As of Oct '06, the David Lynch Foundation has
withdrawn a grant offered to a Marin Co (CA) high school to sponsor a
TM meditation club following protests by opponents. Rick Ross has
story from AP, the local paper has a slightly more sympathetic story.
Following the links below is a copy of a letter sent to the school
board by a former longtime TM adherent which was instrumental in
deep-sixing the TM initiative.
Marin Independent Journal
San Rafael City School District
310 Nova Albion Way
San Rafael, CA 94903
cc. San Rafael City School Board members
Marin Independent Journal
16 October, 2006
Carole Ramsey, principal of Terra Linda High School (TLHS), deserves
acknowledgement for her efforts to improve student life, reduce stress
academic success at TLHS through the David Lynch foundation grant for
Believing in the importance of education, I was an involved parent with the Dixie
school district and later with TLHS, assisting with school events, youth programs
and fund-raising. My personal life remained private.
What a surprise to see two consecutive cover stories of the Marin IJ addressing Transcendental
Meditation™ (TM) at Terra Linda!
As a TLHS parent, and someone whose life has been profoundly affected
by TM, I am uniquely qualified to express concerns about this program.
presentation on October 12 at TLHS was sophisticated and convincing.
However, the presenters did not
provide full disclosure of the TM program. In the interest of full
disclosure of the TM
program for TLHS, I offer the following.
My family has forty years and three generations’ involvement with TM.
The Spiritual Regeneration
Movement™ (SRM) is the founding organization to promote TM in the
western world. In the late 1960’s, Maharishi told us “We present TM in
vocabulary because we live in a scientific age. If we lived in a
religious age, we would
present this as a religious program. The benefits will be the same,
regardless of how it is
presented.” The TM program promoted to TLHS is adamantly non-religious.
I beg to
differ. TM as originally taught by SRM is identical to that now taught
I was a founding participant of Maharishi International University
(MIU), later renamed as Maharishi University of Management (MUM), as
well as founding
parent to MIU Prep, later renamed Maharishi School of the Age of
Leaders of these institutions spoke at TLHS, presenting a Utopic vision
institutions. They skillfully dodged specific questions regarding TM
and follow up.
The Transcendental Meditation community of Fairfield, Iowa is as-if my
extended family. To this day, some graduates of MSAE request my
guidance as they strive to
function in the real world, outside of their protected meditation
society. I harbor no
ill will toward individuals in the TM Movement, in fact I love many of
intentions are noble, as are those of any true believer. However, I
believe full disclosure is mandatory for programs promoted in our
Between 1970-1972 Robert Keith Wallace, PhD and Herbert Benson, M.D.
published landmark scientific studies on the benefits of meditation.
subsequently broke away from Wallace. Benson documented identical
benefits experienced through
traditional forms of Christian and Jewish prayer. Benson published his
Response” method of stress reduction without the mysticism associated
with TM. Short
structured rest periods provide health benefits!
Evidence suggests that TM may be more than a catnap. Research indicates
that TM may trigger a shift in one's psychological and physiological
states. Like a
prescription medication, this might be beneficial for the right person
in the right
Others experience negative results such as anxiety or nervous ‘ticks’.
There have been
suicides. There was a recent murder on the MUM campus. However, TM
instructors do not screen individuals prior to instruction. TM is
presented as the magic bullet to solve all ills for all people.
As a teenager in the 1970’s, I helped introduce Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation and Science of Creative
Intelligence™ to two schools. We succeeded introducing the program into Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California in 1972 or
1973. I understand the good intentions of TM presenters, as well as the scripted timing of
The TM program experienced exponential growth in the 1960s and 1970s
through targeting vulnerable college students with the Students
Society™ (SIMS). Most of those early meditators have since left the
TM’s resurgence again targets vulnerable youth.
TM instructors are Initiators or Governors of the Age of Enlightenment
because, according to Maharishi, they govern in the realm of
consciousness. When learning TM through their seven-step procedure, the
new Initiate will bring
an offering of fruit, a white handkerchief and flowers for step #4, a
ceremony. The Initiator will perform a puja ceremony in front of an
altar to Guru Dev,
Maharishi’s spiritual master. The Sanskrit puja offers obeisance to
Guru Dev, Hindu deities, and a lineage called the Holy Tradition of
from whence this teaching descended. According to TM teachings, the
Initiator is the
living embodiment of this ancient spiritual lineage.
What secular technique has a Holy Tradition? For this reason, in 1979
the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Transcendental
Meditation™ and the Science of Creative Intelligence™ are too religious
to be taught in the New Jersey public
schools, partially because of the puja ceremony required for TM
instruction. During the puja ceremony, the new initiate will hold one
flower, quietly observing
the Initiator perform the puja ceremony with burning camphor and
with a bow to Guru Dev’s altar. With a gentle wave of one arm, the
invite the new initiate to likewise bow down to Guru Dev.
The new initiate will receive a secret mantra. The mantra is derived
from the name of a Hindu deity. This word is never again to be repeated
aloud by the meditator.
Some common mantras are: Enga, Ema, Ainga, Shiring, Kirim, Sham. There
[Sarlo adds: Meditation Information Network, an ex-TM site
has a list of these mantras and how
they have been historically assigned.]
During the subsequent three meetings to elaborate upon the TM
practice, new initiates will meditate together. In a relaxed
semi-trance state, the brain readily
absorbs information. The TM teachers will explain Cosmic Consciousness,
and Unity Consciousness as evolutionary states of consciousness that
can be achieved
after long-term practice of TM. The Science of Creative Intelligence™
program will be mentioned as options for advanced training at a later
date. According to
TM teachings, The TM-Sidhi™ program provides paranormal powers of
such as friendliness, compassion, inner strength and levitation.
A TM-club could appear to be a positive peer support for those desiring
a wholesome lifestyle and to associate with others of common values.
vulnerable teens, this peer group’s idealism and group dynamics may
prove seductive. A percentage
of them will likely increase their involvement with programs at the
local TM center. TM
centers offer advanced meditation programs and residence programs to
rest and release of stress along with a community of caring supportive
As one becomes further involved, he or she will learn life style
guidelines to enhance
their growth of consciousness. Such lifestyle guidelines include the
use of Maharishi
Ayur-Veda medicinals, Ghandarhva Veda music, Maharishi Jyotish
astrology, and architectural guidelines for enlightened household
construction called Sthapatya
Veda®. This is optional. Coercive persuasion is subtle and slow. A few
may choose to attend Maharishi University of Management to study Vedic
Science, or join the Thousand-Headed Purusha or Mother Divine programs
branches of this non-religious organization. Some may participate in
programs, such as
the Invincible America Course currently held simultaneously at
Maharishi University of
Management in Iowa and in Washington, DC, whereby groups of Sidhas
(advanced meditators who have learned techniques for achieving
paranormal powers) meditate
together and also “levitate” together for hours daily. Maharishi
teaches that these group
meditations provide waves of coherent consciousness throughout the
world, to generate
Group meditations, rather than political activism, would solve global
problems. The devout may relocate to Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, where
all is orchestrated
according to the Laws of Nature, beneath the golden banner for
Country of World Peace. Purchases in Vedic City are made with their own
Those with more time and money may opt for further expensive and
prolonged meditation courses to become Rajas. Rajas are given a
geographical domain to
support consciousness expansion on Earth. Rajas also wear gold crowns.
There is a history, albeit repressed, of some participants having
and other negative results from prolonged periods of deep meditation on
Alcohol and tobacco come with warning labels. TM lacks a warning label.
Full disclosure is imperative when introducing a new program to our
TM promoters well-intentionedly reveal stress management information in
introductory talks. They believe that people “are not ready for the
full revelation of
knowledge. When consciousness has expanded from experiencing the
profound bliss of
TM, then we slowly reveal more.”
Some may benefit from fifteen – twenty minutes’ daily catnaps. Others may fall
sway to a deeper commitment to this method of consciousness expansion. I observed
more than my fair share of others’ psychotic breaks, familial destruction and financial
devastation by good-hearted people who committed their lives to the teachings of
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation™.
Please accept my personal experience, of forty years of exposure to TM’s global
growth, as the disclosure label to this program coming to TLHS. In my opinion, if
anyone wants to make a fully informed decision to learn TM, then go right ahead.
However, I still maintain this does not belong in our public school system. David Lynch’s sponsorship for Transcendental
Meditation™ is as well intentioned as Tom Cruise’s enthusiastic endorsement of
In the interest of full disclosure,
early Child of the Age of Enlightenment through Transcendental Meditation™ as taught
by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Mother of three TLHS alums
San Rafael, California