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Transcendental meditation

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Since 1959 Maharishi Mahesh Yogi started teaching transcendental meditation, often referred to as simply TM, to willing people.

The Maharishi is among other things still the global coordinator of the teaching of TM, and the founder of the transcendental meditation movement. The Maharishi resides in Vlodrop (mun. Roerdalen), Netherlands.

The TM technique has been consistently marketed as being a simple, natural, effortless and easily learned mental technique practiced 15-20 minutes, twice daily while sitting comfortably in a chair.

In essence the technique comprises the silent mental repetition of a simple sound known as a mantra, allowing the repetition to become quieter and quieter during the course of the meditation. Practioners are encouraged to keep the mantra private and never to repeat it aloud, since its purpose is for moving inwards into the refined levels of the mind.

The TM organisation has attempted to keep the precise method for choosing a mantra a secret, but disenchanted ex-TM teachers have revealed that it is a chosen simply based on the age of person at the time they are initiated.

According to the TM organisation the mantras are meaningless sounds chosen to have a soothing effect upon the nervous system. Examining the full list of mantras issued over the years shows that they are all names of Hindu gods. This is likely to be a matter of concern to anyone who is already a commited practioner in another religion, despite the claims of the TM organisation that it is not a religion and is compatable with all faiths.

In its initial stages Maharashi emphasised the religious aspects of the technique and operated under the auspices of an organisation named the Spiritual Regeneration Movement. But the requirements of the West made him adopt a more secular approach in the 1970s, renaming the movement and emphasising relaxation, relief from stress, and improved personal effectiveness as TM's primary benefits.

The movement referenced many medical and sociological studies to strengthen the scientific objectivity of their claims, although the independence and methodological fitness of these have been subsequently criticised. More recent research also documents harmful effects in a minority of long-term practitioners including troubling physical tics, emotional volatility and inability to concentrate.

In the late 1970s the claims for the TM technique and associated advanced 'Siddhi Techniques' became more radical and increasingly targetted at existing adherents, with supposed benefits including a measurable decreased crime rate in cities with 1% of meditators (the Maharishi Effect), and supernormal powers including levitation[?].

According to the proponents of TM, in order to understand what TM is, it is helpful to assume a global consciousness[?], which is common to every human being, and interacts with our daily choices. They also assume that in daily lives, humans of flesh and blood are not as close to this global consciousness as one could be. The basic idea of TM is then to get closer to this consciousness. Since the global consciousness is good, people being nearer this global consciousness will easier understand, intuitively, what good means and will thus more likely be good. This leans on a belief that it is desirable to act good, and undesirable to act bad, in line with arguments proposed by Plato's Socrates in Menon[?] and The Republic.

Critics of TM state that transcendental meditation simple plain old meditation as practiced by in many religions, and there is absolutely no basis for anyone claiming that they invented it or spread it. It is also considered a cult by many cult researches, according to them one of the largest in the present day.

The modern interpretations of its significance are mostly in its health claims, e.g. reduced blood pressure, better concentration, etc., in which it can be seen by its supporters to be simply the most effective form of waking relaxation.

An organization called ex-TM[?] is for people who have been practising transcendental meditation. The general agenda of the organization is to reveal transcental meditation as a dangerous cult. The organization also describes the effects of TM as hypnotic.

The Natural Law political parties were started on Maharishi's decree that there should be parties around the world running for government, in order to inflict the natural law, which is defined by the global consciousness, described above.

Celebrities known to have practiced TM

Raam currency

In 2002 the Maharishi Global Financing Research Foundation, as Treasury of the "Global Country of World Peace", has issued the Raam NL in The Netherlands. It is a "currency", worth 10 euro, as an inspirational example for other countries to use the Raam in the financing of poverty removal and peace-creating projects by the Foundation.

There is also a US version.

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