Saturday, February 17, 2007


REMAINS OF IGNORANCE is a new, infrequent feature of quick hits on life after Transcendental Meditation.

My topic today is "conflict." I find in myself, and have heard other long-term Transcendental Meditators/sidhas comment, that confrontation is difficult. In any form.

Now, as a therapist, I know that conflict can be a healthy thing. It can be the source for the beginnings of necessary change.

But my experience as a TMer was that the more years that I meditated, the less conflict I could handle. Eventually, just a few cross words could send me into a stress reaction.

I found that when faced with confrontation – and by this I mean something as simple as someone disagreeing with my opinion – I would experience the need to meditate, sleep, or at the least leave the situation and spend time alone.

At its worst point, I would take a hotel room when visiting my family rather than stay in my mother's home. I was so fragile that I could only spend a few hours at a time with my family.

I remember when I first reflected on this. I had a friend who was a TM Governor. His wife, not a meditator, complained that whenever she wanted to discuss something with him, he would head to the bedroom and have to take a nap.

I'm wondering if other readers had similar experiences.

While the Maharishi told us our nervous system was getting stronger due to TM, were we actually becoming weaker and weaker? Less able to handle emotional – or even environmental – stress?

After years of work, I feel I've regained my natural ability to handle a reasonable amount of stress in my life without the need to resort to the mantra to shut down.

Does any of this resonate for you? Do you have this or similar "Remains of Ignorance"?

Please consider posting your thoughts in the comments below. Just click on "Comments" and type away. Please feel free to remain anonymous. You may help another former TMer with your insights!



Anonymous said...

I've noted this many, many times around certain sidhas. It's not clear to me if it is a TM-Sidhi thing or a general TM practice thing.

As with many things TM, I took it as lack of purification prior to shakti awakening and imbalances that result from it. Once those imbalances occur, toxins tend to accrue in the physical physiology, further enhancing the imbalance. In other words, it's a cascade effect. This tends to lock one into this pattern unless they know methods to eliminate it at the subtle level.

Anonymous said...

I have never, not in 32 years, felt "the need to resort to the mantra to shut down."

The closest I've ever come was the morning I was awakened by a phone call from my mother telling me my beloved father had just died unexpectedly of a heart attack. I'd been meditating for about a year at the time. I was, of course, distraught. My roommate, also a TMer, insisted that I meditate with her then and there. It was the last thing I wanted to do, and it wasn't pleasant, but when we were done, I felt much more able to cope.

Otherwise, I just do my program morning and evening and, if you'll forgive me, "take it as it comes" in activity--which has become easier and easier the longer I've been meditating.

Judy Stein

Anonymous said...

I am a governor with 33 yrs of doing TM and I am a psychologist. So I enjoyed your comments about confrontation. My guess is that as we refine our nervous system thru releasing stress, we experience a greater contrast when we then excperience harsher virbrations or negativity. The mind naturally prefers to go to a field of greater charm, so we then choose to avoid the negativity. This especially was noticeable in 1977 when I went into higher state of consciousness upon being giving the siddhis. The contrast of my inner blissful state and overhearing other people's negatitive talk at dinner made me go to another table. Purity wanting to remain in that state, so it vacates the premises of negativity. That is just my subjective take on your most interesting comments.

Anonymous said...

Prolonged meditation of any kind makes the person more sensitive to their environment. TM helps a lot of people. It helped me in countless ways, opened doors of awareness, gave me hope in troubled times...I should say that it assisted me to give this to myself.

On the other hand, even the most loyal TMer knows by now that many people become too sensitive doing prolonged meditation. I gave up TM after 17 years of practice, including 12 years of the "siddhis" because I was tired of uncontrolled surges of energy in my body, sudden strange sounds, unwanted fits of barking like a dog, speaking in tongues, etc. These were common experiences on my governor training course in 1977, Livingston Manor, but they simply never went away. Even now, they happen with some regularity.

I don't blame TM for this. I wanted to meditate. I aspired and still do aspire to know and live the truth of simple existence. But I do believe that Maharishi had a responsibility to properly guide his students. He did not give us the information we needed to make an informed decision, ie he lied and deceived, for his own purposes.

In 1989, I came upon a real Yogi, not merely a self proclaimed one. I have continued to practice meditation to this day and am very glad about it. Regular exercise, a good diet, the desire to give service to family all help to make it easier to brave the intensities of the environment.

Anonymous said...

I have done TM for decades, as have most of the minority who stuck with it. I used to feel this inability to deal with conflict too, which was, in hindsight, a sensitivity to my environment and attempts to integrate my growing Self awareness with my total environment.

Granted it became pretty uncomfortable for me for awhile, having to face and recognize things I had avoided possibly for lifetimes. However, I persevered, the snakes became strings, so to speak, and TM continues to be an excellent technique for my ongoing Enlightenment.

Jai Guru Dev, and thank you John for raising an excellent subject, and one sorely needing resolution by those honest and uncompromising seekers, for whom there is no stepping off point prior to full blown Self realization.

Charlie said...

I am not at all pro TM, although I am pro meditation, but I found the opposite to be true in my case. I had always been locked in and unable to face up to other people. After starting TM, I found a new self confidence and began to express what I felt was the truth.

Sue said...

After my TM teacher training course, in which I spent 8 months in hotels in Spain and Switzerland, meditating, sleeping, doing yoga asanas, and eating fine food, I went to Paris to go to summer school. The environmental and cultural and noise level shock was overwheming. The good news is that I COULD SLEEP ANYWHERE! Once I slept on the concrete courtyard of my Parisian home, (as I was unable to work the lock to the front door). Back home in California, I found myself desperate for sleep and meditation every afternoon; I thought I was "more refined." Well, maybe I HAD become the Princess of the Princess and the Pea!

Anonymous said...

I did TM for just under a decade. By the time I had done lots of rounding, A of E and then the the fake flying, I felt like a basket case.

People I knew who didn't do TM said I seemed very withdrawn. I definitely could not handle any form of confrontation.

Prior to TM I had been a martial arts instructor.

After I quit TM I went through a crisis of some kind. Everyone passed it off as middle age crisis, but it felt more like loosing my mind.

Psychiatric help and medication helped me cope; but I still don't do confrontation (I quit TM over 30 years ago).

aka S

Anonymous said...

I found that when faced with confrontation – and by this I mean something as simple as someone disagreeing with my opinion – I would experience the need to meditate, sleep, or at the least leave the situation and spend time alone.

Probably the most diastrous case of of this inability to integrate normal activity and hypersensitivity to others (particularly in long term TM meditators) is the case of Shuvender Sem, the Maharishi University of Management student who murdered another student. In this case, it cost this person his life:

"Shuvender Sem was placed in the custody of Joel Wysong, the Dean of Men. Joel Wysong took Shuvender Sem to Mr. Wysong's apartment on campus.

At his residence, Joel Wysong observed Shuvender Sem standing in the kitchen, turning in circles, waving his arms, clapping his hands, and muttering to himself as he looked toward the ceiling.

Joel Wysong feared for his personal safety while Shuvender Sem was at his residence. Joel Wysong left Shuvender Sem in the kitchen while Wysong retreated to another room to meditate. He could hear Sem rummaging in drawers in the kitchen.

When Joel Wysong finished meditating, he discovered Shuvender Sem was missing. Wysong did not speak to Campus Security or notify
local law enforcement. Instead, he decided to try to find Sem himself."


"Joel Wysong checked several locations before finding Shuvender Sem at the student dining hall on campus. Rather than remove Sem from
the dining hall or request assistance from Campus Security or local law enforcement, Wysong decided to allow Sem to mingle with other students. Wysong did nothing to protect the students from Sem. Instead he sat some distance away from Sem. He did not keep Sem under observation.

Levi Butler's Murder Shuvender Sem moved from a table near where several students were seated to a seat next to Levi Butler.

Akbar Nazary, who had subdued Shuvender Sem during the first attack, was alarmed to see Sem in the student dining hall and moved closer so that he could help again in the event of a second attack.

Shuvender Sem asked Levi Butler where he was from. As Levi was responding, Sem suddenly jumped to his feet, screaming obscenities.
Sem then pulled from his coat a knife he had taken from Joel Wysong's kitchen. Sem began plunging the knife into Levi's chest.

It was approximately 7:02 p.m.

The force of the attack was so violent the knife blade broke off in Levi's chest. Levi was stabbed multiple times in the heart, lung, and liver.
Shuvender Sem was again subdued by Akbar Nazary, for the second time in less than five hours.
As students rushed to Levi's aid and began calling 911, Joel Wysong walked slowly to Shuvender Sem and instructed Akbar Nazary to let him go. Wysong moved Sem to the side and spoke with him.

The ambulance service did not know the location of the dining hall on the University's campus. Valuable time was lost asking for directions on campus. Once the dining hall was found, more time was lost trying to maneuver a stretcher and medical equipment through a crowd that had gathered. Even more time was lost trying to move
students away from Levi. No one from Maharishi University of Management had taken control of the situation.

When the paramedics reached Levi's side, he was gasping in what is known as agonal respiration. His pulse was 56 and his skin was pale. He was nonresponsive. The paramedics cut away Levi's shirt and removed a 3-inch knife blade from his chest. (The tip of the blade remained and was recovered during autopsy.) Pressure pads
were applied to stop the bleeding. He was placed on a ventilator.

CPR was administered. A defibrillator was used to shock Levi's heart in an attempt to restore its normal rhythm. At 7:29 p.m., he was placed in the ambulance. At that time, he was breathing, but
his pulse was weak. Levi was still alive when he reached the emergency room.

Levi Butler died on the evening of March 1, 2004 at the Jefferson County Hospital. The cause of death was "stab wounds to the chest." Had Defendants followed their own stated policy of reporting all serious crime to local authorities, Shuvender Sem would have been arrested after the attack on John Killian, and Levi Butler would be
alive today."

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, Shem was apparently a schizophrenic (according to the murder victim's family's lawsuit against MUM) who had not been taking his medication. He'd been acting strange for weeks before the murder.

Obviously MUM screwed up triple big-time in not realizing he was a problem and handled the whole thing about as badly as it could have been handled, with tragic results. Shem should probably not have been doing TM and certainly not the TM-Sidhis in the first place.

But it wasn't exactly as if he was a normal guy who lost his ability to deal with conflict because of his TM practice.

Judy Stein

Anonymous said...

Judy Stein said: But it wasn't exactly as if he was a normal guy who lost his ability to deal with conflict because of his TM practice.

How is it possible to know what role the practice of TM played or didn't play?

The TM organization only tries to use science to demonstrate the total good of TM. Isn't it possible that TM is just as disruptive as it is beneficial depending upon factors no one knows how to determine in advance of recommending TM?

Anonymous said...

How is it possible to know what role the practice of TM played or didn't play?

Read what I wrote again,
please, especially the part before "who." I didn't say anything about what role TM played or didn't play, other than that Shem probably shouldn't have been practicing it.

Anonymous said...

Judy Stein said:
I have never, not in 32 years, felt "the need to resort to the mantra to shut down."

Maybe for some people it has the OPPOSITE effect and whenever confronted they have to answer obessively, endlessly, constantly? After all, don't most mental issues exist on a spectrum? Perhaps there is an opposite end of this spectrum?

Anonymous said...

"The World Is as You Are. It's a common experience: One morning you wake up as tired as when you went to sleep. The day moves slowly; complications arise; problems seem to be overwhelming. You feel worried, relationships suffer. But the next morning, after a good night rest, you feel fresh and alert. The circumstances of the previous day may remain the same, but your evaluation of them differs dramatically. You are more relaxed, yet more energetic, more productive. Relationships are smoother, more harmonious. Why the difference? Basically, it's because the world is as you are."
-Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Anonymous said...

The TMO is now touting research that TM affects the thalamus. You have to wonder if it also affects the hypothalamus and reduces it's activity. The hypothalamus functions in rage and aggression. The suppression of it's function would make one unable to handle conflict. Let's see some research on that! (Of course that would never happen).

At least we have honest, inquiring people who are brave enough to ask the question!

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Thanks for the kudo! There may be some interesting research on neurophysiology done by independent researchers. At least I'm told it's in the works.


John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

shaktipat is a real thing .... and spiritual growth/integration takes decades, if not lifetimes .... be patient :-)

Post a Comment