What Is Transcendental Meditation?

Transcendental Meditation, or TM for short, is a simple yet powerful technique for accessing the deepest levels of the mind and body. Developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the mid-1950s, TM is now practiced by millions of people worldwide and has been the subject of over 600 scientific studies.

So what exactly is TM, and how does it work?

At its core, TM is a form of mantra meditation. During a typical TM session, the practitioner sits comfortably with eyes closed and silently repeats a mantra – a sound or word – to themselves. The mantra is chosen specifically for the individual by a trained TM teacher and is intended to help the practitioner effortlessly transcend (i.e., go beyond) their usual thinking and settle into a state of deep relaxation.

According to the TM organization, this state of deep relaxation is characterized by reduced activity in the sympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for the “fight or flight” response) and increased activity in the parasympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for relaxation and healing). This, in turn, can lead to a range of physical and mental benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep, and increased energy and focus.

But the benefits of TM go beyond simply feeling more relaxed and focused. Proponents of the practice believe that regular TM practice can lead to a state of “transcendental consciousness” – a state of heightened awareness and creativity that is said to be characterized by feelings of bliss, inner peace, and oneness with the universe.

To understand this concept of transcendental consciousness, it’s helpful to look at the philosophy behind TM. According to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the mind has three levels of functioning: the surface level of waking consciousness (where we experience our everyday thoughts and perceptions), the deeper level of transcendental consciousness (where we experience pure awareness without thought), and the deepest level of unity consciousness (where we experience a sense of oneness with all of creation).

TM is said to help practitioners access the deeper levels of the mind and eventually reach the state of unity consciousness, which is seen as the ultimate goal of human existence. This state of consciousness is said to be characterized by a profound sense of inner peace and harmony, as well as an increased ability to tap into one’s innate creativity and intuition.

While the concept of unity consciousness may seem abstract or esoteric to some, it’s worth noting that many prominent figures throughout history have spoken about similar states of consciousness. The philosopher Alan Watts, for example, wrote extensively about the “cosmic consciousness” that he believed was accessible to all human beings, while the psychologist Abraham Maslow described the “peak experiences” that he observed in his patients as moments of transcendence and self-actualization.

Of course, not everyone who practices TM will necessarily reach the state of unity consciousness, nor is that necessarily the goal of everyone who practices. For many people, the primary benefit of TM is simply the feeling of relaxation and inner peace that it brings. And while the scientific evidence supporting the benefits of TM is still evolving, there is a growing body of research suggesting that regular TM practice can indeed have a positive impact on both mental and physical health.

So if you’re interested in trying TM for yourself, what should you expect? The first step is to find a certified TM teacher in your area – you can do so through the official TM website or by reaching out to a local TM center. Your teacher will give you a personalized mantra and guide you through the process of practicing TM, typically over the course of several sessions.

From there, it’s up to you to make TM a regular part of your routine. While the ideal frequency and duration of TM practice can vary from person to person, most practitioners aim to meditate twice a day for 20 minutes at a time. It’s important to find a quiet, comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed, and to approach the practice with an open mind and a willingness to let go of your thoughts and simply be present.

It’s also worth noting that while TM is generally considered safe for most people, it may not be appropriate for everyone. If you have a history of mental health issues or are currently experiencing significant stress or anxiety, it’s a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider before starting a meditation practice.

In conclusion, Transcendental Meditation is a simple yet powerful technique that can help you access deeper levels of consciousness and experience a range of physical and mental benefits. Whether you’re looking to reduce stress and anxiety, improve your focus and productivity, or simply deepen your sense of inner peace, TM may be worth exploring. And with the guidance of a certified teacher, you can learn to practice TM in a safe and effective way, unlocking the full potential of your mind and body.



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