Meditation

Discussion of the SES, particularly in the UK.
Anita
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gathering evidence

Postby Anita » Fri May 12, 2006 11:14 am

This latest disturbing thread about forcing young children into TM is ringing alarm bells. The very symptoms described by Leon, Daska, Snowman, exSTJ, mm, were experienced by Matthew, my son, as a young child. This ?blanking out? was also the beginning of what developed into OCD (an anxiety disorder other ex-St J/V pupils also later developed). The blanking out affected his ability to learn and study, and hence all future education. As people on this BB know, he is an intelligent person, and at his pre-St V school, he excelled.

The Child Protection Agency should investigate this, but first it will be necessary to amass a body of testimonies from as many people as possible who displayed these symptoms as young children/adults, and from current parents whose children are displaying regressive symptoms as a result of having meditation thrust upon them. In just one day of this subject coming up there have already been six examples. How many more are there out there?... Is there anyone on this board willing to co-ordinate submissions?

Anita Woolf

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bonsai
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Postby bonsai » Fri May 12, 2006 12:52 pm

Meditation is a contraversial issue.

I have not read much evidence of the benefits of meditation and neither have I read much in the way of its negative effects.

From my own experience of transcendental meditation, I can attribute no descernable benefits or side effects. For me it simply tended to send me to sleep if I could be bothered to try to concentrate enough to do it otherwise I would just sit there dreaming about things. As such I hold the practise to simply be a waste of time.

If meditating creates an effect, which is hard to envisage that it wouldn't, such an effect could be regarded as positive in some circumstances and negative in others. I know of nothing in this world that has an effect that can only be described as positive in all circumstances. The only thing that can do no harm is something that doesn't do anything at all.

The thing that concerns me is that St James and the SES practise meditation and introduce people to it with the view that it has no negative effects but has a purely positive one. I find this view simply ignorant. One thing for sure is that there is little in the way of safeguards to ensure that anyone in the SES and more importantly in St James suffering any negative effects are caught and advised to stop meditating. Yes there are meditation checks or tutorials but I doubt that any of the people conducting these checks or consultations have anything in the way of suitable training to determine whether someone is landing themselves in a hypnotised state or a trance or inducing anything else that could be considered negative.

Such is the view of meditation in St James and the SES and the fact that the majority of staff at St James practise and promote it I feel that there are severe obstacles to a pupil raising real negative concerns about their own experience of meditation in a check.

I don't know how many people typically meditate in a class at St James these days but when I was at school at least 80% of my class did. There was never the option to give it up once you had been initiated. I agree with the comment made earlier that the reasons for meditating were not portrayed in terms by which a 10 year old can make an intelligent decision.

Personally I do not believe that we have anywhere near enough understanding of the effects of such practises on the mind. Nor do we understand sufficiently the workings and mechanics of the mind and as such we do not have enough understanding of mental illness or other maladies of the mind. As such we should treat techniques and practices such as meditation with extreme caution and particularly in the case of children. I suspect that most pupils at St James could be considered as being unduly coerced into meditation. Certainly when I was introduced to the idea, I was told nothing potentially harmful could happen though there would seem to be stacks of opinions (maybe some based on real evidence) to suggest that harmful effects are possible. The other thing is that peer pressure at the age of 10 is hugely significant and I reckon that is a real reason for many pupils taking up the invitation to be initiated.

The whole practise of meditation in steeped in mystery and secrecy. Why a mantra should be kept secret makes no sense to me and the amount of money requested to be introduced to meditation is simple daylight robbery and seems to me morally corrupt.

Bonsai

PS I count myself lucky that I was introduced to meditation when I was and that seeing as I wasn't given pocket money as a child in theory my initiation should have cost me nothing. As I recall my father simply gave me five pounds to donate along with my hankerchief, flowers and apple.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Fri May 12, 2006 6:36 pm

anti_ses wrote:
anti_ses wrote:But, in the same vein as previous replies to my query, they're largely anti-cult websites, therefore anything expressed in them is biased and not worth analysing.

Nobody seems to have spotted the wit in my statement here.

Don't worry, anti_ses, it was spotted.
anti_ses wrote:I personally trust that research by a recognized university would be carefully conducted.

I'm afraid I don't share your trust. There have been many appallingly badly conducted studies by recognised universities. That's why peer review and independent replication of results are so vital.

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Ben W
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Reply to Anita

Postby Ben W » Sat May 13, 2006 7:29 am

Hi Anita,

You raise a very interesting question and it is one which I also thought about whilst reading this thread.

I have googled this issue and not found anything at all written about meditation causing mental illness. This is not to say there is no connection, but (from the web link provided by anti-ses) there are 60,000,000 TM users representing a staggering $120Bn client base at current rates - ie a big business, and that business is clearly making a big effort to promote its product.

I see a parallel with mobile telephone towers (and the phones themselves) where there is a popular view amongst consumers that there are health issues, but these are not at all reflected in the large body of research available. The suspicion is that the research is manipulated, but there seems to be no evidence to support this. Nevertheless a lot of people are waiting for the "Oops, we now realise there is a problem" reaction from scientists.

I suspect the wider questions are - "What is the incidence of mental illness in SES people?" and "What is the incidence of mental illness in people who were child members of SES?"

I did find the following (nothing special) simple explanation of the causes of mental illness (my highlights) - or mental distress as the site prefers to call it:

www.mind.org.uk wrote:What are the causes of mental distress?

There are many opinions about what causes mental distress. It?s part of a wider debate about what makes people the way they are, whether their personality is shaped by the life experiences they have gone through, or whether it?s determined by their genetic make-up, inherited from their parents. It?s possible that some people are more vulnerable to mental health problems, which could be triggered by stressful or traumatic events. The following are some of the possible causes of mental distress. It may be due to any one of these factors, or to a combination of them.


Difficult family background

Growing up feeling uncared-for, scared of a parent, or having been sexually abused can make people highly insecure and more vulnerable to mental distress. But being much too overprotected as a child can also put you at risk.

Hidden feelings

You may have been discouraged from expressing your feelings from a very early age. As a child, you may even have been punished for getting angry, crying or laughing too loudly. Feelings that are held back, and which are not expressed, affect your physical and mental health.


Stressful life events

These may be traumatic events, such as
the death of someone close, or longer-term struggles, such as being the victim of some form of harassment or oppression.

Biochemistry

Your body chemistry can affect your mind. For example, if you are frightened, it triggers the body?s ?fight or flight? response to produce a hormone called adrenalin. If physical activity doesn?t use up all the adrenalin, the body remains tense and the mind stays over-active.

Genes

You inherit physical characteristics from your parents and can pass them on in the same way. It?s possible that your genetic make-up can also affect your personality. There are genes that cause physical illnesses, so there may be genes that predispose a person towards mental illness. There is some scientific evidence to support the idea that one person may be more likely than another to develop a particular problem, such as manic depression or schizophrenia.


I suspect that to investigate any link between TM and mental illness one would have to take the wider SES picture into consideration - and to have any meaning, it would be necessary to commission a properly structured study.

That site also says: "Mental illness is very common. About one in four people in Britain has this diagnosis, but there is a great deal of controversy about what it is, what causes it, and how people can be helped to recover."

My wife (who generally believes I am wasting my time on this site when I should be attending to more practical matters) is very interested in this topic.

I'd personally be happy to be part of a group looking at this. My best friend at SES became mentally ill - spent time at Shenley - and (as far as I could tell) never really recovered. I stuck with him for 5 years but we eventually drifted apart and lost contact.

Clearly any move in this direction would be very uncomfortable for SES and would therefore be very likely to incur their strong opposition.

What other thoughts?

Best wishes,
Ben
Child member of SES from around 1967 to around 1977; Strongly involved in Sunday Schools ; Five brothers and sisters went to ST V and St J in the worst years

Daffy
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Postby Daffy » Sat May 13, 2006 11:35 am

I find all this discussion of whether meditation is harmful completely irrelevant. Consenting adults can do whatever they like in this respect.

What needs to be stressed is that in our time at St James (1970s-80s), meditation was forced on us under threat of the cane. I was physically dragged into classrooms on many occasions to meditate.

I would like to know whether children are still required to meditate, under whatever form of pressure or duress. If children at today's SES children's schools are being pressurised into meditating, however subtly, then nothing about them has changed.

anti_ses
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Postby anti_ses » Sat May 13, 2006 1:13 pm

Daffy wrote:I find all this discussion of whether meditation is harmful completely irrelevant. Consenting adults can do whatever they like in this respect.

Actually, as this topic has been raised in a forum titled 'General Discussion on SES', and meditation being quite important in the SES, I think this is a highly relevant question.

Daffy wrote:What needs to be stressed is that in our time at St James (1970s-80s), meditation was forced on us under threat of the cane. I was physically dragged into classrooms on many occasions to meditate.

That's obviously wrong. I don't think anyone can deny that. What makes it even more pointless is the fact you can't physically force someone to meditate, simply because nobody can control your mind (unless you categorize St James and the SES as mind control cults).

Daffy wrote:I would like to know whether children are still required to meditate, under whatever form of pressure or duress. If children at today's SES children's schools are being pressurised into meditating, however subtly, then nothing about them has changed.

This is the sort of presumption that prevents people from seeing any good in St James if it did exist. The question may be influenced by your past experiences, which is fair enough, but it can't be answered at a distance. Those who have no intention of visiting the current schools are never really going to find an answer.

Tom Grubb
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Postby Tom Grubb » Sat May 13, 2006 6:37 pm

anti_ses wrote:
Daffy wrote:What needs to be stressed is that in our time at St James (1970s-80s), meditation was forced on us under threat of the cane. I was physically dragged into classrooms on many occasions to meditate.

That's obviously wrong. I don't think anyone can deny that. What makes it even more pointless is the fact you can't physically force someone to meditate, simply because nobody can control your mind (unless you categorize St James and the SES as mind control cults).

If only it were true that "nobody can control your mind"! The SES certainly was a mind control cult and I've yet to be convinced that it has changed.

anti_ses wrote:
Daffy wrote:I would like to know whether children are still required to meditate, under whatever form of pressure or duress. If children at today's SES children's schools are being pressurised into meditating, however subtly, then nothing about them has changed.

This is the sort of presumption that prevents people from seeing any good in St James if it did exist. The question may be influenced by your past experiences, which is fair enough, but it can't be answered at a distance. Those who have no intention of visiting the current schools are never really going to find an answer.

Given the SES's track record of lying, do you really think we're likely to find out the truth by visiting the schools?

anti_ses
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Postby anti_ses » Sat May 13, 2006 8:03 pm

Tom Grubb wrote:SES certainly was a mind control cult and I've yet to be convinced that it has changed.

Well, again, it's impossible to convince anyone the school's changed if they aren't willing to see it as it is. Your answer guarantees that you will never be convinced.

Tom Grubb wrote:Given the SES's track record of lying, do you really think we're likely to find out the truth by visiting the schools?

Yes.

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Ben W
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Postby Ben W » Sat May 13, 2006 10:09 pm

anti_ses wrote:Well, again, it's impossible to convince anyone the school's changed if they aren't willing to see it as it is.


anti-ses, I challenge you on the above statement - in particular the words "see it as it is". This seemingly objective statement is in fact at the root of much difficulty with SES. Who says "how it is"? What one sees is always impacted by one's point of view - the issue here is what is your or Tom's or anyone's point of view - and on what basis should these points of view be changed.

The word "cult" is polarising and I therefore try to avoid it. However there is no doubt that the techniques and methods used (still used as far as I can tell) in SES result in mind control. Look at the recent postings re Stanton as an example of this. As Stanton said - she should have triple checked. So should we all. But do we? (Not intending any further distress for Stanton here.) Recent postings indicate that previous school visits were carefully orchestrated. Anyone who has been involved in presenting to visitors at "normal" school knows that there is always careful preparation. We need to be sure before we accept things have properaly changesd - especially with something as important as this. (And there is much evidence on this site to indicate very little has changed.)

Some people, due to the depth of the emotional trauma they suffered may be very hard indeed to convince. The problem is that even those who did not suffer personally at the school find almost nothing to encourage the view that the schools have changed "fundamentally". (The violence certainly seems to have diminished very significantly, and so, perhaps, has the fear - but the mind control, and SES techniques, and SES control seem to be flourishing - which means from my point of view that things are not what they seem to an untutored (pardon the pun) eye.)

Tom comes across on this site as very reasonable. He listens and makes considered comments - and I suspect would me more than prepared to change his point of view in the right circumstances. Can the same be said of you?

* * *

Also, re my previous posting re Mental Distress in case it's not obvious, I have highlighted points which I believe were relevant for many child members of SES.
Child member of SES from around 1967 to around 1977; Strongly involved in Sunday Schools ; Five brothers and sisters went to ST V and St J in the worst years

ross nolan
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TM and GM

Postby ross nolan » Sun May 14, 2006 1:33 am

Just a point; There seems to be at least a covert assumption that the involvement of General Motors and Daimler/Chrysler with the introduction of Meditation or TM gives an imprimatur of respectability somehow or that such icons of Western industry would not be associated with screwball eastern mysticism.

A read of Henry Ford's 'autobiography' (pun)" My Life and Work" might be of interest -- especially his promotion of folk dancing amongst employees and an admiration for National Socialism -- the founder of mass production was not immune to some other occult and quasi religious leanings, anti semitism etc but this sort of thing was not uncommon especially during the interwar depression where stress was naturally higher and all sorts of 'wishful thinking' solutions were clutched at.

GM is not exactly riding high at the moment and Detroit has suffered from social disintegration, ghettoisation and racial polarization , including the rise of militant Islamic ideas amongst the black population (ironicallly since it was the muslim Arabs who initially enslaved the 'unbeliever' savages (Negroes) to sell to the fellow believer Christian plantation owners and then they migrated north to the auto industry in "Motown"

It would be commendable for GM to take an interest in trying to deal with the social stresses created by unemployment and it's decreasing success in the car industry -- the Michael Moore documentary "Roger and Me" where he pursued Roger Smith,then CEO of General Motors , and went through Flint Michigan schools looking at the disintegration of social and community standards was wrenching to say the least. Possibly they see TM as some sort of pacifying
influence or even see a Hindu religion as less of a threat than Islamic.

Why would auto industry executives promote any particular religious practice in schools anyway ? (leaving aside the details of TM )

Wasn't it Henry Ford III who became a Hare Krishna ? Does this somehow "validate" the other western- popular Hindu cult?
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ross nolan
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More TM and GM

Postby ross nolan » Sun May 14, 2006 2:14 am

This might be of interest . www.alkalizeforhealth.net/meditation.htm

It is obviously a pro TM site but purports to have well peer reviewed evidence and an extensive cross referencing on TM evaluations.

I don't think too many people would disagree that the state of mind affects the physical health of the body - particularly with chronic conditions and long standing job stress for instance.

GM faces massive medical liabilities that make it uncompetitive in relation to foreign makers (the on costs of medical plans and retirement benefits etc are approaching the basic costs of vehicle material inputs apparently - per vehicle built )

Production line jobs in a high pressure industry like the automotive assembly are known to create more stress than office or business -- it would be in GM's interest to reduce both stress and medical costs and that might justify trying the claims of TM -- why do it via schools though with the huge lead time for any benefit to the company?
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daska
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Re: More TM and GM

Postby daska » Sun May 14, 2006 10:24 am

ross nolan wrote:I don't think too many people would disagree that the state of mind affects the physical health of the body - particularly with chronic conditions and long standing job stress for instance.


In my experience the physical health of the body has quite a strong influence on the state of mind as well. The two aspects are strongly interlinked.

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Postby Goblinboy » Sun May 14, 2006 11:40 am

anti-ses wrote:
Daffy wrote:What needs to be stressed is that in our time at St James (1970s-80s), meditation was forced on us under threat of the cane. I was physically dragged into classrooms on many occasions to meditate.

That's obviously wrong. I don't think anyone can deny that. What makes it even more pointless is the fact you can't physically force someone to meditate, simply because nobody can control your mind (unless you categorize St James and the SES as mind control cults).



Anti-ses, this argument has little or no apparent merit - it seems reasonable to assume that Daffy's assertion that Meditation was forced upon himself and his classmates refers to being forced to observe the physical, rather than the mental requirements. Moreover, being "dragged into classrooms...to meditate" doesn't imply that meditation occurred.

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Postby anti_ses » Sun May 14, 2006 12:59 pm

Goblinboy, you missed my point. I was saying that the staff's method of promoting meditation was pointless. It clearly wouldn't have the effect of encouraging meditation. I hope you agree here.

Daffy
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Postby Daffy » Sun May 14, 2006 1:09 pm

Goblinboy wrote:Anti-ses, this argument has little or no apparent merit - it seems reasonable to assume that Daffy's assertion that Meditation was forced upon himself and his classmates refers to being forced to observe the physical, rather than the mental requirements. Moreover, being "dragged into classrooms...to meditate" doesn't imply that meditation occurred.

That is right - it was quite obvious to our teachers that no meditation was actually being practised by anyone in the room.

They actually said the same thing as 'Anti'-SES as a justification for their ridiculous point of view: "We can't force you to meditate" - but with the clear implication that defying their orders meant that we would be forced to sit there wasting our time for 40 minutes every day anyway. What kind of a monstrous organisation thinks this way about children? Do they still do this today?

The point was not to make the horse drink, but to drag it to the water, and in the act of dragging crush its spirit.


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