What You Want to Know About TM
Teachers of the Transcendental Meditation technique find that most people, when first hearing about TM, have questions, concerns, and misunderstandings. In this article, we address these points.
What is Transcendental Meditation (TM)?
TM is a simple, natural procedure done effortlessly in the mind while sitting comfortably with eyes closed. You don’t do it out loud—so you can even meditate in a public place. There’s no religion, philosophy or belief system that’s required to be able to meditate successfully because the technique is purely “mechanical”—in the same way that eating your breakfast is mechanical. For you to eat and get the value of the nutrition, you don’t need to understand digestion or the chemical composition of the food or believe that it’s good for you. You just chew, swallow, enjoy and nature takes care of the rest!
Can anyone do it?
Yes—anyone who can think a thought and follow the simplest of instructions can learn and use the TM practice easily because it’s based on how our mind works naturally. Unlike with many meditation techniques that require concentration, there is no effort involved at all with TM, so even children with symptoms of ADHD easily do it. More than eight million people worldwide have learned TM with certified teachers in their own towns. Sometimes people learn in programs specially held in schools, businesses, government, care centers, and in the military. From the age of five to… well, there’s no restriction at the other end of the age range… however old you are, you’ll be able to learn TM and reap the benefits. Even if you’ve been unsuccessful with other meditation programs in the past, you’ll find TM refreshingly easy to learn and practice, and the benefits start coming right from your first meditation.
Is meditating your style?
Is the idea of learning to meditate a little out of character for you? Be assured that people in all walks of life, most of whom have never learned a meditation technique before, are finding that meditation is not out of character. It’s basically a self-care tool for the full development of mental, physical and emotional health—who doesn’t want that? People of every imaginable walk of life, gender, ethnic background and race take our courses. From world-class athletes to CEOs to combat soldiers to opera singers to middle school students—there’s no one type more disposed toward meditating than anyone else. If you have a nervous system and the desire to get more out of life, then TM is for you.
Can you learn from a book, cd or dvd?
If you were trying to learn from a book or CD, can you imagine having to turn a page or trying to fast-forward a recording to get the next instruction? First of all, you need to have your eyes closed, so all that DIY stuff is out of the question. Secondly, during TM your mind becomes more inward and thoughts more subtle, so you can’t interrupt that inward process to direct your own instruction. And thirdly, the process is quite individualized based on experiences you have during instruction, so the first meeting of the four-part course—and sometimes all the meetings—require privacy and the trained teacher’s personal attention.
How much time do I need to spend meditating once I learn it? Can I do it on my own?
The Transcendental Meditation technique is practiced for about 20 minutes twice daily. It doesn’t have to be at the same time every day, but the general guideline is to do it as soon as comfortable after waking and washing up in the morning and then again sometime in the afternoon or early evening prior to dinnertime. This schedule allows for maximum results in minimum time. Just like with a prescription medication, you might fool with it, but it won’t be to your advantage. Once you’ve learned the technique, you are fully capable of doing it anywhere you can sit comfortably. It’s fun—and some find it more deeply settling—to do it in a group with other TM meditators, but not at all necessary.
Who teaches TM?
We have certified TM teachers around the country who have graduated from a rigorous training course, currently of at least five months in residence. Teachers also attend programs for continuing education and further information that keep them up-to-date on scientific research on TM and its benefits. The teacher’s goal is to ensure that you feel comfortable learning TM, that your experience of the technique is effortless, and that you finish your course with an understanding of the experience during meditation and what to expect as a result. Learning TM is not a “one-size fits all” — the instruction is personal to you. Only certified TM teachers can instruct you in the authentic TM technique.
How long is the course and what does it cost?
It’s a seven-step course of instruction, requiring one pre-requisite meeting and then about 1.5 hours instruction daily over four consecutive days. Having completed those four course meetings, you’ll know how to practice the technique and understand its mechanics and results. A lifetime worldwide follow-up program is then free to you. The one-time fee to our non-profit educational organization, payable before you start your four-part course, is available in a range, based on life and financial situations. You can read about it here.
Once I learn, can I teach my friends and family?
It’s an understandable desire and, once you’ve learned TM yourself, then your desire for those you love to have the experience will increase. However, learning the TM technique isn’t the same as being trained in how to teach others. You’ll know how to do it but not how to teach it—just like going to the dentist doesn’t qualify you to open a dental practice of your own. Everyone deserves the benefit of learning properly from someone trained to teach TM, just like you did. You’ll be welcome, after getting some experience of TM twice daily under your belt, to look into the possibility of attending a TM Teacher Training Course.
Best way to start checking it out?
The best way to learn more is to take the first step–watch the free informative introductory presentation which is prerequisite to the course but does not obligate you to learn. Or contact us at (800) 635-7173 and we’ll help arrange for you to meet with a teacher who can answer more questions.