Transcendental meditation (TM) is a technique to achieve an alternate state of consciousness to detach oneself from anxiety and promote inner harmony. Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is known as the Einstein of transcendental meditation and developed TM from the ancient Indian Vedic tradition.
TM in the 21st Century
TM first made its way into Western pop culture with the British invasion of the Beatles in the 1960s. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are still supporters and practice TM today. With TM charging its way back into the mainstream, even the Wall Street titans and Hollywood celebrities are practicing TM. Hollywood filmmaker Bob Roth is the executive director of the David Lynch Foundation and funds TM education. He states “The misunderstandings of TM are that it’s a philosophy, religion, lifestyle, you need to eat tofu and sit in strange positions to clear your thoughts. None of that is true. It’s as easy as taking a nap or walk.”
Benefits of TM
Heath professionals from TV personality Dr. Oz and neurologist Gary Kaplan from NYU School of Medicine claim the benefits of TM include reduced blood pressure and reduced stress hormones along with improved creativity and cognitive focus. TM has also proved beneficial for military vets with PTSD. Retired Coast Guard Admiral Richard Schneider feels that TM is so effective in overcoming war time PTSD that is should be implemented into basic training.
Neuroscience, Spiritual Enlightenment and Spiritual Growth
The field of neuroscience has helped demystify TM. Brain studies reveal that during TM high amplitude alpha coherence is heightened. It’s a unique brain wave signature that enhances calmness and balance. The experience of TM is said to lead to spiritual enlightenment and spiritual growth as the there is no material content in this state, just the state of pure being. It transcends matter, dogma and space-time. It’s the full awakening of human consciousness.
Teaching and Practicing TM
The late Maharishi laid out a seven-step plan for teaching and practicing TM.
- The first lecture by the teacher should focus on the vision of possibilities for personal development.
- A second lecture should explain the mechanics and origin of TM.
- The third step involves a private interview between teacher and student to develop a more personalized relationship.
- Steps four through seven include instructions for the practice of TM and should take place over the course of four days.
How to Do Transcendental Meditation
After learning about TM from a certified teacher, gearing up for the daily practice of TM is a breeze. Just set aside 20 minutes a day and use the personalized mantra of meaningless word sounds to get in the zone. It can be done anywhere, including at home, in the park or at work. Sit in a comfortable position, close the eyes and let the magic work. According to the Maharishi, “The daily practice of TM will create a natural situation in the mind, so that the mind entertains the right thoughts, useful thoughts and thoughts that are cherished by nature and whose fulfillment is worked out by all the laws of nature.”