Transcendental Meditation technique.
It’s supposed to be a healthy way to harness your inner power. A meditation technique not massively dissimilar to other meditation techniques.
There’s just one problem.
Most meditation techniques aren’t subject to such a hailstorm of media scrutiny, celebrity endorsements, and online debate.
You could call Transcendental Meditation a cult. Maybe not as much of a cult as Maum meditation. But a cult non-the-less.
It’s a cult for celebrities and the rich and famous. People like Clint Eastwood, Ellen, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Seinfeld.
And it all began (at least in the West) after the Beatles learned Transcendental Meditation from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Because so many celebrities practice Transcendental Meditation, lots of their fans want to do precisely the same thing.
Because Transcendental Meditation is not particularly different to other meditation techniques which are free to learn. Plus, as we’ll see in a minute, you can DIY Transcendental Meditation. I’ll teach you how in just a sec.
First let’s look at why TM is not a big deal at all.
You’ve heard about the benefits of Transcendental Meditation, right?
You’ve have heard about the benefits of Transcendental Meditation and how they have been scientifically proven through research.
You’ve heard about these benefits of Transcendental Meditation, that it can:
- Improve clarity of thought
- Increase energy
- Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
- Help you relax
- Improve productivity
- Improve efficiency
- Help with heart health
- Stop stress
- Cure anxiety
- Beat depression
- Help you sleep
- Yeah, Yeah Yeah…
A wealth of scientific research does seem to confirm that TM is very beneficial for your health. For more on this I recommend taking a look at TM Home’s article about all the ways TM helps you.
Here’s the deal:
There are alternative meditation techniques that offer the exact same benefits for free.
Take a look at this list of over 100 health benefits of meditation. Compare it to the list of benefits of TM that you’re being charged thousands to learn. You will be amazed by the comparison.
Learning Transcendental Meditation Technique: Ripoff?
Like this cartoon shows, is it right for a monk or guru to charge so much to heal people?This cartoon seems stupid doesn’t it? A Buddhist monk charging that much to teach meditation? But Maharishi Mahesh Yogi did.
So, is TM a ripoff?
Take a look at what Lynne Stuart Paramore had to say about TM on Alternet. Makes for interesting reading.
What you need to know is this:
There are actually alternatives to Transcendental Meditation that are better and free.
If you can afford to toss away a couple of grand to learn Transcendental Meditation then sure, do it, why not?
I’m sure Arnold Scwarzeneggar, The Beatles, and Ellen didn’t give a damn that they’d been charged thousands just to relax.
There really aren’t a lot of negative effects of TM either. The side-effects are the same as the risks in other forms of meditation. Take a look at that link to see what I mean.
So, if you have the cash and can shell out on TM no sweat, why not do it.
But at the same time, you have to question a guru who charges $2500 a pop to help people. Can you imagine if Buddha did that?
If you’re worried about spending that money but do need to learn meditation, then look elsewhere. That’s my review in a nutshell.
But I’m a fair guy.
So let’s take an in-depth look at TM regardless, to give it the benefit of the doubt.
The History Of Transcendental Meditation
TM technique is a way of removing distracting and potentially negative thoughts from your mind and promoting calmness, happiness, inner peace and relaxation.
It was created by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and derived from the ancient Indian Vedic tradition.
Transcendental Meditation is actually a form of mantra meditation, which is a type of meditation in which you recite a specific phrase many times over.
It’s a technique that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi learned from his master, Brahmananda Saraswati (Paul Mason has written an interesting bio on Saraswati. Take a look).
Brahmananda Saraswati called the technique “Transcendental Deep Meditation” but Maharishi later took out the middle word.
It was in the 1950s that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi started teaching Transcendental Meditation Technique. He quickly began touring the world and taught the technique to many thousands of people in his world tours from 1957 to 1965.
As well as teaching all comers, the Maharishi taught a whole school of teachers. People continue to learn to teach Transcendental Meditation to this day. And because of the amount of teachers, TM has reached millions of people, including some notable celebrities.
Among the many famous people that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi taught meditation to are The Beatles and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has said that TM helped him to find inner peace during a time of immense personal distress.
The popularity of TM only burgeoned into the new millennium. By the early 2000s TM had been taught to well over a million people and the Transcendental Meditation Organization was beginning to take full force, releasing lots of products designed to help people achieve happiness and health.
But here’s the deal:
The original meditation technique Maharishi Mahesh Yogi learned from his master was free.
All the mantras used in TM are free (they are from Vedic texts).
So what are we paying for?
How To Do Transcendental Meditation. And Why It Should Be Free
TM is a registered Trademark.
If you want to learn TM you must go through a certified teacher, which you can find via the official TM website.
All I can do here is report on what else has been said online.
- Wikipedia tells us:
“The meditation practice involves the use of a mantra for 15–20 minutes twice per day while sitting with the eyes closed…The Transcendental Meditation technique has been described as both religious and non-religious, as an aspect of a new religious movement, as rooted in Hinduism, and as a non-religious practice for self-development.”
- A website called Minet.org also offers advice on how to do Transcendental Meditation. They say,
“Close your eyes, wait a few seconds, and then start thinking the mantra.
Let go and allow the mantra to change in any way it wants.
Allow thoughts to come and go along with the mantra.
When the mantra disappears and the mind goes off on thoughts we quietly come back to it.
At the end of meditation stop thinking the mantra and wait about 2 minutes before opening the eyes.
This is taken from the website Minet.org.
In that conversation, Prasanth Chandrahasan says,
“Sit comfortably, close your eyes and repeat a mantra. A mantra is a meaningless word which in TM’s case is supposedly customized for each person. This claim has always been challenged. For one, it is said that there was just one mantra before. Also, the effect of using a different mantra has never been thoroughly studied.”
- Again, these are not my own words. They are taken from other websites. I’m just reporting what people have said online.
Here’s the deal:
It seems every part of TM is based on something that is free. Mantras are free. Basic meditation is free. The technique itself was originally free before it was made a trademark. So we’re being charged thousands for goods that should be free.
Thankfully there is a free DIY version you can do.
Waste Of Money. Just DIY Transcendental Meditation Instead
So, even though I’m a meditation teacher I cannot teach you TM. Trademarked, don’t you know.
But I can teach you a DIY version that is probably the same thing.
The technique I am about to show you has been scientifically proven to offer very similar benefits to TM.
Earlier I pointed you to a link that covers the scientific research into the benefits of meditation. If you would like to know the science behind this technique, look at that link. You will see that the Do It Yourself technique I am about to show you offers pretty much the same benefits as TM.
But first. Our technique needs a name.
I will call it Transcend-Doodle Meditation.
Do you like the name?
Here’s how to do Transcend-Doodle Meditation.
- Choose a mantra to use. Or use “OM. (take a look at my free guide to mantras to find a suitable mantra to use).
- Find somewhere peaceful. Sit with good posture. Relax.
- Mindfully observe your breath flowing through your body.
- Bring your mantra to mind. Visualise the mantra.
- Let the mantra go where it wants. Don’t control the mind.
- Begin to recite your mantra while meditating on the sound.
- Continue for 20 minutes.
- Finish meaningfully. Express gratitude for the meditation session.
Proven Health Benefits Of Transcend-Doodle Meditation.
- Helps you to relax
- Increases focus
- Increases productivity
- Helps with emotional problems.
- Brings inner peace.
- Saves you money compared to other techniques
So this is basically the DIY version.
And once you’ve done that for free you might wonder why TM costs so much.
And you might even wonder if TM is a cult.
Let’s take a look.
Is Transcendental Meditation A Cult?
Is Transcendental Meditation a spiritual cult? Nah. Not really. Just a rip-off.Honestly, calling TM a spiritual cult is an exaggeration.
My purpose in this article isn’t to trounce TM. It’s just to help you save money.
So let me clarify: TM definitely is not a cult. It’s just a very well marketed spiritual product.
And it is an expensive version of meditation, which is usually free.
But then why is it considered a cult?
Mostly because the TM movement shot itself in the foot when they started getting the lawyers involved.
According to Wikipedia, the Maharishi Foundation has been suing people for trying to teach TM.
There are quite a few voices in the online community who have spoken out against the Maharishi Foundation. Including: This guy.
And then there’s the shocking news about the murder that happened on campus at the Maharishi University (according to this article on The Guardian).
I would go on to say more about TM, but here’s the deal.
But the real deal is this: TM might be a rip-off, but it sure as hell is not a cult.
For that reason, if you’ve got the cash and you don’t mind shelling out for TM, I still say go for it. Just be aware that you are paying for a technique that isn’t really very different to other, free meditation techniques.
So if you do want to learn TM, how do you do it?
If you’re still intent on paying to learn Transcendental Meditation Technique…
TM cannot be learnt from a book, CD or video and instead must be taught by a certified Transcendental Meditation technique instructor.
The TM technique has come under much criticism because of this need to be taught by a certified teacher. Many believe that TM technique is simply a way of cashing in on meditation.
Transcendental Meditation technique is not particularly different to other meditation techniques, so why does it require a certified teacher and the payment of thousands of dollars?
A four-month course in TM costs $1500. This is for an introduction to Transcendental Meditation technique and for a teacher to present you with your personal mantra.
Whether or not you deem the cost to be worth it is a hugely subjective matter. Personally, I’ll stick to traditional meditation techniques, which happen to be free and happen to have been proven more often to work.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Loves Transcendental Meditation
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career was just beginning to take off in 1975.
At the time he was considered the world’s greatest bodybuilder and he was beginning to make a name for himself in his film career. He was starring in the movie “Stay Hungry,”. He was enjoying a lucrative California real estate investment business. And he was creating the documentary “Pumping Iron” which documented his training to become Mr Olympia.
Everything was going unbelievably well for Schwarzenegger, from his famous self confidence to his international celebrity to the millions he was making. But he has recently admitted that at this time he was feeling extremely overwhelmed and was suffering from being overworked—this is what he told author Tim Ferris in the latest episode of Ferriss’ podcast.
“Eventually it felt like I’ve got to do something about it because I have such great opportunities here and everything is happening and everything is going my way, but I’m just clustering [it all] into one big problem rather than separating it out and having calm and peace and being happy,” Schwarzenegger said.
It was during this time that Arnold Schwarzenegger began training in the Transcendental Meditation technique
Schwarzenegger has stated that Transcendental Meditation helped him deal with his overwhelming work and training regime, and also helped him to overcome anxiety, which he had just recently began to suffer from.
Schwarzenegger’s meditation teacher taught him the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, which you can read about in our comprehensive guide to Transcendental Meditation.
“I did 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night, and I would say within 14 days or three weeks, I got to the point where I could really disconnect my mind … and learn how to focus more and calm down,” Schwarzenegger says.
Within a year Schwarzenegger stated that his anxiety had almost completely stopped and that he no longer felt overwhelmed. But much more important than this, he also stated that his practice of transcendental meditation techniques led him to a completely different perspective on life.
Today, Schwarzenegger works for around an hour at a time before stopping and taking a break by playing a game. His regime and general attitude is far more laid back than it used to be, but he is nevertheless continue to achieve great things.