Seven Popular Myths about Meditation

The origin of species, Hendrik van Leeuwen, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The origin of species, Hendrik van Leeuwen, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There’s no scientific consensus that meditation can cure mind, body or soul. So why do so many drink Buddha-flavored kool-aid?

Before you swallow the kool-aid, consider the myths surrounding mindfulness and meditation.

“It is hard to have a balanced view when the media is full of articles attesting to the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. We need to be aware that the reports of benefits are often inflated… whereas studies that do not discover significant benefits rarely pick up media interest, and negative effects are seldom talked about”, warns Wikholm.1

In The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You?, Catherine Wikholm co-author, with Dr Miguel Farias, bust seven common myths of meditation.

The University of Surrey and Oxford researchers in clinical psychology found studies that revealed meditation actually raises stress hormones. A US study found that 63% of people on meditation retreats had one adverse side effect, from confusion to panic and depression.2 One in 14 had experienced ‘profoundly adverse effects’.

kool-aid, amanda-freenman, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
kool-aid, amanda-freenman, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There is growing evidence that for some people meditation may cause mania, hallucinations, depression and psychosis.

“…Meditation was primarily designed not to make us happier, but to destroy our sense of individual self–who we feel and think we are most of the time–is often overlooked in the science and media stories about it, which focus almost exclusively on the benefits practitioners can expect,” writes Wikholm.

Article originally appeared in The Guardian

Here are seven popular myths about meditation that are not supported by scientific evidence.

Myth 1: Meditation does not have adverse or negative effects. Meditation only changes us for the better

Fact: Many who have researched the benefits of meditation also have personal or professional interest in promoting the mindfulness movement. The emerging evidence is that meditation can be associated with stress, negative effects and mental health problems.

When something goes wrong or if meditation doesn’t work, the problem say meditation advocates, is not with meditation. There’s something wrong with the patient or the practitioner. “It’s not the meditation. She didn’t practice right or must have already been predisposed to psychosis”. This is called blaming the victim.

Myth 2: Meditation can benefit everyone

Fact: No surprise that meditation may have benefits that vary from person to person. “After all, the practice wasn’t intended to make us happier or less stressed”, says Wikholm, “but to assist us in diving deep within and challenging who we believe we are”. Everyone will react differently during the process of dismantling of the individual “self”. Whatever your belief of self is, your mistake is to try use meditation to define it.3

Myth 3: If everyone meditated the world would be a much better place

Fact: “There is no scientific evidence that meditation is more effective at making us, for example, more compassionate than other spiritual or psychological practices”, writes Wikholm. When we expect to benefit from something, we will most likely find or report benefits.

Myth 4: If you’re seeking personal change and growth, meditating is as efficient–or more–than standard therapy

Fact: There’s no evidence that the benefits of meditation are the same or better as of being in conventional psychological therapy. Most studies compare mindfulness to “treatment as usual” (such as seeing your General Medical Practitioner), rather than one-to-one therapy.

Myth 5: Meditation produces a unique state of consciousness that we can measure scientifically

Fact: The overall evidence is that these meditative states are not physiologically unique. The consciousness or internal sensations from practice can be experienced from many other activities: such as during sleep, relaxation, or engaging in sex or our favorite hobby or sport.

Myth 6: We can practice meditation as a purely scientific technique with no religious or spiritual leanings

Fact: “Research shows that meditation leads us to become more spiritual, and that this increase in spirituality is partly responsible for the practice’s positive effects”, writes Wikholm. Similar to what was noted above about the mistake of trying to define self, trying to define what spirituality is probably a mistake as well. Meditators often have a conscious or unconscious leaning towards illuminating the “self” or becoming spiritual, whatever that means.

Myth 7: Science has undeniably shown how meditation can change us and why

Fact: Some studies show that meditating can have a greater impact than physical relaxation, although other research using a placebo meditation contradicts this finding. Advocates of meditation can be overenthusiastic about scientific studies and overlook the actual findings. When looking beyond the headlines and hype we find that science knows little about meditation, if and why it may or may not work with some people. Unlike established scientific facts, like gravity or evolution, there’s currently no consensus, no testable scientific theory for how meditation changes us and why.

Conclusion

Some people may get benefits from meditating. But not everyone. And, occasionally meditation may cause depression, paranoia, and psychosis. Meditation was not designed to make people happy, but was designed by renunciants who wanted to destroy the sense of individual self. When the benefits of meditation are not forthcoming or when things go wrong it’s not always caused by the practitioner. We need better scientific studies and a testable theory for how and why meditation works. We need open public discussion about the adverse (side) effects of meditation practices, not just the benefits.

Is it any surprise that some people might go mad from meditation–as it was not designed originally for human happiness but for destruction of the individual self?

Are you surprised by the above myths or facts? Submit your comments below.

Further reading

Notes

1 Quote from Mindfulness apparently isn’t as good for you as science originally thought, The Debrief

2 See my post “Unusual experiences” of mindfulness for more data on adverse events occurring during meditation retreats

3 See Why “Being Authentic” is Holding You Back, Fast Company for further discussion about practical problems of defining “self”

26 comments

  1. Red

    Regarding the popular idea that if meditation made you psychotic, you must have been predisposed to psychosis to begin with–how does that make it okay? Don’t they realize that just makes this situation analogous to giving a diabetic chocolate cake? This is some of the most nonsensical victim-blaming I’ve come across. Think about it.

    Also, did you realize that in some journals (I forget which, but might be able to find them again) meditation is being actively touted as a treatment for psychosis? Oy vey.

  2. SkepticMeditations

    @Lawson: While the Christian Post article mentions provocative points about TM meditation or non-Christian contemplative practices the author is clearly a Christian zealot and bigot. He says, “The only safe way to have a spiritual awakening is with Jesus by your side, as you trust Him to forgive your sins. You will then begin to follow Him as your Lord and Savior”.

    The Christian Post author fails to mention how much his “superior” Christian beliefs– notions of “sin”, hell, and evils of flesh (like natural human urges for sex)–has contributed greatly to psychoses, paranoia, and closeted pedophile priests. Meditation practices in the Hindu traditions are hardly a match for the Christian “sins” against humanity and psychological illness.

  3. SkepticMeditations

    Dr. Miguel Farias: We appreciate your clarifications and research into this important and neglected topic. I look forward to reading your book.

    Can you clarify if your research indicates if any specific meditation techniques (TM, Vipassana, MSBSR, or whatever methods) have more or less risks or benefits than others? This was a discussion that has come up on this blog about the efficacy (and adverse effects) of one specific technique versus another?

    Thanks for sharing your comments and your website link. I’ll post a link to your site on my blogroll.

  4. Dr Miguel Farias

    I’ve enjoyed this thread (as the great website, Scott) and would just like to clarify a couple of things about our book, The Buddha Pill:
    First, I did mean that as far as we are aware no other researchers have looked at the last 45 years of the science of meditation in the way we have; there have been a few meta-analyses but these have only focused on some data without attempting to make sense of the developments and common trends/assumptions in the science of meditation. I wish someone had written a history of the science of meditation: it would have saved us a lot of time!
    Second, we do acknowledge W. Britton’s important ongoing work on the potential adverse effects of meditation. There is research suggesting that adverse effects can occur with any meditation technique (including mindfulness and TM).
    Third, there is a whole chapter (‘The year of planetary change’) dedicated to TM. We not only read hundreds of the studies but interviewed people who were in the TM movement or researched its effects (including Jonathan Smith who created the most ingenuous placebo for meditation). I believe it’s a fair and nuanced examination of the science of TM, though naturally limited by space. I hope someone will write a comprehensive history of TM; it’s a crucial chapter in how we have come to understand meditation/mindfulness in the West.

    Miguel Farias
    http://miguelfarias.co.uk/

  5. SkepticMeditations

    @saijanai: Agree.

    Regarding the Lancet article you shared: “The good news is that science is beginning to take some of its worst failings very seriously. The bad news is that nobody is ready to take the first step to clean up the system”.

    Also, the bad news is that most lay persons are unaware of that many “scientific” studies are actually not good science.

  6. SkepticMeditations

    Thanks for elaborating, Saijanai. I noticed the TM pilot study you cited made barely a ripple in the media. I saw one mention (there might have been more mentions though that I didn’t see). But mindfulness studies and the “benefits” are hyped regularly in the media headlines, I regularly find several daily related to Buddhist or mindfulness practices.

    Interesting observations. thanks again

  7. saijanai

    I may be wrong in my interpretation of what Farias means. We’ll have to see the results of his research, and how it stands up to scrutiny. I don’t read Faria’s statement to mean nobody has researched for 45 years, but that no one has looked at the data in the way he has for the last 45 years. Obviously, there are many nuances to meditation practices, people’s results.

    I took him to mean that no-one has looked at the 45 years of meditation research, looking for negative stuff. Willoughby certainly has, and she’s doing it as a serious researcher, not as a book author looking for sales.

  8. saijanai

    Mr and Mrs Joe Public are not aware of the potential negative side effects of meditation. The media hype is all about the benefits, which there is no scientific consensus.

    Well, the American Heart Association gives TM a passing grade in their review of the research as a secondary treatment for hypertension, so that is a scientific concensus of a sort. A meta-analysis on TM and hypertension that was done by a different group came out earlier this year and also found that TM has some value in the treatment of hypertension. That supports the AHA’s findings.

    Dr Farias may be seeking media attention. He may have incomplete research. Who isn’t or doesn’t? You admitted that in past comments, even regarding Maharishi and TM movement. I suggest you give your opponents the same leeway you’d allow if it was your guru or movement you were defending.

    Farias doesn’t have ANY research of his own. He cites all sorts of reports, surveys, etc., but didn’t do any meta-analysis, nor attempt to evaluate the quality of research he was quoting. It’s not science, period. It might be justification for DOING science, but its not science.

    If there’s nothing to Faria’s claims or research findings then we have nothing to worry about. If he has found something of substance that will be revealed about the Buddha Pill maybe we ought to worry and discuss risks and benefits as it relates to meditation for patient treatments.

    Again, I never claimed that there are not issues with specific people or groups of people doing TM or mindfulness or whatever. I just pointed out that his book isn’t science, and isn’t worded as science, and he doesn’t even acknowledge that others ARE doing science on this issue (e.g. Willoughby).

    It’s just sensationalism.

  9. saijanai

    @SkepticMeditations

    You said:

    Regarding the two journal articles you linked to: Yes, I agree we need more longitudinal studies to determine the long-term effects of meditation and mindfulness practices. Your second link/study, on TM meditation benefits for caregivers of dementia patients, apparently there were no benefits found and the authors say more studies are needed. Science is a work in progress and we shouldn’t be surprised if it takes many years, if ever, to get more reliable data about the beneficial and adverse effects of meditation.

    The actual study found that there was a significant increase in speed scores, but none of the rest showed significant improvement.

    As there were less than 10 persons in the experimental or control groups, this study would have been unlikely to find much of anything due to statistical power issues, which is something that plagues many pilot studies: not enough subjects to draw conclusions from.

    Even so, the researchers noted:

    Dementia caregivers exposed to TM demonstrated varying degrees of improvement in several measures of cognitive function, mood, quality of life and stress following exposure to TM. However, as the pilot study was underpowered, no firm conclusions can be made about the effectiveness of TM in this caregiver population. Findings from full-scale trials are now warranted.

    That’s the most you can ever hope from a pilot study, although the TM organization (and myself, I agree) like to make much of small studies when they show large effects. Studies that are known to be too small, according to original design and that find no effect, or at best, small effect, don’t mean much due to how statistics work.

    Based on their statistical analysis, they needed 18 people in each arm of the study, they had 8 or 9, which means the study was 1/2 the size it needed to be to find the predicted effect. That there were “trends” at all was enough to call for more research:

    The estimated size of the study population was based on an expected mean difference in quality of life (i.e. AQoL-8D utility index) of 0.1 utility points between the TM and wait-list control groups. Assuming a standard deviation of 12.5 % and 10 % attrition, a sample size of 18 patients was required in each arm. A total of 36 participants would provide 80 % power for a two-way repeated measures analysis of variance (RM-ANOVA) to detect a statistically significant difference in quality of life with a two-tailed alpha level set at 0.05.

    And, while TM reporting doesn’t work this way, the fact is that medical research is only considered useful if a nice meta-analysis of strong studies is done. Thus far, there’s only relatively few studies on TM (or any other mediation practice) that are really of high quality. I was more interested in the “adverse effects” aspect of this particular study, anyway.

  10. SkepticMeditations

    @saijanai: Mr and Mrs Joe Public are not aware of the potential negative side effects of meditation. The media hype is all about the benefits, which there is no scientific consensus.

    Dr Farias may be seeking media attention. He may have incomplete research. Who isn’t or doesn’t? You admitted that in past comments, even regarding Maharishi and TM movement. I suggest you give your opponents the same leeway you’d allow if it was your guru or movement you were defending.

    If there’s nothing to Faria’s claims or research findings then we have nothing to worry about. If he has found something of substance that will be revealed about the Buddha Pill maybe we ought to worry and discuss risks and benefits as it relates to meditation for patient treatments.

  11. SkepticMeditations

    @saijanai: I may be wrong in my interpretation of what Farias means. We’ll have to see the results of his research, and how it stands up to scrutiny. I don’t read Faria’s statement to mean nobody has researched for 45 years, but that no one has looked at the data in the way he has for the last 45 years. Obviously, there are many nuances to meditation practices, people’s results.

    I don’t have anything to defend as far as meditation practice beliefs. I see benefits sometimes. I see negative side effects sometimes. Critics of articles and books that point out the adverse effects often are defensive–the meditation is always beneficial worldview is threatened.

  12. SkepticMeditations

    @saijanai: Thanks for clarifying your points.

    Regarding the two journal articles you linked to: Yes, I agree we need more longitudinal studies to determine the long-term effects of meditation and mindfulness practices. Your second link/study, on TM meditation benefits for caregivers of dementia patients, apparently there were no benefits found and the authors say more studies are needed. Science is a work in progress and we shouldn’t be surprised if it takes many years, if ever, to get more reliable data about the beneficial and adverse effects of meditation.

    On Facebook for SkepticMeditations, yesterday I posted this article I think you’d be interested in:

    Science is often flawed. It’s time we embraced that.

  13. saijanai

    You say:

    Conclusion

    Some people may get benefits from meditating. But not everyone. And, occasionally meditation may cause depression, paranoia, and psychosis. Meditation was not designed to make people happy, but was designed by renunciants who wanted to destroy the sense of individual self. When the benefits of meditation are not forthcoming or when things go wrong it’s not always caused by the practitioner. We need better scientific studies and a testable theory for how and why meditation works. We need open public discussion about the adverse (side) effects of meditation practices, not just the benefits.

    Is it any surprise that some people might go mad from meditation–as it was not designed originally for human happiness but for destruction of the individual self?

    Are you surprised by the above myths or facts? Submit your comments below.

    1) Some people may get benefits from meditating. But not everyone.

    With TM, something that maximizes chances for deeper-than-normal rest, I would say you’re being simplistic:
    It may be possible for some that any relaxation-related side-effects swamp the benefits of relaxation due to TM, but for almost everyone, there are ways of controlling such side-effects. A few people may need to be under strict medical care, which isn’t practical in this day and age, of course.

    2) And, occasionally meditation may cause depression, paranoia, and psychosis.

    There’s no real evidence of extreme examples of that resulting from ANY of the more common forms of meditation, whether TM or mindfulness or simple concentration. Hardcore Kundalini practices, I’m not so sure about. In virtually every case with TM, if you look even a little closely, there is a pre-existing condition which the meditation practice has triggered in some way (see my reference to RIA). The most common source of hardcore problems with TM during the 60’s and early 70’s was apparently due to extreme drug use by some people, and flashbacks of all sorts were triggered during extended meditation retreats of the 10-18 hour/day kind (which is no longer allowed with TM, by the way). Some of those people proved to be true basket cases. However, even people with “normal” (non-recreational-drug-abuse-related) kinds of psychosis that required them to be under permanent medical supervision in medical facilities, didn’t have THAT extreme a reaction to the simple, enhanced rest due to TM, at least not going by the case reports from Benard Gluek, who was researching the effects of TM on incarcerated mental patients.

    3) Meditation was not designed to make people happy, but was designed by renunciants who wanted to destroy the sense of individual self.

    See my earlier discussion above. Also, see my discussion about this myth about what TM does with respect to Unity Consciousness: http://www.reddit.com/r/skeptic/comments/36zbmf/seven_common_myths_about_meditation_the_guardian/crjp92w

    4) When the benefits of meditation are not forthcoming or when things go wrong it’s not always caused by the practitioner.

    Whatever benefits or side-effects of TM that arise are due to the nature of the nervous system of the practitioner and how it responds to the cycle of increasing rest followed by increased activity due to normalization activities that kick in due to that rest. To suggest that this isn’t “caused by the practitioner” is foolish. There’s nothing else going on then the decrease and increase of activity in the nervous system. And that IS “the practitioner.”

    5) We need better scientific studies and a testable theory for how and why meditation works.

    That first part I agree with, but obviously, you still don’t get it: different meditation practices “work” via different mechanisms. There’s no “why ‘meditation’ works” because there’s no such single thing as “meditation.”

    6) We need open public discussion about the adverse (side) effects of meditation practices, not just the benefits.

    That goes back to better scientific studies, and an understanding of just what each form of meditation does and how different people respond to it. As I said, for some people, TM may be counter-indicated without close supervision. It is conceivable that, for a few, TM evokes too volatile a response to be useful: the negative short-term effects outweigh any potential long-term benefit, if for no other reason than the person needs to survive long enough for such benefits to accrue. But only peer-reviewed, double-blind, well-designed studies can determine this. Crappy pop-sci books such as The Buddha Pill, while they may create lots of book sales for hte authors, don’t contribute much to the discussion. Researchers into meditation are already well aware of any issues that the book raises (the authors haven’t published any research suggesting such ill effects, BTW, but only summarized results from a variety of studies and surveys on a variety of techniques in a variety of settings and called it “adverse effects of meditation”).

  14. saijanai

    “Our book, The Buddha Pill, covers both the benefits and potential downsides of meditation. It examines 45 years of the science of meditation, which had never been done before. As a long-term meditator, I have personally experienced a lot more of the positive than of the dark side of meditation. But we need to be aware that there are huge individual variations in how different people react to techniques that were designed to challenge one’s perception of the self. Meditation is a powerful technique and the assumption that only good can come out of it is simply naive and untrue”.
    –Dr Miguel Farias, responding to critical comments to his article Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?, see comments section

    The claim that no-one has looked at the past 45 years of research on meditation is silly. Even if you assume he means with respect to negative side effects, that too is silly. You are familiar with the work of Britton Willoughby and I find it hard to believe that the authors had never heard of her (especially since Farias’ co-author tweets about Willoughby’s work).

    Farias also paints a very broad brush with the statement “techniques that were designed to challenge one’s perception of the self.”

    Travis papers on the permanent integration of Pure Consciousness with waking and sleeping (the TM definition of the first stage of enlightenment) makes it clear that Pure Self emerges out of a lower-stress nervous system and is identified as the “‘real’ self” merely because it is more permanent than ephemeral aspects of a person such as personality or beliefs.

    This doesn’t “challenge one’s perception of self” in any way, nor can you draw such a phrase out of anything said by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi or any of his students.

    Willoughby hasn’t published any books on the topic, but I would expect anything she does publish to be far more nuanced and less sensationalistic than this trash.

  15. saijanai

    I said:

    The nature of mindfulness and relaxation practices change over time.

    I meant “The nature of mindfulness and concentration practices change over time.”

  16. saijanai

    Do you really believe that no harm or no adverse effects have been documented from TM practice or by TM practitioners?
    An experience in Transcendental Meditation

    This is in response to my point:

    2) Since we TMers assert that TM is different, it is silly to claim that not all meditations have the same set of benefits, but that they have the same set of side-effects.

    I was trying to make it obvious that I wasn’t claiming that TM has no side-effects, but that they weren’t the same set as might be found from other practices.

    More accurately, I would say that whatever overlap of side-effects might manifest from TM, most of the side-effects manifest due to different treatment effects. For example, TM starts out as a relaxation practice and remains as one, no matter how long you practice it. The nature of mindfulness and relaxation practices change over time. So much so that researchers have been proposing that the “meditation is rest” meme [that arose from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s theories from the late 60’s] doesn’t really apply to such practices and that new explanations must be found for why mindfulness/concentration have their effect.

    Interestingly enough, the only long-term study of mindfulness that examines blood pressure has this to say:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24798861

    . After 1 year, the intervention group showed a reduction of ACR from 44 [16/80] to 39 [20/71] mg/g, while controls increased from 47 [16/120] to 59 [19/128] mg/g (p = 0.05). Parallel to the reduction of stress levels after 1 year, the intervention-group additionally showed reduced catecholamine levels (p < 0.05), improved 24 h-mean arterial (p < 0.05) and maximum systolic blood pressure (p < 0.01), as well as a reduction in IMT (p < 0.01). However, these effects were lost after 2 and 3 years of follow-up.

    And so, any positive effects OR negative effects from mindfulness that are due to relaxation, likely don’t persist in the long-run.

    On the other hand, this recent study reported that 63% of TMers reported some negative effect that may or may not have been due to meditation:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4429365/

    but goes on to suggest that most such ill-effects may be due simply to sitting still for too long. Mindfulness and concentrative practices would also be subject to such issues, but I should note that TM doesn’t require you to “never move,” though many people, even if they have gone through the TM course, continue to believe such things and need to be reminded over and over again that it is OK to scratch or shift position to something more comfortable.

    The worst side-effects from TM are likely of the type characterized by “Relaxation Induced Anxiety,” where anxiety gets worse, the more relaxed you get. TMers are instructed in ways to handle this kind of thing, but someone who has an acute form of RIA so that just closing their eyes causes severe anxiety, might find TM counter-indicated.

    Even there, the issue is very dependent on the individual and their circumstances. RIA is extremely common in people with PTSD, and yet people with PTSD who learn TM often show drastic reductions of symptoms within a few days or weeks of practice. My own intuition is that stress-related RIA will be dealt with very well by TM, but if the RIA is due to something other than stress, TM might not be advisable, at least not without strict supervision by a medical professional.

    I suspect that many other issues can have RIA-like variations, such as a “Relaxation Induced Depression” and again, if such things are due to something other than stress, then TM might not be very good at addressing them, while mindfulness or some other therapy might be more suitable.

  17. Pingback: Meditation | Hillside
  18. SkepticMeditations

    @saijanai: Thanks for your bullet points of observations.

    Transcendental Meditation (TM) — I’m not an expert in TM. Seems though that you have concerns that the “theory” of TM does not fit the Wikholm and Farias’s seven myths about meditation.

    Do you really believe that no harm or no adverse effects have been documented from TM practice or by TM practitioners?
    An experience in Transcendental Meditation
    20K+ Google search results for “adverse effects of transcendental meditation”

    Meditation has many benefits, probably the benefits vary person to person, as well as possibly by each technique or method. The preponderance of media and studies is to hype the benefits, that sells, that’s what people want to hear (as if meditation benefits confirms their religion is true). However, what’s missing and gets lost in the media hype is the accumulating evidence that documents adverse effects from meditation.

    “Our book, The Buddha Pill, covers both the benefits and potential downsides of meditation. It examines 45 years of the science of meditation, which had never been done before. As a long-term meditator, I have personally experienced a lot more of the positive than of the dark side of meditation. But we need to be aware that there are huge individual variations in how different people react to techniques that were designed to challenge one’s perception of the self. Meditation is a powerful technique and the assumption that only good can come out of it is simply naive and untrue”.
    –Dr Miguel Farias, responding to critical comments to his article Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?, see comments section

  19. saijanai

    A few observations (in no particular order)

    1) neither of the authors (I checked) has done any research on TM, so when they extrapolate their points to TM, it is because they assume that TM works the same way as the practices that they HAVE studied.

    2) Since we TMers assert that TM is different, it is silly to claim that not all meditations have the same set of benefits, but that they have the same set of side-effects.

    3) the authors explicitly mention Keith Wallace’s original 1970 study on TM and his claim that TM induced a special state. Keith has since published a book where he acknowledges that his claim was baseless: TM induces a wide variety of states. However, he still claims that the PC state is unusual.

    4) The authors assert that it is a myth that “if everyone did meditation the world would be a better place” without considering (side-effects or no) the well-documented effects that occur in schools when all students (or at least the vast majority) do TM:

    http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/san-francisco-schools-transformed-power-meditation-n276301

    5) The authors assume that the “purpose” of meditation concerns ‘the process of dismantling of the individual “self”’ but that is exactly the opposite of what TM is supposed to do, so any point they are trying to make obviously cannot apply to TM (assuming the theory is correct).

    6) the claim that there’s no scientific consensus about meditation is certainly true, but as I pointed out, the assumption that all meditation practices do the same thing is implicit in this observation: once you understand that different meditation practices do different things, its a tautology to assert that there’s no consensus about “meditation” as there is no such thing as “meditation” -there’s a variety of practices that get lumped together with a single label.

    7) Finally, the authors have published various articles promoting their new book. One such article was discussed in the skeptic forum on reddit.com, and the consensus was that the authors really don’t care about discussing the actual science, but are only interested in promoting their book.

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