How can anyone put a price on Transcendental Meditation?

Meditators often say that you can't put a price on the Transcendental Meditation technique—because it's priceless.

Is is true that nothing spiritual should have a price tag on it, or that anything this good that will make the world better should be taught for free?

If the TM technique is everyone's birthright, as TM's founder, Maharishi, always said, then why not give it out to everyone free of charge? 

That would be great, if it were possible, but unfortunately that's not how the world works.

Take water, for example. Certainly it should be everyone's birthright to have pure water. And how could anyone put a price on water, natural and essential to every living being?

Yet, every month, most of us get an envelop in the mail from the water department. We open it and pay the bill to keep the water flowing. Have we put a price on something natural and essential that's everyone's birthright? Not really, it seems.

Water is of infinite value because we couldn't live without it, but we still pay our finite water bill. When we do, we're not placing a monetary value on water itself. We're paying the cost of getting the water to us, of being able to conveniently turn on the spigot to let the water flow. We're paying the cost of keeping the water pure and consistently available. We're paying for the delivery system.

When a person pays their course fee to learn the TM technique, they're not paying an amount that people in a boardroom somewhere determined was the value of the technique. If the TM course fee were set at even a fraction of the technique's true worth (in health care savings alone), few of us could afford it. 

So what does the course fee pay for? It pays for the cost of getting the technique to you in its pure form — meaning, in its original effectiveness. You could say you're paying for the convenient system that allows you to turn on the spigot and enjoy the consistent, satisfying results of tapping into your deepest inner reserves.

The TM technique is a tool for accessing the reservoir of limitless creativity and intelligence that resides within everyone. It's every person's birthright to be able to dive within and experience that inner treasury. But without proper instruction in the use of an effective technique for transcending, that experience remains pretty much out of reach for most people — left up to chance or to the realm of imagining or conceptualizing. Without an effortless, natural way to experience the mind's full, untapped potential, and without the knowledge that the transcendent exists within easy reach, a person may live an entire life not knowing this experience and never making use of the infinite possibilities of human consciousness. This lack of knowledge is said to be the cause of all suffering and problems in society.

Maintaining the delivery system: Teaching the TM technique is time-intensive for the teacher. When you pay the initial TM course fee, you're paying for the expert services rendered and you're helping sustain the non-profit organization that will always be there to offer you lifelong guidance and support that comes with learning the TM technique. Once you've learned, without any further cost you'll always have access to the trained and experienced TM teachers who can give you continuing knowledge and will make sure you're practicing meditation correctly. ("Correctly" means: in the natural, effortless way that leads to maximum benefits.) 

You're paying the cost of getting the water to you and maintaining the delivery system, so that others after you will not go thirsty.

If the TM technique were no different, in practice and results, from any other form of meditation, or if you could learn it from a book or on your own, there would be no reason for TM teachers to be trained, no reason for the seven-step TM course or the follow-up and support, no reason for the non-profit organization and no reason for the course fee.  The program's founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, would have had no reason for leaving the Himalayas to offer this technique to the world.

But the Transcendental Meditation technique is very different from other meditation practices, and you cannot learn the technique properly on your own or from a book.

If it's possible for human life to be lived in a state of harmony, happiness, progress and well-being, if peace is possible — for each of us individually and the society as a whole — then, considering mankind's history of suffering, clearly something very basic has been missing from human life. 

Maharishi taught that it is the direct experience of transcending that has been missing, the natural process of going beyond the surface, active levels of the mind to experience pure, silent, unbounded awareness, the inner source of all our energy, creativity and intelligence. 

The TM technique had been lost to society for many centuries before Maharishi introduced it in 1955. To help ensure that it doesn't get lost again, the technique is taught in this systematic, standardized way. Learning may require one-on-one instruction, a few classes and a course fee, but that's a small price to pay for what you're getting. By making your contribution to the program, you're helping preserve the technique for this and future generations. 

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