Friday, 24 February 2012

Transcendental Meditation

A friend asked me about Transcendental Meditation:

Just curious to know if you have thoughts on TM. 

I have friends who grew up in a cult that practiced TM, so they have very negative associations with it. Just came across this youtube video where David Lynch talks about TM, so I'm curious now about it. Any thoughts?

I have read some of the views from people in the Lynch club. Actually nothing bad if you promote a type of meditation, however, it becomes a bit of a 'cult', when people practicing it, who have not really tried other types of meditations, start asserting that it's the best meditation.

If you read through Lynch's websites, you will find many claims that Transcendental Meditation is best over any other meditation. Well, if you ask for my personal opinion, it happened so that Lynch came across Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of India and learnt meditation from him and this meditation contributed in a vital way in his creative make-up and life. That was a chance event in my opinion. I think that Lynch has not tried all other types of meditation.

Those who put TM over all other meditations are in a way like religious fanatics (just with a bit different 'taste'). They have not really tried all other meditations, nor they have actually understood what meditation is. What do I mean by it? I mean following two things:

1. When you really understand what meditation is, you become capable of creating your own knacks and techniques and that gives you something of your own, which is almost always better than anything borrowed.

2. You never nourish and nurture a belief that the way you practice is the only way or the best way. Such beliefs arise out of sheer ignorance. If you practice a lot of types of meditation you would realize that. I am not suggesting in any way that you should just keep on experimenting--as not each one of us has same amount of free time available to do so. Similarly at times it's better to stick to a method for long than to just keep on switching between the methods. But idea is not to turn yourself into a fanatic just because you came to choose a particular type of meditation over the other. I have often emphasized the importance of attention on breathing, because, in my experience that seems to be a very easy meditation with very high effectiveness, however, it would be utterly rubbish if I started suggesting that it's the best type of meditation.

I don't really find studies supporting TM very convincing. TM has been marketed properly and sold cleverly. It's not a great meditation. It's just a tranquilizer, similar to a sedative. Nothing bad about tranquilizer and it's very much possible that those who have practiced it for long have attained great heights of consciousness, but believe me there are so many vital meditation methods available. Moreover, once you get the creative mode you can invent your own techniques of meditation.

Will you believe that Shiva has described 112 techniques of meditation in his very old esoteric treatise called 'Vigyan Bhairava' on which there have been beautiful commentaries by Indian mystic Osho? Many experts believe that it covers all types of meditations but I don't think so. I just think that there is no limit possible for fundamental variations possible for meditation techniques.

I have practiced many techniques including TM. TM is much hyped in my opinion. TM is a symbol of 'eastern things repackaged by western minds' tradition and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi along with his group used their business mindedness to sell a very simple and potential of 'placebo' level of meditation to millions. The so called Guru-mantra is kept secret! Bullshit. There is nothing secret about TM. 

No matter who comes selling you techniques for meditation, have an open mind and try to investigate on your own about efficacy. I see advertisements, Oprah Winfrey and David Lynch etc supporting it, but I don't let my view get clouded by my affinity for Lynchian cinema. 

In the end, any meditation or method or technique is a clutch in the path of what you call liberation or enlightenment. Clutches can help you walk for a while but like any other Guru or meditation or technique, whatever technique you have adopted for increasing your sensitivity, awareness and attention, has to be given up finally. Only then enlightenment happens or say when it happens it’s inevitable that you would give up all methods and Gurus and techniques. But then another strange thing will happen: The enlightenment towards which you had strived so hard all through your life will not be important for you.