Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Transcendental Meditation Marketer Jeanne Ball writes for HuffPost

Just received the following post from Fairfield Life and have permission to repost it. This article, by TM Marketer Jeanne Ball, compares Transcendental Meditation to Zen and other meditations.

Surprisingly, TM comes out on top. So Transcendental Meditation Marketer$ are trumpeting her article all over cyberspace.

While I suspect Jeanne and Tom McKinley Ball are dedicated people who just want to promote something they passionately believe in, it seems to me they've gotten to the place where anything is fair game in the name of a Higher Good.

One thing we should consider in the above and other examples is the real-life realities of such cult tactics, and then try to do something about it while we can.

For example, longtime TM jihadist Jeanne Ball (posing as a "a writer for the David Lynch Foundation—a non-profit, philanthropic organization that supports meditation projects for such diverse groups as gifted children, at-risk kids, prison inmates, veterans, Native Americans, high school and college students and the homeless") has and does successfully use her blog on the Huffington Post as a soapbox for a radical pro-TM cult agenda, which to many of the liberal readers of the Huff Post probably seems like a "wow, isn't that cool" blog post.

What knee-jerk Huff-libs are missing though is that Jeanne

  1. doesn't clearly share where her bias comes from (i.e. that she's a "re-certified" TM teacher and a stealth Marshy salesperson),
  2. She distorts the scientific reality of TM as a "self-transcending" neurological reality (i.e. the counter-examples she uses are published and established neurological realties, hers is just something TM science bots just came up with to try to look "unique" and counter some wonderful modeling of the neurological realities of deep meditation by leading neuroscientists),
  3. She distorts EEG examples to favor her bias and her "product"
  4. and most bizarrely (and in keeping with Wikileak documents revelation of the TM Org's love bombing "I so LOVED that post" tactics) take a peek at the remarks which all say 'wow, I loved your post' and 'oh the research on TM is so great'...'I tried TM and it's just the bestest'. It's really disturbing.

Classic cult tactics at work..and succeeding at sucking up to Arianna and Co.

What's even more disturbing is that they appear to have already compromised the editorial process at Huff-Po. Two Huff-Po members that I know have had their comments critical of Ball's article or which pointed out it's fallacies / inaccuracies blocked and edited out.

The truth does not really set you free when no one's ever allowed to even see it.

Shame on you Arianna for allowing this to take place and double shame on you Jeanne for being such a lying, deceptive TM cult zombie.

Jeanne Ball's article for HuffPost

(I dare someone to try to get a critical comment through.)

"I trust you tell your truth. Sadly, your values are so out of left-field—'your truth' is commonly called a lie."



John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

As someone who has practised TM (and believed the beliefs of Maheshism), Sōtō Zen, Theravāda and Dzogchen techniques ... well, TM/Maheshism just doesn’t measure up for me. — The most beneficial thing in the above post is John’s ending remark: “I trust you tell your truth. Sadly, your values are so out of left-field—’your truth’ is commonly called a lie.”

Mahesh felt it was his right and duty to do whatever it took to get his meditation into everyone's head. His followers seem to have taken up this interesting cause and demonstrated their disinclination to bother with the truth in the process. -- But, that's my truth. Everyone must find his or her own truth.As someone who has practised TM (and believed the beliefs of Maheshism), Sōtō Zen, Theravāda and Dzogchen techniques ... well, TM/Maheshism just doesn’t measure up for me. — The most beneficial thing in the above post is John’s ending remark: “I trust you tell your truth. Sadly, your values are so out of left-field — ‘your truth’ is commonly called a lie.”

Mahesh felt it was his right and duty to do whatever it took to get his meditation into everyone’s head. His followers seem to have taken up this interesting cause and demonstrated their disinclination to bother with simple fact in the process. — But, that’s my truth. Everyone must find his or her own truth.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

It is spiritual fascism! Like all fascist ideologies science is used to justify its claims. Consider this post on the www.tm.org/blog/research/different-meditation-techniques/

"Meditations differ in both their ingredients and their effects, just as medicines do. Lumping them all together as ‘essentially the same’ is simply a mistake,” said Jonathan Shear, Ph.D., co-author, professor of philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond."

AND OF COURSE science is used to justify TM because of better "Hight Frontal Alpha Coherence". Buddhist meditation is dismissed. Christian contemplation is dismissed. These traditions extend backwards in time before 1955 as a matter of historical fact. Did Jesus concern his apostles with Alpha Coherence? Did the Buddha?

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Well, Paul, neither Jesus nor the Buddha (nor Lao Tzu nor The Prophet) felt the necessity to turn their followers into their serfs and servants (spiritual slavery? surely Mahesh wouldn't ... but is sure looks like he tried).

As John Knapp, above, so brilliantly says: the followers of Mahesh are nearly saintly in their passion to help others [not his exact words, of course]. But when does lying, cheating, perverting science and other facts of life come under the heading of helping others.

Real help can only come from telling the truth. Mahesh often admonished us to speak the words that were sweet. Had he been up front, he'd have taught us only to speak the truth. Had he done that, none of us would have ended up in the pickle we are trying to extract ourselves from.

So, welcome, Paul. I hope you will share more of your wisdom with us, not just the nice words, but real, verifiable truths.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Neuroscientists have actually known for a long time, the type of EEG coherence seen in TMers is the same, and follows the same brain pattern as many common relaxation techniques. There's really nothing special about it at all. In fact the coefficient of
coherence seen in the TM-Sidhi program is no different from the levels of coherence seen in normal human functioning. One reason the TM Org needs to create this faux self transcending categorization is because actual neuroscientists have now identified the real neural correlates of higher states of consciousness, what yogis call "samadhi" -- and ain't nothing like what is seen in TM and other relaxation-style techniques.

The other reason is because other meditation researchers have identified the neural circuits behind different meditation techniques and the states of consciousness they invoke. The whole "we have a special technique that no one else does" is just brand-name claim-staking, their way of desperately trying to look special. Unlike legitimate scientists, TM Org affiliated researchers then push their distorted slant to many media outlets and spread their questionable theories all over the internet.

This whole line of presentation shown in the Huff Post article is an elaborate deception meant to make TM look better than it is, and at the same time try to make other, superior research look bad. The only thing being hidden here is the truth.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

This is an excellent contribution, Vajradhatu. I hope you can flesh it out more so that we can all be aware of the details and how real scientific investigation and reporting differs from Maheshism.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Testing comments system.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

" neither Jesus nor the Buddha (nor Lao Tzu nor The Prophet nor Moses) felt the necessity to turn their followers into their serfs and servants "

You sure about that? I guess it depends on what you mean by serf and servant. Even in modern times we see examples of what would happen if religion takes over the State: middle east, former Tibet, Vatican city, etc.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

" is because actual neuroscientists have now identified the real neural correlates of higher states of consciousness, what yogis call "samadhi" -- and ain't nothing like what is seen in TM and other relaxation-style techniques. "

Where is this research?

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Your quote contradicts your post! And, why shouldn't science be used for verification? Ok, the TM is suspect here, but so? Even the Dalai Lama is into science. I think the Buddha and Jesus would be into it too. What do you want rosaries and Hail Marys only?

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Yea, sad. This gives even more proof that the TMO is religious, for the greatest sin is found in religion. Wait, as I write, a woman in Birmingham is going into remission, a man is starting to walk after 40 years in a wheelchair. Please send your donation to me, so I can continue to heal the world.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Hi, JB - I do not see any evidence that any of the founders of the world's great religions were in it for the money or the followers. But history certainly demonstrates that almost all religions have been turned to the service of and have been enslaved by power-hungry individuals who said they were doing God's work. I don't see Mahesh being much different. But maybe you can show me some examples of what you mean. I do not know how to overcome or get around the problem of "interpretation" of events, however. I can only examine my own motives and hope others will constantly provide various point of view so that I can understand.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Thankfully there are several somewhat negative responses there now including this one:

"This is a blatant press release for TM and should be labeled as such. Jeanne Ball says she has lectured on meditation for 25 years. Has she lectured on any kind of meditation other than TM? Has she tried any others?
I don't expect Huffington Post to be free from bias. In fact, that 's part of what makes it great. But that bias needs to be clearly stated: "Jeanne Ball is a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique." If that's true, why is she hiding it? I suspect it's to give herself a little more credibility as an expert."

So maybe you should edit that part out of your story. Otherwise I agree.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

I think it might have Jack Parr who opined that an expert was: an ex, a has-been; and a spurt was water under pressure. I'm happy to know that Huffington is not editing out negativity; it seems about the only positive thing one can say about the TM antics, those negative things.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

perhaps the tm teachers are mentally conditioned (brain washed)
insecure or sometimes both? how can they charge $thousands to
teach a meditation technique w/o any reservations? how can a tm teacher continue for decades & not wonder how those many $million$ are spent?

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Clearly good questions, Rio. I don't know, but I suspect that "brain washed" is another way of saying conversion to truebelieverism which seems to me to be a very closed-minded approach to doing what one has been told (something that once might have been 'doing what one thought was worthy').

Extremes. Not questioning is probably the ultimate extreme, isn't it?

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Hi, Rio!

I agree; but I also feel that NOTHING can be completely negative because there will always be an attitude able to discover something of some kind of benefit. That said, however, discovering something of some kind of benefit is not the same as saying that a thing is therefore shriven of all wrong and wrong-doing.

There are valuable aspects of the basic TM teaching. But it is very difficult to find value in much of the rest of what constitutes “Maheshism”. Maheshism seems, to me, completely ego-centric (obviously: orbiting always and only around Mahesh’s ego, Mahesh’s own sense of self-importance).

With respect to the conceptualization of truebelieverism, one has to look at Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer in order to understand how the concept has originated and is applied in the case of, or in any religion/philosophy/political-agenda or other, TM.

I have absolutely no doubt that all forms of religion/philosophy/political-agenda or “other” have their sincere followers as well as their insecure ones, the two not being mutual exclusive.

Yet, that combination of sincerity (migrating to “absolute conviction”) and insecurity tends to distort and formulate thinking in terms of ends being justified by means. This was, as far as I am able to determine, an underlying assumption on Mahesh’s part. The sequelae of this dubious form of self-empowerment on Mahesh’s part and, by extension, on the part of his concrete-thinking adherents, is the TMO we observe today: taking a relatively benign form of calming (śamatha) practise and adding all sorts of non-specific “enhancements” that in themselves do nothing and in combination with TM affect neither the potentiality of TM nor the prospects of spiritual evolution of the practitioner.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

So you think the Buddha washed his own clothes?

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

I think we can go too much the other way. If someone practices something and is an "expert" should they be criticized or automatically suspect? If someone is a 6th Dan in some martial art, they should not teach, praise, and stump for their tradition? Or a master plumber should not fix your stuck toilet? True, they should not hide there affiliations, else it would just be pure politics.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...


If you are familiar with the Vinaya, the monastic “rules”, then it is quite obvious that the Buddha, like all the other monks, washed his own clothes.

AND, as with all the monks, those monks who were old or infirm were taken very good care of by the other monks. We have at least one instance where the Buddha found a monk sick and unable to care for himself. So, the Buddha cleaned him up and nursed him. This is where we get the monastic rule about caring for those unable to care for themselves.

Most likely, when the Buddha was in his last years, he, too, was well cared for and, yes, someone probably washed his clothes; but this was towards the end of 45 years of teaching.

I have known many Buddhist monastics in the Theravāda tradition. Even the most senior monastic washes his own clothes. It is quite clear from the Buddha’s teaching that there was only one rule for all the monks, including the Buddha. The Buddha was very clear that he did not make one rule for special people and something else for others. This included his teaching. He said he was not a closed fist teacher holding special things back for special individuals. If you could ask the question, then he gave the answer accordingly.

It may well be that in some traditions of Buddhism, from China or Tibet, that, out of respect for the work the teacher has put into being able to teach, there are monastics who serve the needs and care for the teacher so that he (or she) can focus on teaching. But I just don’t know that much about the private sector, as it were, of Buddhist traditions outside the Theravāda.

You have certainly asked a very important question and, had I found that the Buddha was little different from the kind of teacher I knew in Mahesh, I would not have spent the past 30-something years studying and practicing the teachings of the Buddha.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

I have found an old copy of "Enlightenment" magazine. Any one remember this? Issue 17, june 2002. On the cover is: First Enlightenment course begins in Holland; 3000 peace palaces to be built worldwide" etc. Who pays for the peace palaces?

Near the end of this edition is an article by H.E. Dr. Warren Berman, discussing the "enlightenment course". He is contemplating the million dollar course fee(yes, a million dollar$)
and what to say to others who could attend the course. I suspect that the reference is to justify the million dollar course fee. He makes the conclusion: "So my feeling is that this is a
fantastic investment". Also:"I am just deeply, deeply grateful
that Maharishi has given us this opportunity".

Does anyone know how many tmers paid one million
dollars to attend this "Enlightenment" course? Dr. Berman states
that his dear friend Charlie Lieb was also to attend the course.
There must have been some zillionaire tmers. Or maybe they
started with plenty but spent most of it on tm courses, sidhis,
yagyas etc. Any one have knowledge concerning this? Gina,
JKnapp, Sudarsha & others? Some tmers actually paid a million
dollars to attend a course w/maharishi?

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Hi, Rio

Not a clue regarding “how many” forked over $1Million, but those who became “rajas” paid a million bucks for that “honour”! I suppose the exceptions are Hagelin and Guru Bev.

It is interesting to note, I guess, that soon after 9/11, Mahesh took out two-page, full-page ads in three prominent US newspapers sounding as if he were DEMANDING the US give him a BILLION dollars to implement his butt-bouncing nonsense in order to “ensure” world peace. One could not help but note that the ads were dripping with the insinuation of “or else”.

Needless to say, the money was not forthcoming, so Mahesh invented (out of thin air, of course) the $1million enlightenment courses. AND, bonus of bonuses, those who attended got to have some private time with Mahesh, also and only by video link, of course.

There are a couple of YouTube videos of Mahesh handing out Burger King hats to “rajas”, so perhaps the enlightenment course was a little different from the I-wanna-be-a-raja course.

There are some rich folk who have given huge amounts of actual money to Mahesh. Whether they thereby also became rajas (knowing secret information like advanced techniques, ‘sidhi’ and how to make initiators, wow!) as a result, I do not know.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Wow, Rio, what a great find!

To digress: I knew His Excellency Dr. Warren Berman when he was simply Warren Berman who co-led the Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA TM Center back in 1976. I even gave a lecture or 2 with him. He llived there with Harriet Eskenazi and possibly others back when TM Centers were allowed to be co-ed. Later MMY enforced a more sexually puritanical set of rules, and TM centers became one-sex only or a married couple. (See my TM-Free blog article on "Maharishi's atttitudes on Gender ROles and Sex.") I looked him up and see that he and Harriet are married and have kids. Maybe live in Fairfield?

Anyhow, I left TM in 1981, and as Sudarsha says, after 2001, there were these "One Million Dollar Courses" which I believe were one month long, in Holland. MMY was upstairs in his suite (he was not well) and the videocamera or maybe the audio only would be on him, and people at the course got to ask him questions personally. Just like in the old days when TM was a small movement. I also gather from what I have read that one had to attend a 1-month $1 million course as Raja-Training.

The doctorate in Warren's case may be honorary. MUM gives out honorary doctorates to TM-followers so that then it looks impressive when MUM announces, "Dr. So-And-So has this to say about TM."

Sorry I have so little info to give you about your fascinating question. I also wonder how many took this course. Apparently the TM movement has $2.5 billion US. (Sudarsha, is that the right number?)

I also wonder who was the highest level person who defected. Anyone know?

Rio, the Settle family gives millions of dollars as scholarships of about $600/month so people can stay in Fairfield and fly for world peace.

The Kaplans gave $1 million a month to MMY until they defected. You can read about that here on TMFree. Look up "Kaplan" on the right (tags.)

Hope some of this info is helpful. If you find any more fascinating magazines, articles, etc., please let us know!

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Apparently the TM movement has $2.5 billion US. (Sudarsha, is that the right number?)

I doubt anyone outside the inner-inner workings of the Shrivastava family (Mahesh's nephew Anand and a very few others) knows how much actual worth there is. It was rumoured that in the 90s Mahesh underwrote a $3 billion building in Brazil. (No, I'm not at all clear on what facts there might be). My point, however, is that to underwrite the building of a building, you have to show that you have that much available.

But Mahesh was not good with money, at least not in the old days. But it appears that after getting his butt saved by the inflow of cash from his 'sidhi' cash-grab, either he got more conservative, or someone else took over the financial control.

It appears that, post 'sidhi' cash-grab, Mahesh played less and less an actual role in the "movement", handing most everything over to his new-found source of $$$, his "rajas".

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

So H.E. is "His Excellency". In the case of H.E. Bevan Morris,
would that be" His Enormity"? I could not resist the temptation!

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...


Well, Rio, there are just some temptations that cry out for recognition. I'm sure you did not resist in a kind and loving way!

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