Posted by: bobroth | February 1, 2010

Question of the Day – What is Transcendental Meditation?

What is Transcendental Meditation (TM) and why does it cost money to learn?

As I wrote earlier, I will periodically use this blog site to answer frequently asked questions—or clarify frequently misunderstood points—about the Transcendental Meditation technique.

The facts about TM are simple and easily understandable and the benefits are medically established by hundreds of scientific studies.

The basics:

    1. TM is a simple, natural technique, practiced for 20 minutes twice a day, which allows your active, thinking mind (e.g., the “I gotta do this and I gotta do that” thinking mind) to settle down to pure consciousness—a state of silent inner wakefulness that is an unlimited reservoir of energy, creativity, and intelligence.
    2. As your mind settles down, effortlessly, your body gains a profound state of relaxation. Scientists call this a unique state of “restful alertness.” Research shows this twice daily experience eliminates deeply rooted stress, tension and fatigue; improves health; and decreases, anxiety, and insomnia
    3. Research also shows TM develops the total brain, creating coherence between the different parts of the brain, which is the basis of the increased creativity and intelligence, and improved memory and decision making reported by meditators.
    4. There is no concentration or control of the mind during the practice, no following your breath, no imaging or contemplation.
    5. The technique is not a philosophy, religion, or lifestyle.
    6. When you learn Transcendental Meditation you receive from your teacher a mantra (a specific sound with no meaning whose effects are known to be positive and life-supporting) and you receive from your teacher exact instructions how to use the mantra properly so that you dive all the way within to experience pure consciousness—your own inner Self. Click this link to see a talk by Maharishi on the Transcendental Meditation mantras.
    7. Anyone can learn and practice the technique as well as anyone else—independent of your education, nationality, belief, etc.


Thus, the question of the day is:

If TM is so great—if it can create peace and reduce stress and all that—then why does it cost money? Or if it costs money, why does it cost so much that it could prevent some people who may need it the most, like the poor, from learning? Is that fair? Is TM a money-making organization?

The answer is: TM is not a money-making organization. It is a nonprofit, educational organization—and it has been that way for over 50 years. (All financial transactions are public knowledge.

And yes, it would be grossly unfair, cruel even, if someone really wanted to learn to meditate and could not do so because of money. But that is not the case. Scholarships, grants and loans are available to ensure that anyone who genuinely wants to learn to meditate can do so. Case-in-point: During the past four years, the David Lynch Foundation has provided full scholarships for over 100,000 people to learn to meditate who could not otherwise afford to start.

So money is not an obstacle for people to learn.

Then the next question is, why does it cost so much? (For now, let’s leave aside the point that the fee for learning TM and a lifetime of follow-up and mentoring is usually much less than enrolling in a college course, which will be over in 14 weeks, or buying many new computer programs which have an expiration date of a year of two.)

Transcendental Meditation is not “meditation lite”—it’s not some how-to thing you can learn from browsing through a Cosmo or People magazine article on meditation. Yes, TM is a simple technique, but it is also authentic, the real deal. Transcendental Meditation comes from the oldest continuous tradition of meditation in the world. Today, more than six million people of all cultures, religions, and walks of life have learned the technique during the past 50 years.

TM costs what it costs for four main reasons:


1. Your own meditation teacher You learn TM today the same way it has been taught for thousands of years—from a highly qualified, properly trained TM teacher, through personal, one-to-one instruction. Again, you don’t learn it out of a magazine or book or a CD or a DVD.  You are unique; you have your own questions and experiences, and your teacher is there to provide the necessary and correct guidance and information at each stage of the instruction, so you can have a clear experience of the transcending process.

2. Lifetime course When you learn TM, not only do you have seven steps of initial instruction (about 90 minutes a day) from your meditation teacher, but you also have access to a lifetime of mentoring and support from your teacher. And if you travel or move, there are highly qualified TM teachers all over the world to provide you with follow-up support—which is all included in your initial course fee.

3. Professional teachers As I said, the teachers are highly-trained professionals, many with families, homes, health insurance, etc. Teaching the technique is a full-time profession; it cannot be done through volunteers alone. To ensure the sustainability of the organization, teachers are paid an appropriate salary (like a high school teacher). Your course fee helps to cover their salaries and the expenses that come from running a local TM center (rent, utilities, phone, etc.).

4. Help those in need Any remaining funds from your tuition are used to provide scholarships for children, teens, and adults who cannot afford any tuition, such as inner-city school kids, American Indians on reservations, homeless men, etc.

The point is:

Money is not an obstacle to learning TM. Yes, money is needed to pay teachers and run the organization. But if you don’t have the funds, don’t let that stop you. Contact and work something out.

Thanks for listening,



  1. Well put.

  2. Jai Guru Dev

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