Transcendental meditation is the simplest and easiest form of meditation. This century old meditation technique has been known to reduce stress in the most straightforward way. This Vedic knowledge from India has been handed down by generations to keep the tradition alive. It gained popularity due to the uncomplicated form of practice which just requires 15 minutes of meditation twice a day.
Source : thirdmonk.net
Different types of Meditation:
There are various types of meditation and it is important to know the categories to make the right choice of practice for oneself.
- Concentration based meditation: Main focus is to improve concentration.
- Transcendental: Samadhi and chakra are some of the techniques of this type of meditation.
- Reflective meditation: Main focus is to control mind with self reflective questions.
- Alert mind Meditation: This type of meditation deals with cultivating alertness and hence is used to treat anxiety disorders and depression.
- Deep breathing: Vipassana, visualization, sitting and walking meditation, body scan meditation and mindful breathing are some of techniques practiced under this type.
- Heart Chakra Meditation: Main motive of this type of meditation is to remove the negative energy. This is one of the most important techniques as it requires the meditated to connect to the heart of the teacher or a person they feel compassionate about.
- Visualization Meditation: This method helps in cultivate and strengthen various qualities of the mind such as compassion, gratitude, patience and joy among others.
What is Transcendental Meditation
To learn how to practice transcendental meditation, it is important to know the meaning of transcending. It is a state where the mind is completely awake. Transcending relaxes muscles and calms down breathing; which in turn helps the mind reach the pure state of consciousness. This type of meditation does not require mind control. This also requires no kind of mental discipline. Even the breathing doesn’t have to be controlled and no muscle control is required. No postures and absolutely no mental effort are required. This technique relaxes muscle, energizing the body and mind by reducing physical and mental fatigue. Transcendental meditation technique solves most of the modern lifestyle issues as it assists in resting properly to suit a busy life.
Transcendental meditation is done in a sitting position. Many scientists proved that by practicing this type of meditation, a restful and alert stage is experienced. This stage is called the transcendental consciousness stage. Many researchers vouch that to maintain good mental health it is very important to experience the transcendental stage regularly. Besides the regular sleep and resting pattern, the transcendental meditation technique helps in reaching a deeper relaxed stage. A balanced brain functioning is experienced after waking up from the transcendental stage.
Transcendental meditation racked up acclaim by Beatles association with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Maharishi Yogi gained his knowledge in transcendental deep meditation from his guru Swami Brahmananda Saraswati. He taught this meditation techniquein India and then spread the teaching to the entire world. Maharishi yogi was also known as ‘giggling guru’ for he laughed in TV interviews.
Source : tmhome.com
In the year 1992, Maharishi formed the Natural law party in UK, with the principles based on the Transcendental Meditation techniques and TM Siddha program. The party was active in 74 countries such as Belgium, Canada, Croatia, France, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Finland, France, Italy, and United States of America. The main idea of the party was to use TM-Siddha program and Transcendental Meditation techniques to develop every individual’s consciousness. They also came up with the idea of reducing the health care cost by using the self-pulse reading approach. The party wanted to neutralize the ill-favored planetary influences by bringing the country and individual together, in line with the Natural Law. By implementing TM-Siddha, Yogic Flying technique and collective health measures law and order was to be maintained.
Who can Practice Transcendental Meditation
The claim of overcoming stress without side effects were so appealing to the followers that the technique was endorsed by celebrities like, Beach Boys, Clint Eastwood, Jerry Seinfield, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Scorsese among others. David Lynch, the director of Blue velvet, started a Lynch foundation. This foundation teaches transcendental meditation to soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress. They also teach school children, women and men suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
Transcendental meditation can be practiced by anyone anywhere. It is to settle an active mind naturally. 15- 20 minutes a day is all that is required to get extra energy and clarity and no change of routine is required. This meditation can be practiced anywhere while you are travelling in a bus or a train. The benefits are felt almost immediately as the meditated feels better and with regular meditation the more benefits can be reaped.
This technique does not belong to the sect of conversion or a set of religious beliefs. Hence it does not require anyone to convert or to accept a religion to achieve the stress free mental state. Many worry if they would not remain competitive if they engage in any form or meditation as the methods require letting go of their vigor. The best part about this technique is that it does not take away one’s edge rather it helps in getting more perspective, clarity and vigor.
Basic Principles of Transcendentalism
Here are few basic principles of transcendentalism to be followed
- It is not a doctrine to reject the existence of God. Transcendentalism is to explain the world in the context of the individual and to find the spiritual center of the universe in the individual.
- Transcendentalists believe that nature is full of signs and hence it is symbolic. Hence God can be found in human and in nature.
- They believe that the self-realization is the only way to achieve individual happiness and virtue.
- Transcendentalism is a form of idealism.
- Every individual is respected.
- In Death the soul passes to the eternal soul and hence death need not be feared.
- The stress is on ‘Now’ more in the lines of being aware of the present.
- By exercising one’s own moral and spiritual strength, and defying predestination and fate, power can be achieved.
- Intuition has the predominant stand and hence should never be disregarded.
- Reform comes from within.
Meditation is no more a quirky hippy activity. Scientists have proven that they do have multiple benefits on emotional and physical wellbeing. It is cool to meditate, about 10-30 million people meditate every day in US alone.
Top Benefits of Meditation
The top benefits of meditation are
- Reduces loneliness and boosts social life.
- Helps increase the ability to have better emotional regulation and self control.
- Cortical thinking improves.
- Generates and improves compassion and helpfulness.
- Resilience in tough times is improved.
- Reduction in feeling despondency, stress and anxiety.
- Helps develop perspective and insight.
Benefits of Transcendental Meditation Techniques
There are many scientific evidences to show improvement and increase in the following areas
- Blood flow to the brain which helps in flexibility of brain functioning. The maximisation in blood flow also helps in efficient transfer of information in the brain which helps increase in creativity, perception, memory.
- Transcendental meditation has helped in improving intelligence, problem solving ability and academic performance in college and school students. Hence it leads the students to be oriented towards positive values. Parallel effect being increased self-actualization and self-confidence which reduces hostility.
- Academic and cognitive development is accelerated due to improved left and right hemispheric functions such as improved verbal, analytical, holistic and synthetic thinking.
- This meditation technique increases tolerance, resistance to social pressure and distraction which causes reduction in anxiety, depression, substance abuse, anger, disciplinary infractions, absenteeism and suspension.
- Transcendental meditation scales down blood pressure in hypertensive subjects and adolescents.
- The decrease in stress hormone leads to healthier response to stress which reflects in a healthier family life.
- This technique of meditation has improved quality of life in people with HIV/AIDS and also has shows lower utilization of health insurance rates.
Beside the above mentioned psychological benefits there are numerous physiological benefits such as increased mind-body coordination, muscle relaxation, faster reaction and stability of autonomic nervous system.
How do you practise Transcendental Meditation
There are various transcendental mantras available online that can be used while performing this meditation. Though it is advised to find a transcendental meditation centre or a TM teacher who can help with the right mantra as suited for you.
Please find below the mantras that can be used while practicing at home
Age wise mantra
From 0-11 years- eng
From 12-13 years- em
From 14-15 years- enga
From 16-17 years- ema
From 18-19 years- ieng
From 20-21 years- iem
From 22-23 years- ienga
From 24-25 years- iema
From 26-29 years- shirim
From 30-34 years- shiring
From 35-39 years- kirim
From 40-44 years- kiring
From 45-49 years- hirim
From 50-54 years- hiring
From 55-54 years- hiring
From 55-59 years- sham
From 60- shama
The technique to do transcendental meditation is quite simple.
Source : bienfaits-meditation.com
Sit in a way that you are comfortable. Close your eyes and wait for 30 secs.
Now choose a mantra as per your age, from the above mentioned mantras or just use any word that has no meaning to it. The reason it is not supposed to have any meaning is because; the word should not trigger thoughts. It is also better if you use any rudimentary sounds such as aaaaa or mmmm. These mantras help provide focus to mind’s eye.
These mantras are not to be chanted out loud rather they have to be repeated in your head.
The mind in its usual form will start wandering with random thoughts. Do not try to stop them. Just try and keep repeating the mantra in your head. This will eventually reduce the noise in your head. The whole process has to be effortless and should not be done by force. The chanting has to be like a faint idea and not to be developed into a rhythmic pattern.
Once the transcendental stage is reached, the muscles in the body will relax and the heart rate will slow down. The mind gets completely relaxed and will have no thoughts and noise. During this stage it is not necessary to repeat the mantra. Try to be in this stage for 15- 20 minutes.
This process must be repeated once in the morning after you wake up and once before going to sleep. The benefits are better if practised 3 to 6 hours before going to bed.
There are various researches done by universities such as University of Michigan, University of Connecticut, American university, Medical College of Georgia, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center- Los Angeles, University of California at Irvine to prove the following data
- Transcendental meditation reduces stress, hyperactivity, and anxiety in 106 at- risk adolescents in four months.
- Increases brain functioning, positive effects on health and cognitive developments in 250 students attending American University in two years.
- Due to reduced hypertension, diabetes, obesity, 103 people with heart disease had lower blood pressure and insulin levels.
- 154 hypertensive African American high school students had reduced high blood pressure in an 8 month study.
- In four months, 50 sixth-grade students of two middle schools had increased happiness and reduced stress with higher self- esteem and the emotional competence was also improved.
- In 12 subjects aged 30 years showed 40-50% lower brain response to stress.
The reason people meditate is to reduce the sense of suffering. Studies does prove that transcendental practitioner have shown a raised level of awareness, connectedness and reduced response to stress. Certain brain imaging research has also shown the difference in the brain functionality for the person who practices transcendental meditation as opposed to a person who has never learnt it. To debate whether it is really effective to reduce the stress is similar to the debate on whether acupuncture is effective alternative medication technique. On a positive note, research has proved that meditation does affect a person in a positive way. In that context, transcendental meditation helps curtail our negative emotions, anxiety and depression in the most simplest and undemanding way.