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

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Podcast from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/04/what-is-tm/

[0:00] Introduction

[0:41] Earth Runners

[2:47] Casper Mattress

[4:18] An Intro to TM

[6:25] About Philip Land

[9:21] How Philip got involved in TM

[12:10] Celebrities that do TM

[16:00] What is TM?

[17:02] Researches on TM

[19:37] Religion and TM

[22:09] What goes on in the initial ceremony of TM

[27:23] The frequency of doing TM

[29:08] Biological effects of TM

[36:44] Brain wave studies on TM

[43:04] How do TM even with all the shortcuts like electronic devices

[48:26] The Importance of Mantras

[56:49] Peer-reviewed Articles on TM's Effects

[1:01:30] Why TM costs the amount it does

[1:07:31] tm.org to sign up for a course on TM

[1:11:46] End of Podcast

Ben: Hey, folks.  It's Ben Greenfield, and in lieu of today's normal Q&A, I'm actually giving you a super cool episode about something that you need to be a little bit open-minded about, something you might find a little bit woo-woo, but it's called Transcendental Meditation.  Don't run away.  It's actually some pretty cool stuff, and the guy I interview is actually really cool.  You're gonna love him.  The reason that you're getting a special interview today is because I'm working on a story about spearfishing.  So I'm down in Florida, I just raced the South Beach triathlon, and now I am diving deep, chasing after little fishes with a spear gun.

Now, before we jump into today's podcast on TM, I have a cool announcement for you.  Today's podcast is brought to you by Earth Runners.  Now Earth Runners are not just any old, minimalist outdoor sandal, even though they look like it.  The deal is that if you've ever heard of earthing or grounding, these sandals actually allow you to draw electrons, or ions, up from the surface of the Earth, and into your feet.  Totally not kidding.  I'm actually wearing them right now.  So here's the way they work: the laces have these two stitches of silver-coated conductive thread up the whole length, and then they're secured to the bottom of the sandal with a copper plug.  Now that keeps you grounded, and the idea behind that is that syncing up with the Earth's circadian rhythm, the Earth's 24 hour cycle, by exposing your biology to the actual frequency released by the Earth. And there's science behind this.  There's an entire documentary about this called “Grounding.”  Your body's able to slow down, it's able calibrate, it's able to achieve a natural alpha brain wave state, and you can even go running in these things and experience this strange runner's high that I guarantee it's different than any type of shoe or sandal you've ever worn.  The soles are made by Vibram.  There's nothing like this.  This is a trademark grounded, conductive lacing and silver-coated system, and that copper plug enhances it even more.

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Anyways, the name of this mattress is Casper.  It's a Casper mattress, and you can check them out if you go to casper.com/ben and use promo code Ben.  But that doesn't just allow you to check them out, gives you $50 off they’re already extremely affordable mattresses.  So casper.com/ben and use promo code Ben, and I'm supposed to tell you that terms and conditions apply, even though I have no clue what that means.  Either way though, check out their mattresses.

Alright, you ready to geek out on transcendental meditation?  Let's do this.

In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:

“This knowledge goes back about 4, 5,000 years.  It comes from a tradition called a Vedic, V-E-D-I-C, Vedic tradition, the Shankracharya tradition, and many, many years ago, this knowledge was only taught to kings, emperors.  The common man was not given privy to learning this technique.”  “The traditional way is that the teacher will perform a very brief seven minute ceremony that reminds him, or her, to maintain the integrity of this knowledge.”

He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness.  His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance.  He is Ben Greenfield.  “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…”  All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.

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 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's 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 bad-ass, hunting, redneck hippie family man, if that is appropriate.  Sorry, Phil.  I just had to describe you as that.  Hopefully…

Philip:  Why, thank you.

Ben:  Hopefully you can wear that title with pride: the bad-ass, 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, cranial sacral 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, and I will do my best to wear that robe well as, I think after we started our instruction with you, it was just two or three days, and you had me pegged.

Ben:  Yeah.

Philip:  As the yogi, hippie, redneck, hunting instructor, but…

Ben:  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.  You know, I know that you were, at one time, kinda 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.  And the family was reasonably well-off, and here I am years later, 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, 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 next…

Ben:  Can I interrupt you for just a second?

Philip:  Yeah, yeah!

Ben:  When you like wandered into this class, were you searching for something?  Or were 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 describe it just like David Lynch, you know the filmmaker David Lynch?

Ben:  Yeah.

Philip:  He learned TM and what he says is that for him, what was missing was something in the happiness factor, an internal happiness, a groundedness, a centeredness.  My external life at age 20 was good.  You know, 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 'cause 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 are a lot of other celebrities that are kinda 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. (laughs)

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 40, 42 years.

Ben:  No way.

Philip:  Yes, sir.  And, you know, he is 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, you know 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 US, 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 dunno if you've read that, but it's like the most recent Bible on finances, and Ray plays a key role in that.  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 $2,000,000 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 US, just about with a $500 Billion budget.  There have been 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 a podcast before, one of my banes, 'cause I do a lot of blood and biomarker testing, as well as salivary hormonal profiles, is cortisol.

Philip:  Right, right.

Ben:  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 to things like progesterone and estrogens if you're female, and it can decrease drive, decrease motivation, 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.  And so, you know, I've constantly searched out ways to relax, to sleep better, to decrease salivary cortisol, and since picking up TM, I've kinda 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 Spartans replacement for the death race, they had us 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 kinda 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 kinda like creating a white noise inside your head.  And so, I was sitting in the terminal, and my wife and my kids were off in a corner playing, and I simply sat cross-legged in one of those chairs at the gate, doing my TM for 20 minutes.  And 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, 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 show notes for folks over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/tm.  But, yeah, to return 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:  So, 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 olds 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 is 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 'cause 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 use that word transcend and that's basically what it is.  I mean, you're kind of 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 kinda 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 trip, from the stress, to transcend the stress, and that kinda leads me to another question I want to ask you, Philip and that is, like the whole, I wanna talk physiology and biology, but I wanna delve into this first, the whole like religion part of it.

Because, this was one of my concerns going in and 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 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, and I say this thing's ongoing scenario is that, back in the 90's I believe it was, maybe the 1980's, 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 of Europe because Germany's the biggest economy over there and most fiscally conservative, if they said it's not a religion, then we're just gonna 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 that folks will understand.  When we went in your sauna, we were both fully clothed. (laughs) 

Ben:  Yeah.  There was 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 like 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.  I 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 Buritz, 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.

Ben:  Right.

Philip:  Also, we want to maintain the integrity of the teaching, and this could back it  to the ceremony that the TM teacher performs prior to instruction.  The integrity, this knowledge goes back about 4, 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 is only taught to kings, emperors.  The 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:  It actually is kinda 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 like 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 that the teacher will perform a very brief seven minute ceremony that reminds him/her, I'm just gonna say him 'cause 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.  And I will 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's 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, and you better be humble because you're part of this tradition, and you better teach this thing right.  I'm telling you what happens to me when I do the ceremony.  And so, then, I'm in the right frame of mind, and then I can turn and instruct you with your mantra, or sound, and then I teach you how to use it.

Ben:  Got it.

Philip:  And the fruit, and the flowers, and things, that's part of the traditional way of performing the ceremony.

Ben:  Okay, okay.  Got it.

Philip:  And so, that's what we can say.  Some folks will say, “Well, it's because I don't understand what you're saying,” I say, “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, 'cause 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.  Like, for me it is about tapping into all of 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 in the show notes, but there's over 380 different studies like published and studied at Harvard, and at Stanford, and at Yale and at UCLA on this stuff, and I kinda wanna 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 explain to me, some people don't to 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 if it was his instructor, Bob Roth, who is a very outspoken TM teacher, has interviewed many celebrities.  He's teaching Jerry Seinfeld's children, and 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 had meditated twice a day instead of once a day,” but he saw all the benefits and I think other people still can fit 10 minutes, 20 minutes at least once a day into the time frame and receive benefits.

Ben:  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 like 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 if 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. 

Philip:  Right.

Ben:  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, like climbing a 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 just don't move 'em, dude.  I flip 'em.

Philip: (laughs) I know!  I've 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 alright.  I'll teach you.

Philip:  Okay.  Thank you. (laughs) Will we have a ceremony first?

Ben: (laughs) There are no flowers and fruit involved in flipping giant tractor tires.  Nah.

Philip: (laughs) 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.  Kinda like a bubble coming out of the bottom of a lake.  It's small, 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 instruct you with a mantra, then the technique of how to use it, alright.  There's three things that make TM work, and 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 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?  And I know I'm asking this 'cause I know some people wonder.  Like it seems that a lot of times in science, you see stuff goes towards a state of entropy, right, or a state of confusion or chaos. 

Philip:  Well, that's why we tune in to 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.  I guess what I'm saying is inside each of us is a field of perfect order, perfect intend energy, and intelligence, and it’s unbounded, it’s infinite reservoir.  So, the mind will start to settle down, 'cause we set up the right conditions.  As I said earlier, this transcending thing, which transcend means to go beyond, meditation, thinking.  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 a brief seconds, might be a nanoseconds, might be minutes, and experience this field of awareness that's 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 golden yellow.  And then the cloth will fade a little bit in the sun, a little bit stays.  We keep doing that back and forth, and that's the old way of color fasting some cloth.

Ben:  Okay.

Philip:  So, 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 experience this with your workouts, and your extreme things, the body settles down.  The mind goes, the body settles.  The mind settles, the body's settles.  Otherwise, we could say an 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 Nature Beat, and I measure my heart rate variability of 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, and 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, it connects the brain and 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 right, and you're producing a boatload of alpha brain waves, 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 nervous system that was formed when we were tiny little babies between our gut and our brain, that connection between the central nervous system, which we're kinda like hitting with TM, and the enteric nervous system, right, like the gut, and the organs, and the heart, and everything else.  Like that's my hypothesis, at least.

Philip:  You know, you explain 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.

Philip: (laughs)

Ben:  But, actually, I wanted to ask you, do you know, have they studied brain wave response to TM?  Like have they actually looked into brain wave 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 brain wave researcher that's also a TM teacher and TM meditator, his name is Dr. Fred Travis, he has a PhD, and he on 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 brain wave thing, and he has the computer monitors sitting there.  And he'll say, “Okay.  Now, Arianna, this is what it looks like when you have 400 people looking at you, the brain wave patterns,” and he says a certain scenario.  And 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 brain wave 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 hundred people.  Within a one and a half to two minutes, you start to see you on the computer monitor the brainwave lines becoming very synchronous, very harmonious, and, as you talked about the alpha waves and beta waves, those start to change, that show 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 so 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 kinda like in a different place.  I think what I mentioned earlier was you almost kinda like rise above them, and you sense them in a different part of your mind almost.  So, yeah.  It's really interesting and like I mentioned, that white noise, I would hazard a guess that the white noise is more an extreme amount of alpha brain wave production.  And I'm looking at the number of studies, and I'll link to a lot of these in the show notes, 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 brain waves that you get during practice.  And that actually, you know, 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 like this endurance physiologist, he was at the conference and we were chatting about sleep.  And he was mentioning how 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 like a lot of these, what do you call people who practice TM for a while?  Monks, basically?

Philip:  Oh, we just call them meditators.

Ben:  Okay.  So meditators.  They had name for 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 that 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, five hours a night, but for me, when I'm on a conference, or when I've got a really busy time in 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.  And I have taught people to meditate and they say, all of a sudden on the two day, it takes basically four two-hour sessions, and we'd like to do that over a four day period.  But what I have had with 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 say, “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.  And, by the way, for those of you listening in, I'm working on 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 brain wave release, and a lot of other things I've been kind of 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, and I always release articles, typically on Mondays, so on a future Monday, stay tuned for that.

But that kinda leads me into another question that I have for you, Philip, and that is there are a lot of bio hacks out there, right.  Like 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 there's, 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 bio hacks 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.  Like why would you want to do that if you could shortcut your way in?

Philip:  Short cuts 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 biohacking, and 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 wanna 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.
 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, right.  Like at the airport, I probably could have pulled out a phone, a band, an EEG device, et cetera, and I probably could've started biohacking my way into a similar brainwave state as I got myself into doing TM.  But let's say, I'm in my bedroom at night, right, 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 US, which recently happened, where there's no phones, there's no devices, you just gotta sit there for like five hours, right.

Philip:  Wow.

Ben:  So, yeah.  I think you make a good point there, but I 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 produced 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.  So, I mean, and don't get me wrong, man, I'm all about combining like the woo-woo and the biohacking, right.  That's kinda what I'm known for, is you having one foot in both camps, but I think that it's important people understand that you can't just say TM is useless 'cause 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's over in Oregon, and he is the TM, 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 have 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.”

Ben:  Yeah.

Philip:  You can go sit out in your front yard, get your sunbath naked with 15 minutes of vitamin D coming off the sun that day, and sit there and do you TM while you're getting your sunshine, and let the wind blow on you.

Ben: I have actually, I've warned people, Philip, UPS, FedEx, my house cleaner, a lot of people know this, that I wander around naked in the forest.  Like that's just something that I'd like, there actually is benefit to get in the sunshine in the places where the sun doesn't normally shine, and 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 gotta live in a certain place to be able to do that, but, yeah, I totally agree.  And zero devices, right.  Like no headphones, not even an MP3 player hanging off me, and 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.  You're not 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 brain wave production, but couldn't I just say anything?  Like why would I need to pay you to learn a TM course, to get a mantra, et cetera, when I could just say like “Cheeseburger” over and over in my head again, or “Flower,” or whatever else?  Like what is it about the mantra?  Why is that so special?

Philip:  “Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger,” and then we're gonna start 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 a meaning and letters associated with the word, like cheeseburger, C-H-E-E-S-E burger, without spelling the whole thing out, then that 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 why 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 like when you say that part of that makes me think back to where 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, like don't get scared off by this, but like I made a vow that I was like my mantra, right, that I'm not gonna go and teach my kids or my wife.  Like that's mine, and that’s the mantra that I use, and I think there is something to be said for that versus just like 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.  Like the only time I'll use the word that you taught me for 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 say “flower,” one person says “rose,” next person says “sunflower,” next person says “Volkswagen Beetle,” you know, why I if I said that, don't you?

Ben:  No.

Philip:  He was an old hippie.  He was an old hippie Like he, and they've painted up flowers on the side of the Beetle, right.  So, I said one sound and each person experienced that sound differently.

Ben:  Right. 

Philip:  But so 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:  I think, 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 setting me in a certain state of mind to take it seriously.  The fact that I sat down with you and you pretty much like held my hand through, what we do?  Like four sessions, five sessions together?

Philip:  Yes, yes.

Ben:  Where it was you teaching me, watching some video instruction, and then us practicing together.  Because frankly, there's a lot of smart people that listen in 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 like lists of words associated with different biologies, and 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 find 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 gonna 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 their 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 kind of wonder if you really want to delve into that on your own or not.  But just learning, just taking a mantra and practicing with a 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.

Ben:  Right.

Philip:  I might be given 20 more years.  And so you use me, Ben uses Philip as his teacher, as his guidance for meditation process for the next 20 years, if God gives me another 20 years.

Ben:  Yeah.

Philip:  And then maybe you go, when you go down there in Miami, there's 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 'em up, or you say, “Philip, send 'em a note.  Tell 'em I'm coming.”  I say, “Fine.  Here you go.”  You can go down there at no cost, and they will help 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.  It's like, and again, 'cause 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 'cause 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 gotta do the full meal deal.  I think you gotta 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, 'cause I tried this before I hooked up with you.  I tried a bunch of apps too, 'cause I thought there's gotta be an app out there that teaches me how to do this, and it didn't work.  And plus I was second guessing myself the whole time, wondering if I was doing things the right way.

Now we, gosh, I mean like I'm gonna 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 'cause cortisol can cause the liver to release glycogen and that bumps up blood glucose, so that one would 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, you know, 3, 5, 10 years, tend to have a biological age younger than their 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, few different forms of meditation, how it can decrease the rate at which the telomeres shorten.  Like it can literally have an anti-aging effect, which should be good news for those you out there who are swallowing like 30 capsules a day right now, trying to fight aging.

Philip:  Right.  Well, 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 sit 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.

Ben:  Yeah.

Philip:  So there you go.  Not death, but big resting.

Ben:  Yeah, and it makes sense.  And the interesting thing is, 'cause I've done, you know, kundalini yoga, I've gone through the Wim Hof program, I've gone through like, Mark Divine did a lot of like breath work with me, I did the holotropic breath work 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 breath work involved.  It's more like all mantra and mind-related.  I get that question a lot, like is the specific breathing pattern and, correct me if I'm wrong, Philip, but it's not, right?

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

Ben:  No, you didn't.  No.  Not at all.

Philip:  But you said that you practiced 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 experiences, 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 on a cold floor for five hours staring off from the 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, like I'm a pretty crappy student, right.  Like 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 two by 20 minute.  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.

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 like 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 gonna turn this over to you to explain like 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 then, at Pullman, Washington, and I've given them a refresher course, and checking their meditation…

Ben:  Where at?  In Pullman?

Philip:  In Pullman.

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

Philip:  Oh, how was that?

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

Philip:  Hey, I bet TM can improve your dancing.  Especially when you talk about that free test [1:03:27] ______ .

Ben:  I need that.  I'm definitely upping to two times a day for 20 minutes then.

Philip:  (laughs)

Ben:  I just totally derailed you.  Sorry!  Go ahead.

Philip:  That's okay. (laughs) Yes, dancing is a prelude to 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 will 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-C3 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:  And, 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 gonna get that image out of my mind, so…

Philip: (laughs)  You know, it's kinda 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 Meadows Nudist Resort and giving a class out there.  So, you know, we might have to do 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 is 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.  You know, what is your financial situation, you're income, et cetera, expenses and da-da-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 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, you know.  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.

Ben:  Yeah.

Philip:  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 we can say people that want TM for free are probably gonna vote for Bernie Sanders.

Ben:  Yeah.

Philip: (laughs)

Ben:  Now don't open the politics can of worms.  Trust me.  You do not want to do that.  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 show notes.  But tm.org is where you’d go if you want to sign up for a course, and there's instructors like all over the world, right Philip?

Philip:  Yes, there are.  And 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 go off for five months.  The most recent TM course just started up a few weeks ago.  It's gonna be held in Bali.  So, it'd be a nice place to go learn to be a TM teacher.

Ben:  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 us and they're like, “Alright, Philip sounds cool.  I want him to teach me,” can they like, is there like a list of instructors you can choose from?  Or you're just kinda 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 the rifle, and we can strike on our rifles. (laughs)

Ben:  So 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, bad-ass, hunting family man.  So, there you have it.

Philip:  And you know, 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 gonna be clearer and not stressed.

Ben:  Yep.  Yeah.  Absolutely.  I agree.  Alright.  Well again, tm.org is where you can learn more about TM, but I'll also, I have a bunch of show notes 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 comments section over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/tm, and in those comments 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 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, and…

Ben:  That's right.  We're hitting Ethiopian food next time you’re in Spokane.

Philip:  We are and, hey, I wanna 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.

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.



After being introduced to it by music mogul Rick Rubin, I’ve been practicing transcendental meditation (TM) for the past year.


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 US and international universities and research centers, including Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medical School, Yale Medical School, and UCLA Medical School…and 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.

The guy who taught me everything I know about TM is named Philip Land.

Philip has been practicing TM for the past 40 years.

But he’s no woo-woo, robe-clad, Eastern mysticist. I’d instead describe Philip as a bad-ass, hunting, redneck hippie family man.

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

So he is one very interesting man. And during our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Philip, a “redneck hunting instructor” got involved in TM…

-A very easy-to-understand explanation of what TM is…

-Why folks like Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Katy Perry, and Russell Brand practice transcendental meditation (TM) daily…

-Whether you need to be religious to practice TM…

-What a TM mantra is…

-How I used TM during the Spartan Agoge…

-The surprising changes that occur in blood or bio markers in response to TM…

-The brain wave pattern and EEG response to TM…

-How TM can change sleep patterns and sleep cycles, and even allow you to get by on less sleep…

-The difference between TM and “biohacks” like PEMF, transcutaneous stimulation, meditation apps, etc…

-Whether you really have to do TM every day…

-The best way to learn TM…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:


A host of TM research

This podcast is brought to you by:

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Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/04/what-is-tm/






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