Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a form of meditating developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Transcend means “to go beyond”. Maharishi studied under an unidentified “divine teacher” in India for thirteen years. He went into seclusion, later emerging with the Transcendental Meditation method he’d created. He began his teachings in the early 1950’s but it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the TM movement started gaining widespread popularity.
TM is easy to do. It is practiced twice a day, in the morning and before the evening begins, about twenty minutes each session. Meditators find a quiet spot, sit comfortably, and close their eyes. The idea is to keep the mind active but not distracted. They repeat a mantra, a word or sound which has been given to them by an instructor. Every mantra given is kept secret. In order to practice TM correctly you must be trained by an instructor. Most people begin TM for the benefit of relaxation. Because of the popularity of TM there is a great need for instructors. Many centers for TM have been established all over the world.
Maharishi has created a plan which he calls the World Plan outlining the purposes and goals of the TM movement. The TM movement wants to improve the achievements of the government, have the best education possible (with TM in all curriculums), and have everyone use the environment intelligently. The movement wants to develop each man’s individual potential, making each man as happy, smart, and rich as possible. Their most interesting goal is, “To solve all crime and behavior which brings unhappiness to man”. Maharishi believes if just one percent of the entire population of the world practices TM, happiness and a better society will result. Wow! Can TM do all that? TM is becoming more than the relaxation technique described at first.
So why is TM able to do all this? In order to understand, the way meditators think while meditating must be understood. The purpose for meditation and life is self-fulfillment. In order to be truly content and happy a man must reach his full potential, says the teaching of Maharishi. To fulfill his potential man must reach the unlimited resources of energy and intelligence which are supposed to be within every man. He finds this “knowledge” of himself only through TM. Maharishi teaches there are levels of consciousness. When a man is conscious he’s awake and aware of himself. If a man goes through more progressive levels of consciousness, then he becomes more “aware” of himself. A man may become more and more “aware” until he’s “purely aware”. He then can reach into his “inner knowledge” and use it.
So how does this man go through these levels? Well, Maharishi teaches that while meditating the mind is concentrated and cleared, able to transcend normal thought and consciousness. Maharishi describes the transcending of thought and consciousness as bubbles rising from the bottom of the sea. Like the bubbles released from a skin diver’s tank, the bubbles start small, but grow larger as they reach the surface. A man’s normal thoughts only stay on the surface floating. While meditating, the mind is imagined to sink under the surface to deeper thought. How does it actually sink? Nowhere in any of the TM literature I’ve read is the process into the lower levels described, or what happens in the mind. Supposedly once stress is released this just happens, Maharishi states this as fact but there is no proof.
TM followers believe some factors can block the ability to find the “inner knowledge”. The most important of these is stress. Maharishi teaches that stress causes unhappiness, hate, anger, aggressiveness, or any deliberate wrong. Stress stops you from being happy, relaxed and doing your personal best.
Another facet of TM is “enlightenment”, the highest stage of awareness and consciousness. The enlightened man is perfect and radiates wisdom. He only desires good for everyone.
So, what are the benefits of TM? A man who practices TM is supposed to be more creative, able to love, self-aware, open to new experiences, objective, and has a clear perception of reality. Each man can have his own set of values, he determines what is right or wrong for himself. It sounds very nice, and Maharishi has painted a very attractive picture to his believers.
Transcendental Meditation is obviously in opposition to the Word of God. It is a total denial of God. Maharishi stresses that TM is not a replacement for any personal beliefs or religion, including Christianity. He makes a point that it will not interfere, but how can that be? Everyone who practices TM becomes a god unto himself! They believe in themselves, and look to themselves to find the answers to their problems.
TM is another hopeless attempt of man to save himself. Man is making himself into a saviour through “enlightenment”. There is no “inner knowledge” or levels of thought. “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.” (Psalm 119:97) “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17). Our thoughts are sinful and selfish. The only inner knowledge man can realize is of his own sin and that only by the grace of God. TM denies man’s sin and the sinful nature he’s born with, blaming sin on stress. Man isn’t responsible for his sin because the cause is stress, and stress is not his fault. God is denied as the judge of sin.
Meditation is good. In fact, we are told by God’s Word to meditate, we aren’t to meditate on ourselves but on God’s law. “O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97) And verse 99 of the same Psalm states “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.”
One verse clearly shows us the error of TM. “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)