by Gina Catena, M.S.
TM has addictive qualities.
Acknowleding the addictive characteristics of TM and other practices, Carol Giambalvo and other cult experts founded ReFOCUS.org to help former cult members break their addiction to trance states.
I'll find my references on autism and endorphins (natural opiates). Some neuroscientists found a connection between autism and high level of endorphins. Limited doses of narcan (an opiate antogonist drug) brought autistic children out of their trance-like introversion, into an interactive state.
I wonder if TM increases endorphin production, creating a semi-dissociative state ("feel the bliss").
Some devout TMers on the monastic Purusha or Mother Divine programs behave as if in an autistic state. These participants meditate for many hours daily, sometimes for years.
On the other hand, this would explain why TM helped some Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) children, according to the David Lynch Foundation. Limited amounts of stimulated endorphins (as in short TM practice) may calm hyperactive children.
Another recent study found that long term TMers had increased pain tolerance. That would imply, once again, there is an increased amount of natural opiates (morphine-like) from TM practice. I used TM to calm myself while awaiting an ambulance when I had multiple injuries in a tragic auto accident. It worked.
Being trained in TM as a young child, over 40 years ago, I know how to make-myself-high in an instant - anytime, anyplace! It feels great. I avoid that state, since it's as useful as the heroin addict sitting on a city street corner. Other TM-kids, now young adults, say the same.
Endorphin-induced trance would explain participants' receptivity to suggestion when attending long meditation courses.
Addiction to endorphins would explain addict-like dysfunctional dynamics seen with some TM families.
This could explain explain why some substance abusers relinquish use of exogenous chemicals after beginning TM. Perhaps they subsitute a self-produced opiate for their street drug?
This could also explain the frequent drug use/abuse by TM kids, as they replace their parental endorphin addiction with their own street drug abuse. Just trading one high for another.
Would anyone like to study us? It would be interesting to measure opiates when we meditate, then see what happens with a narcan injection. My supposition is we would respond exactly as those autistic kids did, instantly being brought out of our trance. (and what about the long term TM celibate program participants who immerse themeselves in that state 24 x 7) It would not surprise me if TM-kids' brains have neuro-pathways allowing us to dissociate more readily than the general population, since our internal dependence on that state was cultivated at a young age.
I would be willing to participte in such a study, in the interest of demonstrating TM's addictive qualities. A few others might be willing also.
Please forgive me for not providing references to the autism research, nor the TM-pain tolerance research. They can be googled.
This is written off the top of my head, not as a scientific abstract.
I will add appropriate references when I have time to find them.