by Dr. Evan Finkelstein, from article at Enlightenment, The TM Magazine online
For Maharishi, spiritual development meant the development of “wholeness of life.” It included the full growth and harmonious integration of every aspect of individual life: body, senses, mind, heart, and one’s speech and behavior with others.
Maharishi often remarked that the spirit, or Self, is the state of pure Being, or pure consciousness. Even though it affects all levels of life, pure consciousness is beyond the physical, sensory, mental, and emotional aspects of life. It is the free and unbounded essential nature of the core of everyone’s being.
From the perspective of spiritual development, in order to directly experience the nature of the Self, one needs to consciously transcend all the limitations of physical space and time and even go beyond the more subtle limitations of the thinking mind. Experience shows that this process of transcending is very easily accomplished by the Transcendental Meditation technique.
Maharishi emphasized that the purpose of transcending the entire relative aspect of the world is not to escape the world, but rather to glorify it with the light of the inner Self. The regular experience of the limitless nature of pure Being is the basis for gaining a lasting state of enlightenment. He taught that the state of enlightenment is a harmonious and perfect integration of the spiritual and material aspects of life.
Maharishi clarified the relationship between spirit and matter by using the example of perceiving a flower. He wrote: “Before enlightenment, if he saw a flower, the flower overwhelmed the mind so completely that only the flower remained and the experiencer was lost in the experience. The subject was as if annihilated by the object. Life in which the objects predominate, where matter alone is found and the values of the spirit or soul are overshadowed, is called material life.”
Maharishi further explained that after gaining enlightenment, the flower is still seen, but the experience of the flower does not overshadow pure Being, the spiritual aspect of life. He concludes by saying: “Through the light of Being the flower is appreciated infinitely more, and this brings the integration of spirit and matter. This is the glory of Transcendental Meditation: it brings enlightenment that integrates all the material values of life with the Divine.”
The value of spiritual development not only adds the blissful experience of the unbounded status of pure Being to one’s life, but also enhances one’s appreciation, love, and enjoyment of all aspects of the world.
Clergy and religious people from many different religious traditions who practice the Transcendental Meditation technique have said that it enables them to grow spiritually, and to more fully realize and live the highest values of their own faith. I’d like to share with you three examples: from a priest, a rabbi, and a religious Muslim.
I think it will be evident from the experiences of these religious people, and many others like them throughout the world, that the practice of the Transcendental Meditation program significantly helps us to live wholeness of life. It helps create a life of lasting peace and fulfillment for all.
From Father Leonard Dubi:
“I am an active, 66-year-old Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago who has served seven parishes in a 40-plus year career. The practice of TM has been among the highest priorities in my life since I began to meditate 33 years ago. I also became a Sidha by learning the advanced TM-Sidhi program 17 years ago. During this entire timespan I have practiced these techniques faithfully, twice a day, 365 times a year, including all the secular and religious holidays.
“The time commitment has been woven into the fabric of my spiritual life. My prayer and preparation to celebrate the Sacraments of the Catholic liturgical tradition, especially the Holy Eucharist, has been augmented by practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi programs.
“The daily centering experience as a TM meditator and a Sidha has deepened my appreciation of the contemplative dimensions of mental prayer taught in the Catholic spiritual tradition. As a calmer and more centered person, my prayerful reading of the sacred scriptures is more profound and rewarding. Deeper meaning seems to surface as I read the various passages of the books of the Holy Bible.
“I certainly recommend TM to everyone, particularly to those in society who are responsible for the spiritual and intellectual growth of congregations and students. ”
From Rabbi Alan Green:
“The first thing I want to say about my 37-year practice of the Transcendental Meditation program is that I never would have become a rabbi without it. TM saved my Jewish life.
“How so? The short story is that in addition to its many other benefits, TM allowed me to grasp the truths of the tradition in which I was raised at a much deeper level than would have otherwise been possible. I know this to be true based on the increased mental, emotional, and spiritual clarity which I experienced coming directly from my daily practice of TM.
“I have found that with the regular practice of TM, people grow in love, compassion, ethical sensitivity, and appreciation for their respective religious traditions. All too often, these religious ideals prevail far more in theory than in practice. But the TM program gently and effectively transforms these ideals into living realities.
“I would recommend the practice of TM to any student or teacher of Judaism (or indeed of any religion) who is interested in living the highest ideals of their tradition in everyday life.”
From Miral Shaaban:
“I am a veiled Muslim that practices Transcendental Meditation, and I cannot forget the first time I prayed after my first meditation. I was speechless and could not explain this state of complete serenity, contentment, and gratitude for God. TM increased my level of acceptance and appreciation for my faith and strengthened my beliefs.
“It is clear to me that my daily practice of TM and the advanced TM-Sidhi program has opened my eyes and heart to greater knowledge and experience. Because of this expansion of heart and mind, I’ve discovered that I spontaneously act in a more positive and uplifting way to others, with more love, forgiveness, and compassion, which is exactly what my religion and beliefs are all about. I’m enjoying feeling more in harmony with God’s creation and desiring to help society in every way I can.
“I would say that even though the TM and TM-Sidhi programs are not a religion and do not require any change in one’s personal beliefs or cultural practices, they well compliment religion because they help to eliminate mental, emotional, and physical stresses and tensions. From my own experience, I can say that the dissolving of stresses and tensions purifies and strengthens the body, heart, and mind, and results in a greater ability to live one’s life in harmony with the highest goals of religious life.”
Dr. Evan Finkelstein is a faculty member in the Department of Maharishi Vedic Science at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.Dr. Evan Finkelstein is a faculty member in the Department of Maharishi Vedic Science at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.
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