Frequently Asked Questions
Why practice Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental Meditation is practised because it offers very practical benefits. It dissolves fatigue and stress and gives energy and clarity of mind. It is a simple way to re-charge our batteries every day. Over time it allows our natural creativity and latent capabilities to blossom. It is the most powerful technique available for self-development.
What happens during Transcendental Meditation?
One simply experiences the mind becoming more calm and quiet, and the body becoming more and more deeply relaxed. Transcendental Meditation is easy and enjoyable.
How important is regular practice?
The benefits of Transcendental Meditation are cumulative. To ensure good progress we recommend you practise regularly, twice a day, for 15-20 minutes.
I’m a busy person – I can’t find the time.
That’s what most people say at first! But after a while they realize that the small adjustment to their daily routine was well worth it and then they often become very protective of their mediation time. Your teacher will be happy to give you tips on how to find the time.
Can anyone learn? I can’t keep my mind still.
Anyone can practise Transcendental Meditation. The technique allows the activity of the mind to settle down in a natural way until it is left quiet, but still wide awake. It’s so simple.
Do you have to be relaxed to practice Transcendental Meditation
No. It is possible to practice Transcendental Meditation even if we start in a very agitated state. Transcendental Meditation works regardless of how we feel. It doesn’t depend on our moods or feelings.
Will it take me years to master?
Just the opposite. You are not embarking on a lifelong quest, but a couple of hours on each of four consecutive days, with an optional (but recommended) six-month follow-up programme to ensure that you are gaining full benefit. At the end of this time you will be self-sufficient in the practice. You are not joining a group or becoming part of an organisation.
But will it be a long time before I start to benefit?
The long-term benefits of regular meditation are cumulative, but new meditators often notice that they look and feel better almost immediately.
Will I become calm to the point of not caring; lose my edge?
No. People in positions of responsibility who take up Transcendental Meditation find that the removal of stress gives them clarity, perspective and vigour. Not to mention many health benefits and improvements in relations with friends and family.
Isn’t TM a very self-centred and selfish activity?
Actually, it is stress that makes us selfish. By giving yourself a short period of time each day to reduce stress you will be helping others more than you realize.
Will I be required to study a great deal?
Not at all. The practice of Transcendental Meditation requires no intellectual effort. Everything you need to know will be explained in simple language during the course.
Will it interfere with my existing beliefs?
No. Transcendental Meditation is a simple technique that aids relaxation, relieves stress and provides physical and mental energy. The practice does not conflict with any existing beliefs, religious or otherwise; yet at the same time people often find that regular meditation gives clarity and perspective to their highest aspirations.
Is it necessary to believe in Transcendental Meditation for it to work?
Transcendental Meditation is a technique that works regardless of whether we believe in it or not. It is rather like eating a meal – we don’t have to believe in vitamins, protein and minerals in the food for it to do us good, we just have to eat it. To enjoy the benefits of Transcendental Meditation we just have to practice it twice a day.
Will I be required to chant, or adopt unusual postures?
No. When you meditate you sit comfortably with your eyes closed, in silence. To the onlooker it will appear as though you are dozing. It is perfectly possible, for instance, to meditate on a train journey.
Is Transcendental Meditation like hypnosis or other types of meditation techniques?
Transcendental Meditation is unique. Hypnosis involves suggestion. Transcendental Meditation is natural and involves no suggestion.
All other forms of meditation or self development involve either concentration or contemplation. Transcendental Meditation is easy to learn, effortless to practice, and involves neither concentration nor contemplation.
Research comparing Transcendental Meditation with other meditation and relaxation techniques has found Transcendental Meditation to be far more effective for reducing anxiety, increasing self-actualization, improving psychological health, and reducing use of cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs.
I play tennis to relax. A friend of mine listens to music. Doesn’t exercise or simple relaxation do the same thing as Transcendental Meditation?
Tennis, jogging, fishing, golf, gardening, reading a book, listening to soothing music, bowling, etc. are all relaxing, enjoyable activities. They provide a welcome change of pace, a break in the routine.
But the important question is: While they may seem relaxing, do these activities actually release deeply rooted stress and tension? No.
This is because even though they may feel relaxing, nonetheless, they keep the mind and body engaged in some activity.
What is nature’s antidote to stress? Deep rest — and the deeper the better. Transcendental Meditation is unique. It is not just another form of activity or recreation. Transcendental Meditation is a scientifically validated technique for providing the entire system with very deep rest — far deeper than ordinary eyes-closed rest or relaxation.
This deep rest has been shown to release accumulated stress and tension that nothing else comes close to eliminating — not a good night’s sleep, a restful vacation, relaxation exercises, a great tennis match, or a stroll in the park.
I have a history of ill-health. Can I meditate safely?
Yes, it is completely safe. Of course if you are taking medical treatment we recommend that you continue to take your doctor’s advice.
Incidentally, a large and growing number of health professionals both practise Transcendental Meditation and recommend it to their patients.
The health benefits are far-reaching and have been rigourously examined in literally hundreds of prestigious medical publications. So much so that a delegation of British doctors has petitioned the Department of Health in Westminster to make the practice more widely available on the NHS.
The benefits sound really good, so why doesn’t everyone do it?
In fact tens of thousands of people in this country and millions of people around the world practise Transcendental Meditation every day.
But in the final analysis, is it really compatible with a modern, Western lifestyle?
Absolutely! In fact the busier we become, the more important it is that we take time to rest properly – to recharge our batteries.
Can I learn Transcendental Meditation from a book or a tape?
No. Each person is unique; each person has a different nervous system and therefore a different pace of learning. Ensuring that you learn the technique properly requires personal instruction from a qualified Transcendental Meditation teacher.
Reading a book or listening to a tape cannot provide the experience of pure consciousness and the corresponding profound state of restful alertness; nor can a book anticipate or answer all of the questions, at the right time, that every person might have while learning the practice.
With proper personal instruction, you can enjoy the technique for the rest of your life — as well as all of the benefits it naturally unfolds.
Where do you meditate?
Transcendental Meditation is practiced sitting comfortably with the eyes closed for 20 minutes twice a day. Usually people meditate on their own at home, however, it can be done in your office, on an airplane, on a camping trip. Anywhere.
And everyone can do it?
Yes. Anyone of any age, profession, education, religion, or culture. It doesn’t matter if you believe in Transcendental Meditation or not. You can be 100 percent skeptical about the technique, and it will still work perfectly.
Transcendental Meditation is natural. It’s just like gravity. If you don’t believe in gravity, and you drop a tennis ball, the ball still falls. In the same way, Transcendental Meditation is automatic. It does not require any belief. It works for everyone.
And for those who think, “I could never sit still for 20 minutes,” or “I’m too high strung, I could never relax,” or “I’ll probably be the first person in the world who won’t be able to learn it,” don’t worry. Everyone can learn to meditate. See for yourself.
Will I have to meditate in a group at a centre or can I practise on my own at home?
Once you have learnt you will have all the knowledge and experience to meditate on your own at home. This is what most people do. However meditating in a group is also good and we recommend that you join in group meditations at your local TM centre or on residential weekend courses etc.
Do I have to give up anything or change my diet?
No. There is absolutely no need to change your diet or way of life. We just practice Transcendental Meditation twice a day and get on with living. TM is a technique, not a way of life.
I live in a very noisy environment. Will that prevent me from practising Transcendental Meditation?
Noise is not a barrier to practising Transcendental Meditation. All you need is somewhere to sit down and close your eyes. Transcendental Meditation works automatically, regardless of our environment, and we can do it almost anywhere – on a train, a plane, a bus, or even a bench in the park.