Transcendental Meditation Frequently Asked Questions
My mind is always too busy/I can’t sit still – I could never meditate!
Many people say this before learning, but the real purpose of meditation is not to still the mind or the body (although this will happen spontaneously as a result of the practice). There is no effort made to concentrate or control the mind because just as much as it is the nature of the mind to be active, it is also the nature of the mind to be still, given the opportunity. Any organism in nature that can be active must, by definition, be able to be less active, and ultimately totally still. This includes the mind. You’ll have no problem once you understand how to meditate properly. Even children with diagnoses of ADHD can practise effortlessly!
How long does it take each day? I don’t think I’d have the time!
Just 20 minutes of TM, twice a day, is the maximum time recommended to give you the benefits you would get from hours of most other techniques. Even if you don’t have time for 40 minutes a day you will still get enormous benefit. And because it is very enjoyable and easy to do, you will find keeping it up much easier than anything else you’ve tried. It also helps that you can practise anywhere, anytime! Frequently, very busy people remark after practising Transcendental Meditation for a short while, that they have sacrificed 40 minutes a day and seem to have gained a couple of hours, because when we come out of meditation we tend to be more alert and creative and get more done in less time.
Will I have to change my life – give up things like alcohol, smoking or sex, or sit on the floor?
No. You are not asked to give up anything. It’s true that some organisations teaching meditation do ask you to give up these things because they are asking you to control you mind. But with TM, good habits are a spontaneous and natural result of meditation, not a requirement for learning! And sex is certainly not a barrier to meditation. Any addiction or obsession will tend to fade as a result of TM, whilst enjoyment of life will increase. Good posture is another result of meditation. During your course you will sit on a chair, unless you prefer not to. And we strongly advise against making any sudden changes to how you sit.
From your list of benefits of TM, it seems you’re saying that it is a panacea for all the world’s ills. Isn’t that a bit of an exaggeration?
Any doctor or healer will admit that it’s the power of Nature that heals. And nature’s power is unlimited in its potential. The effectiveness of any approach is in its ability to allow you to connect with the deeper, more powerful levels of Nature. And TM is the purest form of Yoga, which means integration of life – the most natural and effective way to connect with the power deep within you.
What if it doesn’t work for me?
The process that TM stimulates is natural and will always work for everyone. Some will notice it working straight away, sometimes spectacularly. Others of us have to wait longer. It’s still working, but taking longer to bring results to our conscious awareness. Anytime someone feels it’s not working, they can rely on help from their teacher – we provide free support and guidance for life.
How long will it take to see any benefits?
As above, some will notice the benefits straight away, with others it will take longer. But this is just a difference in perception – it will actually work right from your first meditation.
Will TM practice change my personality?
By dissolving the stress which distorts our personality, TM reduces our negative habits of thought, speech or action, leaving room for the real, wonderful you to shine through! Whilst being calmer inside, you will tend to find yourself more self-assertive, self-confident and alert, many people have. No change of personality – just more in balance.
Don’t we need stress to function efficiently?
We suggest that this is not a useful use of the word ‘stress’. Most of us enjoy some challenge in our lives which increases motivation and helps us achieve great things. But we all have a point (which varies from person to person) where that challenge can become pressure, and counter-productive. When you’re tired, feeling stressed and under pressure, you’re more likely to make mistakes.
Creativity comes from being clear-minded, calm and rested. The yogis of India have for thousands of years described the silence of meditation as a state of ‘restful alertness’, wide awake but still. When this quality is brought to the surface level of the mind after meditation, it replaces the nervous tension that so many had been relying on previously for stimulation. This has been an absolute revelation for thousands of meditators, who have found themselves more creative, clear headed, successful and stress-free as a result.
Will it conflict with my religious beliefs?
It will not. People of all religions have learned TM. In fact, many Transcendental Meditation teachers are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist etc. Priests, Monks, Nuns and even a few Bishops have learned transcendental meditation and the most common comment is that it has enriched their faith. TM is not a religion but Yoga (spiritual knowledge, ie. personal and subjective). There is a distinct difference, and Yoga pre-dates religion by thousands of years. For a full understanding of this question, and especially if you have friends or family members who think TM is a threat to their beliefs, we have copies of a wonderful book written by a Catholic Priest, the late Fr. Adrian Smith, which gives a Christian understanding of TM. It’s called ‘A Key to the Kingdom of Heaven’ (£1). He’s also written a pamphlet entitled “Questions Christians ask about transcendental meditation” (30p). Both are available if you contact our office.
I have suffered from mental illness/epilepsy/brain injury, is it safe for me to meditate?
Yes, it is safe. TM cannot do you any harm since it is a natural process which gives deep rest to both mind and body, which will gradually reduce symptoms, giving greater mental stability (see ‘Benefits of TM‘). It will certainly not prevent you from experiencing many of the wide range of other benefits indicated in the research. We may make some adjustments to the teaching to take mental illness into account, so you are requested to make this clear to your teacher on the teacher’s information form before instruction. Every TM student is given as much support and guidance as they require according to any needs that they may have.
Do you have any connection with the Maharishi Foundation?
None. Although, as our former colleagues, we still love and respect them (and continue as personal friends with some), our two organisations are entirely separate.
Why did you leave them?
Simply because of the prices that they started to charge for TM instruction, which went as high as £1280 for everyone, but have since been somewhat reduced. Recognising that poverty still exists even in the UK, we wanted to make TM affordable for everyone. Those able to pay more enable our charity to charge less to those with little income.
Is your teaching still the same?
Most definitely yes. Our teachers were all trained as directed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Most of us worked for his organisation as teachers for many years. We all teach according to Maharishi’s very specific instructions which are so beautiful and effective that we would not want to change them!
For your convenience, however, we have adjusted some of the peripheral activities associated with the teaching: The Introductory Talk (which traditionally took place over one or two evenings) we have put into a brochure for your convenience, which you can either download from this website or request a hard copy from our office. We also welcome a telephone call from you if you have any doubts or queries. The other peripheral adjustment we have made for your convenience is that we provide the traditional fruit, flowers and handkerchief for symbolic use in the initial instruction, rather than you having to find and buy them.
Can TM be taught Online?
TM could be taught electronically, however if it were to be taught this way it would cease to be Transcendental Meditation as it would lose a large part of its power to transform lives.
Transcendental Meditation is the oldest form of meditation going back to Vedic times around 3000 years or more BC. In those times the Yogis of India were having spontaneous cognitions in meditation about the origins of life, the Universe and the effortless process of transcending (mind settling into silence) in which these glimpses of reality were gained. Over the following millenia much of this knowledge was lost to society, but it was revived again by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s. Other forms of meditations based on less profound and subtle understandings, such as visualisation, concentration and mindfulness can be successfully taught by online because they are on a more surface level of understanding and practice.
We know from the effects of our own and our students’ practice, from current scientific research and from the knowledge passed down through the tradition of teachers that the procedures of teaching TM are very subtle and very delicate, and the full power of the teaching method is only present with in-person instruction. Maharishi said that teaching by electronic media was like giving someone a plastic flower – it may look the same, but lacks the vibrant life of the sap and the beautiful fragrance of the flower.
“Was very skeptical on arriving to the course. Since then I have found the effects of regular meditation to be pretty amazing…This could be an amazing tool for so many people if only they were made aware of it or were willing to give it a try” James Arnold