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. I
t's not guided imagery or common mantra meditation. It's authentic meditation that's easy to practice—once properly learned—but it can't be learned from a book, website or download.

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Personal instruction: Learning the TM technique remains refreshingly human, involving in-person private instruction, along with a series of classes (either in person or remotely through a digital course) taught by a professional teacher who is rigorously trained and certified. The program also comes with a lifetime of free personal follow-up and support.

If learning the TM technique requires the time of a professional instructor, in-depth classes, an adequate teaching space and continuing follow-up, obviously expenses will be incurred—thus the course fee.

Non-profit: The TM technique is offered by a non-profit educational organization [501(c)(3)] called Maharishi Foundation USA, which exists solely to train and certify teachers and bring the benefits of fully effective meditation to people everywhere. Part of every TM course fee helps fund someone to learn who cannot afford to pay. Over 1 million people at risk have learned the TM technique for free over the past 10-15 years. See http://www.tm.org/inside-story

The TM course fee 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 their course fee to sustain the program—giving something back and paying it forward.

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Uniqueness: The TM technique is distinguished by its ease of practice, holistic benefits and scientific verification. It's standardized, systematic instruction process ensures effectiveness and consistency of results. 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. For example, the American Heart Association, after doing its own comparative research, determined that the TM technique is the only form of meditation effective for reducing high blood pressure.

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 the same systematic way by certified instructors worldwide.

Could it 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 effectivenessdefinitively says yes: this careful, professional way of teaching may require a course fee, but it has proven marvelously beneficial for those who learn. 

Anyone who wants can learn: There is a sliding scale of standard fees for the TM course, based on household income, with reduced rates for full-time students 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.

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.

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