[Transcript] – Transcendental Meditation: Cult, Quackery, or Science?

Affiliate Disclosure



[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:48] Podcast Sponsors

[00:05:20] The Mighty TM Episode

[00:08:51] Philip Land Story

[00:11:24] Celebrity TM practitioners

[00:15:22] Philip's Description of Transcendental Meditation

[00:18:52] Religious elements of TM and Teachers' Secrecy

[00:28:35] The “Place” Where A Person Transcends That Produces A Biological Effect

[00:31:46] Podcast Sponsors

[00:34:12] cont. TM's Biological Effect

[00:38:37] Formal Studies on The Effects of Transcendental Meditation on The Brain

[00:45:31] Why TM is still necessary, even with all the biohacks available today?

[00:50:19] Importance of A Proper Mantra

[00:59:12] TM and Longevity

[01:03:21] The Financial Cost of Learning TM

[01:11:26] Closing the Podcast

[01:12:11] End of Podcast

Ben:  On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Philip:  We have the material world and we had the spiritual world. And the spiritual, the wholeness of life is what would underlie all of the activities in the material to where we start to experience inside each of us a field of pure consciousness, pure awareness, and it is a field of bliss, energy, joy, order, intelligence.

Ben:  So, what you're saying is that under the right circumstances such as with TM, you can drive stuff towards a different order naturally, an order of happiness or alignment?

Philip:  Yes. You start to experience that.

Ben:  Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Hey. This ought to be an interesting show for you. Many of you do not know that I have been trained in transcendental meditation. When first being exposed to it by my friend and music mogul, Rick Rubin. After speaking with him quite a bit about transcendental meditation, I connected with a gentleman named Philip Land who has been practicing TM for the past 40 years and he taught me TM. Came to my house over several sessions and led me through the entire transcendental meditation protocol and trained me a TM. I have a TM certification here in my office now.

Anyways, I had a chance to interview him and I actually interviewed him some time ago but found that podcast so intriguing and thought that you would too that I decided that I wanted to re-deliver to today transcendental meditation called quackery or science. So, this one should be interesting for you. We've been talking about meditation a lot lately.

We have our meditation book that is available now at getkion.com/meditation. Chock full of other meditation tips and that one was just written. This podcast been it's been fresh on my mind because I've been revisiting this 20-minute TM practice each day and found it to be quite beneficial especially in the mid-late afternoon when I need a little check me out but don't have time to sleep because it does replicate sleep cycles which means with 20-minutes you can get by on a good hour and a half to two less sleep which we discussed in today's show.

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Ben:  Hey, folks. It's Ben Greenfield here. And as promised, today is the mighty TM episode. What is TM? Well, after being introduced to this practice by music mogul Rick Rubin, who actually described TM to me as I believe we were sitting in an icy cold steel tub at a longevity conference, I've been practicing TM, also known as transcendental meditation for almost close to a year now. Now, the guy who Rick hooked me up with, and the guy who taught me pretty much everything that I know about TM is Philip, Philip Land. And Philip has been practicing TM for the past 40 years.

And here's what I think I connected with Philip so well. He's not like a woo-woo robe-clad Eastern mysticist type of guy. I would probably describe Philip best as a badass hunting redneck hippie family man if that is appropriate. Sorry, Phil, I just had to describe you as that. Hopefully, you can wear that title with pride, the badass hunting redneck hippie family man. And I'll get a chance here in a second to let Philip tell you his story and why I would describe him as such. But he's taught TM all over the globe. He's worked with celebrities and high-profile politicians.

He's worked in also medicine, computed tomography, X-ray radiation technology, craniosacral therapy, hunting instruction, shooting instruction, wilderness survival. I mean, the guy really is, now you know why I said that, a guy who not just taps into the spiritual, the mystical, the what I know some of us, especially me at one point in my life, would have considered to be a woo-woo, but also the practical, the hands-on, the nitty-gritty, and that's what I like and it's the way that I consider myself to be very open-minded to the spiritual side of things, but also spending a lot of hardcore time in the trenches physically as well.

So, Philip is one interesting man, and everything that we are going to talk about, you can discover over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/tm. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/tm. So, Philip, that being said, welcome to the show, man.

Philip:  Thank you, Ben. I appreciate you having me on the show today. And I appreciate such a fine introduction. I will do my best to wear that robe well. I think after we started our instruction with you, it was just two or three days and you had me pegged as the yogi, hippie, redneck hunting instructor but–

Ben:  That's right, that's right. And just to paint a picture for people listening in, a couple of things. First of all, I am not recording today's episode in my podcasting studio. I'm actually in Florida right now working on an article on spearfishing and preparing to race the South Beach Triathlon down here. So, I'm sitting on the porch out in the sunshine and it kind of reminds me very much of the hours that I spent with Philip out on my own porch at home in the sunshine learning how to do TM from Philip.

So, first question. Let's jump right in, Philip. I know that you were at one time, kind of still are, a redneck hunting instructor, but I'm curious, how did you get involved in TM? What's your story, man?

Philip:  My story is, well, the redneck hunting instructor part comes from having been born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Our family was always hunting and fishing and things like that. The family was reasonably well-off. And here I am years later at 20 years old, this is 1975, I'm going to school at Memphis State University and I see this poster with this long-haired, long beard beads and robes and it says, “Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Transcendental Meditation. Come to a free lecture and learn a technique that will bring about inner happiness, and peace, and stress relief, and creativity, and all that stuff.” I said, “Hmm, I'll go give it a shot.” So, I go to the lecture and I decided that, yes, I should learn this. And the very first day, the very first time I practiced TM, I felt something different inside. I thought, “Boy, this is pretty neat.” So, I kept on with it and over the–

Ben:  Can I interrupt you for just a second? When you wandered into this class, were you searching for something, or are you just more just like sheer curiosity?

Philip:  You know, as time went on, I realized, Ben, I was searching for something. And for me, and I'll describe it just like David Lynch–you know the filmmaker David Lynch?

Ben:  Yeah.

Philip:  He learned TM. What he says is that for him, what was missing was something in the happiness factor, an internal happiness, groundedness, centeredness. My external life at age 20 was good. We had money, we had cars and stuff like that. But something inside was lacking. I had no chronic health issues and have not had any chronic health issues. But over the years, this has grown and grown and grown, this connectedness, this wholeness of life. And when you talked about spiritual woo-woo and things like that, and the hunting things, we have the material world and we had the spiritual world. And the spiritual, the wholeness of life is what would underlie all of the activities in the material.

Ben:  It's interesting you talked about happiness because one of the guys you told me who has a very intense TM practice like twice a day for 20 minutes is Jerry Seinfeld.

Philip:  Right, right.

Ben:  Yeah. And there's actually–aren't there a lot of other celebrities that are doing this? I mean, I mentioned Rick Rubin who's well-known as being a music producer? But who are some other folks who you know of who have TM as a daily practice? Besides me, of course, now. I'm extremely famous as everyone knows.

Philip:  Yes, you are and I'm so happy to add you to my list of celebrities to have taught. Well, one of my heroes is Clint Eastwood. Clint Eastwood has practiced TM for about 42 years.

Ben:  No way.

Philip:  Yes, sir. He's a gun-toting get rid of the bad guys kind of guy. We have Clint Eastwood and Jerry Seinfeld, as you mentioned, Katy Perry, one of the singers, Russell Brand. His comedy is kind of off a little bit but funny, but yet he's very active in helping to bring about a better quality for folks. Oprah Winfrey practiced TM. She had it on TV show. So, those are just a few celebrities, and then we can get down to business people. Ray Dalio, who has probably the most successful hedge fund in the U.S., if not in the whole world. His hedge fund is called Bridgewater.

Ben:  Yeah. Tony Robbins writes quite a bit about Ray in his book, “Money.” I don't know if you've read that book, but it's like the most recent Bible on finances and Ray plays a key role on that. And so he's into TM. Who else in the business world?

Philip:  In the business world, oh, there's rumor that some of the people in Microsoft might have learned TM. There is other business world. The Department of Defense two years ago gave a $2 million grant to study the effects of transcendental meditation and PTSD with their soldiers. So, if we talk about the Pentagon being the largest employer in the U.S. just about with a $500 billion budget, they're having quite a few of the soldiers learning TM and showing that it's reducing their PTSD.

Ben:  That was one of my initial reasons for taking a dive into TM in the first place was, as I mentioned on the podcast before, one of my banes, because I do a lot of blood and biomarker testing, as well as a salivary hormonal profile, is cortisol. When cortisol is elevated, well, your sex hormone-binding globulin goes up, and that binds to your total testosterone if you're a male. It can bind the things like progesterone and estrogens if you're female. And it can decrease libido, decrease–pretty much everything that you'd think that would be associated with low testosterone, high cortisol can cause because of that link between it and sex hormone-binding globulin and it's just a message from nature that it doesn't want you to make babies at a time of stress more or less.

I've constantly searched out ways to relax, to sleep better, to decrease salivary cortisol. And since picking up TM, I've been surprised that it's also helped with things like focus, and cognitive performance, and my ability to pay attention for long periods of time. The most recent case in point being where at the Spartan Agoge, which was the Spartan's replacement for the death race, they had to simply stand at attention on a cold floor as our toes slowly turned blue for five hours. And I swear I had my mantra going over and over again in my head during much of that time.

So, I know we went off and we went down a little bit of a rabbit hole there, but what is TM? What exactly is it? How would you describe it?

Philip:  I would say TM is a simple, effortless, and I think you'll agree with this, easy to practice mental technique that you just sit in the comfort of your own home, comfort of your car, or as I think before we started this, you said you meditated in the airport.

Ben:  Yesterday, yeah. We had a one-hour layover. And this was actually something you told me that you do sometimes on layovers because it's–the best way that I can describe it, and forgive me if I'm bastardizing TM here, but in a way, you're like creating white noise inside your head. So, I was sitting in the terminal and my wife and my kids were off in the corner playing, and I simply sat cross-legged in one of those chairs at the gate doing my TM for 20 minutes. Yeah. I mean, you open your eyes and you can feel the stress markedly lower. It's like you've emptied the salivary cortisol bucket significantly.

And by the way though, the reams and reams of research, I really appreciated this when you and I met, you gave me a bunch of scientific papers. The research on TM dwarfs the research on any other form of meditation I've ever seen. And I'll put some of that research in the shownotes for folks over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/tm. But yeah, to return to your question about airports, yeah, I did it in the airport yesterday after hearing from you that that was okay, that I didn't have to be in some special sacred place. But go on with your description of TM.

Philip:  And yes, when I say it's simple and easy to practice, I have taught many young people, 10 years old, and I'll describe one of the 10-year-old's experiences here in a minute. But what happens is inside each individual is part of the human experience. And transcendental meditation technique, transcendental meditation program does not have a monopoly on the ability for the human to transcend. It is part of our nature. It's part of our makeup. And transcend, the mind, the conscious mind settles down to a quieter and quieter and quieter level of awareness to where we start to experience inside each of us a field of pure consciousness, pure awareness, and it is a field of bliss, energy, joy, order, intelligence.

Ben:  Yeah. I think that a lot of people hear the word transcendental, and just because it's multisyllabic, right? It's a big word, which is why I like the word TM. They get confused about what it is, but you used that word transcend, and that's basically what it is. I mean, you're like transcending, at least this is my experience of it, where you're at physically and taking yourself to a different point mentally. It's almost like you're rising above all the chaos and everything else as you're putting into practice the mantra and the techniques that a guy like you teaches as you go through a TM course. And it allows you to just almost like check out from the stress, to transcend the stress.

That leads me to another question I want to ask you, Philip, and that is like the whole–and I want to talk physiology and biology, but I want to delve into this first, the whole religion part of it because–this was one of my concerns going in. A difficult question, but I was a little bit nervous when you came into my house and you did like a ceremony, and we went in my sauna and we burnt some incense, and we did some things that I think would make some people who might not be too spiritually open-minded or who might be concerned about the religious aspects of it, a little bit nervous. And so I'm curious, do you have to be religious to do this? Where does religion fit in? And I've even gotten questions, for example, on Twitter about Christianity, right? Because I've said before in the podcast that I'm a Christian and a lot of people raise an eyebrow when I started doing TM. So, tell me a little bit about what religious requirements are required and where religion fits in or plugs in.

Philip:  That's a very good question, Ben, and this is something that has been an off and on ongoing scenario once Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought the TM technique out of India many, many years ago, about 1955, 1957. So, the first answer is is you do not have to have any religious belief that TM will work. It is not a religion. It is simply a mental technique. And you cannot even have any knowledge of what is going to happen, and I say, “Do this, do this, do this, and it'll work.” You don't have to believe that it'll work.

So, say this thing's ongoing scenario is that back in the '90s, I believe it was, maybe in the 1980s, it was taken to the German, the country of Germany, taken to their Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Germany. The short story is they ruled that transcendental meditation is not a religion. And I jokingly say, “Well, if Germany is bailing out Europe because Germany has the biggest economy over there and most fiscally conservative, if they said it's not a religion, then we're just going to have to go with that.” But anyway, yes, getting to the ceremony, there is a little ceremony that the teacher performs for the teacher's benefit prior to instruction. And I have to clarify so the folks will understand, when we went in your sauna, we were both fully clothed.

Ben:  Yeah. There's no funny business going on here, and it was actually–it's really interesting. You had me–well, explain it to me, like you had me collect some flowers and some fruit, and yeah, I mean it was a little uncomfortable for me. So, explain to me what goes on and why. And I know, by the way, that some of TM is close-guarded like there's some stuff that you can and can't say. So, feel free to not get yourself in trouble as an instructor as you describe this.

Philip:  Right. Well, to address the issue of close-guarded, my teacher training course was six months in residence. Every day of the week, six and a half days, they affectionately say they gave us a half a day off in order to do our laundry. And I took my teacher training in Vittel and Biarritz, France. Now, the teacher training course is five months and in a residence course. So, you don't just learn how to do this, do this. A TM teacher is fully trained and experienced in all aspects of what could possibly happen when the mind settles to experience pure consciousness, pure awareness, and then the body settles down because of mind-body relationship, and the stress is released. We know these things. We've experienced it. We can teach somebody and guide them through the process.

Ben:  Right.

Philip:  Now, the reason that some people say it's secret, and yes, we will not say this, this, this, is because if you haven't gone through the six-month course to become a TM teacher, you're not going to understand it, and it's not something that you can learn in a weekend and then go out and teach somebody. Also, we want to maintain the integrity of the teaching. And this gets to the ceremony that the TM teacher performs prior to instruction. The integrity, this knowledge goes back about 4 or 5,000 years. It comes from a tradition called the Vedic, V-E-D-I-C, Vedic tradition, the Shankaracharya tradition. And many, many years ago, this knowledge was only taught to kings, emperors. Common man was not given privy to learning this technique.

Ben:  Really?

Philip:  Yes.

Ben:  Interesting.

Philip:  So, Ben, you're in the company of kings.

Ben:  No. It actually is kind of cool. I mean, as an ex-World of Warcraft devotee, a “Lord of the Rings” and C.S. Lewis fan, and somebody who loves this idea of doing something like the ancient warriors and the kings would have only been able to tap into, I think it's pretty cool. So, go ahead.

Philip:  So, in order to maintain the integrity of the teaching, as a certified TM teacher, I will only teach the traditional way. The traditional way is is that the teacher will perform a very brief seven-minute ceremony. That reminds him or her, I'm just going to say him because it's easier for me, to maintain the integrity of this knowledge. We perform the ceremony. It's a ceremony that reminds us that we are part of this tradition of teachers and masters down through the ages. It is performed in Sanskrit, which is a very old language. It's the language of the time back then.

We'll say that if this knowledge came out of Rome, probably we would be speaking it in Latin. But because it came out of India for many years ago, it had spoken in Sanskrit. So, many people will not understand what's being said, although they may hear the word guru. Guru means teacher. Part of the ceremony is a recitation of the names of the great gurus, the great teachers down to the ages. And it puts the teacher–the TM teacher of today puts Philip Land in his place. “Philip, you're a humble guy. You'd better be humble because you're part of this tradition, and you'd better teach this thing right. I'm telling you what happens to me when I do this ceremony.” And so then I'm in the right frame of mind, and then I can turn in a structure with your mantra or sound, and then I teach you how to use it. And the fruit and the flowers and things, that's part of the traditional way of performing this ceremony.

Ben:  Okay, okay. Got it.

Philip:  So, that's what we can say. Some folks will say, “Well, it's because I don't understand what you're saying.” I said, “You know, it's not important that you do. The ceremony is for me, but it's for your benefit so that you will receive the knowledge in its purity.

Ben:  Yeah. It makes sense. And it certainly isn't something where, because I've gotten this concern from people where I'm like sitting there praying to some, with all due respect, dead guru as I am doing my transcendental meditation practice in the Phoenix Airport, right? For me, it is about tapping into all the physiological and the biological benefits that I see. Like I look at research and I've seen the peer-reviewed research. Like I mentioned, I'll link to it in the shownotes but there are over 380 different studies published and studied at Harvard, and at Stanford, and at Yale, and at UCLA on this stuff, and I kind of want to dive into a little bit of that with you. So, the first question I have for you, Philip, is when you're doing TM, when you're sitting–and I know the protocol is supposed to be two times a day for 20 minutes, but like you explained to me, some people don't do two times a day for 20 minutes, right?

Philip:  Right. And I think I might be–yes, Jerry Seinfeld commented one day that he'd been meditating for 30-something years once a day, and that he was the producer, the writer, the star of his show, and a very successful show. And then one day, his instructor–well, I don't know if it's his instructor but Bob Roth, who was very outspoken TM teacher, has interviewed many celebrities. He's teaching Jerry Seinfeld's children. He says, “You know, Jerry, I've instructed your kids to meditate twice a day and you can, too.” And he says, “Wow. How much benefit would I have received in 30 years if I've meditated twice a day instead of once a day?” But he saw the benefits, and I think other people still can fit 10 minutes, 20 minutes at least once a day into the timeframe and receive benefits.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. And for clarification of folks listening in, who are thinking, “Ben, how the heck do you do Kundalini Yoga and obstacle course workouts, triathlon training, take care of your kids, do transcendental meditation, et cetera?” Right now, I'm at five times a week for 10 to 20 minutes. And then I–and again, my apologies if I'm doing this wrong, Philip, but I pull it out like a weapon sometimes when I feel as though things have gotten a little bit out of control from a stress standpoint, or I do have a flight delay where I know I can just tap into some of the benefits of it sitting right there in the airport.

But that question I asked you just now occurred as I was about to ask you about like blood, and biomarkers, and physiology, and biology. Do you know what it is about the place that you transcend to during meditation that seems to produce a biological effect?

Philip:  Well, that's a good question. So, the field of pure consciousness that's in each one of us, pure awareness, it's our core, it's our essence, it's where our thoughts come from. It's a field of silence and quiet. So, if we think about we get tired during the day and we have a very busy day and a strenuous workout climbing that wall, that climbing wall that's outside your house, and moving around those huge tractor tires like you do, I have a hard-enough time moving around a truck tire.

Ben:  Yeah. I don't just move them, dude. I flip them.

Philip:  I know. I have seen you do it. I've seen you do it. So, I'm still working on the 16-inch truck tire, my friend. I'll get up to that tractor one of these days.

Ben:  It's all right. I'll teach you.

Philip:  Okay. Thank you. Well, we have a ceremony first.

Ben:  There are no flowers and fruit involved in flipping giant tractor tires, no.

Philip:  Okay. Alright. So, this field of consciousness is there within everyone. It's where our thoughts come from. A quiet thought becomes an active thought, and then we do something, kind of like a bubble coming out of the bottom of a lake. It's so small and then it gets to the top, active waves, active in mind. Anyway, in transcendental meditation, as we talked about this mantra, this sound that we teach, and it's not just one size fits all. There are many mantras that we use that come from this tradition.

So, I'll instruct you with the mantra, then the technique of how to use it, all right? There are three things that make TM work. I am getting to your answer. So, three things; we have the mantra, a sound which is life-supporting, and we do not associate a meaning with it because if we did, it would keep us in the field of concentration or contemplation, which are very difficult for many people to do, and especially if you're working on a transcending which is part of the human experience to settle down to a quiet level of life. So, we teach you the sound, the technique of how to use it. And then the third thing that makes this work is that the nature of the mind, the nature of life is to go to greater fields of happiness, joy, order, and intelligence. Everybody wants that.

Ben:  Is that true though? I'm asking this because I know some people wonder, like it seems that a lot of times in science, you see stuff goes towards the state of entropy or state of confusion or chaos.

Philip:  Well, that's why we tune into your program, so we can go to a state of order if everything out there is chaos.

Ben:  So, what you're saying is that under the right circumstances such as with TM, you can drive stuff towards a different order naturally, an order of happiness or alignment?

Philip:  Yes. You start to experience that.

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Philip:  But I guess what I'm saying is inside each of us is a field of perfect order, perfect energy and intelligence, and it's unbounded, it's infinite reservoir. So, the mind will start to settle down because we set up the right conditions. As I said earlier, this transcending thing, which transcend means to go beyond meditation thinking. The Maharishi just named it based upon what happens.

So, we start to settle down quieter and quieter and quieter levels of awareness, and then we experience–we come out, the mind goes out of all activity even for brief second, it might be nanoseconds, it might be minutes, and experience this field of awareness, this pure energy order and intelligence. Much like we take a cloth, and put it into the yellow dye, and bring it out into the sunshine, it's gold and yellow. And then the cloth will fade a little bit in the sun, a little bit stays. We'll keep doing that back and forth, and that's the old way of color fasting some cloth.

Ben:  Okay.

Philip:  Basically, what we're doing is we're allowing our conscious awareness to experience this field of pure awareness, which is a field of order. So, we're allowing the conscious mind to dip in and be saturated with this field of life that is inside each of us. It's easy to do. It's part of the human experience. We teach you the technique of how to have that experience on a regular basis. So, then when the mind settles down because of mind-body relationship, and I know you experienced this with your workouts and your extreme things, the body settles down. The mind goes, the body settles. The mind settles, the body settles. Otherwise, we could say opposite scenario of when the mind becomes active, the body becomes active.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. And I think that really what it comes down to–I mean for me, having studied, I know you and I talked about this a little bit, heart rate variability. I do a lot of quantification where I roll out of bed in the morning and I hook up this app called NatureBeat and I measure my heart rate variability, my sympathetic and my parasympathetic nervous system strength for about five minutes. I've done a lot of podcasts on it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, just go to Ben Greenfield Fitness and do a search for heart rate variability.

But the idea here is that through certain breathing patterns, there's stuff that I'd studied in the past before I hooked up with you, alternate nostril breathing, box breathing, things along those lines. You actually change the activity of the heart's electrical signal. You actually change the vagus nerve in the amount of what's called acetylcholine, released by the vagus nerve into the pacemaker cells of your heart, and you also change the amount of epinephrine, norepinephrine, adrenaline, et cetera, that would be released by the sympathetic nervous system.

And what they've shown is that because there's a nerve that wanders through the body called the vagus nerve, connects the brain in the heart, what they've shown is that the electrical signal of the heart influences out of the brain. But they've also shown that it happens vice versa, that the electrical signals of the brain such as if you're doing, let's say TM, and you're producing a boatload of alpha brainwaves, that also affects the electrical activity of the heart, meaning, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system.

And what I suspect is that a big, big part of this is simply something going on with vagal nerve tone and vagus nerve function that's affecting all the things they've been shown to affect, like blood pressure, and lowered risk of coronary heart disease, and a decrease in inflammatory cytokines, and all these things that we see that TM can do. But what I suspect is a big, big part of it has to do with that. It's that nervous system that was forming tiny little babies between our gut and our brain, that connection between the central nervous system, which were kind of like hitting with TM and the enteric nervous system, like the gut and the organs of the heart and everything else. That's my hypothesis at least.

Philip:  You explained that so well. You really do. You put it right there on the scientific, physiological basis, and I appreciate your knowledge on that.

Ben:  No problem. I'll put my propeller hat aside here now for a second. But actually, I wanted to ask you, have they studied brainwave response to TM? Have they actually looked into brainwave studies and measured with EEG or anything like that?

Philip:  Oh yes, they have. I have several DVDs that I will play from time to time at some of the classes showing where actually our brainwave researcher that's also a TM teacher and TM meditator. His name is Dr. Fred Travis. He has PhD and he owned the little one DVD that I'll show. He has his daughter sitting up on stage in front of 400 people at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. And he has her all hooked up with the brainwave thing and he has the computer monitors sitting there, and he'll say, “Okay. Now, Arianna (ph), this is what it looks like when you had 400 people looking at you, the brainwave patterns.” She has a certain scenario. He says, “Now, close your eyes.” She closes her eyes. And as soon as she closes her eyes and there's no external stimulus, her brainwave patterns will change, and he said, “This is what you have when you have no external stimulus, except for the auditory part.”

And he says, “Okay. Now, Arianna, please go ahead and start practicing your TM.” And she's sitting on stage in front of 400 people. Within one and a half to two minutes, you start to see on the computer monitor the brainwaves, lines becoming very synchronous, very harmonious. As you talked about the alpha waves and the beta waves, they'll start to change. That showed that what is being experienced were being experienced. We don't make it happen. We just experience it. The state of restful alertness where the body starts to rest, the heart rate starts to slow down, the breathing starts to slow down, and yet the mind is also resting but it's also still alert. You can hear sounds around you. I bet you heard some of the folks in the airport, didn't you?

Ben:  Oh, you could still hear a lot of the things that are going on around you, but it's as though they're like in a different place. I think what I mentioned earlier was you almost like rise above them and you sense them in a different part of your mind almost. So, yeah, it's really interesting. Like I mentioned, that white noise, I would hazard a guess that the white noise is more an extreme amount of alpha brainwave production. I'm looking at the number of studies, and I'll link to a lot of these in the shownotes, but the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine looked at electrophysiological characteristics of respiratory suspension periods occurring during TM and showed extreme activation of parasympathetic nervous system activity.

There's another one that looked at the EEG during sleep and found that you actually got more delta sleep during sleep that occurred after practicing TM compared to the alpha brainwaves that you get during practice. It is another reason. I mentioned the cortisol as being one reason that I was interested in TM, but sleep was another because when I had been discussing TM with Rick at that longevity conference, shortly thereafter, I had another discussion, I believe Phil Maffetone, who's this endurance physiologist. He was at the conference and we were chatting about sleep, and he was mentioning out folks, as they age, naturally sleep less and less. But we were also looking at some of the transcendental meditation research on sleep, and there's a couple of interesting studies that especially look at a lot of these–what do you call people who practice TM, monks, basically?

Philip:  Oh, we just call them meditators.

Ben:  Okay. So, meditators. They had a name from there like yogis or monks or something like that. And they found that based on cognitive performance and memory tests that these folks performed just as well on measurements of cognitive performance on four to five hours of sleep a night as people who were sleeping for eight to nine hours per night who weren't doing TM, and especially hadn't done it for a long time. And I don't endorse sleeping four to five hours a night because I think there's–yeah, maybe you can do well on a test but there's still, especially for athletes out there, your nervous system has to repair, muscles need to repair, et cetera. I'm not saying you should use TM as an excuse to sleep four or five hours a night. But for me, when I'm at a conference or when I've got a really busy time of my life, knowing that I can use that as a weapon, as a tool in my toolbox to be able to allow me to sleep less, that was another thing that compelled me to reach out to you and actually teach me how to do it was because I wanted to be able to get by on less sleep when life situations demanded that.

Philip:  Yes. I have taught people to meditate and they say, “All of a sudden in the two or three–” it takes basically four or two-hour sessions and you would like to do that over a four-day period. But what I have had some people on the second or third day, they start saying, “You know, I started having some dreams last night and I haven't been dreaming.” I said, “Well, you know, you're having better sleep, and also your awareness is more lively after you started practicing TM. And so then you're going to have an awareness of your dreams.”

Ben:  Yeah. Probably more activation of the rapid eye movement, the deep rapid eye movement sleep cycles. By the way, for those of you listening in, I'm working in a big article about some of the ways that I've been quantifying everything from TM to the use of–recently, I talked about a pulsed electromagnetic field therapy device I placed over my collarbone before I sleep that also causes like a delta brainwave release. And a lot of other things I've been quantifying and measuring, specifically in terms of how it affects sleep cycles, like the amount of time that you spend in deep sleep, sleep latency, or how long it takes you to fall asleep, et cetera.

So, stay tuned for that. I always release articles typically on Monday. So, on a future Monday, stay tuned for that. But that leads me into another question that I have for you, Philip, and that is there are a lot of biohacks out there, right? There's the Muse headband that you wrap around your head. There's the Headspace app that's this new very popular app for teaching people how to meditate. There are things that would allow you to go into delta sleep, like this device you place over your collarbone. There are even machines like–one of my friends, Dave Asprey, has a machine that he says–it's basically electrical stimulation of the brain. He says it allows you to achieve what a monk, who performs 40 years of meditation, would normally only be able to achieve. So, with all of these biohacks and devices out there, why even continue to, say, waste time doing TM for two 20-minute sessions a day or even a 10-minute session every day? Why would you want to do that if you could shortcut your way in?

Philip:  Shortcuts are great if they work and if they do not cause any stress. In my mind, Ben, when you're talking about these machines, these biohacking devices, in our society, we love technology, and technology has just exploded in the last 10, 15 years. But with transcendental meditation, it is a very natural, easy, effortless practice that takes us effortlessly to that field of life inside of us instead of having something that's forced on us. In my mind, the biohacking, I do not know enough about the biohacking devices. Although I look on your site and I see all these things, I said, “Boy, that gadget is cool.” That thing you stick in your ear with the light thing, that's cool. I want to get one of those one day. So, I think about that. And also, TM is very portable. You don't have to carry something else in your backpack. It's something that you have and you have it for your whole entire life. No one can take it away from you.

Ben:  That's true. You could be sitting in a prison cell, God forbid, doing TM without any of your fancy electronic devices. Yeah. I mean, you make a good point. At the airport, I probably could have pulled out a phone, a band, an EEG device, et cetera, and I probably could have started biohacking my way into a similar brainwave state as I got myself into doing TM. It's something in my bedroom at night, and I just don't want all those devices, or I'm in the airport, like you mentioned, or I don't have anything, right? Like I'm sitting in a freaking park or I'm sitting at the border crossing between Canada and the U.S., which recently happened where there are no phones, there are no devices, you just got to sit there for like five hours, right?

Philip:  Wow.

Ben:  So, yeah, I think you make a good point there, but also, I don't want to minimize another thing that you mentioned or brush over it, and that is that this is all endogenously created, right? It's like you could take a testosterone injection, or you could figure out ways to get your body to endogenously produce testosterone through lifestyle practices, or you could, for example, take a hydrocortisone injection into a joint to heal it, or you could start to do things like mobility practices, and deep tissue work, and some things that would allow you without the quick shortcut to fix an issue perhaps even more permanently. And don't get me wrong, man, I'm all about combining like the woo-woo and the biohacking. That's what I'm known for is having one foot in both camps, but I think that it's important that people understand that you can't just say TM is useless because you could biohack your way in.

Philip:  Yes. And when you talked about being in the prison, there is a large population of prisoners that have been practicing TM. I have a good friend who was over in Oregon and he's a counselor at the Oregon State Corrections Institute, the largest prison. I'm not sure I have the name correct, but he's been teaching prisoners over there TM. And the prisoners say, “Yes, I'm in here for life. I will know that I will die inside this prison. But when I practice my TM, I've never felt as free, free from my anger, free from my stress, free inside.” They said this is the best gift they've had.

Ben:  That's crazy.

Philip:  Yeah. When we get to the biohacking thing, I jokingly say, “You can practice TM naked if you want to. You can go sit out in your front yard, get your sun bath naked, 15 minutes of vitamin D coming off the sun that day, and sit there and do your TM while you're getting your sunshine and let the wind blow on you.”

Ben:  I've warned people, Philip, UPS, FedEx, my house cleaner, a lot of people know this that I wander around naked in the forest. It's something that I'd like. There actually is a benefit to get in the sunshine in the places where the sun doesn't normally shine. I have sat out in my yard before meditating and doing yoga without a shred of clothing on. And again, I know folks are laughing and I know you got to live in a certain place to be able to do that, but yeah, I totally agree, and zero devices, like no headphones, not even an MP3 player hanging off me. It's cool to be able to have that tool in your toolbox.

Now, I have another question for you because there's this mantra that you repeat almost like mentally as you're doing TM, voicing it so much as you're creating this mantra inside your head, and that's what's creating this white noise or this alpha brainwave production. But couldn't I just say anything over–like, why would I need to pay you to learn a TM course, to get a mantra, et cetera, and I could just say like cheeseburger over and over in my head again, or flour, or whatever else? What is it about the mantra? Why is that so special?

Philip:  Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger. And then we're going to–thinking about wimpy, and for $2 today, I'll have a cheeseburger anyway. The reason why we can't just use any old sound or any old word is if we had the meaning and letters associated with the word like cheeseburger, C-H-E-E-S-E burger, without spilling the whole thing out, then it keeps the mind in a state of contemplation or concentration. It puts boundaries on the mind. And if we have boundaries, it's going to keep us from experiencing the unbounded level of life, which that unbounded level of life is pure consciousness. And the reason that we use these mantras, they're time-tested, thousands of years. They come from this ancient tradition, this Vedic tradition, as we talked about earlier, with the ceremony of gratitude, reminding me that I am part of this tradition and I'm only to teach you as purely as I possibly can at that moment.

Ben:  I mean, I guess when you say that part of that makes me think back to what you're talking about like the ancient kings and warriors and stuff like that doing TM. I would imagine that there is something significant to the actual–like you taught me a word and I actually–and again folks, don't get scared off by this, but I made a vow that that was my mantra. Then I'm not going to go and teach my kids or my wife, like, that's mine and it's the mantra that I use. And I think there is something to be said for that versus just a random word that you say over and over again. I don't know if that makes sense, but to me, that word is special. The only time I'll use the word that you taught me during the mantra is when I'm doing TM.

Philip:  That's the correct usage of it. And I'd like to say that we don't use 10,000 mantras. Hey, I'm a pretty smart guy but I couldn't remember 10,000 things, but I've been instructed with enough and no, one size does not fit all. There is no one size that will fit everyone. But when you take that sound that we instruct you with, that's chosen for you based upon various biographical information that you give us based upon your life history, et cetera, then once you close your eyes and start to transcend, Ben's nervous system is different than Philip's nervous system, is different than Jessa's nervous system based upon experiences. And I'll use an example in a lecture of–okay, I have five people, and I'm going to say a sound, and I want you to tell me what your first impression of that sound is. So, I'll say flower. One person says rose. Next person says sunflower. Next person says Volkswagen Beetle. You know why I said that, don't you?

Ben:  No.

Philip:  He was an old hippie–

Ben:  Oh, actually an old hippie. yeah.

Philip:  And they're [00:52:09] _______ the Beetles, right? So, I said one sound and each person experienced that sound differently. That's why we will use this tradition of mantras, and that's why we don't speak out the mantra to our friend or family. One, we need to have that big instruction of six months' instruction being a TM teacher.

Ben:  If I could interrupt real quick. I think that it has to be a little bit more than that. I think it might be everything I'll put together, like you and I doing the ceremony and that's setting me in a certain state of mind to take it seriously. The fact that I sat down with you and you pretty much held my hand through–what did we do, like four sessions, five sessions together, where it was you teaching me, us watching some video instruction, and then us practicing together? Because frankly, there's a lot of smart people listening to this show, and there's this thing called Google.

And you could go google your way into not just a bunch of pretty nasty arguments against TM, but even like websites where people have given out their mantras and given out lists of words associated with different biologists in ages and stuff like that. And I think that while you could go and find a lot of this stuff on your own, you could probably even go like, “Fine. My mantra with Dr. Google.” I think that, unless you put all the pieces together, the instruction, the seriousness about actually doing it, and almost like committing. Otherwise, it's just like this–I don't know, it's just like a cheap toy to have the mantra. That's the way I think about it.

Philip:  And I'm going to say you're correct. It is a wholeness of the instruction, a wholeness of the experience. And yes, there have been some people that have put things out there on the internet. And we know that the internet has some truth, we know the internet has some lies, we know the internet has some things that are in between, truth and lie, and we also know that anyone who told their teacher that they were not going to divulge the information until after they became a TM teacher.

And then TM teachers tell their teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, that they will not divulge the information in order to help keep the teaching pure. And yet when they go and do that, are they honest, upright, ethical people after having signed an agreement and looked the man in the eye and said, “Yes, sir”? So, then you wonder if you really want to delve into that on your own or not. But just taking a mantra and practicing with the mantra is not the totality. That is just 10% of it. The guidance that the TM teacher gives you for your whole entire life, once you've signed up and taken the course and paid your course fee, Ben, as far as you want me as your TM teacher, I'm yours. I'm 61 years old. I might be giving 20 more years. And so you use me. Ben uses Philip as his teacher, as his guidance from meditation process for the next 20 years, if God gives me another 20 years.

And then maybe when you go down there Miami, there are three TM teachers, four TM teachers, there's some in Fort Lauderdale, there's some in Broward County. And if you want to get your meditation checked, you just call them up or you say, “Philip, send him a note. Tell him I'm coming.” I'd say, “Fine. Here you go.” You can go down there at no cost and they'll guide you with advanced talks, check your meditation. So, it's not just read this, read this, do that based upon what you read. And how can you read something–this is my question. How can you read something and then practice it effectively with your eyes closed and know that you're doing it effectively?

Ben:  Yeah. Well, part of it too, yeah, that's what you're talking about. And again, I don't want–because we don't want this to come off sounding like a big infomercial or something like that. But yeah. I mean, for me, I'm confident that I'm doing it the right way because you taught it to me and we did the ceremony and we sat down and we did it. And so I think I don't want to belabor the point too much, but yeah, I think you got to do the full meal deal. I think you got to have the full experience and you can't just go and google your way into learning how to do TM.

That's my opinion. I don't think that you can–because I tried this before I hooked up with you. I tried a bunch of apps too because I thought there's got to be an app out there that teaches me how to do this, and it didn't work. Plus, I was second-guessing myself the whole time wondering if I was doing things the right way. Now, we–gosh, I mean, I'm going to link to the peer-reviewed research on reduced insomnia, lower blood pressure, decreased cholesterol, which I think is crazy. I'm still trying to wrap my head around how physiologically that's possible.

But there are a couple different studies that have been done on transcendental meditation and serum cholesterol, blood sugar, which makes sense because cortisol can cause the liver to release glycogen, and that bumps up blood glucose. So, that won't make sense. Reduction in pain, that makes sense to me. Increased longevity, that's a pretty cool one. Have you seen this stuff on increased longevity?

Philip:  Yes, I have. And they are saying that people who practice TM over a long period of time, three, five, ten years, tend to have a biological age younger than the chronological age.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, they've shown that with a few different forms of TM, how it can decrease, or not a few different forms of TM, a few different forms of meditation, how it can decrease the rate at which the telomeres shorten. It can literally have an anti-aging effect, which should be good news for those of you out there who are swallowing like 30 capsules a day right now, trying to fight aging.

Philip:  Right. When we get back to how and why TM works, we talked about the mind settling to that quiet, infinite, unbounded level of energy, order, and intelligence. And when the mind settles, the body settles with it. We talked about that mind-body relationship. So, when the body settles down, it normally goes to start to balance itself. Stress is something foreign to the system. This high level of cortisol is not the normal baseline where we should be. And so the body says, “Okay. Thank you very much, Philip. Thank you very much, Ben.” You're giving me the opportunity to fix myself and to get rid of this stress. And so that's what starts to happen.

Ben:  Yeah.

Philip:  And for the aging, if we're experiencing an infinite, unbounded level of life even for just a few seconds or a few minutes every day–and it does get longer, this experience of the infinite and unbounded inside. As daily practice, you're able to experience it for a longer period of time. The body goes into that, as you talked about, the breath suspension. Breath suspension, body is just right there. It is not working. It is barely working for just a few moments and it's in a state of eternal rest. So, there you go. Not death, but big resting.

Ben:  Yeah. And it makes sense. The interesting thing is, because I've done Kundalini Yoga, I've gone through the Wim Hof program, I've gone through–like Mark Devine did a lot of breathwork with me. I did the holotropic breathwork when I went down and did the Kokoro camp down there. The interesting thing about TM, if a lot of you are wondering, is there's not a lot of breathwork involved. It's more like all mantra and mind-related. I get that question a lot, like, is this specific breathing pattern? And correct me if I'm wrong, Philip, but it's not, right?

Philip:  You are correct, Ben. We don't necessarily teach you any kind of breathing technique. Did I teach you a breathing technique?

Ben:  No, you don't, no. Not at all.

Philip:  No. But you said that you practice the alternate nostril breathing and some of the other things, which those have been part of various yoga practices for many, many years, and they're very beneficial, as you talked about, beneficial to the nervous system. And yoga means union. What is yoga? Union of mind and body, a wholeness of life. Spiritual experience is a wholeness of experience, integration of mind and body. And are you noticing, I'm asking you, are you noticing any benefit of integration of mind and body since you've been practicing TM?

Ben:  Oh, yeah. Awareness, relationship, the ability to stand in a cold floor for five hours staring off into space, the ability to lower cortisol in a freaking airport, and sleep. Those have been some of the biggest benefits that I've seen. And again, I'm a pretty crappy student. I'm doing 10 minutes, maximum 20 minutes, and I've been going about five days a week, right? So, I'm not even at that 2 by 20-min. I know that you told me before, just like do what you can. I know there's not like a rule that you fail if you don't do it every day. And I think you mentioned like Jerry Seinfeld is going–what's he doing, like once a day for 20 minutes?

Philip:  Yeah. He did that for 30 years. And then he upped his game to two times, twice a day.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Philip:  If Jerry upped his game, you can, too.

Ben:  I know, I know. I'll get there eventually. Okay. So, I've got another question for you and that is cost and the learning process because–I mean, if it's so great, if it's changing so many lives, why would somebody who really wants to spread good karma and make a difference in the world make this stuff free? Like, there's a lot of chatter out there about TM being a corporate enterprise to make money because it actually does cost a significant amount of money to take a class or to take a course. So, I'm going to turn this over to you to explain what it does cost, and then also why.

Philip:  Okay. That's a good question because in this economic time since 2008 especially, many people are very cost-conscious. The course fee–and it has actually been reduced in the last couple of years because we did see that, yes, the economic times were such and the course fee today is $960, and that is a one-time lifetime fee. It is as if you're paying for a lifetime membership. I don't know that the 24/7 gymnasium would take one fee and let you go in there for your entire lifetime, 10, 20, 30, 40 years. And if you move to a different city, still be able to have that lifetime membership in a different city, but having paid here. I have people, Ben, that learned TM in 1969 down in Pullman, Washington. I've given them a refresher course and checking their meditation.

Ben:  Right in Pullman?

Philip:  In Pullman.

Ben:  My wife and I used to go to '80s dance night down there at a bar.

Philip:  Oh, how was that?

Ben:  It was pretty freaking fun, actually. Sorry to interrupt.

Philip:  I bet TM can improve your dancing, especially when you talked about that free test off–

Ben:  Yeah. I need that. I'm definitely upping to two times a day for 20 minutes then. I just totally derailed you, sorry. Go ahead.

Philip:  That's okay. Yes, dancing is a prelude 'til we know what else happens after that.

Ben:  Yeah, exactly.

Philip:  So, practice your TM before you go dancing. You might get lucky. Anyway, the course fee can be paid over four payments. And then if an individual is a couple, the first one would pay the 960 and the second would pay the 720, we give a discount to the spouse or the partner, significant other. And if a person is a college student, it's $480. If they are a high school student, it's 360 or less than high school down to 10 years old or so, something like that.

Ben:  Okay. Gotcha.

Philip:  And we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization registered with the Internal Revenue Service, et cetera, et cetera. Alright, out of that course fee, the TM teacher receives a percentage. I do like to eat, and I think you would like to see me dressed when I instruct you.

Ben:  Preferably.

Philip:  But I'm thinking about going–

Ben:  No offense, but I went down to Key West once and I walked into a bar down there called Adam and Eve, and it was a bunch of nude hairy hippies, and I'm never going to get that image out of my mind.

Philip:  It's kind of like the soldier says, “Sometimes I have seen things that I cannot unsee.”

Ben:  Yeah, exactly.

Philip:  But I'm thinking about going out here right outside of St. Mary's where I live to the Sun Meadow's Nudist Resort, giving a class out there. We might have to give the class–

Ben:  They have the Bare Buns Fun Run out there, by the way. For any of you listening in, google it and you can get out there and do the full run with everything flapping in the breeze. Okay. Sorry, I derailed you again.

Philip:  That's a freeing experience, almost as freeing as TM. So, then we have the various grant rates. Now, if someone needs financial assistance, we do everything we possibly can to make sure that they can learn transcendental meditation. So, they just fill out a couple of page application. What are your financial situation, your income, et cetera, expenses and da, da, da? And we have grants, and we have some small scholarships. Alright, with that said, no one will be turned away from learning transcendental meditation, although everyone will have to pay something towards the course fee. The amount of grants and the amount of scholarships are also limited in dollar figures.

And so you say, “Why would anybody learn? Why shouldn't we just do this for free?” We can get into the whole argument. Now, what is free? What is free? Is anything free? You have to show up to the class. You had to put money in your gasoline tank. You had to eat food. And if you didn't grow your food, somebody else did, and so forth and so on. If something is free, we think about giving the free car to the 17-year-old as soon as he learns to drive. Does he take care of it? No. Generally, not. Free, we can get down to–maybe you can say people that want TM for free were probably going to vote for Bernie Sanders.

Ben:  Yeah. Now, don't open the politics can of worms. Trust me. You do not want to get–I've made that mistake on everything from vaccinations to fluoride on this podcast. That's tricky territory. Hey, I know we're coming up on time, and I know that I'd asked you about TM and how to do it. TM.org is the website. I don't make any money off TM, by the way, for those of you listening in. This is just me wanting to connect people with what I've discovered. But you can also go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/tm if you want access to some of the research that I mentioned, and also the shownotes. But tm.org is where you'd go if you wanted to sign up for a course. And there are instructors all over the world, right, Phillip?

Philip:  Yes, there are, in at least 200 different countries around the world, and they're growing, and we do need more instructors. So, if somebody wants to learn TM, I'll be happy to teach them and guide them through the process of becoming a TM teacher, then they'll go off for five months. The most recent TM course had just started up a few weeks ago. It's going to be held in Bali. So, it'd be a nice place to go learn to be a TM teacher.

Ben:  Nice, nice. And when people sign up, can they choose their instructor? Like if somebody hears this. And again, like you and I don't have any kind of financial relationship or anything like that, but if somebody hears this and they're like, “Alright, Philip sounds cool. I want him to teach me.” Is there a list of instructors that you can choose from or you're just kind of like stuck with whoever you randomly wind up with?

Philip:  Well, that's a good question. Part of that is a function of where you live. Presently, I am the only certified TM teacher in North Idaho, Western Montana, and Eastern Washington.

Ben:  So, basically, you're saying you're available to all the rednecks?

Philip:  Yes, sir. And after we get through meditating, and our heart rate is slow, and our breath is slow, we'll go out and see how we can stride in our rifles.

Ben:  You're managing to slowly weed away listeners with the comments about Bernie Sanders and shooting rifles, but that's okay. People knew that going in, you were the hippie, redneck, woo-woo, madass hunting family man. So, there you have it.

Philip:  That's what I choose for my hobbies. Anyone who has a hobby of knitting or sewing would be able to do their sewing and knitting much easier and better because their mind is going to be clearer and not stressed.

Ben:  Yeah, absolutely. I agree. Alright. Well, again, TM.org is where you can learn more about TM, but also, I have a bunch of shownotes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/tm. Philip, I think that this has been really, really helpful, especially for folks who didn't understand TM or who maybe wondered why I do it. If you're listening in and you have questions for Philip, he's really, really good at helping to walk you through things. Or if you have comments for me, I can also help, and all you do is you go to the comment section over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/tm. And in those comment sections, just leave your comment, leave your question, and either Philip or I will jump in and help you out and reply and point you in the right direction.

So, that being said, Philip, my friend, thank you for coming on the show today and sharing all this with us, man.

Philip:  Thank you, Ben, it's been a lot of fun and that we've had some laughs and we've told folks about what's good in life. And I look forward to future visits with you and your lovely wife and your two young boys.

Ben:  That's right. We're getting the Ethiopian food next time we're in Spokane.

Philip:  We are. And hey, I want to get my first lesson on how to toss that tractor tire.

Ben:  Alright, we'll do it. We'll clean tires, we'll eat Ethiopian food, life will be good. Hey, for all of you listening in, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Philip Land signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have a healthy week.

Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.



In 2016, I published an interview with the person who taught me everything I know about transcendental meditation (TM). And since meditation has been on my mind as of late—with the recent release of the Kion e-book, Meditation Demystified—I wanted to share this still highly informative interview with you once again.

See, Meditation is a powerful tool for improving your mental, emotional, and even physical health.

Its widely studied benefits include stress reduction, better sleep, enhanced focus, elevated mood, improved regulation of emotions, and so much more. When practiced consistently and with intention, meditation has the unique ability to positively transform the way you think, behave, and interact with the world around you!

So what exactly is transcendental meditation?

More than 380 peer-reviewed research studies on the TM technique have been published in over 160 scientific journals. These studies were conducted at many prestigious US and international universities and research centers; including Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medical School, Yale Medical School, and UCLA Medical School.

They have shown irrefutable evidence that TM reduces insomnia, stress, anxiety, depression, blood pressure, cholesterol, congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis/stroke, free radicals, blood sugar, diabetes, pain, along with higher levels of brain functioning, longevity, sleep quality and much more.

And the man who taught me everything I know about transcendental meditation?

His name is named Philip Land, and he has been practicing transcendental meditation for the past 40 years. But he's no woo-woo, robe-clad, Eastern mystic. He's an unassuming, straight-talking, God-fearing, gun-totin' redneck living in northern Idaho. (When he's not teaching TM, you can find him walking his dog or taking selfies with Colonel Sanders.)

Philip has taught TM all over the globe, working with celebrities and high profile politicians. He's also worked in medicine, computed tomography, radiation technology, craniosacral therapy, hunting instruction, shooting, wilderness survival, and much more.

In this fascinating transcendental meditation deep dive, you'll learn…

-How “badass, redneck, hunting, hippy, family man” Philip initially got involved with TM…8:50

  • Was born and raised in Memphis, TN
  • Heard of TM while attending Memphis State Univ.
    • In retrospect, Philip believes he was “searching for something”
    • Internal happiness was missing

-Celebrity TM practitioners…11:25

-How Philip describes transcendental meditation…15:30

  • “A simple, effortless mental technique that can be done anywhere”
  • Creating white noise inside your head
  • TM does not have a monopoly on the ability to “transcend” where the mind settles to a quieter and quieter level of awareness
  • You transcend where you are physically, and take yourself to another place mentally

-Religious elements of TM and why a guarded secrecy exists among its teachers…19:45

  • No religious belief is required; it's a mental technique
  • You don't need to believe it will even work
  • TM was argued before German Supreme Court; they ruled it is not a religion
  • Teachers are sworn to secrecy to protect the integrity of TM; you can't learn certain parts of it in a weekend then teach it to others
  • These techniques are 5000-6000 years old
  • Traditional way of teaching:
    • Teacher performs a brief ceremony which reminds him or her to maintain the integrity of the knowledge
    • Performed in Sanskrit

-The “place” where a person transcends that produces a biological effect…28:45

  • The field of pure consciousness is our core, our essence
  • Many mantras that are used for each individual
  • 3 things that make TM work:
    • Mantra
    • Sound (life-supporting, no meaning assigned)
    • The nature of the mind and life is to go to greater fields of happiness, joy and intelligence
  • Within each of us is a field of perfect order, joy, intelligence, etc.
  • Color fasting cloth analogy
    • Conscious mind becomes saturated in the perfect field of order
    • Mind settles, body settles and vice versa
  • The vagus nerve plays an integral role in the mind/body relationship

-Formal studies on the effects of transcendental meditation on the brain…38:30

  • Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition(Dr. Fred Travis)
  • Practitioners of TM with minimal sleep (4-5 hrs) performed similarly to non-practicers with 8-9 hrs.
    • (TM is not a suitable replacement for sleep)
  • TM has been shown to stimulate dreams

-Why TM is still necessary, even with all the biohacks available today…45:30

  • TM is natural, whereas some biohacks are “forced” on us
  • TM is portable; you don't need to carry any devices anywhere
  • A large number of prisoners practice TM

-The importance of a proper mantra when performing TM…50:20

  • A proper mantra puts up no boundaries on the mind, thus enabling it to transcendits normal environment
  • They are time-tested for thousands of years
  • There is no “one size fits all”
  • The importance of one's individual mantra cannot be overstated
  • The mantra is just a small part of the totality of TM

-The connection between transcendental meditation and longevity…59:10

  • Biological age can be younger than the chronological age
  • Decreases the rate by which telomeres shorten
  • “Breath suspension” is a state of deep rest for the body

-The financial cost of learning TM and why it costs money in the first place…1:03:45

  • $960, one time, lifetime fee for the course (discounts for college and high school students)
  • Financial assistance is available if necessary
  • No one will be turned away, although you'll need to pay something
  • What is “free” anyways?

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

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