Hello dear friends,

I need your help, and this is really important - I am counting on you for this one! Please read this message until the end, as I first need to give you a little bit of context.

As you might have heard in yesterday's podcast, I have been reconnecting with Transcendental Meditation for my research in creating new content for the blog, podcast, and youtube channel, but also and mainly for the Transcendence in Meditation course that I am currently working on.

I went back to old books on the subject of transcendental meditation, and I also connected with a TM teacher. I had paid for the whole official thing, and so I was "entitled" to a refresher. We had a short meeting on Zoom, and although we are supposed to meet this week to meditate and to talk, I don't think I will go, for a couple of reasons.

When we started talking, he was happy that I wanted to go back to TM. I told him that I have been doing my TM meditations, but not every day, as I had found great power and results with other types of meditation. He went on to say that I should not do the other meditations. That there is one and only type of meditation that is useful, which is TM. I knew from his tone of voice that I wouldn't get him to open up on the subject at all. He has been a TM representative for 48 years, and he had been trained intensively to believe, that TM was the oldest, best, and really only way to meditate.

Of course, you know my point of view on this. We cannot possibly know that TM is the oldest type of meditation, because, well I am sure somewhere in a cave tens of thousands of years ago, someone had sat down in front of a fire and contemplated his thoughts, or listened to his breath, and so on.

In his way of thinking, he was trying to dismiss all other cultures and meditators. Because he had the certainty that he had the truth, and his Guru, Maharishi, with whom he studied personally, was a source for that truth. The messenger of the truth, in all that is existing and real, which we could really define as God, and so, his word, the Guru, that we could easily define as a prophet.

I am often asked if TM is a cult, or if it is a religion.

And my first instinctive answer is no, it is not. But then one must think a little bit further and ask what is a cult and what is a religion. Now if I were to define that here, it would not only take hours for you to read it, it would take me years to really contemplate on the subject.

The reason I usually answer no is that it is not a cult as we might imagine a cult to be. I did the course, in their organization, and yes sure they took a lot of my data, made me sign some confidential sheets, and I have no idea what they do with it (which is not different from when we use Facebook, Twitter, and so on), but after the course, I was not asked to join a family of people wearing white coats and performing the rituals that we might imagine a cult to do.

Although they do send me marketing emails 2 or 3 times a week, and I have never opened them, usually for retreats and advanced meditations for ridiculous amounts of money, and so on. And they will deny it, but they are a business and they are trying to make as much money as possible, and ultimately, that is ok!

On the other hand, TM has been banned from non-religious schools, because it was considered religious. This would never happen with other types of meditations because there is or should not be a religious aspect of mindfulness practice.

So why can we perceive it as a cult or a religion?

Very simple. They claim to have the one and unique truth, that they are the oldest and most ancient and most advanced, and they dismiss all other possibilities.

They have a Guru, which they follow without question. They don't ask questions, they just listen to his answers. If you open a book on Transcendental Meditation, which I don't really advise because they make sure you cannot learn meditation from it, they will try to make you believe all of these things, with simple, and time-tested marketing and manipulation techniques.

As I open an example here in front of me, the author says of Maharishi, in his preface:

"I subscribe unreservedly to his philosophy."

Now if this is not religious, I don't know what is. For having grown up in a traditional religious environment, I fail to see the difference. I remember that during my initiation, when I had told my teacher that I had meditated for years before, she was fast to dismiss it because there is no meditation if it is not that one meditation brought by the guru who is the only one that holds the truth. And I won't mention the rituals, the flowers, the prayers, and so on, during the initiation.

Of course, the help of household celebrities' names in each chapter of Bob Roth's book for example, help to spread the word and the mystery even further. Oprah loved her meditation with us. And Seinfeld, and let's not forget the Beatles. We trust these brands and so, we start to believe. Just like when Michael Jackson made an ad for Pepsi. MJ is so cool, and he makes me feel so happy with his dance and music - I will buy a Pepsi because I trust MJ and this will make me feel like I am part of his band, and produce joy for me when I drink this cancerous brown sugary beverage.

I could continue for hours with thousands of examples, but I did start the message with a request for help.

I want you to help me, in my path, to hold me accountable throughout this journey. As I grow my channels, and create my course, or write my book, I might get corrupted by my own humanity in trying to spread what I sincerely believe is true.

I was so thrilled in the past 2 weeks to meet many of you in 1 on 1 sessions. I start each and every one of these sessions with a few disclaimers. I am not a medical doctor, and I am not (thank god) associated in any way with the TM organization, which is a trademarked brand.

And then, I have this quote that I love, but I am ashamed to say that I don't know to whom I should credit it, that says:

"The direct opposite to every big truth, is another big truth".

This is very important for me to express.

Why? Because I can be quite passionate about certain topics. I want to help, I want to spread meditation and mindfulness. Most of all, I am very curious and want to continue to learn, explore, discover and share.

I am not a guru or a teacher, I am a coach, a guide, and an explorer. And this is something that is very important to me.

And so that is what I need from you.

Hold me accountable, in reminding me, from time to time and if appropriate, that very quote. There is no such thing as ultimate truth. There are other philosophies and cultures and ways of seeing the world.

Do I have doubts about my own teachings? Of course, I do!

I am an aspiring philosopher, not an aspiring priest. There is no certainty.

Sometimes we might get close to it, or feel something that makes us think: "THIS IS IT!", but we have to continue to take different perspectives and angles of thought because the truth is just that: a thought amongst other thoughts.

A concept, an idea, and sometimes, a symbol. It is always relative to something else, especially when it is expressed because this is how language works. Words are relative to other words. Pink is the mixture between red and white, and white is lighter than black, and black is darker than blue, and being is kind of like existing.

If you have read this letter until the end, thank you so much. It was longer than intended, but I needed to express these thoughts, and I really do need your help in holding me accountable, as we grow as a small group of meditators and aspiring philosophers, together.


A short reminder that tomorrow we are starting our 100 days Guided Meditation for Transcendence challenge!

I have already posted the first few that you can check out on this playlist. If you have not done so already, press the notification bell on the channel so that you get a little reminder to meditate each day.

LAST but not least, my course is still on pre-launch, meaning that you can still get the 50% discount with the coupon code YOUTUBE50 at checkout. I am still offering free 1 on 1 sessions for the first 100 members to sign up, and there are still places available.

Ok, actually one last thing! We continue our FREE live meditations Sundays at 11 AM eastern, on youtube, which is also another great opportunity for you to ask questions. So I will hopefully see you Sunday during the live!

Love + Soul HUGS

Raphael