Monday, June 02, 2014

Emotional Problems Post-TM; Relating to Fairfield Relatives, Part II

[This is Part II of the previous article "Emotional Problems Post-TM; Relating to Fairfield Relatives, Part I" - ed.]

Second topic:  How to Relate to Fairfield TM Relatives
Reader's comment:
"I’d like to get back to some previous comment threads on how to relate to family in TM if you are not in it....
'...I don’t expect my [relatives] to give up TM, and I don’t even try to convince them much or argue with them. But I do want to be able to visit them and find things to do (even if by myself or with other family) that are not completely connected to TM or MUM.  I don't mind spending some time at MUM....
'There is certainly a lot of sensitivity to criticism of Maharishi by most I talk to. 
'I’m curious if others have found ways to visit Fairfield and their TM friends and family comfortably, or if it is always uncomfortable for those who are not part of TM any more (or never were).
'...Finally, I’d add that I’m continuing in my reading and effort to see TM as a new religious movement rather than destructive cult, even if some on this site think this misguided or impossible."

My response:

I don't have friends or family in Fairfield, so I won't respond to the first question.  I hope others have some pointers for this reader.  But I will respond to his/her final comment.

My take on it is that the reader is confusing him/herself by trying to compare apples and oranges.  Religions, whether old or new, are in my opinion defined by beliefs and practices.  Destructive cults, on the other hand, are not defined by beliefs and practices, (no matter how unusual the beliefs and practices.)  Rather, destructive cults are defined by the manner in which a person is drawn into and kept in the group.

There are several models to describe this process.  One of my favorites is this simple model:  A groups is a destructive cult if outsiders are: (1) drawn in my deception, and (2) kept in by mind control.

For example, when a person is given an introductory lecture on TM, is s/he told that if they learn TM, in a few years, they might be celibate, meditate  6 hours a day, spend thousands of dollars on astrology and Vedic rituals, wear beige or scarlet, eat a lacto-vegetarian diet, buy an expensive new house, and be convinced that if they don't do their daily TM program, will be personally responsible for World War III?  

Are they told that on relaxing residential retreats, the extra meditations will put them in a state of reduced critical thinking, where they will absorb quasi-Hindu doctrine?  And that in this state of cognitive vulnerability, they will be told that (sub-standard) research "proves" that TM is the solution to all human problems?         

My suggestion to the reader is to learn more about new religions and also more about destructive cults, and then decide for him/herself what they think TM is.  (It could be both!)  There are other models on what constitutes a destructive cult beside the 2-point one I've reviewed here.  I recommend googling Margaret Singer Ph.D., and Robert J. Lifton, M.D, and Steve Hassan, M.Ed's website as noted above, for other useful models.  Also you could look at websites listed on the right hand side of the TM-Free homepage for a start.

Thank you to all commenters for your many, many intelligent and insightful comments.  Also thanks to all who read TM-Free but do not send comments.  

If any other reader would like their comments placed in this position of prominence as a TM-Free Blog "post," please let us know, and we will try to oblige!

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