Transcendental meditation: what is it?

What is transcendental meditation?

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a special meditation technique that is protected by trademark law and is therefore subject to a fee. Behind the concept is the so-called TM organization of the "Spiritual Renewal Movement", which was founded in 1957 by the Indian Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and is intended to help achieve a state of profound calm. The term "transcending" stands for an excess of mental activity so that the mind can develop freely from the control of the mind.

Happiness and health: What are the benefits of transcendental meditation?

By transcending with TM, the mind should find complete rest without any effort – a calm that is supposed to be even deeper and more comprehensive than in deep sleep. As a result, Transcendental Meditation is said to have various health-promoting effects. The advantages of TM should include:

  • Activation of self-healing powers
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lowering the stress level
  • Deep relaxation is achieved
  • Tensions are eased
  • Increase in happiness
  • Intelligence and creativity are increasing
  • Mental impairments can be cured

How does the TM work?

Basically everyone should be able to learn TM, but according to the TM organization, the technology itself must be taught by a certified teacher, who has the right experience. Accordingly, each person has an individual mantra that can only be assigned by a corresponding TM teacher. In fact, everyone can try to do the Transcendental Meditation with a typical mantra such as "Om". You should take 20 minutes twice a day for this. Here is a general guide for TM:

  1. Sit comfortably, paying attention to comfortable clothing.
  2. Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
  3. Listen deeply and feel your physical condition again.
  4. Now start silently saying the mantra.
  5. Repeat the mantra over and over again and let your thoughts slide back as they wander.
  6. After the end of the TM, sit for two minutes with your eyes closed to slowly "emerge".

And what is the difference between TM and "normal" meditation now?

Of course, if you look at the exact instructions for TM, you will notice that it doesn't differ much from other meditation techniques. But the goal at TM is not to actively bring the mind to rest, but to achieve this state by itself – whereby the mind is almost completely switched off for the time of meditation, In fact, according to the organization, with active concentration and / or the frantic attempt to calm down, the opposite is more likely to be achieved. This is also why the correct initial instruction from a TM teacher is so important.

TM-Sidhis and "Yogic Flying"

However, technology alone is not enough. There are other advanced methods: First, the so-called TM-Sidhis, which are supposed to strengthen the mental faculties so that "higher" states of consciousness should be possible. On the other hand, "Yogic Flying", which is said to allow free floating in the air. There is no evidence of this physically impossible state of limbo.

What is the TM organization?

The company has renamed itself several times and has been known as the "Global Land of World Peace" since 2000. In addition to transcendental meditation, the concepts include other esoteric teachings, the so-called "Maharishi Vedic Science", which deals, for example, with music, architecture and education. The company is also economically active, for example in the area of ​​Ayurveda. The purported ultimate goal is to change society according to its teachings so that general suffering diminishes and happiness increases.

The Maharishi effect

The organization behind TM has coined the term "Maharishi Effect" and means the impact on society if at least one percent of the population exercises TM. The supporters assume that the crime rate, general accidents and acts of war will decrease. At the same time, society should develop positively – for example in the form of a flourishing economy and a generally more peaceful world.

The organization attributes the effect to a study from 1993, in which over 4,000 TM followers took part. It has been observed that crime on the spot decreased while people were practicing TM. However, many experts view this study as unscientific.

Transcendental Meditation in Critique

As many followers follow Maharashi's teachings, so many critics do he and his organization have. It is usually more about the organization than the meditation concept TM. In fact, Maharishi's organization has been accused several times of actually being a religious sect or a cult. Maharishi himself has spoken out against the current form of democracy and has asked several governments to seek advice from his organization on TM. His goal was to transform the education system so that the education and promotion of awareness is more in the foreground.

TM supporters sued the government

Maharashi's supporters, for their part, also filed around 1,000 lawsuits against the German government in 1979, which the TM organization believes should answer for negligent bodily harm and / or negligent homicide. The reason: The government systematically supports only conventional medicine and hinders the spread of transcendental meditation. All relevant ads have been rejected.

However, the Transcendental Meditation itself is not entirely free of criticism, since the organization hardly publishes information about it, but rather the explanation is paid for. According to critics, the allegedly individual mantra is arbitrary.

Is TM scientifically stable?

There are many studies on transcendental meditation – but these are also criticized. For one, most of the research on TM was paid for by the organization itself or from companies associated with the organization. On the other hand, the quality of the studies is criticized by many experts.

Recommended reading: We explain how to learn meditation here. We also reveal everything about Osho meditation and Vipassana meditation.

If you want to talk more about health issues, take a look at our BRIGITTE community!