A spiritual guru named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced the Western world to Transcendental Meditation® (TM) in the late 1950s. This type of meditation has become quite popular - according to the Transcendental Meditation® Movement, there are now well over six million people practicing this type of Meditation.
It’s quite unusual for a meditation method to be legally protected in this way, and there are those who criticize the TM® movement for being so corporate in their mentality.
Make no mistake, the Transcendental Meditation® movement is a business, not a charity. Their course fees are quite steep, but they do take a very professional and thorough approach to teaching meditation.
The complete TM® technique is taught in a seven-step course that consists of introductory lectures, personal interviews and a number of instruction sessions. Personal instruction sessions conclude with each student being given a mantra which they then use for their meditation. Long term support is also provided to students of the TM program.
Speaking broadly, the TM technique is usually described as a form of mantra meditation.
According to Mahareshi Maheshi yogi, any meaningless sound can be used as a mantra for the purpose of training the mind to become sharp, but in the TM course, "special" mantras are selected because they have the "efficacy of producing vibrations whose effects are found to be congenial to our way of life. This is the scientific reason why we do not select any words at random. For our practice, we select only the suitable mantras of personal Gods."
The exact nature of these mantras and the details of the TM® training program are closely guarded secrets (yet another symptom of their corporate approach to meditation teaching), which is why free lessons on transcendental meditation® are all but impossible to come by. According to the official TM web sites, the TM® technique can only be taught by authorized teachers, and the terms "Transcendental Meditation" and "TM" are trademarks that are owned by Maharishi Foundation Ltd.
Transcendental awareness is usually described as the "fourth major state of awareness". The three states you are probably most familiar with are the waking state, the dreaming state, and the state of deep dreamless sleep. A state of transcendence is said to be achieved when the mind relaxes and a state of "restful alertness" is accomplished.
During transcendental meditation, the mind gradually becomes quieter until it is no longer entertaining any thoughts or perceptions, but instead experiences an awareness of pure consciousness...a state of "amness" or "pure being".
Transcendental awareness is the essential goal of many types of meditation, not just TM®. So even though the the term "Transcendental Meditation" has been trademarked, the actual experience of transcendence can never be. The experience of transcendental awareness is your right as a human being, and many types of meditation can help you achieve this blissful state.
Firstly, there’s no denying that TM® is an effective type of meditation, and that it is taught by professionals who are well trained in what they do.
Secondly, a vast amount of research into the physiological and psychological effects of transcendental meditation® has been undertaken during recent decades, providing ample evidence of the benefits of this form of meditation.
Thirdly, TM® was one of the first types of meditation to be taught in the west and it blossomed during the spiritual revolution of the 1960’s.
It must also be said that the TM® movement has been marketed particularly well throughout the years, and many would argue that the mystique and secrecy surrounding TM® teachings have actually added to the appeal of the TM® movement. It has become a highly commercialized organization that declares that its teachings yield results that are superior to other types of meditation. Whether or not this is a truth or another form of marketing hype is anyone's guess.
Do you have a favourite type of meditation? Or is there a type of meditation that you just can't stand? Have you ever had any special experiences while practicing a certain type of meditation, or do you have a success story to share?
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Article by Christopher Lloyd Clarke from www.The-Guided-Meditation-Site.com.