Thursday, February 08, 2007

OFF TOPIC: A Word about Us as Contributors

Some readers have commented that they are confused by differences between the viewpoints of our various contributors.

I've been meaning to post something about our editorial policies for some time. Unfortunately, despite diligent work on our Mission Statement, we don't have formal editorial guidelines to share with you yet. But I can give you some idea of what we're about.

Some of us think meditation is a bad idea. Some of us continue to meditate. Some think the TM Org must be destroyed to end its damaging effects. At least one of us believes the organization could be reformed. At least one of us believes that it is desirable to resurrect what the Maharishi's master, Guru Dev, once taught. At least one of us believe that Guru Dev, as it is possible to know him, is for all intents and purposes a mythical figure whose mind is unknowable.

Our lack of agreement goes on and on.

In point of fact, this post can't really be said to be written on behalf of the other editors at all. This is my take on what we are trying to achieve. There's a good chance that my fellow editors disagree with some or all of what you are reading.

Our grand strategy could be termed "planned disorganization." Each author here has total freedom to post whatever she or he wants – without interference from any other author. What keeps the contents of TM-Free Blog from disintegrating into total chaos is what we have in general agreement: The policies, practices, and actions of the TM Org and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are dangerous and destructive.

Now, I have great difficulty managing disagreement and confrontation. I think this has to do with my TM Org experiences as well as my upbringing. I'm an adult child of an alcoholic. Confrontation -- albeit one-sided -- was a large part of my childhood.

I think that's why striving for respectful disagreement is so important to me. I believe that it's an issue that cult members in general, and former TMers in particular, need to work through.

I also think that we tend to have difficulty agreeing. For myself, I resent so strongly what we used to call "group consciousness" and "coherence" in the TM Org that I have trouble being in groups that agree too much. I can get the heebie-jeebies just attending church with my sainted Irish Catholic mother.

I'm reasonably certain that at least part of my motivation for founding trancenet.net, instead of working more closely with Mike Doughney on his excellent minet.org, had to do with my need to strike out on my own, develop my independence. I think it's quite possible that other former cult members have trouble collaborating for some of these reasons. I'm really proud that we TM-Free editors are working through our issues with collaboration so gracefully.

We editors don't speak with one voice. We may from time to time disagree on some points, while remaining united in believing the TM Org is disastrously wrong.

I think allowing ourselves to avoid collaborating because we disagreed would be to continue to give the TM Org way too much power over us. I also think it's one of the reasons that cults experience relatively little criticism. We critics, with the possible exception of TM-Free Blog, remain too disorganized because collaboration is difficult for us.

I strongly believe it will be healthy for our Blog and for us as individuals to disagree! I think our readers will gain from our role modeling that we can disagree yet remain friends and work on a project together because we focus on the few things we agree on.

We can show our little corner of the world that we can discuss and disagree without recreating the wasteland of alt.meditation.transcendental (the Usenet news group).

One last note. Some have questioned contributors' tone on the Blog. Specifically, they question "bitterness" and "anger."

I believe anger is a valuable feeling. Like any feeling, God, Nature, or Whoever put it there for a reason. And, like any feeling, it can be perverted. Love, generally considered a "positive" feeling, can easily become obsession in its perverted form.

Anger is there to tell us something is not right. Generally we get angry because we are in pain, because we fear being placed in pain, or because of frustration. All those seem operative and appropriate among Transcendental Meditation critics.

Anger is the feeling that gives us the strength to change. My favorite example is the civil rights movement of the 60s. African Americans recognized injustice -- and got angry. They channeled their anger as an energy to effect change. And the result, while not perfect, offered a greater measure of freedom for all Americans.

Our anger at the Movement, if not overindulged can work similar wonders.

3 comments:

Gina said...

John,
Your blogpost was beautifull stated!
My words only touch your consideration.

Yes, we are each individuals. We formed individual opinions. We respect each individual's right to their own slant on our general "mission."

We ARE in agreement that we experienced and observed much needless suffering, fear, and stymied indviduals from devotion to the TM Org.

We ARE in agreement that many good hearted individuals were drawn, and continue to be drawn, to the TM Org and its idealistic visions. We are concerned for loved ones whose lives remain ensnared in the TM bubble. We were once likewise ensnared.

We ARE in agreement that choosing our own conscience and leaving the TM Org, whenever or however we each did so, was excrutiatingly painful.

As we (separately) learned the deception which had dominated our lives, we moved through hurt, anger, anxiety, and ultimately claimed our lives for the better. We walked our paths of awakenings separately. We found one another (on the internet) relatively recently.

We hope to turn painful awakenings to help others, and as a warning light for those considering TM-involvement.

Again, John, your gentle words, common respect and perspective are eloquently stated. I'm honored to know you.

Blesssings to all,
Gina

Brady said...

I live about four hours north of Fairfield. I have a dear friend who for years was one of the people who bought into the Movement's every pronouncement and MMY's every utterance. Thankfully, she has "divorced" herself from the Movement, to use her words.

She asks me why I am so angry at the Movement, and I ask myself that same question.

For me, the answer lies in the word "hypocrisy."

The Movement invites people to begin a mental technique while maintaining that it is not a religion. Then, of course, we hear lots about "the Will of God" and "God Consciousness" from MMY, Beven, et. al. Then there are the yagya ceremonies and worship of saints and dieties thru puja. It's hypocrisy.

The Movement collects uber bucks with which it proposes to build marble Peace Palaces and provide gold crowns for wealthy Rajas while excluding everyone whose door does not face east. Does it use any of its vast resources to help the poor and struggling throughout the world? Of course not. It's hypocrisy.

The Movement tells us that our mantras are meaningless sounds picked personally for us. Yet it turns out that they are names of Hindu dieties and they're assigned by our ages and nothing else. It's hypocrisy.

And don't get me started about the hypocrisy of "flying."

Nothing angers me more than hypocrisy, whether by the TM Movement, organized religion, or the government. And in the case of the TM Movement, there is a whole lot of it to go around.

Thanks for bringing up and validating anger, John. As you point out, it exists to "tell us something is not right."

-- Brady

Sudarsha said...

Hey, Brady -- I feel your pain. There is a lot of pain, bitterness, anger, possibly even rage, that is the true "Maharishi Effect". It's there, it's a reality and I encourage you to not be afraid of it in any way. Like a nightmare of monumental design, when contemplated in the light of day, much more understanding develops and the nightmare has increasingly less room for growth and its power over us.

As one of the contributors to this Blog, I have very little in common with our other contributors. I spent a considerable length of time with Mahesh and saw him totally differently from others.

There's only one thing about him and what he does that can be voiced with any confidence vis a vis truth: he put on a different persona for every situation, sometimes for every individual.

He admired Adolph Hitler and even had one of the Brahmcharies, Devindra, read Mein Kampf to him. Basically, he wanted the power, total submission and adulation Adolph Hitler had from the German people, a nation that knew how to follow orders, do what they were told and especially NOT QUESTION.

Of course, Mahesh always knows better than anyone, so his version of Hitler is, in his own mind, as far superior as he quite obviously feels about his accomplishments when compared to his teacher, Guru Dev.

I want to thank you, Brady, for your contribution here. I hope you will share your insights, feelings and opinions freely.

S

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