In recent years, the Transcendental Meditation technique has become widely recognized as an effective tool for reducing physical and mental stress. TM helps lower blood pressure, improve heart health, increase brain functioning, and decrease depression, anxiety and insomnia. In short, TM can help heal any condition exacerbated by constant exposure to stress.
Reducing stress is crucial, but TM is much more than a stress-reduction tool. It is an authentic meditation technique from the ancient Vedic tradition of India that promotes spiritual growth.
What do we mean by spiritual growth? We mean growth of the inner person that is the foundation of the ego, mind, body, senses, and behaviour. Spiritual growth is the growth of that part of us that is hidden from view but is at the basis of everything we are and the source of true and lasting happiness.
How do we uncover our inner Self?
The secret to uncovering our hidden inner Self is to turn within, and we can do that through the mind.
The mind has many levels. The surface level of the mind is where we function every day. This is the conscious, active, hectic level of the mind, where we think, plan, evaluate, react, and search for meaning in life. But, as modern psychology tells us, there are deeper levels of the mind beyond the conscious level. If we can find a way to go deep within our mind, we will eventually reach the deepest level of the mind, where full spiritual awakening starts.
The most easy, efficient, and effective way of contacting the deeper levels of the mind is through the process referred to as transcending – or going beyond thoughts. This can easily and naturally be done by means of the Transcendental Meditation® (TM) technique. TM allows the attention of the mind to effortlessly move inward, allowing the mind to experience quieter, more restful levels of awareness until, eventually, we experience the most silent and settled field the mind is capable of experiencing, a field of “pure inner wakefulness” or “transcendental consciousness” ( an experience of being aware of awareness itself ), which lies at the source of our mind, the source of all thought.
Without the deep meditation that TM provides, we rarely experience this deepest level of our Self in our day-to-day life because our attention is always drawn outward by the senses. We simply don’t know how to turn within without being shown. However, some lucky individuals do have momentary, or even sustained, spontaneous experiences of this deepest level of the Self, but they have no way of bringing that experience back into their daily lives. Their experiences come when they come. Fortunately for all of us, once the mind is shown how to systematically turn inward with the Transcendental Meditation technique, the richness of the deep inner Self can be consistently experienced and enjoyed, both as a state of deep inner contentment and also as a state of outward energy, efficiency, and achievement.
What is the experience of the inner Self like?
Craig Pearson, the author of the book The Supreme Awakening, tells us that the experience of the inner Self is variously described as “inner expansion”, “clarity and wakefulness,” “happiness and beauty,” “experience of the underlying reality,” and “experience of the divine.”
Pearson offers specific descriptions, such as that of Lucy Maude Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables, who writes:
19th-century English author Mary Webb explains:
Pearson’s book also offers experiences that TM meditators have during their meditations. One meditator writes:
Meditation begins as most do. I feel as if I am a small stone sinking into an ocean of filtered light. The light seems to be coming from all directions . . . and I sink deeper into this ocean of consciousness—no real experience of having entered this ocean—just being there and going deeper and deeper. It is beyond peaceful, beyond serene.
Then something quite extraordinary happens. The ocean disappears. I mean it is just gone. And I am in an indescribable place. I am alone with myself, and I have never been so clearly and entirely and fully awake. There is nothing but That—no ocean, no me, no anything, but totality. And I am fully awake to it.
How does spiritual awakening become a permanent reality?
The important point is that with TM, each time we meditate, we work towards the full awakening of our inner Self and the feeling of fullness that comes with that. We don’t experience this by chance but by regularly diving within and uncovering the richness of our inner Self. The feeling of expansion and unboundedness experienced during our meditation gradually becomes part of our daily life so that the blissful, relaxed clarity of our inner being becomes a 24-hour reality and the basis for all our joy and success. Full spiritual awakening becomes a permanent reality.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation technique,describes this highest state of permanent human development as:
It’s back to stress release.
Experiencing the fullness of bliss consciousness as a daily living reality does not happen overnight. We must culture the nervous system to develop and maintain that experience. The first step is to release all the stress built up in our physiology over our lifetime because stress clouds the recognition of wholeness, which is our deepest inner nature. So, as stated above, TM as a tool for stress reduction is critical. Releasing stress normalizes and brings balance to the physiology and cultures the nervous system to maintain the experience of wholeness and happiness. Each time we meditate with TM, we refine the nervous system and
come one step closer to experiencing the fullness of our innermost Self to realize the ultimate goal of meditation – full spiritual development, full awakening.
- Pearson, Craig; The Supreme Awakening: Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time —and how You Can Cultivate Them. Maharishi University of Management Press, 2013, p. ?.
- Ibid: p 289-290
- Ibid: p. 292
- Ibid: p. 53
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita : A new Translation and Commentary with Sanskrit Text. Chapter 1 to 6. Kindle Edition, p. 531