

kpelley

02/28/2006 11:31:06 PM

I have meditated for 35+ years and do not worry about mystical things like raising spiritual energy for the world. I was just trying to explain the idea that the Marhararishi has about why he believes that the world can be helped by more meditators.

jacknky

02/28/2006 01:43:36 PM

"The idea is that when meditation elevates you spiritually, that changes your energy field [soul, etc]," That's not my idea of meditation. too mystical for me. For me, it's simply that when I see more clearly I act with more clarity.

kpelley

02/26/2006 03:11:34 PM

The effect of meditators on their environment is a controversial issue. Either you believe in it or you don't. The idea is that when meditation elevates you spiritually, that changes your energy field [soul, etc], that affects those around you, and when you have a certain percentage of the population meditating, then the energy field of the whole world changes. That is the goal--to raise the spiritual energy of the world so that everyone is operating at a less material level.

nieciedo

02/24/2006 10:50:44 AM

Meditation can help the individual lead a calmer, more peaceful life. As a result, one's interactions with others tend more toward peacefulness, and that radiates outward. But to claim that a bunch of people sitting around meditating can have some mystical effect of creating peace external to the individuals doing so -- well, that is pretty far fetched. The TM people claim that special brainwaves are emitted during TM that effect the brains of others, causing less crime and increasing peace. Yet medical studies have been unable to detect these waves. As for the DC example, in any system involving humans you can't make stastistical projections like crime rates based on one weekend. And connecting the supposed drop in crime with the meditation is unproveable.

seeker36

02/24/2006 05:06:44 AM

I do so loath these simplistic polls:How about meditation will certainly help contribute to world peace? Chris.

revandre

02/23/2006 11:03:30 PM

I'm not so sure about Transcendental Meditation, but I have been doing the practice of meditation for some 35 years under the guidance of Ch'an Buddhist masters. It can bring peace to the 'outside' world because of the peace it brings to the 'inside' world. There is a report I've read, I don't remember where, about the time when 3,000 people gathered in Washington DC for meditation during a weekend. The police chief reported that the crime rate dropped by 25% during that weekend. So,... what is one to conclude from this and other indications?

jacknky

02/23/2006 12:43:52 PM

nieciedo, I'm not a defender of TM. From what I know of it I don't like the marketing and commercializing of spiritual techniques. I don't really know what TM teaches. I understand that Buddhism teaches that wisdom lead to right action. They are really one and the same, linked not separate. But these are semantics.

nieciedo

02/22/2006 01:56:44 PM

Jacknky: We are not in disagreement. Meditation may have transformed your temperament and brought you peace and wisdom, but you still needed to act on that wisdom. TM teaches that meditation alone can transform the world.

jacknky

02/22/2006 12:38:36 PM

nieciedo, "Medititation alone cannot achieve anything," It can change lives. Mine has been changed. I am no longer running around like a chicken with its head cut off doing great harm. Now I am actually doing some good, creating positive relationships and volunterring my time. It is the difference between action guided by ignorance and action guided by wisdom. Action guided by wisdom is very much an "achievement". "Meditation is good. Organizations that sell meditation as as mystical panacea and demand secrecy and lots of cash are bad." I agree. Peace...

nieciedo

02/22/2006 11:28:29 AM

I believe meditation is valuable and beneficial, but it's not the be-all and end-all. Medititation alone cannot achieve anything, contrary to the claims of the TM Organization. They say that simply having enough people practice their meditation will lower crime rates and bring world peace -- yet the crime statistics of Fairfield, IA do not support such a claim. Certainly, if everyone meditated there would be less stress and anger in the world. So if TM believes this, why not go out and preach it to the world? Give free instruction to anyone who comes! Strip away the religious ritual so all can participate! Meditation is good. Organizations that sell meditation as as mystical panacea and demand secrecy and lots of cash are bad.

nieciedo

02/22/2006 07:40:53 AM

"When meditators take their cue from the way yoga has been introduced into the West, i.e., without the Hindu religious concepts and just using its physical exercise benefits, then I see a great use for Buddhist meditational techniquesWhen meditators take their cue from the way yoga has been introduced into the West, i.e., without the Hindu religious concepts and just using its physical exercise benefits, then I see a great use for Buddhist meditational techniques" That is exactly what should be done with TM: teach the techniques without the religious folderol. That is what the TM organization CLAIMS to do, what is plainly does not do, as evidenced by the puja ritual all students must participate in.

nieciedo

02/22/2006 07:39:01 AM

If non-violence comes from the teachings of Jesus, then Gandhi must have found something in Jesus's teachings that Christians missed for 1900 years. Christian non-violence is at best maybe 100 years old, and only really came into its own with King and the Civil Rights movement.

sacredcow

02/22/2006 01:23:50 AM

When meditators take their cue from the way yoga has been introduced into the West, i.e., without the Hindu religious concepts and just using its physical exercise benefits, then I see a great use for Buddhist meditational techniques--but without the philosophy that is based upon creating a void where your sense of self should be and then projecting that Void out into the universe as if it too matched one's inner loss of emotional responses to the joys and sorrows of existence.

sacredcow

02/22/2006 01:06:56 AM

Gandhi, like Ang San Suchi, was heavily influenced by the teachings of Jesus. The non-violent resistence political activist movement began with Jesus, not with Buddha or with the Hindus. "SC, further, you state, Another example is the Buddhist Burmese democracy leader, Ang San SuShi, who follows the Christian non-violence route in her activism. So, is non-violence a good thing or a bad thing? You decry non-violence as feebly supporting the status quo in Tibetan Buddhism, yet in Christian terms it's great. Well, non-violence has been a factor in Buddhist practise for longer than Christianity has been around. Actions born of lovingkindness and compassion may not have the immediate effect of evangelical zeal but they will eventually lead to a far better result."

happy_hotei

02/21/2006 10:35:18 PM

SC, further, you state, Another example is the Buddhist Burmese democracy leader, Ang San SuShi, who follows the Christian non-violence route in her activism. So, is non-violence a good thing or a bad thing? You decry non-violence as feebly supporting the status quo in Tibetan Buddhism, yet in Christian terms it's great. Well, non-violence has been a factor in Buddhist practise for longer than Christianity has been around. Actions born of lovingkindness and compassion may not have the immediate effect of evangelical zeal but they will eventually lead to a far better result. hh

happy_hotei

02/21/2006 10:30:17 PM

Sacredcow, it would really help if you removed the chauvanistic blinders and really looked at things as they are. You say, You just don't hear of very many Buddhists or Hindus or TM members or any of the serious meditational religious meditators going the extra mile and putting their bodies on the line for helping others in desperate need. I am reminded of the haunting picture of the monk who self-immolated in the 1960s to protest the war in Vietnam. He certainly put his body on the line to help others become aware of a terrible situation. Then there was Ghandi, whose meditation and social activism led to India's freedom. There are great men and women of all faiths and their actions speak of their greatness. However, as long as you remain prejudiced against what you don't understand you will not be one of them. hh

sacredcow

02/21/2006 09:29:50 PM

"Working on ourselves is quieter than external works but I would contend still important. There is a Tibetan concept of "Enlightened Society" where each of us is working to improve society one person at a time, that person being ourselves. Action guided by both compassion and wisdom is the most effective. It is not one or the other as sacredcow indicates. We need both working together" Again, there you have it. Proof of the meditational route leading to mental stagnation and lack of social change. Tibet, where Tibetan Buddhism maintains the country in an undemocratic theocracy wherein only Buddhist priests and the Dalai Lama have any say over Tibetan lives. Is this good or bad depends on if you value democracy or your own life as equal to everyone elses in the nation you live in. Buddhist meditation seems to be teaching Tibetan Buddhists to not question religious authority and stick to traditional ways. Why buck the way things have always been?

jacknky

02/21/2006 05:28:28 PM

Working on ourselves is quieter than external works but I would contend still important. There is a Tibetan concept of "Enlightened Society" where each of us is working to improve society one person at a time, that person being ourselves. Action guided by both compassion and wisdom is the most effective. It is not one or the other as sacredcow indicates. We need both working together.

NEONATHEART

02/21/2006 04:02:32 PM

i think perhaps the reason, Sacredcow, that we do not hear about buddist and hindu activist groups is because of this- (and i say this with my head lowered,b/c i am Christain) Christains WANT the world to know about their good deeds. rather like the tobacco companies who donate ten million dollars to charity and then spend 2billion on telling people about it. christains havent been following the Bible's advice about doing charitable deeds anonymously. some are changing now. i hope in the future the christain community will continue to do good, but without worrying about the PR

nieciedo

02/21/2006 03:46:24 PM

"...the Christian non-violence route..." Christian non-violence is a relatively new development, and owes a tremendous deal to Gandhi's Hindu non-violence. But again, I agree. TM seeks relaxation and release of stress as the highest goals. Maybe we're SUPPOSED to be tense and stressed, because there's still so much suffering and evil in the world. We can all be relaxed and stress-free when the world is redeemed. And meditating ain't gonna get us there.

nieciedo

02/21/2006 03:43:56 PM

I agree with sacredcow to an extent. Although I would add that we Jews do a pretty good job on social justice issues and helping the poor and needy. We're commanded to. What I do agree with is that TM meditation is internal. Lynch says so: the answer is inside you, not out there. TM meditation focuses the individual inward. Prayer -- Jewish and Christian -- focuses the individual outward where there's work to be done. TM has no ethical value: it just relaxes and lets one have "higher consciousness." Prayer, Jewish and Christian, has an inseparable ethical mandate.

sacredcow

02/21/2006 03:32:42 PM

Another example is the Buddhist Burmese democracy leader, Ang San SuShi, who follows the Christian non-violence route in her activism. It just seems too hard to keep the no-thought brain state in place when one is engaged in the problems of the world.

sacredcow

02/21/2006 03:29:03 PM

Oh, ok, it's true I do have a strong opinion that Christians, overall, are the most active religionists in the world helping their fellow human beings. And they aren't all proselytizing but really digging into the issues they have chosen to confront, e.g., the Christian peacekeeper teams going into the Occupied Territories and Iraq. You just don't hear of very many Buddhists or Hindus or TM members or any of the serious meditational religious meditators going the extra mile and putting their bodies on the line for helping others in desperate need. Meditation seems to be the end all of their efforts at improving the lot of humankind.

NEONATHEART

02/21/2006 02:59:16 PM

while christains are certainly called to be charitable. they most certainly dont have a patent on it! sadly most christains think charity is spreading the gospel. but Christ called us to shelter the homeless, and feed the hungry. so why are so many of my fellow believers supporting an administration that gives the rich tax cuts and cuts out aide for the poor?

jacknky

02/21/2006 12:42:30 PM

sacredcow, "You have to go to the Christians because they are engaged in social activism, all around the globe." You just won't give up on this point, will you? I think it has more to do with the fact that I live in a predominantly Christian culture. I think it is a bit short-sighted to believe that my own religion or spiritual path has a corner on compassion and helping others. Those, I believe, are human traits found across cultures and belief systems.

NEONATHEART

02/21/2006 12:27:48 PM

that picture is hilarious! he's got old lady hair!!!! hehehehe sorry, i had to mention that. always finding stupid humor in things...

nieciedo

02/21/2006 12:01:19 PM

Silentfilm: There is no Conservative synagogue in Fairfield, IA. There is only one synagogue, and it is not affiliated with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Union for Reform Judaism, or the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. It may be Orthodox, but I sincerely doubt an ORTHODOX synagogue would tolerate the avodah zarah that the puja ritual represents.

nieciedo

02/21/2006 11:39:35 AM

Jacknky: I agree with you. But the cost could be justified if only it was fair. Someone who makes $30,000 a year should not have to sacrifice more to learn TM than someone who makes $60,000. It sends the message that enlightenment is only for those who can afford it. Membership dues of my synagogue are graded according to income. My Christian friends tithe a percentage of their income. Therapists offer sliding scales and take insurance. Money should not be a barrier to spiritual and mental health.

jacknky

02/21/2006 11:03:30 AM

I would totally be turned off by the $2500. I am very distrustful of those who would sell a spiritual practice. My Zen teacher lives in a cabin in the woods and accepts only Dana, willingly given contributions.

nieciedo

02/21/2006 09:45:42 AM

CONT If TM is not religious, then it should not need a religious ritual to teach it. One should not need to resort to complicated mental gymnastics to try to justify the ritual as non-religious. Mahesh repackaged TM as a scientific non-religious practice to make it more marketable in the West, outside of India. Why could he not have gone farther and made the ritual optional or do away with it altogether? After one learn TM, one doesn't have to go through a ritual each time you start to meditate. You just sit down, close your eyes, and start focusing on the mantra. I will never be able to benefit from TM, because I cannot participate in the ritual. Even if TM were the only thing that could save my life, I could not go through with it. And that's not fair. I shouldn't have to choose between TM and my God.

nieciedo

02/21/2006 09:40:33 AM

CONT. Even that is OK, because the individual can choose how involved he wants to be. If one just wants to learn how to meditate and not go any further, that's perfectly fine. What is not fine is that simply even to do that, the student is required to participate in a religious ritual, the puja. I was told that the ritual is just a way to express gratitude to "the tradition of knowledge" for learning TM, but how do you express gratitude to a tradition? I asked why isn't the $2500 enough of an offering, but the director of the TM center that the "tradition of teachers" doesn't get that money. They carry on as if the "tradition" is an entity capable of receiving gratitude. This entity is personified by Guru Dev, whose image is on the altar where the gifts are offered. I really can't see the difference between making this offering to a dead guru and a transcendent entity of a "tradition" and what most people would call "religion." CONT

nieciedo

02/21/2006 09:32:29 AM

Kathleen: That's OK. Many people don't seem to "get" us. It's been that way forever. :-) The problem is that it's very hard to define what "religion" is. The TM technique is non-religious, but it is taught in the context of an organization with a unifying philosophy, rituals, symbols, and a supreme spiritual leader. There are also varying levels of spiritual teaching within the TM organization: the deeper you go and the more involved you become, the more you learn of Mahesh's worldview, which is explicitly a modified form of Hinduism. CONT

kpelley

02/21/2006 12:25:31 AM

Niecciedo I guess I know very little about Judaism. Peace and Love Kathleen

nieciedo

02/20/2006 11:33:18 PM

kpelley: That is one of the explanations, yes. But the language and symbolic actions used relative to Guru Dev are the same as we use in worship of God. And as a Jew -- regardless of the intent -- I cannot offer such language and symbolic actions to anyone or anything but God, not even under pain of death. Jews respect our teachers and our tradition of knowledge, too, but we don't pray to Moses and the rabbis of the past, nor do we make offerings to their images. I recognize that this is an important part of Hindu tradition, but it violates Jewish tradition. If TM were not religious, I should not be forced to participate in that tradition -- which you are basically saying is religious.

nieciedo

02/20/2006 11:29:25 PM

And again WRT to the fees. In 1973, the fee would have been what, $300, $400? Adjusted for inflation, that's not even half of what is being demanded today. The explanation is that TM requires commitment, an a significant financial contribution symbolizes that committment. For me, $2500 is my entire take-home pay for a month. That's a pretty big commitment. But for someone who makes twice my salary, that's only half the commitment I would need to make. Why should the commitment DECREASE according to income? Even if I could afford it, I would still not be able to learn TM without committing idolatry..

kpelley

02/20/2006 11:27:52 PM

Nieciedo--the offering to the Master is simply a recognition of the tradition that the Maharishi is a part of. It is not treating him as God. In Self REalization Fellowship, to which I belong, our Master was Paramahansa Yogananda, but we also recognize Jesus Christ, Lord Krishna, Babaji, etc as part of the lineage. None of these are confused as God, but simply saints that we recognize and respect. It is part of the Hindu tradition of respecting the lineage just as you respect deceased family members. I often think of my deceased father when I need an answer to a question and I place flowers on his grave out of respect and love. He is not being worshipped. Hindu Masters are probably more spiritually advabvanced than my Dad :-).

nieciedo

02/20/2006 11:26:33 PM

For Jews, the loyalty to the One God of the Universe alone has been a primary symbolic expression of our identity as a people. Worshipping Hashem alone is like our Pledge of Allegiance. Countless Jews have died rather than be forced to change or abandon our religion. For me to bring a sacrifice to Guru Dev would be a betrayal of my loyalty to my God and my people. I should not be forced to do such a thing just to learn a supposedly non-religious meditation. If TM was non-religious, one should be able to opt out of the puja ceremony, like who parents can opt their children out of events in schools for religious reasons.

nieciedo

02/20/2006 11:22:32 PM

CONT: I understand that puja rituals and offerings made to gurus are common in India, but we are not in India. I understand that such practices are common in Hinduism, but if TM is not a religion, why then should one be forced to participate in a religious ceremony? The Sanskrit chant that the TM teacher recites invokes a variety of Hindu gods together with dead gurus and offers praise and obeisance to Guru Dev using the same language most Jews and Christians reserve for God. And then there is the sacrifice. The TM center told me that not only would I not be allowed to learn TM without the ritual, I would not be allowed even to do without bringing the fruit and flowers. Everything must follow Mahesh's rules to the letter. And as a Hindu, of course, Mahesh has no knowledge or concern for Jewish or Christian values.

kpelley

02/20/2006 11:19:12 PM

Silent Film, Thanks for your reasoned response. I am ever grateful for TM's initiating me into the wonderful mysteries of spirituality and mysticism. And, it connected me to a soul mate who taught me much wisom. Kathleen

nieciedo

02/20/2006 11:18:51 PM

Silent film and kpelley: I have nothing against meditation or the technique that TM teaches. I wanted to learn TM, and I would have been willing to find a way to get money to pay the exorbitant fee. But the ritual prevents me. I have no fear of hell because I do not believe in it. But I believe with all my heart in the Covenant between the One God of the Universe and the Jewish people, and one of the primary tenets of that covenant is that we may not worship anyone but God, we may not worship human beings (dead or alive), we may not worship animals, images. We may not sacrifice to them. What is the offering made to Guru Dev except a sacrifice to a dead human being?

silentfilm

02/20/2006 10:20:29 PM

Cont'd: As to the religious aspect, my meditation practice has strengthened my own religion, and I know many meditators who feel the same way. Why is there such a strong Conservative syngagoue composed of meditators in Fairfield, Iowa? Why is there also a thriving Catholic community and Protestants and people of all religions all over the world practicing this technique? Because it is not of itself a religion, it does not require any belief on the part of the practitioner, and those who assert that it conflicts with religion are simply mistaken.

silentfilm

02/20/2006 10:19:28 PM

Sorry to hear some people spreading negativity about TM. I would think that people who visit this site would be aware that as you sow, you reap, so if you're spreading negativity, what will you get back. Anyway, I think David Lynch is dong an extraordinary thing by giving many students a chance to learn TM. The fee is not the issue. I have paid thousands of dollars for much less valuable information from schools and colleges over the years, and treasure the knowledge that I have gotten from my long association with the TM movement more than I could possibly say.

kpelley

02/20/2006 09:48:10 PM

I serve on our local Homeless Coalition. Our local Zen Buddhists are very involved in volunteering in our local community whereas the Evangelical Christians do very little. St. Vincent de Paul does a huge amount. A secular organization assists many of the poor. Our small Hindu organization pales in comparison to the Zen group, St Vincent de Paul and that secular non profit. Volunteering depends on your spiritual path. Some people meditate as part of their path whereas others actively serve the poor. We are all different and our paths are all different. We must respect each path as legitimate. I think that is what the Maharishi is talking about.

sacredcow

02/20/2006 09:11:21 PM

"This Buddhist may not be on the "front line of social acitivity" but I volunteer plenty to Christian organizations because that's the main source of opportunity here in Smalltown, USA." Exactly. You have to go to the Christians because they are engaged in social activism, all around the globe.

kpelley

02/20/2006 05:04:28 PM

I have heard this complaint about the TM fee forever--if you do not want to pay it, do not. Yes, you can learn to meditate for free. If you want to pay, you can. As far as I am concerned that is the issue. I paid the fee in 1973, but did not stay with the organization. I still respect what they have done for people over the years.

kpelley

02/20/2006 05:00:41 PM

I am shocked at someone relating to Guru Dev as being worshipped "as a God". As far as I know, he is a Hindu Master. The offerrings are simply a sign of respect to the person bringing this wisdom to the person being initiated. This might be a problem for some Christians who might feel they will go to hell because they respect a Hindu Master, but I cannot understand why anyone else would be concerned about these issues. Hinduism is very different than Chrisitanity. Yes, some locals may "worship" Masters, but I am sure they do not confuse the concept of a master with God. A master is probably comparable to a Saint in Christianity.

nieciedo

02/20/2006 03:21:42 PM

Lynch's comment about the fee is idiotic. He says that if people want to learn TM bad enough, they'll get the money. That's fine for obscenely wealthy people like him to say: $2500 is a drop in the bucket for him. For me it's my entire monthly wages. For my household, it's a mortgage payment. That's just more proof that TM doesn't care about peace and enlightenment. They want money and celebrity support. If they cared about bringing enlightenment and peace, they'd make it easy for people to learn.

nieciedo

02/20/2006 03:09:54 PM

Cont from below: The TM people say this is just a symbolic ceremony of gratitude to the tradition of teachers, and they refuse to teach TM without this ritual. Regardless of what you call it, it is still a sacrificial ritual offered to Hindu gods and dead human beings. It is categorically forbidden for Jews, for example, to participate in this ritual, and Christians and Muslims would likewise be excluded. All of this -- together with the secrecy, the fundamentalist claim that TM alone can truly relieve stress and that Maharishi's teaching is the highest spiritual teaching on the planet -- is a perfect reason to stay as far away from these people as possible.

nieciedo

02/20/2006 03:05:03 PM

The TM Organization is a dishonest scam. Meditation itself is perfectly fine: it's healthful and beneficial, and the TM technique is no better or worse than anything else out there. But the Maharishi multinational empire is not interested in creating world peace or any such altruistic goal: if they were, why would they keep their technique so secret and charge the exorbitant fee of $2500 to learn it? Even more troubling is the dishonesty. The TM organization claims their program is not religious, and that people of any faith can practice it. That's not entirely true. To learn TM, every student must participate in a Hindu ritual called a "puja" in which he or she brings a sacrificial offering of fruit, flowers, and a handkerchief. These are then offered by the teacher on an altar to an image of Maharishi's teacher, Guru Dev, who is invoked in a Sanskrit chant as an avatar of divinity -- he is worshipped as a god.

jacknky

02/20/2006 03:04:52 PM

sacredcow, "They would be on the front lines of creative thought and on the front lines of social action. But they are not," What do you base these assumptions on, living in a predominately Christian culture? How much Buddhist thought have you actually read and studied, not read ABOUT? How much regular contemplation have you incorporated in your daily life?I find Buddhist thought very creative, much more so than much of the simple, feel-good theology that passes for spiritual thought today. This Buddhist may not be on the "front line of social acitivity" but I volunteer plenty to Christian organizations because that's the main source of opportunity here in Smalltown, USA.

sacredcow

02/20/2006 02:20:00 PM

"Contemplation of a higher state of awareness does not separate oneself from "the real world" but tends to make one MORE available to the world, MORE in tune with ideas, MORE awake to one's fellow man." If this were so, then Buddhists, Hindu mystics, would be in the front running of every worldly activity. They would be on the front lines of creative thought and on the front lines of social action. But they are not, are they, because they are too busy tuning into themselves. The only "solutions" such come up with is the one posted below which says more or less, "just meditate" everything will be better!" "Be happy!"

jacknky

02/20/2006 12:47:25 PM

well said, WillSea.

WillSea

02/20/2006 12:27:11 PM

the idea that meditation equals having your mind "turned off" is a misconception. Yes, there have been eastern aceticists who set aside worldly thoughts/actions, but that's part of the Christian tradition, too. Contemplation of a higher state of awareness does not separate oneself from "the real world" but tends to make one MORE available to the world, MORE in tune with ideas, MORE awake to one's fellow man. Consciousness is consciousness. What YOU use it for is up to YOU.

jacknky

02/20/2006 09:19:07 AM

windbender, "That everyone has the capacity to add to goodness in the world, make it better than they find it and move it closer to where it should go." Another way to answer this question is, rather than come up with an intellectual answer, simply sit with the question, contemplate it.

kpelley

02/19/2006 08:14:06 PM

In 1973, the same year, I was also initiated into TM. It got me started on a lifelong spiritual quest that has turned out well. I no longer practice TM, but I bow to it's positive effects on people, including myself. The major thing that I discovered was how I was denying my feelings as a human being. That is not being blissed out, but getting more in touch with my humanity. I now am a follower of Paramahansa Yogananda whose teachings are more Christian focused than TM. There are many paths to God, including service to others, meditation, intellectual, prayer, etc. I now respect them all.

sacredcow

02/19/2006 07:50:18 PM

Central to Jewish thought is the notion that God has different ethics for Jews than for others, a notion Jesus destroyed. The Kingdom of God is within when we come to understand that we have a responsibility to bring the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth and that does not mean a worldly kingdom either but the magnanimity inherent in those whose consciences are awakened to the needs of all people. Like a good king who follows the Good God and treats his subjects with compassionate concern as a father would his own family, this Jesus wanted to break free of the "us" and "them" false dichotomy of his fellow religionists.

windbender

02/19/2006 06:26:32 PM

Central to Jewish Thought is the notion of personal responsibility. Unfortunately, most of Western emphasis seems to be on the "free pass" concept popularized by those who think they have one.

windbender

02/19/2006 06:25:00 PM

That everyone has the capacity to add to goodness in the world, make it better than they find it and move it closer to where it should go.

greling

02/19/2006 03:42:32 PM

sacredcow: What did Jesus mean when he said "The Kingdom of God is within you"? (emphasis added)

jacknky

02/19/2006 09:59:09 AM

sacredcow, "When the brain's sense of self center is turned off, creative thought goes with it and without creative thought, innovation goes too." I am talking about Buddhist meditation, not TM. I don't know much about TM. Maybe they are two differrnt things. You do not describe my experience with Insight Meditation, the goal of which is NOT "bliss". Of those who begin this practice, few stick around long enough to develop a practice with any depth. Frankly, it's too difficult for the vast majority to simple be and see. It's much easier to run around feeling like we're accomplishing something. BTW, this is in no way a knock on Christian charities and those who do good works. It's about establishing a balance in one's life between contemplation and action. Those of us in the West have a challenge with contemplation.

Zeean

02/18/2006 11:21:09 PM

Sounds as if someone is having a fun time with mental functions and ego. A roller coaster ride and break from reality. It does appear to have some value in stress relief. Just a mental "escape" I would guess.

dplatt

02/18/2006 10:32:30 PM

David should stick to filmmaking where he let's out his dark side and creates something new and...interesting to the mind. Hate to see David all blissed out and not making any more deranged movies that are so enjoyable. It says he's been meditating since 1973, around the time he was making Eraserhead. So he's been "blissed out" since the beginning. STill hasn't stopped him from making weird movies.

Buggsy

02/18/2006 03:29:54 PM

That's a good point sacredcow. I remember when John Cleese went to a shrink after his Fawlty Towers fame in the 70s and he said something to the effect that all of his humour and creativity vanished when he was 'cured' of his delusions

sacredcow

02/18/2006 01:38:48 PM

David should stick to filmmaking where he let's out his dark side and creates something new and...interesting to the mind. Hate to see David all blissed out and not making any more deranged movies that are so enjoyable.

sacredcow

02/18/2006 01:35:05 PM

Mararishi was expert in activating this part of his brain. So what? Does this constitute "Enlightenment"? Not if one isn't seeing any surprising contributions to world peace or progress by such meditators. When the brain's sense of self center is turned off, creative thought goes with it and without creative thought, innovation goes too. Hence, one sees Buddhist societies like Tibet running on traditional but backward social structure. Takes an ego to buck the world as it is and create something new. But if one is determined to become egoless one forfeits creative thinking which is the only thing that will help humankind.

sacredcow

02/18/2006 01:34:51 PM

Years ago I and my wife tried TM when it first became popular in the U.S. I still remember my mantra. I've tried meditation of the sort that aims at turning off the brain's sense of self center which coincides with experts at this, Buddhist monks, claiming to reach enlightenment. The side-effects of turning off the brain's sense of self center located in the parietal area seems to be the Oceanic experience of Oneness with everything, (Buddhist) or Oneness with God (Christian mysticism). In many, the brain activity increases in the frontal cortex especially the right side where there seems to be pleasureable centers of bliss feeling.

jacknky

02/18/2006 01:00:16 PM

sacredcow, "I will stick to the Christian way of ego loss through service to others through compassionate activism instead of self-absorbed withdrawal into one's own mind." Have you ever had a regular contemplative meditative practice? I doubt it. And there is a Christian contemplative tradition. It has been muffled by Christianity's cuurent emphasis on feel-good, blind faith theology but it's there. Even today, the good monks of Gethsemeny here in Kentucky seem to thrive, even without Thomas Merton. It is not an either/or dichotomy that one is NOT involved in good works if one has a meditative practice. Since I began meditating I have become much more involved in volunteering and being involved than I was before. You appear to be merely perpetuating a sterotype without any real personal experience.

jacknky

02/18/2006 12:52:12 PM

sacredcow, "No lasting wisdom comes out of an empty mind except relax and let go." By "empty" mind, did you mean "calm"? Anyway, there are a few Buddhist meditators, myself included, who would argue your point. Training the mind to see itself and the world more clearly is just as valid a path to wisdom (for me, the most valid) as a path based on faith or intellectual machinations. Peace...

Buggsy

02/18/2006 11:48:30 AM

I like Lynch's movies very much but I would not have guessed he was into TM through that art form. There seems to be lot of unresolved anger in his movies but it wasn't until Straight Story that I saw it resolved in a loving and peaceful way. Mulholland Drive seemed to be more anger but with a dark inner twist that even exclipsed Lost Highway

greling

02/17/2006 06:16:12 PM

Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation movement was just part of another wave of Hindu gurus coming to America to cash in on American dissatisfaction with traditional Abrahamic religions. Though yoga and trascental mediation have their origins in Hinduism, they are not necessarily concerned with Hinduism or religious in nature. The goal of Transcendetal Meditation is to connect with Ultimate Reality. Whether or not that ultimate reality is the Christian God or some other deity is up to the individual practitioner.

greling

02/17/2006 06:13:19 PM

...escape their social obligations or relationships that, yes, do entangle oneself in the ups and downs, joys and sorrows of a fully experienced human life. The goal of meditation is not to "escape" this life but to fully experience it by becoming more in tune with what it means to be alive. I will stick to the Christian way of ego loss through service to others through compassionate activism instead of self-absorbed withdrawal into one's own mind. But this is transcendental meditation not self-immanent focus. It seem you have a misunderstanding of what the word "transcendental" means. For us Christians, prayer is a form of meditation with experience of the trascendent reality of God. Transcendetal is: a.) Concerned with the a priori or intuitive basis of knowledge as independent of experience. b.)Asserting a fundamental irrationality or supernatural element in experience. (Source: Dictionary.com)

sacredcow

02/17/2006 02:58:10 PM

Worldly affairs take worldly consciousness to pay attention to them and that isn't the way of those who seek to escape their social obligations or relationships that, yes, do entangle oneself in the ups and downs, joys and sorrows of a fully experienced human life. I will stick to the Christian way of ego loss through service to others through compassionate activism instead of self-absorbed withdrawal into one's own mind.

sacredcow

02/17/2006 02:57:51 PM

Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation movement was just part of another wave of Hindu gurus coming to America to cash in on American dissatisfaction with traditional Abrahamic religions. I remember seeing the good wise enlightened Maharishi on Johnny Carson's late night show talking about why everyone in America should support Richard Nixon's war in Vietnam. That just about lost every would be hippie with an ounce of political savvy. And it shows again to the wise that meditation to calm the mind and enter a bliss-out consciousness does relatively little to improve the state of humankind. No lasting wisdom comes out of an empty mind except relax and let go.

WillSea

02/16/2006 05:03:56 PM

Now that we've said our piece about TM, I DO think that a coordinated meditation surrounding the Principles of Peace, Freedom and Human Dignity would do a lot to advance overall thinking on the planet. It has been shown to reduce crime in certain cities for a lasting period even after the series stopped. But it really needs time spent holding these is mind, not with effort, but with consistency, even if one doesn't happen to belong to such a group. I don't think once a week is enough or esp once a year. This has to be a committed practice, as all spiritual work needs to be Salaam.

ArtistSpirit

02/16/2006 03:25:52 PM

I have read stories about people who paid lots of money to learn TM thinking it would completely change their lives and it didn't do anything for them but drain their pockets. I am not trying to be to negative about meditation as it really can help with many things and if you want to really change your life then do all the studying and getting books and just learning from life on your own. Not that taking a class is bad or anything but I think spiritual awareness has to come from inside of yourself on long journey. Learn through the course of life. Peace and Blessings....

oophelia46

02/16/2006 12:40:52 PM

Ecclesiates reminds us there is nothing new under the sun. It's the New Age movement revived, renamed, repackaged. Yeah, I bet everyone doing this in the 70's thought the exact same thing when they were doing this.

jacknky

02/16/2006 11:56:54 AM

As a Buddhist meditator, I see what WillSea calls "brand name meditation" in TM. I've wondered why one needs to pay all that money when there is so much teaching readily available in other contemplative traditions. I'm reflexively turned off by people who enrich themselves by doling out spiritual knowledge. I saw some film once of some TM folks doing the "yogic flying" thing. Basically they assumed a cross-legged lotus position and hopped around. I'm sorry but it was a little difficult to take seriously. I'll stick with Buddhist mindfullness meditation. Peace...

WillSea

02/16/2006 08:39:44 AM

thanks, shanti for sharing your experience. I had a feeling about TM as a brand-name meditation, (as if oneness can be branded) but the feeling wasn't corraborated until I read your post.

Zero-Equals-Infinity

02/16/2006 06:04:16 AM

I don't know very much about TM in particular, though I can speak to the states of consciousness that David speaks of in his article. Those mystical states are readily accessible to me and I see know reason why they are not readily accessible to others. Anything that starts to evoke a generalized awareness of wonder and awe as well as a longing for what lies hidden behind the surface of those emotions is key. It is like the state of being in the gaze of longing that exists between two lovers, only amplified. My personal recommendation is to read the poetry of the mystics, such as Rumi, and to hear the music of Gustav Mahler. Try symphonies 3, 2, 8 or 9. But always remember in the background that the aim is not the state, but what lies behind it. Bliss and ecstasy states are incredible to be sure, but they are not ends in themselves.

Josia

02/16/2006 05:28:31 AM

I believe that the best things in life are free, and that 'feeling better about ourselves' is not what we were put here for. But apart from that it's a very nice concept having so many people 'on the same page' at once thinking about peace.

greling

02/15/2006 09:36:02 PM

I love talk of TM. It's a really fascinating subject. I own a DVD video where Lynch speaks to an audience at Emerson College on the beneficial effects of TM on the brain and on educational environments. A live subject got on stage during this event and his brain activity was tracked and observed before a live audience. It is utterly amazing. Everything we do shapes our brains to some degree. Good experiences and bad, the brain makes a note of all of it and actually physically changes. TM has been shown to lower aggression in inner-city schools, aid in improving students' grades, and improve the overall mood of campuses. It all makes me wish I would have went to the Maharishi University of Management, where TM is incorporated daily into the educational experience. Who knows how far my brain could have gone had I been given an early start!

shanti99

02/15/2006 07:27:53 PM

I took TM training back in 1977. I will say that the technique of meditation is very benificial, but I have trouble with the organization. Two years later I did the advanced TM sidhi program (yogic flying). I had highs and lows, but ultimately dropped out of TM altogether (long story). That is when the door opened to so many other spiritual opportunities, and I really shot ahead with my spiritual growth. And that is my critizism of TM. The technique is good, but the organization is rather elitist and exclusive. I think most any technique can work as well. You need to follow your heart. A good teacher can be wonderful, but it is possible to find this in oneself. The buddha did. I do believe that a meditation collective can be an influence for positive change. World peace? That seems quite optomistic. But it is posible, especially if more and more people begin living thier life from a spiritual center. There would then be a critical mass at some point and peace could happen.

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