Healthy Living

Transcendental Meditation: Mantras, Techniques, and Benefits

Transcendental meditation (TM) is a simple, effortless and effective meditative technique practiced by seven million people around the world. It does not involve religion, philosophy or change in lifestyle. TM practice brings deep, restorative rest to the mind and body.  It is a technique that promotes a complete state of relaxed awareness. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, became famous for developing the practice and having it take off globally. It came to the US in the 1960's. Yogi became a celebrity in his own right for being the spiritual guru to the Beatles.

The person who is practicing TM sits in a comfortable meditation position. The eyes should be closed, and the mantras should be repeated silently. Mantra are sounds from the Vedic tradition that have been assigned by a teacher. While one is in this meditation pose, all the ordinary thinking processes need to be transcended. These thoughts should be replaced by a state of pure consciousness. When we say a state of pure consciousness, it would mean the meditator has to achieve perfect stillness, order, and stability, and he should be completely absent out the mental boundaries. Certain studies have mentioned that the technique of meditation is known to heal a lot of medical conditions, because it reduces chronic pain, lowers high blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, and reduces or lessens the intensity of anxiety attacks. Naturally, the most significant results from this type of meditation are produced only if practiced correctly and regularly two times per day for at least twenty minutes.

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Any type of meditation is safe for healthy individuals and also helps to improve the quality of living. However, there are certain studies that suggest that meditation alone should not be used as a single treatment for any kind of medical condition. If you are experiencing any kind of pain, chronic or otherwise, or a possible medical condition, be sure to see your physician for conventional medical care.

Learning and Practicing

Practicing TM successfully requires an individual to go through a seven step course of instruction-based learning from a certified meditation teacher.

During the class, the instructor first presents an introduction and general information about the technique that usually lasts about an hour. This is followed by a 45 minute lecture where the instructor does a deep dive into TM. Those who would like to continue attend a 10 to 15 minute long interview, along with one to two hours of personal instruction. After a brief ceremony, the individual is given a mantra, which must kept private.

The next sessions allows the teacher to provide a more detailed explanation about the practice. Correction, is provided as needed. 

Over the course of the next several months, the teacher meets the practitioner to ensure the correct technique is followed. To reap the most benefits from TM, it is recommended you meditate using this method twice a day for 15 to 20 minutes. Usually, this technique is practiced first thing in the morning and before dinner in the afternoon or evening.

There are no strenuous efforts required nor does does it require extreme concentration or contemplation. 

There have been studies that confirm that meditation of any type can only help individuals. Quieting your mind is beneficial for everyone. However, sometimes the practice is disconcerning for those experiencing psychiatric conditions. If you are unsure, please consult your physician.

All about Mantras

The main core ingredient of TM is to allow your mind to transcend. The great Indian Teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced this technique to the world. He mentioned that mantras are specific thoughts that fit each individual. With the use of the mantras, provided by the teacher, the person who is practicing TM starts experiencing the thought of that sound, which later starts to minimize the thought to experience the finer states of the thought process. 

In other meditation techniques, the mantra acts as a focus for the mind; however, this is not the case with TM. When it comes to meditation with TM, the mantra acts as a vehicle for the mind to settle down into increasingly subtle levels of thinking. The mantras in TM have two important qualities. 

  • Mantras are meaningless sounds: Whenever there is a word used with meaning, our mind keeps it on the surface, and there is a constant thought process going about in the mind about the word. Try not to imagine a pink elephant. I bet you just saw a pink elephant in your mind's eye. It is difficult for our mind to go into the transcend mode; hence, the mantras provided in TM do not have any meaning attached to them. 
  • The mantra sounds have vibration that has resonance: The vibration of the mantra word has resonance with its main source in the primordial hum or Oum. The mantra has the ability to attract and charm the mind with its vibration sound allowing the mind to settle down in the silence mode.

Origin of the Mantra

Mantras used in TM come from the Vedic ancient tradition of India. They are basically Sanskrit words or sounds. It is a human imitation of the natural vibrations that are produced by the dynamism of the field unified.  The mantras used in TM are for transcending; the mantras have a holistic healing effect, for the overall mind, body, and soul.

There are thousands of mantras available for TM. A small number of mantras have specific known effects.  The teacher provides you with a mantra which is passed by the Maharishi by using a simple procedure that ensures that it is correct. It is The effects are well-known both in the past and present, which ensures that the mantra is always positive and enhances life. Also, the teacher does not receive these mantras very easily. They get these mantras and procedures after months of intensive training. Once the mantra is shared with the student, he is asked to not share it with anyone else. Even teachings of the same are not to be taught to anyone else. This is done so as to ensure that the purity of teaching is preserved, and it also ensures that the person who is receiving it should get the proper and full instructions.

TM vs. Other Meditation Techniques

Just like different types of exercise produces different results on the overall body, different forms of mediation does the same. Doing meditation by focusing on a candle or repeating mantras has one effect. It is said that practicing TM has its own unique results on the overall body. While practicing TM, it ignites the brain  and leads to excellence on a intellectually, creatively or physically. One of the other features in TM is that there is no difference in the brainwaves of both the experts and the beginners. You can experience the positive effects of TM from the very first session.

Benefits

Meditation calms the mind and reduces anxiety and stress. Below is the list of few of the benefits experienced by practicing TM:

  • Relief from stress – The main benefit of TM is provide relief from stress and peace of mind. In today’s changing lifestyle, stress has been the biggest concern to our health. It has been the main cause of many medical conditions and broken relationships. TM provides deep relaxation in the mind, and it brings out the inner peace in the person.

TM also helps to: 

    • Balance out hormone levels
    • Increase the brain coherence
    • Balance out the nervous system activation
  • Improve efficiency at work – Research conducted in both smaller and bigger companies have found that, across the board, individuals who were regular meditators of TM showed significant improvement on many of the crucial measures such as:
    • Improvement in leadership qualities
    • Effectiveness in handling stressful situations
    • Improvement with job satisfaction
    • Maintenance of a professional relationships at work
    • Stabilization of the mind while to allow peak performance that requires significant mental awareness
    • Improvement of overall health
  • Beneficial for children – Children who regularly practice TM mediation showed excellence in a number of fields including: 
    • Academic results 
    • Negative behavior decreased along with reduction in absenteeism
    • Reduction in school-related stress
    • Reduction in depression and/or anxiety
    • Improvement in cognitive performance
  • Stability in blood pressure – Various studies have proved that regularly practicing TM has resulted with a positive impact on blood pressure related issues. TM practice leads to a lowering of the blood pressure in people who have hypertension. It also helps control stress and improves sleep.
  • Improves heart performance – Studies also show that, along with reducing the blood pressure, TM practice also has great benefits in reducing cardiovascular conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, atherosclerosis, left ventricular hypertrophy, etc. People who practice meditation consistently, twice a day for 20 minutes a day were 38 percent less likely to develop or suffer a heart attack or stroke.

Bottom Line

TM has proven to support a higher level of quality of life, and dramatically reduces stress. 

As with any program, please consult your physician before beginning a new routine. 

Key Takeaways

  • Meditation has innumerable benefits, both on the mind and the body of the individual.
  • Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a relaxed state of mind that helps to avoid any kind of distraction from entering the mind.
  • This technique was derived from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from the ancient Vedic tradition of India.