What is TM? How is it different from other types of meditation?
There are basically three types of meditation technique.
These are Focused Attention, Open Monitoring and Automatic Self-Transcending.
The first two techniques keep the mind involved in thinking and doing. In Focused Attention, the meditator may be asked to hold the mind's eye on something in particular, such as a candle or an emotion, and if thoughts intrude, attention is directed back to the focus.
In Open Monitoring techniques, which include the Buddhist-type mindfulness meditation, the meditator learns to observe the breath, or thoughts and feelings without reacting to them in order to become aware of internal patterns.
The third category, Automatic Self-Transcending, is what happens during Transcendental Meditation. TM allows the mind to go to its inner essence, pure being, effortlessly. It takes you beyond thought, produces a distinctive change in brain wave patterns and allows an experience of pure consciousness.
(This text contains a quote from an excellent book on TM by Norman E. Rosenthal called 'Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Meditation,' which is available from Amazon here)