Friday, November 19, 2010

Transcendental Meditation's "Advanced Techniques"

(Note: For those who are sensitive to such things, please be advised that this article includes TM mantras and explicit instructions on how to do an advanced technique.)
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One of our readers, who has requested anonymity, has sent the editors of TM-Free a copy of their local TM center's latest newsletter. The newsletter announced that TM "Advanced Techniques" would be taught soon at the center.

This news brought back memories of my own instruction in my one and only TM advanced technique back around 1978. As I read the newsletter, I was struck by how much has changed since then.

In 1978, I believe the rule was that at least 2 years had to elapse between each technique. Today, it is recommended that 2 months elapse! Back then, instruction took about half an hour the first day, and if there was a second day (which I can't recall for certain), that took about 10 minutes. Today, instruction takes 2 hours the first day and 2 hours the second day. In 1978, the cost of the Advanced Technique was $200. Today it is $1,500. Back then, my teacher was called a "teacher of advanced techniques." Today they are called "Vedic Experts." My teacher was an American. Today, the teachers "come from India, the home of this profound knowledge." Why? To me, the wording implied that there is some benefit or necessity in having an Indian teach it.

Back in 1978, to learn my first advanced technique, I brought my fruit, flowers, handkerchief and $200 to the TM center. I then met my teacher, Lillian Rosen. She wore a blouse and a skirt down to her ankles, which I remember thinking was strange, since when I became a TM teacher, they had told us to dress in business clothes. If I remember correctly, she performed the Indian puja ceremony, and then asked me what my mantra was. I replied, "Ayim." She sighed, as if in exasperation, and then said, "Your new mantra is 'aingnama.' " I then practiced TM with this new mantra. She sent me home, and I believe I came back the next day to check the pronunciation of my new mantra. I wonder what is included nowadays in the four hours of instruction.

The newsletter also stated that a person would have to learn the three advanced techniques before being eligible to learn the TM-Sidhis program. My memory is fuzzy after all these years, but I believe that in my day, one had to have practiced TM for two years, plus maybe attend two weekend residence courses to be eligible. I wonder why the change. Since I learned TM for $35, and weekend residence courses cost $150, preparation for the TM-Sidhis program would have come to $335. Nowadays, with TM instruction at $1,500, plus 4 advanced techniques at $1,500 each, the cost of preparation to learn the TM-Sidhis comes to $7,500.

Also, in my day the first advanced technique was the one I describe above. Nowadays, apparently the first technique given is a technique done in bed before one falls asleep. I wonder why they made the change.

I also found the information in the newsletter questionable. For instance, they state that, "...Through the regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, the mind becomes familiar with the experience of 'pure consciousness' - the simplest, least excited state of consciousness...." First of all, did you become familiar with the experience of pure consciousness through the regular practice of TM? I didn't. I think I experienced something like that about once a year, maximum. What was your experience with experiencing "PC"?

Secondly, on my TM Teacher Training Course, one of our instructors broke the news to us that a TM meditator doesn't experience the state of pure consciousness until the last stress is gone. What we experience before that is "purer" consciousness, a "less" excited state of consciousness - that is, if our instructor was telling us the truth.

The newsletter quoted some satisfied customers of the advanced techniques. I would like to critique the two strangest testimonials.

1. "I feel a greater sense of wholeness, a sense of being in tune with the cosmos. I have the impression that all of my environment and my school are inside my consciousness, that everything is in me." - Yves Bourque, School principal

Critique: He feels a greater sense of being in tune with the cosmos. But is he actually more in tune with the cosmos, or does he just feel that he is? And what does that mean, to be in tune with the cosmos? He also has the impression that everything is within himself. But since his school etc. are not actually inside himself, is this a benefit, or a sign of delusion?

2. "My meditation is very deep, yet very lively. I feel relaxed, yet my mind is fully awake. I feel waves of warmth and contentment. This is a very wonderful experience!" - Louise DeKreon, University of Alaska adjunct lecturer

Critique: This is subjectively a very wonderful experience. OK if you want to spend $1,500 for a very wonderful experience. A mug of hot chocolate will also give you waves of warmth and contentment for $3.00.

By the way, the first quote is by one Yves Bourque. As you may know, Judith Bourque recently published a book called "Robes of Silk, Feet of Clay" regarding her love affair with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Is this a coincidence that the TMO chose this quote by a "Bourque?"

Of course, testimonials are not a particularly useful way to gauge a product. They leave many unanswered questions, such as, "What percentage of the students had positive, neutral or negative results?" and "What were the long-term effects of the advanced technique?" But since the TMO has seen fit to include testimonials in their publications, I thought it would be informative to include some testimonials of our own. So I will start with mine:

"When I learned the advanced technique, I felt high and mellow for 2 or 3 days. After that I felt nothing special." - Laurie, Editor for TM-Free Blog.

Now it's your turn! If you'd like, please write a testimonial of the results of your advanced technique in the comments section below. And share anything else that you like!

17 comments:

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Another great thread from Laurie. I received my advanced technique from MMY at the TTC in Mallorca. I recall it was in the evening, late autumn, in MMY's rooms and everything was very dark and still. I do not think I had any offerings and there was no puja. He had me sit on a chair adjacent to him and took my hand in both of his. This was the first and only personal contact I have ever had with him. His hands were the softest I had ever felt, and he smelled fantastic, sort of like spices like clove and cardamom. He closed his eyes and appeared to reflect deeply on my essence before telling me my new improved mantra (to this day, I will never share it or speak it aloud). The experience was very moving, to say the least. I can't say though whether the 'advanced technique' had any greater or different effects than the first one.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

The night technique seems to have been out of favour for a couple of decades. Now, it’s back? I remember Sattyanand “teaching” us. He turned out the light and asked “what do you see”. Someone replied “nothing” — he said, “that’s right”. He told us to put our attention out in front, above the knees before going to sleep. Jerry “checked” this the next day (we even learnt a checking procedure for the night technique); Jerry said something a little different.

Some years later, I read Richard Scott’s memoirs (Transcendental Deception I think it was called). Richard was in the second group to get the night technique that week (at Estes Park). His memory was a little different from mine and a little different from what I had remembered Jerry saying. The technique appears to come from a Tibetan practise … as usual, jimmied a bit by Mahesh.

Nothing happened, doing the night technique, until nearly two years later in Fiuggi. I had a room with an east window. The foot of the bed was toward the window. I’d get comfortable, start the night technique and suddenly the sun would be rising in the window. Only time the night technique worked. When I got the next technique śri aing namah, the night technique never again did anything.

Lillian Rosen! Lillian and I used to go on long walks in Seelisberg. She would unstress (gripe, whinge, bitch, complain) constantly, about everything. I just listened. I hope it let her feel better.

Mahesh said of Lillian: when someone teaches the advanced techniques, others might see them as gurus, but with Lillian, I know I am taking no chances – yep, Mahesh could be a real prick. Lillian was one of the few people I met on courses with Mahesh who had really, really abysmal people skills. I heard she had given a lot of money to the TMO ... well duh!

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

On another note, the person who initiated me was Andrée Leonard. Does anyone have any news of her?

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Deborah --- here's a link to Andrée's website:

http://hayehwathainstitute.org/andree.html

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Wow..words fail me.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Many TM teachers went their own, sometimes squirrelly, way. This seems, to me, to say something – not so much about TM itself as about Mahesh and what/how he taught. Many of those who were TM teachers seem to have felt entitled, somehow empowered and certainly “capable” of doing just as Mahesh did: making up their own stuff on the backs of anything they got their hands on (as well as any crapspackle idea that popped into their ill-advised heads).

Hence, in Maheshism, we find bits and pieces of Yogananda’s Kriya Yoga. In Yogananda’s teachings, we find bits and pieces of Tibetan Buddhist teachings.

In Maheshism, we find a HUGE fund of completely wonky crap Mahesh tried to pass off/sell as “science”, including the catechism of his self-serving religion: “S.C.I.”.

I don’t know if we see this in other cults/religions. Last I read (and this wasn’t in the least recently), there were nearly 300 different brands of Christianity alone, just in the US of A. I guess it’s become a world of every person for him/herself.

Funny thing: in Tibet, so I am told, there is a saying - every valley a different lama, every lama, a different doctrine. While the various forms of Buddhism and Bön in Tibet are remarkably consistent and cohesive, this business of every person for him/herself seems to have blossomed exceedingly fruitfully in the US.

It might be of interest to try to catalogue how many different versions of TM have already sprung to light and how many “new” New Age sillinesses are based on TM/Maheshism.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Testimonial. The advanced techniques were a dud. I'm on my third. The original mantra seems better. However, TM does what they advertise for me. I tried many different things, so I'm not deluded or cultist. Yup, I feel better, centered at peace, etc. But, I think that's mostly genetic or I'm just an idiot that doesn't know enough to be sad like other humans.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

I once meet a reseacher of religious science, he claimed that the buisness model of TM is videly copied by similar movements as a rolemodel for financial succes. And again I am sure that Scientology must have been a rolemodel for Mahesh. I knew a TM teacher that told me that Mahesh was very inspired by Hubbard. Mahesh told him "that if Hubbards plans for world succeded, it would be a tremendous benefit for the world" The Purification Rundown is program very similar to TM, one of my friends told me that the entire planet could benfit from individual participants doing this program. Mahesh also used scientology terms such as "religious technology" about TMSP wich is a program contanied supernatural powers, I believe that scientology is all about supernatural powers.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

No wonder "Transcendental Meditation" "TM" "SCI" etc. have all been trademarked by Mahesh.

He knew how he got his "pure knowledge" and was just making it harder for those who truly wanted to mimic their "Master."

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Somehow I get the feeling that Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, or whoever else you might name made it up as they went along, as did MMY and L Ron Hubbard. There isn't anything wrong with that, except for the fact that these beliefs somehow get codified as 'religions', and the next step is that people start killing each other if they don't believe exactly as they do. Thankfully, TM hasn't come to that.

Morris

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

What are you supposed to think when your TM initiator now thinks she is the current reincarnation of Hiawatha?

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

think how lucky you are not to be caught in her delusion

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

not as far as word has leaked out it hasn't

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Wow, wisdom.

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

hello ... I would like to learn about the advanced techniques of transcendental meditation known as "fertilizer" I know four advanced techniques "fertilizer, " but I know there are more advanced techniques, anyone can tell me about the advanced techniques?

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

Hello ... I would like to learn about the advanced techniques of transcendental meditation known as "fertilizer" I know four advanced techniques "fertilizer, " but I know there are more advanced techniques, anyone can tell me about the advanced techniques?

John M. Knapp, LMSW said...

hello, my comments were deleted .. ? Why?

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