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
We are just blessed with the knowledge of TM and for which we are indebted to His Holiness Maharishiji and Guru Dev!
It just makes so much (beautiful and cosmic) sense! Thank you!
Thank you for this timely article! I felt an expansion during TM shortly after I learned TM, and that feeling of expansion lasted for a couple of hours during activity. I was completely amazed and meditated regularly and attended TM Retreats as well. Then it happened again once but to a lesser degree. I started to feel that expansion during TM once in a while, but not in activity afterwards. But during the Global Group Meditation, I felt the expansion and didn’t think much about it afterwards. When I meditated that night, I felt it again for a long time. The next morning, I felt it again during TM. Before lunch, I was sitting in front of the computer working on some light-duty work, and I felt it again. I was surprised to feel it without meditating first. I was happy, so I stopped the computer work to meditate to enjoy that feeling to a stronger degree. This is the turning point: I can feel it during TM each time (so far it has been two days) and feel it sometimes during activity (after TM or when I’m quietly doing something light-duty). The Global Group Meditation is so powerful! Thanks to this article, now I know what’s happening within me! TM is wonderful!!!
Angela, thank you for sharing your experience of growing expansion of consciousness, both during and after your meditations. Your beautiful description and example of what Maharishi speaks of in this talk reveals how natural and spontaneous this growth is, simply with regular TM practice. It’s also wonderful to hear that Maharishi’s talk helped you understand your experience. Maharishi spoke often about how both knowledge and experience are necessary for our evolution, because they mutually support and enrich each other in our growth. We just meditate and act, twice a day as part of our regular routine, and enjoy greater knowledge and understanding whenever we can, as you have done. This may be through videos such as these, or in Knowledge Meetings at our local TM Center, or at a TM Retreat. Knowledge Meetings also include a group meditation, offering another opportunity to deepen our experience and knowledge– and enjoy the company of fellow meditators and TM teachers.
Though it’s natural to want to meditate more often to experience even more of this expansion, during our day-to-day schedule the best balance for cultivating the nervous system to support expanded consciousness is TM two times a day, morning and evening. On a TM Retreat, however, extended practice of TM is structured into the schedule in the optimal way for deeper rest, experience, and knowledge.
And as you so wonderfully describe, another great opportunity to deepen one’s experience are the Nationwide and Global TM Group Meditations. To find out when the next one will be held near you, visit this page on EnjoyTM.org.
Thanks again for your comment, and keep enjoying this continuing growth and expansion of consciousness!
Grateful to have found TM at this stage of life.
Maharishi’s word words are so simple, yet so true!
Run out of energy? Never!
Absolutely true, appropriate, and very uplifting! Isn’t life Grand ?
Very impressive. Helpful throughout life.
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