What is Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is the most practiced (6 million practitioners), most widely researched (600 studies), and, according to the research, the most relaxation technique in the world.
On this page you will discover why it’s so effective:
True meditation is easy, enjoyable, and anyone can learn
Transcending = being yourself
How TM works
Deep rest: The key to remove deep-rooted stresses
Reduced stress: only one side benefit of a complete transformation
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True meditation is easy, enjoyable, and anyone can learn.
Transcendental Meditation is easy. Anyone can learn the technique in a few evening sessions, it is completely effortless and enjoyable to practice, and the effects are usually noticeable from the first few sittings.
TM is easy because it’s fundamentally different from other meditation techniques. Most people understand “meditation” to be some form of controlling the mind, usually through some kind of concentration (on a sound, the breath, or “being in the now”), with the aim of getting some silence or relaxation. Concentration, however, tends to takes a lot of disciplined training, and is usually not all that enjoyable. It feels unnatural for the mind to be controlled.
The Transcendental Meditation technique was rediscovered 60 years ago when a young Indian scientist, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, discovered that true meditation is not about controlling the mind at all. He developed a way to train people to activate a natural process where the mind will go to a state of complete inner silence by itself, completely effortlessly. Below we explain how it works.
Transcending = Being yourself.
When the mind transcends the finest stages of thought and reaches a state of complete inner silence, then this is essentially a state of coming back home, to your true self.
When the attention is directed outside, towards what we see, do, or think, the attention goes away from ourselves. The “I” literally loses himself in the world around him.
However, if we could bring the mind in a state of pure silence (no perceptions, no doing, and no thoughts), then our attention can come back to just “being”, our true selves.
Truly being yourself is a powerful experience that can create profound changes on almost all aspects of life, as the video above shows. Unfortunately, most people go through their entire lives without ever having this experience, because they don’t know how to bring the mind to this state.
But how do we bring the mind to a state of pure silence? Not seeing or doing anything is easy, just sit on a chair and close your eyes, but how can we have no thoughts? We can’t force the mind not to think. The more we try not to think the more we are actually thinking.
The trick is not to try, but to let it happen naturally. Being yourself is a state of coming home for the mind, and coming home is the most enjoyable state there is. Actually, the mind is already genetically programmed to come home. There’s no need to control, it will go there by itself if it only has the chance. True meditation is the easiest thing you’ve ever done, it’s mankind that has made it difficult, by distorting the natural process.
How TM works
All 8 billion human beings on this planet are different, but there is one thing we all have in common: we all want to be happy. Happiness is like gravity for the mind, and the mind will be spontaneously drawn to any enjoyable experience. The state of being yourself – coming home – is the most enjoyable state there is for the mind, and the mind will be drawn to this experience more than anything else.
All we have to do is put the mind in the right direction and then allow this natural process to take place (which means means that we don’t try to control or concentrate the mind). This requires a specific technique and a specific course to learn it, but once the TM technique is taught correctly there are really only 2 requirements for it to work:
1. You can think a thought.
2. Your mind is looking for happiness.
So unless you’re the only person in this world who wakes up with the thought: “I hope I’m going to be really unhappy today”, you can be pretty sure that the TM technique will work. Even people with the most busy minds, who think they will never be able to quieten their minds, usually experience a deep silence and inner happiness within the first few sittings after learning the TM technique.
The state of inner happiness during TM practice can actually be objectively verified. Several studies have found a significant (50%) increase of the 5-HIAA serotonin metabolite after 20 minutes of TM practice. Serotonin is our happiness hormone, and too low serotonin is associated with depression, insomnia, migraines, emotional instability, addictions etc. Even before they practiced TM, the levels of the TM group were already twice as high as the control group, indicating a long-term permanent increase.Ref.BUJATTI, M., and RIEDERER, P. in Transcendental Meditation technique. Journal of Neural Transmission 39: 257–267,1976.
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Deep rest removes deep-rooted stresses
Imagine stress as having a backpack full of stones that you have to carry around with you all the time. Throughout our lives we accumulate tensions which are stored in our bodies. If the stress is intense, you can feel this clearly, for example a feeling of having a knot in the heart after you had a fight with someone.
Fortunately, during rest the body will spontaneously remove these stones again, lightening the load on our shoulders. This is why we sleep, to dissolve the accumulated tensions from the previous day, so we can have a fresh start the next day.
The problem is that sleep doesn’t seem to go deep enough, as anyone with that knot in the heart knows. The next morning the knot maybe a bit less intense, but it’s still there. This will probably become a stone we’ll have to carry with us for the rest of our lives.
Eventually, if the backpack get’s too heavy, it will start to affect our health, our mental wellbeing, our relationships, our self confidence, and, research now shows, even our brain development…basically everything. Sleep is not enough.
This is why the ancient texts advised that, aside from sleep, we also need regular experience of transcending, coming back to ourselves, because it creates a far deeper state of rest.
Sleep is an unconscious process where the body will gradually experience deeper stages of rest, as shown on the graph below. During TM, on the other hand, we consciously direct the mind inward, and allow the mind to gravitate to a state of complete inner silence, which, if allowed, the mind will do very quickly. This process will also pull the body in a state of deep relaxation, far deeper than sleep.
This graph from a Harvard Medical School research study shows this clearly: during TM the body almost immediately comes into a state of rest that is far deeper than even the deepest rest during sleep, which is usually only reached after several hours of sleep. (state of rest is measured by reduced oxygen consumption). Ref.Science 27 Vol. 167 no. 3926 pp. 1751-1754 1970. More than 30 studies around the world have by now confirmed the deep state of rest during TM practice.Ref.American Psychologist, 1987, 42: 879-881.
Norman Rosenthal, MD, U.S. National Institutes of Mental Health
This deep rest will allow the body to remove even the most deep-rooted stresses. We are far more powerful to heal ourselves than we think, all we have to do is activate our inner healing power.
The effects of the healing process that we can activate with TM are most visible with those who need it most. The Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) that war veterans have to deal with are generally considered incurable. As a result, over the last 15 years more US soldiers have died at home from suicide than on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. It was all the more remarkable then, that a recent study with Iraq War veterans showed a 50% reduction in PTSD and depression after only 8 weeks of TM practice.Ref.Military Medicine, june 2011 The results were so impressive that CNN did a feature on it on US Veteran’s Day, (Watch the CNN video) and the US army is now actively supporting the TM technique for its soldiers. Ref.http://www.army.mil/article/139778/
In a similar study done with Vietnam war veterans 30 years ago, the TM group already saw such significant improvements (reduced PTSD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, alcoholism, and improved stress resistance) that after only 3 months of practice 70% of the war veterans required no further treatment. The control group that received standard psychotherapy showed no improvement.Ref.Journal of Counseling and Development 64: 212–215, 1985
Many war veterans have problems that go far deeper than most. If TM can help them – where other approaches have had limited success or failed – it can probably help anyone.
Stress is the root cause of 90% of all diseases, so teaching people how to remove their own stress is essentially teaching them to prevent disease. This is why many doctors now advise Transcendental Meditation to their patients.
Reduced stress: only one side-benefit of a complete transformation
The ancient texts described how regular experience of “transcending” the finest stages of thought and coming back to yourself is essential, not just to remove stress and improve happiness, but for our full development as human beings. Over 600 studies and 350 scientific publications have confirmed that TM practice doesn’t just improve our health and well being, but even improves our brain functioning, resulting in:
- More emotional stability
- More self confidence
- More energy
- Better relationships
- Improved creativity and intelligence
- Improved memory and concentration
How can I learn?
The Transcendental Meditation technique is individually taught by a professionally trained teacher who is able to lead a person through the experience of transcending in a completely natural way.
This technique is taught step-by-step during four consecutive meetings. This is followed by a detailed support and follow up program over the next six months to ensure the correct practice.
The first step, however, is simply to attend a free info seminar.
Do you have 90 minutes to discover how everything can change
To understand how a simple technique can provide so many benefits, sign up for the free informational seminar that are organized around the country. Just fill out the form below, or select your nearest city on the map below. You will be able to:
- Meet a certified TM teacher
- Learn all the benefits 20 minutes twice a day of TM practice can bring on stress reduction, brain development, self-confidence, relationships etc.
- Ask any question you may have
- Schedule a TM course
Some successful TM practitionersHugh Jackman Oprah Winfrey David Lynch Paul McCartney Clint Eastwood William Hague Katy Perry George Lucas Jerry Seinfeld Moby Gwyneth Paltrow Martin Scorcese Ellen Degeneres Rupert Murdoch Dr. Oz Dilma Rousseff
What people are saying
I have done so many meditation courses, but there was always something that felt not right; I missed something. I did not feel satisfied. When I learned TM, it felt just like coming home to me. Finally I have found it.
This technique is truly one of a kind.
I am meditating now for almost 30 years and my general health is excellent, especially when compared to my peers. Not only did it make my creativity grow remarkably, but also my ability to deal with a team of employees and actors in an inspiring and stimulating way.
I am still amazed on a daily basis to see how such a simple, natural technique can generate so many positive effects. And it is also nice to do.
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