Why a course fee — can't the TM technique be taught for free?

The Transcendental Meditation technique is not just watching your breath, contemplating, concentrating, or trying to be mindful. It's not guided imagery or common mantra meditation. It's an authentic meditation technique that, when properly learned, is easy to practice, but the technique cannot be learned from a book, website, DVD or download.

Personal instruction: The TM technique can be learned only from a professional teacher who is trained and certified. Learning the TM technique remains a refreshingly human process, and always involves in-person, private instruction and a series of classes with your teacher. 

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The TM technique is unique, distinguished by its ease of practice, holistic benefits and scientific validation. As science has shown, all meditation techniques are not the same and do not produce the same results—and other forms of meditation have not been found by scientific research to produce the broad range of benefits associated with TM practice. The American Heart Association, after doing its own comparative research, determined that the TM technique is the only form of meditation they can recommend for hypertension.

Rediscovery: This technique of effortless transcending had been long lost to society, even in India, before Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced it to the world in 1955. To maintain the technique's original effectiveness and authenticity, and help ensure that it doesn't get lost again, it is taught in a systematic, standardized way by certified instructors worldwide. After you learn, to help make sure you're practicing correcting and getting the maximum benefit, extensive follow-up with the teachers is available at no charge—for the rest of your life.

The course fee covers your educational expenses of personal instruction and the series of comprehensive classes. The cost for the TM course is determined by what it costs to make the program available—there are no added profit margins. The reason you can learn the TM technique today is because so many others before you have paid to sustain the program.

Non-profit: The TM technique is offered by a non-profit educational organization [501(c)(3)] called Maharishi Foundation USA, which exists solely to bring the benefits of fully effective meditation to people everywhere.

Free lifelong follow-up and support: For everyone who learns the TM technique, personal meditation guidance, continuing follow-up and support are provided by experienced, highly qualified teachers who have thousands of hours of experience with the process of transcending. In addition to personal guidance with your meditation practice, the program includes ongoing advanced classes to deepen your understanding about the full awakening of human consciousness.

Why can't the TM technique be taught for free? Does one really need a trained and certified teacher, personalized instruction, a seven-step course and follow-up to properly learn and correctly practice this meditation technique, and enjoy its full benefits? The experience of thousands of TM teachers providing meditation instruction around the world for the past fifty years—along with hundreds of independent, peer-reviewed scientific research studies verifying the program’s effectiveness—tells us the answer is most definitely yes: this way of teaching is absolutely necessary and works marvelously well.

If learning the TM technique requires personalized instruction, the time of a rigorously trained teacher, a series of classes, an adequate teaching space and support and follow-up, obviously expenses will be incurred—thus the course fee. 

Anyone who wants can learn: There are standard fees for the TM course, with reduced rates for full-time students, couples, families, children and those under financial hardship. There are also payment plans, grants, scholarships and work-study options to help cover the cost. Due to the program's non-profit and non-commercial structure, anyone who wishes to learn the TM technique can learn.

Additionally, when you learn the TM technique you're helping support TM programs for at-risk populations who cannot afford to pay anything—such as inner city youth, military veterans with PTSD, the homeless, Native Americans on reservations, and prison inmates—all of whom typically learn for free. With the help of private benefactors such as the David Lynch Foundation, 300,000 schoolchildren in the U.S. and abroad have learned the TM technique free of charge and practice meditation twice daily during in-school “Quiet Time” programs. 

Tuition, payment plans & scholarships       

• Why pay to learn the TM technique when you can learn other forms of meditation for free?  
• Will other practices give the same results?
• Do authentic meditation teachers ever charge money?  

Dr. Sandeep Chaudhary: When you purchase anything of value, of course, cost is a consideration. But the TM technique is actually inexpensive if you consider what you're getting: a program you'll benefit from every day of your life—a program known to help prevent heart attack and stroke, to help people sleep better, to avert the harmful effects of stress. And those are just side effects. The real benefit is that you enjoy your life so much more.

There's also ongoing follow-up and personal checking of meditation to ensure correct practice, and there's continued knowledge and guidance, if desired, at TM centers everywhere for the rest of your life—and you get all that follow-up for free.

As a physician, I see the TM technique not only as lifesaving but also as a cost-savings tool. We know how much the average American spends on health care in a lifetime. I live with these statistics. And I see the cost of it everyday in human terms.

I've also seen the statistics on how the TM technique reduces health care costs. Let me tell you, anyone who says the TM technique is too expensive, just take a look at how much money America is spending on medical bills and health insurance every year. It's a lame argument.

The Transcendental Meditation program is the most powerful preventive medicine we have. It pays for itself many times over.

Dr. Sandeep Chaudhary is Medical Director of Wellspring Endocrinology at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California.

TM instructor Robert Roth explains why there's a course fee:

Filmmaker David Lynch answers this question

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