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Author Topic: Transcendental meditation  (Read 1165 times) Average Rating: 0
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Schultz
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« on: April 28, 2010, 04:27:39 PM »

Someone I am very close with is being advised by her therapist to utilize a form of Transcendental Meditation as a means to help her control her anxiety.  On the surface of it, I'm glad he's not prescribing her drugs but trying to help her help herself, so to speak.  However, I am and have always been wary of TM.  Does anyone know of any resources that describe the dangers of TM from an Orthodox point of view?  In my reading on TM, I've come to realize that the technique is largely at odds with Christian contemplation because it stresses the "freedom" of the mind to wander and the meaninglessness of thought as opposed to the Orthodox view that we should be in control of our thoughts and vigilant against wandering thoughts, keeping our minds focused on Christ.  As such, TM also teaches to "find the divine within" in a manner totally opposed to "seeking the Kingdom of God within".

Any other thoughts? 
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2010, 04:50:11 PM »

Things get tricky when you are asking a person to disregard the advice of his therapist, but in this case I would say TM is most likely a "no-no." Now I don't know precisely what your friend is being advised to do, but if it is connected with the organization of the guru Maharishi then I would definitely warn her against it. The Maharishi group is basically a money-sucking cult of the worst sort. Did the therapist suggest TM as a generic practice, or did he refer your friend to a specific teacher/ organization?  I actually sat through a long lecture advocating TM (my excuse was that David Lynch was the main speaker) and I got the same impression you did. I also have a friend who tried it out- essentially you are given a mantra by the teacher which he deems to be most appropriate for your mental state, and you meditate on this mantra. Usually the mantra costs a large sum of money, though my friend was allowed to try out TM for free. Is your friend an Orthodox Christian? I think a good question for the therapist would be, 'what can TM accomplish that concentration on the Jesus Prayer can't?' Unless the therapist is a TM devotee, he might be inclined to accept the Jesus Prayer as an alternative. Oftentimes these therapists are just interested in certain results (e.g., decreased anxiety) and not in deeper spiritual questions.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2010, 04:51:24 PM by Iconodule » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2010, 04:57:57 PM »

Things get tricky when you are asking a person to disregard the advice of his therapist, but in this case I would say TM is most likely a "no-no." Now I don't know precisely what your friend is being advised to do, but if it is connected with the organization of the guru Maharishi then I would definitely warn her against it. The Maharishi group is basically a money-sucking cult of the worst sort. Did the therapist suggest TM as a generic practice, or did he refer your friend to a specific teacher/ organization?  I actually sat through a long lecture advocating TM (my excuse was that David Lynch was the main speaker) and I got the same impression you did. I also have a friend who tried it out- essentially you are given a mantra by the teacher which he deems to be most appropriate for your mental state, and you meditate on this mantra. Usually the mantra costs a large sum of money, though my friend was allowed to try out TM for free. Is your friend an Orthodox Christian? I think a good question for the therapist would be, 'what can TM accomplish that concentration on the Jesus Prayer can't?' Unless the therapist is a TM devotee, he might be inclined to accept the Jesus Prayer as an alternative. Oftentimes these therapists are just interested in certain results (e.g., decreased anxiety) and not in deeper spiritual questions.

The therapist has definitely advised a "generic" form of TM.  I'm seeing her tonight and will talk about it more with her, as I am also genuinely interested in what her therapist has to say on the subject. 

She is not an Orthodox Christian, but a lapsed cradle Roman Catholic.  She still prays the rosary, though, and has a deep attachment to the Blessed Mother.

I think you may be right, though, that her therapist is just trying to get some results. 
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2010, 02:06:35 AM »

Is TM like "centering prayer," or are they two seperate things? I'm a little familiar with centering prayer, through a few books of Basil Pennington that I read many years ago.
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2010, 12:21:43 PM »

If it's "generic" TM, then it's probably simply a word that the person silent repeats/meditates-upon for a short period of time. As such, it wouldn't be all that different from Centering Prayer that Catholics and Episcopalians practice. She could use any biblical word, or verse, and use that as her meditation word. (TM usually uses a Hindu term or mantra.)
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2010, 07:37:03 PM »

I would avoid TM like the plague. Why do Orthodox Christians even need to entertain such New Age and worldly philosophies? The Fathers of our Faith have given us in depth instructions, counsel, and guidelines as to how to pray, fast, and achieve theosis. TM, yoga, and the like are counterfeits of true mysticism, which is rooted in the experience of Our Lord Jesus Christ. All of these pseudo-spiritual forms of "meditation" disguise themselves as a neutral means of quieting the mind and achieving "inner peace." But they are really deceptive schemes designed to get people to unwittingly open themselves up to nefarious spiritual forces. Remember that satan masquerades as an angel of light. But the flames of hell are the source of lucifer's luminence!


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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2010, 08:51:32 PM »

If it's "generic" TM, then it's probably simply a word that the person silent repeats/meditates-upon for a short period of time. As such, it wouldn't be all that different from Centering Prayer that Catholics and Episcopalians practice. She could use any biblical word, or verse, and use that as her meditation word. (TM usually uses a Hindu term or mantra.)

He already says she prays the rosary regularly, so I would think that would qualify.
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2010, 09:59:07 AM »

Update:

Yes, it's definitely a "generic" TM, more just like a focusing exercise than real TM.  She gets to choose whatever word she wants and just focuses on it for 10 minutes in order to quell her anxiety.  As usual, she managed to give me the "worst" aspects of her situation and, upon further investigation, it's not nearly as bad as it may think.

I told her that her rosary would probably fit the bill and she should ask her therapist about it.  As a previous poster said, this guy is just after an end result (coping mechanism to deal with anxiety) than any particular method to attain that result.  I imagine he threw out "transcendental meditation" as a buzzword that she might be familiar with as opposed to saying, "Well, we're going to start you on a path of transcendental meditation as taught by Yogi SoandSo."

Thank you all for your input.
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2010, 10:48:50 AM »

If it's "generic" TM, then it's probably simply a word that the person silent repeats/meditates-upon for a short period of time. As such, it wouldn't be all that different from Centering Prayer that Catholics and Episcopalians practice. She could use any biblical word, or verse, and use that as her meditation word. (TM usually uses a Hindu term or mantra.)

He already says she prays the rosary regularly, so I would think that would qualify.
Yeah, but the rosary requires a bit more mental activity, whereas a repetition of a word or short phrase (like "Peace" or "God is good") might allow for a deeper relaxation.
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2010, 01:44:40 PM »

Yeah, but the rosary requires a bit more mental activity, whereas a repetition of a word or short phrase (like "Peace" or "God is good") might allow for a deeper relaxation.

Like "Kyrie Eleison"?  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2010, 02:01:21 PM »

Yeah, but the rosary requires a bit more mental activity, whereas a repetition of a word or short phrase (like "Peace" or "God is good") might allow for a deeper relaxation.

Like "Kyrie Eleison"?  Wink
Or "Jesus". angel
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If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
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"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
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