How do we gain complete knowledge about life? Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Founder of the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) program, said that complete knowledge is gained on the basis of two things: understanding and experience.
Understanding without experience is dry philosophy. Experience without understanding, on the other hand, can cause confusion about the experience of transcendence and its value in our life. Understanding and experience together keep us moving ahead on our life journey.
In his translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Maharishi writes about these two aspects of knowledge:
“The first is that of gaining a clear intellectual conception of the truth through proper understanding of reality reached by listening, thinking, contemplating and discriminating intellectually between its various aspects. This, however, satisfies only the mind. The other aspect is that of knowing reality by direct experience, which satisfies the heart. This is gained through Transcendental Meditation.”
Maharishi said that understanding and experience are like two feet that carry us forward on our life journey. As our understanding expands, it stirs a desire for more profound and fulfilling experiences. As experience grows, we need a deeper level of understanding to appreciate our new experience.
The Foot of Understanding
We find that our TM students need two kinds of support from us: both understanding and experience. Our TM follow-up and Knowledge Meetings offer students the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences in meditation and the benefits of their practice.
Follow-up meetings are focused on providing basic information about the correct practice and range of benefits of the Transcendental Meditation® technique. At Knowledge Meetings, we go more deeply into Maharishi’s insights about the nature of life and development of higher states of consciousness. Both meetings include a 10-minute group meditation, plus a video of Maharishi speaking on a specific theme of knowledge.
As our understanding expands, it stirs a desire for more profound and fulfilling experiences. As experience grows, we need a deeper level of understanding to appreciate our new experience.
The Foot of Experience
What about the experience side of the equation? We help our meditators deepen their experience through TM Tune-Ups and Group Meditations. The Tune-Up (also called “TM checking”) is a one-on-one session with a TM teacher to help ensure that the practice is easy and effortless, and that you’re gaining maximum benefits from your twice-daily meditations.
Many of our students tell us that their experience feels noticeably deeper when they meditate in a group. This isn’t surprising, since everyone is diving into and stirring the same field of Transcendental Consciousness. This field is a universal level of life shared by all, which is why our experience may feel more profound during a group meditation.
Understanding and Experience Together
The TM Refresher Course provides understanding and experience together in one session, and is helpful for both old and new meditators. Some of the questions covered include: Are thoughts in meditation OK? What if I fall asleep? How do I know I’m meditating correctly? At a TM Refresher Course you can find answers to all your questions, enjoy a group TM checking, and review the mechanics of correct TM practice.
The understanding comes from a comprehensive review of the signs of correct meditation, along with practical points related to different experiences that may arise during meditation, how stress is released in the body and gives rise to thoughts, and the value of both transcending and activity for developing higher states of consciousness.
The experience component includes group checking and group meditation. During the group checking process, we lead our students step by step into their meditation, which ensures correct, effortless, and successful practice.
During a Refresher Course, students receive both the understanding and experience they need to return to their effortless practice of meditation.
Three Reasons to Refresh Your Meditation
There are three situations where a TM Refresher Course can be especially valuable.
The first is for students who are enjoying their practice, but have forgotten some of the important points that were presented during their four-day TM® course. A Refresher Course is an easy way to review key points they may have forgotten along the way.
The second situation relates to students who have practiced other meditation techniques that involve focusing the mind, concentration, or trying to clear the mind of thoughts. Sometimes, out of habit, they may begin to add a bit of concentration or focusing on the mantra to their practice of TM. At that point their meditation no longer feels effortless. They tell us that TM seems more difficult than before, or even question whether it’s still working. The Refresher Course helps to reestablish effortless TM practice.
A third situation occurs when a student has stopped practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique for one reason or another. Stories we’ve heard include, “I had twins,” or “I moved,” or “I started a new business.”
Restarting Your Practice
Many students say, “I don’t know why I stopped, but I do want to get started again. I felt so much better when I was meditating.” For this group, we suggest taking advantage of a Personal TM Tune-Up to reboot their practice, plus a Refresher Course to review the knowledge presented when they learned TM.
During a Refresher Course, students receive both the understanding and experience they need to return to their effortless practice. By the end of the course, our students often look like they’ve just completed their original TM training. We see bright faces, big smiles, and a new look of confidence and enthusiasm for regular twice-daily practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique.
Getting Back in the Groove
“My family and I attend the TM Refresher Courses from time to time,” says Robyn Field, a licensed massage therapist. “Though we keep a regular meditation practice, life sometimes gets busy, schedules get thrown off, and our meditation time doesn’t always feel quite as easy as usual. So we schedule a Refresher Course at our local TM center.”
Robyn and her family find that the results are profound. “Each time, we hear the same words and gentle reminders from our teachers, and each time we are all amazed to feel our experience shift back to being cohesive and easy,” she says. “Just like that, you’re back in the groove. Meditations feel deep, peaceful, and effortless once again.”
Is it time to refresh your meditation? Consider attending a TM Refresher Course at your local center to enrich both the understanding and experience of your practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique.
To find a TM Refresher Course near you, visit EnjoyTM.org