Questions and Answers on the Transcendental Meditation program

1. What is Transcendental Meditation?
The Transcendental Meditation technique is a simple, natural, effortless technique founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to unfold the full creative potential of every individual. Scientific research confirms that through this technique the body gains a unique state of restful alertness, a state of profound relaxation together with highly orderly patterns of brain functioning. This combination of deep relaxation inner wakefulness constitutes a fourth state of consciousness distinct from sleeping, dreaming and waking called Transcendental Consciousness.

Research shows that regular experience of this state through twice daily practice of the TM technique greatly reduces stress related disorders and brings a wide range of benefits to mental abilities, brain functioning, health and health habits, social behavior, and society at large (see scientifically validated benefits)

The key experience of the Transcendental Meditation technique, Transcendental Consciousness, is described as the field of the full potential of the mind, field of limitless creativity, intelligence, and energy. As Transcendental Consciousness is naturally infused into daily thought this technique, life becomes increasingly dynamic, successful, and joyful.

2. What is the difference between Transcendental Meditation and other types of meditation?
The Transcendental Meditation program is the most extensively researched technique of self-development and unique in its effectiveness and range of benefits, as validated by more than 600 scientific research studies over the past 45 years in the areas of mind, body, behavior, and society (see section on scientifically validated benefits).

The technique of Transcendental Meditation makes use of the natural tendency of the mind to seek experiences of greater charm. This technique spontaneously settles the mind to its most relaxed, blissful, powerful, creative state. It is unique in that it does not require concentration or contemplation, which keep the mind at a surface level, preventing it from experiencing its full creative power.

Meta-analyses comparing the Transcendental Meditation program with other meditation and relaxation techniques have found it to be far more effective in reducing anxiety; reducing high blood pressure; increasing self- actualization; and reducing use of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, and in gaining deeper rest sitting with eyes closed.

3. How is the effect of relaxation in Transcendental Meditation different from the relaxing effect of tennis, gardening, music etc.
Transcendental Meditation, as documented by scientific research, gives a quality of rest that is deeper and more lasting than the relaxation gained from recreational activities. Transcendental Meditation settles the mind to a unique state of restful alertness, as indicated by physiological and brain measurements. Restful alertness is the optimal state of mind and body for achieving any task.

The wide-awake clarity of mind together with physical energy, achieved through regular practice of Transcendental Meditation, lasts throughout the day and keeps increasing over time.

The Transcendental Meditation technique is like pulling an arrow back on the bow in order to release it with maximum power and accuracy in hitting the target.

4. Will Transcendental Meditation make me so relaxed that I won’t be motivated to achieve big goals?
Just the opposite. The natural impulse of life is to express one’s full creative potential. The only barrier to this free and full expression is stress. By dissolving stress and stimulating orderly brain functioning, the Transcendental Meditation technique enables one to express more and more the great dynamism and creativity inherent in the human nervous system. This leads to increasingly productive thinking, greater achievements, and ever-expanding success.

5. Is the Transcendental Meditation technique difficult to learn and practice?
Not at all! Transcendental Meditation is easy to learn and effortless to practice, with people of all ages learning, starting from the age of 10. The technique is taught over a period of 4 to 5 days by professional teachers and then practiced regularly twice daily morning and evening. For adults the meditation period is 20 minutes. More than six million people worldwide, of all cultures, religions, educational and economic backgrounds, have learned the technique.

6. Can I learn the Transcendental Meditation technique from a book, CD, or online?
This technique can only be learned properly from a professionally qualified teacher of Transcendental Meditation.  Even though it is easy to learn and practice, Transcendental Meditation is a precise procedure; it is taught individually, with the steps of teaching based on the immediate experiences of the person who is learning.

Reading a book, listening to a CD, or online instructions cannot provide the necessary subtle interaction between the teacher and student, which is the basis for the right start to the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. This is the best way to ensure ongoing successful practice with the full range of benefits.

With this program learned correctly in a few hours, you enjoy the technique and its profound results for the rest of your life.

7. How long will it be before I notice the benefits of Transcendental Meditation?
Right from the first meditations with the Transcendental Meditation technique, people feel benefits. Individuals vary in their first experiences; almost everyone notices greater calm and relaxation. Some people experience inner happiness right after learning; others notice mental clarity, or energy, or greater ease with other people, greater patience—or simply a pleasant sense of well-being.

As scientific research (put link to scientifically validated benefits) verifies, increasing benefits for mind, body, and behavior are experienced with regular practice of the technique.

8. When I start the Transcendental Meditation technique am I required to join an organization?
Not at all. Once you have learned the Transcendental Meditation technique, you practice it on your own, two times daily. An optional follow-up program, without time limit, is available to all those who have learned the program so that they always may feel confident that they are practicing the technique in the effortless way they were instructed for maximum benefits. You are welcome to make use of this program at any time.

The follow-up program also gives deeper knowledge about the Transcendental Meditation program, including the latest scientific research findings and the knowledge of higher states of consciousness.

9. Does practice of Transcendental Meditation conflict with religion?
The Transcendental Meditation technique is not a religion – the practice enriches any religion. People of all religions, including clergy, practice this technique.

E.g.: Reverend Dr. Craig Overmeyer comments: “I would say to any Christian—to anyone of any religion—that Transcendental Meditation would benefit your life. It’s a technique, a simple process that requires no belief. It is not a religion. There are so many thoughts that clutter the mind, and Transcendental Meditation is like taking a bath—it’s very cleansing and very refreshing.”

People who are religious comment that they have deeper experiences in their religious practice through Transcendental Meditation, and can more naturally follow the tenets of their religion. Eliminating stress and experiencing the more silent levels of one’s own existence can prepare the mind and body for profound religious or spiritual experiences.

Transcendental Meditation is simply a technique that has profound benefits in all aspects of ones life – personal, professional, or spiritual. It involves no religion, belief system, philosophy, or change in lifestyle except for meditating twice daily.

10. Can one meditate anywhere?
Yes, it can be done anywhere—at home, in the office, on an airplane, on a camping trip—anywhere. The Transcendental Meditation technique is practiced sitting comfortably with eyes closed for 20 minutes twice a day. It is always pleasant to practice the technique in a quiet setting; but most important is to practice the technique as instructed. Then the benefits will continue to be enjoyed.

11. Can everyone learn Transcendental Meditation?
Starting from the age of 10, anyone—from any background, education, religion, or culture—can easily learn the transcendental Meditation technique. It doesn’t matter if one believes the technique will be effective or not; if Transcendental Meditation is practiced effortlessly, as instructed, the benefits will naturally come.

The Transcendental Meditation technique makes use of laws of nature governing the development of mind and body towards higher levels of refinement and power. Just as the law of gravity always functions whether you believe in it or not; in the same way, the Transcendental Meditation technique is automatic. It does not require any belief; it is equally effective for everyone practicing it correctly.