Thursday, April 12, 2007

Request for Readers' Help

I received the following email yesterday. I'd like to ask help from the readers of TM-Free Blog. The writer raised some questions for which I have no answers. It's my hope that the compassionate, intelligent people who hang out here can offer some insights in the comments section below.

X. wrote:


I was married to a long term [Transcendental Meditation insider]. After X years of marriage and X children he finally escaped [decades] in the movement, but we divorced at my asking. (I had endured too much of his "unstressing.")

My question is, my ex husband used to emerge from his TM sometimes in excited states of anger, or be very angry if his TM was delayed for any reason. To this day he suffers from bouts of severe anger. Do you have a physiological reason for this???? He still is deeply involved in meditating, but not doing TM. He resents my leaving our marriage; he attempts to be nice until he just can't handle it anymore and then bursts out in a deluge of insults, calling me "dishonest" and the like. I was [many] years his junior; we had sex so few times I could name them all in ten words, and I was an emotional wreck after those X years. I got out for my health. (I am only finally healthy now after X years apart.)

Why is this guy so unpredictable? What is wrong with him hormonally? Where is the anger from??? How can a guy who supposedly meditated for 6 hours every day still need such major help functioning emotionally. Did he stop developing [in his teens] when he joined the TMO???? Enlighten me. I need to start the process of viewing my situation more objectively, I spent a lot of time feeling guilty, and now I see my choice to leave was just survival.

Thanks, X.

I replied (in part):

Dear X.,

First, I'm sorry for the pain you experienced -- and to whatever extent still are experiencing. I also want to state at the outset that any advice I give here is not meant to take the place of professional counseling. I should also say I make no claims of judging your ex's actions -- certainly not without meeting either one of you.

You might start by reading my and Gina's articles on addiction. (You may want to read all the articles on addiction on the Blog.) You may find that some of the behavior you mention is discussed there. I hope that your note published here will also start a discussion that you -- and others -- could gain much from.

There's a lot to talk about in your email. The anger or irritation he felt if meditation was delayed were most likely signs of "trance addiction." This isn't researched as far as I know, but many long-term meditators appear to become addicted, possibly to endorphins and other neurotransmitters produced during meditation. They can experience irritation, anger, fatigue, even flu-like symptoms when meditation is delayed or stopped.

I'm at a loss to give you any insight into his anger right after meditation. I've not bumped into that before. That's why I suggested putting it to the Blog at large to see if anyone else has bumped into this.

At the very least, I guess we can conclude that TM didn't produce the results that your ex hoped for.

If I am right about addiction and TM, then your question about whether his emotional development stopped in his teens is very apropos. In the addictions field, we say that people usually become addicted to substances to modulate their painful emotions. If your ex used TM in this way, he essentially substituted TM for learning to deal with his emotions. If he got upset, he meditated. If he got too excited, he meditated. So in a very real sense the strategies that adults learn to handle their emotions are foreign to him. He may really very well be an emotional teenager in a middle-aged body.

Sorry for the long reply, but you raised important questions. Please feel free to write me as often as you like. I'd really enjoy exploring your questions together with you.


X. wrote later:

Yep, i think that Transcendental Meditation is very well do transcend all your immediate problems by escaping them instead of working through them.....everything other than happiness gets heaped into one big "unstressing" category (such a nice, neat little package) instead of working through the mystery of life itself and being able to dwell in "not knowing".

TMO wants to give you, I mean, sell you, all the questions and the answers to make you feel at ease in life, to label it all so you feel in control of life (and ironically those who have the need for this control are almost always the ones who are internally the most out of control! Note: Bevan Morris's severe weight problem.)

The way MMY used to yell at my ex and manipulate him were insane; however, what is more insane is that my ex would have rather had the consistent attention of someone mean and terrifying than to be released into his own power (which would be the unknown and would have required growth on my ex's part.) It is not unlike an abused wife who prefers the known abuse to the unknown freedom that awaits if she were to leave. I had the strength to leave my situation because I internally knew I was living inside an insane situation, and my deepest soul knew it was harmful[....] No amount of money can buy inner peace, but people sure try to sell it and another whole set of people are out there to purchase. Now I enquire deeply into everything and really listen to my gut when people talk out their mouths.

But I still have to deal with the residual effects of anger because I have kids with my ex husband. Perhaps discussing it and just having more and more objective compassion for the situation is the unfolding answer over time. I think certain personalities are drawn to the TMO, and if it weren't TM, it would have been something else, and truly MMY DID help my enlightenment in a backwards way, because I saw what spirituality is NOT so deeply!

Having experienced the opposite I can go into more real, heartfelt directions! I can teach my children to inquire and not blindly accept anything. I can teach them that nothing is more important than honoring questions and living out the answers. I tell them, if anyone tries to give you definitive advice or answers concerning God or the universe, run the other way, because the deepest truth is that NO one really knows the entire mystery, and honoring the mystery itself is of great value, because it sparks the imagination and intuition in such deep ways. Also, health is a great measure of how well something is working (note: TM is full of skinny wraiths and/or overweight cake eaters, very few are examples of glistening health.)

So share my stuff, but keep my name and email info out of it, it isn't necessary anyway. But I am curious as to any displays of anger any others know of or see, and solutions.


So what about it? I've come to know you as creative and intelligent people. Do you have any insights to share with X.?


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