On July 17, 1972 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, TM Founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi explained the goal of regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique. Regular practice allows us to enjoy more inner silence and contentment throughout the day, not only during the 15 or 20 minutes we are meditating. The alternation of deep rest during meditation and activity during the day stabilizes this inner silence or pure consciousness. Over time, this unbounded awareness becomes a permanent experience, even when we are engaged in dynamic activity.
Maharishi: By meditating regularly we create a situation where our life is established on the basis of the results of meditation, the goal of meditation. We don’t have to meditate all the time. Our principle is to do less and accomplish more. That is skill in life.
What happens is this: When we are regular in meditation, we are exposing our nervous system to regular hours of deep rest. All those who sleep in time, wake in time, eat in time, act in time, rest in time—that regularity of life contributes to good health. So when we meditate morning and evening, we build up the momentum of a very flexible nervous system, where the adaptability to environmental influences is maximum.
“When we meditate morning and evening, we build up the momentum of a very flexible nervous system, where the adaptability to environmental influences is maximum.” —Maharishi
A Perpetual State of Contentment
These basic changes brought about by meditation produce an overall influence of stability, and that is very important to cultivate. Once we have exposed the system to this desired change, then we should use the system with that change in daily life in order that this change during meditation does not remain only during meditation, but becomes habituated to be a condition during activity. And when this beautiful state of modified functioning of the nervous system is maintained during activity, then the efficiency of life is raised to that high value.
What we have during meditation is a feeling of fullness—unbounded awareness, Transcendental Consciousness, pure consciousness, the home of all knowledge, the basis of all activity, tremendous contentment, fullness of life. All these changes are brought about on the level of the physical functioning of the nervous system, which produces that beautiful state of awareness.
Now, what we aim at is that this state of physiology—these changes which produce that beautiful awareness, that fulfillment—should not be lost even when we are active, so that we live a perpetual state of contentment in all our undertakings and experiences, even within the boundaries in the field of relative life.
“What we aim at is that this state of physiology—these changes which produce that beautiful awareness, that fulfillment—should not be lost even when we are active.” —Maharishi
The Formula: Meditation and Action
The formula for that is: We bring about these modifications in the physiology during meditation and then immediately start to act. The physiology is different during activity, and is different during meditation. So we want the physiology during activity to partake of that physiology which is there during meditation.
We want that the fulfillment gained during meditation—that state of contentment, balanced state of life, home of all knowledge—should not go away when we enter into activity. So we must give our nervous system the alternation of these two different kinds of physiology. Changing from one state to the other, the system becomes habituated to maintain that wonderful, changed value of the physiology which we gain during meditation, even when we come out into activity.
And for this, we need alternation of the experience of meditation and action. We generally say 5 minutes in the bank and a full day in the market. It’s a good proportion. For meditation, we say 15 or 20 minutes morning and evening and a full day of activity, so that the nervous system becomes used to this alternation of these two conditions of the physiology.
“Changing from one state to the other, the system becomes habituated to maintain that wonderful, changed value of the physiology which we gain during meditation, even when we come out into activity.” —Maharishi
Freeing the Nervous System from Stress and Strain
In order to produce that state of fullness, that transcendental pure awareness, the system has to be highly purified. And that means structurally purified and materially purified. Structurally, the system has to be flexible. Everything should function absolutely free from any resistances.
And then, over and above the smooth functioning of the different parts of the nervous system, the material of which the different parts are built should also allow infinite flexibility, that degree of flexibility which is needed in order to produce this wonderful state of awareness.
The system is exposed to so much stress and strain due to which the chemistry of the system is not normal, the physiology is not normal. Meditation brings about those changes which tend to make the whole system more and more normal.
During Transcendental Meditation®, we allow the power of nature to reset the structure in such a way that, automatically, the system becomes more and more normal. A little degree of normality is gained, and then we must expose the system to activity. A little more degree of normality is gained—this happens in every meditation—and then the system must be exposed to activity, so that the increasingly normal condition becomes habituated for activity.
If the system is not exposed to activity, then we will remain in Transcendental Consciousness, out of the world, completely closed to outer perception. But that cannot be an all-time reality of life. Remaining in the transcendent will not be fulfilling to life because activity is the nature of life. So one must be active, and in order to be in that fulfilled state while acting, the system must be exposed to these two processes: meditation and action.
“In order to produce that state of fullness, that transcendental pure awareness… the system has to be flexible. Everything should function absolutely free from any resistances.” —Maharishi
Regular Meditation + Comfortable Activity = Permanent Fulfillment
Gradually, the habit of the nervous system will be to maintain that purified state of physiology while acting, so that we start to live life under those normally functioning conditions of the nervous system. That is why we need a very balanced, regular practice of meditation, and regular, comfortable activity during the day.
Morning and evening, regular meditation, and in this way the change will become permanent. Our aim is to create a permanent situation for life in fulfillment, not just a temporary 5 or 10 minutes where we feel good and then come out.
The procedure of alternation of meditation and activity has been designed to produce a permanent state of the physiology which will create and maintain that unbounded awareness in a very natural way, no matter what we’re doing.
And it is this transformation which structures that kind of fullness, which we express in the words “Cosmic Consciousness”—that ability to comprehend the whole thing, yet engage in the parts.
“The procedure of alternation of meditation and activity has been designed to produce a permanent state of the physiology which will create and maintain that unbounded awareness in a very natural way, no matter what we’re doing.” —Maharishi