True, the word meditation immediately brings to mind the picture of an old sage, with a flowing white beard and a head full of silky white hair contemplating on issues that mostly concern the spiritual side of life. It does sound very mystical and intimidating however it is not a pre-requisite to practicing meditation.
However Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the transcendental meditation does sport a similar look and while his habit of giggling during interviews, may have earned him the nickname “giggling guru” he does have a bunch of dedicated followers.
What is Transcendental meditation?
Transcendental meditation is said to be a set of Hindu meditation techniques, involving the chanting of a mantra which is basically just the name of a Hindu god. However, transcendental meditation, according to its leaders and followers, requires just two 20 minutes a day spent in a state they call restful alertness.
According to them, it doesn’t need you to concentrate or focus on anything. And it supposedly works even without you believing that it does. The followers of transcendental meditation also say that at the height of restful awareness, the mind transcends all mental actions which they term as Transcendental Consciousness. They further claim that scientific studies have proven that experiencing this state of the mind brings about higher IQ, creativity, learning, moral reasoning, and even a better neurological functioning of one’s body. In short, transcendental meditation frees the mind and body of their inhibitions and releases all the suppressed natural capabilities vital to leading a happy life.
Because of the methods and techniques involved in practicing transcendental meditation it can rather easily be mistook for a religion or a cult. Another contributing reason why it may be mistook for a religion or cult is because it is often referred to as the “Science of Creative Intelligence”, which incidentally is now a degree at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.
The university also boasts of “a Full Range of Academic Disciplines for Successful Management of All Fields of Life”. The group of people opposing transcendental meditation’s claims also point out that several health and beauty products are being sold on the university premises for people who want to “improve” their body as much as their mind.
However the most unbelievable claim of all claims surrounding transcendental meditation is that practicing it enables its followers to fly – or levitate. This was probably disproved because they do not insist on being able to fly anymore, though some others still declare to have possessed supernatural and paranormal capabilities like becoming invisible. Along with flying, this claim too remains unproven to this date.
A former transcendental follower once said that most meditation methods are quite similar to the transcendental meditation, the only difference being that the latter is wrapped up in questionable publicity claims and stunts.
The best way to practice transcendental meditation is to follow the techniques and practices for the sole purpose of relaxing the mind and body and not get swayed by it’s dubious claims.
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