Our lives are filled with a lot of setbacks which causes anxiety, stress, etc. Each one of us has our own individual ways to relax and get over these struggles. Meditation is one such practice that has become essential to improve our well-being.
There are different types of meditation – spiritual meditation, mantra meditation, transcendental meditation, etc. Each type of meditation has its benefits for our physical and mental health. No one meditation fits all.
Each meditation has its unique manner of practice, purpose, and effect. Scientific studies show that meditation has its psychological and physiological effects in different measures.
Meditation was developed in India many years ago around 5000-3500 B.C. In the past meditation was recognized as a tool to improve mental performance but today it is considered to be a therapeutic tool to ease anxiety, depression, stress, and addictions.
The western world took some time to accept meditation and consequently it became a multi-billion dollar business. Corporates employ meditation coaches as they find it a potential solution for their employees struggling to burnout.
With the various types of meditation, transcendental meditation seems to stand out as an exceptional remedy in today’s quick-paced world. Some people believe it is all nonsense but those who are actively practicing transcendental meditation swear by it. They find it more beneficial at times of high stress.
Origin of Transcendental Meditation
The sages of ancient India have practiced meditation for thousands of years. The different techniques were transferred through generations from a guru to his disciples. But the most powerful meditations were traditionally accessible only to a relatively small group of people.
All this changed in 1953.
The famous meditation master Brahmananda Saraswati popularly known as Guru Dev among his disciples assigned his favorite student the task of not only keeping the meditation technique alive but also make it available to people all over the globe.
This student who was so successful in carrying out this task is Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Maharishi introduced the Transcendental meditation mantra type of meditation to the western world during the 1970s. He practiced and taught for forty years all over the world spreading this movement from politicians to the famous Beatles.
Today a lot of celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Russell Brand, Jerry Seinfeld, etc have publicly stated that Transcendental Meditation mantras have changed their lives. The popular movie director David Lynch has started a foundation that helps in spreading transcendental meditation all over the world.
What is Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental Meditation is the silent repetition of a mantra for 15-20 minutes a day. It is commonly done sitting with your eyes closed.
Transcendental Meditation is not a religion or philosophy or a lifestyle. It is a method of achieving a great sense of peace and calm in one’s daily life. Transcendental Meditation is a very natural, simple, and effortless way to let your mind settle into an extremely calm and wise state.
Compared to other meditation forms Transcendental Meditation involves the chanting of mantras.
The Transcendental Meditation mantra is a meaningless sound that is used as a means to settle the mind.
The basic idea of using the Transcendental Meditation mantra is to focus your mind exclusively on the mantra so that you can achieve a state of perfect stillness and consciousness. Most of the meditation practices encourage the minds to be emptied of all thoughts.
Transcendental meditation mantras encourage the thoughts to come and go just like how the clouds move. It teaches us on to become an observer by guiding us to create a space between our thoughts and mind.
How to meditate Transcendental Meditation technique?
The basic requirement to practice transcendental meditation is to just sit and close your eyes.
No particular posture is required for practicing this. An adding advantage, of course, is being alone in a quiet room.
Transcendental meditation is the process of transcending our ordinary thinking process into a state of pure consciousness. The meditator achieves a state of perfect rest, stillness, stability with a total absence of the boundaries of the mind.
Generally, it is advised to chant the transcendental meditation mantra for 20 minutes twice a day.
This is basically to get your body into a habit of blocking time to meditate naturally. Despite this advice, there are no set rules on how often or how long your transcendental meditation should last. It all depends on whatever fits your schedule and how comfortable you are.
It is always better to start Transcendental meditation under a certified instructor who charges you a fee for his services. It generally requires a seven-step course of instructions to be followed.
The instructor informs you about the effects of this technique under a short introductory lecture. This is followed by a more specific information lecture. After listening to these lectures, the interested students then attend a short interview for personal instructions.
This personal instruction session takes about 1-2 hours where a short puja ceremony is performed by the instructor. The purpose of this is to show honor and gratitude to the masters of the transcendental meditation technique.
It is after this round that a small ceremony is conducted in a private room with a picture of Maharishi’s guru, Guru Dev. It is after this ceremony that each of the students is given a transcendental meditation mantra which is supposed to be kept confidential. After this, the teacher checks for the next three days if the instructions are being followed accurately. For the next several months, the instructor keeps a track of the practitioners to ensure that the meditation is benefitting the practitioner.
If you cannot get a personal instructor, then there are a lot of transcendental meditation technique pdf files available that will help on how exactly to practice this meditation. These transcendental meditation technique pdf files also guide you on how to concentrate on the transcendental meditation mantras as well.
There are a lot of transcendental meditation technique apps as well available on social media. Some of these transcendental meditation technique apps are for free while some charge an amount for their apps. Some of the transcendental meditation technique apps are Headspace, Insight Timer, The Mindfulness, etc.
The Transcendental Meditation technique mantras
A transcendental meditation technique mantra is generally chosen which would be easy to follow and use.
The mantra must be easy to repeat and should resonate with you. Using these mantras should give you the sensation that you desire.
At the time of initiation, a student is given a particular mantra by the teacher. Once the student elevates to more advanced techniques then they receive more parts of the mantra. The student is generally given a mantra based on their characteristics.
The thumb rule is that you should always listen to your guru(teacher) because he knows what is best for your spiritual growth. Some of the most famous or commonly used transcendental meditation technique mantras are :
Generally, the words used in the mantra are meaningless. This is because if a word that has meaning is used then it would keep the mind on the surface only and will not allow it to transcend into a sense of calmness. The words are given out according to the age and sex of the student.
These meaningless words charm the mind and allow it to settle down into silence as the mind is always searching for great happiness.
How does Transcendental Meditation work?
Transcendental Meditation acts as a medium for the mind just like other meditation works. The attention of the mind is caught innocently and made to rest gently.
This will settle our mind to high and subtle levels of thinking and finally, the mantra will transcend our mind to settle into silence.
Our minds are always cluttered with a lot of thoughts. By having a word or a phrase to center our attention on, our minds can be freed from the constant chatter going on.
The transcendental meditation mantras have vibrational qualities. This is the reason why each student receives a unique mantra. By chanting any word our body would create a vibrational quality but how resourceful are these vibrations is what is important.
We can chant the words “hate” or “love” too but the vibrations these words create are different. The use of the transcendental meditation technique is to produce the desired positive energy for our body.
Benefits of Transcendental Meditation technique
Transcendental meditation will transform our lives and make us feel like a superhuman! There are a lot of benefits of practicing transcendental meditation some of which are:
- Increases focus
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Improves memory
- Increases happiness
- Reduces risk of heart attack and stroke
- Improves sleep
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Helps to quit smoking, alcoholism, and drugs
- Overwhelming sense of calmness throughout the day
- Increases creativity and thus increases productivity
- Great sense of clarity
- Body is filled with energy throughout the day
- Improves cognitive functions
- Increases emotional control
Transcendental meditation does not require any arduous efforts. Neither does it require any concentration or observation.
There will be so many times that thoughts will enter your mind which may distract you that sometimes you even tend to forget the transcendental meditation mantra.
All these are expected and there is nothing wrong. All you have to do is to return to chanting the mantra and continue on your meditation without any worry.
This technique of meditation is usable by anyone and there are no primary requirements that force you to concentrate or block your thoughts when compared to other forms of meditation.
You will be able to beautifully perform this meditation irrespective of whether you think you can as long as you believe in it!
There has been a lot of criticism on the selling of mantras by Maharishi for fees. Critics have questioned the motives of Maharishi but however transcendental meditation has withstood all this and proved to be health and spiritual enlightenment.