Aryeh Siegel, has written an important and thorough book about the history of the Transcendental Meditation organization that is both highly readable and informative. As the author reminds us, it costs hundreds of dollars today to learn TM while many equally effective meditation techniques are available at little or no cost. In fact, mindfulness meditation can be learned by just going to the public library and reading about it. And these forms of meditation do not come with the TM religious baggage that, as Siegel points out, is hidden to the public. He also advises that the TM organization is making a strong effort to introduce TM into our public schools including this religious aspect. I am sure the TM technique itself is possibly helpful for many people, but at what cost is the issue. Aryeh Siegel does us a service by pointing out that while the TM technique may be effective, it is costly and has much in its history about which we should be aware of.
Finally, through his own experience, Siegel sheds light on the psychological/spiritual and economic damages caused to Siegel and others by the deception. For example, participating and proselytizing the Hindu religion is a major problem in Judaism and other religions and can often result in family disruption, guilt and depression. Deceiving seekers of an effective, non-religious meditation technique into purchasing expensive advanced courses and convincing some of them to trade work for course credits (often to the neglect of other educational and employment opportunities) has also resulted in economic damage to many well-intentioned students in their quest for truth.
I don’t know much about TM except that professional looking ads show up on Facebook frequently, along with celebrity endorsements touting how TM has helped them relax and feel better... all well and good. The only thing I find appalling is TM not admitting that for all intents and purposes, it is a religion. They just don’t tell anyone. While I don’t think many secular people would have an issue with that; when it comes to including it in public school curriculum, it’s a clear breach of the separation of church and state. Nobody in their right mind would want their kid taking part in a Hindu religious ceremony and meditating on the names of Hindu gods; unless they’re Hindu of course.
Aryeh Siegel is a brave man for writing this book. He knows his subject from inside experience, as well as thorough, rigorous research. Everything is sourced and footnoted. Mindfulness and other meditation methods may or may not be helpful in specific cases, but TM, it becomes quite clear, is a dangerous fraud, perhaps the greatest scam of the past 100 years.
The danger, of course, is that TM will not sit idly by. Expect plenty of scathing reviews by readers who claim to be neutral, citing clinical studies and appealing to our Western sense of tolerance. But these are precisely the strategies that Siegel describes, and which any critic of TM is already familiar with.
We must stop TM from entering our schools. Someone has to blow the whistle, and Siegel has stepped up to the plate.
A must read for anyone considering practicing TM (or any meditation). Was ready to follow the TM practice until I read this book, it saved me hundreds of dollars and protected me from learning a practice that is at conflict with my religion. The author acknowledges the great benefits of meditation and the techniques of TM, but one can gain those benefits without having to follow the strict rules and mantras of TM. I’m a total beginner to meditation and don’t claim to be well read on the subject, I only advise you to do your own research prior to joining TM and don’t get fooled by the celebrity hype and marketing of TM.
Very highly recommended! Been practicing the TM Program for over 40 years and I have had first hand negative experiences with the TM Movement and the practice itself! After reading this book it has given me a whole new perspective in regards to the potential dangers of Meditation. I am now in the process of weaning myself down from time spent in meditation!
This book was enlightening! I had no idea the TM movement was based on a religion. I have nothing against other religions but I do have an issue practicing a religion that is not my own. It's very disturbing to read Siegel's expose on the organization and how they are covering up their true intent. Very disturbing that they are trying to get these religious practices into public schools. I hope this book will have the power to stop it. Children (nobody!) should be unwittingly practicing a religion without full disclosure. This is a must read if you are considering getting involved with Transcendental Meditation. After reading this book I intend to steer clear of TM. They are liars and thieves. Instead I will be practicing the relaxation response, which has no religious basis and can achieve the same effects.
Author Siegel zeroes in on why Transcendental Meditation should not be taught in public schools because of its hidden religious connections. He meticulously documents the ways in which the TM organization and offshoots like the David Lynch Foundation go to great lengths to obscure the nature of the religious ceremony performed when instruction is given and the references to Hindu divinities and their worship in the mantras used in TM practice.
Siegel also does a masterful job of critiquing the ways in which the results of scientific research on TM, much of which is poorly designed and carried out, are routinely overstated for promotional purposes.
"Transcendental Deception" exposes the lack of transparency and the ulterior motives of the leaders of the TM movement, which amount to using whatever means they can find, including heavy use of uninformed celebrity endorsers, to lure in the unsuspecting and ultimately make converts of them. TM partisans typically do so with good intentions, but their own self-deception adds to, rather than mitigates the problems.
That said, the book is not a diatribe against meditation, or against TM per se. Siegel freely acknowledges what adults choose to take up is their own business and meditation can be valuable.
But with so many other meditation alternatives now available without all the baggage (and without the high cost of TM), it's hard to make a case TM is worthwhile in general.
Given the foundational American commitment to separation of church and state, our responsibility to children demands we not allow any sort of hidden religious practice into our public schools at all. Courts banned TM from public schools in the 1970’s but the TM acolytes have found back door ways back in.
I hope this book will be taken to heart by concerned parents, teachers, school administrators, and community members and will be a spur to action.
The Strong Case why TM Should be Kept Out of Public Schools
Highly recommended! This is a riveting, heartfelt, sincere take-down of the myths & falsehoods of Transcendental Meditation from someone who was on the inside for decades. The author definitely knows whereof he speaks, and buttresses his onslaught with facts and reason. And, I, personally, can confirm much of what he reveals after too many years of naively, uncritically accepting TM's hype as a meditator. He fills in historical background, names names and thoroughly demolishes TM's masterful basic campaign which is based on two or three falsehoods: one, that it isn't basically religious, two, that it has been verified helpful and safe by science, and three that it is simply an altruistic non-profit secular operation. As a staunch believer in the separation of church and state which our country has aspired to from the beginning, there is no question that TM must be kept out of government-funded institutions, primarily the schools which are full of malleable and still unquestioning minds.
Convincing a public school that children bowing and making offerings to an altar, being taught to repeat the tantric names of Hindu gods, and to keep secrets from their parents by strangers, all during instructional time, is unconstitutional and a danger to minors, would have been much easier had I had this book! A very useful tool for those who wish to uphold the separation of Church and State, and to keep their children safe!