In 1979, a class on transcendental meditation was banned from New Jersey public schools on the grounds that it violated the separation between church and state. Today, transcendental meditation is making a comeback, supported by stars including filmmaker David Lynch and ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.
“Slowly but steadily, TM seems to be gaining a foothold in public schools across the country,” Church & State magazine reports. No matter how you package the practice, Church & State asserts that transcendental meditation is rooted in Hinduism, and any classes taught in public schools would violate the first amendment. The article quotes one angry parent who called the practice a “cult.”
Adherents, according to Church & State, are “promoting the program as the solution for everything from poor academic performance and fidgety kids to unruly student behavior and gang violence.”
David Lynch, in an article for Utne Reader, gave people this advice on the benefits of meditation: “Grow in happiness and intuition. Experience the joy of doing. And you'll glow in this peaceful way. Your friends will be very, very happy with you. Everyone will want to sit next to you. And people will give you money!”
Image by Kanzeon Zen Center, licensed under Creative Commons.
Sources: Church & State, Utne Reader