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Letters from Religious Leaders and persons of faith on the Transcendental Meditation Program 

A universal theme in these letters from religious leaders and persons is that the Transcendental Meditation program deepens their own spiritual life and enhances their comprehension and love of their own tradition. They note that it does not require any belief or change in life style to practice. They point out that the technique has been scientifically validated to reduce stress and improve mental clarityhealth, and interpersonal relations, which are beneficial to any cultural tradition and which serve to increase appreciation and tolerance of other people's traditions and worldviews.

These letters are used with permission of the writers.

Contents:

Andean Path 
Shaman Mallku Aribalo, November 4, 2008

Buddhism
B. Budhacharan, October 21, 2008

Catholicism 
Brother Jeffrey L. Calligan, April, 2009
Father Leonard Dubi, December 1, 2008
Father Thomas R. Miller, June 17, 2008
Father Cletus Stein, October 2, 2008
Sister Carol Wirtz, August 25, 2008

Islam
Nada Haider, March 2, 2009
Mohammad Haghverdi, December 24, 2008
Atmane Kouider, Ph.D., February 15, 2009
Miral Shaaban, March 25, 2009

Judaism 
Senior Rabbi Alan Green, March 13, 2009

Rabbi Michael Shevack, November 12, 2008

Rabbi Abe M. Shainberg, November 8, 2010

Mormon
High Priest Marc Stephens

United Methodist Church
Reverend Lori Ethridge, March, 2014
Reverend Jonathan Chadwick, November 4, 2008

Unity Church
Reverend Don Lansky, June 30, 2008  

Andean Path 
Shaman Mallku Aribalo, November 4, 2008

As a Shamanic Andean spiritual leader, I can say that Transcendental Meditation (TM) as a technique for inner development and growth has no contradictions to what the ancient masters from the Andes were teaching and practicing. Au contraire, we are finding that some of the spiritual wisdom regarding both theory and practice of the Andean traditions was lost. Now, through Transcendental Meditation, the Andean people can receive the great benefits of understanding and experiencing that they can have a life where their mind, heart, and daily actions can be in balance and harmony with all of nature; they can grow in peace, energy, creativity, love, and wisdom. I think it is also important to express that there have been hundreds of scientific research studies performed on the TM technique that have shown its effectiveness in enriching all, aspects of life. From my own experience, I can recognize the soft and clear ways in which the TM technique acts in the life of a person, and I highly recommend the TM technique to be introduced and taught in our communities with the main goal of having peace on Earth.

With gratitude to master Maharishi for illuminating this time with his blessings.

Mallku Aribalo
Author of the books: "The Awakening of the Puma," "Machu Picchu Forever," "Cusco Forever," and "Inka Power Places." President of the: Mondial Association of Andean Writers (AMEA)

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Buddhism
B. Budhacharan, October 21, 2008

I was born in Thailand where more than 95% of the 64 million citizens follow their faith and believe in Lord Buddha's teaching. Being a Buddhist, we were told to practice compassion and kindness to all beings in our daily life and, in return, one can enjoy a happy and fulfilled life.

In 1970, I learned a mental technique called Transcendental Meditation (TM) taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The practice was very easy, natural and brought rapid development of the spiritual values in heart and mind. It was neither concentration nor contemplation but a simple technique that uses the natural tendency of the mind to move towards inner peace. After some time, I found this technique was exactly described in Buddhism as Nirodha Smadhi (free from suffering).

After some years, I learned the advanced technique called the Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi program that corresponds in Buddhism to the principle of Brahma Vihar that is associated with culturing compassion and loving kindness. My experiences, and those of many others around the world, have confirmed that the practice of the Transcendental Meditation and the Transcendental Meditation-Sidhi programs are completely in line with mainstream Buddhist teachings.

People all over the world knew Maharishi as a great exponent of meditation responsible for reviving the pure, practical and universal value of Vedic wisdom for people of every religion and culture. His goal was to raise world consciousness to bring about what he called, "Heaven on Earth." His main focus was on teaching and inspiring people to practice Transcendental Meditation and its advanced techniques including Yogic Flying together in groups large enough to produce a influence of positivity for every nation on earth.

Now, there are over 50 scientific research studies which show that when TM peace-creating groups equal to the square root of 1% of a nation's population practice these techniques, violence and crime decrease and peace, right behavior, and prosperity increase in the nation.

Maharishi tirelessly organized programs to elevate human consciousness and his accomplishments in this area are legendary. He taught that each human being had the capacity to do anything-just by developing their full potential within.

Transcendental Meditation can be practiced by everyone. It requires no renunciation, effort or level of education. In just a few minutes each day, one begins to unfold deeper appreciation for the eternal laws of nature that promote bliss and unity in life. I must say that the clarity, purity, and ability to get to the heart of spiritual knowledge and experience the inner light of life di¬rectly is Maharishi's gift to everyone. And to achieve this deepest knowledge and experience of the divine unity of life is the aim of all religions.
 
Maharishi always wanted to see that every nation in our world family was self-sufficient, healthy, and fulfilled; free of conflict, suffering and fears. He wanted everyone to live in abundance and higher consciousness. His desire was for every human being on this planet to experience full potential of Unity Consciousness in which the capacity of compassion, wisdom and virtuous action for the good of all beings is developed to its highest level and is permanently established as the norm of daily living.

In addition, Maharishi strongly upheld the importance of the precious cultures and nourishing traditions of each country. His teaching has shown that because Transcendental Meditation is a universal technique, anyone from any land could use it as a means to realize the highest ideal of his own faith or culture: no one is ever required to change any of their own personal beliefs or cultural traditions.

I am very happy to share my experience and hope that all Buddhists, and members of all faiths, have the opportunity to learn Transcendental Meditation-they will enrich their own spiritual experience while spontaneously radiating peace and compassion to all beings.

Sincerely,
B. Budhacharan
Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Catholicism 
Brother Calligan, April, 2009

To those considering the practice of Transcendental Meditation,

In the late 1970's, I was directing a boarding school in southern Louisiana; Saint Paul's at the time was a boarding school owned and operated by our Roman Catholic Religious Order, The Brothers of the Christian Schools. I am a member of that order and at the time I was serving as Principal of St. Paul's. I became acquainted with Transcendental Meditation (TM) at that time. Through the efforts of Paul Marechal and David Cook I was initiated into the practice and interested several of our teachers in the practice; with time, a number of our students began TM also.

In those days, boarding schools often dealt with students who were having difficulties with their studies and with life in general. Home life often left much to be desired for their peaceful development and the pressures of school often challenged their balance, as they negotiated their ways through the turbulent years of adolescence.

In a short time, it became evident that the practice of TM was having a clearly good effect on the lives of all of us who were faithful to its daily use. A new calmness and a new focus were evident and we all attributed it to our new practice. Some of the adults began the courses available through the Transcendental Meditation Center in New Orleans and our understanding was broadened by the videotaped lectures of Maharishi and the follow-up of the Center Staff.

Since our boarding school was a Catholic School and since I am, myself, a religious Brother, there were many questions about how Transcendental Meditation fit with these facts. Was Transcendental Meditation a religion? Was the mantra assigned to each practitioner an invocation to a "false god"? Were we compromising our faith and that of our students? Did Transcendental Meditation fit in a Catholic School? These and many other questions came from parents, other staff members, and from the public when they heard of our practice.

Some asked the questions in a genuine effort to understand and were put at peace by our answers and our credibility. Others asked the questions in an aggressive manner which indicated that they had their minds already made up and that Transcendental Meditation was, in their opinion, an Indian religion which would compromise our faith. They had the mistaken view that mantras were evil invocations to "false gods" and would cause us to become estranged to God, as we understood God. Those of us who practiced the technique knew from our own experience that this was simply not true. In fact, the opposite was true because the TM practice, by dissolving stress and increasing mental clarity, helped us to more fully appreciate our own Catholic tradition.
 
As principal of the school and a Brother, I answered the questions, assuring people that Transcendental Meditation did indeed have its roots in ancient India, but that it was what it proclaimed itself to be: a natural and universally applicable technique which produced physical and mental well-being in those who practiced it. As such it was no more opposed to our religious beliefs and convictions than physical exercise or mental activities that help to sharpen the mind. It was, in fact, something to be desired. TM is not a religion and no one is ever asked to change their personal beliefs, practices, or lifestyle.

I am happy to say that over time my answers were accepted by those who were asking the questions with good hearts. In time, the good effects of the practice of TM could be seen and felt in the lives of those who were part of our school community and who daily did the practice morning and evening. The many benefits to mind and body that come from TM are not only validated through personal experience, but have also been documented over the last 38 years by over 600 research studies, many of which were published in top peer-reviewed, scientific journals.
Transcendental Meditation remains a very important part of my life. In my current work in Australia, at age 69, I continue its practice and reap the benefits promised. I cannot recommend it except with enthusiasm and gratitude.

Brother Jeffrey L. Calligan
Malvern, Australia

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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. I also became a Sidha by learning the advanced TM-Sidhi program, including Yogic Flying, 17 years ago. During this entire time span I have practiced these techniques 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, has been augmented by practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi programs.

The daily centering experience as a meditator and a Sidha 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 interiorlyeven as it has accelerated externally. In addition, using the various easy Yogic breathing exercises as well as the Yoga postures I learned from the TM Movement has increased my lung capacity and my physical strength. 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.

Sincerely,
Father Leonard Dubi
Saint Victor Parish, Calumet City, IL 

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Catholicism
Father Thomas R. Miller, June 17, 2008

To whom it may concern:

In my experience of thirty-nine years regular practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM), I have found it only strengthens and enhances the practice of my Christian religious faith. In fact, it is clear to me that growing more and more familiar with the simple state of inner awareness cultivated by TM opened my ear to the "still small voice" within, and paved the way for my vocation in Christian ministry twenty-two years ago.

In my experience as a priest, many TM meditators who left formal religious practice earlier in their lives, almost as a rule, returned to it after learning to meditate. Most of these credit their practice of TM for leading them back to their faith.

Scientific research has shown that the TM technique reduces stress, improves health, mental clarity, social responsibility, and moral maturity. These benefits are directly supportive to a life of spiritual development, devotion and service to God.

The technique of TM does not provide an alternative faith. The practice itself strengthens faith in God. So, my answer to those who wonder whether TM is a religion is that there is nothing to fear and everything to gain for Christians who wish to deepen and enrich their prayer life and faith.

Sincerely,
Father Thomas R. Miller
Rector St. Gabriel and All Angels Church Fairfield, Iowa

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Catholicism 
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.

Sincerely,
Cletus Stein
Retired Catholic Priest

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Catholicism 
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.

Sincerely,
Sister Carol Wirtz
Anthony, New Mexico

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Islam
Nada Haider, March 2, 2009

To people of faith,

It is known that religion plays an important role in the lives of many people as Islam plays a role in mine. Sometimes, I feel that people take religion as a refuge from the hard realities of life; and, at other times, some accept it out of fear because they are not sure about the whole picture of life. Personally, I passed through both of these phases.

It has been hard for me to deal with the religious pressure of having to accept things that I did not understand and it was also difficult for me to deal with being afraid to ask questions that could be perceived as being heretical. Personally, I could not surrender to a thing that I did not understand; yet, I felt emotionally drawn to my religion. It was Transcendental Meditation (TM) that helped me to reconcile these conflicting concerns battling within my mind and heart.

Regarding Transcendental Meditation, I wanted to learn it the minute I heard about it, as if intuitively I knew that it would help me to make peace between the need of my intellect to understand and my feeling that wanted to embrace my religion without any “ands,” “ifs” or “buts.”

In the introductory lecture about TM, it is defined as a simple, natural technique for releasing stress from the body and expanding the conscious mind. My experience has shown this to be true. Through practicing this effortless technique for just 20 minutes twice a day, I have found that self-sufficiency grows and so do creativity, mental alertness, health, compassion, inner peace, and energy.

I was and am still amazed from the great peace and insight that I experience when I transcend. This experience showed me that life is not rigid—it has many dimensions and levels to it; and, how much of life we can understand and appreciate depends upon how much of the full capacity of our mind and heart we are using in daily life.

The experience of transcending makes one aware of the many mental layers we have, from the most active to the silent, infinite layer deep within us. Based on this experience, I could understand why people comprehend the same religion differently; even the religious leaders sometimes have different ways of interpreting texts. I now understand that everyone interprets the holy text based on their own level of consciousness.

The great value of TM is that it deepens and expands one’s level of consciousness, so that one can begin to more fully grasp and live the deeper meanings and values of one’s own religion. This truth reminds me of the teaching from the holy Qur’an that offers great knowledge in the form of a question: “Are those who know and those who know not on the same level?” Obviously, the answer is no.
 
If one wants to grow in insight and appreciation of the holy text, one must raise one’s level of consciousness through the elimination of stress and through the development of the full capacity of both heart and mind. There are over 600 scientific studies that have already documented the many practical benefits that TM offers to all areas of human life. I think that it is important that the subjective experiences of individuals who practice TM have been objectively verified by the methods of modern science.

In conclusion, I would say that the Transcendental Meditation technique is like the cleaning the mirror and what you see afterwards has nothing to do with the actual process of cleaning. TM is not a religion and it does not in any way require individuals to change their personal beliefs or practices; yet, by promoting a clear mind and a clean, stress-free nervous system, it helps one to live the highest values of religious life.

Nada Haider,
Practicing Muslim,
Beruit, Lebanon

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Islam
Mohammad Haghverdi, December 24, 2008

To Whom it May Concern,

I am a Muslim who practices Transcendental Meditation (TM). In my experience of many years of regular practice of TM, I have found a deeper level of understanding of everything in life. TM opened my mind and heart; it expanded my awareness, helped me to be more forgiving and compassionate, sharpened my senses, and has made me much more alert to everything.

When I look back to those days of my life without TM, I could not believe myself. I was so ignorant and dull to everything, but, at the time, I did not even know it. When I consider the great contrast in my life between before and after learning TM, it is so clear to me how much my life has improved in so many ways.

I was also very pleased to learn that the benefits I was experiencing from TM have been documented by a great quantity of scientific research. This research has shown that the TM technique reduces stress, improves health, increases mental clarity and creativity and improves social responsibility and moral maturity.

I have found that TM's benefits are supportive to life as a whole and are also supportive to a religious life that is dedicated to spiritual development and to devotion and service to God. As a Muslim, I have found that TM makes me more effective and successful in my religious life on the "Saarat el mostaghim" on the straight path to God. I have discovered that TM can help one to achieve the highest level of service to God, which can only be accomplished through a complete surrender to the will of God.

However, TM does not replace my religion it is only an excellent support to it. TM does not provide an alternative faith; it is not a religion. But, it does serve to strengthen one's faith in one's own God and in one's own religion. So my answer to those who wonder whether TM is a religion is that there is nothing to fear and everything to gain for Moslems who wish to deepen and enrich their own prayer life and faith.

Sincerely,
Mohammad Haghverdi
Practicing Muslim,
Fairfield, Iowa

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Islam
Atmane Kouider, Ph.D., February 15, 2009

To whom it may concern,

I learned Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation (TM) in 1973 and became a teacher of this wonderful program in 1977. I have been practicing TM regularly since then and had the chance of teaching it to thousands of Muslims in North Africa and Asia.

I come from a Muslim family and four generations in our home have been practising the TM technique along with doing our Muslim rituals every day. I would like to say that not only does TM not conflict with our beliefs but, in fact, we found it to strengthen our faith.

Among all the people to whom I taught the TM Technique, I have never heard of anyone who gave up his Islamic practice after learning TM; but, I have heard of many individuals, born Muslim, who adopted Islamic practice after learning the TM program.

I have also heard of many, who were already steeped in their study and practice of Islam, state that it had given them greater depth and meaning to their religious study and practice, in addition to the many health and other benefits that every one derives from the TM program. Currently there are over 600 scientific studies, conducted over the last 38 years, which have documented the wide-ranging benefits of the TM technique.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the TM Program, writes in his book The Science of Being and the Art of Living about meditation: "Here in a simple practice is the fulfilment of every religion. It belongs to the spirit of every religion; it existed in the early days of every faith and has since been lost. The principle is still contained in the scriptures. It has only been lost in practice."

The practice of Transcendental Meditation is simple, natural and effortless and is also very easy to learn. It brings the active mind to a state of restful awareness, a state of simplicity where the body gains deep relaxation and yet one's consciousness is very alert and pure. It brings increased inner strength, peace and contentment, which helps one to fulfil the requirements and goals of both religious and worldly life.

TM also dissolves anxiety and stress and promotes greater energy, creativity and intelligence, which provides the basis of success in all aspects of life. In addition, many Muslims have found that TM raises love and respect for everything in God's creation. It develops in individuals all the highest qualities of the Muslim faith: positivity, compassion, tolerance, steadfastness, purity, surrender to the will of God, and usefulness to oneself and to all others.
As a Muslim I make it my duty to recommend the TM Program to my brothers and sisters Muslims everywhere for the betterment of their life, for the reduction of stress in collective consciousness, and the achievement of peace and prosperity in their nations and the whole world.

God states in His Holy Qur'an: "Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change that which is in their own self." Here, in TM, is a scientifically validated program for changing our inner condition to harmony and all good. Let us adopt it to improve that which is in our own self and deserve God's Mercy and Grace for ourselves and every living being.

Sincerely,

Atmane Kouider, Ph.D.,
Practicing Muslim,
Algiers, Algeria

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Islam
Miral Shaaban, 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 TM¬Sidhi programs, (the TM-Sidhiprogram 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 case 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 has 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-Sidhiprograms are not a religion and do not require any change in one's personal beliefs or cultural practices, they very well compliment 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

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Judaism
Senior Rabbi Alan Green, March 13, 2009

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 allowed me to grasp the truths of the tradition in which I was raised at a much deeper level than otherwise would have been possible. I know this to be true based on the increased mental, emotional and spiritual clarity, which I experienced coming directly from my daily practice of TM.

Because of the results I gained from the technique, I spontaneously grew in my understanding of Judaism, with its profound love of God, its deep appreciation for His universe, and its longing for the creation of a just society and a peaceful world. At the same time, I would emphasize that TM is truly universal. Anyone of any age, education, or cultural background can practice TM effortlessly and successfully, without any change in personal beliefs or lifestyle.

I have found that with the regular practice of TM, people not only become calmer, more energetic and creative than before, but they also grow in love, compassion, ethical sensitivity, and appreciation for their respective religious traditions. All too often, 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 religion) 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."

Very sincerely yours,

Alan Green
Senior Rabbi, Congregation Shaarey Zedek, Winnipeg, MB Canada

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Judaism 
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.

Rabbi Michael Shevack
The Bucks County Free Synagogue Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania

Judaism
Rabbi Abe M. Shainberg

Rabbi Shainberg letter

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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 MaheshYogi, 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

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 United Methodist Church
The Reverend Lori Ethridge, March, 2014

Dear Friends,

As a United Methodist minister, I have served as both a pastor and as a hospital chaplain. I am very familiar with the practices of prayer and of contemplative meditation on the scriptures. Perhaps because I have had powerful and profound experiences with these spiritual practices, I was somewhat skeptical concerning what additional gifts that Transcendental Meditation (TM) might offer me. However, since learning to meditate three years ago I have noticed some intriguing phenomena.

In general l feel more calm and serene in any circumstance, whether I am in a committee meeting, at the funeral home, or visiting shut-ins. In particular I sense that I possess a greater degree of discernment both in the pulpit and in the hospital. For example, there is a part of the worship service where I offer the pastor's prayer for specific individuals who are in acute need, for the church, for the community, for the state, for the nation and for the world. Typically I prepare this prayer ahead of time leaving some flexibility in my wording should something arise over the course of the next several days which needs mention.

Since learning to meditate I have realized that in both preparing and in delivering the prayer within the context of the worship service, I have an enhanced level of intuition allowing me to connect with the needs of my congregation. With this increased awareness I am better able to articulate the prayer in a sensitive way and with a sacred demeanor. I am often told that my prayers are lovely, beautiful, meaningful, powerful, and spot on.

This increased level of awareness is perhaps more beneficial in the hospital setting where I am ministering to strangers rather than to members of my own congregation. I must rely on observation and intuition in order to quickly assess the spiritual needs of the patient, and sometimes of the physicians, the nurses, and the distraught family members. I sense that through the practice of TM I am better able to be a non-anxious presence often in very upsetting situations. For example, in the emergency room where protocol demands that the chaplain on call be summoned to a trauma, I may have to comfort agitated family members in the waiting room. Simply my introducing myself as the chaplain on-call can cause alarm, as the loved one automatically assumes the worst case scenario concerning the patient. My experience with Transcendental Meditation has provided me with skills to remain assured and confident within myself, and to impart a similar composure to others.

In short, meditating using the TM technique has allowed me to sharpen and deepen my practice of the arts of ministry, and to offer the best quality of care both in routine and in stressful situations. I am grateful for the experience and look forward to many more opportunities to exercise these enhanced gifts in order to bring peace and a sense of calm to each and every circumstance.

Sincerely,

The Reverend Lori Ethridge
Calhoun First United Methodist Church

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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.

Yours sincerely,
Reverend Jonathan Chadwick
Pastor of various United Methodist churches throughout Iowa

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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.

Sincerely,
Reverend Don Lansky
Co-Minister, Unity Church Charlottesville, Virginia

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