Monday, June 18, 2012

Would you put a price on happiness?

I attended a Transcendental Meditation (TM) introductory session today. Believe me when I say, I went with an open heart and an open mind. A friend and colleague had recommended this to me, and I really hoped this would do for me what it had done for her.

The place was hard to get to, so it may have put me in a bit of a mood. 1 hour driving one way, in heavy traffic. When I arrived, I just didn't know where to go, the centre was a primary school. I was slightly disorientated from the journey, and I was late, so I was worried I'd have missed my opportunity.

20 minutes later and two phone calls, I'm comfortably seated in a meeting room, and watching two DVDs introducing TM. Neither talked much about the meditation technique itself, only how it was better than other meditation techniques and medications. In fact, the first video was nothing but bar graphs and charts, but with no references attached (which immediately triggered my skeptic's brain). After the second one, we spoke about the cost and the time requirement.

It costs $1500 to learn how to meditate.
Now, I am all for paying for courses. I readily paid about the same amount for my yoga annual pass after going for about a year. Apparently, this $1500 is a lifelong once only fee. So, technically it's not so bad. 

But, coupled with the non-referenced bar graphs and pie charts and putting down other meditation techniques, something's not feeling quite right here. The other nagging feeling is how secretive they are about what exactly TM is. It would make sense in an intro session to actually get a taster... apparently, everyone gets their own unique mantra after the first paid session, of which they are not to tell another person. But I don't see why not? Why not make the intro session a personal interview, followed by giving them the mantra, and then maybe 10 minutes of how to use it... if they like it, they will come back. And perhaps, be willing to part with $1500. 

The truth is, when I left, I was ready to part with $1500. I just wanted a way of fixing my life, and the promises they made... it sounded too good to be true (red flag!). Luckily, the drive back through traffic took a whole hour, and I could contemplate. 

Believe me when I say I'm all about complementary therapies. This whole blog is dedicated to complementary and alternative therapies. However, I'm also a skeptic. I know how yoga helps me to deal with stress, just like I am aware of how different herbal supplements are meant to change your body chemistry. But placing my eggs in a basket, a basket I'm not sure anything of... that I'm not willing to do. A short Google search made me feel more at ease about my decision. I'm sure I'll find something similar, and definitely cheaper, that works. 

Would you pay $1500 for a promise of a better you? 


  1. That does seem a bit pricy given not much effort was put into the TM session!

    I have tried a couple of meditation courses but ended up getting lazy and giving up...I think it would be worth $1,500 to REALLY change your life, but it needs to be a commitment you're ready to make for a lifelong process, if that makes sense! :)

  2. I admit I too get a bit like that, but I generally stick most things out if they work. I've read some pretty out there things about TM after the session... so I'm glad I didn't commit to it. Apparently, after the $1500, there are other supplementary products they try to sell you too. :O

    1. Ugh, I hate when they try to push products on you! Defeats the purpose of the whole relaxation/transcending thing!

  3. Have you ever considered trying Vipassana? I enrolled for one of their retreats and will be going on February. They give 10 days retreats completely free of charge in the whole world. If you want to check it out here is their website:
    You can also search and read experiences of people that have already attended one or more retreats, I myself read a lot before applying.