Sunday, November 25, 2012

Transcendental Meditation


Transcendental Meditation (TM) refers to a specific form of mantra meditation called the Transcendental Meditation technique and an organization called the Transcendental Meditation movement. The TM technique and TM movement were introduced in India in the mid-1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1918–2008).
The Maharishi taught thousands of people during a series of world tours from 1958 to 1965, expressing his teachings in spiritual and religious terms. TM became more popular in the 1960s and 1970s, as the Maharishi shifted to a more scientific presentation and his meditation technique was practiced by celebrities. At this time he began training TM teachers and created specialized organizations to present TM to specific segments of the population such as business people and students. By the late 2000s, TM had been taught to millions of people, and the worldwide TM organization had grown to include educational programs, health products, and related services.
The TM technique involves the use of a sound or mantra and is practiced for 15–20 minutes twice per day. It is taught by certified teachers through a standard course of instruction but fees vary by country. It is said to be a means of relaxation and stress reduction. Skeptics question its scientific value while proponents say that Transcendental Meditation research indicates improved health, creativity, intelligence, and a positive influence on society. In 1977, a U.S. district court ruled that a curriculum in TM and the Science of Creative Intelligence that was being taught in some New Jersey schools was religious in nature and in violation of the First Amendment. The Transcendental Meditation technique has been variously described by sociologists and religious scholars as religious and non-religious. The characterizations and responses to the TM technique by governmental agencies has varied depending on the time period, specific agency, and country of origin.
TM is one of the most widely practiced, and among the most widely researched meditation techniques. Research reviews of the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique show results ranging from inconclusive  to clinically significant.
The Transcendental Meditation (TM) program and the Transcendental Meditation movement originated with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the organization, and continue beyond his death (2008). In 1955,the Maharishi began publicly teaching a traditional meditation technique learned from his master Brahmananda Saraswati, which he called Transcendental Deep Meditation., and later renamed Transcendental Meditation. 

The Maharishi initiated thousands of people, then developed a TM teacher training program as a way to accelerate the rate of bringing the technique to more people. He also inaugurated a series of world tours which promoted Transcendental Meditation. These factors, coupled with endorsements by celebrities who practiced TM, along with scientific research that validated the technique, helped to popularize the TM in the 1960s and 1970s. As well, in the 1970s advanced meditative techniques were introduced. By the late 2000s, TM had been taught to millions of individuals and the Maharishi was overseeing a large multinational movement.Despite organizational changes and additional techniques, the Transcendental Meditation technique has remained relatively unchanged.
Among the first organizations to promote TM were the Spiritual Regeneration Movement and the International Meditation Society. In present times, the movement has grown to encompass schools and universities that teach the practice, and includes many associated programs offering health and well-being based on the Maharishi's interpretation of the Vedic traditions. In the U.S., major organizations included Students International Meditation Society, AFSCI, World Peace Executive Council, Maharishi Vedic Education Corporation, and Global Country of World Peace. The successor to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and head of the Global Country of World Peace, is Tony Nader.
he Transcendental Meditation technique is a specific form of mantra meditation developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi  and often referred to as Transcendental Meditation or simply, TM. The meditation practice involves the use of a sound, called a mantra, and is practiced for 15–20 minutes twice per day, while sitting with closed eyes. The technique is reported to be one of the most widely practiced, and among the most widely researched, meditation techniques, with over 340 peer-reviewed studies published. Research reviews of the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique have yielded results ranging from inconclusive to clinically significant. The technique is made available worldwide by certified TM teachers in a seven step course.
Beginning in 1965, the Transcendental Meditation technique was incorporated into selected institutional programs such as schools, universities and corporations, as well as social programs aimed at veterans, prison inmates and the homeless. In 1977, a U.S. district court ruled that a curriculum in TM and the Science of Creative Intelligence that was being taught in some New Jersey schools was religious in nature and in violation of the First Amendment. The technique has since been included in educational and social programs worldwide.
The Transcendental Meditation technique has been described as both religious and non religious, as an aspect of a New Religious Movement, as having roots in Hinduism, and by the TM movement as scientific and non-religious. Publicity campaigns for the TM technique have varied over a 50 year history. It has been praised for visibility in the mass media and effective global propagation, and criticized for turning its celebrity and scientific 
endorsements into propaganda. The fees for the TM course vary from country to country.
Advanced courses supplement the TM technique and include an advanced meditation called the TM-Sidhi program. In 1970, the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) became the theoretical basis for the Transcendental Meditation technique, although skeptics questioned its scientific nature. According to proponents, when 1 percent of a population (such as a city or country) practices the TM technique daily, their practice influences the quality of life for that population. This has been termed the Maharishi Effect.
The Transcendental Meditation movement (also referred to as Transcendental Meditation or TM, Maharishi's worldwide movement, and the Transcendental Meditation organization) is a worldwide organization, sometimes characterized as a neo-Hindu new religious movement, and also as non-religious, founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s. Estimated to have tens of thousands of participants, with high estimates citing as many as several million, the global organization also consists of close to 1,000 TM centers, and controls property assets of the order of USD 3.5 billion (1998 estimate), including real estate holdings, schools, and clinics.
The term Transcendental Meditation movement refers to programs and organizations connected to the Transcendental Meditation technique that were developed and or introduced by the founder. These programs include the TM-Sidhi program, Maharishi Ayurveda and Maharishi Sthapatya Veda. The TM-Sidhi program is an advanced form of Transcendental Meditation and includes "Yogic flying". Maharishi Ayurveda is an alternative system of health care that aims to restore balance in the physiology, eliminate impurities, and awaken the body's natural healing mechanisms. Maharishi Sthapatya Veda is a system of architectural and planning principles based on "ancient Sanskrit texts" The movement also operates numerous schools and universities, offers monastic programs called Mother Divine and Thousand Headed Purusha, operates health centers such as The Raj and Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center, assorted businesses such as Maharishi Ayurveda Products International and several TM-centered communities.
The first organization of the Transcendental Meditation movement was the Spiritual Regeneration Movement, founded in India in 1958. The International Meditation Society and Student International Meditation Society (SIMS) were founded in the US in the 1960s. The organizations were consolidated under the leadership of the World Plan Executive Council in the 1970s. In 1992, a political party, the Natural Law Party (NLP) was founded based on the principles of TM and it ran candidates in ten countries before disbanding in 2004. The Global Country of World Peace is currently one of the primary organizations.
The TM movement has been described as a spiritual movement, as a new religious movement, and a "Neo-Hindu" sect. It has been characterized as a religion, a cult, a charismatic movement, a "sect", "plastic export Hinduism", a progressive millennialism organization and a "multinational, capitalist, Vedantic Export Religion" in books and the mainstream press, with concerns that the movement was being run to promote the Maharishi's personal interests. 

Skeptics have called TM or its associated theories and technologies a pseudoscience. Other sources assert that TM is not a religion, but a meditation technique; and they hold that the TM movement is a spiritual organization, and not a religion or a cult. Participation in TM programs at any level does not require one to hold or deny any specific religious beliefs; TM is practiced by people of many diverse religious affiliations, as well as atheists and agnostics.