What is Transcendental Meditation?
WHO ARE DOING IT? David Lynch, the visionary director of the Twin Peaks, has been practicing TM twice a day for over 45 years. Read more on what Lynch says about meditation, or check a list of 101 celebrities who do TM daily.
The TM technique
In brief — and contrary to what the name itself might suggest 😉 — the Transcendental Meditation technique is a very simple, natural and effortless way of letting your mind settle down into an extremely calm and wise state of rest. Best effects are produced with regular practice of two times twenty minutes a day.
We’ll come back to the “calm” and “wise” part in a second.
But first the issue of mantras.
Mantra, a sound which delivers
Though TM is not a mantra-based meditation in the sense that its main core and direction is oriented towards transcending, it does involve use of mantras.
By using this mantra, the practitioner experiences the thought of that sound and starts minimizing that thought to experience the finer states of that thought – until the source of thought is fathomed and the conscious mind reaches the transcendental area of being.”
As you can see, though the technique itself is easy to enjoy and practice after you’ve learned it, it is a fairly finely-tuned stuff based on traditions thousands of years old.
This is the main reason why it makes sense to play it sound and learn it from a qualified TM teacher (here’s the list of contact information for teaching centers by continent and country). It’s the only way to make sure that you get your money’s worth.
How much does it cost to learn TM?
The fee for learning TM varies across countries, but it usually reaches into hundreds of dollars per the 4-day course. For example, in the U.S. you can take the course for around 1,000 USD — with several options of scholarships and paying schedules available.
However, even if it is expensive in terms of its nominal cost (that is, in terms of how many ice-creams you could buy for this amount of money, or how many classes you could take at your Pilates studio), this probably isn’t the calculation which matters the most.
At the end of the day, it’s the worth of your deal which counts: it’s about what you get for your money. Buying a brand new Ferrari for a couple of grands wouldn’t be such a bad deal, right?
And in this context, TM could well be the most useful investment you can possibly make in your life. Here’s why.
As said earlier, doing TM regularly will make your mind-body system naturally calm and wise.
It will make it CALM as it has a well-proven effect of letting your nervous system settle into a state of deep rest. This will automatically turn the notch down on your level of stress.
And as you begin to feel more and more at ease in your skin, and stop fretting about all those innumerable projects and life’s little problems, everything else tends to click into place, too. That’s why TM is proven to have a positive impact on your blood pressure, immune system, eating habits, good night’s sleep, etc.
A nice, healthy state of impassioned vegetation? Nope. While making you calm, TM practice will also make you WISE and EFFICIENT.
As the dust of our daily neurosis settles, our mind will naturally become more open, clear and insightful. With TM, artists will become more creative, students more able and discerning, businessmen will make smarter decisions and sportsmen reach their full potential. You can go through hundreds of such testimonials and stories.
There’s nothing mystical, religious or magical about this process, however; the wisdom of our mind simply starts to manifest itself when given a chance.
Learning and Practicing Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a technique for avoiding distracting thoughts and promoting a state of relaxed awareness. The late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi derived TM from the ancient Vedic tradition of India. He brought the technique to the U.S. in the 1960s.
While meditating, the person practicing TM sits in a comfortable position with eyes closed and silently repeats a mantra. A mantra is a word or sound from the Vedic tradition that is used to focus your concentration.
According to supporters of TM, when meditating, the ordinary thinking process is “transcended.” It’s replaced by a state of pure consciousness. In this state, the mediator achieves perfect stillness, rest, stability, order, and a complete absence of mental boundaries.
Some studies have found that regular meditation can reduce chronic pain, anxiety, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and the use of health care services.
Meditation, both TM and other forms, is generally safe and may improve a person’s quality of life. But experts agree that meditation shouldn’t be used as a single treatment for any particular health condition, or instead of conventional medical care.
Learning and Practicing Transcendental Meditation
Unlike some forms of meditation, TM technique requires a seven-step course of instruction from a certified teacher.
A TM teacher presents general information about the technique and its effects during a 60-minute introductory lecture. That’s followed by a second 45-minute lecture in which more specific information is given. People interested in learning the technique then attend a 10- to 15-minute interview and 1 to 2 hours of personal instruction. Following a brief ceremony, they’re each given a mantra, which they’re supposed to keep confidential.