Learning the Transcendental Meditation technique:

Why personalized instruction?
Why a certified instructor & course fee?

There are many forms of meditation, practiced for various reasons—to simply chill or relax, to promote a sense of compassion, or to become more “mindful” of oneself or surroundings. Most of these practices can be learned either for free or very cheaply, from a friend who learned in her yoga class, from a book, online or from a CD.

The Transcendental Meditation (TM
®) technique is a specific form of meditation introduced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Its purpose is to provide the experience of transcending: a state of restful alertness or 'pure awareness,' beyond thought, an experience known to revitalize mind and body and stimulate growth of one’s creative potential. According to Maharishi and the organization he set up to teach the TM technique, learning Transcendental Meditation requires personalized, one-on-one instruction, a series of classes and comprehensive follow-up—all taught by professionally trained teachers. The TM program is a non-profit, tax-exempt educational organization [501(c)(3)]. When you learn the Transcendental Meditation technique, your course tuition covers the educational expenses of teaching and supports the non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the benefits of meditation to people everywhere.

Why is the TM technique not taught for free, as many other meditation practices? Does one really need a professionally trained teacher and a systematic, seven-step course with personalized instruction and comprehensive follow-up to correctly practice this meditation technique and enjoy its full benefits? Our experience teaching meditation around the world for the past fifty years—along with hundreds of independent, peer-reviewed scientific
research studies [1] that verify the program’s effectiveness—tells us that the answer is most definitely yes. Millions of people who have learned the TM technique in this way would agree.

If learning the TM technique requires personalized instruction and a series of classes, obviously educational expenses will be incurred—this is why there's a course fee.

But why is personalized, comprehensive instruction necessary to learn to meditate effectively? And why would someone choose to learn the Transcendental Meditation technique when so many other practices can be learned more cheaply or at no cost?

Why TM practice is unique:

The operative word in describing the Transcendental Meditation technique is transcendental. During TM practice, one transcends—the mind naturally and effortlessly settles inward—away from the surface, active levels of thinking to progressively more settled and refined levels of the mind, until you experience the silent field of restful alertness at the source of thought, known as pure awareness. Neuroscientists have found that this particular meditative state gained during TM practice is the only experience known to create “global EEG coherence”—a state of highly efficient and orderly functioning throughout the entire brain, which stimulates growth of creativity, intelligence and heightened awareness in daily life.[2]

A basic principle of the Transcendental Meditation program is that this experience of transcending is the primary cause of the positive effects of the TM technique—that is, experiencing the silent, self-referral field of pure awareness at the source of thought, as distinct from practices that have other purposes or which engage the mind and keep it active or busy in various ways, usually on the more surface thinking levels. According to physiological research, it is this state of “
Transcendental Consciousness”—a fourth state of consciousness unlike waking, dreaming or sleep—that gives the most profound rest and rejuvenation to mind and body. Over 600 scientific studies on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique support this principle that Transcendental Consciousness produces the widest range of benefits among the variety of meditative experiences.

Why TM requires personalized instruction:

The process of “effortless transcending” is natural, simple and easy, but also very, very delicate; so delicate that the technique was lost to society—in the East and the West—for thousands of years simply because of misunderstanding and inadequate teaching methods.

In the 20th century, Maharishi revived correct practice of this ancient meditation technique and structured a systematic, standardized, seven-step course of personalized instruction to ensure that everyone everywhere can learn to meditate properly and gain maximum benefit.

Maharishi spent over 50 years elucidating the principles behind the Transcendental Meditation technique, always emphasizing the need for personal, one-on-one instruction:

“By necessity, the practice of Transcendental Meditation is imparted by personal instruction. It cannot be done through a book [or CD or online training] because it not only involves telling an aspirant how to experience the subtle states of thinking, but an even greater responsibility lies in finding out what the aspirant experiences when he proceeds on that path… The experiences on the path of Transcendental Meditation are very subtle… It takes a while for the beginner to be able to pinpoint his experiences of the subtle state of thought. The practice of Transcendental Meditation must always be given by the expert teachers of Transcendental Meditation who have been properly trained to give it and who have been trained to check the experiences.” [3]

When a person learns the TM technique, every instruction is given out on the basis of the previous instruction being understood and acknowledged. The certified TM teacher guides the student step by step, adjusting the teaching process according to the pace of the student.

Follow-up and one-on-one support:

The Transcendental Meditation course comes with extensive follow-up and personal support—offered at no further cost beyond the one-time TM course tuition. This means that even after you’ve completed your TM course, teachers remain available to provide further guidance and facilitate deeper understanding of the practice.

The one-on-one support allows the opportunity for personal meetings with your teacher, as needed, arranged according to your schedule. These private, 30-minute “checking” sessions stabilize correct, effortless practice and verify experiences. It is recommended that these personal meetings be scheduled weekly for the first month and monthly for the first year—or more, according to the student’s needs. After the first year this personal support remains available as needed to everyone who has learned the TM technique.

The follow-up also includes optional, ongoing advanced classes so that your understanding can grow along with your experiences. These advanced TM lectures are held weekly in most TM teaching centers and include checking and group meditation.

The Transcendental Meditation course, one-on-one support and follow-up is designed to allow each student to gain the experience and understanding they need to correctly practice the Transcendental Meditation technique on their own and gain maximum benefit in daily life.

Because there’s an established, professional organization and an initial TM course tuition, the lifetime follow-up can be offered at no charge, and you can go to a TM teaching center in almost any major city and have your meditation checked or receive further guidance from the teachers.

The TM course tuition is a one-time fee for a lifetime program.

What is the course fee used for?

1. Educational expenses: Although the TM organization is non-profit, it’s pays the same overhead that businesses must pay—rent, utilities, teaching supplies, etc. The TM course fee helps sustain the teachers, teaching centers, the non-profit educational organization and TM teaching activities around the world. As with every tax-exempt organization, the finances are public record.

2. To help others learn: Because others before you have paid their TM course fee, the program is now available to you in all its effectiveness. Everyone’s course fee helps ensure that others after them may enjoy the full benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique—especially future generations.

In wealthier countries, like the United States, the Transcendental Meditation organization sends part of the course fees to developing nations to support TM programs for people who cannot afford to pay—places such as Brazil (pictured), India, and Thailand, where, with the help of private benefactors such as the David Lynch Foundation, over 140,000 schoolchildren have learned free of charge and practice the TM technique during in-school “Quiet Time.” [4]

3. Maharishi’s Program for World Peace: Another very important project supported by your course fee is the establishment of “peace-creating groups” around the world. These large groups of hundreds or thousands of people practice the Transcendental Meditation technique and its advanced programs together twice daily. Why? Because scientific research has shown that a sufficiently large number of people practicing the TM programs together create an intensified harmonious effect—not just personally for the individual meditator, but also for the surroundings. Through what scientists call a “field effect,” the quality of life of the whole society improves, measured by decreased crime and violence and improvements in the economy and other social indicators. These large groups have been established on almost every continent, and scientists continue to monitor the effects, with 13 research studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals validating the phenomenon.

As a teacher of meditation, Maharishi was concerned not only for the individual’s personal growth but for the whole world. He believed that a sufficient number of people in society ‘transcending’ twice daily, especially together in large groups, would have a significant positive impact on the entire civilization. This pioneering area of scientific research is ongoing and admittedly outside the current paradigm of conventional sociological methodologies. But the studies thus far are highly promising and support Maharishi’s formula for reducing collective stress in society and creating world peace through large peace-creating groups.

When you learn the Transcendental Meditation technique, your course fee helps support this peace-creating endeavor in your country and around the world. Admittedly, this is a bigger vision and more ambitious program than learning to watch your breath or relax, and a project with such global initiatives requires more funding than checking out a library book about meditation or learning meditation in a yoga class. But Maharishi remained true to his vision that life on earth can rise to its full potential. The certified TM teachers around the world continue to uphold the teaching procedures and policies that have proven so effective in bringing the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation program to everyone.

1. Selection of scientific research:
Hypertension 26 (1995): 820-827.
Annals of Behavioral Medicine 22 (2000) S133.
American Journal of Hypertension (2004).
Human Physiology 25 (1999) 171-180.
Psychophysiology 31 Abstract (1994) S67.
Psychophysiology 27 Supplement (1990) 4A.
Psychophysiology 26 (1989) 529.
International Journal of Neuroscience 13: (1981) 211-217.
Psychosomatic Medicine 46: (1984) 267–276.
International Journal of Neuroscience 15 (1981) 151-157; International Journal of Neuroscience 14: (1981) 147–151.
3. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,
The Science of Being and Art of Living (New York: Plume/Penguin Group, 1963/2001), p. 35-36.
4. As of December, 2008.

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