Ellen Degeneres, David Lynch, Katy Perry, Jim Carrey – They all have endorsed and spoken about the benefits of Transcendental Meditation. More than 350 research studies on Transcendental Meditation techniques have been published. It seems to have changed many lives for the better. Undeniably, more and more people are deviating towards a healthier and sustainable life as the stress and anxiety levels are rising.
Both our personal and professional worlds are driving us crazy. That clubbed with serious worldly issues are making it difficult for us to live a peaceful life. Stress has become an epidemic and before it consumes all of us, we all want to consciously make choices that have the power to bring about some change.
Transcendental Meditation has emerged as one such technique that can make living better, efficient, and healthier. Like most other meditations, you can’t know everything about it unless you try, yet, I am here to tell you everything you need to know before you can start practicing this particular meditation.
What is Transcendental Meditation?
Also known as TM, Transcendental Meditation is a technique that requires you to silently chant a mantra twice for 20 minutes in a day. It is an efficient and effortless way to slowly bring your mind to its most silent being. This ultimate state is known as full consciousness or restful alertness.
Mantra is a small Sanskrit sound that is different for each individual and can be given only by a certified TM teacher or Guru. Across the world, there are many certified teachers who teach this meditation and give mantra to individuals. Once you get your mantra, you can practice every day on your own.
TM is not based on any religion or philosophy. It has simplicity and profoundness attached to it. It can be practiced by anyone who is willing to calm their mind and bring out its maximum potential.
It is important to note that our mind is very cluttered on the surface, but its real being is calmness and full consciousness. Once you start to go inwards, you attain the transcend level where the mind is completely quiet and is highly intelligent and focused.
How is Transcendental Meditation Different from Other Meditation Practices?
Most meditation practices require you to concentrate and focus on something. Even an efficient and common meditation such as mindfulness requires you to put some effort. Many people also believe that meditation is about trying to control your thoughts. TM is different from all of this as it doesn’t require you to put effort or breathe differently.
It doesn’t require you to focus or concentrate on anything. It doesn’t require you to believe in anything. TM doesn’t require you to sit in certain ways. It only requires you to read a mantra inside of you with your eyes closed. It is effortless. You can sit on a chair, on the bed or however you feel comfortable.
What is the Procedure for Practicing Transcendental Meditation?
Take out 20 minutes right after waking up and 20 minutes right before going to bed for Transcendental Meditation.
- Sit comfortably on a chair, a bed, or wherever you like.
- Close your eyes and silently read the mantra inside of you for about 20 minutes.
- Breathe normally.
- If your mind wanders off, bring it back to the mantra.
- Once you are done chanting your mantra, give yourself a little pause for 2 minutes before opening your eyes.
- Repeat this process daily.
TM technique is natural and you don’t have to believe in anything before practicing it. In fact, you can start practicing with some doubts and suspicions in your mind too. Once you spend a few days trying out the technique, you will automatically get your answers. There is no philosophy behind it. It also doesn’t require you to change your lifestyle.
You can continue to have the same meals without dieting or anything. It is always good to eat your vegetables and proteins but practitioners say that this practice works even for those who don’t bring any such changes in their lives. So, if 40 minutes a day is all you have in your hand to devote to this technique, then the good news is, it’s enough to change your life.
When Was Transcendental Meditation Originated?
TM or Transcendental Meditation originated in India. Many yogis and gurus are believed to have practiced it in India in Vedic yuga, however, it was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (an Indian sage, died in 2008), who started a TM movement in the 1950s and brought the techniques to west. He taught many people between 1950-1960 including celebrities such as The Beatles.
Maharishi was taught by his guru and another Hindu monk, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati (who died 1953). Now, there is a Maharishi Foundation that teaches many people across the globe. It is a federally-recognized non-profit organization in the US. More than 5 billion people worldwide are TM practitioners.
Benefits of Transcendental Meditation
TM makes the mind quieter and quieter, eventually takes it to its full consciousness. In this state, the mind is free of any thoughts. It is wide awake and is ready to perform up to its full potential.
- Many scientific studies have proved that TM reduces cortisol and increases serotonin and dopamine. As a result of which, anxiety, stress, and depression reduce while happiness increases.
- It reduces high blood pressure.
- It reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke.
- TM makes a person rejuvenated and more energized.
- It increases the brain’s functionality and helps the practitioners in taking better decisions, performing creative activities, using intellect, and leading a fulfilling life.
- TM treats insomnia.
Practitioners also create resilience towards fear and trauma. Some research reports also claim that TM can help patients with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and autism.
Here is an interesting video for Beginners to understand the Transcendental Meditation Technique –
Research and Case Studies on Transcendental Meditation
As mentioned before, more than 350 research studies have been published on the technique and benefits of Transcendental Meditation. Renowned universities and institutions such as Harvard Medical School, Yale University School of Medicine, National Institute of Health, etc have studied TM and published scientific journals. For different diseases, reports have been published to study the effects of the TM technique on them.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have proposed over USD 26 million to research TM’s effectiveness on stress and stress-related conditions. Popular director, David Lynch, after realizing the benefits of TM, founded David Lynch Foundation in 2005 to teach TM for free to veterans with PTSD, victims of domestic abuse, and underprivileged students.
David Lynch has given a message on his organization’s website that says “I started Transcendental Meditation in 1973 and have not missed a single meditation ever since”. He further adds “It has given me effortless access to unlimited reserves of energy, creativity, and happiness deep within”.
What is Vedic Meditation?
It is a type of meditation in which you focus on a sound or an affirmation (mantra) while doing it. If you are someone who is always restless and find meditation extremely intimidating, try this form! As you focus on your word or chant, your mind will stop wandering.
It’s a technique to keep the mind on a single idea (the mantra) so that you are not lost in your ceaseless, distracting thoughts. In this method, through regular practice, you increase your concentration levels.
Vedic meditation helps to rewire the brain and in slowing down the brainwaves.
Origin of Vedic Meditation
This form of meditation is said to have originated in India. The term “Vedic” implies that it is “from the Vedas.”
“Vedas,” are the ancient Hindu scriptures inscribed in Sanskrit. The Vedas are books of wisdom on spirituality, Ayurveda, inspiring ideas, and about the mystery of life. These are enriched and beautiful texts that are said to help the reader attain a blissful and awakened state.
The knowledge hidden in the Vedas is about spiritual transformation. Vedic Meditation is only a part of the Vedas.
Who Can Practice Vedic Meditation?
Earlier it was thought that it was only for the Indian monks and mystics. It was supposed to be the instructions for the Hindu priests only. But the immense benefits that this technique offers, has made it widely popular.
Nowadays, especially in this hectic lifestyle, people need this form of meditation. In this practice, you just close your eyes and drift away from the stressful world.
Anyone and everyone can do this! If you want a healthy mind and body, stress-free life, and calmness within, this is the meditation for you!
Is it easy to practice?
Yes, this form of meditative practice is incredibly easy to do. You only require to chant a mantra repeatedly!
Is Vedic Meditation the same as Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental meditation also has its roots in Vedic philosophy but it was reformed and introduced mainly to the Western world by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This can be learned in a Yoga class from a trainer.
On the other hand, Vedic Meditation is the unaltered form. It is usually learned from a Guru who initiates his disciples and gives the instructions to do this form. Although, nowadays individual trainers are also teaching Vedic meditation.
10 Benefits of Vedic Meditation
There are numerous benefits of Vedic Meditation. We are giving you some of the most important ones.
1. Lowers stress and anxiety
Vedic meditation is really effective for those who have to deal with stressful situations every day! Just practice this for 20 minutes on a daily basis. You will surely become calmer and stress-free in life.
2. Improves health
This meditation, when practiced consistently, will strengthen your immune system. You literally fall sick less often! Moreover, it helps you to stay younger and fitter.
3. Makes you happier
With regular practice, your mental health improves. You will become cheerful and energetic.
4. Improves your focus
Vedic meditation will develop your brain functioning. The prefrontal cortex of your brain gets activated, generating more alpha waves and the neurophysiology changes altogether! As a result, your thought patterns become clearer and you start making the right decisions.
5. Helps you to sleep better
Vedic meditation techniques provide a deep rest to your mind. This relaxes your entire body and at night you will be having a good deep sleep.
6. Controls addictions
If you practice this meditation regularly you will be amazed to see that you have a better grip on your life! You will be able to check on your addictions and slowly give them up totally.
7. Improved relationships
This form of meditative practice helps you to improve yourself inside out. As a result, your attitude and behavior transform. Your positive changes are sensed by those around you. Therefore, your friendships, family life, and sexual relationships just start getting better!
8. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels are controlled
Discipline your mind to sit comfortably and practice this meditation every single day. It is said to lower your blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.
9. Asthma and allergy symptoms are reduced
It controls asthma and reduces allergy symptoms.
10. A sense of overall wellbeing and a spiritual inclination
Vedic meditation has been practiced over thousands of years. It is good for your mind, body, and soul. This meditation when practiced daily, brings self-awareness and a sense of wellbeing.
Five Major Aspects of Vedic Meditation
1. This meditation uses a Mantra
In this practice, a specific mantra or a Bija mantra is implied. Bija means “a plant seed”. Like a plant is watered to grow, similarly, this mantra will help you to grow!
This meditative practice depends on the vibration of the mantra sound. This mantra is given to you by a Guru or a teacher depending on your spiritual stage.
2. This is an effortless practice
In this practice, there is no need for forced attention by your mind. You will be instructed at the beginning of the training on how to do it easily and effortlessly. Also, here you will practice using back support rather than sitting with a rigid spine! This practice is to be done at ease.
3. This technique is well-suited for busy people
While many people think that meditative practices are not for people on tight schedules, this is the one for them! Like other meditative forms, you don’t have to sit for hours doing this.
You just need to do it for 20 minutes on a daily basis. For this technique to work you don’t have to eat a certain diet or wear different clothes. Practice this meditation just being you.
4. This meditation is taught in person
Vedic meditation teachers are called “initiators” who initiate you in this practice and help you to advance if you are willing to do so. This is more of a tradition-based practice with a one-to-one connection and no institute or company is involved in this practice.
Here individual teachers will give guidance and there is an energy exchange between the initiator and his students.
5. It has a gratitude ceremony
Before you close your eyes and receive the initiation, you will have to do a gratitude ceremony. In this ceremony, the ancient masters of spiritual wisdom are remembered and thanked. It also helps the initiator and his students to form a deep bond.
Here is an interesting video of Vedic Meditation and it’s Benefits –
40 minutes every day is all it takes for you to give your mind and your body the fuel it needs. Transcendental meditation has proved to be an efficient and effortless technique. In the times we live in, the danger of falling prey to stress, anxiety, depression, and other life-threatening diseases, looms over us.
It is the need of an hour to pause, reflect, and do the needful for a healthy and happy life. Practice TM every day and bring peace, calm, and energy back into your life.
Ankita calls herself a road-child because of her love for road trips and landscapes. A journalist turned digital nomad, she is either telling stories or looking outside the car window aimlessly. She has traveled most of India by road, and encourage other women to take such life-changing journeys. Ankita is also a mental health advocate and a survivor herself. She likes to tell her story through writing and photography, with the aim to change at least some lives.