Please Explain: Meditation

Friday, August 03, 2012

The practice of meditation has existed for some 2,500 years. David McKeel, Director of Practice & Education at Shambhala Meditation Center of New York, and Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical School and author of Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation, tell us what meditation is, how it works, and the research into its health benefits.


David McKeel and Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal

Comments [15]


My regular TM practice is a godsend in my life. I highly recommend it for anyone. It has helped in every area of my life; creatively, physically, mentally and emotional. Go for it!

Aug. 23 2012 01:32 PM
Terry 65

I have very good results with my TM meditation. I know that TM is different from breath exercises and other meditations because it uses sound and it does not involve concentration. I am told these elements allow the mind to experience very subtle levels while the physiology becomes very restful. I agree with Thar--TM has been the best investment I have made because it has so deeply rejuvenated my mind and body, which has brought success and happiness in activity. My TM experience has not been about escapism in any way. I meditate to enjoy life outside of meditation and it works.

Aug. 07 2012 01:04 AM
Jean from New York

The Transcendental Meditation technique is unique. It's effortless and it works right away. Overtime the benefits grow and positively influence all aspects of your life. Once you learn TM there are a life time of follow-up classes available free of charge.

Aug. 06 2012 10:09 PM
Susan R

I began meditating in earnest after reading Every Day Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck. In that book, Joko Beck describes her own experience with meditation in a way that demonstrates how it is that meditation can show you the level from which you're really living your life--the underlying beliefs and assumptions that otherwise you can't see. That was a major turning point for me. Thank you, Joko.

Aug. 04 2012 12:25 PM

Transcendental Meditation is the best thing I've ever learned in my life. It is a completely different process (an effortless, natural, non-doing technique) compared to Shambala or mindfulness or any other practice, and I say that after having delved deeply into Shambala (I still subscribe to the magazine) and many other great forms of meditation before learning TM.

Meditation is not escapism (at least TM isn't). It is a preparation for more dynamic, effective, enjoyable action and a more fulfilling, productive life. You're not just relaxing, you're contacting your inner source of energy and intelligence -- and recharging.

Thanks to the non-profit, altruistic set up of the TM program, there are grants and scholarships for people who cannot afford the tuition. As far as paying for meditation classes, I think it is a ridiculous criticism that meditation classes need to be free. To me, that assertion just denotes that a person doesn't value meditation (like they do their computer, which they gladly paid for) or respect the teachers or organization that teaches it, and they just don't understand the practice and why a trained teacher is important and necessary. Shambala retreats and courses are definitely not free. Nor is Vipassana, which expects/requires you to donate, especially if you want to continue after the first class session.

This is the best link I've found explaining the differences between the various practices:

Aug. 04 2012 09:19 AM
Doug from Tarrytown

I just paid $ 695 to attend a 3 day conference with Eckhart Tolle. Does that make him a charlatan? It was expensive, but it was great. For the record, Maharishi went around the world 3 times teaching TM from 1959 to 1966 without charging a penny. At that point he realized that he couldn't have a large impact if his organization was broke.

Aug. 03 2012 02:19 PM
phyllis from Piermont, NY

One of the biggest differences between TM and Shambhala is about $1500. Shambhala is free. One is done with eyes open and the other with eyes closed. One is panoramic and the other is inward leaning. One says you are already enlightened.

Aug. 03 2012 01:50 PM
Patrick from Queens

I almost fell asleep while trying to mediate following the instructions on the air. Most times when I try to meditate, I instead feel as if I'm about to go to sleep and need to pull myself awake. How common is that?

Aug. 03 2012 01:37 PM

Let's be very, very clear: Transcendental Meditation is nonsense. The Maharishi was a charlatan and if you are paying anyone to teach you to meditate they are a charlatan. End of story.

Why do people have such a hard time identifying charlatans?

Meditating is very simple and straightforward, you don't need anyone to show you.

Aug. 03 2012 01:34 PM
Peter Falconi from NJ

Has there been any studies on meditation as a way to help with symptoms for post concussive syndrome?

Aug. 03 2012 01:32 PM
Laura from New York, New York

Fantastic conversation--just wanted to add that yoga can also be practiced as a meditation, with the primary focus on the breath. Yoga is an excellent way for beginners to start meditating and can enable one to work towards seated meditation.

Aug. 03 2012 01:28 PM
The Truth from Becky

Very relaxing, I need to make time to meditate more often.

Aug. 03 2012 01:23 PM
eledryth from NY

Meditation as been with us for 1000's of years. It's not for everyone. There is a huge study at Bloomington, Indiana with the Dalai Lama and his late brother. They study how the brain changes during meditation.

Aug. 03 2012 01:20 PM
Ruth from Manhattan

Mindfulness meditation is not escapism. It's about awareness and bringing the attention back to the breath. It's the opposite of escapism.

A common misconception that it's "escapism" might be due to confusion with mantram meditation, especially transendental meditation.

Aug. 03 2012 01:11 PM
Michelle from NYC

I absolutely agree that our minds tend to be overstimulated as well as have many thoughts that can be quite destructive. However, I am curious to see the guests views on chanting versus meditation. In a way, meditation is a bit of escaping whereas I have found chanting also good at finding clarit and the wisdom from within.. Would be great if they did studies on meditation versus chanting. I have met people who chant nam myoho renge kyo for decades and they seem more grounded in reality than some people who go away on meditation retreats. Seems that some people who meditate are trying to escape reality rather than face reality head on.

Don't get me wrong, I know many people feel relaxed when meditating and in a stressful world, any help is better than no help. But I am wondering if stopping at meditation is short-sighted. Thank you for reading.

Aug. 03 2012 09:07 AM

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