Jan 23, 2018

Transcendental Deception: Behind the TM curtain – bogus science, hidden agendas, and David Lynch’s campaign to push a million public school kids into Transcendental Meditation



Author Aryeh Siegel was first introduced to TM in the early 1970s. What started off as a casual interest in meditation to relieve stress, morphed into an all-encompassing way of life for nearly ten years. Siegel became a TM teacher and worked at TM’s U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles. He was involved with some early studies that were supposed to demonstrate the power and efficacy of the TM approach. He also participated in what is called the “siddhi program” which promised that meditators could learn to levitate, become invisible, develop miraculous powers, achieve permanent, perfect health, and even eternal life. 

Over time, Siegel became disillusioned with both the TM practice and the organization. He saw that the so-called research TM was pushing was biased, poorly designed, and flawed. Much of the science behind TM is but a form of contrived promotion. Although Siegel seriously practiced TM and the siddhi program for years, he experienced no miraculous powers, no flying or levitating, just wishful thinking and hype. It became increasingly evident to him that TM was an adapted form of Hinduism, a religion, but was being falsely promoted to the public as secular and scientific. And lastly, Siegel experienced the TM organization as becoming increasingly authoritarian and cultic. Siegel’s new book, Transcendental Deception, is the first comprehensive look at the TM movement written by a former insider. 
  • Deconstructs the practices and philosophy of the Maharishi and the TM organization, demonstrating just how much it is a religion 
  • Completely analyzes TM’s secret religious ceremony – the Puja – and explains why the TM movement keeps its content hidden so that individuals, students, and teachers don’t realize the true meaning of the Sanskrit ritual 
  • Explores how TM continues to maintain the fantasy that it is not a religion, but instead endlessly repeats the narrative that it is secular and scientific 
  • Analyzes research on the TM practice and demonstrates how most of it is preliminary, inconsequential or bogus For many people, this book will be a surprise, even shocking

Over the decades, millions have taken TM, seeing the practice as a simple form of meditation or stress-reduction. Some people benefit, but that is true of many types of meditation, not just TM. Most people who practice TM know nothing about the organization and what goes on behind the scenes. This is especially true for the many celebrities from Jerry Seinfeld to Howard Stern. 

Someone needed to set the record straight and with his experience in TM and his academic background in public health and behavioral science research, he thought he should be the one to do it. “To be clear, I am not against meditation," says author Aryeh Siegel. “In America, anyone is free to practice their religion, but what concerns me is the deception at the heart of TM. No religion has a place in our public school system. TM has falsely promoted itself for decades. It is important that people know the truth. That’s why I wrote this book.”

Review
This is a “must-read” book if you wish to know the facts about Transcendental Meditation! As a licensed mental health counselor who has been working with former members of a wide variety of groups that exert “undue influence,” including cults, I read this book with great interest. I am pleased to say that it is thorough, accurate as to all of the research and to the experiences of former members I have counseled as well as interviewed. The general public has a very benign sense of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s TM organization, and that is because the vast majority of people stopped after being initiated and given the mantra. But unfortunately, there is a percentage of people who go deeper and deeper into the group, perhaps even attending the Maharishi University in Fairfield, Iowa. I am well aware of the deceptions and psychological damage involvement with this group can cause some individuals. Please read this book carefully and thoroughly if you are considering getting initiated into TM, or if you already have been. Please read it if you are a politician, a celebrity, a parent, or a person of any religious faith on no faith. Please do consider learning meditation but stay away from any group or ideology that has you surrendering your critical thinking or free will to a guru or messianic figure. - Steven Hassan M.Ed. LMHC, NCC Freedom of Mind Resource Center Inc.
Religious freedom means that people can join whatever faith group they want – even ones that have doctrines that seem esoteric or unusual to others. If advocates of Transcendental Meditation were simply seeking adult converts, there’d be no problem. But TM adherents often claim that their religion is really a ‘science,’ and they seek to interject it into public schools and other taxpayer-funded institutions. This is a clear violation of separation of church and state, and Aryeh Siegel has performed a real public service in exposing it. - Robert Boston, Director of Communications, American United for the Separation of Church and State
I was appalled when I heard that my child was expected to bow and make offerings to a candlelit altar, in a mantra initiation ritual with chanting and Sanskrit prayers, and for a stranger to teach him to keep aspects of this secret from his parents as part of a "health" class. And I was horrified to find that the principal thought this acceptable. Persuading a public school that this was unconstitutional and a danger to the wellbeing of minors would have been much easier had I had this book at hand. - Sara Ritchey, San Francisco public school parent.
This is a very personal and eye-opening expose of the hidden world of life in the Transcendental Meditation Movement. It took great personal courage and strength for Aryeh to break away and build a new life for himself and his family. A must read! - Patrick Ryan, Cult Intervention and Recovery Specialist
Whether you are merely curious about Transcendental Meditation or an old devotee of the Maharishi, this book by Aryeh Siegel will answer a host of questions with solid research. The metaphysical snake oil concocted by TM’s founder may sell well to anxious seekers, but that does not mean it works or is true in its claims. - Joseph Szimhart, Cult Information Consultant
In a conversational style, Siegel reviews his personal history, provides an overview of TM’s controversies and presents a concise direct argument against the marketing of TM. - Gina Catena, MS, CNM, NP; Advisory Board of the International Cultic Studies Association and raised in the TM movement.

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