Transcendental Meditation and me


About 40 years ago I was in collage and went to a TM Center. Over a period of time I was taught to use TM and I did, off and on for decades. Over time I came to understand that its not the Catholic thing to do. More than that, it may have harmed me. Long story short, I stopped.

I have yet to find anything to drain the stress out of me in quite the same way. No, not the Rosary. Its just not the same, although I do try to do at least one Rosary a day and I do say a good Rosary. Its just a different thing. I would like to emphasize my belief that The Most Holy Rosary Of The Blessed Virgin Mary is second only to Holy Communion.

I would say that being in the quiet Church during the Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament is TM times a trillion, however, that’s in the Church. I need it here in my home. Once or twice a day.

What is Catholic Meditation? Is there really such a thing?


Of course there’s Catholic meditation! Sheesh, it’s ancient!

One common devotion among Byzantine Rite Catholics, etc., is the Jesus prayer. You pray it as you breathe, and I find it very calming.

There are the various postures of prayer and movements of prayer. There is chanting the ancient songs of the Church. There are all matter of ways that you can pray and meditate. There are all matter of short prayers and aspirations you can use to help you.

You probably would get a lot of help from reading one of the various spiritual classics, which teach you how to tie Catholic meditation into your prayer life and regular life, instead of just isolating it as an activity. See what author makes sense to you and is writing most helpfully for you: The Ascent of Mt. Carmel by St. John of the Cross (and its sequel, The Dark Night of the Soul). Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales. The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila. There are tons of good ones out there.

Fr. Thomas Dubay, on EWTN, is very very strong and helpful on mystical prayer life and meditation. So is Fr. Spitzer who does Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life. They both have books out as well as the TV shows.

You might also want to talk to a priest about your spiritual life, and/or ask him if he knows somebody knowledgeable and non-flaky. :slight_smile:


I forgot to say that Christian meditation is all about paying attention to God and learning to love Him. A lot of other meditation schools focus on yourself, the world around you, or nothingness. Christians focus on Christ and His love and presence.

So relaxation is a byproduct, not its purpose. (Albeit a good byproduct.)

Oh, and stay away from “centering prayer”.


Father Dubay has a good book called Fire Within.


Try lectio divina (Latin for “divine reading”), which is a method of meditating on Scripture. More information here: . (It is a reference thread. To get the whole picture, read the whole thread, not just the first post.)


While your being offered 1001 different books to read, why not read some Merton?

I recommend “New Seeds of Contemplation,” “Contemplative Prayer,” and “The Innder Experience: Notes on Contemplation” for starters. (Each of these is quite short.)


i would like to know how to do this as a Catholic too.

many things I used to quiet me on the inside. all of them the Church says no.


Thank you very much for your input on this.

I will study the information you have giver me.

Thanx again


I suggest, stay away from ‘centering prayer’ or anything that’s influenced by Eastern (not Eastern Orthodox, or Eastern Catholic, but like Buddhism) meditation practices… that’s sort of been infiltrating the Church lately…? Cause they’re all about going deeper into ‘self’ and emptying the mind but Catholic meditation and contemplation is about filling the mind and thinking about Christ… :slight_smile: it’s actually quite different…

I suggest maybe reading something by St Teresa of Avila. Perhaps the Interior Castle? :slight_smile:
it’s very good… just make sure you don’t get caught up in seeking experiences… St Teresa actually says we are not to do this. Don’t think too much about how you feel. Don’t try to make yourself feel the same way you did during TM. Just seek to love God more, with or without feelings, and to surrender yourself more to His will… this is the essence of the Catholic contemplative life - not any experiences - and the more we are surrendered to HIs will, the more ‘contemplative’ we’re able to become. I suggest reading books by the Saints about this, and good traditional time tested Catholic teaching :wink: lol

the reason I’m saying this is because it’s very easy to go astray here. I’m speaking from experience btw, I made some mistakes in the past that I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through.

Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.

God bless!


Father Dubay has also written a book called The Prayer Primerwhich explains and explores various types of prayer which might be helpful. Not difficult reading at all.


The key of LIFE is relationship, not relax-ionship.
A real happiness can be achieved only in relationship and intimacy with GOD not just in relaxing our brain "in this valley of tears"
Let me explain this in detail:
REAL PRAYER, involves all meditations techniques and more!
Let’s remember that the Theology of the body, revealed to us that our body is a combination of natural and supernatural.
When you relax your brain with TM, this is still just your brain, so yes, it is important to silence your brain, as a preparation for prayer, but it can not stop there… Relaxing your brain does not make you a Saint. Only God can. TM takes your brain to a brain “wave range” that aloud us a most perfect state of mind to present your soul to God, to our Mother and all the Saints. Up to here, TM is just a natural process, but a communication with God, PRAYER, is an supernatural process, is grace.
But let’s understand our body and appreciate the effect that relaxation has in the spiritual life and understand that TM Transcendental Meditation as a silencing exercise.
Let’s be thankful and also appreciate about all the scientific investigations made in support of TM and all contemplative forms of PRAYER, and just think, if relaxation can be measured today, providing such benefits!! how more valuable are our prayers in Catholic Prayers? based on traditions and revelations; we remember then Padre Pio and his supernatural life and see that Prayer is above all practice the most important aspect of spirituality.
And we should encourage believers to continue with investigations, but from the perspective of our Catholic faith. Buddhism is a great collaborator with science, what about our Catholic mystics? who are studying their brains?
Do you know what kind of impact has the Rosary on your brain?
Do you know how deep the Rosary can impact to a community?
Do you know that today’s technology can help to discover this value?
Science will reveal a path to us to treasure our faith and then we should upgrade TM meditation with a real learning about how to pray, because if you really learn to pray, you learn to live. Prayer is not easy… if prayer does not transform your life,
you do not know how to pray!
If TM can create such a positive impact in your life, one step further, the Prayer of the Rosary, will have an unthinkable benefit! it will make you a Saint, and this sanctification process is really the key of happiness!!!



FYI, an excellent book on line that I’m currently reading on interior prayer and meditation is;

“On Cleaving To God,” by Saint Albert the Great (1193-1280).

I’m amazed that this book was written 300 years before St John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila’s works, but full of spiritual riches on contemplation.

St. Teresa and St. John probably didn’t read St. Albert’s work, because books on spirituality were banned during their time in Spain during the 1500’s.

Here’s a taste of St. Albert

From Chapter 7

How the heart should be gathered within itself

What is more, as is said in the book On the Spirit and the Soul (of St. Augustine), to ascend to God means to enter into oneself. He who entering within and penetrating his inmost nature, goes beyond himself, he is truly ascending to God. So let us withdraw our hearts from the distractions of this world, and recall them to the inner joys, so that we can establish them to some degree in the light of divine contemplation. For this is the life and peace of our hearts - to be established by intent in the love of God, and to be sweetly remade by his comforting.



Hi, you might be interested in St Teresa’s book “the Interior Castle” :slight_smile: God bless!


yes look up lectio divina
mental prayer as defined by Teresa of Avila
mental prayer as defined by St. Ignatius
the rosary is a contemplative, meditative prayer for many Catholics


I have some advice–don’t listen to mere humans tell you “not to do this” or “not to do that.” How ridiculous that a so called “Catholic” would tell you to stay away from “Centering Prayer,” which was created by Father Thomas Keating, a Trappist Monk, who is indeed a Catholic. Did I mention he is also a priest? And these folks are telling you to stay away from a priest! Consider the source!

How “Catholic” of them to do so. This is nonsense.

“Be still, and know that I am God" Pslam 46:10

Be well my friend, and much peace.


Thank you. I have Google d this. This is most interesting.

I will study it. Thank you very much.


I agree. The focus needs to be on the Lord and His Loving Presence!


You do realize that there is a current ban on centering prayer here?

And basically, I do not care if Fr Thomas Keating is a Catholic priest or not, if he teaches wrong, he teaches wrong. Period.

God love you.


Actually Fr Keating’s teachings are very much in line with Catholic teaching on prayer.

if you want more info, PM me.

In Christ

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit