Transcendental meditation is a form of meditation that became known at the end of the 20th century. It was introduced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s in India. It is a form of meditation that is usually practiced twice for 15-20 minutes a day in a normal sitting posture.
What is transcendental meditation
The meditation consists mainly of repeating a word sound (mantra) in mind, and allowing the mantra to become increasingly silent. You do this until it eventually disappears and you are only aware of it, but without your thoughts. Its purpose is to come into a transcendent state, which is also called pure consciousness. The result of this is to let the mind and body come to rest, which will cause stress to disappear. When this purification is complete you start again with the inward passage. After completing the meditation, an ordinary activity is often done, this is to stabilize and prevent you from becoming disoriented.
What is a mantra?
The mantras are sounds without any meaning, they are used because of their positive influence on the nervous system of the meditating person. This is the difference with other meditation forms, in which the mantra often has a meaning and the significance is important. The student receives the mantra from the TM teacher. This is often no longer pronounced, but kept for you.
TM and various studies
Several studies have been conducted into the benefits and effect of transcendental meditation, below are a number of conclusions from studies.
A Canadian-Austrian endocrinologist, who introduced the concept of stress called Hans Hugo Bruno Selye, got to know Maharishi in the 70s. According to Selye, his effects on the body during TM are the opposite of stress. He saw the transcendental meditation method as a way to relax the central nervous system and to relieve stress.
Heart and vascular disease
The NIH, the medical research institute of the USA, has spent some twenty million dollars in the past twenty years on research into the technique of transcendental meditation techniques. This resulted, among other things, in the reduction of arteriosclerosis and insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes) and a drop in blood pressure. Other studies came to a reduction in cholesterol after a year of meditation on the transcendental method. In 2013, the American Heart Association also concluded that transcendental meditation lowers blood pressure. This way may be used as a clinical treatment for blood pressure, in contrast to other forms of meditation due to lack of evidence.
A review of 31 TM studies has shown that subjects experience a deep state of calm during meditation, which goes deeper than normal rest. They were also quieter outside of their meditation.
From more published studies, it has also been shown that during EEG meditation the EEG coherence increases. This is an indication of how the brain works together as a whole, and is linked to more creativity and a higher IQ.
Three independent studies with a total of more than 300 students increased transcendental meditation after six months to one year in field independence, practical and fluid intelligence, mental efficiency and creativity (all of which are related to brain efficiency).
Other studies came to reducing ADHD symptoms, learning more efficiently and improved memory.
Much research has been done into the effect of different meditation techniques. Studies have shown that transcendental meditation was more effective than other meditation and relaxation techniques.
How do I learn transcendental meditation?
Transcendental meditation can be learned from certified teachers, you can follow information evenings to get an impression of this form of meditation. If you register for a course, you will receive personal instruction from your TM teacher and thus teach in meditation. After this there will be three evenings during which the teachers will see if you are meditating in the right way. The steps are as follows:
- A free introduction of about an hour long. Here you get to hear exactly what it is, you can expect from it and there is talk about the effects on your behavior, mind and body. In the Netherlands there are many TM centers where you can follow this introduction.
- A follow-up lecture of about 45 minutes. Here you will be explained exactly how the technique works, where this way of meditating comes from and why it is different from other forms of meditation.
- Personal maintenance, you get to know your TM teacher and you register for the course, after which you make an appointment for the first personal instructions.
- Personal instruction of 1-2 hours. You will receive instructions in the TM technique by a TM teacher.
- The first check-in day of 1-2 hours. We look at your practice of the TM technique and instructions are given.
- The second check-out day of 1-2 hours. Understand and discuss the TM technique based on your own experiences.
- The third check-out day of 1-2 hours. Understanding and discussing the development of higher states of consciousness by practicing transcendental meditation.
Once you have learned the meditation, you can go to every TM teacher of the organization for extra guidance or confirm the right way of meditation.
Origin of transcendental meditation
The origin of TM lies in the Vedic civilization, which originates from ancient India. This way of meditating has continued in the Shankara tradition.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, or simply Maharishi, made it known .. At the end of the 70s (20 thcentury) he started the plan for the establishment of one transcendental meditation education center per million people of the population, this came down to 3600 centers . These have now been established, but they are certainly not all in use yet. There are currently about six million people who master the technique of transcendental meditation.
Maharishi started living in the Netherlands in 1990 in the municipality of Roerdalen, in Vlodrop. From there he arranged the activities of his organization up to and including 2008, when he died. Since 1985 there is a Sidhadorp in Lelystad, where a number of hundred transcendental meditation practitioners have settled. There is also a primary school there where children do TM.
The advantages of TM in a row
Of course everyone has different experiences with transcendental meditations, below are some general benefits of this way of meditating:
- Body and mind come to rest
- Reduce fatigue
- Reducing stress
- Reducing depression
- Reducing insomnia
- Increase of energy
- Strengthen the immune system
- Improvement concentration / focus
- Improvement of social skills
- Inner peace