7 Nov 2010

David Lynch Foundation infiltrating schools world-wide to promote Transcendental Meditation

NOTE FROM PERRY BULWER - September 17, 2009

Is TM really non-religious and scientifically proven, as its proponents in the two articles below claim?  See these links:

TranceNet: Critical resource on the TM technique and related programs associated with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Rick A. Ross Institute on T.M.

Religion By Any Other Name Is Still Religion

T.M. 'missionaries' operating within San Francisco public school classrooms

'Spirituality for Kids' class draws fire

Cults reflect darker side of '60s rebellion for many children of the flower children

Maharishi Foundation threatens legal action against cult recovery therapist

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Wales Online - September 17, 2009

Claims that transcendental meditation could help Welsh schoolchildren

ITS high-profile advocates – including former Beatles and quirky film director David Lynch – swear by its stress-busting qualities, which they say have guided them through some of the most turbulent times of their lives.

And now attempts are under way to persuade Welsh schools to embrace transcendental meditation (TM) to help pupils negotiate their way through childhood.

Leader of TM Wales Helen Evans is to meet with the head of an unnamed comprehensive in the capital to pitch the technique, which she claims can improve grades and cut bullying and truancy.

Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Lynch have all been involved in similar attempts to persuade US schools to embrace the relaxation programme.

Derided by cynics as woolly mysticism, TM has arguably suffered as much as it’s benefited from its celebrity backers.

The Beatles were first associated with it after meeting the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Bangor, North Wales, during 1967’s so-called Summer of Love, at the height of their drug-induced psychedelic phase.

Similarly Lynch’s work is instantly recognisable for its surreal, dreamlike sequences, which attract detractors and supporters in equal measure.

But despite its failure to win over a mainstream following, Ms Evans is convinced the technique could benefit Welsh schoolchildren.

The 62-year-old literacy teacher also practises “yogic flying”, in which meditators jump up to a metre high while sitting cross-legged.

Lynch’s plan for “consciousness-based education” would see pupils mastering this technique.

Ms Evans said: “The benefits for schoolchildren are that they feel less stressed and happier coming to school.

“The rate of children bunking off is much reduced and their grades go up because they can concentrate better, their minds are clearer and they’ve got more motivation.

“And it’s not just about grades, it’s also about being kinder and more compassionate and understanding.”

Ms Evans said the gains made by pupils have been demonstrated at the fee-paying Maharishi School, in Skelmersdale, Lancashire.

There, pupils meditate for a few minutes at the beginning and end of the school day.

Its website says “extensive scientific research” has shown the “restful alertness” experienced by pupils during meditation helps make learning enjoyable and successful.

Ms Evans, from Cardiff, said the technique can solve many problems like bullying.

“The bullying diminishes straight away when the students learn TM because they have more self-esteem within themselves.

“It’s children who lack self-esteem who bully and they try to pick on people with even less self-esteem and it’s a kind of vicious circle.”

When practising TM, students sit and repeat a mantra said to be soothing for the mind.

Pupils are given different mantras or “sounds” to reflect their own personalities.

Adults do 20 minutes of chanting in the morning and evening, while children spend around half this time meditating.

Cardiff council’s executive member for education Freda Salway said any technique that relaxes a child and helps them learn should be considered.

“People like to be conventional, but as long as the parents and the children are relaxed about it, that’s fine,” she said.

“Anything that helps a child be stress-free can only be good.

“If it helps the pupils advance their education because they’re stress-free, then okay. We’re all better for being stress-free.

“But it’s down to the parents because TM is a grey area to a lot of people.”

In April this year Starr and McCartney appeared on stage together for the first time in six years at the Change Begins Within benefit, a fundraiser for the David Lynch Foundation.

Among its aims are teaching TM to children and encouraging world peace through what Lynch described on stage as the “ocean of consciousness”.

This article was found at:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2009/09/17/claims-that-transcendental-meditation-could-help-welsh-schoolchildren-91466-24710957/

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Sunshine Coast Daily - Australia September 15, 2009

'Community' complain about school meditation

by Mark Bode

EDUCATION Queensland says the community and not teachers are responsible for complaints the led to meditation classes being banned at Beerwah High School.

A spokesperson said teachers were invited to take part in a voluntary transcendental meditation program trial to access its benefits as a tool for relieving stress and potentially contributing to students’ well-being and learning outcomes.

The trial was not a response to any incident of violence and bullying at the school.

“In response to (community) concerns, the school held community information sessions in July to provide details of the program, its benefits and how the school was managing the implementation of the initiative,” the spokesperson said.

“As a result of the level of concern expressed by the Beerwah community, the principal, in consultation with the regional office, decided the meditation program would not continue at this stage.”

However, the woman who took the classes, Wendy Rosenfeldt, said teachers were responsible for the complaints and their concerns centred around religion.

“Some teachers went to the (education) department with misinformation from the internet,” she said.

“The department never contacted us about what it was actually about.”

She said TM was non-religious meditation and she hoped the program would resume once teachers were better informed.

Ms Rosenfeldt said along with helping to reduce stress and the incidence of bullying, TM improved the IQ of practitioners and led to better grades.

She said it had also proved beneficial to children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and was used in schools around the world.

The school's P& C president, Sharon Vonhoff, believed the program had merely been postponed and was confident it would resume once “ill-informed” teachers were educated about TM.

“The feedback (from participants) has been absolutely positive,” Ms Vonhoff said.

“They're very, very happy - it's been totally beneficial.”

Some 35 teachers at the school were being taught TM, reported to be the most widely researched and one of the most popular meditation techniques, with some five million practitioners worldwide.

With what is understood to be the enthusiastic backing of the school's principal, Iqbal Singh, the program was to involve Year 9 students.

It was hoped the bulk of students would continue mediating until the end of Year 12 and beyond.

The TM group conducting the program wanted to produce a research paper on the exercise which it hoped could be used to entice other schools to introduce it.

Teachers from all grades were invited to take part in the program, which would not have cost Education Queensland a cent as it would mainly be funded by US-based TM organisation the David Lynch Foundation - named after its legendary filmmaker founder.

News of the program's demise came as the Daily learned of numerous complaints by parents to the school about their children being bullied.

In April, the Daily reported that images of students viciously bashing each other had surfaced on the video-sharing website YouTube.

This article was found at:

http://www.thedaily.com.au/story/2009/09/15/ummm-meditation-program-religious/


4 comments:

  1. I am a practicing clinical and forensic psychologist who frequently prescribes the TM technique and other non-religious, scientifically verified mind-body modalities to my patients (with highly promising results). Many of my patients are children or young adults who have indeed been abused. I find your series of anti-TM posts opposed to the concept of "free-thinking," which you espouse in your identity. Why only post a few extremist fringe Websites of people with no credentials or expertise, having no other qualifications than being hostile to Transcendental Meditation?

    For the facts about TM, see:

    www.TM.org
    www.doctorsonTM.org
    www.davidlynchfoundation.org

    There are hundreds of peer-reviewed research studies verifying the positive effects of the TM technique for mental and physical health. The NIH has awarded over $26 million for scientists to further the body of research on TM. The American Psychological Association features brain research studies on TM every summer at their annual conferences and I have received press released from them highlighting the positive effects of TM. (Mr. Knapp would not be in attendance at these conferences, because being only a limited license social worker he is not a member of the APA.)

    The director of the mental health wing of the NIH practices and supports TM. The "most respected doctor in American," Dr. Mehmet Oz, practices and supports TM. A team of leading psychiatrists, neurologists, cardiologists and other health professionals created a Website dedicated to presenting the many proven benefits of TM for mind and body ( www.DoctorsOnTM.org ). The American Heart Association supports the practice. The AMA has published TM research and gives physicians CME credit for taking TM classes.

    Thanks for posting this comment and not being totally one-sided. TM is in reality a simple, innocent meditation technique that is reducing stress in the world and helping so many people — that is even saving lives.

    Dr. Victor Loveland
    Beaver Damn, North Carolina

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  2. Please add, www.SkepticsonTM.org to your list of links, for a balanced, objective look at Transcendental Meditation.

    Thomas Handy
    Cleveland, TN

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  3. I find it rather interesting that TM apologists are among the most vocal critics of this blog, along with apologists for Jehovah's Witnesses, Twelve Tribes, Tony Alamo Ministries, Mormon fundamentalists and the like. Dr. Victor Loveland's comment above is more subtle than some, but he still can't help making snide remarks about me. What he and the other apologists fail to recognize is that I am merely a messenger, or archivist in this case. He is also the second psychologist in a few days to post condescending comments here about John Knapp, ridiculing John's credentials while puffing themselves up. It says a lot about TM if these are the kinds of people promoting it.

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  4. Maharishi School Trust seeks three more Transcendental Meditation Free Schools as BHA expresses concern

    by British Humanist Association, November 09, 2011

    The Maharishi School Trust has announced that it is seeking to establish three more Free Schools, following having successfully set up its first in Lancashire last month. The British Humanist Association (BHA) has expressed serious concerns about the spiritual and pseudoscientific aspects of the schools’ teaching, and about the schools’ admissions policies.

    The schools, proposed to open in 2013, would be located in Suffolk, Richmond-upon-Thames and north London. Unlike the Lancashire school, which converted from a private school, these schools would be brand new. Maharishi Schools teach Transcendental Meditation (TM), a meditation technique based upon the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The TM movement adheres to a number of beliefs based on spiritual teachings that lack evidence, including levitation, and that would be at odds with a rational, naturalistic view of the universe. Furthermore, there is no robust evidence to show that TM is more effective than other meditation and relaxation techniques, or well-taught health education.

    The BHA is also concerned that the schools’ admissions requirements that ‘It is expected that at least one carer/parent also learn TM at the same time as the child’ in effect places a requirement of faith-based practice upon the carer/parent.

    BHA Faith Schools Campaigner Richy Thompson commented, ‘The BHA have serious concerns, which we have been voicing for some time now, that Free Schools are extremely attractive to evangelical and pseudoscientific groups, who previously would not have been able to set up state-funded schools. The fact that the Maharishi School Trust is now proposing to create three schools, which would not previously have existed even outside the state sector, shows that this concern is becoming a reality.

    ‘Just as we oppose schools that propose to teach a particular faith as true, or as we oppose the teaching of creationism, we would also oppose schools that teach other beliefs not supported by scientific evidence but instead based on irrational dogma.’

    http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/928

    ReplyDelete