“I started meditating whilst in my final year at university, mainly because I hoped it would help me deal with exam stress. It was very cheap (we are talking more than 30 years ago) on a student rate, and I enjoyed the whole slightly esoteric process very much. Even more, I enjoyed and continue to enjoy the benefits of a very simple and easy technique that basically gets you through your day. It worked for exam stress: it has gone on working in all kinds of circumstances, and in the times when I have stopped meditating, I have noticed a difference. You can become more involved, through extra meetings and weekend retreats, but for me, it’s the 20 mins morning and evening which does the job. Sometimes I find it difficult to fit in, but that’s really bad planning and a failure to prioritise on my part. When I make time for TM, I feel a whole lot better.”
Jo (Digital Learning Designer)
Darlington, County Durham.

“More than 15 years ago I was teaching in a High School in a ‘challenging’ environment (that’s the polite way to describe it). Although teaching had always been my desired employment, I was increasingly finding that the aggressive behaviour of the students was causing me more and more stress. I developed all the stress related symptoms (IBS, headaches, stiff neck, high blood pressure, and insomnia to name some. My husband tells me I was difficult to live with, although he knew it was not me, but the effects of the job on my health. I felt like I was swimming through treacle and the harder I tried the thicker the treacle became. I could not see a way out and despair began to close in on me.

A good friend of mine who worked for the NHS suggested I go to meditation classes and so in desperation I went – not knowing quite what to expect. I remember my husband joking that “if I started wearing a yellow sheet and shaving my head he was leaving”!!

I arrived with a very sceptical mind but very soon all my worst suspicions were gone. It seemed that Chris knew more about the way I was feeling than I did myself. At last someone who actually understood – but was also offering me a way to deal with my stress. He couldn’t make my everyday troubles go away, but he could teach me how I could deal with them so that my health would not suffer.

I could write pages about how easy I found it and how within a very short time I knew it was helping. I wanted to tell the whole world that everyone should be trying this. I continue to use TM although I am now retired, and over the years I have told as many people as I can about how wonderful the effects are. I can honestly say that TM ‘saved’ me from what would probably have ended up in a complete meltdown of my nervous system.”

Heather, Newcastle upon Tyne.

“I am still meditating and most days I manage at least one session. I find I need to set aside half an hour – 5 minutes settling down time – 20mins meditation and then 5mins considering the previous 20mins and preparing to get on with the rest of the day.
My meditations range from wonderful, fulfilling experiences to ‘rubbish’. That said, as the day goes on after a ‘rubbish’ one I often find that it couldn’t have been as rubbish as I thought. Perhaps my day will go better than expected or I’ll get much more done than I thought possible. Maybe as the day progresses I find the ‘molehills’ are no longer ‘mountains’. Husband (Pete) very supportive and encouraging so I’m lucky in that respect and I think if you were to ask him he would definitely site the ‘mountains back into molehills’ as one of the main reasons he finds himself saying “Have you done your meditation yet?”
Hazel, Malton, North Yorks.

“I’m still doing TM every day, twice, as recommended. While I can normally practise in the comfort of home, I have done my meditation on buses, trains and even in a central London bookshop!
It’s making a very noticeable difference in my life. I won’t describe myself as “Superwoman” (maybe “a work in progress”!), but I am much calmer and more ‘together’. I was very surprised 2 days ago, on the flight out of Blackpool, when I didn’t get the usual “nerves” flying that I normally do (I hate heights and closed in spaces after getting stuck in a lift by myself in Japan during an earth tremor)! In fact, I was able to look out of the window during and after take off and it’s one of the most comfortable plane journeys I’ve had for over 40 years.”
Sarah, Manchester

Happy 2013 everyone, here’s a good twist on a TM testimonial, the moral being if at first you don’t succeed, don’t “try” so hard the second time around :
“I attended the Manchester course and was the one who didn’t get it. Having given up for the last few months I thought I’d give it another go, and it’s started working for me!
I think before I just had too many expectations so I put far too much pressure on myself to get it to work. Which of course meant it didn’t!
So, just thought I’d let you know so you didn’t continue to think it had failed for me. Who knows, I might even book to come on one of the retreats in the future. But in the meantime I’ll carry on with my practise and just enjoy the benefits as they come.”
Alistair, Wigan

“There are so many benefits I am feeling since I took up TM it is difficult to give just a few. Here are some of them…

Before learning TM I would often have a churning anxious stomach worrying about things and what people thought of me. Now I don’t feel like that. It is like my brain registers my worries but it doesn’t go any further and I rarely feel anxious any more. I just don’t really react to stressful situations by getting stressed any more. My mind and body are calm and relaxed and for the first time in my life I am not worried about what people think of me, I actually feel free. Because of this I am not afraid to speak my mind as I feel calm and clear headed, this has helped me at work and in all other areas of my life helping me gain new confidence. I feel my relationships have improved because I am not irrational and irritated because I am stressed. I realise now that so many of my arguments in the past were down to stress and can see what a harmful affect it was having on my life.

Before I started TM I was so tired after work l would be ready for bed by 9pm. Now I meditate when I get home and it releases energy I didn’t believe I had and I can actually have a full evening not feeling debilitated with exhaustion.

Another benefit is that after having lost 3.5 stone I have managed to maintain this weight loss for 8 months now which I have never been able to do before. Speaking to my doctor about how I have managed to do this I mentioned I now meditate twice a day. He became very interested in this and said that there is research going on at the moment into the stress hormone Cortisol and that as well as being released in your body when you are stressed this hormone also makes your body hold onto fat…a survival mechanism. He said that getting rid of cortisol twice a day from my body through meditation is most likely why I am able to maintain my weight loss.

My meditation time is so precious to me now that I make time whatever I have to do in the day to have my moments of bliss. I feel I can move through stressful situations, clear headed, safe, untouched and calm. Every day I actually feel a real relief that I took up meditation and that I have this amazing tool I can use to help me feel less tired, be able to cope with stress, manage my neck pain and much more.”
Sarah, Edinburgh.

“Thank you so much for such an enlightening experience over the last few days. I am quite certain this marks a major shift in my life. I’m already enjoying the TM experience and this is only the start !”
John, Sunderland

“Very impressed with TM. Feel like I have something to rely on when feeling anxious and stressed” Damon, Lancaster, Lancashire.

“I’ve been sticking to the 20 mins twice a day and it’s been very beneficial to me, especially at work where I just feel a lot calmer and also which I’m loving, is I’ve slept like a baby for the first time in as long as I can remember!”
Justin, Gateshead. Tyne & Wear

“Yes I am another sceptic converted.  Have been feeling the benefits.” Paul, Newcastle upon Tyne.

“My name is Anne, I am 71. I have been meditating for five years. Meditation was suggested by a Sleep Clinic however I have to say the effect on my sleep has not been significant. I know that this is not the case for other people.
I went to the Transcendental Meditation course completely ignorant and innocent of anything to do with TM. I had been to a lovely Yoga/Meditation/Relaxation class for three years with a friend a few years previously, but came to the conclusion that meditation was not for me.

The TM course taught bowled me over. It seemed as if all my birthdays had been rolled into one big birthday! The first year I took my TM instructors advice and was determined just to do it twice a day, to build up the habit. During that first year I had some surprising times during meditation: I saw lovely colours, very bright yellows and reds.
Since then the surprising things have stopped and my meditation seems quite plain, but the benefits are still super. My blood pressure is good, I am able to go about my day in a calm manner, and I do not feel anxious about anything that I have to do. When we are going away for a day I usually leave my meditation to do in the car. It is not quite as good as in the quietness of our home but much better than missing it. I have also practised it on trains and in aeroplanes. One day when we were going on holiday I dashed round all morning getting ready to go and by the end of the morning when we set off I was quite uptight which was surprising and then I realised it was because I had not meditated.
When I have got up late I resented having to meditate before getting on with my day. If this happens I now meditate later on. The teatime slot is something I have to work at fitting in because of not being at home at the same time every day and because of visitors for meals which I have to prepare. Later on during the evening is too late because I fall asleep so sometimes I have to miss the second session but I try hard not to have to do so.”
Anne, Merseyside

“It was the start of 2012, and it had been the holiday of my life. San Francisco, and my first time in the US. But what a long flight out! Nearly an hour from Newcastle to Heathrow, nine hours from Heathrow to Dallas, and a further three hours from Dallas to San Francisco. Jet lag, said Chris? Not a bit, he said; not if you do your TM a couple of times during the journey.

So, I did the first one not long after leaving the UK. By the time I got on the last plane at Dallas, I was absolutely shattered. But, not long after take-off I closed my eyes and started on the second TM session.

I know Chris says we’re not supposed to concentrate on the mantra, we just take it as it comes, he says, but, honestly, everything was conspiring against me! The hubbub inside the plane, my cramped space by the window, and my feelings of absolute and utter tiredness. On top of it all, I couldn’t relax; I couldn’t rest my head against the wall of the plane, I couldn’t keep my feet still, and my arms were twitchy: much frustration. Until. Until I realised it was TM doing one of its functions.
I’ve had it before, when I’m tired, usually towards the end of an exhausting week; TM gets seems to get rid of stress from the mind in the form of twitching of one or more limbs.
So I stuck it out for the full twenty minutes, and more or less from the moment I stopped the mantra, the twitching stopped and the restlessness went from my mind and my body. I actually slept for a little less than an hour before we flew into San Francisco.

And jet lag? Not a bit of it.

At the end of the holiday I had a direct flight back to Heathrow, all ten hours of it. I did two TM sessions on the plane, and, as before, when I got back home, no jet lag.

I’ve been doing TM for over 26 years now.
What got me into TM in the first place? Seeing some strange marks on a friend’s back. When I asked him what they were he told me they were the scars of what psoriasis had done to his skin. The doctors had tried all sorts of remedies, but only TM had worked: TM was the only successful treatment for his psoriasis.

I didn’t have psoriasis, but, a few years later, hoping it would help me in some way, I took up TM myself, and, as they say, I never looked back. It cleared my thinking so incredibly quickly. By that, I mean that before taking up TM, I could see – in retrospect – that my thinking was like water in a glass, but water that was as cloudy as if a Disprin tablet was fizzing away in the water, making it cloudy. I start doing TM, and almost immediately the water went clear; clarity of thought.
Now I can not imagine my life without TM.”
Ken, Darlington.