Why does Transcendental Meditation cost $960 to learn?

May 16, 2015

transcendental meditation loop

If TM is so great and supposed to help people, why does it cost so much?
That’s the big elephant in the room that no one seems to address.

I’ve watched dozens of TM talks on youtube. Read articles. Read the studies. Heard celebrities talk highly about TM (Jerry Seinfeld, Russell Simmons, Ellen Degeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Pete Holmes, Dana Carvey, David Lynch, Paul McCartney, etc).

But never in a talk do they mention how expensive it is and the real reason why.

I asked myself this question for two years before trying to find out for myself.

On Feb 1, 2014 – I put down the money and went to my first session.

It was a sort of last resort because I had been feeling really miserable and couldn’t figure out why. I decided to try every single thing I could and TM happened to be one of them. Others on the list include going to doctors, psychics, therapists, buying an isolation tank, reading books, praying, hiring a life coach, taking out carbs, adding carbs, exercising, etc.

(Later I discovered it was because of seasonal affective disorder, the strict diet I was on, and low neurotransmitters.)

In my mind there were four scenarios for the whole TM Organization.

A) It’s a big cult. And TM doesn’t work.
They got celebrities to join to spread the word to the rest of us. Like Scientology. And people are fooled into thinking it works.

B) It’s a big cult. TM does work.

C) It’s not a cult. TM doesn’t work.

D) It’s not a cult. TM does work.

I was ok with either B or D.

When you sign up for TM, there is a free intro talk done thru a teleconference.
I opted to skip this. I didn’t need to be convinced, I’m already sold on trying.

Then there’s a four day teaching session.

My local TM outlet had a small house of their own used as an office. The two people running it were super nice. Seemed to be a husband and wife combo.

On the first day, you do a hindu pooja ceremony (even though they claim it’s nonreligious, and technically it’s not – I have done enough poojas in my youth to recognize it). I enjoyed seeing a white person do the ceremony. The whole thing was not bad at all. There is a quick prayer/invocation to the ascended masters to bless the new student (my interpretation).

Then they gave me my own personal mantra. And the teacher shows me how to use it and I meditate for a while by myself on a comfy chair, in a private room. It was the first time I had experienced this type of relaxation. It felt like floating. Or like sinking deeply into your body like you would into a luxurious couch after a long day at work.

Something definitely happened. And I became a believer.

I had tried meditation in the past by trying to focus on my breath, or chanting random words, or sitting still and observing my thoughts. None of those stuck. But this TM thing worked.

Then there are three more days of instructions. Where we meet back at the house with other new students.

I was feeling so terrible from my dieting/mood that I skipped the second day. The instructor called me to make sure I was ok and encouraged me to come back.

So I went the third day. It was ok. Kinda awkward for me to sit with strangers. But not bad. The instructor taught us how and why TM works. The science behind it. Then we sat as a group and meditated together. That was cool, relaxing.

I skipped the fourth day. I really only wanted the mantra. The rest I can figure out on my own.

So I went for 2 out of the 4 days. And after a few months, they called me to make sure I was following the practice and to ask if I had any questions. I didn’t respond but that was nice of them.

With the high fees come a lifetime of support. Maybe I’ll use it one day.

So why does TM cost so much?

Let’s assume TM does work.
Since it works, it would be beneficial for the world for as many people to practice meditation as possible.

By definition, most people in the world are not going to care about meditation. Because they have other urgent needs. We know that by looking at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (see top image).

People have to worry about surviving. Life is fucking hard.

And most people seeking meditation are already high up on the pyramid of needs. Let’s call them Rich. They are not on food stamps. They may be working professionals, business owners, actors, whatever.

Since TM works, the people who practice wish everyone were able to learn this meditation. And the world would be a better place. Especially the underprivileged. People in prisons, gangs, inner city, and troubled youth. Let’s call them the Poor.

To teach these people, there needs to be an organization.
There needs to be teachers who need to be able to pay their bills and eat while being happy enough to teach the Poor.

Thus, they created a big organization. And they created the TM Loop. They have to charge really high fees to pay for the organization that helps the poor for free.

The teaching itself is really easy. The mantras don’t even cost one penny to create. It’s just a word. Their product has infinite margins. The only cost is to maintain the organizational structure.

Take from the Rich and (spiritually) feed the Poor.

I wish they would just explain it this way up front so that it does not seem like a cult!
Because TM is great.

Resources:
– I recorded a podcast right after learning TM last year: episode 54
TM Fees
– maslows hiearchy img via wikipedia
– factory img via clker.com