After my post, “Should Meditation Be Taught in Schools?” a few days back, I got to thinking about Transcendental Meditation, thanks to a reader with a comment and a link to The David Lynch Foundation.
TM has been around since the mid-century and is a well known method of meditation. It’s touted as being the most highly researched method of meditation as well. David Lynch, a Hollywood director and long time TM meditator, established a foundation that pays for students, schools and even entire school districts to be trained in the meditation as long as the schools commit to making 15 to 20 minutes of quiet time available to students twice daily to practice.I think this is wonderful thing that he’s doing, as I’m a real advocate of meditation in general, due to its many benefits. It’s also very. very generous of Lynch and the donors to his foundation as the course in TM is known to be pretty pricey.
Two years ago a friend and I attended a free introductory lecture for TM at a local hotel to learn more about it. The trainer came down to the hotel lobby to meet us and took us to a suite where he spoke to us (we were the only two there) for almost two hours on the benefits of TM. It was a very well scripted sales pitch. At the end of his lecture he asked us if we were interested in proceeding and both of us were, until he mentioned that the price tag was $2000.00. I think both of our mouths dropped open. Needless to say we didn’t do it.
I wanted to take TM years ago but the cost, which was less back then, put me off. Luckily, I found The Siva Method, a different type of meditation, shortly afterward which was at least half the price. A few years after that I found a Sahaja Yoga meditation class that was actually free and got a great deal out of it. I found it so valuable that I became an instructor.
The Silva Method is an active meditation where you learn very specific creative visualization techniques. It’s highly effective for achieving goals of any kind. I highly recommend it. Sahaja Yoga meditation is an eastern type meditation where the goal is to maintain a state of thought-free awareness. This state is achieved effortlessly and feels so wonderful you instantly want to continue meditating. I highly recommend it as well. Plus, did I mention it’s free?
From what I know about TM it’s a meditation where one receives a mantra that is repeated to clear the mind in order to achieve this same state of thought-free awareness as Sahaja Yoga, and as in many other eastern meditations. In 2009 TM lowered the prices of their courses. The adult course which was $2000.00 is now $1500.00, which I still think is too expensive. No wonder TM is so well researched they can afford to pay for research to be conducted on their method.
I still can’t imagine why the TM course is so expensive. The only thing that comes to mind is that we Westerners perceive higher cost with greater value. Perhaps the marketing division of TM is using this strategy? Could it also be possible that Maharishi might have gotten a bit greedy after he saw how readily Westerners hand their money over for meditation courses? The high cost is a turn-off and actually doesn’t sound very spiritual to me. In any case, after a quarter century of daily meditation I’m very satisfied with the technique I’m using.
So, unless I become the fortunate recipient of a scholarship from The David Lynch Foundation I’m pretty certain I’ll never find out if TM is really worth the cost.
Has anyone taken TM? I’d love to compare notes.