Transcendental Meditation



1.    of or relating to a spiritual or nonphysical realm: the transcendental importance of each person's soul

2.    surpassing all others; superior

3.  beyond common thought or experience; mystical or supernatural


Transcendental Meditation  by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

The process of bringing the attention to the level of transcendental Being is known as the system of Transcendental Meditation.


In the practice of Transcendental Meditation, a proper thought is selected and the technique of experiencing that thought in its infant states of development enables the conscious mind to arrive systematically at the source of thought, the field of Being.


Thus, the way to experience transcendental Being lies in selecting a proper thought and experiencing its subtle states until its subtlest state is experienced and transcended.


We shall now deal with the main principle of the system of Transcendental Meditation.


The Main Principle of Transcendental Meditation


We have seen that Being is the state of eternal and absolute existence and that the way to experience Being is to experience from the gross to the subtle states of creation until the mind arrives at the Transcendent.

We have seen that we could proceed through any sense of experience. For example, through the sense of sight we could experience gradually subtler and subtler forms and eventually our eyes would reach a point where they were unable to perceive a form beyond a certain degree of subtlety. If we could close our eyes and train the inner eye - the eye of the mind - to perceive the object at the point at which we failed to perceive it through our open eyes, we would have a mental image of the object. If there were a way to experience the finer and finer fields of that mental image, experience its finest state and transcend it, we would then reach the state of Being. Likewise, through any sense of experience we could start experiencing the object and eventually arrive at the transcendental state of Being.


Through the experience of a thought we could experience the subtle states of thinking and, transcending the subtlest state of thinking, we would be sure to arrive at the transcendental state of Being.


Thinking, in itself, is the subtle state of speech. When we speak, our words are audible to the ears, but if we do not speak, the words do not become perceptible to the organ of hearing. Thus we find that thought is a subtle form of sound.


Experience shows that the process of thinking starts from the deepest, most refined level of consciousness and becomes grosser as it develops. Eventually it becomes gross enough to be perceived on the surface level of the ocean of consciousness, on the common level of thinking. An analogy will clarify the principle.


A thought starts from the deepest level of consciousness, from the deepest level of the ocean of mind, as a bubble starts at the bottom of the sea. As the bubble rises, it gradually becomes bigger. When it comes to the surface of the water it is perceived as a bubble.


Mind is like an ocean, and, as in an ocean, the surface layers are active in waves and the deeper levels are silent. The surface layers of the mind are actively functioning while the deeper levels are silent. The surface functioning level of the ocean of mind is said to be the conscious mind. Any thought on the surface level is conscious mind. Any thought on the surface level is consciously cognized. The level of the ocean of mind at which the thoughts are appreciated as thoughts is the conscious level of the mind.


A thought starts from the deepest level of consciousness, travels through the whole depth of the ocean of mind, and finally appears as a conscious thought on the surface. Thus we find that every thought stirs the whole range of the depth of consciousness, but it is consciously appreciated only when it has come to the conscious level; the rest of its many stages of development are not appreciated. That is why, for all practical purposes, we say that the deeper levels of the ocean of consciousness are as though silent. If there were a way to consciously appreciate all the states of the bubble of thought prior to its reaching the surface level, that would be the way to transcend thought and experience transcendental Being.


The bubble of thought rising from the level Z becomes bigger (see illustration). By the time it reaches the surface level A, it has developed enough to be appreciated as a thought. This is the level of the conscious mind.


The subtle states of the bubble of thought below the level of the conscious state are not consciously appreciated. If there were a way to appreciate consciously the bubble of thought at all levels of its development, and at the source Z, and if it were possible to transcend this experience, then the mind would gain the state of Transcendental Consciousness.


If the bubble of thought could be consciously appreciated at the level below A and at all levels of subtlety from A to Z, it would then be possible to bring the level Z within the range of the conscious mind. In this way the depth of the conscious mind (represented by W1) would become greater (as represented by W2), and the power of the conscious mind would be increased many fold. This expansion of the conscious capacity of the mind will again be, on the mental level, on the way to experiencing Being.


The Technique


Bubbles of thought are produced in a stream, one after the other, and the mind is trained to experience the oncoming bubble at an earlier and earlier stage of its development (see illustration). When the attention has reached level Z, it has traversed the whole depth of the mind, and has reached the source of creative intelligence in man.


This source of thought thus comes within the scope of the conscious mind. When it transcends the subtlest state of thought, the conscious mind transcends the subtlest state of relative experience and arrives at the state of transcendental Being, the state of pure consciousness or Self-awareness.


This is how, in a systematic manner, the conscious mind is led on, step by step, to the direct experience of transcendental absolute Being.


Increasing Charm on the Path of Transcending


To go to a field of greater happiness is the natural tendency of the mind. Because in this practice of Transcendental Meditation the conscious mind is set on its way to transcending and experiencing transcendental absolute Being, whose nature is bliss consciousness, the mind finds that the way is increasingly attractive as it advances in the direction of bliss. A light becomes faint and dim as we go away from its source, and the intensity increases as we proceed toward the source. Similarly, when the mind goes in the direction of the absolute bliss of transcendental Being, it finds increasing charm at every step of its march. The mind is charmed and is led to experience transcendental Being.


Thus we find the practice of Transcendental Meditation is a pleasant practice for every mind. Whatever the state of evolution of the aspirant, whether or not he is emotionally developed or intellectually advanced, his mind, by its very tendency to go to a field of greater happiness, finds its way to transcend the subtlest state of thinking and arrive at the bliss of absolute Being. That is why the practice of Transcendental Meditation is not only simple, but also automatic.


Increased Conscious Capacity of the Mind


We will analyze in detail what has happened to the conscious mind during Transcendental Meditation when it fathoms the subtle states of thought. This, of course, is not a part of our consideration of how to experience Being, but it is interesting to note what happens to the mind on its way to directly experiencing the transcendental. In the diagram, the area of the conscious mind represented by W1 has become the much larger area represented by W2. It is as if the waves on the surface of the ocean have communicated themselves with the deeper levels of water with the result that each wave is mightier than the wave before.


On the path to experiencing Being, the conscious capacity of the mind is enlarged and the whole ocean of mind becomes capable of being conscious. The full mental potential is thus unfolded, and the conscious capacity of the mind is increased to the maximum limit. How it is technically achieved is a matter of personal instruction from those who have been trained to impart this technique of experiencing Being.


Importance of a Proper Thought


A proper thought means a thought whose nature is harmonious and useful to the thinker and the surroundings. Every thought, as has every spoken word, has some influence on the thinker and on his surroundings. Just as a stone thrown into a pond produces waves that reach all the extremities of the pond, any thought, word or action produces waves in the atmosphere, and these waves travel in all directions and strike against everything in the atmosphere. They produce some influence in every level of creation. The whole universe is influenced by every thought, word, and action of every individual.


When such is the wide range of the influence of a thought, one has to be very particular about the quality of thought one creates in his mind. There may be a thought whose influence is detrimental to the thinker and to the rest of the universe. Likewise, there may be a thought whose influence is favorable and useful to the thinker and to the world at large. Because each personality has its own quality, it is extremely necessary that each man should have selected for him a special quality of thought whose physical influence will be conducive and useful to himself and the world at large.

The influence of a spoken word that is carried by the waves of vibrations in the atmosphere does not depend upon the meaning of the word. It lies in the quality of the vibrations that are set forth. Therefore, where it is necessary to produce vibrations of good quality that produce an influence of harmony and happiness, it also is necessary that the quality of vibration should correspond to that of the individual.


Individuals differ in the quality of their vibrations which constitute their individual personalities.


That is why the selection of a proper thought for a particular individual is a vital factor in the practice of Transcendental Meditation.


Since the quality of each man is different from that of every other man, it is all the more difficult to be able to select the right type of vibration or the proper quality of thought for the practice of Transcendental Meditation. This problem of selecting a proper thought whose physical quality corresponds to the physical quality of the thinker becomes increasingly important when we consider that the power of thought increases when the thought is appreciated in its infant states of development.


We know that power is greater in the subtle strata of creation than in the gross. If we throw a stone at someone it will hurt him, but if we could enter into its subtle strata and excite an atom of the stone, tremendous energy would be released and the effect would be far greater. Similarly, when we enter into the subtler states of a thought, we appreciate its finer levels and the power is much greater than it would be on the common conscious level of the mind. With this in view, it is essential that, before starting the practice of Transcendental Meditation, a proper quality of sound should be selected.


The question of selecting a proper thought for a particular individual presents an enormous problem when we consider the far-reaching influence of an action in the entire universe.


An action performed by a particular individual in a particular place at a particular time may produce favorable results for the doer and the surroundings. The same action, however, may produce a different influence under different circumstances.


The consideration of action and its influence is highly complicated. It virtually goes beyond the capacity of the human mind to fathom the influence of an action at any level of creation. Therefore, the problem of selecting a proper thought for the daily practice of Transcendental Meditation is something which cannot be successfully decided by any and every individual.


For the sake of facilitating the finding of a proper word for every individual, certain individuals have been trained in the art of selecting a proper sound or word to correspond to the special quality of the individual. These trained teachers of Transcendental Meditation are found in almost every country of the world in the centers of the Spiritual Regeneration Movement.12


Necessity of Personal Guidance


By necessity, the practice of Transcendental Meditation is verbal; it is imparted by personal instruction. It cannot be imparted through a book because it not only involves telling an aspirant how to experience the subtle states of thinking, but an even greater responsibility lies in finding out what the aspirant experiences when he proceeds on that path.

A thought itself is a very abstract experience to a common man, and if he is asked to experience the subtle states of thought, he is being asked to experience the finer states of that abstract experience. To be able to do this seems to be an impossibility to the ordinary mind, which has always been used to the experience of gross, concrete objects.


The experiences on the path of Transcendental Meditation are very subtle, and the experiencer himself often is not certain that he is experiencing anything, because the moment he begins to experience the subtle state of thought, he finds himself drifting away to nothingness. It takes a while for the beginner to be able to pinpoint his experiences of the subtle state of thought. That is why it is not possible to put into writing how the mind passes through the experiences of the subtle states of thought. The practice of Transcendental Meditation must always be given by the expert teachers of Transcendental Meditation who have been properly trained to give it and who have been trained to check the experiences.


The checking of experiences is a vital point in the practice of Transcendental Meditation. Again, it cannot be done through books. The practice must result in all good in life, but by its nature it is delicate and therefore highly technical. Under personal instruction and guidance the way is smooth and easy.