What religious leaders say

Catholicism

Father Leonard Dubi
December 1, 2008

I am an active 66-year-old Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago who has served 7 parishes in a 40-plus year career. I began practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) in my middle 30s while serving in a third assignment as an associate pastor. I went on to serve two more parishes as an associate pastor until the archbishop made me a pastor of a parish that I served for 21 years. I am in my present assignment as a pastor for almost three years.

The practice of TM has been among the highest priorities in my life since I began to meditate 33 years ago. During this entire time span I have practiced this technique faithfully, twice a day, 365 times a year, including all the secular and religious holidays. I have meditated on airplanes, ocean liners, buses and cars; in airports, bus stations, hospital chapels, banquet halls, friend’s homes as well as my favorite prayer chair in my room.

The time commitment has been woven into the fabric of my spiritual life. My prayer and preparation to celebrate the Sacraments of the Catholic liturgical tradition, especially the Holy Eucharist, have been augmented by practicing the TM technique.

The daily centering experience as a TM meditator has deepened my appreciation of the contemplative dimensions of mental prayer taught in the Catholic spiritual tradition. As a calmer and more centered person, my prayerful reading of the sacred scriptures is more profound and rewarding. Deeper meaning seems to surface as I read the various passages of the books of the Holy Bible.

My prayer life has become richer. Life has slowed down interiorly even as it has accelerated externally. I look and feel younger than my age.

The distress that comes with being a pastor in a Catholic parish in a 21st century urban setting in the mid-west of the USA, as well as just living in the modern world of instant communication is potentially debilitating. Regular practice of TM has proven to be an effective way of dissolving stress as well as an effortless way to slow me down. These benefits are attested to in numerous scientific studies that have been conducted on the TM technique.

The best “study,” however, has been my personal experience. I have recommended that friends and parishioners learn the TM technique. Some have. Those who have continued to practice the technique regularly have experienced the same results as I have.

I certainly recommend Transcendental Meditation to everyone, particularly to those in the society who are responsible for the spiritual and intellectual growth of congregations and students. I have used TM as a tool that has helped me in my vocation as a priest and as a man of faith and prayer. The technique has only helped me experience the spiritual core of my religious belief at a deeper level.

Fr. Leonard Dubi
is a pastor in the Archdiocese of Chicago

Father Cletus Stein
October 2, 2008

Dear Catholic friends,

I am a retired Catholic priest who practices Transcendental Meditation (TM) and did so while I served in the Catholic Church for about 30 years. Based on my own experience, I know that TM is a universal technique that is in harmony with the goals of our religion. It requires no change in personal lifestyle or beliefs and is an effective aid for us to become stronger in our own faith. Transcendental Meditation has enhanced my own religious practice and has been a great way for me to relax and become more alert for my work and my life as a whole.

I served in parishes in Kansas for 20 years and in Texas for 11 years, also doing some hospital and student chaplain ministry. I did my Theology studies in Rome and was ordained there in 1966. It is my experience that TM is an excellent way to prepare for prayer. I have also found that TM teachers and practitioners have great respect for all religions; therefore, I believe that TM allows us to practice ecumenism and not just talk about it.

Meditation has been encouraged by the Church over the ages and by the saints, including the writer of the Cloud of Unknowing, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and many others. TM is a proven technique for joining them in meditation. Many scientific research studies over the years have shown significant results with TM; it has been known to improve physical health and to increase mental clarity and creativity. It is my experience that the practice of TM and the benefits that it brings only get better over the years. I believe that anyone can find great value in practicing this meditation regularly.

Father Cletus Stein
is a retired Catholic Priest

Sister Carol Wirtz
August 25, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a letter of support for the practice of Transcendental Meditation. I have been a Catholic Sister for twenty-two years and have been practicing Transcendental Meditation for fourteen years. I have found this technique to be very beneficial in different aspects of my life. It has helped calm and focus my mind during times of stress as well as in everyday life. I have also noticed physiological effects such as less muscle tension, more relaxed breathing and just overall greater awareness. In addition, there have been many scientific studies to support the benefits of Transcendental Meditation.

Since Transcendental Meditation is not a religion nor is it taught as a doctrine, it does not interfere or conflict with my Catholic Christian faith. In my years of practicing this technique I believe it has enhanced my prayer and Christian life.

Sister Carol Wirtz lives in Anthony, New Mexico

Judaism 

Senior Rabbi Allan Green
June 27, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

The first thing I want to say about my thirty-seven year practice of the Transcendental Meditation program is that I never would have become a rabbi without it. Transcendental Meditation saved my Jewish life.

How so? The short story is that in addition to its many other benefits, verified by over 600 scientific studies, the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique gave me an experiential referent for the word, “God.” Based on my own developing experiences with TM, I grew in love and appreciation for God, for His amazing universe, and for my own religious traditions. At the same time, I would emphasize that TM is truly universal, as anyone of any age, education, or background can practice it successfully, without any need for change in personal beliefs or lifestyle.

With the regular practice of TM, people not only become more calm, energetic, and creative than before, but they also change in ways they couldn't possibly have anticipated—innocently growing in love, compassion, ethical sensitivity, and devotion to God. All too often in religious life, these ideals prevail far more in theory than in practice. But the TM program gently, effectively transforms these ideals into living realities.

Therefore, I would recommend the practice of Transcendental Meditation to any student or teacher of Judaism (or indeed, of any religious tradition) interested in living the highest ideals of their tradition in everyday life. In the words of the rabbis, “May we then find grace and enlightenment, in the eyes of both God and humankind."

Allan Green
is Senior Rabbi at Shaarey Haarey Zedek Synagogue in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Rabbi Michael Shevack
November 12, 2008

To whom it may concern:

As a rabbi, I would like to comment on my experience of the technique of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in relationship to the practice of my religion of Judaism.

There is a common misconception amongst many different “western” religions, mainly Judaism, Christianity and Islam that Transcendental Meditation is a form of some kind of Hindu worship and is therefore pagan. Based on my direct experience with the TM technique, I can clearly say that this idea is a misunderstanding and is simply not true.

In fact, my experience as a TM practitioner, since the age of 17 (I am now 55) has proven just the opposite. At first I was attracted to TM as a way to reduce stress, and was very excited by the hundreds of studies that demonstrated it having a positive effect on lowering stress, blood pressure and improving generally well-being, both mental and physical. However, as I practiced TM, I found that these benefits were actually mere “by products” of the experience.

I found that I was opening, day after day, meditation after meditation, to what I considered to be a deep spiritual experience. Such an experience was not “other worldly", nor did it belong to “another religion". Such an experience was deeply rooted in the practical day to day experiences of life, and as such, became deeply integrated with the practice of my day to day Judaism. I found that TM opened me up to intuitive insights and understandings which helped “make sense” of my Jewish practice; it made the observance of my own faith increasingly alive and spiritually vibrant.

Many decades ago, I had come across a quote by Maharishi which said, “As you spontaneously meditate you begin to understand the religion of your birth.” This has proven to be the truth. The more I meditated, the more the customs, the traditions, the theology and the practice of my religion deepened within me. TM did not remove me from Judaism; it actually guided me back to Judaism, with improved understanding, deepened spiritual experience, and greater love and commitment.

I have therefore recommended TM to many Jews within my congregation and beyond my congregation, as well as to all seekers-of-Truth, including many within Christianity and Islam. Based on my experience, I can say that there is nothing to fear about TM. If you are Christian it will make you more Christian. If you are Jewish, it will make you more Jewish. If you are Muslim, it will make you more Muslim. Due to the growing appreciation of one's own faith through TM, one does not seek out other religions; one becomes fulfilled in one's own.

Lastly, as a leader in inter-religious dialogue, who has worked with many of the world's noble religions, I believe that TM can provide a doorway to a common spiritual understanding and experience that can help bring about, and speed about, the development of mutual respect and understanding of the world's religions, by deepening and enlivening the universal spiritual foundation upon which they are all based.

In short, it is a fast, effective, universal approach to peace.

Michael Shevack is rabbi with The Bucks County Free Synagogue
in Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania

United Methodist Church

Reverend Jonathan Chadwick
November 4, 2008

Dear friends,

I would like to take a brief moment to address the issue of the teaching of the Transcendental Meditation Technique (TM) in the public schools.

Many years ago I learned TM while in high school and during that time I had opportunity to attend several weekend TM residence courses led by Dr. John Hagelin, who is currently the National Leader of the TM Movement in the U.S. Also, I was fortunate to spend my sophomore year of college in residence at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa. After graduating from Boston University and seminary, I then served for twelve years as full-time pastor in charge of various United Methodist churches throughout Iowa.

The relationship between meditation and religion is an interesting and complex question. During my years in parish ministry my exploration of this question was detailed and included dialogue on this topic with Bishop Rueben P. Job, who ordained me twice. Overall, I have come to the conclusion that the practice of TM really does not conflict with any religion; at least, whatever perceived “rubbing points” there might be in the opinion of some, are greatly outweighed by the benefits of TM, many of which have been documented by years of scientific research.

Please note that I do not make this claim lightly. For more than three decades I have asked tough questions on these matters to TM officials, and their responses were quite satisfactory. Also, in recent years, I have made it a point to communicate in some depth with a number of prominent critics of TM. As far as I am concerned, TM resoundingly passes the test.

Perhaps the best watchword on these considerations is “diversity.” My own alma mater, Boston University School of Theology, has produced graduates as diverse as Norman Vincent Peale and Martin Luther King, Jr. So it is in their spirit of prophetic positivity that I would encourage you to check out TM both for yourself and your public school. Personally I can't imagine continuing to grow without it.

Reverend Jonathan Chadwick
has served as Pastor of several United Methodist churches throughout Iowa

Unity Church 

Reverend Don Lansky
June 30, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

When I first learned the Transcendental Meditation technique in 1970 I was an avowed agnostic. Over my years of practicing the TM technique, I found myself growing into a greater awareness of something much larger than myself.

Particularly on the TM retreats I attended, this awareness continued to blossom into a deep appreciation and gratitude for the Creator — and a profound and abiding love of Jesus Christ. At no point have I ever found a conflict with TM and my religious beliefs and practices. In fact, the TM program has not only served to strengthen my faith in God, it has also deepened my prayer life as well.

When I first learned TM in 1970, there was only one scientific study conducted by the Harvard Medical School. Today, TM is the most widely researched technique of meditation in the world with over 600 scientific studies validating its benefits for improving health and overall well being.

On a more practical level, I cannot imagine doing ministry without my daily, twice-a-day TM practice. The deep rest and silence of the TM technique helps me to find balance, energy, and the spiritual connection to cope with the rigorous demands and stresses of ministry. In short, I am a better minister because of the TM program.

With my direct experience of the TM technique for over 38 years and the growing body of scientific research, I can whole-heartedly recommend the TM program. I especially would recommend the TM technique to my brothers and sisters in the clergy, whatever their denomination or faith tradition.

Reverend Don Lansky
is Co-Minister of the Unity Church in Charlottesville, Virginia

Mormonism

Mormon, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
High Priest Marc Stephens
March 19, 2009

To Mormons and all people of faith, I grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the age of fifteen, I temporarily left because I had questions that were not answered, and I was told to just have faith. I was unsatisfied. After I had been practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) for years and with personal advice from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, I returned to the Mormon Church at the age of thirty-two. With the regular practice of TM, I experienced spiritual growth that gave me a new appreciation of the Gospel and the scriptures. I remember reading the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 88: 6-13, and I exclaimed to my wife, “My gosh, do they know what they have?” The founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, said, “The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself.” TM provides the direct experience of our inner divine nature, light and truth, the field of pure intelligence. This state of pure intelligence or consciousness is what some contemporary brain research scientists have called the Fourth State of Consciousness. It is called a fourth state because it is distinct from the common waking, dreaming, and sleeping states of consciousness in terms of brain wave measurements and many other physiological measures. In the last 38 years, hundreds of scientific studies have documented the health benefits, increased creativity, intelligence, and harmonious relationships that result from the experience of this field of unbounded pure Being, the pure intelligence within each of us. President Hinckley said continually, “The essence of Divinity is within us,” (October, 1993 General Conference) and he has encouraged every member of our faith to “Rise to the divinity within [us]” (October, 2002 General Conference). An essential component of the Gospel is the principle of seeking further light and knowledge. Brigham Young explained that “It is our duty and calling, to gather up all the truths in the world... and bring it to Zion.” Further, he said, “All knowledge and wisdom and every good that the heart of man can desire is within the circuit and circle of the faith we have embraced.” It is important to emphasize that the practice of TM does not require any change in one’s religious beliefs or practices; it simply enables one to directly experience the eternal non-changing reality and fully live and appreciate your religion. As President Lee stated in 1973 after investigating TM, “I believe that if the members of the Church practiced TM, they would be able to live their religion.” The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints end with this statement: “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” Consider carefully this statement by President David O. Mckay who emphasized the meaning of true religion at the General Conference of the Priesthood Session in April of 1967: “It has been said that “consciousness of God is the highest achievement in human experience and is the supreme goal of human life. This is true religion. It is a mental, spiritual experience of the highest order.” TM is simply a tool to provide the direct experience of “the consciousness of God,” that pure field of intelligence, the divinity within, to perceive and comprehend greater light and truth, to grow in consciousness and understanding and realize your full potential, the fullness of life.

Sincerely,

Marc Stephens, Member, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints High Priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood Salt Lake City, Utah

Islam

March 25, 2009

To all interested in self-development,

I am a veiled Muslim that practices Transcendental Meditation (TM) and I cannot ever forget the first time I prayed after my first meditation. I learned the TM technique in December of 2006: I was speechless and cannot explain this state of complete serenity, contentment and gratitude for God. TM increased my level of acceptance and appreciation for my faith and strengthened my beliefs.

For example, reading from the Qur’an is becoming more enjoyable and comforting at the same time, as now I can better link its teachings with everything around me: my level of comprehension of its meanings are increasing on a daily basis. It is clear to me that the more I practice TM and the TM­Sidhi programs, (the TM-Sidhi program is a set of advanced techniques based upon TM), the more deeply I realize different aspects of my religion and my mission in life.

Throughout my life I’ve been asking my self lots of questions about creation and the purpose of life but now my humble insights were confirmed, as I’ve always had a strong belief that everything is happening for a reason. I have found that it is easier to have faith in how life unfolds through God’s wisdom if I am feeling more secure and at peace within my self. Even if I may not fully understand, on an intellectual level, what is happening, my growing inner peace allows me to feel more at ease with handling any situations that life puts in my path.

It is clear to me that my daily practice of TM and the advanced TM-Sidhi programs have opened my eyes and heart to greater knowledge and experience. Because of this expansion of heart and mind I’ve discovered that I spontaneously act in a more positive and uplifting way to others, with more love, forgiveness and compassion, which is exactly what my religion and beliefs are all about. I’m enjoying feeling more in harmony with God’s creation and desiring to help society in every way I can.

With meditation I feel unlimited within myself and after I practice it, I feel more flexible, more alert, and have a greater ability to concentrate on my work and can think more clearly and creatively. Also, when I perform my religious practices the whole experience becomes deeper and more spiritual.

Finally, I would say that even though TM and the TM-Sidhi programs are not a religion and do not require any change in one’s personal beliefs or cultural practices, they very well complement religion because they help to eliminate mental, emotional and physical stresses and tensions. From my own experience I can say that the dissolving of stresses and tensions purifies and strengthens the body, heart and mind and results in a greater ability to live one’s life in harmony with the highest goals of religious life.

Warm Regards,
 
Miral Shaaban
Cairo, Egypt