For many, recovering from TM takes a lifetime. So if you're still recovering after many decades, don't lose hope, and don't berate yourself. It's normal.
I hope that some day there will be better techniques available to help people recover more quickly. Right now, the best advice is to learn about mind control. Other things that help are: conversations with other former members, physical exercise, practicing real-life skills that you lost (or never learned if you were raised in a cult), psychotherapy, residential recovery centers, continued reading about destructive cults. One exit counsellor suggested writing down every single thing you remember from your time in the destructive cult.
Gina (a co-contributor to this blog - see panel on the right) published a post on this blog, ("Psychotherapy with Former Cult Members" posted September 2, 2011; http://tmfree.blogspot.com/2011/09/psychotherapy-with-former-cult-members.html), in which she informed the readers of a new Continuing Education Units course for psychotherapists. I was moved to send the following e-mail to the teacher of this course, as follows:
From: Laurie ------
Date: June 14, 2012
To: Patrick O'Reilly
Subject: Recovery for former destructive cult members
Dear Dr. O'Reilly:
I am a friend of Gina Catena's, and like her, I am in recovery from the Transcendental Meditation (TM) organization.
She showed me your excellent internet article on how therapists can help former cult members by encouraging them to learn about mind control. I am grateful that you are putting the information about mind control and post-cult syndrome (which can masquerade as other mental health conditions) out there, and are offering a CEU course.
Since the psychological community is still at the beginning stages of learning how to help former destructive cult members, and since you are a leader in educating therapists on how to help cult victims, I hope it will be helpful for you if I share three additional steps that I had to go through in order to help me recover from my cult.
1. I needed to learn information about my particular group - the specific lies that my particular group taught which kept me a believer. Even though I already understood mind control, I still was a believer because of the 600 research studies I had been taught about, which proported to prove how marvelous TM was for every aspect of every person's life. I had to read anti-TM websites to discover that TM experiments were usually biasedly designed and/or biasedly conducted in order to produce only positive results. Also, I learned that some research had shown that TM sometimes produces unimpressive or harmful results, but that the TM organization had kept that information from us.
2. I needed to talk to other former TMers who had been at my level of involvement in TM. Even though I had spent over 20 years telling my TM experiences to sympathetic friends, therapists, and former TMers who had been at lower levels of TM involvement than I, TM memories continued to flood my mind. However, when I finally found peers, and told them my memories, the memories finally stopped.
3. I have been in psychotherapy for many years. By working on family-of-origin issues, TM has less and less hold over me.
If these additional steps were necessary for me, then I assume there must be others out there who also need more than just education about mind control in order to recover from their destructive cult.
I hope this information is helpful to you. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance to you.
Please keep up the good work! Thank you for what you are doing!
I have been out of TM for 31 years, and I am still recovering. As Sudarsha, a co-moderator for this site, has said, "You have to claw yourself out of the TM mindset, ('Maheshism') inch by inch." For instance, it was only last month that I realized that part of the reason I eat a lot of nuts on my morning cereal is because Mahesh said that nuts were very good for you.
A problem I still have 31 years after leaving TM is my difficulty in learning new skills from books. Before I got into TM, I had taught myself guitar, typing, shorthand and crocheting from books. But since leaving TM, I find it excruciatingly hard to learn new things from books, , like how to use a computer or follow a recipe. I think this is because when I try to learn something new, it activates the feelings I had when I was learning to "fly:" "If you're don't 'fly' twice a day, you're wasting your life."
What stratagems have been helpful in your recovery from TM-brain? In what areas are you still recovering?