You may have already learned to meditate, but do you know how to do Transcendental Meditation?
It is a kind of mantra meditation introduced into the Western world by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in the 50s of the last century, but was first developed in India many years ago (c. 5000-3500 BC).
It took quite a long time to become popular in the Western world, but today it is celebrated as a therapeutic agent to relieve stress, anxiety, depression and addiction.
In recent years, it has also become recognized for improving mental performance, and consequently has become a multibillion-dollar business.
When we think of meditation, we usually think of what is called “mindfulness meditation” or perhaps known to some as ” the Mindfulness”, but there are seven different types of meditation practiced all over the world:
- Meditation of kindness
- Body scanning or progressive relaxation
- Mindfulness (mindfulness meditation)
- Breath Awareness Meditation
- Kundalini Yoga
- Zen meditation
- Transcendental Meditation
Many celebrities declare that Transcendental Meditation has changed their lives.
This has certainly contributed to the success of this practice (along with a large number of studies proving its benefits), but the main reason for its popularity, is its simplicity.
If you’ve tried meditating in the past but couldn’t hold on long enough to experience its benefits, keep reading.
In this article, we will highlight the main differences between mindfulness meditation and Transcendental Meditation.
TM meditation or mindfulness
To understand why Transcendental Meditation is unique, we must first take a step back and examine how mindfulness meditation works.
All other types of meditation use a similar mechanism to mindfulness meditation, except transcendental, so we will only describe the difference between the two types for simplicity.
Mindfulness meditation in today’s culture encourages the cultivation of the present moment, both during practice and in everyday life.
We all experience a multitude of thoughts that distract us from what is before our eyes.
Maybe we’re thinking about a to-do list or simply listening to the sound of a song brings back an old memory; In any case, we usually spend more time in our heads than in the present moment.
By mindfulness meditation, by re-returning conscious consciousness to the present moment (for example by focusing on the breath, body parts, or object), we can observe our anxious or depressive thought patterns.
In simple words, it means noticing your thoughts and learning to redirect them by shifting the mental focus from that thought to something like the movement of your breath.
The act of actively observing thoughts without judgment and the effort of letting go of those thoughts by focusing on the body acts as a kind of exercise for the brain.
The more successfully we do this (both during meditation and in normal life), the more we empower ourselves for conscious choices, rather than being mindlessly controlled by our negative thoughts.
To better understand this concept, you can imagine that your mind is like an ocean. On the surface you have waves of any height and shape, but deep down there is nothing but complete stillness and silence. Your thoughts are waves.
In normal life, you would swim around the waves of your mind, trying to face them frontally.
Sometimes you can climb on them and swim, sometimes you feel overwhelmed by their strength and eventually you drown or feel that strength runs over you.
Mindfulness meditation is like having a surfboard that allows you to effortlessly surf those waves.
The more you exercise, the better you are at surfing and the easier it becomes to manage your thoughts.
Sometimes, as they go through this process, people can eventually come into a state of complete mental silence. This is a state of “another state of meditation” or transcendence.
Keep in mind that the goal of mindfulness meditation is not to reach this state. Instead, his goal is to actively train his mind in letting go of thought and develop the ability to make conscious choices in everyday life.
What are the differences between Transcendental Meditation techniques?
Let’s go back to the example of your mind being like an ocean, imagine having a submarine instead of a surfboard. Transcendental Meditation, just like a submarine, can safely take you to the deepest expanses of your mind, where it is calm and quiet.
Now that you’re interested, let’s explore how it works. If it’s cilj Mindfulness meditations to train the brain in the present moment, the goal of Transcendental Meditation means to go beyond the thinking process. If performed correctly, this can be a simple, automatic continuation of the flow of mindfulness meditation.
The way to achieve this transcendental state is the mantra. (We’ll explain in detail later how it works.)
If we go back to the example of the ocean, now that we have our submarine (mantra), we are able to slowly reach the ocean depths, where there is nothing but calm ness and silence. There is a state of calm awareness there, where you can tap into the source of energy, thought and creativity.
When we reach these depths, we experience a deep state of rest and let go of even the deepest stresses.
The beneficial effects of meditation happen spontaneously (not consciously) when you manage to reach a state of transcendence. Those who practice it regularly witness an increase in attention and a very deep stress relief.
Transcendental Meditation teachers point out the fact that the mind has a natural tendency to enter this calm state.
Unfortunately, the mind also tends to always look for what is interesting around us, and because of this, by focusing on active observation of thoughts, like Mindfulness meditation, it is more difficult to make this tendency of the brain to calm down with deep serenity.
The question now is, “How do we get to this state of transcendence?” The answer is simpler than you might think:
By saying the mantra.
What does transcendental meditation look like?
Before we get into what exactly a mantra is and how it works, we want you to get an idea of what the standard practice of Transcendental Meditation looks like.
All you need for exercise is to sit and close your eyes; That’s it. You don’t need any special pose or posture. You will certainly be alone, in a quiet room in a comfortable chair, which will make the procedure easier for you, but once you get your hands on it, you can do it anywhere, even while sitting at your desk or on the bus.
All you have to do is keep your eyes closed and say your mantra quietly.
The general advice is to repeat for 20 minutes, twice a day. This is partly due to the natural clock of our body (circadian rhythm), but also the fact that the more you have a habit of taking time to meditate, the more likely it is that it will become a habit.
Despite this advice, there are no fundamental rules about how often or how long you should do your session. Everyone is different and has a different schedule, so anything that fits in your diary should be your choice.
Now, let’s get down to business and talk about mantras.
What is Mantra?
A mantra is nothing more than a meaningless sound. There is no real secret behind the mantra, except for the fact that it should have no meaning and should “sound positive”
The fact is that our mind always establishes mental connections. If we try to pronounce a word that sounds too much like a word to which we know the meaning, we will automatically associate it with images, sounds, smells and memories.
If we pronounce a completely meaningless word, it is easier to rely on the tendency of our mind to enter a calm state.
You can imagine that the mantra is like a seed. If you want to grow a plant, you will not look for “perfect seeds”. You would simply pick one, plant it, water it and see it germinate.
If you cling to “looking for the right seed (mantra)”, it will not be of use to you.
At this point, you must have thought ,”Okay, but I still need to know what the mantra looks like and sounds like”, and that’s why I’m going to give you a few examples of chanting mantras.
Examples of personal mantras
The most common mantra is Homm. Teachers usually do not use this mantra because of the completeness of this sound. In Hinduism, the homm sound reflects the sound of all vibrations combined, both positive and negative.
The Homm mantra seems to be practiced mainly by monks, but other than that, any other mantra can work well.
Other examples of mantras can be:
(No, this is not a mantra)
Saying the mantra sounds something like this:
- Kiiiiiririmmmm Kiiiiiririmmmm
- Aaaaaaenma Aaaaaa
During pronouncing, you should change the length and tone of each letter of your mantra to make it easier to cause this “trance” effect in your mind. Once again, how you do it, it doesn’t matter. As long as you repeat them throughout the session, it should work.
Should you try different mantras?
Most teachers claim to use the same mantra given to them at their first session for life.
Once again, the point of the exercise is not to find the best possible sound for yourself, but develop the habit of melting stress in your mind uttering a meaningless sound.
On the other hand, if you are trying to make Transcendental Meditation yourself and notice that the mantra you choose reminds you too much of something, choose another that is completely meaningless.
For people who speak several languages, this may be more difficult than for people who only speak their native language, but it’s still pretty easy to find meaningless sound.
Can you teach yourself Transcendental Meditation?
Most gurus openly declare that you can do TM meditation on your own. The rules are simple, and all that is needed is practice and consistency.
If you have tried Mindfulness meditation and simply want to try Transcendental to experience the difference between the two, it is not necessary to attend a course. A very good way for beginners could be simply this:
- Search for the term “Transcendental Meditation mantra” on YouTube, select one video and see how it is pronounced.
- Let go and try to pronounce it as they do in the video.
- Take a break, sit down, close your eyes and quietly chant the same mantra for 20 minutes.
- Repeat this procedure, twice a day, for about a week
If you find that TM meditation makes you feel better than when you do mindfulness and want to learn more about it, then you can decide to invest in it and take a course.
So, does TM meditation work for you?
No one can tell if TM is better than any other type of meditation. For each individual, everything works differently, and it is our duty to try to discover new things before we evaluate them.
If you are practicing meditation, I highly suggest that you try TM on your own or with a teacher to expand your mind.
The same goes for people who are new to meditation, but, in this case, it is recommended that you start with a meditation app like Headspace.
Regardless of the type of meditation you decide to try, we encourage you to devote yourself to a minimum of 30 daily practices. This will give you time to start experiencing some tangible benefits in your daily life.
Learning about your mind is truly a wonderful experience.
The more you learn about the mechanics of your brain, the more you can experience personal growth and happiness.