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posted
We started a discussion about TM on another thread, but I think the topic deserves its own discussion so I'm moving part of that other one to this new thread.

(Note - 2/4/06: If you don't want to read through this long, tedious and sometimes contentious dialogue, you can skip over to the top of this page to read my summary and conclusions, and the comments that followed).

- - -


I have three concerns about TM:

1. It is most definitely a form of Hindu meditation, even using Sanskrit words and a consecration ritual during initiation. So let's be honest about this Hindu aspect, which is often downplayed by TM teachers, but is nonetheless insisted upon by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

2. It does open one to higher levels of consciousness, apparently assuming that only a benevolent universe awaits those who ascend to such heights. That's rather naive, imo.

3. There do seem to be monistic assumptions at work in the idea that we can, through use of some kind of technique, eventually awaken to some form of inner divine consciousness -- as though such were part and parcel of our own human nature (which would be how Hindus would view the atman, or divine self). I think this metaphysical assumption is decidedly false; we cannot do anything to access the divine nature, as it does not belong to us. So the whole idea of trying to awaken to one's innate divinity is fraught with delusions from the start and also has the effect of unreasonably exalting the status of those who claim to have attained this.

Nevertheless, it seems that a helpful relaxation response can be cultivated through something very much akin to TM, using a non-Sanskrit word and without having to bring flowers or gifts to honor a Hindu guru. You can use any word; one of my spiritual directees uses "Peace," and another even uses "Jesus." There's considerable research to show that this kind of practice can bring many benefits, probably of the sort that Pauline has experienced as well. I don't have the kinds of concerns about RR as I do with TM, which is clearly religious in its perspective and goals.

Wondering what you all think of this?

-------

See http://www.amcbryan.btinternet...tm-info/tmpmeans.htm for more info.

Also: http://www.amcbryan.btinternet...k/tm-info/tm-ch5.htm
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<w.c.>
posted
I'm fairly persuaded we're not divine, as there'd sure be far more people with higher degrees of virtue, almost a daily encounter, rather than the occasional guru who ends being clay-footed after so much exposure. This distinction between creaturely natural grace, and Divinity beyond creatures, seems important, and explains much of the narcissism in New Age circles being peddled as enlightenment.
 
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Hi Phil and WC

My response to this post Phil may take some time due to the length of the links you posted. I have been aware of some of these arguments agaist TM by fundementalist Christians for some time. Other things about TM instruction were not revealed to me until a few years ago. But I think your own model of logic used on the other thread will serve nicely to make my own thinking about it all clearer to you. Some of it however, will no doubt ever make sense to you, without having had experience with it or the knowledge. Meanwhile, know that I am in full agreement with Maharishi's logic of an enlightened person needing to meet ignorance where it is. There is no other way to reach it, in my experience or my observation.

I think that is exactly what Jesus did. And this is not equate Maharishi with Jesus at all, but only to say, that they both met the time and cultural they came into with what was most needed for their respective time, and used what ever methods would most allow them reach as many souls as possible, as quickly as possible, in a way that made sense to them, and in light of what was known about the world during their respective times.

Love, Peace and Joy Pauline
 
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Take your time, Pauline, but note that I didn't deny that many have been helped by TM. My objections are largely to the Hindu connection. People can obtain the same benefits that Maharishi brought with TM using non-Sanskrit mantras, and without going through a consecration service to guru Dev, Maharishi's guru. I do believe Maharishi had the intent to be helpful, but there's no doubt that he also thought that the best way to do so was to maintain a Hindu connection in teaching the method.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by w.c.:
[qb] I'm fairly persuaded we're not divine, as there'd sure be far more people with higher degrees of virtue. . .[/qb]
Exactly. If the human and divine were some kind of "run-on" with the human self an emanation or extension of the divine, then one becomes hard-pressed to account for sin, evil and the experience of individuality, unless the divine itself possesses dark qualities.
 
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Phil,
Could you please elaborate on what you mean about the experience of individuallity below.
Thanks

"Exactly. If the human and divine were some kind of "run-on" with the human self an emanation or extension of the divine, then one becomes hard-pressed to account for sin, evil and the experience of individuality, unless the divine itself possesses dark qualities."
 
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Pauline, by the experience of individuality I mean knowing oneself to be the agent or subject of one's own decisions and acts of cognition.
 
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Could you eloborate a just bit more....are you saying that the experience of individuality, like sin and evil, is an indication that the human self is not an emanation or extention of the divine? And more about this knowing ones self to be the agent or subject of own decisions and acts of cognition? Do you mean something akin to "there's no such thing as an original thought?
 
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. . . are you saying that the experience of individuality, like sin and evil, is an indication that the human self is not an emanation or extention of the divine?

Yes, that's what I'm saying. I think that's fairly easy for one to demonstrate to oneself. Search as deeply as you will, and you will not find yourself to be in possession of the divine nature as an intrinsic part of your own consciousness. The indwelling divine (Holy Spirit) is an-Other whose communication is grace.

. . . Do you mean something akin to "there's no such thing as an original thought?

Oh not, not at all. Many of our thoughts and insights are original -- to us, at least -- even though others might have also thought of them at some time. But more to the point, what I was saying is that your ability to make acts of will and to think your own thoughts -- to consider and reflect on an issue, for example -- implies a "chooser" and a "thinker," and the one who does so is not God, but the human creature and his/her consciousness.

-------

On to concern #1 I expressed above, especially the consecration ceremony and the use of Hindu mantras for meditation. Research has demonstrated that neither is required to obtain the beneficial effects that meditators experience (confirmed by much research), so the next question concerns whether the choice of the mantra and the Hindu context makes any difference. As http://www.amcbryan.btinternet...k/tm-info/tm-ch5.htm notes:

quote:
b. (TM) Mantras represent Hindu deities.

All of the mantras so far identified have traditionally been used to symbolize specific Hindu deities.

This information comes from a recognized authority in the field, Sir John Woodroffe, in his The Garland of Letters (Ganesh and Co., Madras, India, 4th ed., 1963), pp. 4-7 of Chapter XXVI.

(See also the testimony of Richard Scott below, 3.e.)

c. The purpose of mantras.

"A mantra is not a mere formula or a magic spell or a prayer; it is an embodiment in sound of a particular deity. It is the deity itself. And so, when a mantra is repeated a hundred times, or a thousand times, or even more, and the worshiper makes an effort to identify himself with the worshiped, the power of the deity comes to his help. Human power is thus supplemented by divine power."

From essays by Hindu scholars in "The Religion of the Hindus" (edited by K. Morgan), in essay by D. S. Sharma,"The Nature and History of Hinduism," p. 24.
From the Christian side, we consider the power in the "name" of Jesus, and how this name can send demons packing. In fact, the Jewish world had great respect for the power of a name, as it gave one a handle, of sorts, on a person.

Now I know that most people using TM aren't intending to worship Hindu deities, but they aren't necessarily intending to worship Christ in their practice either. They're wanting relaxation, inner silence, and maybe even some of the spiritual goods promised by Maharishi: cosmic consciousness, sidhis, and union with the divine. So they using these Hindu mantras in the service of those intentions. Does this make any difference?

I know of no research to help answer that question, but my experience has been that of the four Catholics I know who've had TM training, all are now deeply involved with Hindu/New Age teachers. Two have stopped practicing their Catholic faith and the other two consider their Hindu teachers to be basically on the same level as Jesus (I'm not considering you in this example, Pauline, but your fondness for Amma and how you've used the capital She and Her on occasion regarding Amma is telling). Then there are those like Shasha who have shared how negative energies connected to the TM mantra had to be "cast out" as they turned to a more explicit Christian practice.

Notice, please, that I am not saying that TM mantras serve the demonic realm -- only that they are more intrinsically ordered to Hinduism than to Christianity. It seems that Maharishi was very much aware of this, and considered it a means for introducing Hinduism to the West. E.g.

quote:
�We do something here according to Vedic rites, particularly, specific chanting to produce an effect in some other world, draw the attention of those higher beings or gods living there. The entire knowledge of the mantras or hymns of the Vedas [Hindu scriptures] is devoted to man�s connection, to man�s communication with the higher beings in different strata of creation.�
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Meditations of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, (Bantam Books, NY, 1973), pp. 17,18.

People ought to be told about this up front when they are taught TM. Instead, it is downplayed, as is the significance of the consecration ceremony.
 
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Father Thomas Keating is a founder of the Centering Prayer Movement and of Contemplative Outreach, an organization dedicated to teaching contemplative practice to laypersons and clergy. Christians were against his centering prayer and contemplative prayer because they related it to TM. He took out the sanskrit if that is the problem. They are just techniques to quiet the mind so we can witness with little or no interference from the mind. I don't think TM is about guru worship, just technique. The flower stuff I presume is to show respect to the teacher.
 
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Ooops sorry, needs more editing!
 
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From your note above, Phil--
------------------------------------------
"A mantra is not a mere formula or a magic spell or a prayer; it is an embodiment in sound of a particular deity. It is the deity itself. .... the power of the deity comes to his help. Human power is thus supplemented by divine power."
----------------------------------------------

In my experience, there is tremendous power that comes from calling on deities through mantra repetition, but it is NOT DIVINE. The power of the deity to which this yogi is referring FEELS divine to him, but this is the only spirit world this man has known.

Please see my paper as I have experienced the power of various mantras as living deities and how I came to know them as lies, false gods.

---------------------------------------------
�We do something here according to Vedic rites, particularly, specific chanting to produce an effect in some other world, draw the attention of those higher beings or gods living there. The entire knowledge of the mantras or hymns of the Vedas [Hindu scriptures] is devoted to man�s connection, to **man�s communication with the higher beings in different strata of creation.**�

-------------------------------------------------

This is exactly my experience with mantras. I describe this 'communicating with higher beings in different strata of creation' in my paper posted just yesterday. These 'higher beings' will literally appear to you, communicate with you, make love with you, even infiltrate your consciousness and cause you to believe what they will. They will more than STILL YOUR MIND!!

Please understand: These 'higher beings' are merely of the astral world--breath-taking, earth-shaking, fascinating, heart-stopping--but not Divine. Only the Christ energy is Holy.

Following these gurus and/or their mantras will open you up to power and the 'spirit' world, but it's all a deception. Mantras are not just empty words, but vessels for merging with deities--the TM guru openly tells us this!!

Please consider that 'if all that glitters is not gold,' how much more do you suppose 'all that is spiritual is not Holy?'

Phil, can you put the link to my paper here? It is remarkable to me that I was writing my paper whose content speaks precisely to this post and exactly at the same time as you were writing this post....
 
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Sure, Shasha: http://shalomplace.com/res/flowofgrace.pdf

soma et al, no one has argued that TM isn't a technique to calm the mind and that it's ineffective in doing so. I would also argue that Center Prayer as it is taught today isn't really a mantra, but a radically simplified form of receptive prayer.

My main issue is that TM is deceptive in its teaching a technique that has explicit connections with Hinduism -- the consecration ceremony and the use of Hindu deities in the mantras. Please read my posts above about the significance of a "name" in Judaism and Christianity, and consider Shasha's point about the connection between a mantra and astral beings (disembodied human spirits and angelic forms).
 
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A mantra is usually a sanskrit word. Supposedly the sounds that make up the sanskrit alphabet come from the sounds that our bodies make. It is usually a two syllable word to coincide with the breath. Yes, people manipulate other people and use many different techniques to do so. We have white supremicist manipulating whites in the name of Jesus, but that doesn't make the name of Jesus bad. The manipulators are bad. I like centering prayer, contemplative prayer and Lativa Divina, I think they can help a spiritual aspirant in many ways. They are using Christian mantras, words and phrases to open people to different layers of consciousness.

Sasha you are having a Christian mystical spiritual experience having discovered many layers of spiritual consciousness in your mind. In your mind you have seen layers lose their individual uniqueness as they retreated deeper and deeper in the psyche. Finally, like a drop of water losing itself in the ocean, it seems you have experienced a union with Christ consciousness where everything is united and one. I like what you wrote about our Lord Jesus Christ, but I don't see why you need to retaliate against the Hari Krishnas. Forgive and concentrate on the joy you are experiencing in Christ Consciousness. Techniques can be used for the greater good or for selfish reasons.
 
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Welcome Soma,

I have started a long reply to the link which Phil posted, but have been delayed by other responsibilities..it's a long link. You managed to say so much in so few words and I find I am in whole hearted agreement with you on both of these posts, and a few other post here at SP. But if I respond to too many, I can never keep up.

Having learned both TM and Centering Prayer, my own personal experience with it is that Centering Prayer may have actually lost something by removing the mantra,(it's instructions are very much like TM and it's teaching influenced by practioners of TM) but that is done and not worth discussing at this point. Mantra's in my experience do 'loosen individual uniqueness"...They allow us to move thru deeper and deeper layers, to a state of "pure awareness" thus increasing our capacity for deeper prayer, deeper union with Christ and with others, and our experience of all of life really, which may or may not be deeper or more superficial than what others naturally experience with out a TM experience. All experience is ultimately relative and I think people utlimately gravitate to what they do for reasons that are often beyond our understanding. There are lessons to be learned on many levels. But I haven't yet, nor do I presently forsee a need to throw away any of the spiritual gifts I have received from other traditions.

Everyone of us will have our own unique experiences, opinions and beliefs about how to integrate them. If we ask for Christ to guide us, we can and should trust that He is doing just that, especially if negative and inconsistent experiences with Church authority led us to question our Christian traditions in the first place. But there is even a "gift" in spiritual abuse. It deepens our questioning, and our questioning then becomes an integral part of our unique spiritual path, both in how we learn and in how we minister or share what we have learned along the way. And if we are truly one in Christ, then our journeys help to feed one another.

Admittedly though, prior to the abuse that led me away from the Church, my Catholic upbringing did make me a bit wary of the ceremony. But even then, asking questions' seemed to be part of my path, and had been since childhood. But the local TM teacher gave me enough satisfactory answers for me to want to start. I had wanted to start, ever since I saw my first TM poster about creating world peace at 16, I even went to a lecture in Canada on a 1st date and it was my choice to go. In my Catholic family, there wasn't a whole lot of peace, so I sure liked the sound of that... And when it was all done, I found it to be a truly a beautiful, heart opening and peaceful ceremony and technique, which totally shifted my whole paradigm after just a few weeks of practice. Heavy drug using friends just sort of fell away, I had less desire to drink or smoke pot, my studies improved and I felt happier, lighter more joyful. In hindsight, kundilini was a bit activated, but never uncomfortable. I didn't even know what kundilini was till about 12 or 15 years later. About a month after learning, I met some cool Christians and started having very deep prayer experiences of Bible scripture.. So all the things TM promised were delivered and a great investment for just $35 ...
But now it is ridiculously expensive, for reasons I may not agree with, but it's not for me to judge Maharishi's reasons for doing what he does. I am just happy to have benefited from learning it when I did.

But these ideas seem to be challenging concepts to get across, especially to those with out experience of other traditions or with negative experiences of other traditions. I have found trusting my inner guidance with Christ as my guide, always seems to lead me to where I need to be, even if it is for some purpose I may not yet be able, or ready to know. God is after all, ever revealing himself to us, just as our notions of God 200 years ago was radically different then today, so will they be different 200 years from now.

For instance, it is part of Hindu tradition to bow down and show respect for the teacher. In India, this would be no different than the kind of humility Jesus modeled to us when he washing the feet of the disciples. And I feel we can and should aspire to having that kind of humility and feeling of reverence and service to and for one another. I think the Hindus are way ahead of us in that department. In Hindu traditions, the teacher is serving the student and vice versa, there is an inherent reciprocity in the relationship, a recognition of the teacher being ready for the student and the student being ready for the teacher, of them being both to each other. I have had this kind of rapport and feeling of reverence for friends I have met along the way. And as you have suggested Soma, on one of the other threads, other spiritual traditions can very much deepen our experience of Christ, especially if our traditions have become too habitual. We need to create new rituals when they no longer serve to make us new to the sacredness of the moment and of our God and His teachings. I personally find improvised ritual the most profound, humbling and community building, and there are lots of other Christians I know from InterPlay who feel this will increase more in the future, with lots of way for cultures to cross express with out feeling threatened or suspicious of one another. This just seems so silly to me. Jesus doesn't need us to defend Him, but rather needs us to embrace others and demonstrate our love for Him to others through our own loving. And in loving others we expand our own hearts, no matter who they are, if our love is in of and with Christ.

I had found several spiritual traditions have gifted me with a deeper humility and reverence for life, and for each other, making my experience of Christ all the more real and deep for me. The reverence I feel in Eucharist, during a puja, being with Amma, in a sweat or a Maori circle prayer ceremony for example, are all preparation for the reverence I feel when I am being a compassionate witness to a story of abuse and forgiveness told by a women prisoner, or while visting a sick friend, or elder, or working with some of the survivors of Katrina , being with Nature or even dancing or singing

Not only to do cultural differences influence the way we honor and celebrate God, but it seems to me, if we are not careful, they can greatly limit our understanding of how God relates to us. For example, Maharishi is from a Hindu tradition and his traditions and culture influenced him. All spiritual traditions hopefully serve to be part the path that lead us to God, and so we honor our traditions out of thanksgiving for them and because "repetition" is our friend, because 'repetition" can deepen our experience, but it can also be deadening if we are asleep to the sacredness of the ritual, prayer or sacrament. It seems to me that If the Eucharist had any power in and of itself, with out the need for having faith in it, than we wouldn't have pedophile priests, the Mafia or so many addictions in the faithful. Mantra's on the other hand, in my experience with them are empirical in nature, they work to purify whether we believe in them or know what they mean or not. The primordial sound healing techniques work on the same level.

A good example to me of how traditions like "bowing down" can be misunderstood is if we look at some of the Christian traditions from the eyes of other cultures. Some Hindus, Muslims and even a few non-Catholic Chrisitians, for example, upon first hearing about the Catholic tradition of "eating the actual body and drinking the blood of Christ"....eating their God, find the concept rather grotesque and even morbid. But when we understand the tradition and how it evolved from the Jewish tradition of sacrificing ones 'best lamb' to God, it begins to make sense. Jesus had to relate to the times he was born into culturally, in a way they would understand, but his 'Christness', went way beyond the bounds of his culture, it transcends time and space. So God will always relate to humanity in terms of the culture they are born into, so much so that God went so far as to become the Supreme sacrifice for humanity through Jesus, because this is what was needed and in that culture that is what they would most understand at that time. And this is not to negate the Truth of Redemptive power of the body and blood of Christ at all, but only to say that it was what was needed at the time to reach as many hearts minds and souls as possible. And it's still is needed today.

This is other than an attempt to equate Maharishi with Jesus, or Amma with Jesus. At least, I don't equate them in my mind and never have, even after 30 years of TM practice, a 3 years of seeing Amma. But it is to say that there is a gift to be received from all spiritual traditions and even all experience, even abuse and temptation and/or sin can have a gift in them, if we are doing the inner work to discover them. It's being awake, loving, and sincere on the journey that's most important....

Peace, love and joy, Pauline
 
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Pauline, You wrote what I was thinking and did a better job than I ever could because I am too abstract.

You are an agent of spiritual love, a Christian on the path of Christ consciousness.

You are being guided by Christ on the right path? It is self-evident; one doesn't have to be told. When we eat a good meal we are satisfied, in the same way, we are satisfied with the spiritual path that we have chosen without a doubt. The spiritual pleasure experienced is much more satisfying than the worldly pleasures of the senses so one loses interest in the cruder pleasures like gambling, intoxication and illicit sex. The bliss or spiritual happiness one experiences makes one forget about those lower pleasures. We can't understand spiritual pleasure intellectually because others can't accurately describe something that is beyond the mind so we have to experience this higher pleasure by ourselves and that is how we know we are on the right path. If someone is describing a piece of cake to you that doesn't mean you are eating the cake, eating the cake is much better. Everyone would rather delight in the taste rather than the description of spiritual bliss. You are so positive and radiate the love of Christ, I pay salutations to the divinity within you.
 
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Pauline, I enjoyed your reflection and agree with much of what you say. I don't think you addressed the concerns I raised, however, about TM being somewhat deceptive in its use of the consecration ceremony (yes, YOU asked questions . . .) or the mantra (which is more than just a two-syllable Sanskrit word, in many cases, soma).

quote:
MANTRAS: The mantras are chosen based upon secret criteria of
"neurophysiological specificity." Court documents reveal that they
are chosen on the basis of age and/or age and sex. The highly secret
words are the names associated with Hindu deities (Shyama = Krishna).
"We select only mantras of personal gods... such mantras fetch to us
the grace of personal gods" -- Maharishi. Mantras are given in a
candlelit incense-filled room, during an initiation ceremony where the
teacher encourages the student to bow before the picture of
Maharishi's dead teacher.
http://minet.org/Documents/TM-FAQ

Also, Pauline, the going rate for TM training is usually about $400, so you got off easy.

A couple of other picks that aren't so "nitty."

quote:
Not only to do cultural differences influence the way we honor and celebrate God, but it seems to me, if we are not careful, they can greatly limit our understanding of how God relates to us.
First, Christianity isn't merely a "cultural tradition," it's a religious tradition that spans many cultures. I think you would also be hard-pressed to demonstrate how Christianity limits our understanding of how God relates to us.

quote:
It seems to me that If the Eucharist had any power in and of itself, with out the need for having faith in it, than we wouldn't have pedophile priests, the Mafia or so many addictions in the faithful. Mantra's on the other hand, in my experience with them are empirical in nature, they work to purify whether we believe in them or know what they mean or not. The primordial sound healing techniques work on the same level.
Did you really need to say that? I mean, come on! You seem to be placing mantras and primordial sound techniques above the Eucharist when you put the matter like that, which is ridiculous. And you are surely aware of Hindu mantra-meditators who are abusers as well, I hope?

I can elaborate more on the differences, if need be. Only say the word . . . Wink
 
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Soma and Phil.

Well , gee thanks Soma. I am not so sure I am as far along as all that, but it sure felt good to hear someone say so.... I especially related to the stuff about "The spiritual pleasure experienced is much more satisfying than the worldly pleasures of the senses so one loses interest in the cruder pleasures like gambling, intoxication and illicit sex" This I find very true, but with a slight twist.. I find that even when and if I do indulge in activities that might be perceived as "temptations" or even sinful to others.. like some of the creative dance we do at "Body Choir, " there is less attachment to the senses, while at the same time a fullness or more of more enjoyment of them. The senses are less and less binding and more subtle experiences are sought after. Bad food, too much sugar, caffeine, sex without love.... etc... things that cause imbalance in the body no longer appeal. Is that similar to your own experience.

Phil,
I will be trying to address your concerns in my longer response, but I doubt you will understand very well what I will be attempting to explain. You seem to have you mind set about "deities" and the seemingly deceptive ceremony of TM. And I can see and appreciate your concern knowing the "paradigm" you are coming from, and because the article was written by people who also have a particular mind set.
I other then feel a need to defend TM...except for the reason that I feel "our minds" very much contribute to limiting the Christ consciousness..even in just how we choose to name and label our experiences.

If there is but one true God, and I for one, believe that is the case, why do you fear others are worshipping "deities" in using a mantra? Other deities in my mind , simply do not exist. I was actually very surprised to see Maharishi had used the word 'gods' because I never heard him say it on any of the tapes, he describes mantras as "subtle impuslse of nature" ..But more on all that later, because it really is a challenging concept to get across. For now, maybe asking you to reflect on this little pearl of wisdom from Maharishi. "Knowledge is structured in consciousness" Think about how that has been true since the beginning of mans existence, and think about it relative to your own experiences from childhood to adulthood.

I still don't have a problem with the TM initiation ceremony , even knowing what these reports state. Maharhish met western man in his ignorance and found away around the prejudices that might have kept them getting what Maharishi felt was most needed in the collective consciousness of his time. And given his success and the mass rise in meditation and contemplation in the west, which I feel would not have happened had he or somone else like him, not "primed the pump" so to speak, and given my own personal experience and that of friends, I for one am very happy he succeeded, and don't feel inclined to or that it is my place to judge him or his tactics, unless I myself have been able to have and hold such a huge vision and have successfully seen it through to fruition.
'
I know I got off easy at $35 Phil ...TM was by far the best investment I ever made. But the going rate for TMi is now much higher then $400 in the US, much higher. And as much as I may not agree with this, Maharishi's reasoning is based on observing the tendency for Americans to value something more, simply because it costs more, and it does no good for people to learn if they are not regular in their practice.I have a friend though that teaches for what ever anyone can afford, which is how she was taught by Maharishi himself. She is one of the renegades...there are quite of few of them in the movement. There is a lot of weirdness in the TM movement just like in the Church..And that's what make it a very interesting study as to how the words of the teacher can get twisted and turned by the lesser consciousness of the students.. So many times people hear completely different things when Mahahishi or Amma speak. Because we al hear what we want and need to hear, and see what we want and need to see.

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ot only to do cultural differences influence the way we honor and celebrate God, but it seems to me, if we are not careful, they can greatly limit our understanding of how God relates to us.


First, Christianity isn't merely a "cultural tradition," it's a religious tradition that spans many cultures. I think you would also be hard-pressed to demonstrate how Christianity limits our understanding of how God relates to us.
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Christianity is religious tradition "rooted" in the Jewish culture and grew to expand many cultures, but it definely has its' roots in Jewish law and patriarchal social conventions.

And yes Christianity, or should I say the teachings of Christ, certainly do not limit our understanding of how God relates to us, but the way the religion has delivered the message of Christ DEFINITELY limited my understanding and experience of how God relates to me. A lot of Shame and guilt were passed onto and that was not the teaching of Christ. Much of my journey has been discovering deepening and re-claming how God relates to me... And I think the huge numbers of people that have left the Church found their experience of God limited my how religion passed on Christianity. And have since found a much deeper experience God acting in their lives.
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For example, Maharishi is from a Hindu tradition and his traditions and culture influenced him. All spiritual traditions hopefully serve to be part the path that lead us to God . .
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Why hopefully? I do not see a need to embrace "all spiritual traditions" in my path to God. I don't even see this as an ideal to strive for or encourage.
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You took that out of context Phil..
"All spiritual traditions hopefully serve to be part the path that lead us to God, and so we honor our traditions out of thanksgiving for them and because "repetition" is our friend, because 'repetition" can deepen our experience, but it can also be deadening if we are asleep to the sacredness of the ritual, prayer or sacrament."

Mahahishi was fed by his Holy Tradiiton so it is only natural that he would want it to be part of what he passes on to the world. And I really think that for us to take bits of pieces of it, is not respectful, and maybe even a form of stealing. I wasn't saying you or anyone needed to embrace "all spiritual traditions" but that if we find we are not truly awakened and enlivened by the ritual of our own tradition,then sometime other traditions can help us get deeper, because they use a different approach that might be more appealing to our nature. Men do tend to do things very differently then women after all, and Orientals do things differently then westerners, and Mrs. Jones makes potato salad with only mayo while my mom uses both mayo and mustard...but every one knows that their mom makes "the best" potato salad in the world.
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It seems to me that If the Eucharist had any power in and of itself, with out the need for having faith in it, than we wouldn't have pedophile priests, the Mafia or so many addictions in the faithful. Mantra's on the other hand, in my experience with them are empirical in nature, they work to purify whether we believe in them or know what they mean or not. The primordial sound healing techniques work on the same level.
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Did you really need to say that? I mean, come on! You seem to be placing mantras and primordial sound techniques above the Eucharist when you put the matter like that, which is ridiculous. And you are surely aware of Hindu mantra-meditators who are abusers as well, I hope?

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I am not saying one is above the other at all. I am saying that a mantra is more empirical in nature. It produces a measurable effect whether we believe in it or not. As a doubting Thomas, that has not been my experience or my observation about Eucharist. It requires belief to have an affect and even than is not scientifically measurable. Put the two together though and they both deepen the experience of the other.

I have not heard of any pedophiles who do TM, but I am sure they are out there. The point I am trying to make is that a priest is someone who hopefully went into the priest hood REALLY believing in Eucharist, not only that, he performs the sacrament and takes is almost daily, and yet is able for some reason to allow himself to be a pedophile.. Some thing is missing and I think it's consciousness and that, in my experience is greatly enhanced by TM , and very likely other meditations practices (and if the priest didn't really believe, then the Church needs a better screening process.
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I can elaborate more on the differences, if need be. Only say the word . . .

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Hopefully the explanations of my meaning will not necessitate that Phil, but if you feel there is a need to ..I will try to address them as best I can.

Peace, love and joy, Pauline
 
Posts: 197 | Location: Austin,Texas | Registered: 18 March 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If there is but one true God, and I for one, believe that is the case, why do you fear others are worshipping "deities" in using a mantra? Other deities in my mind , simply do not exist. I was actually very surprised to see Maharishi had used the word 'gods' because I never heard him say it on any of the tapes, he describes mantras as "subtle impuslse of nature"

That's what I mean by deception, Pauline. And I know you're not "intending" to be "worshiping deities;" I never meant to imply that, nor to question the sincerity of your practice or journey. Same with soma. But I do take seriously experiences such as those shared by Shasha, Stephen, and others who've shared how involvement with Eastern practices and the use of mantras invoking Hindu deities caused problems for them. Apparently not for you . . . although, I wonder what would happen if you dropped your TM mantra and used a Christian phrase instead. Care to experiment?

I tried to say something above about the importance of "name" and the possible attachment of entities to such. E.g., you'll note that in the early Church, the non-Jewish Christians were not permitted to eat the meat that had been sacrified to idols. Why not? Because of the possibility that they would be defiled in doing so. That's the danger I see in Christians using mantras that call upon these Hindu "deities," which I don't believe to be merely Indian analogues to the Trinity. So I won't do it, and will caution others against doing so as well all day long, especially when they can obtain the same beneficial effects without invoking Hindu deities.

quote:
And yes Christianity, or should I say the teachings of Christ, certainly do not limit our understanding of how God relates to us, but the way the religion has delivered the message of Christ DEFINITELY limited my understanding and experience of how God relates to me. A lot of Shame and guilt were passed onto and that was not the teaching of Christ. Much of my journey has been discovering deepening and re-claming how God relates to me... And I think the huge numbers of people that have left the Church found their experience of God limited my how religion passed on Christianity. And have since found a much deeper experience God acting in their lives.
For sure. I do understand this. Same goes for any religious tradition, however, which goes to show that they should be evaluated according to what they actually teach and stand for rather than one's personal experience only. IOW, the truth of the matter, which isn't necessarily the same thing as "deeper experience." I do not evaluate the truth of Christianity solely on the basis of "my personal experience," which has included considerable unjust treatment at times, as you know. That's a big difference between us, as it seems to me that "experience" is what counts most for you.

quote:
I am saying that a mantra is more empirical in nature. It produces a measurable effect whether we believe in it or not. As a doubting Thomas, that has not been my experience or my observation about Eucharist. It requires belief to have an affect and even than is not scientifically measurable.
Back to "experience" being the standard for you, hence the advantage of "empirical evidence." But here's a little diddy for you that's strongly suggestive, imo.

Pauline, there are people with mental and addictive disorders in the Church, including the priesthood. There are also people who are physically sick. The Eucharist does not purport to eliminate mental illnesses, sickness, etc. I grant your point that its efficacy ought to produce more virtue than we seen in pedophiles, but it's certainly possible that the faith with which It is received limits this.

What I will say, here, is that frequent reception of the Eucharist by one with sincere faith will produce transformation in Christ. He has told us to eat and drink, and that He is present there; we discover that this is true through our growing sense of His presence and the transformation He effects in us. OTOH, a mantra does not "aim" in the same direction. At best, it helps to silence the mind, as soma noted. A more silent mind is a good thing for many reasons, but this silence is not the same thing as Christ's presence in the Eucharist. That a mantra produces more empirically verifiable effects in terms of silence, brain waves, etc. says nothing about where one is in terms of Christ. Does that make sense?
 
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Pauline:

I'm just wondering . . . if there is a concern re: mantra, and I'm assuming you're allowing yourself to at least question it, why not stop using it for a month and just pray to Christ, let him guide you without the props, attend the Eucharist, and see where you are led? One could do this with anything, even the Eucharist, if it were a matter of doubt re: the relationship between aspects of spiritual practice that seem to hold some tension.
 
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Addenda to my post above (forgot to respond): Christianity is religious tradition "rooted" in the Jewish culture and grew to expand many cultures, but it definely has its' roots in Jewish law and patriarchal social conventions.

Christianity is most emphatically not "rooted" in Jewish Law, which is why the Jews "excommunicated" Christians from their tradition.. Read Paul's letters on the relationship between Christian faith and the Law. Nor is Christianity based on patriarchical social conventions. The essential Christian mysteries transcend all of that, although there are certainly patriarchcial aspects in its institutional traditions. As I'm sure you've noticed, patriarchy exists in all the world religions, including Hinduism. At any rate, I do not consider the degree of patriarchy present in an institutional tradition to be the standard by means of which to judge religious truth.
 
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Additionally . . . Wink

Maharhish met western man in his ignorance and found away around the prejudices that might have kept them getting what Maharishi felt was most needed in the collective consciousness of his time. And given his success and the mass rise in meditation and contemplation in the west, which I feel would not have happened had he or somone else like him, not "primed the pump" so to speak, and given my own personal experience and that of friends, I for one am very happy he succeeded, and don't feel inclined to or that it is my place to judge him or his tactics, unless I myself have been able to have and hold such a huge vision and have successfully seen it through to fruition.

TM has had very little influence on the renewal of interest in contemplation and mysticism in Christianity. That all started long before he came along, largely due to the writings of Thomas Merton, following a 400 year hiatus where the Church was still in reaction to some of the unsavory developments following the teachings of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila (that history is spelled out in detail here.
The Second Vatican Council, pentecostalism, and various retreat movements (of which you have benefited) also stimulated a deeper interest in what we might call "experiential Christian spirituality." This, in turn, opened an interest in Christians to other mystical traditions around the world, and in Catholicism, at least, the strongest resonance has been with Buddhism -- especially Zen. From Hinduism, Hatha yoga has been "excised" and adapted to Christian prayer, or, as taught at YMCAs and similar places, as just a form of exercise.

TM had and influence on Pennington and Menninger, whose early writings on centering prayer were obviously influenced by TM. Within a couple of years, however, they had aligned themselves more closely with the radically simplified, receptive prayer forms taught in the Cloud of Unknowing and by St. Teresa. Fr. Keating, in particular, has emphasized that CP is not a kind of Christian TM; it is a receptive form of prayer, not concentrative. (see this link). The only clear TM-like counterpart in Christianity is John Main's Christian Meditation, which has a very small following and from which the Centering Prayer movement has carefully distanced itself.

All that said, your point about Maharishi's influence on the West is well-taken; it has been significant. It doesn't follow, however, that the renewal of interest in contemplative spirituality in Christendom owes much of a debt to him.

Pauline (and others), I call to your attention the very helpful and balanced document put out by the Catholic Church in the 90s on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation. Early on, when reflecting on the possible value of TM and other forms of Eastern meditation, the document (by Cardinal Ratzinger -- now Pope Benedict) notes:
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3. To answer this question7 one must first of all consider, even if only in a general way, in what does the intimate nature of Christian prayer consist. Then one can see if and how it might be enriched by meditation methods which have been developed in other religions and cultures. However, in order to achieve this, one needs to start with a certain clear premise. Christian prayer is always determined by the structure of the Christian faith, in which the very truth of God and creature shines forth. For this reason, it is defined, properly speaking, as a personal, intimate and profound dialogue between man and God. It expresses therefore the communion of redeemed creatures with the intimate life of the Persons of the Trinity. This communion, based on Baptism and the Eucharist, source and summit of the life of the Church, implies an attitude of conversion, a flight from "self" to the "You" of God. Thus Christian prayer is at the same time always authentically personal and communitarian. It flees from impersonal techniques or from concentrating on oneself, which can create a kind of rut, imprisoning the person praying in a spiritual privatism which is incapable of a free openness to the transcendental God. Within the Church, in the legitimate search for new methods of meditation it must always be borne in mind that the essential element of authentic Christian prayer is the meeting of two freedoms, the infinite freedom of God with the finite freedom of man.
Far from being closed to the value of Eastern methods, however, the document notes:

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6. The majority of the "great religions" which have sought union with God in prayer have also pointed out ways to achieve it. Just as "the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions,"18 neither should these ways be rejected out of hand simply because they are not Christian. On the contrary, one can take from them what is useful so long as the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements are never obscured. It is within the context of all of this that these bits and pieces should be taken up and expressed anew.
Also noteworthy:

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28. Some physical exercises automatically produce a feeling of quiet and relaxation, pleasing sensations, perhaps even phenomena of light and of warmth, which resemble spiritual well-being. To take such feelings for the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit would be a totally erroneous way of conceiving the spiritual life. Giving them a symbolic significance typical of the mystical experience, when the moral condition of the person concerned does not correspond to such an experience, would represent a kind of mental schizophrenia which could also lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations.

That does not mean that genuine practices of meditation which come from the Christian East and from the great non-Christian religions, which prove attractive to the man of today who is divided and disoriented, cannot constitute a suitable means of helping the person who prays to come before God with an interior peace, even in the midst of external pressures.
In short, one needs to know what one is doing, and why, and one should evaluate the influence of other methods in terms of how they support a deepening love of God through Christ, love of neighbor, and comprehension of truth about God as taught by the Church. If a method or involvement pulls one significantly from these standards, there's a problem.
 
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We struggle to the higher levels of the mind to recover the awareness that we have a soul because this struggle brings a natural, spontaneous consciousness to our possibilities in life and for our physical enjoyment. Some people will use Christian Mantras and some will use sanskrit mantras, we must remember they are only tools a vehicle to raise our consciousness, to relax our body and to understand our mind. We are not worshipping the mantra.
Our body, lower mind and senses can never discover this consciousness alone so they must work together to regain our vital awareness of unity, our hidden values and spirituality will identify with the divine image of God in our soul, which is beyond the cultural imprints. Different people will use different tools to get this awareness. I don't think the tool matters, it is only to quiet the mind so we can witness beyond the mind. Rosaries, crucifixes, phrases, music, and other things are some of the tools we use to go beyond the mind.

The soul is beyond the mind and influences us by the awe and power exhibited by the one God, who created the world and us out of His pure consciousness. The intimate spiritual contact one experiences with God through the soul changes a person entirely from within so when a person begins to understand God�s infinite mercy and doesn�t become consumed with hate or sin, that person undergoes a conversion from within renovating his whole being, mind and nature. The tool doesn't make the changes it only gets us to the point where our body and mind is not a distraction.

The tool raises a person�s consciousness to a new level above time so they learn to live in the present with Christ consciousness because this person doesn�t lament the past or stand on his toes to see the future, which are distractions. In the present with Christ this person doesn�t see himself as a miserable sinner to be exploited, but a divine being to be loved.

The system to realize the soul should be for the sole purpose of uncovering and deactivating the wrong positions of our thoughts and to build in the mind a concept of our spiritual inheritance. A thought built upon the realization of God's pure consciousness because it reduces the effect of negative thoughts and can even erase them. Light contests darkness by just being light so we don�t have to combat evil and sin, but just be ourselves in the pure consciousness of Christ.

To meditate and contemplate daily is the high road to peace and happiness, a road that shows us God with the perfect vision of the soul. God works in mysterious ways to show us this vision. We travel through unbelievable experiences to get beyond them using different tools. The tools I choose might not be the ones others choose, but that doesn't make them wrong or right, just different.

God is perfect, one and everything so to believe in imperfection is to doubt God; it is belief in a power apart from God, another creator so it is nice to realize we are the soul, regardless of what appears before us so we can enjoy God's creation through our senses and our mind. I am not to question another person's tool as ineffective, but I can look at the fruit or actions that are reaped from that tool.

The priest who molested altar boys were probably very sincere when they entered the seminary, but got lost on the way. I only wish they had the tools to deal with the pressures this world heaps on us. Novenas, yoga, prayers, mantras or any tool that works should be used.
 
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Dear Phil WC and Soma,

I have not forgotten about this thread and am SLOWLY, thoughtfully working on a response which integrates many legs of my learning over the years, and hopefully will be able to touch upon your other responses above. until then, PLEASE refrain from more posts. It is too over whelming to try to integrate them all

Soma, I am really enjoying your posts. Hope you stick around till I have more time again.

Meanwhile Phil, I am clearly no Christian History scholar, or any kind of scholar for that matter, and so be aware that I might have an 'un-educated" tendancy to sometimes use certain terms much more loosely then you or others might. So I will humbly take you on your word that I used the term Jewish LAW inappropriatley. Christ was however born a Jew. And the Old Testament from which the prophecies of his coming sprung, are steeped in Jewish culture and tradition. And there fore, it was thr Jewish culture, which He had to relate to in a way they could understand, in order to get His message across.. That was the only point, I was trying to make about God always meeting man in his ignorance, in whatever present concepts of that culture which may not be rooted in Truth.

WC and Phil..I started experimenting with using Jesus's name as a mantra shortly after being innitiated and have done it from time to time over the years, for anywhere from 1 meditation to a whole week or so...And have no trouble experimening with it again....

And I have also experimented with Eucharist...even going once every day for months while in college. Being a doubting Thomas might have its downfalls, but it is not with out its' rewards once we recognize what trips us up and how we grow. Know Thyself.

But on the whole, what I have found is that doing the mantra as is was given to me, and then praying, seems to take me deeper and make my prayer experience that much deeper..Which is what the TM instruction was to do in the first place...I have found there is something to be said for the wisdom of honoring and respecting the Holy Tradition from which a teaching comes. And this was learned the hard way, through not trusting and then experimenting too much with my own ideas of how to make it better, especially traditional spiritual practices of a more inward nature, or even various massage techniques I have learned. Easterners are way ahead of westerners in these more subtle areas and to play with them is like playing with fire.

There are reasons why there are 8 different yogic paths,as all not all physiologies and temprements are the same. One technique for some can actually be harmful, while intermixing some from the various paths can help a lot to balance the other. Amma says one needs to be very careful with Kundilini yoga or breath work.
TM is more Raja yoga, but after ones first residence course, doing a little pranayam adn few easy asana excercies before meditating was strongly advised, and although kundilini was never talked about, after reading about some of the somewhat painful and negative purification experiences some of you have had, I am now fairly certain Maharishi advised us to do them so as to avoid those discomforts. And as I have never heard of any regular TM'rs having so much trouble with K, I can only assume that it was the regular light practice of pranayam and yogic asana's that made it comfortable and easy...
 
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Take your time, Pauline, but there's no need for you to try to explain or convince about anything. You've been quite clear about the value of TM in your life,, but I don't think that really addresses the three concerns I raised in my opening post. If anything, much of what you've written demonstrates how significantly TM practice has moved you to become strongly enamored with Hinduism, Maharishi, Amma, yoga, etc., thus demonstrating the truth of some of those concerns.

My issue is not with TM per se, but with its contribution to the life of Christian faith and love. You say it's helped you in that regard, and I accept that's your experience. In reading through your posts on the threads you've contributed to, however, you seem to be coming from a much more Eastern perspective in practice, perspective and even "spirit." If that's where you find God, life, energy, etc., that's great. OTOH, I wonder if you're not questioning somewhere deep down inside what this all has to do with Jesus Christ?

Re. bum K and TM -- do a web search for Bob Boyd. He runs something of a support network for TM practitioners with rough K rides.
 
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