“Vedic" meditation practices — How is TM different?

Recognizing the effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation technique and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's success as a teacher, some people have been inspired to teach meditation courses modeled after the TM Course.

These meditation teachers typically use much of Maharishi's terminology and many of his principles, perhaps even borrowing some of his steps of instruction.  Such teachers often claim to be teaching a practice that is the same as the TM technique—though they usually call it by another name, such as “vedic" meditation.

However, if the teacher is not a certified TM instructor teaching in accord with all the instructional procedures that make the Transcendental Meditation program so effective, what's being taught is not the TM technique—and the TM organization cannot vouch for the results. As certified teachers of the TM technique, to get the full benefits of meditation we strongly recommend the authentic TM course over facsimiles such as "vedic" meditation.

To better understand the distinction between the Transcendental Meditation technique and practices said to be "the same thing," a little background information might help:

Origins of the Transcendental Meditation technique
The practice known today as the Transcendental Meditation technique was revived from the ancient Vedic tradition and introduced by Maharishi in 1955. Before Maharishi developed the TM program, this technique of effortless transcending had been lost to society, East and West, and was unknown even to Vedic scholars of India. 

Throughout the world, common misunderstandings about meditation were the norm: To achieve a deeply settled state of transcendence was said to be difficult and usually involved attempts at mind control or concentration. It was believed that meditation was mostly for recluses and that it took many years to master it or to achieve the desired results. It was thought that the goal of meditation was an exotic, mystical, often vaguely described state (called "enlightenment")—a state that, far as modern science was concerned, might verge on self-hallucination. Cases of demonstrable results from meditation were rare, perhaps found only among a few yogis or monks who had committed their lives to it. There was no scientific evidence that meditation was a practical way to improve one's life. 

The collective understanding about meditation has evolved, but this was the background against which Maharishi introduced the Transcendental Meditation technique. 

An organization to preserve the effectiveness:
Based on the newly revived knowledge Maharishi received from his teacher, Brahmananda Saraswati or “Guru Dev,” Maharishi systematized this technique of effortless transcending and structured the seven-step TM course. The standardized teaching structure ensured that the practice would give consistent results—and it allowed scientists to verify the technique's effects in repeatable experiments. Maharishi’s comprehensive, scientific approach and his skill as a teacher is structured into every aspect of the seven-step TM course and follow-up as taught by certified TM instructors.

Maharishi founded a non-profit, worldwide educational foundation to teach the TM technique in its original effectiveness. The purpose of the non-profit foundation is to preserve the technique's purity by maintaining a high standard of teachingand thereby ensure that the technique doesn't get lost again.

With over 6 million people having learned the Transcendental Meditation technique during his lifetime, Maharishi’s accomplishment as a meditation teacher is historically unprecedented.

Through the systematic teaching procedures and organizational structure Maharishi established, the river of Vedic knowledge flows in its purity and simplicity to everyone who learns the TM technique from a certified teacher, maintaining the technique's full effectiveness—hopefully for many generations to come.

“Vedic" meditation?
Certified instructors of the Transcendental Meditation technique uphold the tested and proven teaching procedures and policies developed by Maharishi. Keeping these instructional procedures intact is seen as the primary safeguard to preserve the technique’s original effectiveness.

Many thousands of people have undergone TM Teacher Training—an intensive, full-time training program lasting up to six months. A small handful of these people, trained in the earliest days of Teacher Training, and against Maharishi's advice, decided to change not only the name of the practice (to "vedic" meditation) but also change how the practice is taught, along with other aspects of the teaching process. Some have even conducted their own teacher training courses, aiming to train competent meditation teachers in just a few days or weeks.

Even a minor change in the teaching process can affect the outcome of meditation practice, not to mention major changes. Over time, these changes can easily translate into a total loss of the technique's effectiveness. This is why so-called "vedic" meditation is not Transcendental Meditation.

TM teachers uphold the original teaching procedures and attend periodic re-certification workshops to ensure that all the precise procedures of teaching are being followed.

If someone claims to be teaching the same meditation technique that was introduced by Maharishi, but calls the practice by another name to sidestep the nonprofit structure (and the TM trademark), that is a sure sign that the method being offered is not the TM technique in its pure form. In such cases, the course fees are kept by the teacher rather than used primarily to sustain the nonprofit TM organization's philanthropic and peace-creating endeavors—such as free, large-scale meditation programs for inner city schools, Native Americans, war veterans with PTSD and the homeless. (The TM organization also offers grants and scholarships to individuals who cannot afford tuition for TM classes.)
Whenever a new technology proves useful, it’s natural for competitors to try and develop their own cheaper version and take advantage of the demand. But in the case of the Transcendental Meditation technique, a technology of consciousness, the practice cannot be separated from how it is taught. The careful, standardized steps of personal instruction and follow-up are a major part of why the practice is so easily learned and remarkably effective. 

When you receive instruction from a certified TM instructor, the teaching organization that Maharishi established vouches for the authenticity and full effectiveness of this meditation practice—and the scientific research on the TM technique is there to confirm that this particular practice and way of teaching it is effective. Using all the many resources developed within this system of knowledge, the TM teachers will provide you with a lifetime of free follow-up and support to ensure you gain maximum benefit.

You can locate or verify a certified TM instructor anywhere in the USA by calling 1-888-Learn-TM.

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