FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I'VE TRIED MEDITATION BEFORE AND WASN'T GOOD AT IT. HOW WILL VM BE DIFFERENT?
Most people I speak to have this idea in their heads, usually based on experience, that meditation is difficult, requires superhuman concentration, and takes a lifetime to perfect.
These frustrations are usually a result of:
A) Attempting to meditate using a technique that was originally practiced by monks and other monastics (i.e. Vipassana/mindfulness practices) that are time-consuming, physically demanding, and difficult to incorporate into a busy life
B) Practicing with an app, pre-recorded video or other guided meditation with no prior personal instruction
C) A combination of the two
There are many ways to travel from New York to LA, but the most efficient is a nonstop jet flight.
When you learn Vedic Meditation, you’ll receive expert instruction in a simple mental technique that's easy for busy people with modern lives and just works, so you don't have to.
At the end of the four days, you’ll be completely self-sufficient and look forward to continuing on your own.
WHAT DOES SCIENCE SAY ABOUT THIS FORM OF MEDITATION?
The form of meditation that Thom Knoles teaches and taught for over 25 years with the TM organizations as “Transcendental Meditation” has been the subject of hundreds of scientific studies showing a wide range of benefits from regular practice.
These studies, which refer to this form of meditation using the name “Transcendental Meditation” or “TM”, support the benefits obtainable from regular practice of Vedic Meditation.
These benefits include:
Increased resistance to stress
Increased levels of energy
Relief from depression
Relief from anxiety
Relief from insomnia
Improved learning ability
Reduced risk of heart disease
Relief from migraines
Normalization of blood pressure
Normalization of weight
Reversal of aging
Increased self esteem
Faster reaction times
Improved sports performance
Reduced use of harmful vices
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VM AND TM?
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a widely revered spiritual teacher from the Shankaracharya lineage of the Vedic tradition.
I teach Vedic Meditation, and was trained to teach this form of meditation by my teacher and mentor, Thom Knoles. Thom was trained as a teacher of Transcendental Meditation by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and taught it for over 25 years with organizations affiliated with Maharishi.
Since 1997, Thom has continued to teach this meditation as he learned it from Maharishi, and has done so independently and separately from the TM organizations.
Likewise, Thom trained me to teach meditation as Thom was trained to teach meditation by Maharishi. I teach Vedic Meditation independently and separately from TM organizations and am not affiliated with those organizations.
IS THIS RELIGIOUS?
VM is simply a mental technique to allow the mind and body to rest deeply and systematically dissolve stress.
It's compatible with all forms of religion, including agnosticism and atheism.
CAN'T I JUST USE THIS MANTRA I FOUND ONLINE FOR FREE?
Mantras used for transcendence through Vedic Meditation are called bija mantras. The word bija means “seed” in Sanskrit. Like a seed, mantras are intended to be buried in the garden of our mind and allowed by germinate and blossom privately—we don’t dig them up each week to assess their growth, and we don’t share them. The written, verbal or electronic dissemination of these mantras crucifies them, stripping them of all their growth potential.
AUNT GAVE ME THEIR MANTRA — WHY DO I NEED MY OWN?
Mantras used for transcendence through Vedic Meditation are specially chosen for each person by an expert teacher based on a myriad of factors including their age, birth date, life stage, physiological disposition and other personal characteristics. Using another’s mantra would be like taking another person's prescription medication without consulting your doctor.
I RELY ON STRESS TO PERFORM AT MY BEST — WILL MEDITATION NEUTRALIZE MY ABILITY TO PERFORM?
Operating on stress is operating on borrowed time.
Relying on the adrenaline to prop you up is an unsustainable practice which will invariably collapse over time as the short-term adrenaline spike is outweighed by the long-term health issues from constantly operating in a fight-or-flight state.
Each day we accumulate more stress compromises our mind and body at all levels. Unless we release this stress, we will inevitably reach a day where our mind and body are no longer capable of cooperating with our unsustainable demands and simply give out, in the form of premature physical and cognitive decline.
Since meditation is the only technique scientifically shown to release stress faster than we take it in, a regular practice is the only sustainable way to support lifelong performance.
CAN'T I JUST SLEEP IT OFF?
Stress is released when we rest deeply while remaining conscious.
The depth of rest is correlated to the depth of stress that can be released. For deep rest, we need to be conscious, and our mind needs to be de-excited. Being conscious is what instructs the body to go to the metabolic floor. When we’re not conscious, the mind is still “on guard” against potential threats like burglars or a carbon monoxide leak, so it's constantly “revving up” to stay ready, which prevents us from reaching the deepest rest. A state of "restful alertness" is what’s required, which can be applied as regularly as stress is accumulated.
CAN'T I JUST LEARN ONLINE FROM A VIDEO OR SOMETHING?
Real meditation cannot be learned from a book or video, but only from in-person instruction by a qualified instructor.
VM is taught in the form of a four-day course, as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
One can find plenty of derivative practices in books or videos, but they’re all the same—they simply don’t work, or they work in exactly the opposite way that VM does, by actively engaging the mind and thereby preventing true transcendence and the physiological release in stress that comes with it.
Even with personal instruction, if the technique is not taught in the right way, or with the correct mantra, it is dead on arrival.
This is why the Indian monks of Jyotir Math in the Himalayas sent Maharishi Mahesh Yogi into the world in the first place 65 years ago—to revive the teaching of real meditation, not just in India, but worldwide.
Prior to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, seekers were expected to spend years searching for an enlightened teacher, as tradition held that only such a person had the stable intuition necessary to pass it on to another person.
By choosing to learn VM with a qualified instructor, you’re choosing to learn from someone trained in the same lineage and exact same technique used by Maharishi, the person tasked with bringing meditation out of the Himalayas to the rest of the world by the monks of the Himalayas.
When you pay for instruction in VM, your course fee covers not only the conferral of a personalized mantra and four days of instruction, but a lifetime of free followup support, access to group meditations, and checking sessions.
WHO IS MAHARISHI MAHESH YOGI?
My teacher's teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is the world-famous guru known for teaching The Beatles in India in 1968 and inspiring their White Album, among many other feats.
In 1940, a conclave of religious scholars and leaders met in India and installed Swami Brahmananda Sarasvati as the first Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math, arguably the most important monastery in Northern India, in 165 years. His reputation was such that while he was in that office, noone dared raise their voice to claim that they were better.
When SBS died in 1953, some of his last words were to one of his most devoted disciples, a man known as Mahesh Prasad Varma.
He said simply “you, speak English,” and it was understood that his wish was for Mahesh to spread the sacred meditation technique of SBS to the Western world.
That young disciple later became known as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
In order to spread the sacred teaching, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi devised a way to “duplicate” himself by training teachers under him, rehearsing with them for thousands of hours the words, gestures, body language and tone of voice he used when teaching, as well as how to modify them based on the experience level, age, and comprehension level of the students, so his teachers could play the part of Maharishi. He spent the next 45 years of his life revising that teaching play based on feedback from thousands of teachers who taught millions of people. In a very real sense, there is only one teacher — Maharishi Mahesh Yogi — and his clones.
In 2019, 58 years after the first teacher training class was conducted in India, the Indian government issued a commemorative calendar and postage stamp honoring Maharishi as one of the master healers of India of the modern era.
WHY ISN'T IT FREE?
The teaching is actually priceless and can't be paid for, but requires personal instruction from a qualified teacher.
Spiritual teaching has traditionally been, and is sometimes still offered in ashrams in places like India, where teachers are supported by ashram donors and benefactors.
In a modern society, course contributions are required to subsidize each teacher's time—otherwise, we'd have to get other jobs and wouldn't be available for teaching.
HOW IS THE PRICE DETERMINED?
There are levels of everything, and Vedic Meditation is the highest level. Tracing any lineage of meditation upstream, one will eventually arrive at Vedic Meditation.
If your primary interest is saving money, there are myriad relatively ineffective cheap varieties of meditation out there, but if your primary interest is transformation, you’ll want to try this; a practical, proven program that’s been around for thousands of years.
As a chef waits until the diner has a formidable appetite before serving a fine meal, I have a responsibility to ensure each potential student is truly ready to receive this ancient teaching. In a materialistic society, that readiness is demonstrated by the prioritization of personal transformation over material wealth and resulting willingness to sacrifice one in order to receive the other.
The Vedic tradition makes this possible for those of all income levels through a sliding scale system of one week's earnings, which both makes the teaching available to those of all income levels through the law of averages, and also requires each student to meaningfully prioritize transformation over material wealth.
Those who still prioritize material wealth may want to consider the total cost of a lifetime of classes, programs, memberships, retreats and other attempts to feel better alongside the compounding cost of missed sleep, failed relationships, and declining cognitive performance, among other factors, before deciding that learning Vedic Meditation would be too costly.
Many peoples' yearly budgets for massage, weed & alcohol, coffee, yoga, and gym memberships are more than a lifetime training in Vedic Meditation.
*Financial assistance is available for those with bonafide hardship.