Everything You Need to Know about Transcendental Meditation

Meditation is without a doubt a tool you should consider adding to your tool box for your quest to reach a state of optimal performance. A state this blog is dedicated to.

The hard thing in the beginning, is choosing which form to practice. Not easy to decide, considering how many options, that exist out there. Up until now, I have primarily been a guided meditation via apps/mindfulness guy – and I still recommend this. However, I recently decided I would explore other forms as well.

On my favorite podcast (The Tim Ferriss Show), has it, among many top performers, been mentioned as a prominent part of a daily productive routine. Tim has had the habit of saying the following more than once: “Oh! so you meditate regularly!? Great, and what specific form do you do? TM (Transcendental Meditation) oooorrr?”

So in my own search for the most effective meditation form, this seemed like a reasonable place to start.

I started out by reading the “Bible” of TM (Shown above), which is called Science of Being and Art of Living, written by the founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The book was actually pretty long, and had very few practical lessons to give, which I felt justified me writing a blog post, that synthesized all the key points.


What is TM

When you begin to learn the belief system that is the foundation for TM, you start to find, that it actually resembles something close to a religion. It confidently explains the inner workings of the whole universe, how “god” has created everything and how you can get back to the all creating force of the cosmos with your own mind. And this kind of turned me off from it all.

It is not that I can’t believe what the book says. I just feel like, it says with all too much confidence, how everything in the world works, while I think you should speak about such matters with much more humility.

But you still can use the idea of TM in you everyday meditation routine, without taking their word for who god is. I’ll get back to that.

An interesting thought the book mentions is the question of where your thoughts come from, before entering into your head?

The book, of cause, has all the answers, saying that they come from the absolute creating force of the universe, called “Being”. If you agree or not, your thoughts do come from some place. A place that science hasn’t found yet.

And that is how TM is all about getting yourself back to the place of where all your thoughts come from (so you can be in better contact with god and the universe bla bla bla). An interesting idea nonetheless.


How to do it

So how do you get back to the place where your thoughts begin? This is the true golden nugget of the book and TM in general.

You start out by looking at your mind as if it was an ocean:

How to do Transcendental Meditation

If you consider your mind an ocean, the waves are the visible part – your conscious thoughts. When the waves are high, you are stressed or have many thoughts in your head, when you have little stuff to worry about, it is like the waves are low.

Going forward with this ocean analogy, a meditation practice like mindfulness would be the act of just watching the waves of your mind, and thereby getting better understanding of them, while many other types of meditation, are based on the idea of controlling the waves.

From this standpoint, TM is different because it mainly entails going deeper into the ocean of your mind.

Thinking about going deeper next time you sit down to meditate, will give you a new perspective on your meditation practice. Suddenly it is not only about clearing your head, as much as exploring it.

But practically, how do you go deeper into your mind? The TM practice says, you should do this with a mantra – and by meditating on the idea itself. The problem is however, the TM experts say, that you cannot get your own customized and personalized mantra by reading it from a book or blog post. The only way to get it is buying it from a teacher, who has bought himself a certificate from the TM organisation.

You see, that’s where it all gets a little iffy for me. I think this is a very unfortunate model, for an organisation that claims, it wants to save the world. When I first learned about this strong economical barrier to entry, it almost made me want to close the book shot, but I ended up learning something from it still.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, learning a particular mantra from a TM teacher, you can do the one I have come up with myself. I constantly whisper the word “deeper” in my mind, every time I breath out, when I meditate, and then I try to focus on the idea of going deeper into my head.

TM is prescribed to it’s practitioners in 20 minutes session twice a day (morning and evening).

You can learn from the ocean analogy, and start going into your mind by now. You can also take it a step further, by reading the book and learning about the worldview of TM. You can even decide to go to a teacher, and get personal coaching (by paying a fee).

However, if you know about the ocean analogy, you know about the 20%, that is going to get you 80% of the way in TM.

And if you don’t know about the 80/20 rule, you should google it 🙂
Thanks for reading!

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Max Micheelsen

I'm a simplifier, Love efficiency in all forms, Beleive in a slow lifestyle, enabled via smart solutions

8 tanker om “Everything You Need to Know about Transcendental Meditation”

  1. Thanks Max for the summary. Great analogy with the ocean and explaining other methods.

    I too discovered TM from Tim and am about to explore. The singular requirement of having to pay for a mantra shows the iffy nature of it. From what I’ve learned, will also add to help other people that you shouldn’t judge yourself for when you inevitably deviate from your mantra.

  2. Only thing is, what Tim describes TM, and everything he says he does is the opposite of the instruction. “trying” “focusing” “repeating a mantra for 20mins” “the mantra being a white noise for your thoughts” “working the focus muscle” “bringing yourself back to the mantra”
    If that was Tim’s instruction, he needs his money back. It is the antithesis of TM.

  3. Oh and by the way, he also said that he feels he gets most of his benefits in the last 5 mins. That’s probably because he’s doing it wrong. Many studies show all the benefits come in the first 12-15 mins.

  4. I dont say this to be critical but the ocean analogy is JUST an analogy. It is not HOW you meditate. It plays no part in the technique. It is simply to explain to students what the meditation is attempting to do.
    Also, you say “how do you go deeper into your mind? The TM practice says, you should do this with a mantra – and by meditating on the idea itself.”
    This is problematic. You do NOT meditate on the mantra. You do not meditate on the “idea itself.” There is no idea. The mantra has NO meaning. It is merely a skillful device. And you do NOT repeat it throughout the meditation.
    It isn’t possible to teach the technique in a comments section. If you’re really interested, read this: http://nsrusa.org/faq.php This is TM but by another name; demystified; with no religious or mystical aspects, and cheap. Very, very cheap.
    Good luck. It’s all in there. And if you enjoy it, then read the forum posts. Theyre really helpful.
    And like I said, Tim Ferriss hasn’t a clue.
    And by the way it works.

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