Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Transcendental Meditation: No Place to Be Gay?

I recently received an email from a man who posted his personal TM story on the old trancenet.net site. "Mark" discovered there was no place in the TM movement for "what Nature made him."

His original TranceNet story follows, along with his most recent email to me.

Should I tell you my story?

I mean I guess you are a very busy man and I appreciate the fact that you could not possibly handle all the requests for help that are sent to you. I will try to make it brief and to the point as I believe that my experience could be of value to people like me who maybe are trying to fit in and being abused by organisations like TM in the name of helping them to overcome [their] differences.

I am referring to being gay, John, and some people who would use organisations like TM to either find themselves or run away from [their] sexuality.

My story starts on the day I read Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra (more on him later!).

It was May of 1992 and I was a naive, sensitive and closeted gay person. I had no one to talk to about my sexuality and decided the only option was to suppress it. So anyway I read the book and was really interested in the technical side of Ayurveda. I had a real understanding of it and thought that this was what I wanted to do, not only learn more about it but maybe practice as well.

I rang the number on the back of the book for further information[.] I spoke to [a local TM teacher], and he said that the best thing to do was to come into the centre and have a consolation [sic, consultation]. I went along and was taken [a]back by his friendly, professional manner and of course his knowledge of Ayurveda which was what I really was after. After a brief talk he convinced me to learn TM as part of finding out more about Ayurveda (Maharishi Ayurveda, I had no idea there was any other sort).

That was the first deception... You must meditate to learn the most from Ayurveda.

My father had done TM many years ago to help control his anger and it worked (he no longer practices TM and I understand why!) and is still an angry man, but I digress.

So I knew that it was a technique to help reduce stress and had certainly never heard of other claimed benefits.

My group of six other people who started mediating together were are [sic] [an] odd sort of housewives, another gay person (as I later found out), managers and office workers. Of that group I know for sure that four including me no longer practice TM and never will again. So I started to meditate and from the first day I had the most amazing special affects [sic, effects] while meditating. I mean these were like out of body experiences the works! [The teacher] said that these were very special things but not to concentrate on the[m] too much and it all would settle down soon.

I[t] didn[']t. I started to have spontaneous transcending at my work (I was a printer working with dangerous machines!) and would have to stop working and sit down to rest during them. I was having up to 5 per day at one time.

The experiences, although felt wonderful, were not getting less, and I started to have psychic manifestations or maybe they were hallucinations? Anyway [my teacher] couldn[']t offer any real help or guidance but the usual rubbish (and I got the feeling that he had no idea what I was talking about).

My beloved aunt died that year and she came to me in the most moving experience I have every had during meditation (ghost?). It rocked me to my soul and all [my teacher] could say was, "Let[']s check your practice." I think he was scared of my experiences.

I put up with 12 months of on and off experiences but in no way was I getting enlightened. I was [losing] friends fast and my job wasn[']t looking too good either! I was putting pressure on friends to learn and family too. I must have been a real pain in the ass to my loved ones, but they are a[n] understanding lot, thank goodness!

It was when [my teacher] and his new wife went to Germany for a holiday that I started and did have my first break from TM.

I was living in [their] home, house sitting for them while they were away, and I had my first sexual experience with another man. It was a total disaster but [it] gave me a new understanding of my self and my sexuality and how I could incorporate into my medi[t]ation!

I was very excited and when [my teacher] came back from Germany I arranged a meeting with him on our usual group meeting night (being 7:30pm on Thursdays) we met at 7:00pm and by the time we went into the meeting with the others at 7:30pm I [k]new that I would be never coming back to TM again.

I sat throughout the meeting and didn[']t even talk the whole way through — my world was shattered. I went home that night and cried for 4 hours. A TM friend came around to comfort me and called [my teacher] who also came round, but by then it was too late I was out of TM.

What Bruce said to me that caused the death of part of me and the birth of another and sent me on my way to become free of TM forever was, "You can never become a[n] Ayurvedic doctor, you can never become a TM teacher, you can not be gay if you want to be involved with TM."

I must say coming from someone that I loved dearly (I really did love him, now I only pity him) sent me into a bit of a spin. His only correspondence to me (through a friend) was that, "Martin you are limiting yourself by choosing this lifestyle," but it fell on deaf ears. I was not going to listen to him.

In a way I was so happy to be free of TM, it was like a release from prison. You think that you[']ve got it made and then you see what[']s really outside and you think that you can never go back. Of course I was wrong.

My last contact with [my teacher] was at the meeting in which I learned the Primordial Sound Technique. I wanted to learn it for two main reasons, to meet Deepak Chopra and to experience (what I thought) was a[n] Ayurvedic technique.

I spent the $700 and had the personal consultation with Mr Chopra, which consisted of two [minutes] of pulse touching and mantra-giving (something like 'Trapus-vena'? can[']t really remember it clearly). Anyway I never did it once and it was a complete waste of $700 (of which I couldn[']t really afford to spend!) although the tape of Maharishi chanting (supposedly) is actually quit[e] good (boy was that the most expensive tape I ever bought!)

The brainwashing was deep but my sexuality was deeper. You can[']t fight nature. They always said so, who was I [to] argue, my sexuality was what nature made me.

The one thing that I resent was the loss of Ayurveda. It was my life and I just couldn[']t continue with it under Chopra.

I [now] understand that TM [doesn't] own Ayurveda or, in fact. meditation — anymore than Christians own the words of Jesus. However with TM and my experience of Ayurveda being so linked I have a totally block now, and it is sad for me.

It was a surprise and real pleasure to hear from Mark last week:

When I look back at my story its amazing how my life has moved on[.] I am doing well and have a stable loving relationship and great job.

Just as a note from my story, around about 1999 I have a call out of the blue from my old TM teacher[.] [H]e asked if I remembered him and them went on to say he had felt guilty even after all those years after what he said to me, and that he himself is gay!

It’s amazing what people do to each other out of their own insecurities and inadequacies.

John I hope that are well and keep up the good work.

I know a number of stories that tend to show the TM Org as not gay-friendly. If people are interested, just ask in the comments below.

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