Meditation

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
nomad
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Postby nomad » Sun Nov 13, 2005 1:00 am

In the NY adult school we were told to have the feet flat on the floor and have your back against the chair, very erect. This was to encourage the energy flow to all the chakras, although the tutor did not mention the word, chakras, a fellow student did. I guess I would find this beneficial but the repetition of a mantra creeps me out because of what I have read that it dulls the mind. I think a little bit of meditation is okay but one hour a day is just too forced. Has anybody here done it for so long? Anything to report in terms of more clarity, peacefulness etc.?

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Stanton
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Meditation

Postby Stanton » Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:35 am

Yes, meditation does work and, far from dulling the mind, it gives greater clarity, balance and happiness. But you would really need to try it out for yourself to find the benefits.

nomad
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Postby nomad » Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:47 am

Stanton, a question for you: If it provides such clarity of mind and at least the NY tutors are explaining that it peels the layers away and the true self shines; why is it then that most all of the tutors and most of those people that having been attending the adult school for quite some time have this blank look on their faces, a bit zombie like? I have read many other comments here on various other posts that some people have noticed this type of facial expression.

ross nolan
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"meditation" etc at SOP

Postby ross nolan » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:55 pm

Regarding "meditation" at the SOP -- I cannot comment on the techniques of inducing a calm state of mind as attributed to Zen,Hindu gurus etc but I find 'thinking time' quite precious and doubt that much is to be gained from being mesmerized in some sort of trance like state .

Probably a lot easier just to pick up a joint and get stoned -- same reported effects of time dilation, seperation from body and forgetting of any 'earthly' concerns etc -- a general absence of coherent thought or care .

Very few problems improve by being ignored or consciously expunged and on the other hand little insight seems to have arisen from a doped out or zombie like condition -- what describable real wisdom has come from those able to go into 'trancendental' states ? Anything more than a waste of time ?

There is no specific 'training' about 'the exercise' -- it is just like waiting for a suitable period of artificial quiet to end with one's eyes closed or just head down like the prayer time in a church -- any effect of autosuggestion from the droned instructions of the 'tutor' would likely only work on receptive (ie suggestible,susceptible or gullible) people -- one 'student' in the class I attended revealed he had been a pastor in a pentecostal church (speaking in tongues) and said the instructions to them of how to "run" their services followed exactly the same form as the SOP . (we also had an ex nun and several other people with prior familiarity with eastern religions -- all were dissappointed with the SOP 'line' but enjoyed meeting the other attendees.

As far as I can see TM is a con -- an ex employee of mine (now an airline pilot) did a course and found it based on mumbo jumbo ( levitation for example -- need a high speed camera for that ) -- the SOP put up a picture of some swami or other after a few weeks in the meeting room , I said you only had to look at him to see a barely suppressed grin that belied his glee at duping the stupid westerners with his contrived 'wise' look -- sitting around in Gandhiesque 'homespun' rags, scraggly long hair and beard and barefeet whilst amassing Rolls Royces (the Maharishi ) seems a little incongruous .

Look at what the fruits of Hindu philosophy are ( medieval poverty, the caste system, fatalism, untouchability etc pantheism with polyarmed and
fitted with elephant heads or some other 'psychadelic' apparition) and then look at post enlightenment western society and it's fruits -- every eastern nation has adopted the western rationalist model to get out of religiously incurred abject poverty and disease. "sacred cows' are a metaphor for cant and mind numbing traditionalist behaviour.

Come to think of it "mind numbing" just about sums up the effects of meditation -- I prefer concentrating the mind to turning it off.
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leon
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Postby leon » Tue Nov 15, 2005 3:32 pm

To dismiss entire cultures and belief systems in such a cavalier way is extremely simplistic and similar in style to methods used by the very same organisations criticised. The more Rationalists Aethists etc become assured of their own "rightness" and force their own agendas the more they resemble members of a proselytizing cult.

One of the positive things I got from attending St James (in its worse most agressive fanatical time) for over 10 years was an appreciation of art's, philosophies, and belief systems from various non western cultures. It was partial, there was nothing on African art or culture for example, no doubt due to it's origins SES inherited the profound racism that was rife in the early Anthroposophical Theosophical occultists in the early 20c. All music of black origin was also strictly off limits.
In my day SES / St James was also peculiarly english, all tea, floggings, and cucumber sandwiches, the western Renaissance being held up a cultural ideal (or fantasy, for in reality life for the average Joe in the 15c wasn't exactly great).

Of course the Caste system, mutilation of woman, slavery are wrong. But would not a fair complete description of the fruits of "western-post enlightenment" include Genocide, Slavery and the destruction of a 100 almost million of it's own "citizens"?

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Stanton
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Postby Stanton » Tue Nov 15, 2005 7:56 pm

Not sure, Nomad, about the blank look that you report. Another way might be to see it as a quiet attentiveness

ross nolan
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'enlightenment'

Postby ross nolan » Tue Nov 15, 2005 9:37 pm

leon et al, I see we need to go through this tired all argument once more ,
"all knowledge is relative, nothing is "better" or worse , must not be judgemental, if you believe in fairies or elephant headed gods then that it 'true' for you - so there you racist,sexist,narrow minded westernized clod...' (most adherents to this sort of thinking actually use much more derogatory and unprintable descriptions than that but it gets the drift )

If you characterize "English" to conjure up "genteel" tea taking , "floggings" (is this whilst wearing fishnet stockings and a judges wig?) and cucumber sandwiches etc then I think you are somewhat more guilty of making ridiculous generalizations of a whole nation and culture based on some totally unrepresentative derogatory national stereotype .

(I thought the charactecture of the 'straight laced' bowler hatted .pin stripe suited businessman,judge or priest who secretly sneaks away to Madame Lash's house of bondage for a little sado masochistic 'discipline' was concocted by the French in retaliation for the excrutiating Monsiuer Cluceau (sic) of Peter Sellers or perhaps the Monty Python portrail of the medieval French .... ( 'I fart in your general direction' etc ....) let's get over Agincourt and stick to some semblence of reality.

(that might be a real part of the problem with the SES/SOP -- it's all based on McLaren's and even Henry George's misconceptions and prejudices that are divorced from how the world really is -- a bit like communism that would bring "Nirvana" if everybody just subsumed their own initiative and thinking for the 'cause' -- Henry George's philosophy bordered on communism -- no private property,at least in real estate, and led to the rebellious labour problems that the Europeans labelled "the English disease" and the 'class' system in the Britain that is not that far from the 'caste' system imposed by Hindu philosophy in it's basis.

Isn't it incontestable that doing things the "western" way has resulted in the greatest period of prosperity and real enlightenment in all of human history ? Why repudiate it and look back to some fictitious golden age of ancient India that never existed ? Are not all religious texts essentially fatalistic in that they say that "God", (insert your diety's name here ) has predestined you to suffer,starve,be oppressed by your 'betters' and generally be at the whim of every minor fluctuation of weather or fortune (act of God) and it is both futile and an affront to that God to attempt to thwart his will by inventing refrigeration say so you don't starve or die from food poisining (sorry from the wrath of God manifested as stomach pains,diarrhea etc ) or from inventing antibiotics,fertilizers,surgery, etc.etc but especially science because this is inherently opposed to supernatural superstition and asserts that rational thought can lead to the determination of truth .

All religions push much the same line;- "accept your (miserable)fate' with equanimity and maybe the next life will be better (and give all your money and time to the representatives of God on Earth in the meantime )

Endless reincarnation and karma fit this picture nicely -- of course if you really believe this claptrap (or think you do, after your indoctrination and mind washing) then you will become compliant and resigned, even zombie like ...... My point is that we have HAD a natural "experiment" to see where both world views lead -- the dominance of religions in particular countries has led to characteristic outcomes -- look at the Muslim based countries and the consequences of their religion (deducting the imported secular western technologies and institutions ) or look at the attainments of the geographically isolated Australian Aboriginals -- any variation of thought from the 'dreamtime' mythology was ruthlessly punished ,as recorded by early anthropologists, and this 'ancestor worship' trait stunted the progress of an entire race and continent (and constrained the Chinese and Japanese to much lower standards of living for their masses until the "opening up" to Western influences -- many millions died for daring to oppose feudalistic religiosity and the 'hundreds of millions' killed by the "fruits of the enlightenment", slavery etc are more the exception that proves the rule -- true, the bible condones slavery and extoles mass murder (slay the Cananite, slay his children,his slaves, his oxen etc ) but the real proponents of the enlightenment did not engage in slavery or use slaves to do their work -- the slave trade was entirely external to England and Europe in general (and probably little known to most people who didn't travel to the Carribean or the US south etc ) in any case the English BOUGHT their slaves off the Arabs who called them "Kafirs" meaning in fact "unbeliever" not black as usually thought -- they took their permission to take slaves from the same old testament as did the whites.

Adolf Hitler adopted the age old Buddhist and Hindu symbol for good luck - the hackencreuz (hooked cross) or Swastika to symbolize his religious driven megalomania -- a crusade to "avenge" Jesus Christ who was killed by the Jews according to the bible thereby justifying mega slaughter.
(you will find lots of depictions of the Ganesh god so beloved of the SES with the Swastika on it -- the direction of "rotation" is reverse to the Nazi one -- some Buddhists have "swastika" tatoos for good luck . More superstition of course . You cannot argue from isolated instances of western abuse and superstition that the Hindu 'philosophy' is superior to the entire western system of rational and humanistic thought -- consider the fact that America would sacrifice so many of it's sons in two foreign wars, that it had no role in starting, to defend the principles of freedom and the basic right of men to be free of monolithic, hereditry,religious and totalitarian life controlling regimes -- the sort of thing that religious dogma inevitably heads toward and gets imposed in the absence of strict prohibitions against the abuse of organized superstition (religion) such as they wisely enschrined in their constitution -- check out the constitution itself -there is no reference to God .

Why people in a free western country surrounded by the real fruits of the enlightenment would seek out a backward,superstitious cult to take control of their lives and enslave their minds is what needs to be explained.

The crazy fundamentalist Christian right of the US bible belt and the permeating of the political and government machinery by religious fanatics vastly out competes the 'silent majority' of rational Americans who are certainly not "forcing their agenda" and prosletizing with their 'righteous self belief'.

All they are doing (Or I am doing here) is claiming the right to be free of coercion from spirit worshippers seeking to force their irrational beliefs on the community in general -- including the use of schools and state resources to peddle their vile teachings to the young and vulnerable -- freedom of religion gives also freedom from religion and "Intelligent design" for example is inherently religious .

It is indefensible for state resources to be used to promote pernicious religious teaching - hence my opposition to the housing and protection of the SOP in government facilities here (and the infiltration of the Royal society itself ) -- the scientoligists have conned their way into schools here under the guise of an "anti drugs" campaign and the council again assisted this -- they also promoted and assisted the "scientific lectures' that 'proved' that dinosaurs walked around with Noah (even went on the Ark ) on the 6000 year old Earth --- councillors have no right to use their position to assist their own religious inclinations or to permeate the business of the community with their own superstitious beliefs (including belief in Karma, (having attended the SOP course) and astrology .

One local councillor said she couldn't care less what the SOP was teaching in the council buildings or whether there was child abuse being carried out in their "church" -- only if I personally could prove child abuse in the council building (ie if I was "child abused" - at 52 years of age !)

My concern over the doings of the SOP is not limited to just repugnancy of their twisted beliefs and "conning" of sincere individuals but the corruption (in the literal sense) of the instruments of government and undermining of the integrity of the scientific establishment itself by their "shrewd deception" (to use an apt Richard Dawkins expression) -- they must get a real chuckle out of being permitted to operate out of the royal society building itself without any impediment.

I have no difficulty in maintaining my "faith" in rational scientific method or in believing in the basic value of my society in comparison to some primitive and outdated superstition -- I also believe it is capable of much further improvement and that is in fact the whole western idea of progress itself -- progress is not automatic though and it is first neccesary to defend against backward regressionary forces that could ,unchallenged, lead back to the mindset of the dark ages.

How about renouncing superstition Leon and become a "bright" -- much better alround than staying in the "dark" ages.

Regards. Ross

see "Brights" on the web .
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leon
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Re: 'enlightenment'

Postby leon » Tue Nov 15, 2005 10:56 pm

ross nolan wrote:How about renouncing superstition Leon and become a "bright" -


No thanks, I have had quite enough of cults for one lifetime.

I rest my case

mm-
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Postby mm- » Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:04 am

Stanton, a question for you: If it provides such clarity of mind and at least the NY tutors are explaining that it peels the layers away and the true self shines; why is it then that most all of the tutors and most of those people that having been attending the adult school for quite some time have this blank look on their faces, a bit zombie like? I have read many other comments here on various other posts that some people have noticed this type of facial expression.


This zombie, pale faced emotionless appearance is definately there. It is apparent in most people that belong to the SES and practice the meditation.

As a parent I am quite angry that we are told very little about the meditation and what actually goes on when a child hits the age of ten. I have since found out that a sanskrit word is given (the word is RAM) and this is chanted for ten minutes each day. What on earth for and why this particular word? This is after they have been intiated by means of bringing fruit and flowers to their form teacher. When a child is young they pause and are still before every lesson. A sanskrit prayer is then said before and after each activity, This obviously prepares a child for the more challenging meditation that the St James school has to offer a child once they hit the senior school.

What is the use of this in a child so young and impressionable? I am sure that there must be lots of people out there that have been emotionally and psychologically scarred from all of this. I don't for one minute believe that a child can choose if they want to medidate or not and get away with being treated in the same manner as those that do meditate. We all know the very essence of peer pressure is enough to make the child want to conform and be like the others.

I presume that it is the meditation that allows a person to become zombie like or walk about in a trance like state. I for one do not want this instilled in my own child.

In answer to
Yes, meditation does work and, far from dulling the mind, it gives greater clarity, balance and happiness. But you would really need to try it out for yourself to find the benefits.


I really would not want to try this out and nor do I want my children to try this out or have anything to do with this. I am glad that it has produced clarity of mind for you, the people I have met and seen do unfortunately seem to have a dulled mind and zombie like existence about them.

leon
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Postby leon » Wed Nov 16, 2005 1:12 pm

Hi MM

Yes although in my previous post I stated that I have found it beneficial in later life to be aware of the religions of other cultures I believe that it is very damaging to teach meditation to young children, and was so for me at St James. Your child is basically being subtly indoctrinated into a strain of pseudo eastern mysticism, the form of meditation is taken from The Maharishi -laughing all the way to the bank-Mahesh cult of TM. As children are so receptive all cults want to get their hands on them, things that go in subconciously at an early age go in deep and are accepted usually without question.

ross nolan
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to leon

Postby ross nolan » Thu Nov 17, 2005 12:23 pm

Hi Leon, A good response to MM and agree on all points. As to the "brights" being another cult -- I can't see this ... no "cult figure" or guru, no dogma, no social isolation,mantras etc just a bit of an antidote to organized delusion and superstition .

I think that a lot of the anger from ex SES members stems from the sense of betrayal that they experience after having found what they thought might have been a sort of secular church with the accompanying fellowship and emotional benefits to be had from being with like minded reflective individuals only to find that it is in fact a religious cult -- the 'coming out' from such groups always features feelings of loss and isolation and a realization of having been deceived .

This might account for the thoughts of ex adult school members but I presume you were inducted via your parents and had no say in the matter and therefore have not only the 'duped' feelings to deal with but the feeling of breach of trust and again betrayal by parents -- I suspect that a lot of the problem with religions that,as you say 'go after' the children for new members is this schism with the imposed belief systems of the parents being found to be spurious and the other authority figures also turning out to be peddling falsehoods and offbeat bunkum.

This applies to children of roman catholics and other sects like the Jehovah's witnesses, scientology etc etc ad infinitum -- it makes a good case for 'outlawing' religious schooling of any kind -- you can be certain there is no organized conspiracy to indoctrinate children through the Brights, by definition and because there is no sacred text to chant or worship -- it lacks the human element of person to person contact like conventional churches provide or the SES uses to foster "bonding" and some degree of dependence and offering a life structure ,, the Brights is just an idea to declare your freedom from cant and non - belief in spiritism in effect.

Being a-theistic does not mean you do not conceive of a much greater form of intelligence in the universe -- it is almost inevitable that in 15 billion years much higher forms of intellect have arisen than the human kind ("God" help us if that is not the case ) -- there may even be some sort of grand plan to life,the universe and everything and even a form of existence that outlives death -- none of this is unscientific in itself but it is correspondingly unlikely that such matters will be revealed or understood by mindless chanting of a 5000 year old Hindu mantra or poring over writings from the very infancy of human intellectual development and permeated by animistic capricious gods and godesses.

I had hoped to have maybe found a genuinely knowledge seeking group of people of an intellectual bent with the SOP and can trace my anger and feelings of irritation to the basic deceit that they abuse the trust of the people that are seeking real enlightenment in such things .

Maybe the credo of the Brights is not so bad .

Cheers, Ross
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NYC
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Postby NYC » Tue Nov 22, 2005 6:03 pm

nomad wrote:This was to encourage the energy flow to all the chakras, although the tutor did not mention the word, chakras, a fellow student did.

Or, nomad, a physical explanation for the upright spine and feet flat to the floor would be that it requires the least muscular effort to maintain that position. Crossed legs are comfortable for a minute or two, and then you feel like readjusting. Sitting with the feet flat may feel foreign or uncomfortable, unnatural, at first but it does seem to me to be easier to stay in that position without wanting to move after a few minutes.

nomad wrote:I think a little bit of meditation is okay but one hour a day is just too forced.

I?m sure that no one in the SoPP has suggested to you that you ought to bang out an hour of meditation ever day right off the bat.

You ask about the benefits people have experienced?I find actual meditation (returning one?s attention to a singular focus, usually a mantra but it could be a visual point) much more difficult than simply sitting still?but some people find physical stillness a challenge too. I tend to sit still but my mind wanders, similar to surfing the internet, one thought leads to another to another and my mind is thinking of what I?d like to do later, what happened before, etc. So for most of the time I?m sitting, I?m not actually meditating, I?m thinking, planning, daydreaming, etc. Nothing wrong with that, but it isn?t meditating.

I do have the sense, though, that it?s good for my mind to at least TRY to do it. I?m not attending SoPP classes now, and they didn?t introduce me to meditation, so I don?t have the coercive baggage that a lot of people here describe?I feel like I?m washing my own brain, giving my mind a chance to rest, to clear out, kind of like shaking an Etch-a-Sketch. I?m not worried that I?m going to be unable to think again when I get up from meditation; I?m hopeful that I?ll be able to think new thoughts, instead of the same old ones.

But it?s just as important to have good teachers in mental disciplines as in physical ones, or maybe more so ? so if you don?t like the mental clarity of the teachers in the SoPP there are plenty of other places to learn/practice meditation in NYC. Good luck!

Tom Grubb
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Re: to leon

Postby Tom Grubb » Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:39 pm

ross nolan wrote:As to the "brights" being another cult -- I can't see this ... no "cult figure" or guru, no dogma, no social isolation,mantras etc just a bit of an antidote to organized delusion and superstition .

I agree, Ross. The Brights movement, as I see it, is far from being a cult. Brights simply reject the lazy supernatural 'explanations' which are so fashionable nowadays for anything which is not instantly explicable (and many things which are instantly explicable). Brights follow the sceptical, evidence-based, naturalistic worldview which I also subscribe to. I'm personally quite comfortable with old-fashioned labels like atheist or humanist and don't feel a great need to give myself another label but I subscribe to everything the Brights stand for. And with three intellectual heroes of mine (Richard Dawkins, James Randi and Michael Shermer) calling themselves Brights, I'm thinking of signing up!

Tom

ross nolan
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Brights etc

Postby ross nolan » Thu Nov 24, 2005 2:02 pm

Tom G, good move - go for it.

I find a lot of the late Fred Hoyle's writings to be really thought provoking and infused with uncommon sense . Richard Dawkins is definitely to be read but I feel he spends a lot of effort in repelling the' barbarians at the gates' ie in defending mode and proving what the world is not as compared to really expanding his intellectual horizons . His overall concept of the selfish gene, like Darwinism in general, is ultimately chilling in it's total lack of purpose and fosters people to turn to religious concepts that seem to offer some solace.

Whilst no individual cell in your body or mind has presumably any idea of what it is doing (none live more than seven years ,many only days ) it is an amazing fact that the sum total seem to create a sense of 'self' and of purposefulness and lead on to abstract thought that is itself the most unfathomable fact (the qualia of experience are presumably there for even primitive animals but how thought itself arises is a deeply philosophical question and, as Einstein put it, the most amazing thing is that the universe is understandable by our brains .

I noted virtually immediately that the SOP "timeline" of great thinkers seemed to stop about three hundred years ago and included none of the German or English philosophers or humanists -- the big cop out that everything was explained by the "three Gunas" floored me -- an invitation to surrender all pondering of the whys and wherefores of nature, including human nature and the astonishing implications of current and modern physics,astronomy and every other branch of scientific enquiry or application of informed reason in favour of barely intelligable and turgid religious text . (note how the "great" religions generally only have, or permit, one or two books of "the truth" that never change - pretty narrow minded)

The internal feeling of existence and craving for meaning may not be mere aberrations of the genes 'doing their thing' -- if nothing else the analogy of the 'selfish' gene is itself a contradiction in terms (as Dawkins makes clear) -- genes are far too small and simple to have any possibility of self awareness or 'emotions' like selfishness and the danger of using 'simplifying' analogies is that you come to understand the analogy but not the thing itself .

Another example is the "proof" by analogy of the behaviour of planets say circling the sun because of "warped" space - usually shown like the circular groove of a roulette wheel with the sun at centre and the planet rolling around the groove .

A minutes though will show the implausibility of this mental analogy -- the little ball only stays in the groove and circles the roulette wheel because of a gravity field at right angles to the plane of rotation -- in the mental image of the Earth circling the sun the real gravity field is parallel to the plane of rotation with no component acting to keep the ball (Earth) in the 'Groove' (orbit) and two mutually perpendicular orbits sort of mess up the simple warped space/roulette wheel idea.

So it is with so many analogies -- the electrical/hydraulic one for example -- no real gut level understanding is acheived by a flawed comparison .

The "explanation" of how life and indeed so much other complexity comes to be is ,to me, a bit like this -- we know how difficult it is to make even simple machines work -- everything seems to conspire against organized complexity that produces a coherent outcome and yet the existence of such incredible organized,functional complexity in life seems to contradict the universe's "Murphy's law" (what can go wrong will go wrong....)

Postulating an infallible God or Gods solves all the problems that the brute facts of the world,life the universe and everything throw up (to thinking people at least ) except the obvious one of where they originated.

Therein lies madness eventually or surrender to religious dogma -- the inescapable and inexplicable acheivement of life and the thinking brain and every act of human striving that arises from it should properly be the subject of philosophical thought and that includes the hypothesizing of real ultimate ends to the phenomenon of life and thought itself.

I just hope the answer is not 42 .

It surely isn't the SOP.

Sorry if this is a bit off topic or rambling but it is 1.10 am and I don't feel like scrubbing it .

Ross.[/b]
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anti_ses
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Postby anti_ses » Thu May 11, 2006 3:39 am

I came across an interesting article at http://hinduism.about.com/od/meditation ... ssroom.htm
New Hampshire (US) committee calls for Transcendental Meditation in schools: Proposal to be modeled after successful programs in Washington, D.C., Detroit, and Iowa.
...
In fact, the New Hampshire Stress-Free Schools Committee is so convinced that it is proposing that TM be offered to students throughout New Hampshire?either in class, after school, or in charter schools.
...
Mr. Bingham emphasizes that the Transcendental Meditation program is not a religion or philosophy, but rather a simple technique that can be easily learned by anyone from the age of 10 years. "TM is mainstream in America," Mr. Bingham says. "The technique promotes the full potential of the brain and provides the body with deep, rejuvenating rest. The National Institutes of Health has granted $20 million to study its effects on cardiovascular disease. But more than just an antidote to stress, TM is used in businesses to enhance job performance and in schools to improve academic outcomes."
...
The most recent TM success story occurred at the Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse, a Detroit middle school, where for the past nine years over 100 students and teachers have practiced the technique for ten minutes at the start and close of each school day. Recent research conducted by the University of Michigan Medical School found that kids practicing the technique handle stress better, feel happier, and get along better with their peers than a control group of non-meditating students. The $300,000 program was funded, in part, by donations from the General Motors and Daimler/Chrysler foundations.

Sounds relatively convincing. Can anyone from the bandwagon equating TM and mind control find any holes?


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