At the time of writing it is the day before the start of Easter. It doesn’t quite have the same ring as the ‘night before Christmas’ because as we know things can get quite sad and miserable in the early stages of this particular religious holiday. Fortunately the mood does pick up towards the end with what is known as the Resurrection. As a child I found this story fascinating with the vision of Jesus, having assured his followers that he was okay, heading skywards through the stratosphere to settle in Heaven. Even as a youngster, however, I did worry that even if he had been able to come back from the dead after crucifixion, that a trip into outer space without a proper spacesuit would surely have finished him off.
With the advent of the space age what has been finished off is the myth that the kingdom of heaven is located just out of sight above the cloud layer, a notion more easily propagated in an earlier age when even suggesting the world was round instead of flat could get you into serious trouble. So if not “up there” where is this kingdom of heaven located?
Those paying attention to what Jesus himself had to say will appreciate his view that this kingdom is not an external phenomenon but is a realm located within each and every person. Importantly he followed this up with the suggestion that to go within and experience it was the highest priority for his followers – “seek ye first etc.”
In essence the founder of Christianity was talking about transcendence and how important it was in the life of every human being. It would be unfair for such a teacher to talk about this marvellous natural realm without offering a way to experience it, and indeed there are a number of biblical clues that Jesus instructed something akin to what we know in this day and age to be Transcendental Meditation.
TM takes awareness to the deepest level within, an unbounded reservoir of pure creative intelligence which is the basis of animate and inanimate life in the whole universe. It is known by different names in different cultures but it is the same eternal foundation of all natural phenomena including the human thinking process. This is the abode of the kingdom of heaven.
Seeds of thought begin at this deepest level, and a fully-formed thought manifests on the conscious thinking level through the production processes of an individual’s central nervous system. If this system is distorted with stresses and strains, the completed thoughts will also be distorted in relation to how a human should ideally think and behave. Regular transcending with TM gives not only a mental experience of refreshment but allows the body to have periods of extraordinarily deep rest in which its natural repair mechanisms dissolve stresses and strains thereby yielding clearer experience of the transcendent at all other times, even during sleep.
Throughout the ages various people have had spontaneous experiences of transcendental consciousness and have spoken or written of them with wonder and awe. Such were regarded as mystical experiences because of the mystery as to what they were, where they came from and how to repeat them. For over half a century now, people around the world have been able to experience transcendence as a twice-daily routine with the TM technique. It is not a mystery anymore.
It is difficult to put the experience of transcendental consciousness into words to describe what it feels like but frequently you will hear from TM meditators that it is: charming, blissful, reassuring, peaceful, unchanging, eternal, energising etc. and always with a feeling of “coming back home.”
When TM was introduced to the world, founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi consistently emphasised that it was completely different from what was hitherto known as ‘meditation’. Actually he first called it Transcendental Deep Meditation to communicate that it was not a linear continuation of the conscious thinking process, but a vertical dive into the silent levels underlying the chatter of conscious thinking.
To transcend literally means to ‘go beyond’ and what is being transcended in this instance is mental activity. Transcending is the likely intention of the biblical instruction “Be still and know that I am God” … merely thinking about the silence within is insufficient as it needs to be directly experienced. The benefits in daily life from transcending with the TM technique are enormous and well-documented by extensive published scientific research – “by their fruits you shall know them”