I think I want to try Transcendental Meditation (TM) : Need More Info

* I’ve been curious about TM for a couple of months now….

The Transcedental Meditation (TM) technique and TM movement were introduced in India in the mid-1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

By definition (wikipedia definition at least) Transcendental Meditation (TM) refers to a specific form of meditation, which is describes as “a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or as an end in itself.”

By definition (from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi) Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural program for the mind, a spontaneous, effortless march of the mind to its own unbounded essence. Through Transcendental Meditation, the mind unfolds its potential for unlimited awareness, transcendental awareness, Unity Consciousness — a lively field of all potential, where every possibility is naturally available to the conscious mind. The conscious mind becomes aware of its own unbounded dignity, its unbounded essence, its infinite potential.

The TM technique and TM movement were introduced in India in the mid-1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and has been made super famous, to people like myself through David Lynch, the David Lynch Foundation, and the scores of celebrities that endorse the practice and the work that his foundation is doing.

Since 2005 the David Lynch Foundation has shared Transcendental Meditation with our most stressed populations. The David Lynch Foundation runs entirely on donations and there is a long list of schools and organizations eager to participate. Change begins within!

The Benefits of Transcedental Meditation

benefits of TM

The benefits of TM look great as described on the TM.org website

What is one of the primary benefits of meditation? Stress relief. The deep rest experienced during the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique allows the body to naturally dissolve stress and strain. After learning the TM technique, it is common for meditators to feel less stressed and to notice that they deal more calmly with tense situations. When stress is reduced in the nervous system during meditation, benefits like better sleep and clearer thinking also naturally develop. Over 350 research studies have verified that the daily practice of the TM technique produces a wide range of positive effects on a person’s mind, body, and behavior.

Mr. Lynch advocates the use of Transcendental Meditation in bringing peace to the world. He was initiated into Transcendental Meditation in July 1973, and has practiced the technique consistently since then. Lynch says he met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the TM movement, for the first time in 1975 at the Spiritual Regeneration Movement center in Los Angeles, California.

The David Lynch Foundation, started in 2005 for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, strives to ensure that every child anywhere in the world who wanted to learn to meditate could do so.

Now, the Foundation is actively teaching TM to adults and children in countries everywhere. The interesting thing is that they are a donation based foundation and tons of bread comes in through galas and donations from regular people that are hoping to help change the world and recognize the benefits of meditation.

The ONE THING that is an issue for me, is that there is so much of a celebrity factor in the people who preach about TM. They all rave about it and talk about how much it has changed their lives and what an effect that it has on them.

When you go to the TM site, and look for more information, the one thing that jumps out to me is that its a ‘technique” and not something that can be learned in a book or via a DVD, its something that has to be taught to you. Which makes sense, but in todays world and in a “Scientology” atmosphere, I am always leery of any sort of spiritual guidance that cost me money. That just doesn’t make sense to me… I mean, I get it, and I understand things like churches and any sort of healing services cost money and the world isn’t free and they have bills just like any one else, BUT I’m just looking a little bit out of the side of my face when you start asking me for money to “show me the way” and you make an emphasis that the first session is FREE!

On the flip side, some of the most ridiculously successful people in entertainment (and I’m sure many other fields as well) are disciples of TM. From Sir Paul McCartney to Ellen Degeneres to Seinfeld to Russell Simmons to Howard Stern to Russell Brand to Arthur Ashe RIP to George Harrison to Soledad O’Brien to Eva Mendes to many many others, have all been recognized as TM practitionors and more interestingly, long-term practitioners of TM, so its not like its a flash0on-the-pan thing that just got popular.

IN NO WAY, do I want to make a comparison to TM and Scientology, but Im just being honest…. but once you look into it a little bit deeper and seeing what everyone talks about, you definitely get a feel that this isn’t some sort of hustle, so I think I might go try it out for myself and see.

For TONS of more information and resources for local TM teachers, go to www.tm.org

For more information on the David Lynch Foundation, go to www.davidlynchfoundation.com

8 Replies to “I think I want to try Transcendental Meditation (TM) : Need More Info”

  1. Well, you’ve done a lot of research, and I hope you follow through by learning TM.

    I don’t blame you for being skeptical of a mental technique that has a high course fee. In our society an open marketplace is valued, but its drawback is that anyone can make money through false claims (at least for a while, until the law catches up).

    TM was the first modern large-scale meditation technique, the first transcending teaching, the first mental technique to receive heavy scientific research, and the first meditation technique that is effortless and effective by its very nature. TM is truly unique, and has no need to scam anyone.

    Yet, the business model has ramped up the course fee, its emphasis on taking expensive advanced courses, and in adding mysticism over time. These moves have alienated many, and deserved to be seen and frankly acknowledged.

    Ask most practitioners (celebrities or not) and they will tell you it’s worth the expense and the mystical baggage to learn such a simple and effective way to eliminate whole layers of stress that have been deposited in our nervous systems, limiting our functionality. And, compared to psychotherapy, the cost really is reasonable. The only ongoing “expense” is the twenty minutes twice a day we spend enjoying deep inner, peaceful, alert rest.

    Our lively awareness, increased creativity and intelligence, productivity, ability to give and receive love, and so many other important aspects of life transform right from the beginning, and keep on transforming for the rest of our life. This technique actually delivers on its grandiose claims.

    Still, I do assure you that TM has some excellent competitors, although their visibility is far less than TM due to their lack of funding, publicity, and endorsements. They are all relatively recent developments.

    TM’s best-known competitor is Natural Stress Relief (NSR), a cheap course made that way by making use of a printed manual (in spite of the erroneous wisdom that ‘you cannot learn transcending from a book’). It offers much more convenient channels of support (email, voice, and online forum) than TM. And, even though it was established much more recently, it even has two published scientific papers to its name, showing fast elimination of anxiety and the rise of “self-actualization”, which means inner peace, satisfaction, and creativity.

    I’m not writing this to advertise or make money, and indeed, neither TM nor NSR are currently money-making propositions. NSR is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) charity. I’m writing to give you the rest of the story, so you can make an informed choice concerning TM.

    I’m sometimes asked whether TM or NSR is best. I always answer that TM is best, because it is taught by skilled and certified teachers, and is taught in person.

    But the experiences of several thousand NSR clients also provide evidence that NSR also works, and works well. For most folks, who don’t have much money and don’t like mysticism, I think we have made NSR a perfect match.

    I wish you the best of luck, and heartily recommend TM, assuming you can afford it or else use its options for financial aid. It is not a scam, and you will find by attending the Introductory Lectures that its teachers are skilled and concerned with each student.

    I would advise almost anyone not to waste time, but to learn TM or NSR and begin enjoying what life really has to offer.

    David Spector

  2. Thank you David,

    I appreciate your comments and perspective. I will definitely take a look at NSR as well. Thank you very much.

  3. David likes to tell everyone that it is erroneous to believe that you can’t learn “transcending” from a book, but in fact, the question arises:

    how does he know?

    There’s been no published research on NSR and Pure Consciousness, that I am aware of, for example.

    Breath Suspension During the Transcendental Meditation Technique (full text)


    Electrophysiologic Characteristics of Respiratory Suspension Periods Occurring During the Practice of the Transcendental Meditation Program (full text)

    Autonomic patterns during respiratory suspensions: Possible markers of Transcendental Consciousness (full text)


    There’s been no published research on people who have been practicing NSR for mutiple decades that I am aware of.

    There’s been no published research on NSR and PTSD that I am aware of…

    Effects of transcendental meditation in veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom with posttraumatic stress disorder: a pilot study

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21702378 (abstract)

    CAM and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1810367/ (full text)

    Reduction in posttraumatic stress symptoms in Congolese refugees practicing transcendental meditation
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23568415 (abstract)
    http://drfredtravis.com/downloads/Uganda1.doc (full text download in .doc format)

    90% of teh TM participants became non-symptomatic according to the standardized PTSD test after 30 days practice, and remained non-symptomatic at 135 days followup. None of the control group showed such improvement, and the average score in the control group trended worse over that period.

    Herbert Benson claimed to have derived “The Relaxation Response” from TM, and that you could learn it from a book, but in fact, Benson never published a single head-to-head study of TM vs The Relaxation Response to prove that his claim was true.

    What David refers to as “mysticism” isn’t really. The definition of “enlightenment” put forth by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi can be subject to scientific research just as any other physiological state of consciousness can be, and in fact, research on the physiology and psychology of people who are in the beginning stages of the first state that TM theory calls “enlightenment” has been published:

    Psychological and physiological characteristics of a proposed object-referral/self-referral continuum of self-awareness
    http://www.totalbrain.ch/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/eeg-of-enlightenment.pdf (full text)

    Patterns of EEG coherence, power, and contingent negative variation characterize the integration of transcendental and waking states
    http://www.totalbrain.ch/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/brain-integration-progress-report.pdf (full text)

    David is convinced that he is doing the right thing by teaching meditation from a book. He is a former TM teacher who no longer believes that the way he was taught to teach was essential to the outcome.

    Here’s David’s former teacher explaining the basic process of learning TM:


    HE was convinced that learning meditation from a book was not a good idea, but David apparently knows better, based on… what?

    Maharishi allegedly developed his teaching method based on intuition, workign from the most silent layers of his mind that he had gained from working with his own teacher for 13 years.

    David’s book is derived from…?

  4. Admin,

    Sorry about that. saijanai is an anonymous TM teacher and representative, probably one of a small, secret TM public relations team coordinated by Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, who follow me and others around the Web defending TM against what they perceive as ignorant attacks.

    The reality of our several thousand successful clients refutes the old TM myth that “you can’t learn meditation from a book”. How do I know? Not only do we have many unsolicited testimonials, but our scientific research, published in two peer-reviewed psychology journals, shows clearly the same impressive drop in anxiety in the first two weeks of practice as does the published research for TM. Tom (or whoever he is) can say whatever he wants, but the science and our experience in teaching and seeing the same effects and benefits both reveal that NSR is the same, natural, effective practice of transcending.

    I’m sorry if he isn’t aware of our published research, but we have had citations and abstracts available on our website for several years, at http://www.nsrusa.org/research.php (large box, middle of page). We have further results and research plans, as well. Our work is very exciting, even though it will always naturally be limited by the fact that TM has been in existence for a much, much longer time. TM is very big and we are currently very small, and that’s fine with us. Our clients get the same life-changing benefits from their practice of transcending.

    I don’t dispute that TM has lots of research results, and that TM is a wonderful mental technique, just like NSR. This “saijanai” defends by attacking, which is embarrassing for TM, but please don’t judge TM by him. Most TM teachers are truly interested in bringing this wonderful technique to the world, without the pretense or arrogance involved in attacking others. They are quiet, loving people. I think that saijanai is so used to attacking that he simply assumes that I attack TM, even though it is clear to any careful reader that attacking is not my style.

    The NSR Manual is derived from the same ancient Vedic tradition that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi adapted for the Western style of living. We have simply adapted the knowledge a little further, so it is truly accessible to everyone on earth through the mail. In this process, we have omitted nothing of the ancient knowledge, simply made it easier to understand and available in the home, free of the Hindu gods and other mysticism that the current TM leadership loves to promote. We don’t have any Rajas, wearing gold crowns and white robes, enjoying Vedic yagyas led by actual pundits from India. Such mysticism isn’t needed to enjoy inner peace and happiness.

    I hope that this unfortunate public conflict doesn’t obscure the fundamental truth that transcending eliminates the daily stresses that we take for granted because everyone accumulates them. As these stresses are eliminated, what remains is clearer mental functioning and a profound inner peace and happiness. This is what both TM and NSR offer to the world.

  5. My real name is Lawson English and I am hardly anonymous as my unique nickname (I made it up -it is faux-Japanese for “I am not Sai” as I am a lousy Go player –see http://senseis.xmp.net/?FujiwaraNoSai for more info) is well-associated with my real name and I never hide who I am when asked. Nor am I a TM teacher and I am not part of some “secret TM public relations team coordinated by Maharishi University of Management in Iowa, who follow [David] and others around the Web defending TM against what they perceive as ignorant attacks.”

    I have no affiliation with the TM organization other than 40 years of practice of TM and 29 years practice of the TM-Sidhis.

    The points I made in my first comment still stand and, I gotta ask David: where did I attack you in what I said?

    I said:

    “David is convinced that he is doing the right thing by teaching meditation from a book. He is a former TM teacher who no longer believes that the way he was taught to teach was essential to the outcome.”

    How is this an attack?

  6. Dear Lawson, I’m so pleased to learn who you are. I’ve enjoyed some of your postings in various places, and I share with you a deep enjoyment of Go, although my last rating was a very modest 21 kyu and I now only play with my son-in-law on holidays.

    I’m not sure why you feel obligated to defend TM from me and what you perceive as a threat, particularly here in public. It’s embarrassing. You and I are on the same side, working to share what we have personally received from our practice with the world, and honoring Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for his unique translation of Vedic knowledge for a modern world.

    Anyway, Happy New Year to you and yours.

  7. You could always just chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra for free and attain all success 😉

  8. Sat, It seems to me that chanting, no matter what the content, would keep the body and ego engaged in the process of making vocal sounds. This would prevent the transcending of actions, not to mention of thinking, so I cannot see how this could possibly achieve “all success” in relation to practicing transcending. If someone wants to transcend thinking, feelings, etc., and experience our true nature as pure awareness, it seems to me that learning transcending from a course would be an excellent decision.

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