In the past, the generally accepted wisdom about meditation was that it was a way for the mind to come to inner silence, and that this was achieved by forcing the mind to rest—usually through a form of concentration on a word, sound, or visual point, or through visualisation techniques. With this the mind soon gets bored and will want to wander. The accepted wisdom was to tell the mind, “No, stay here, stay focused.”
At some point the mind will grow so tired from all the effort from that concentration, that it will lose focus. At that point one may (possibly) find deeper experiences, although usually the mind is so tired that the experiences will hardly ever be very clear.
This process requires a lot of effort and discipline, and the general wisdom therefore is that only monks who can afford to spend many hours each day on meditation, could ever hope to get such “higher” experiences. This was how a point was reached where an experience that was described on many occasions throughout time in the most incredible terms, actually turned out to have very little practical use in everyday life, as it was so difficult to achieve that experience.
Out of the Himalayas…
But in 1955, from the Himalayas in India, came a wholly different interpretation of meditation. This was from a young scientist who, after his studies in physics, spent 13 years with one of the most important Vedic teachers of his time, and learned what meditation should actually be like.
From these studies with his teacher and from his own experiences, the young student learned that the mind should not be forced to come to inner silence. It is the most pleasant experience available for the mind to regain the ability to come “home”, and discover its own infinite power.
From its own nature the mind is drawn to a feeling of happiness. Wherever we look for happiness—in a relationship, a bigger house, or a better position at work, the ultimate driver for all that we do is to be happy. The mind’s true nature, its home, is a reality of pure happiness, and the mind will therefore automatically want to go there whenever it gets the chance. To force the mind to go there is counter-productive. The only way to experience this inner reality efficiently, is when this process comes naturally. We merely need to point the mind in the right direction, and can then let it go.
This natural process is what the young scientist formally structured into a programme that he called “Transcendental Meditation”. To transcend literally means to “go beyond”. It’s a process of going beyond the finest level of thought to a state of a total silence. He obtained the technique from his teacher, or Master as the term is called in India, and it was thanks to his (western) scientific mindset that he was able to analyse and structure it in a manner that allowed it to be taught as a technique that all people can practise in the comfort of their own homes. Nevertheless, he always insisted that the technique be taught in the name of his Master, or teacher, and not in his own.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
The young student later was awarded the title “Maharishi”, which means “great seer [visionary]” in Sanskrit. His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was his full title.
Maharishi’s biggest contribution only came later, once he succeeded in not just structuring the technique, but also in structuring the TM teachers’ education to enable them to teach the Transcendental Meditation technique correctly. The natural experience is very subtle and personal, and requires the careful guidance of a certified teacher with the requisite experience (and this is why TM cannot be learned from a book or tape).
The education to become a Transcendental Meditation teacher requires a full-time course of almost 6 months. Maharishi taught more than 40,000 people around the world to become TM teachers. This education has proven successful, as evidenced by all the research and the experiences of more than 6 million people that have already learned the technique. The TM technique is easy to learn, pleasant to practice, and affects all areas of life, because it goes to the source of all life. This is what real meditation should be like, much more than just relaxation. It should be returning to oneself, and discovering ones true nature (see the highest human experience).
Over the past 50 years Maharishi has revived numerous other methods from the Vedic texts (one of the oldest traditions in the world) to bring us back in touch with ourselves, and has brought this to the attention of the world through different systems, including Ayurveda, the natural system of healthcare from India.
Creation of a women’s wing to offer courses to women and girls
In 2008 Maharishi responded to the need for a wing within his global organization to offer TM and related courses especially for women—addressing issues of health, education, professional and personal development for women, and mother-baby care. As an organization for women by women—comprised of professionals, philanthropists, mothers, artists, students, and teachers, there are now over 50 women and girls organizations teaching the Transcendental Meditation technique in countries on every continent.
Mothers are the first educators
We are proud to contribute to the nourishing role that countless women’s organizations are playing in the actualization of better quality of life for the women and children of the world. By providing the mothers of the world with the practical technique and understanding of Transcendental Meditation, in one generation we can transform life in a widespread way. As mothers are the first educators, raising the quality of life for every mother will immediately produce a higher quality of life for the children and families of the world.
Nourishing role of in society
Always uphold the nourishing of in society, Maharishi said:
The dignity of a womans life is infinite, her status immeasurable, her capacity unbounded, her role divine. She fulfils the role of sustainer, creator, and promoter of life. She is the focal point from which radiates serenity. In the fast changing world of today her vision penetrates into the reality of the far beyond, the reality which endures beyond change.