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Transcendental Meditation Governor Recertification Course Overview of Policies and Procedures, May 2005
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1) This file has not been offered anywhere online, it is a confidential document only made available to recently recertified teachers of the Transcendental Meditation program (TM).
2) This file (as it says in the initial red paragraph) is a summary of current policies and principles under which the Transcendental Meditation program (TM) is taught and promoted, along with the other products and services sold by the organization.
This matter has been of particular public concern recently with the benefit concert organized recently (April 4 2009) by film director David Lynch, with the expressed intent to support teaching one million school students to meditate. (Google news search on 'david lynch school meditate' or similar to view numerous articles in the press globally.)
Lynch obtained the participation of the two surviving Beatles as well as a number of stars for this concert, and gained substantial press for this effort as a result.
TM is a specific, trademarked program, that starts with a form of meditation originally founded and popularized by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This organization trains and authorizes people to teach this kind of meditation and sell various other related products. After nearly 50 years, the organization is now global in scope, having been kick-started through the founder's association with various global pop stars including the Beatles, Donovan, Mike Love, etc.
The TM organization, which formally calls itself the "Global Country of World Peace," is often called the "TM movement" (as in this document) but knowledgable outsiders and critics simply call it the "TMO" for short, which I will do here. This organization is currently attempting to gain entry into public schools in the United States (and occasionally elsewhere) with the help of David Lynch's financial backing, via the David Lynch Foundation (http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/).
The TMO seeks to teach TM in public schools, and to mandate two periods of meditation during school hours as a condition of gaining funding from Lynch's foundation. In support of this effort, the TMO has revamped its websites and promotional materials (notably http://www.tm.org/) to appear to be a secular, sane and scientific organization, purging much of the weirdness seen in this document from public view. (For example, compare with an earlier version of the same website that still exists at http://archive.tm.org/).
One point of contention is that the TMO claims that the TM program is not religious. Many disagree, pointing out that the TMO simply makes various language substitutions for religious terms ("Total Knowledge," "Constitution of the Universe," etc.) as is clear on the first page of this document. One court case in the US, in 1977, held that the TM program was religious in nature and thus couldn't be taught in US public schools. Current efforts by Lynch attempt to dodge the effect of this ruling.
Important disclosures in this document not seen elsewhere in print (though widely assumed to be true by those familiar with the organization) include (in the order seen in the document):
- Page 2: "Recertified Governors are only hope of the world." TM and related products are always offered as a panacea to solve any and all problems, much like the basic claims of most religious cults.
- Page 3, addressing "Recertified Governors:" "Do your three-hour program morning and evening." Unlike the usual popularized practice of TM involving practice for two 20 minute periods daily, TM teachers ("Governors" in TMO language) are told to practice TM and related techniques for two three-hour periods each day. Extended practice of TM like this has been associated with psychological problems for some people; it's believed to cause spaciness, dissociation and suggestibility for many.
- Page 3: "We don't give out anything free, except personal checking (for which they have already paid). If you don't charge, wealthy people won't come." While claiming for the moment to want to teach "at-risk" school students, in reality the organization's focus is on the very wealthy, some of whom have donated millions of dollars over the years to the TMO. Initiation into TM generally costs US$ 2000.
- Pages 3, 4: "Ladies always teach ladies and men always teach men" (also elsehwere in this document). The strict sex-segregation internal to the TMO is that of fundamentalist Hinduism; this policy is new and reflects the TMO's similarity to a religious sect/cult.
- Page 10: "We are not going to take help from medical Drs. as medical professionals give poison. So don't engage any medical Drs. for anything - absolutely whatever it is - even if they are in our Movement family... Hold onto the fact that we are the supreme authorities on health - we know how to create perfect health - we are challenging all governments in world." The TMO's current efforts with Lynch (which can be seen in various TMO sites including http://doctorsontm.org/) relies heavily on selectively chosen research to imply that TM is accepted by and endorsed by the medical community. But underneath that promotional need, which includes name-dropping the names and logos of professional organizations and the US government's NIH, there is a clear contempt for medicine and the medical profession; they ultimately seek to substitute profound medical quackery for medicine (continuing the theme of TM programs being the panacea for all problems and making outrageous claims more generally associated with those of a religious cult).
- Page 13: "Remember we are going to rebuild world in every way--this is a huge undertaking so we must inspire all builders to re-construct all cities and must build beside existing cities." One of the products offered by the TMO is "Vedic architecture," which in the TMO's view calls for the demolishing and reconstruction of most buildings in keeping with the proprietary standards they have invented. Key among the requirements are the need for an exactly east-facing entrance. More megalomania.
Most of the rest of this document concerns a failed effort to establish a chain of so-called "Peace Palaces" to sell the TMO's products in places such as shopping malls. This project appears to have gone dormant in the past year or two.
Notes on terminology. In recent decades the TMO set itself up using governmental language and structure. It is run by people who call themselves "rajas," all male and generally wealthy white Westerners, who in most cases each paid one million dollars for the position. The apparent head of the organization since Maharishi's February 2008 death is Tony Nader, called various names today including His Majesty Maharaja Adhiraj Raja Raam.
Over some decades some thousands of people were taught to be initiators, or teachers, of the TM program; in keeping with the governmental theme, these people are often called "Governors." In 2005 or thereabouts the TMO mandated that those who wished to continue being teachers of TM had to be recertified (at a cost of some thousands of dollars). That is what is meant by "recertified Governors" and this document addresses those people.
There are various websites which cover the subject in more detail, the most up-to-date one being the blog at http://tmfree.blogspot.com/. There is also a rather difficult to read discussion group, full of noise as such things are, at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FairfieldLife/ that occasionally is a source of current information.
3) The likely audience for this document is anyone considering becoming involved in any part of the TM program; school administrators who are being approached by the Lynch Foundation to introduce TM into their schools; government officials and scientific researchers, some of whom have already been co-opted by the TMO for their own purposes; and the general public that in the West often has some passing familiarity with TM due to its intermittent prominence in popular culture over the past few decades ("Beatles guru" and the rest).
4) The primary authors of this document are "Raja" Kingsley Brooks and his wife Leslie Brooks. Kingsley was chairman of the now-defunct Natural Law Party in the U.S. which fielded a number of candidates for various offices including US President. He is now "Raja of New England" in TMO parlance. Website is at http://www.northeastvedicamerica.org/, there is also a page at http://www.northeastvedicamerica.org/enews/2005_11_21.html with the phone number, +1 603-588-2012.
In the document properties is the name Craig Ridgley, who is evidently the TMO's webmaster who works for Safire Internet Solutions of Fairfield, Iowa. http://safire.net/ +1 641-472-0503
5) As with most such groups, there are a number of people who devoted large parts of their lives to the TMO but who reach the realization that the organization is somewhere between deceptive scam and destructive cult that despite its grand claims accomplishes little if anything of good or of value. Some see the latest effort of the TMO to rebrand itself, cover its weirdnesses, team up with those viewed as legitimate authorities, and go after school children with growing alarm. There is also some frustration over the fact that after decades of making the same old dubious claims, the TMO has a new crop of scientists and knowledgable people who really should know better working on their behalf. The TMO gets away with this largely because such internal documents (for that matter, the entire inner doctrine, attitudes and practice of the TMO) isn't readily accessible tooutsiders, hence this leak.