THE DESIRE TO KNOW YOURSELF and understand your connection to the universe is natural. For centuries, it has inspired saints and sages to turn within seeking enlightenment.

The Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique provides access to the profound silence of the inner Self that is deep inside everyone. With regular meditation, the peacefulness and bliss of that inner experience is naturally integrated into daily living leading to an enlightened life with a fully developed heart, mind and soul.

The basis of enlightenment—transcending

During the practice of the TM technique, the mind experiences quieter and quieter levels of thought. From time to time, the mind transcends the activity of thought and settles down to a state of perfect inner silence or pure consciousness. By way of analogy, the experience is similar to diving from the active wavy surface of the ocean to its quiet depths.

Transcending is the basis of enlightenment because it gives the direct experience of the inner Self — pure consciousness — and allows the individual to gradually experience greater and greater degrees of this essential level of the Self in activity.

The passage below describes a new meditator’s experience of pure consciousness after learning the TM technique:

“I distinctly recall the day of instruction in the Transcendental Meditation technique, my first clear experience of transcending. Following the instructions of the teacher, without knowing what to expect, I began to drift down into deeper and deeper levels of relaxation, as if I were sinking into my chair. Then for some time, perhaps a minute or a few minutes, I experienced a silent, inner state of no thoughts, just pure awareness and nothing else; then again I became aware of my surroundings. It left me with a deep sense of ease, inner renewal and happiness.”

Transcending is natural and a universal experience, known to all cultures, however, it occurs rarely and usually by chance. The TM technique provides a systematic method to transcend that anyone can practice.

A fourth state of consciousness

The experience of pure consciousness, along with the deep restfulness produced by the TM technique, creates a unique state of consciousness physiologists call “restful alertness.” The mind is quietly awake within itself while the body experiences deep rest. The experience is different from the three ordinary states of consciousness: waking, sleeping and dreaming. It is a fourth major state of consciousness with its own unique physiological parameters.

Research shows that brain waves become more coherent during the TM technique indicating significant orderliness of the brain. According to research, breath rate and heart rate slow during meditation pointing to a state of profound rest.

The value of transcending

With the regular practice of the TM technique, the mind becomes infused with pure consciousness, just as dipping a cloth in dye repeatedly makes it colorfast. The nature of pure consciousness and its bliss, power and peacefulness begin to dominate in the mind. You feel its influence of peacefulness, even when leading a busy life. You don’t get as overshadowed by tense people and situations. Research has verified that the daily practice of the TM technique for as little as six months significantly reduces reactivity to stress.

A sense of happiness and well-being grows with the practice of the TM technique. When you are happier, people are more naturally attracted to you and relationships become more fulfilling.

In addition, thinking becomes more powerful, just like a wave that draws from the depth of the ocean is stronger than a small wave on the surface. Because thought is the basis of action, action becomes more effective.

Over 650 research studies on the TM technique indicate its benefits to the mind, body and emotions, including increased happiness, greater intelligence and decreased stress.

Higher stages of human development

What is the normal state of human life? Looking at society, “normal” might be defined as feeling anxious and stressed out.

But so much more is possible. Maharishi, the founder of the TM program, explains that humankind is capable of experiencing complete inner freedom, fulfillment and “24-hour bliss.” Maharishi calls this the state of enlightenment.

Enlightenment grows naturally with the regular practice of the TM technique. Each meditation dissolves stress until eventually the physiology is fully healthy, vital, balanced — stress-free. At the same time, the mind becomes more and more familiar with the experience of pure consciousness until it is fully and permanently established.

One TM practitioner describes the experience: “More often in activity, I am aware of a silent aspect of my Self which seems to be unaffected by the change and challenges of daily life. This part of me, when I recognize it, seems to fill me with thrills of happiness that lend a kind of non-attached perspective to my activity.”

It’s important to note that enlightenment does not depend on intellectual exercises or creating a mood of serenity. It does not involve special clothing, diets, beliefs or lifestyle. It requires regular experience of pure consciousness that is accomplished in a natural way through the practice of the TM technique. Anyone can learn this enjoyable, effortless procedure for developing the inner Self.

Maharishi likens the mind to a pond or ocean. An impulse of thought rises from the field of pure consciousness deep within, much like a bubble rising from the bottom of the sea. As it rises, it becomes larger. Reaching the conscious level of the mind, it becomes large enough to be appreciated as a thought. The Transcendental Meditation technique enables the the mind to move effortlessly in the opposite direction, through finer states of thought, until it reaches the source of thought, pure consciousness.