I learned the Transcendental Meditation technique way back in February 1974 when I was in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan. I’ll say more about its comprehensive benefits another time. Right now, I’ll say that my late life partner, Margaret Ardussi, was a highly respected TM teacher and that buying instruction in the TM technique was the best investment I’ve made in my life. I shudder to think what my life would have been like without it. (Notice I didn’t say “would be” — that’s because without the TM technique I probably would not have survived my 20’s.)
There are seven steps to learning the TM program, which was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The first is an introductory lecture, which discusses the benefits of learning the technique for you as an individual and for society and the scientific research on these benefits. The second is a preparatory lecture, which discusses the origin of the technique and how it works. For people who decide to learn the TM technique, following the preparatory lecture there is a short personal interview with a certified TM teacher. In the fourth step, usually a day or two later, you are instructed in the TM technique.
Steps five, six and seven are are group meetings with all the people instructed on the same day. In the step five class, the TM teacher gives instructions and answers questions to ensure everyone is practicing the technique correctly. In the step six class, the TM teacher explains the mechanics of how TM works in more depth than step two because now he or she is talking to people who have experienced it. In the step seven class, the TM teacher explains the characteristics of higher states of consciousness and how they develop. (I’ll be writing posts about that.) Oh, and there’s a free life-time follow-up program, too.
A couple of the things people sometimes worry about when they first learn the TM technique is whether they can look at their watch while practicing the technique (yes, no problem) and how to deal with distractions.
So, back in 1974, when the teacher leading my follow-up classes was asked, “What should we do if there’s a fly?”
He smiled and said, “Maharishi says, ‘In this meditation, we swat flies.'”
It makes me smile every time I remember it. I can’t think why I keep thinking about it every time I’ve watched the news over the last couple of days, though.
I almost forgot — the price to learn the TM technique has been temporarily reduced! And there are couples’ and family rates and student rates and senior citizen rates — really, I don’t know how the organization is able to function with such low rates.
I have absolutely no patience with people who complain that if TM is so good, why does it cost money, or cost so much money, or whatever. The original price of the TM technique was to be a man, give up all your worldly possessions, be celibate and join an ashram. THEN, hope that the guru leading the ashram knew the technique AND would teach it to you.
The TM technique is effortless and very pleasant to do. It does not require you to sit a certain way. You do not have to change your diet. It works whether or not you believe it will work. It is unique among meditation techniques, which is explained in the second lecture. It is NOT a religion and does not compete with any religion. The foremost researcher on the effects of the TM program on the individual and society is Dr. David Orme-Johnson and he has letters about practicing TM written by people of different religions here.
Tomorrow I will resume my regularly scheduled programming aimed at persuading CBS to FIRE DAVID LETTERMAN. I’ll also be writing a post explaining what mobbing is and why what Letterman is doing is really inciting a mob, not doing comedy.