FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VM AND TM?
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a 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.
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 and anxiety
Relief from insomnia
Improved relationships with other people
Improved, memory, concentration and learning ability
Reduced risk of heart disease and tumors
Relief from migraines, headaches and asthma
Normalization of blood pressure
Reduced cholesterol levels
Normalization of weight
Reversal of aging
Increased self esteem
Faster reaction times
Improved sports performance
Reduced use of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs
I'VE TRIED MEDITATION BEFORE AND WASN'T GOOD AT IT. HOW WILL VM BE DIFFERENT?
“There are other keys, but a master key is enough to open all the locks." —Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Many people come to me feeling frustrated with “trying” to meditate but not enjoying the practice or not keeping consistent with it.
Frustrations in meditation are usually a result of:
Attempting to meditate using a technique that was originally practiced by monks and other monastics (i.e. hours-long vipassana/mindfulness practices) that are time-consuming, physically demanding, and difficult to incorporate into a busy life.
Learning from an app or pre-recorded online video, with no personal instruction
A combination of the two
When you learn Vedic Meditation, you’ll learn a mental technique that was created specifically for busy people with big responsibilities. I’ll provide you with expert instruction on meditating easily and comfortably and working with you to verify your experiences and refine your technique.
At the end of the 4 days, you’ll have a new appreciation for meditation and enjoy continuing with a daily practice.
CAN'T I JUST USE THIS MANTRA I FOUND ONLINE FOR FREE?
Vedic Mantras 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.
Using another’s mantra would be like taking another person's prescription medication.
AUNT GAVE ME THEIR MANTRA — WHY DO I NEED MY OWN?
Vedic mantras 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.
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?
Taught by an inferior man, this Self cannot be easily known,
even though reflected upon. Unless taught by one who knows him as none other than his own Self, there is no way to him, for he is subtler than subtle, beyond the range of reasoning. Not by logic can this realization be won. Only when taught by an enlightened teacher, is it easily known, dearest friend.
—Katha Upanishad, I.2.8-9
Real meditation cannot be learned from a book or video.
To learn real meditation, in-person instruction is required in the form of a 4-day course, as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi taught it.
Every other meditation practice in the world has exactly the opposite physical effect on the brain than VM—this is because of how VM is taught compared to how all the other practices are taught.
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 4 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.