General Question

bodyhead's avatar

Why is transcendental meditation so expensive?

Asked by bodyhead (5507points) September 12th, 2008

I contacted the local chapter and she said the course fee would be $2,500. That’s big dollars for a self improvement course.

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19 Answers

benseven's avatar

Eh, because they’re trying to rip you off?!

I’m sure there’s plenty you could read up on about meditation on the web, without needing too much guidance.

Harp's avatar

TM is a reverse ATM: it takes money in instead of giving it out. Keep your cash.

I gather you’re specifically looking for meditation that doesn’t have any religious associations?

GAMBIT's avatar

Everything is expensive if you have an experienced teacher. They have to pay for the building, lights etc. to hold their classes and of course they have to eat and send their kids to college just like us. If you cant afford this type of instruction. You may want to look into purchasing a few videos that will probably run you about $29.95 each. I have found that when I sit in a quiet place for 20 min.each day. I experience the same type of things the meditation people say that they experience (but maybe not on the same level as them).

Confucius said “Silence is the true friend that never betrays”.

SuperMouse's avatar

You could try reading The Relaxation Response, on Amazon it will set you back about fifteen bucks with shipping. It is a great book that will teach you the art of meditation. Nam-yoho-renge-kyo to you!

cwilbur's avatar

Transcendental meditation is free.

Lessons in it are expensive, because all sorts of spiritual exercises tend to be trendy among those with lots of money.

bodyhead's avatar

@cwilbur: Thanks for the lesson in semantics.

It’s fairly obvious from my description what I meant. Next time I’ll make sure to make the question is totally complete along with dictionary definitions of each word contained within so no one gets confused.

Harp's avatar

Britannica, in it’s article on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of TM, hints at one reason for the price tag:
“His organization, which includes real estate holdings, schools, and clinics, was worth more than $3 billion in the late 1990s.”

greylady's avatar

Maybe because there are a LOT of people in this country with more money than brains.

artificialard's avatar

I might be a little too pragmatic but the high cost might be a way to help steer a potential customer’s expectations and firm commitment.

It’s a common business principle that in some situations people will pay and appreciate a product/service more than if it was lower priced – i.e. if something’s expensive you expect it will be worth more. You never see someone asking for the cheapest surgeon or interior decorator. The high price legitimises the service, which is understandable given that it’s difficult to find a ‘legitimate’ meditation guru.

The other thing is that if I was the teacher on a course such as this, I’d expect that this process takes time and requires patience and commitment. A high course fee mandates a higher level of commitment and faith from the participants, which makes for a more conducive ‘class’ atmosphere to teach in.

These are lessons I’ve learned from consulting (selling services) – it’s very business-sy but all endaveors need to be self-sustaining at the least to be successful.

Hobbes's avatar

Go down to a sketchy corner of town, and I guarantee you can buy some transcendence for much less money than that.

loser's avatar

That’s a total rip off! Just buy a book about it and learn it yourself.

bodyhead's avatar

You can’t actually learn it yourself from books. The books say, “here’s a little information but you need to take the course.”

unacornea's avatar

i think you can probably find some cheaper options. i’m going to a 5 day meditation retreat at spirit rock, i got a scholarship but the regular fee is around $500. i’ve done a 10 day vipassana retreat too, and that was free. keep looking, there are lots of teachers.

Daethian's avatar

I’ve done it and the health benefits are totally worth it. The 2500 gives you access to your teacher for your life and to any TM center worldwide for your life. There are numerous studies conducted by universities and research groups proving the physical benefits of TM are real and measurable.

It used to be far cheaper but then of course there were people who decided that they didn’t need any training to be a teacher and began ‘teaching’ their friends. People who are willing to pay $2500.00 to improve their quality of life are people who are serious about following through and not just looking to scam their friends and neighbors. I frequently blog about my TM experiences so I’m not going to argue with people here. I have found people are very hostile to the concept of TM and for no real reason.

I am agnostic and here to tell you there is NOTHING religious about TM.

My TM teachers travelled and trained directly with Mahareshi and they have their own program which is enjoying great success in St Louis. Their program is called Enlightened Sentencing and they see many people from the courts being sent to them for TM training as part of their rehabilitation. The judge they work with praises the work they do and also recommends that probation officers participate in the course.

Ask yourself…why does your church ask/require you to Tithe? They have a message to spread and that takes money. Mahareshi wanted to share this technique with the world and that requires money.

bodyhead's avatar

Daethian, thank you for your honest answer. Please message me (privately) about your blog. There are rules about self promotion here on fluther. (or else I’d just ask for it here)

bob_f52's avatar

I learned in 1972 at the state university I attended. At that time the cost was $40. It took three sessions on three separate dates and the teacher used university rooms. It was a fabulous experience and I still practice TM to this day, although not as much as they recommend (2 X 20mins per day.) TM truly changed my life for the better. The medical benefits are well documented (stress, blood pressure, heart rate, brain waves , and on and on.) Ultimately, I believe the brain processes information better.
The only way $2,500 can be justified is that maybe you just get a lot more, like a month’s room and board at a TM facility while you learn. Unless that is included, I think it is actually shameful of the new managers of TM to charge $2,500. I know there is this camp in TM that if you charge MORE, people will be more committed. In every thought like that, there is some truth, but when I see $2,500, I see only GREED.
The guy who taught me probably had two years of TM practice and my sense to this day is that he was quite advanced. Much further advanced that I am even though I’ve been lightly practicing for 36 years, most probably because of the commitment he’s made to it.
And, there is this camp in TM that believes human beings can fly. Wow, talk about oddballs. I was very excited when I heard of a made for TV documentary on TM, and then when I saw it there was this large segment on guys looking like frogs jumping around saying they were learning how to fly. Jeez. The goofball camp. I’ve since wondered if these guys are making the BUSINESS decisions for TM.
Fact is, they’ve got the franchise. I can only wish I could help.
Suggestion if $2,500 is too much for you: Learn and practice yoga. It hardly matters if you are “good” at it or are flexible, what matters is that you practice. Lots of the benefits of TM will be gained by that.

jbgorelick's avatar

I did the TM program back in 1982. I got really into it and went on a weekend where I was taught rounding. Really enjoyed that. As I wanted to get deeper into it, I found that these ‘highly trained teachers’ were not so highly trained and hadn’t really experienced things for themselves. All they were able to do was to repeat whatever they had been told or taught. This disillusioned me. I felt like there was no one for me to relate to within the local organization.

In the meantime, I have been involved with Isha Yoga and Integral Yoga, and I have since become a yoga teacher myself. Check out and do a search for Integral Yoga in your area, or check out Check out, or just go to your local yoga center. TM didn’t have anything to offer above what these other organizations did, and these other organizations do NOT charge exorbitant amounts of money to share meditation techniques. There are LOTS of gurus out there. Get on the path and you will find them!

stillsearching's avatar

TM is expensive (very) because the fees are used to pay the teachers(who also pay a lot to become teachers), to subsidize the “meditative architecture” in Fairfield,Ia., to pay the travel expenses(to Holland,Costa Rica etc.) of several of the leaders, to pay for TM projects in India, and possibly to enrich the relatives (the Shrivastavas) of the late Mahesh Yogi. There may be other TM projects as well. I do not believe this b.s. about paying high prices to ensure sincerity, at least not in many cases. Try Natural Stress Relief!

Awareness's avatar

This internal document may illuminate your question:

Before you go too far down this path, you may want to read personal stories of people who already did:

Finally, you may want to research the TM organizational agenda: For this is what your money more than likely will support.

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