Throughout history great thinkers, both secular and religious, have counseled us to seek the silence within.
Within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related.…
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the attitude of silence, the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into a crystal clearness.
Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary.
—Peter Minard, French Benedictine monk
The Transcendental Meditation Experience of Silence
Tony Nader, M.D., Ph.D., the international head of the TM organizations, explains that consciousness can be likened to an ocean. Like the ocean, our consciousness has different levels. The surface of the ocean can be turbulent with many waves or it can be relatively calm, but the ocean also has a deep, silent level. Using this analogy, consciousness is like the ocean with a surface level that can be very active, and a deep level that is silent.
When we meditate using a focusing or monitoring technique (like mindfulness), Dr. Nader says our awareness stays on the surface level of the ocean of consciousness. rather than diving to the silent, perfectly calm depths of the ocean of consciousness. This is the inner source of our silence and calmness, an inner source of fulfillment.
The word “transcend” means to go beyond. Transcendental Meditation gets its name because we go beyond thinking at the surface levels of consciousness (the level of the waves) and learn how to dive within to the silent depth of the ocean of consciousness. This is the profound level of silence and calmness that we want to cultivate. As Dr. Nader says in a podcast on how meditation techniques differ (go to https://www.drtonynader.com/tony_nader_tm), that the deep TM experience is sometimes called a state of samadhi; or in Japanese and Buddhist traditions it may be called satori or nirvana, and it has other names in other traditions. In scientific terms it is important because the experience brings maximum coherence to the brain. Brain wave coherence increases as the mind settles down and coherence is greatest when we transcend thoughts and experience that completely calm or silent state of mind. Moreover, because the brain is the control center of the body, coherence in the body also grows, resulting in the prevention of illness and the improvement or elimination of numerous physical disorders.
For more information on TM, visit TM.org