Compare TM with the Relaxation Response

What’s the Diff Regarding Your CONSCIOUSNESS?

Rose Rosetree
11 min readMar 20, 2023

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As a consciousness engineer who’s met both Maharishi and Herbert Benson, I’m delighted to research this for you.

TM Vs. Benson’s Relaxation Response — is Herbert Benson’s technique just like Transcendental Meditation, only scientific?

Why Write this Blogpost?

Because lately my Energy Spirituality™ have been exploring trendy techniques with big promises. Great sounding, yet yielding some pretty unimpressive results.

At least, unimpressive if you can gain insight through quality skills of Energetic Literacy. For example, at my personal blog you can find Comment Conversations that counter:

  1. Attempting to teach mindfulness to dogs. Not that I’ve aura-researched this one. See Comments #3–14 at the link just provided.
  2. Advocating slow down as a way to grow spiritually.

Relevant to Comparing Techniques from Maharishi & Benson

My Skills Include Serving as a Consciousness Engineer

What does a consciousness engineer do?

Analyze techniques for spiritual growth and emotional growth.

So let’s get going.

First, the Astounding Arrogance of Dr. Benson, of Harvard Medical School

In 1969 I attended a TM course in Poland Springs, Maine. Maharishi gave all the lectures, except for one notable exception.

When Dr. Benson addressed our group of 2,000 participants.

For juicy details, I refer you to my spiritual memoir “Bigger than All the Night Sky.”

Here I’ll summarize his performance this way. Benson’s arrogance and contempt for us all? It was stunning. Even then, before he gained fame and fortune as the publisher of “The Relaxation Response,” ick! Since then, I’ve hardly followed his doings.

However, according to members of the Enlightenment Establishment, psychology-style. Absolutely, Benson is a hero. He can be largely credited for demystifying meditation. And helping to bring it into the mainstream. Clever he, renaming meditation the “Relaxation Response.” Amazingly scientific.

Of course, “Psychology Today”rings his praises. At this next link you can easily read more about him. Especially rewarding if you have a taste for adulation… Mixed with cluelessness.

Maybe it’s worth asking yourself:

Do psychologists have the standing to evaluate meditation?

Perhaps Benson’s greatest achievement, long term is what? To bring doctors and psychologists into the Enlightenment Establishment. How lucrative for them!

To Progress Spiritually without Stalling Your Efforts

Regarding today’s Enlightenment Establishment. What if you’d like to learn more about that? In particular, why believe that any of these big, fancy experts… Automatically-magically can help you to evolve spiritually? That is, progress toward using your full potential in life.

In that regard, sure. I’ve got a resource to recommend.

Meanwhile, let’s get to the main topic for this article.

TM Vs. the Relaxation Response 1.

Regarding Benson’s Relaxation Response, What Do You Do?

In COMMENTS below, I’ll summarize a description from the Integrative Touch website.

Click on the link just provided. Behold the doctor’s claim to fame. Notable for its simplicity. Plus that kitchen sink inclusiveness: A bit of this, a bit of that.

Highlights Are the Three Following Steps

Step 3: Close your eyes. Then do Progressive Relaxation. (Roll that into “your” technique, Herbert Benson. Maybe take credit for that?)

In reality, Progressive Relaxation is a widely-used procedure. Originally developed by Dr. Edmund Jacobson in the early 1920s.

Step 4: Breathe in and out through your nose. Meanwhile, synchronize your breathing with thinking.

Specifically, think the same random word over and over. Famously, Benson gave the example of thinking “One.”

  • For example, breathe in. Think “One.”
  • Following that, breathe out. Think “One.”
  • So easy, a child could do it. Only what would that child receive in return?

Also Benson’s Clever Step 5. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes.

Hmmm, might Benson’s timing idea possibly be influenced by… “20 minutes of TM in the a.m. and p.m.”?

Granted, many other components of “Benson’s” technique also imitate how Maharishi taught TM. But here let’s keep the comparison simple.

TM Vs. Benson’s Relaxation Response 2.

Typical Impact of Benson’s Technique on a Benson “Meditator”

Seems like it’s time for my analysis as a Consciousness Engineer.

Step 3. Causes What?

The Progressive Relaxation keeps consciousness positioned at Human Vibrational Frequencies. Although eyes are closed, hello? Does that make this technique a “meditation”?

To this spiritual teacher, what does “meditation” mean? You do an effective technique to help you connect with the Divine.

By contrast, Benson is teaching people how to relax. And calling that “meditation.”

Granted, to many people, that’s all meditation will ever mean: A snooze.

Unfortunately, this simplistic definition robs Benson-doers of real meditation. Accepting his cheap imitation, folks postpone the benefits of significant personal growth.

Instead of learning how to climb Mt. Everest, hello! They stand on the equivalent of a common little red brick. As it were, Benson’s thick-as-a-brick “meditation” may seem like Moving up to the highest height. Quite the opposite!

Step 4. Results in What?

This repetition of a meaningless word results in self-hypnosis.

And trust me, I don’t use words like self-hypnosis lightly. Given that I’m a Certified Hypnotist with the National Guild of Hypnotists. Also I’m a Certified Instructor of Hypnotists. (Personally, I use hypnotism just for my system for past-life regression. That is, Soul Energy Awakening Hypnosis®.)

Incidentally, would any professional hypnotist would call Benson’s technique helpful? Or even adequate? Probably not. Since bread-and-butter for standard hypnotism involves implanting suggestions. Very likely, Blog-Buddies, you realize that “One” is a pretty limited suggestion.

Problem A. In Terms of Consciousness: No Expansion of Consciousness

Effective meditation can expand a person’s consciousness. Even allowing the meditator to experience at a High Astral Vibrational Frequency. Let alone the Divine Vibrational Frequency.

As an Energy Spirituality Practitioner who is familiar with Consciousness Positioning Consults®, it’s a no-brainer.

Beson’s Step 4 positions consciousness either at a Human Vibrational Frequency or else at an Astral Vibrational Frequency — a very surfacey subconscious experience.

Problem B. In Terms of Consciousness: Dullness

Relaxed people who use a “meditation technique” that fails the most basic standard for expanding consciousness? It’s not just an irony that people become duller, rather than gaining clarity.

Nope, that dullness is a direct consequence.

Differently put, dullness from Benson’s technique is a feature, not some bug.

Step 5. Accomplishes What? TM Vs. the Relaxation Response 3.

Benson Delivers 20 Overhyped Minutes of Inner Snooze

Mental dullness is a direct consequence. That’s the consequence of doing Benson’s Relaxation Technique for the full 20 mins. Although folks can also achieve pretty significant dullness in 10 minutes.

Sadly, many folks today are BIG believers in relaxation. Especially when accompanied by significant mental dullness. Mainstream ideas contribute to the following mess:

  1. When peaceful feelings are equated with “growth”? Folks might feel like they hit the growth jackpot.
  2. If a person’s standards are low enough, sure. That dullness could also seem “spiritual.
  3. Similar claims are made these days for Mindfulness Meditation. By all means, check out my consciousness research on how generic Mindfulness Meditation cheats people.

Regarding the Transcendental Meditation Program, What Do You Do?

Step 1. Launching this Kind of Meditation

During an initiation process, the meditator receives a mantra. Maharishi called mantras “A sound whose effects are known.” Actually he didn’t tell the whole truth there. So feel free to ask about that in COMMENTS at my personal blog, if you’re curious. (Yep, that’s where I publish comments and respond to them. Not here on Medium.)

Step 2. Learning HOW to Meditate Effectively

A professional-level “initiator” instructs the new meditator in an effortless, effective way to use it.

Note: Basic instruction in TM includes considerable learning: 3 additional 2-hour meetings, not only this first one. Additional “advanced lectures” were also freely available.

Step 3. Checking, to Maintain the Quality of the Meditation

Also, free “checking of meditation” practice is available as needed. Recommendation is for checking once per month. (Or at least it was from 1969 -1995, when I quit teaching TM.)

Why Include Checking?

At any points, meditators can deviate from correct practice. Automatically this disallows effective meditation. And halts the personal growth.

I can tell you this, Blog-Buddies, I learned a lot about positioning consciousness from checking meditators. Altogether I gave many hundreds, if not thousands, of checking sessions. Always for the purpose of refining meditation practice.

TM Vs. the Relaxation Response 4.

Typical Impact of TM on a Meditator, Back in the Age of Faith

Important: If you’re not familiar with these two terms:

“The Age of Faith” ended on Dec. 21, 2012.

And with that Shift, the “Age of Awakening” began.

These links just provided will start you understanding something big. For your own benefit, and not just for reading this article, might I suggest? Take your education further. Read “The New Strong.” This book aims to show you what is true about moving into the Age of Awakening. Versus many confusions that are all too common today.

Due to changes since the Shift, TM doesn’t work the same way on meditators any more.

And, no, this isn’t some easy generalization. Rather, I’ve done a lot of research. Leading me to some surprising-and-practical conclusions.

Step 1. Spiritually Launching this Kind of Meditation

Opening the Door to Experience at the Divine Vibrational Frequency

Connecting to the Divine isn’t contagious. However, the initiation process comes close to contagiousness. Since initiators have considerable experience at what? Positioning consciousness at Divine Vibrational Frequency.

Back in the day, this spiritual teacher facilitated approximately 600 TM initiations. Every single time, the sacredness was humbling. Actually, this form of spiritual teaching was beyond humbling. It was deep service. Every single time, it felt like a blessing for the initate and a privilege for me. Like a silent, gentle, bolt of lightning.

Admittedly, in hindsight, the TM teachings were flawed in certain ways. Nonetheless, there was a significant spiritual purity.

Most noteworthy: Any spiritual purity whatsoever was glaringly absent from Benson’s big moneymaker.

Step 2. Learning HOW to Meditate Effectively

During the Initiation Procedure: Allowing Divine Connection

Ever hear the saying, “Spirituality is caught, not taught”?

According to research I’ve done decades after resigning from teaching TM, hello! The majority of human beings have little or no direct connection to the Divine.

To be sure, that Divine Light always burns deep inside. Yet that’s different from having that Light become lively in a meditator’s conciousness.

A Sacred Combo Helped to Expand Awareness

First, the initiation ceremony brought “The Holy Tradition” (a.k.a. Ascended Masters) into the room. From that point on, the initiator was cocreating along with a beautiful group of Divine Beings.

Second, the initiator had done a great deal of meditation. Plus advanced meditation techniques. Plus “rounding.” Therefore, the intiator would often position consciousness at the Divine Vibrational Frequency. Automatically built into instructing the new meditator!

Third, systematic andrigorous, training designed by Maharishi: This allowed each initiator to teach TM effectively. And to guide each new meditator to begin experiencing (off and on)… Directly experiencing at the Divine Vibrational Frequency.

Meditating on One’s Own

Allowing Consciousness to Reach the Divine Vibrational Frequency

Provided that you had much clairaudience, what a thrill! Hanging out at a TM center during any initiation day. Since the air was chiming, buzzing, thrilling.

  • Between the Divine Beings who were cocreating with each initiate
  • And the initiator, doing the sacred ceremony called a puja
  • Plus and the shimmering joy while meditators did their first TMing?

To be clear, not every initiate had a great experience. I sure didn’t, as recounted in some detail in my memoir, “Bigger than All the Night Sky.” Nonetheless, right from time doing TM, consciousness expands beyond Human Vibrational Frequencies.

Step 3. Maintaining this Powerful, Subtle Experience of Consciousness

Systematically Maharishi trained “initiators” and “checkers” of meditation. Unquestionably brilliant! Because this workforce learned a brilliant procedure. Opposite to Benson’s obvious, cliche-ridden, imitation-meditation. TM was elegantly-expertly designed.

In case this isn’t obvious, yikes! Teaching newbies how to positioning consciousness at the Divine Frequency? That’s a delicate skill. Back in the Age of Faith, it was espeically important to help TMers do their technique correctly.

  1. For one thing, TM is effortless.
  2. For another, it’s all too easy to deviate from that effortlessness.
  3. Introducing effort will wreck the results.

TM Vs. the Relaxation Response 5.

Ever Since the Early Years of the Age of Awakening, Uh-Oh

What’s different, now that we’re all living in the Age of Awakening. When so many people, TM initiators included, are struggling with their consciousness lifestyles.

Look, this blogpost is already uncommonly long. I’ll invite you to COMMENT at the version of this article over at my personal blog.

Feel free to ask about all this and more:

  1. After the Shift, what did opportunistic astral entities start doing to meditators?
  2. Typical impact of Benson’s technique NOW
  3. Launching TM NOW
  4. Typical impact of regular TM on meditators NOW.
  5. Why surrendering consciousness, TM style, makes meditators vulnerable. That is, vulnerable to messed-up consciousness lifestyles.

One advantage of Benson’s Relaxation Response? At least it wasn’t a cult.

Regardin disadvantages? In my view, Benson ran his own personal ego-building operation. In other words, designed to make him wealthy and influential. Namely, an operation based on ripping off Maharishi’s popular technique.

How about disadvantages of Maharishi’s “Movement”? It was a cult. Over the years it became even cultier.

Differently destructive, from my perspective as a consciousness engineer? Maharishi was an “ends justify the means” kind of guy. It took many years for me to appreciate some of the significant lies he told. In responding to COMMENTS below, within the scope of this blogpost… If asked, I can discuss just one of these lies.

BTW, what you’d like me to share the rest? Encourage me to write my second memoir. How encourage me? Post at least 100 5-star reviews of my first memoir. Either on Amazon or Goodreads. Then I’ll take on the project. Sure, I can edit that second memoir (already first-drafted). And publish it.

In Conclusion

Much to learn, yes? Summing up this article, about TM Vs. the Relaxation Response….

Learning Transcendental Meditation

Before the Shift, one learned effectively and systematically.

  1. By means of a brilliantly designed, standardized, four-meeting course.
  2. Mediating correctly twice a day, even four days.
  3. Receiving expert help if needed.
  4. And then receiving lifetime support, as desired, all for free.

Regarding spiritual awakening, this was a true game-changer. Even if the initiates didn’t realize it consciously. Nor did all who experimented with TM take it seriously.

Learning Herbert Benson’s Relaxation Response

Ever since Benson made his big claim to fame, learning this has been easy.

  1. Simply open up Benson’s book.
  2. Or read a quick summary, thanks to the internet.
  3. Of course, it’s a cinch. Quickly learning Benson’s cheap knockoff. Akin to buying a fake Rolex from a street vendor. Only $5.

Seems to me, it’s fair to call Benson’s Relaxation Response… the ignorant technique of an arrogant fool.

Although a fool with great credentials. (At least, impressive credentials if you believe that doctors are natural born meditation experts.)

How about a Technical Summary of this Article?

Comparing technically what happened with these two techniques:

  1. Back in the Age of Faith, TM results would have left Benson’s meditators in the dust.
  2. Especially during the Age of Faith, very little would have happened to Benson’s meditators. Except for physical relaxation and mental dullness. Granted, to many that would have seemed ideal! Perhaps akin to today’s CBD enthusiasts.
  3. During the Age of Faith (at least), yes! TMers made authentic, personal contact with the Divine Vibrational Frequency. Although there were serious collateral problems.
  4. Whereas now, in the Age of Awakening? TM will fast-track developing the consciousness lifestyle of Spiritual Addiction. Or even move into Extreme Spiritual Addiction.

Now, let our COMMENT Conversations begin!

And thanks for reading, everyone. This sure was a long blopost. I hope it has helped you.

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Rose Rosetree

Rose has written a national bestseller in Germany. See all her books at rose-rosetree.com. She’s the founder of Energy Spirituality™ for spiritual awakening.