Diane first learned Transcendental Meditation during her freshman year of college. She was not expecting the experience she had. In her words,
I sat down to receive instruction, and then the teacher let me sit to medi-
tate for awhile. I was just in the middle of light. It was very powerful. My
physiology was subtler than it had ever been in my life. It was very power-
ful. There was just lots of light. Unbelievable! I didn’t want it to end. The
light was radiant, and this was with my eyes closed. It was internal, not
Mark’s experience upon beginning TM was similar:
My first experience meditating was profound. It was like finding a method
to come home. During the process I was able to transcend completely.
Immediately my mind became silent, and I had the experience of pure
awareness. There was a softness, a feeling of mother being at home. Then I
experienced light. It was an inner light. It was inside, not visual. It was me.
I was light inside, and I was aware of that for the first time. It was a very
The mystical experience of inner light has been recorded in religious traditions around the world and throughout history. We could call it a perennial experience—one that is not bound by culture or time frame. The way a person describes the experience of inner light is bound by culture—in this case, the culture created within the HIMM of the TM movement. When people begin the practice of Transcendental Meditation, they are given some hints of what to expect during introductory lectures. Instructors emphasize the physiological correlate to the meditative experience, which in TM parlance is called “subtle physiology.” This is probably why Diane described her experience by saying, “My physiology was subtler than it had ever been in my