Meditation Blog : September 2005 Archives
Reader Mikko Ahonen emailed from Finland in response to the recent entry on Transcendental Meditation. He gave relevant feedback based on his personal experience with TM, and I have included his message below.
You have touched on an important and controversial topic. I participated in the TM basic course here in Finland 5 years ago. Learning the meditation technique was the good thing. However, there was already then something really strange going on in the TM movement (World Government, etc.) and I decided not to participate in the extended course. What made me sad is that there was no critical public discussion within the TM movement, all messages from gurus were taken as a given. At least to me this is a sign of a very closed religious community :-( The mantra system in TM is based on some Sanskrit words which are seen by some scholars as variant names of Hindu gods. These mantras are provided to the student by the TM teacher in a private tutoring session and the mantras are selected with a pretty simple system based on age and sex of the meditation student. On the Internet (e.g. Freedom of Mind Center) and in many analytic books covering meditation movements there is this list of TM mantras available. (Please, make your own search, during my TM basic course I had to make a promise that I will not reveal my mantra!). When I later heard that the mantra I was given may be a Hindu god name variant, I felt a bit odd. Joke: In Finnish language this mantra given to me does not mean anything imaginable and I don't know much about Indian belief systems, so hopefully there is no harm done to my head ;-)
Talking about TM in schools: I very much encourage teaching meditation in schools but I find TM meditation very unsuitable in its present form. Group meditation is a great experience and at school it could remove anxiety and stress. At least in Finnish schools children between 12-18 years are very closed and separated mentally from each other. In that sense meditation could help them to be more open, creative, and enable them to smile :-) However, meditation has such a bad reputation especially among some praying, religious people that they are afraid of it. (Some people just don't get it that in meditation you do not pray or beg anything ;-) So, let's hope there will be a truly independent meditation technique on the way to schools and workplaces. Could it be based on ideas of Jiddu Krishnamurti or some other positively critical thinkers?
Innovation, Creativity and Learning Researcher
P.S. Thank you for this fantastic blog, Meditation. It has given me so many insights. Please, allow people to comment on blog entries more easily :-)
Mikko also requested that comments be allowed on blog entries. By way of explanation, I haven't included a comment section on the blog due to concerns about the tenor of the discussion. I've noticed that internet message boards about meditation, ironically, attract posters who are more interested in opinionated assertions than constructive dialogue. However, emails are always welcome, and I thank you for reading.