Om Sweet Om: Can Transcendental Meditation be addictive?

Back in 1991, not long after I had been awarded my PhD, I was asked (by my then girlfriend) to attend on a course in Transcendental Meditation (TM). Up until that point, my only knowledge of TM was through my reading of many books about the Beatles and their association with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi back in 1967-1968. Although somewhat skeptical of TM I attended the weekly sessions for the whole course and was eventually inducted into the world of TM by a lovely guy called Mike Turnbull.

We didn’t have Google back then, but as a psychologist, I carried out a literature search and found that Turnbull had actually published papers on TM including a study in a 1982 issue of the British Journal of Psychology with Hugh Norris (entitled “Effects of Transcendental Meditation on self-identity indices and personality”). The results of Turnbull and Norris’ study showed that participants practicing TM appeared to have experienced consistent and definable changes of a beneficial nature, and that the value of TM as a therapeutic tool was recommended. For the next couple of years I did TM daily but by the mid-1990s TM had dropped out of my daily routine and now I only very occasionally do it.

Also in 1990, I became a psychology lecturer at the University of Plymouth, and was given my own specialist research-based module to teach on ‘Addictive Behaviours’ (which I still teach to this very day). It was during my teaching preparation for that module that I first encountered TM in an academic capacity in the context of ‘positive addictions’ (an area that I looked at in one of my early blogs).

It was in Bill Glasser’s 1976 book Positive Addictions that I first encountered the argument that activities such as TM and jogging could be considered positive addictions. It was also argued by Glasser that activities like TM was the kind of activity that could be deliberately cultivated to wean addicts away from more harmful and sinister preoccupations. According to Glasser, positive addictions must be rewarding activities (like TM) that produce increased feelings of self-efficacy.

As I wrote in my previous blog on positive addictions, one of my mentors, psychologist Iain Brown (now retired from Glasgow University) suggested it might be better to call some activities “mixed blessing addictions”, since even positive addictions such as exercise addiction (suggested by Glasser) might have some negative consequences. I have published a fair amount on exercise addiction since 1997 and I am of the opinion that some excessive exercise is genuinely addictive. However, I have never researched into excessive TM and as far as I am aware, there is no empirical evidence that it is addictive.

Anecdotally, I have been told that some TM practitioners (particularly those that teach it) appear to be “addicted” to TM. As a consequence, I decided to do a little digging to see if I could unearth anything on the relationship between TM and addiction. This led me to a 2010 article by Michael Sigman in the Huffington Post entitled Meditation and Addiction: A Two-Way Street?” Sigman recounted the story about how one of his friends spent over two hours every day engaging in TM while in the lotus position. He then claimed:

“There are those few for whom meditation can become compulsive, even addictive. The irony here is that an increasing body of research shows that meditation – in particular Buddhist Vipassana meditation – is an effective tool in treating addiction. One category of meditation addiction is related to the so-called ‘spiritual bypass’. Those who experience bliss when they meditate may practice relentlessly to recreate that experience, at the expense of authentic self-awareness. A close friend who’s done Transcendental Meditation for decades feels so addicted to it, she has a hard time functioning when she hasn’t ‘transcended’”.

Obviously this is purely anecdotal but at least raises the issue that maybe for a very small minority, TM might be what psychologist Iain Brown calls a “mixed blessing addiction”. An article was published on the ‘TM-Free Blog’ entitled Addiction and transcendental Meditation” that (for purposes of balance and fairness) publishes “skeptical views of transcendental meditation and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi”. The article pulled no punches and opened with the claim:

“TM has addictive qualities. Acknowledging the addictive characteristics of TM and other practices, Carol Giambalvo and other cult experts founded to help former cult members break their addiction to trance states… Some devout TMers on the monastic Purusha or Mother Divine programs behave as if in an autistic state. These participants meditate for many hours daily, sometimes for years”.

They also claim that because empirical studies have shown that TM can increase pain tolerance, that the body is producing its own morphine-like substances (i.e., endorphins). Therefore, the addictive qualities of TM may be due to increased endorphin production that creates a semi-dissociative blissful state. For those substance addicts that have been successfully treated using TM, it would be a case of ‘one addiction replacing another’ (which was basically Bill Glasser’s argument in his book Positive Addiction). The article also claimed that endorphin-induced trance states explain why individuals who attend long meditation courses have higher levels of receptivity.

In researching this blog, I did come across some self-reported accounts of people who thought that they might be genuinely addicted to TM. For instance:

“I sometimes worry about being addicted to meditation. I have a compulsive personality and usually think of meditation as a good addiction that not only improves life [and] replaces all other addictions (it was only after beginning to meditate that smoking and drinking dropped away for me). The fact remains, however, that there is an element of compulsive (and therefore possibly unconscious or unexamined) behaviour that motivates the desire to follow a strict twice-a-day-routine. Every so often I skip a session or, less frequently, a whole day. I have been surprised recently how quickly I seem to experience withdrawal symptoms. I just feel off as the day goes on. After meditating it is like all my settings have been returned to normal and I feel great again. Then I think: isn’t that, in essence, just the what the alcoholic or drug addict experiences? I have no plans to stop meditating but I wonder if there is an element that is beyond my control?”

An article in the Canadian newspaper, the Edmonton Sun reported that TM can be addictive based on an interview with former “TM guru” Joe Kellett (who now runs an anti-TM website). Kellett said there was “a compendium of 75 studies of TM technique in 2000 [which] found that 63% of practitioners suffered long-term negative mental health consequences from the repeated dissociation – or disconnection – with reality caused by going into a trance-like state”. I haven’t located the study Kellett referred to although many TM websites claim that there have been over 600 empirical studies highlighting the positive benefits of TM, particularly in relation to various healthcare outcomes. Kellett went on to claim in his interview that:

“Dissociative ‘bliss’ is often an easily produced substitute for true personal growth. As teachers we memorize almost everything we are to tell students. We were very careful not to tell them too much less they become ‘confused’ by things that they ‘couldn’t yet understand. Only after they had the ‘experience,’ could we start very gradually revealing TM dogma in easy, bite-sized chunks, always after they had just finished meditation and were therefore likely to be still in a dissociative state”

Obviously, it is difficult to answer the question of whether TM is genuinely addictive given the complete lack of empirical evidence. However, from both a psychological and biological perspective, I think that such a concept is theoretically feasible but we need to carry out the empirical research

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Allegre, B., Souville, M., Therme, P. & Griffiths, M.D. (2006). Definitions and measures of exercise dependence, Addiction Research and Theory, 14, 631-646.

Berczik, K., Szabó, A., Griffiths, M.D., Kurimay, T., Kun, B. & Demetrovics, Z. (2012). Exercise addiction: symptoms, diagnosis, epidemiology, and etiology. Substance Use and Misuse, 47, 403-417.

Edmonton Sun (2006). Dissociative bliss becomes addictive. April 17. Located at:

Glasser, W. (1976), Positive Addictions, Harper & Row, New York, NY.

Griffiths, M.D. (1996). Behavioural addictions: An issue for everybody? Journal of Workplace Learning, 8(3), 19-25.

Griffiths, M.D. (1997). Exercise addiction: A case study. Addiction Research,  5, 161-168.

Griffiths, M.D.  (2005). A ‘components’ model of addiction within a biopsychosocial framework. Journal of Substance Use, 10, 191-197.

Griffiths, M.D. (2011). Behavioural addiction: The case for a biopsychosocial approach. Trangressive Culture, 1, 7-28.

Sigman, M. (2010). Meditation and Addiction: A Two-Way Street? Huffington Post, November 15. Located at:

TM-Free Blog (2007). Addiction and transcendental Meditation, February 23. Located at:

Turnbull, M.J. & Norris, H. (1982). Effects of Transcendental Meditation on self-identity indices and personality, British Journal of Psychology, 73, 57-68.

About drmarkgriffiths

Professor MARK GRIFFITHS, BSc, PhD, CPsychol, PGDipHE, FBPsS, FRSA, AcSS. Dr. Mark Griffiths is a Chartered Psychologist and Professor of Behavioural Addiction at the Nottingham Trent University, and Director of the International Gaming Research Unit. He is internationally known for his work into gambling and gaming addictions and has won many awards including the American 1994 John Rosecrance Research Prize for “outstanding scholarly contributions to the field of gambling research”, the 1998 European CELEJ Prize for best paper on gambling, the 2003 Canadian International Excellence Award for “outstanding contributions to the prevention of problem gambling and the practice of responsible gambling” and a North American 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award For Contributions To The Field Of Youth Gambling “in recognition of his dedication, leadership, and pioneering contributions to the field of youth gambling”. His most recent award is the 2013 Lifetime Research Award from the US National Council on Problem Gambling. He has published over 600 research papers, four books, over 130 book chapters, and over 1000 other articles. He has served on numerous national and international committees (e.g. BPS Council, BPS Social Psychology Section, Society for the Study of Gambling, Gamblers Anonymous General Services Board, National Council on Gambling etc.) and is a former National Chair of Gamcare. He also does a lot of freelance journalism and has appeared on over 2000 radio and television programmes since 1988. In 2004 he was awarded the Joseph Lister Prize for Social Sciences by the British Association for the Advancement of Science for being one of the UK’s “outstanding scientific communicators”. His awards also include the 2006 Excellence in the Teaching of Psychology Award by the British Psychological Society and the British Psychological Society Fellowship Award for “exceptional contributions to psychology”.

Posted on June 7, 2012, in Addiction, Exercise addiction, Popular Culture, Psychology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I want to try that… I think I would be good at it xD
    Dissociating for fun… Teehee…

  2. davidspectornsrusa

    You raise some interesting questions, for which good answers require analyzing many sources to determine their definitions of words and experiences, as well as their background and prejudices. Opinions that Transcendental Meditation (TM) is harmful are rare, but do exist. I’ve read most of these opinions published on the Web and see reasons for them in the experiences and psychology of the authors, rather than in any objective truth of these negative opinions.

    I’ve been practicing TM for 41 years, regularly, and have been (but am not currently) a TM teacher. I’ve also done research on TM and NSR (Natural Stress Relief), some of which has been published. I also have 1300 current NSR clients, all or almost all of whom are having continuing and persistent healthful benefits in their lives from their practice of transcending.

    In my opinion, practicing transcending does not usually cause dissociation, even in advanced graduates of the TM-Sidha Program, who typically practice for 3 to 4 hours a day. However, I do agree that transcending results in transitory or more permanent states of happiness which can serve as a positive feedback for continuing the practice.

    The definition of addiction is critical to any discussion like this one, and you’ve skipped that important step. Defining an addiction as something that makes you feel bad when you don’t do it is not a useful definition, because counter-examples are easy to produce: you feel bad when you don’t get enough sleep–does that mean that sleep is addictive? Clearly, not so. It is essential, not addictive. Similarly, transcending (the fourth state of consciousness) is essential, not addictive.

    I am certain that if I were not able to do one of my two daily meditation sessions, I would feel uncomfortable, because my half-day of stress and fatigue would not have been washed away. I believe that this does not indicate that I have an addiction.

    In fact, I don’t have an addictive personality in general–I have no trouble gambling once every few years and stopping whenever I wish, or eating some tasty food occasionally, or engaging rarely in lots of varied temptations. I also have no trouble attending silent retreats, where there are far fewer sensory temptations available. But I never skip my daily practice of TM, because I have a personal desire to eliminate my stored (internalized) stresses and so become more functional and useful to society.

    David Spector
    Natural Stress Relief/USA

  3. Hi David. Many thanks for your comments. You are obviously new to my blog as my views and definitions on addiction are outlined in many previous blogs. In fact, the very first blog I wrote features my conceptualization of addiction ( Best wishes. Mark

    • davidspectornsrusa

      Dear Mark, thanks for the reference. Your concept of addiction sounds completely correct to me, which makes it more surprising that you apply it to Transcendental Meditation.

      When you discuss the addiction to gambling, you list the following possible symptoms: “extreme moodiness and irritability, problems with personal relationships (including divorce), absenteeism from work, neglect of family, domestic violence, and bankruptcy. Adverse health consequences for gamblers and their partner include anxiety and depression disorders, insomnia, intestinal disorders, migraine, stress related disorders, stomach problems, and suicidal ideation.”

      But not one of these occurs in the vast majority of my clients. The few clients who experience depression, insomnia, or headaches have done so for years prior to their learning the NSR transcending technique. The same lack of incidence is characteristic of TM students (I taught over 100 students when I was an active TM teacher, and I knew many other TM teachers).

      If you don’t believe me, I recommend the excellent comment by t harshaw, who appears to have a much deeper understanding of the psychology of addiction than I have.

      I know that, especially for a professional, it can be difficult to give up cherished opinions, which have the illusion of being anchored in objective truth. I know also that you may not be able to do so. But I also know that you are clearly highly intelligent. A little openness of mind might help you expand your horizons and learn what so many other mental health professionals have learned: that transcending techniques are natural, easy, and effective ways to gain increased functionality and happiness in life. And now that NSR is available, quality transcending instruction is no longer beyond the financial reach of anyone.

      David Spector
      Natural Stress Relief/USA

  4. Thanks for addressing this. It seems apparent that people can use even positive behaviors as crutches or avoidance tactics and even become, in a sense, addicted.

    As a longtime meditator and mental health professional, I find the overall tone of your post fair and reasoned. Until here: “They also claim that because empirical studies have shown that TM can increase pain tolerance, that the body is producing its own morphine-like substances (i.e., endorphins). Therefore, the addictive qualities of TM may be due to increased endorphin production that creates a semi-dissociative blissful state.” Here you launch into a speculative realm for which there’s no citable research (the personal blog site you reference is not a research-based website and is known for wildly biased claims).

    The increased pain tolerance identified with TM has been seen in research studies (such as this one: showing that in TM meditators the brain reacts to pain more efficiently and with greater stability, and in a way that produces less anxiety (cortisol, plasma lactate, etc.) in the system. There is no empirical basis in research to the claim of increased “morphine-like substances.” Prolactin is seen to increase, and serotonin (if it’s too low), but these are not generally implicated with the addictive process.

    The peer-reviewed research strongly suggests that TM practice typically produces a non-dissociative state in which mental performance is clearly enhanced, based on measures such as problem solving abilities, H-reflex, IQ scores, field independence, grade-point average, neuroticism, self-actualization, development of personality, reduced anxiety, and so on—all areas that show marked improvement with TM practice.

    Also relevant to your discussion is the range of health findings that the AMA, APA, NIH, and American College of Cardiology have been touting as highly promising, to say the least: 47% reduction in mortality from heart attack and stroke, 87% decreased need for doctor visits, normalization of high blood pressure, etc. Such findings, derived from randomized controlled trials and large meta-analyses, are associated with the modality of TM specifically.

    I mention this because, as you know, addiction is typically defined (by the APA, AA, NA, etc) as a behavior pattern involving a destructive element: addictions are by definition unhealthy. This is generally agreed upon in the mental health profession.

    The most relevant question seems to be: can a positive behavior pattern become an addiction and thereby produce destructive effects?

    We also know that addiction has a neurophysiological basis, though not well understood, in the body’s reaction and processing centers, which makes addiction more than psychological: the body demands the drug and compels the addict to use.

    Regarding Transcendental Meditation, among the hundreds of peer-reviewed studies there is yet no empirical evidence suggesting either destructive effects from longterm practice or a neurophysiological addictive basis.

    It’s interesting to consider the “mixed blessing” aspect of some positive behaviors and examine the implications for mental and physical health, but it’s also important not to cherry pick a few anecdotal references that may support such a premise, while overlooking established data on the modality in question that renders such a premise extremely marginal.

    The bliss that meditators often experience is associated with increased EEG coherence, a style of brain functioning that is the opposite of dissociative states.

    You suggest that there is a lack of empirical evidence to reasonably address the question, Is TM addictive? The truth is, there are already over 600 scientific research studies on TM, hundreds of them published in peer-reviewed journals. The National Institutes of Health has funded $26M of these studies, and the research has been ongoing for 40 years. That is far more research than exists on any mental health modality I can think of. The absence of a satisfactory answer to your question seems due to a lack of knowledge of the existing research.

    Regarding the sites you reference in support of your premise, here are a couple of other site you might consider for a balanced perspective:

    Review of Joe Kellett’s site:

    Review of TM research:

    Thanks for addressing this and allowing me the opportunity share another viewpoint.

  5. Hi Tammy. The quote that you seem to be unhappy about (i.e., “They also claim that because empirical studies have shown that TM can increase pain tolerance, that the body is producing its own morphine-like substances (i.e., endorphins). Therefore, the addictive qualities of TM may be due to increased endorphin production that creates a semi-dissociative blissful state”) was not my view but that of the author’s of the TM Free Blog (TM-Free Blog (2007). Addiction and transcendental Meditation, February 23. Located at: The literature quite clearly shows that the many advantages of TM significantly outweigh the disadvantages. My blog (like many of my others) was just raising the question of whether TM might be addictive to a small minority of people. Mark

    • Hi Mark:

      What you do not seem aware of is that most Transcendental Meditation research is not only performed by the people selling it, it’s almost always of poor quality, even after many years of publishing research on this topic. Independent reviews (like the University of Alberta review) show little difference between TM and relaxation. Most findings are greatly exaggerated. What most TMers won’t tell you is the primary claims of TM’s benefits were repudiated by independent science way back in the 1980’s!

      • “Most Transcendental Meditation research is not only performed by the people selling it, it’s almost always of poor quality.” That is blatantly false — just internet gossip repeated again and again from the fringe, like the claim that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S..

        Nor is it true, by any sane stretch of the imagination, that TM’s benefits were repudiated “in the 80’s.”

        The two reviews you speak of did not conclusively demonstrate anything significant about TM (the researchers acknowledge this in the papers) and did not come close to reviewing all of the existing data. The Alberta study is refuted here:

        The studies on TM were conducted at more than 200 independent medical schools and research institutes­, by more than 360 scientists around the world­. The majority of the science was done by researcher­s not associated with TM or the non-profit organization. Anyone can look at the research bibliography and search among the researchers’ names to confirm this. Over 50 of the studies on TM are randomized controlled trials, and there are about 17 large meta-analyses, conducted at Stanford, University of Kentucky, Georgia Medical School, and many independent institutes.

        The TM organizati­on itself has never even funded a research study. A small fraction of the research on TM involved faculty members of Maharishi University­, and almost all of those studies also involved non-meditating researcher­s from other universiti­es.

        Over the past 20 years, the National Institutes of Health has granted more than $25M to various teams of scientists to investigate TM. NIH grant money is very competitive and hard to get and would never be awarded year after year in large sums to a single modality if there were not a body of compelling evidence supporting it.

        This is why leading physicians and scientists such as Norman Rosenthal (20-year senior researcher at the NIH), Pamela Peek (also a leading NIH researcher), Dr. Mehmet Oz (professor of surgery at Columbia Medical School), and so many others are speaking out in support of TM — because the research is not only compelling but overwhelming. The Veterans Administration is currently conducting two very large studies on TM — again, funded by the U.S. Government and involving no meditating scientists.

        I think anyone who claims there’s no compelling research on TM just doesn’t understand the peer-review process or know much about the science. Here’s Dr. Rosenthal speaking about the quality and quantity of the TM research:

        Interestingly, these claims of “weak research” generally never come from the scientists or researchers themselves, but from non-scientists who have sought out something on the internet that will support their pre-existing beliefs.

    • Thanks, Dr. Mark. I know you were quoting the “TM Free Blog,” but the quote is so far amiss and counter to the existing empirical data that I felt that it undermines the line of reasoning you present. I thank you for raising the subject of meditation and getting people thinking about the topic.

  6. davidspectornsrusa

    The authors of TM Free Blog, like the few other anti-TM websites on the Web, seem to have a chip on their shoulder. They bring to the subject a consistent adversarial tone, which seems based on their own personal disappointment with TM.

    I’ve read these websites, and corresponded with one or two of the authors. These are people who, desiring personal spiritual growth, participated in advanced TM activities with increasing devotion and skepticism. At a certain point they each seemed to have come to a disillusionment, and reached the conclusion that all their problems were due to TM. The improvement they experienced when they gave up TM (possibly due to the addition of effort, which can make TM stop working) proved to them that TM was harmful.

    Among my own clients, I have seen those few who were suffering as a result of incorrect technique suddenly and dramatically begin to obtain all the promised benefits when I was able to correct their addition of effort to their practice. This is the immense value of proper support, in following up instruction in transcending. Not all students of transcending make use of the available support methods.

    I hope this brings some understanding of where these anti-TM folks are coming from. They have a logical consistency and devotion to their approach (which seems contrary to all the published research) that only makes sense when we understand their background of blaming TM for the bad experiences that they themselves have had.

    Although it is rare, Transcendental Meditation, like anything else, can be learned and practiced incorrectly.

    David Spector
    Natural Stress Relief/USA

  7. If people are not properly instructed in meditation, McMeditation techniques like Transcendental Meditation often can lead to over dependence as one habituates to withdrawing from the world and relying on that “escape”. Since meditation can be pleasant, some will get addicted to that pleasurable feeling, even to the point of not being able function without the meditation-drug. In yet other cases, the decrease of light on the retina can lead to depression, sometimes exacerbating underlying conditions

    Transcendental Meditation has the unique distinction of being the meditation technique with not only the most side effects, but also the most extensive history of psychotic breaks and suicide. I recommend seeing the movie “David Wants to Fly” which still may be available to see for free on LinkTV’s website. It turns out the Maharishi was not an actual student of his Guru Dev, and so sadly therefore Transcendental Meditation is just a made up and very well marketed technique. A product, if you will. A pricey one.

    If you’re in the psych field, Mindfulness whether alone or with Cognitive Behavioral therapy or as a stress reduction technique can be very helpful and has legitimate independent science backing it’s use in a large number of settings.

    • Your claim that TM has negative side effects is completely without empirical or even realistic basis. Over 20,000 TM-practicing subjects have been researched over the past 40 years, and no peer-reviewed study (that actually researched the TM technique specifically) has ever identified negative side effects. If you believe there’s research showing negative side effects, please site so it can be addressed. Same with your assertion of so-called “psychotic breaks.” What the research shows is actually the exact opposite: greatly improved mental health.

      The ‘negative side effects’ myth is dispelled here, with references to research:

      And here:

      From the MeditationAsheville people’s site: “Professionally controlled clinical research on the effects of TM practice has been conducted under a wide variety of settings and conditions: on general populations, people in the workplace, athletes, groups of students at all grade levels, patients at high-risk for heart disease, students with learning disorders, factory workers, members of the military, groups of corporate executives, new meditators, long-term meditators on advanced courses, and people with pre-existing mental health problems. All these studies show significant improvements in mental and physical health, with no negative side effects.”

      My own survey of the research bears this out, but anyone can look at the studies for themselves.

  8. Perhaps a lifestyle that includes the TM Technique would be less prone to many of the ‘self medication’ activities, i.e., drinking, smoking, over eating, etc. And in this case one could look at the aspect of balance in ones life. Also, since a small minority of TM Program practioners have elected to pursue a more monastic way of life, it would be a research mistake to lump these individuals into the general population of those doing TM. Much like the daily routine of a cloistered Nun would be quite dissimilar from that of a mother running a household.

  9. For some reason, this article jst poppsed up for the first time in google search…

    There are two ways, in my experience, that TM can be “addictive”:

    1) you become used to the restful alert state that results, and “miss” the experience, the same way you “miss” having a cup of coffee, OR a donut OR an afternoon nap at a certain time, etc. Your body gets used to a specific physiological change at a certain time and when it doesn’t occur, the body takes a while to adjust to the that. TM’s physiological rest, while not very deep with respect to O2, is quite dramatic in other ways at least in some people, and they grow accustomed to all the associated physiological changes that are associated with TM practice, and notice they are missing when they don’t get them.

    In that sense, most of us are addicted to eating at a certain time, or sleeping at a certain time, etc. TM is no different in that respect, except that the overall effects of TM can be quite personalized as it is a “normalizing” or “rebalancing” practice–that is, it tends to reduce the effects of stress–so specific measurable effects of TM might vary slightly from person to person as different people respond to stress differently and so different aspects of their physiological makeup might be thrown out of balance differently.

    For example, TM seems to have a dramatic effect on blood sugar levels in certain American Indian tribes, where the diabetes type II incident rate is incredibly high, but it doesn’t seem to affect diabetes type II in Caucasians nearly as dramatically.

    For such people, TM practice would be “addictive” in the sense that their blood sugar levels might go back up dramatically if they stop doing it. But, as far as anyone knows, it’s purely a stress-reducing practice and blood sugar and stress are simply more closely linked in certain tribes than in people with a different genetic makeup.

    2) The other way in which TM can be an addiction is when people start practicing it for the sake of some specific “feeling” during practice. But TM, again, is merely a resting technique, and by theory, any arbitrary feeling or sensation might arise simply as a side effect of gaining rest during TM and so, a specific pleasant sensation might arise within a few minutes of TM, a few hours, or never… At this point, such a person is no longer really doing TM anyway, as part of the TM “technique” is to be “without expectations.” Can you be addicted in the traditional sense to some technique that is no longer TM? No doubt that is true, but then the topic is about some technique that is no longer TM… This isn’t a play on words, this is really a specific point: the process, once you introduce effort, is no longer TM, and so discussing it in the context of TM is pointless: it’s some other technique.

  10. By the way, the “German study” was a very bizarre thing. It was a survey done on behalf of the German government to explore the reasons why people didn’t like TM.

    The researchers used a survey technique called “the snowball effect” where subjects with a specific interest or belief are asked to refer researchers to other subjects with a specific interest or belief.

    ‘For the reasons named we proceeded methodologically according to the “Snowball Method”, where certain people involved in our investigation in turn named others and so on etc.’

    All told, at a time when probably 100,000 people in Germany had learned TM, the researchers found 73 people with complaints:

    “Altogether 67 people were questioned. All those questioned had a direct or indirect relationship with the T.M. movement. It was necessary from the beginning to divide or classify them into three groups:”

    30 parents of TMers had complaints about TM; 27 partners of TMers had complaints about TM; and 10 former TMers had complaints about TM.

    All the statistics cited in the study are based on the above group of people who were selected in the way that were.

    Is it any surprise that some large percent say something bad about TM? They were self-selected in a survey where ONLY people who wanted to say something bad about TM were interviewed in the first place.

    Ironically, these now defunct webpages are maintained by a rival meditation organization for historical reasons, not because they want anyone to do their practice rather than TM:

    We at Scientia believe that TM works fine, but we disagree with the high price. These web pages are reported for historical reasons, to show how the TM Organization was able to attract criticism even if the TM technique actually works.”

    The point I’m trying to make (dunno what the scientia agenda is) is simply that with 100,000 people, + tens of thousands of spouses, ) tens of thousands of parents, you can find 67 people who will complain about ANYTHING, not just TM.

  1. Pingback: The Top Ten Mistakes Made by Meditation Practitioners « Edo Shonin & William Van Gordon

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