Over the last 9 years or so, I’ve regularly practised a meditation technique that’s a derivative of Transcendentatl Meditation, at times spending up to 3-4 hours per day meditating. You could say I have some experience of meditation using this method.

The meditation techniques are taught by a group of monks – the Ishayas, and they promote the idea that only someone who is a monk should teach these techniques.  One of the rationales for this restriction is that they are able to provide some kind of mystical connection with the brotherhood of monks through the puja ceremony which is believed to potentiate the techniques.

Training in the techniques occurs through First sphere workshops which are facilitated by the Ishayas.  These workshops run over a weekend, and typically cost in the realm of $495 in New Zealand.  These funds go towards supporting the Ishaya’s organisation of teachers.

This year I’ve been involved in teaching my students about Stress management, including a range of stress management techniques including breath retraining, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation.  At some stage this process led me to reconsider these externally imposed limitations.  Essentially I believe that I have the experience necessary to teach these techniques, and I have no faith in the idea that the techniques will only be effective if the practitioner is connected with the gurus.  I also lack faith in some other dogmatic aspects of the philosophy associated with the techniques, although I find the techniques in themselves highly effective.

In essence the techniques are just a series of thoughts.  How can a group of people claim to have the rights to a series of thoughts?

It’s been interesting observing my fears around this – Am I doing the right thing?, etc..  I guess long-held beliefs take some time to die.  Despite my internal struggles, I recently taught my current students these techniques, and it seems that some have experienced them as being quite beneficial.

I’ve also recently posted a page of instructions to WikiEducator for the techniques.  It’ll be interesting to see if I get flamed for this.