Transcendental meditation FAQs

  • Updated: May 15, 2012 - 12:14 PM
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Center director Billie Jean Billman spoke with a group of veterans about how their meditation efforts.

Photo: KYNDELL HARKNESS, Star Tribune

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Q How did TM originate?

A Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who died in 2008, began the TM technique in the mid-1950s in India before spreading it across the globe. He became famous after becoming guru to the Beatles in the 1960s. His meditation technique has gained wider acceptance than a different program that he claimed would create world peace.

Q How is TM different from other forms of meditation?

A This is a toughie, because achieving transcendence is different for everyone, say TM instructors, and you just know it when it happens, even though your mind is supposedly empty. But it is simpler than any other form of meditation, because you do it sitting comfortably without focusing on anything, including breathing.

Q Where is the highest concentration of TM devotees in the United States?

A Fairfield, Iowa, population less than 10,000, home to the Maharishi University of Management, which is billed as the world's largest TM training center.

Q Are there other famous people who practice TM besides its most familiar celebrity face, director David Lynch?

A Yes. Clint Eastwood, Jerry Seinfeld, Russell Simmons, Ellen DeGeneres and Martin Scorsese, to name a few.

Q What do skeptics say about the TM movement?

A That it's money-grubbing (four days of training can cost $2,500), patriarchal and acts like a religion while denying it is one. Read one outspoken critic's issues with TM at tmfree.blogspot.com

Q Is it possible to reap some of TM's benefits without embracing the entire movement?

A Yes. Many practitioners learn to meditate without becoming involved further.

KRISTIN TILLOTSON

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