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Sources of controversyEdit
There are several sources of controversy concerning Transcendental Meditation (TM). It is valuable to understand these, as it lends much light to the fact that for the majority, TM serves as an indispensable aid in eliminating bad habits and in increasing basic human functionality, including, but not limited to:
- Increased intelligence and understanding (students find it easier to learn; communication becomes smoother)
- Increased energy and stamina (both physical and mental)
- Better relationships (based on improved ability to appreciate others and to give and receive love).
One source of controversy is the assumptions made in the academic community concerning meditation or self-improvement practices in general. In some cases medical researchers have opposed TM, assuming that it is a pseudoscience or a cult (it is actually a little of both, but only due to the fact that TM is mostly run by people who either have no background in science or have a great interest in spiritual mysticism; close examination shows limited understanding of science, not pseudoscience, and honor and gratitude to the founder, not cultism).
A second source of controversy is the fact that TM is so effective that it can stimulate the release of what are known as stored stresses. The theory, explained in that link, is that overloads of sensory or cognitive input damage the nervous system, storing conceptual stresses in it. Exposure of the body to the unique deep rest of TM causes the nervous system to reverse the process, systematically eliminating stored stresses in layers. For most practitioners of TM, this process is balanced nicely by an inward dive that is experienced as calm, quiet, and enjoyable. For a few practitioners, however, especially those who practice NSR incorrectly (with effort), the process gets unbalanced, resulting in feelings of misery or suffering mentally, or pain or discomfort physically. Getting timely support from a trained teacher of transcending (whether TM or NSR) can eliminate the suffering or discomfort. But even TM teachers have fallen into a bad situation in which they embrace the suffering and do not get proper support.
Thus, either from a reason of academic skepticism or from the memory of personal suffering, opponents have become entrenched in their positions even to the point of becoming irrational in their opposition.