From John Knapp's website--an article on trance addiction.
(Pause for station identification)
Those who dislike the implications of the article may try to dismiss it by saying, 'Oh, John Knapp just wrote this to recruit for his
practice. This isnt any different from what BK does.
Well, ha ha. There is a difference. Unlike BK, Mr. Knapp is a licensed mental health professional.
For, unlike BK, Mr Knapp took the courses, did the supervised hours, and took the gruelling written and oral tests needed to get a license to practice as an LCSW in the state of California, and he either has to pay hefty malpractice premiums, or works at a clinic that pays these. And if someone feels harmed by him, they can call and complain to the Board of Behavioral Sciences. John has accepted responsibility for his life and work in a way that BK and others, who are not licensed, have not.
--you dont have to even call Mr Knapp up or get involved with him in order to benefit from this article
He mentions a book that you can go out and read that describes in technical detail, the biochemistry of trance.
(Kathleen Taylor writes in Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control, Oxford University Press, 2004 that trance stimulates serotonin, dopamine, and endorphin levels, creating receptive state to suggestions.
These, serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, boys and girls, are the neurotransmitters that make us feel good, even feel blissful. So much for 'but it was my experience!!!'
Endorphins are what are termed 'Endogenous (internally produced) opiates. Morphine and heroin get us high because they latch onto the same receptors as our endogenous opiates.
And, Knapp is careful to state when he is using anecdotal evidence, as in
I don't have hard figures, but many of the people I know who decided to leave their cultic meditation groups, but chose to continue meditating, eventually ended up going back to their old group.
Knapp doesnt mention it, but another variation is that people may keep a cult personality intact after leaving group A, continue to meditate...and later get involved in another group. They may leave a group led by a woman in Hindu garb and feel that they're safe if they get involved in another group led by a woman who dresses in American casual professional garb..yet end up trapped again.
Mr Knapp discusses the implications for those who emerged from Transcendental Meditation.
But though written by a former TM governor, Knapps anecdotal speculations may well apply to those who served time in Siddha Yoga (Muktananda/Gurumayi) and persons who find themselves dependent on experiencing LGAT highs. (and Muktananda also incorporated Est tech into his 'intensives' for Muk was a friend of Werner Erhards)
....trance is a sly seductress. Meditation is one of nature's miracles; it feels wonderful for most who practice it.
But there's no doubt that trance states are states of increased suggestibility, states in which critical thought cannot be sustained. It seems likely that simply continuing the experience of trance makes one susceptible to maintaining cultic beliefs and world views despite the decision to leave the group.
My hypothesis is that continuing to meditate after “leaving” TM and similar groups keeps the cult personality lively, ready to pounce and reassert control of your life.
A third consideration: I have no research to contribute, but based on the anecdotes of many former meditators, I wonder if trance abuse induces physical addiction, not just emotional dependence.
Ever miss a meditation after practicing faithfully for a long time? Many people report a feeling of anxiety that increases the longer they wait after their accustomed meditation time. And many people who don’t meditate for days after regular practice for years report some or all of these symptoms: mild confusion, fatigue, concentration problems, spaciness, irritability, an overwhelming need for sleep -- or difficulty falling asleep. Some report physical symptoms such as a mild feverishness, flu-like feelings, muscular aches and pains, a hyper-aroused state in which physical touch is irritating, and other vague physical sensations.
Readers who have experienced long meditation courses lasting for weeks or months may have had similar experiences as they “came down” in meditation rounds (meditated less in preparation for going home from the course).
If any former drug addicts or alcoholics have read this far, they may recognize these symptoms. They’re the signs of addictive withdrawal.
Now, TMers are indoctrinated with a different explanation. Meditators who have decided to quit meditation and begin to experience these symptoms frequently jump to the conclusion that they are now “unstressing.” They may see these mild problems as proof that meditation “works” and they are now suffering because they are re-entering a state of ignorance. Very likely, they will re-begin the practice with renewed conviction.
Advice offered for those wishing to free themselves:
I recommend that you do consider ceasing to meditate if you decide to leave your meditation group. I believe the danger of being sucked back into a hurtful organization is too great to risk continuing meditation. I don’t suggest that you never meditate again. (This would be decidedly hypocritical of me. I meditate, pray, and do yoga regularly, although I haven’t done TM for many years.) But I recommend that you set a significant time goal for yourself during which you will break your meditation habit. I recommend 6 months, although shorter or longer periods may prove optimum once this is researched. After you’ve experienced life without meditation — and what may be an addiction, you are in a better position to make a rational decision about whether you will re-begin meditating or not.
Second, keep yourself open to the possibility that the mild symptoms of discomfort that you may experience do not prove that meditation works. Consider, in fact, that they are proof that meditation may create an unhealthy physical dependence. Just this simple change in viewpoint may serve to get you through your withdrawal period.
Thirdly, find other activities that meet the physical and emotional needs that meditation met. As an example, vigorous physical activity also raises endorphin levels. Exit counselor Pat Ryan and others have reported that the increased endorphin levels from aerobics or weight training can ease the feelings of physical withdrawal.
Finally, the spiritual hole that leaving your meditation group and ceasing meditation causes must be filled again. But that’s the subject for another article: "How to Kick the Meditation Habit Step-by-Step
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/27/2008 08:46PM by corboy.