A logo used to show TM practice.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) refers to a specific form of Transcendental Meditation movement and to the movement itself.[1][2] The TM technique and TM movement were introduced in India in the mid-1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918–2008).

The Maharishi taught thousands of people during a series of world tours from 1958 to 1965, expressing his teachings in spiritual and religious terms.[3][4] TM became more popular in the 1960s and 1970s, as the Maharishi shifted to a more technical presentation and his meditation technique was practiced by celebrities. At this time, he began training TM teachers and created specialized organizations to present TM to specific segments of the population such as business people and students. By the late 2000s, TM had been taught to millions of people, and the worldwide TM organization had grown to include educational programs, health products, and related services.

The TM technique involves the use of a sound or mantra and is practiced for 15–20 minutes twice per day. It is taught by certified teachers through a standard course of instruction, which costs a fee that varies by country. According to the Transcendental Meditation movement, it is a method for relaxation, stress reduction and self-development. Varying views on whether the technique is religious or non-religious have been expressed including by Sociologists, scholars, and a New Jersey court case[4][5][6]

TM is one of the most widely practiced, and is among the most widely researched meditation techniques.[7][8][9] It is not possible to say if it has any effect on health as the research to date is of poor quality.[10][11][12]

History

The Transcendental Meditation (TM) program and the Transcendental Meditation movement originated with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the organization, and continued beyond his death (2008). In 1955,[13][14][15] "the Maharishi began publicly teaching a traditional meditation technique"[16] learned from his master [22] the Transcendental Meditation technique has remained relatively unchanged.

Among the first organizations to promote TM were the Spiritual Regeneration Movement and the International Meditation Society. In modern times, the movement has grown to encompass schools and universities that teach the practice,[23] and includes many associated programs based on the Maharishi's interpretation of the Vedic traditions. In the U.S., non-profit organizations included the Students International Meditation Society,[24] AFSCI,[25] World Plan Executive Council, Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation, Global Country of World Peace and Maharishi Foundation.[26] The successor to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and leader of the Global Country of World Peace, is Tony Nader.[27][28]

Technique

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

The meditation practice involves the use of a mantra and is practiced for 15–20 minutes twice per day while sitting with one's eyes closed.[29][30] It is reported to be one of the most widely practiced,[31][32] and among the most widely researched, meditation techniques,[7][8][9][33] with hundreds of published research studies.[34][35][36] The technique is made available worldwide by certified TM teachers in a seven-step course,[37] and fees vary from country to country.[38][39] Beginning in 1965, the Transcendental Meditation technique has been incorporated into selected schools, universities, corporations, and prison programs in the U.S.A., Latin America, Europe, and India. In 1977 a U.S. district court ruled that a curriculum in TM and the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) being taught in some New Jersey schools was religious in nature and in violation of the First Amendment.[5][6] The technique has since been included in a number of educational and social programs around the world.[40]

The Transcendental Meditation technique has been described as both religious and non religious, as an aspect of a new religious movement, as rooted in Hinduism,[41][42] and as a non-religious practice for self-development.[43][44][45] The public presentation of the TM technique over its 50-year history has been praised for its high visibility in the mass media and effective global propagation, and criticized for using celebrity and scientific endorsements as a marketing tool. Advanced courses supplement the TM technique and include an advanced meditation program called the TM-Sidhi program.[46]

Movement

The Transcendental Meditation movement refers to the programs and organizations connected with the Transcendental Meditation technique and founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Transcendental Meditation was first taught in the 1950s in India and has continued since the Maharishi's death in 2008. The organization was estimated to have 900,000 participants worldwide in 1977,[47] a million by the 1980s,[48][49][50] and 5 million in more recent years,[51][52][53][54][55][56][57] including some notable practitioners.

Programs include the Transcendental Meditation technique, an advanced meditation practice called the TM-Sidhi program ("Yogic Flying"), an alternative health care program called Global Country of World Peace, and the David Lynch Foundation.

The TM movement also operates a worldwide network of Transcendental Meditation teaching centers, schools, universities, health centers, herbal supplements, solar panel, and home financing companies, plus several TM-centered communities. The global organization is reported to have an estimated net worth of USD 3.5 billion.[61][62] The TM movement has been characterized in a variety of ways and has been called a spiritual movement, a new religious movement,[63][64] a millenarian movement, a world affirming movement,[65] a new social movement,[66] a guru-centered movement,[67] a personal growth movement,[68] a religion, and a cult.[64][69][70] Additional sources contend that TM and its movement are not a cult.[71][72][73][74] Some state that participation in TM programs does not require a belief system and is practiced by people from a diverse group of religious affiliations including atheists and agnostics.[75][76][77][78] The organization has also been criticized as well as praised for its public presentation and marketing techniques throughout its 50-year history.

Health effects

It is currently not possible to say whether meditation has any effect on health, as the research to date has been of poor quality,[10][11][12] including a high risk for [79][80][81] Independent systematic reviews have not found health benefits for TM exceeding those of relaxation and health education.[10][82][83] A 2013 statement from the American Heart Association conferred a Class IIb, Level of Evidence B, classification to TM as a treatment for hypertension.[84] This designation generally means that a treatment "may be considered in clinical practice" but that its effectiveness is "unknown/unclear/uncertain or not well-established".[85] The section on meditation finished by stating: "Because of many negative studies or mixed results and a paucity of available trials... other meditation techniques are not recommended in clinical practice to lower BP at this time."[84] According to the American Cancer Society, "available scientific evidence does not suggest that meditation is effective in treating cancer or any other disease".[86]

There has been ongoing research into Transcendental Meditation since the first studies were conducted at UCLA and Harvard University and published in Science and the American Journal of Physiology in 1970 and 1971.[87] By 2004 the US government had given more than $20 million to Maharishi University of Management to study the effect of meditation on health.[88]

Maharishi Effect

The Maharishi Effect is a paranormal claim that a significant number of individuals practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) and the TM-Sidhi program have an effect on the environment.[65] This hypothetical influence was described by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1960s and was later termed the Maharishi Effect as a result.

With the introduction of the TM-Sidhi program in 1976 it was proposed that only the square root of one percent of the population practicing the TM-Sidhi program, together at the same time and in the same place, would increase "life-supporting trends". This was referred to as the "Extended Maharishi Effect".[89][90]

Evidence that TM practitioners[91] believe support the existence of the effect has been shown to lack a causal basis,[92] include cherrypicked data,[93] result from believers' credulity,.[92][94]

References

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    Beckford, James A. (1985). Cult controversies: the societal response to new religious movements. Tavistock Publications. p. 23.  
    Parsons, Gerald (1994). The Growth of Religious Diversity: Traditions. The Open University/Methuen. p. 288.
     

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    Alper, Harvey P. (December 1991). Understanding mantras. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 442.
     
    Raj, Selva J.; William P. Harman (2007). Dealing With Deities: The Ritual Vow in South Asia. SUNY Press. p. 129.
     
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Further reading

  • Alexander, Charles and O'Connel, David F. (1995) Routledge Self Recovery: Treating Addictions Using Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Ayur-Veda ISBN 1-56024-454-2
  • Bloomfield, Harold; Cain, Michael Peter; Jaffe, Dennis T. (1973) TM: Discovering Inner Energy and Overcoming Stress
  • Clark, Christopher and Sharma, Hari (1995) Churchill Livingstone, Contemporary Ayurveda ISBN 0-443-05594-7
  • Deans, Ashley (2005) MUM Press, A Record of Excellence, ISBN 0-923569-37-5
  • Denniston, Denise, The TM Book, Fairfield Press 1986 ISBN 0-931783-02-X
  • Forem, Jack (2012) Hay House UK Ltd, Transcendental Meditation: The Essential Teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ISBN 1-84850-379-2
  • Geoff Gilpin, The Maharishi Effect: A Personal Journey Through the Movement That Transformed American Spirituality, Tarcher-Penguin 2006, ISBN 1-58542-507-9* Pollack, A. A., Weber, M. A., Case, D.
  • Jefferson, William (1976) Pocket Books, The Story Of The Maharishi, ISBN 0671805266
  • Kropinski v. World Plan Executive Council, 853 F, 2d 948, 956 (D.C. Cir, 1988)
  • Marcus, Jay (1991) MIU press, Success From Within: Discovering the Inner State That Creates Personal Fulfillment and Business Success ISBN 0-923569-04-9
  • Oates, Robert and Swanson, Gerald (1989) MIU Press, Enlightened Management: Building High-performance People ASIN: B001L8DBY2
  •  
  • Roth, Robert (1994) Primus, Transcendental Meditation ISBN 1-55611-403-6
  • Skolnick, Andrew "Maharishi Ayur-Veda: Guru's Marketing Scheme Promises the World Eternal 'Perfect Health'!", JAMA 1991;266:1741–1750,October 2, 1991.
  • Yogi, Maharishi Mahesh (1968) (Bantam Books) Transcendental Meditation: Serenity Without Drugs ISBN 0-451-05198-X
  • Yogi, Maharishi Mahesh (1967) Penguin, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita : A New Translation and Commentary ISBN 0-14-019247-6.

External links

  • Official TM site