Updated: May 30, 2022
Definitive guide of transcendental meditation
Transcendental Meditation has its origins in ancient cultures and various religions. It comes from the ancient Vedic tradition of India and has ties to ancient Egypt and China. It has roots in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Over the years, transcendental meditation has grown in popularity outside of religion and culture because of its positive impact on overall wellness and well-being.
What is Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental meditation involves silently repeating the same mantra throughout the meditation. It is usually performed sitting with your eyes closed for 15-20 minutes a day.
By focusing exclusively on your mantra, you can achieve a state of perfect stillness, calmness, and consciousness.
The difference between transcendental meditation and other mantra meditation techniques is the mantra repeated during the meditation. In transcendental meditation, the mantra used is a meaningless sound. It is simply used as a means to settle the mind and calm thoughts. Other mantra meditations use words, phrases, or chants during the meditation practice.
Benefits of Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental meditation can help your mind and body release stress and relax in a silent state. It can help you become more energetic, refreshed, and focused when you come out of this state. It is a way to achieve balance, clarity, and calm.
It helps to reduce anxiety and negative feelings, improve focus and memory and even sleep better. Besides increasing psychological well-being, this meditation is also known to have many physical health benefits.
Research suggests it also helps with asthma, slows the progression of heart and cardiovascular diseases, improves cognitive functions, and lowers blood pressure.
Besides reducing stress-related mental and physical illnesses, transcendental meditation can improve creativity and help to develop problem-solving skills.
To achieve positive results and benefit from transcendental meditation, it is important to use the right mantras in your mind.
How to Choose the Right Mantra for Transcendental Meditation
Since the mantra in transcendental meditation is not the point of focus, it should be a meaningless sound that does not hold your attention or distract you from your goals. It is only a tool to help you achieve your ultimate goal, which is to achieve a mental state of emptiness.
Transcendental meditation mantras are commonly one- or two-word mantras. Longer phrases can read in your mind with a rhythm and distract your focus. The mantras are usually Sanskrit sounds because the language is the closest possible human imitation of the natural vibrations produced by the unified field, also called the field of Pure Consciousness.
Some mantras have healing powers for specific parts of the body, but the transcendental meditation mantras are primarily for transcending. These are known to have tremendous healing effects on the whole body and mind.
When choosing a mantra, you should keep two things in mind:
The Sound: The sound of the mantra must be meaningless because its purpose is to settle your mind into silence and stillness. If the sound has a meaning, it sends information to your mind to work on and diverts your focus. So make sure the sound you choose makes no sense to your mind.
The Vibration: The vibration of the sound must have resonance with the actual source, which is the primordial hum, or Om. As the vibration fades slowly in the same direction as Om, it helps our mind to settle and move towards complete relaxation gradually.
It is important to receive the mantra from a fully trained Transcendental Meditation teacher, who can choose from a selection of thousands of mantras, depending on what is right for you.
How to Practice Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a form of silent, mantra meditation that promotes a state of relaxed awareness, stress relief, and access to higher states of consciousness. In this technique, you will use a mantra to reach a complete mindless state.
The word mantra is derived from the two Sanskrit words, “man” and “tra”. “Man” means mind and “tra” means instrument. The mantra is an instrument of thought that helps us achieve a state of a calm and silent mind, without any thoughts. Though mantras are commonly used in other types of meditations and yoga, it is unique in transcendental meditation.
The mantra is not chanted out loud because chanting the mantra keeps the body (mouth, throat, etc.) active, and therefore does not allow it to sink into the state of natural, deep rest that TM is famous for. Chanting also controls the mind and prevents it from settling into silence.
While transcendental meditation can be practiced anywhere, it is recommended to start your practice with a certified TM teacher.
A certified instructor will give you a mantra that will work for specific needs and towards achieving your personal goals. By practicing with a certified instructor, you can then learn how to use this mantra effectively.
It is recommended to practice for 15-20 minutes a day. Before starting, sit in a comfortable position, breathe through your diaphragm in a relaxed way, and practice noticing your thoughts, without engaging with them. You then focus on your mantra, while noticing the sensations that arise.
Learning Transcendental Meditation Technique
You cannot learn transcendental meditation on your own. While you may learn TM through a book, video, or online, the best way to learn this practice is with a certified teacher.
Since transcendental meditation is a more complex form of meditation where you use a mantra to slowly settle your mind and body to a state of nothing, no thoughts, no distractions, no stress - a state of emptiness, it needs practice. This is why it is better to practice with a certified teacher, who tells you which mantra to use and how to practice.
There are 4 vital aspects of the learning transcendental meditation to ensure that it will work for you:
Receiving a correct mantra.
Knowing how to use it properly.
Being able to correctly interpret the experiences that come as a result.
Having the support and guidance of a fully trained teacher.