Sunday, September 15, 2013

Maharishi's Biographer on Meditation

Update from Paul Mason, posted on November 20, 2013 :

On the strength of feedback given at TM-Free Blog, the contents of the
webpage have been revised, and in response to the request to bring it out in book form it will be published on 15 December, 2013. I want to thank you and everyone at TM-Free Blog for giving me the chance to share this information and to find out people's reactions. Hopefully, those who are interested in meditation can find enough to satisfy them without needing to get involved in any cult or money-making enterprise.
'The Knack of Meditation' is a not-for-profit publication and a FREE pre-publication copy is available online at:-
Thanks again to all at TM-Free.


Paul Mason, biographer of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, translator of Guru Dev's lectures, former co-moderator of TMFree.blogspot, and free thinking traveler extraordinaire submitted the following essay about meditation :

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Let me tell you a story…

It was a snap decision, to buy the old wooden armchair from the secondhand furniture shop. I was seventeen years old, had the money spare, and on impulse suddenly decided I wanted to buy it. I had never bought an item of furniture before and I enjoyed the freedom of making a choice over what I sat on at home – I put it in my bedroom in a corner near the window. It didn’t cost a lot so I didn’t get to regretting it. I was working at that time, and recall that when I came home I would, more often than not, park myself down on my armchair, get comfortable and close my eyes for a while. It was my bit of lazy time. I would sit just watching my thoughts until there appeared to be no thoughts to watch. Then, I would open my eyes and look around at my bedroom and enjoy just being me and having all my stuff around me.

As it happened, my routine would soon become disrupted, I left that job, and indeed, I lost the habit of sitting in the chair.

I would not describe myself as a comtemplative person, nor would I say I am particularly patient, so I am not the sort of person that one would necessarily associate with being interested in meditation, in fact, I was not really, other than a mild curiousity about it. However, that was to change!

I first realised I needed to meditate when I felt an internal pressure, an unrest, an unfamiliar and intense discomfort, which I wanted to dissolve or remove myself from. But, though I experimented unsuccessfully at gazing at a candle I realised I just wasn’t ‘getting it’, actually, it was making matters worse, making me feel worse!

Some months later, whilst travelling with my girlfriend, I was given a pep talk on meditation, and I was persuaded to learn how to meditate, which occurred the very next day. The technique involved the repetition of a mantra, a special word which was meaningless to me, and the idea was that I should not sit there thinking my thoughts but to instead repeat the mantra until arriving at the source of thought, to a state of tranquil awareness. Well it sounded good but in truth the tranquil awareness did not happen for me, so, rather naughtily, and just to see what would happen, I decided to give up repeating the mantra, let go of thoughts, and see what happened. Well, the first thing that happened is that I heard clearly the sounds in the garden outside, and then, well….. The extraoridinary truth is that it happened just the way I had been told. I found myself in a state of tranquil awareness. I was delighted, utterly delighted.

I decided to keep the practice of meditation going, but forgot the little trick of letting go of the mantra, and it became more difficult to access that state of tranquility, which was a shame, because though meditation became a routine for me, it did not always give me the peace of mind I craved. But I consoled myself that one day it would all resolve and my meditations would get better, and perhaps they did, but I still did not find tranquility on tap.

Something happened to make me question again the practice of TM meditation. I had sat to meditate and somehow I could not think the mantra, I just couldn’t do it, try as I might to recall and repeat it, it just would not happen, so instead, I just sat and enjoyed doing nothing instead. The experience was just astonishing, time kind of stopped still, I was bathed in tranquility and satisfaction was here at hand.

Well, you would have thought I would have abandoned TM and just adopted a routine of sitting with my eyes closed and settling down naturally. But I didn’t. Such was the inculcation of the teaching of TM that I carried on with the practice, even though I had discovered something more satisfying. I think the reason for this is that the mind has difficulty remembering times when it was not busy, it tends to remember best those times when something was ‘happening’.

I have looked into the topic of meditation deeply, and in so doing have discovered many descriptions of how the practice of meditation is best done. So, I have collected them together for others to see, along with a simplified guide to how it can be practiced successfully, at - The site is not there to make any money, it has no advertisements and there is nothing to buy there, just information and quotations which you might find very interesting. Either way, thanks for reading my story.


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