Transcendental Meditation: Achieving Inner Peace

how to self-transcending meditation

Self-transcending meditation is a form of meditation that involves the silent repetition of a mantra or sound. The aim is to transcend one's thoughts and reach a state of pure consciousness, where the body is deeply relaxed, the mind is quiet, yet one remains wide awake. This technique was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s and is practised for 15-20 minutes, twice a day. It is taught by certified teachers and has been found to have several benefits, including lower blood pressure and reduced stress.

Characteristics Values
Type of meditation Automatic self-transcending meditation
Time spent 20 minutes twice a day
Position Sit comfortably with eyes closed
Mantra A word or phrase that becomes the object of your attention
Benefits Lower blood pressure, reduced stress, improved sleep, pain management, reduced anxiety, improved self-esteem, enhanced creativity, enhanced intelligence, enhanced awareness, improved energy, improved focus, enhanced memory, enhanced clarity of thoughts and feelings, increased compassion, improved quality of life, improved inner peace, improved heart rate variability in late-life depression

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The benefits of self-transcending meditation

Self-transcending meditation, also known as Transcendental Meditation (TM), has been shown to have a wide range of benefits for mental and physical well-being. Here are some of the key advantages of this practice:

Improved Mental Health

TM has been found to be beneficial for mental health and can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also aid in managing post-traumatic stress disorder and improving self-esteem. The technique allows individuals to calm their minds, gain greater self-awareness, and reduce the need to constantly analyse and label their thoughts and experiences.

Lower Blood Pressure

Research suggests that TM is effective in lowering blood pressure. The American Heart Association recommends considering TM in clinical practice, as it may be as effective as blood pressure medication.

Enhanced Sleep and Pain Management

Practitioners of TM have reported improvements in sleep quality. Additionally, TM can help distract from and manage pain.

Increased Productivity and Focus

TM has been linked to increased productivity, performance, and problem-solving skills. It can also enhance focus, memory, and clarity of thoughts.

Greater Emotional Well-being

Practising TM can lead to increased compassion, gratitude, and life satisfaction. It helps individuals feel more anchored to their true selves, resulting in improved resilience and reduced negative emotions.

Better Physical Health

In addition to the mental health benefits, TM has been associated with improved physical health. It may contribute to enhanced energy levels and improved overall quality of life.

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How to learn self-transcending meditation

Self-transcending meditation, also known as Transcendental Meditation (TM), is a form of meditation that involves silently repeating a mantra or sound to reach a state of inner peace and pure consciousness. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to learn self-transcending meditation:

Step 1: Understand the Basics

Before beginning self-transcending meditation, it is important to understand the basics of the practice. TM is a technique developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s. It is a simple, effortless, and mechanical process that can be learned by anyone. The goal is to reach a state of "restful alertness," where the body is deeply relaxed, the mind is quiet, yet one remains wide awake.

Step 2: Find a Certified Teacher

To properly learn self-transcending meditation, it is essential to find a certified TM teacher. These teachers have undergone extensive training and can provide personalized guidance. The Transcendental Meditation course typically includes a one-hour lecture and one hour of formal one-on-one training with the teacher.

Step 3: Receive Your Mantra

After the initial training sessions, your TM teacher will select a specific mantra or sound for you. This mantra will be unique to you and should be kept secret to ensure maximum results. The mantra serves as a vehicle to guide your attention inward and help you transcend to a deeper level of self-awareness.

Step 4: Practice Regularly

Once you have received your mantra, it's time to start practicing self-transcending meditation regularly. It is recommended to practice TM for 15-20 minutes, twice a day. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and silently repeat your mantra, allowing your active mind to settle inward. Don't be alarmed by random thoughts that may arise; simply return your focus to your mantra.

Step 5: Follow-Up and Maintenance

After learning the technique, it is important to maintain a consistent practice. Certified TM teachers offer follow-up sessions to ensure you are meditating properly and provide ongoing guidance. Additionally, TM organizations offer lifetime follow-up programs, including consultations and refresher courses, to support your continued practice.

By following these steps and maintaining a regular practice, you can learn and master the art of self-transcending meditation, promoting a state of relaxation, stress relief, and higher consciousness.

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The history of self-transcending meditation

TM was first introduced in the 1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian spiritual figure. The technique involves silently repeating a mantra for 15-20 minutes, twice a day, with eyes closed. The mantra, chosen for its vibrational quality, is meant to guide the individual's attention towards a quieter state of mind. Maharishi standardised the mantra selection process, ensuring it was "foolproof" and tailored to the individual.

In the mid-1950s, Maharishi began teaching TM in India, building upon the teachings of his master, the Hindu Advaita monk Brahmananda Saraswati (Guru Dev). Through world tours from 1958 to 1965, Maharishi popularised TM, expressing his teachings in spiritual and religious terms. He also began training TM teachers during this period.

TM gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, attracting celebrities such as members of the Beatles and the Beach Boys. During this time, Maharishi shifted to a more technical presentation of his technique, emphasising its scientific and physiological benefits. Research on TM began in the 1970s, exploring its potential effects on health and well-being.

By the late 2000s, TM had been taught to millions worldwide, and the Maharishi oversaw a large multinational organisation. The TM movement continued to grow and evolve even after Maharishi's death in 2008, with leadership passing to neuroscientist Tony Nader. Today, TM is practised in various settings, including schools, universities, corporations, and social programs.

While TM has been subject to criticism and controversy, it has also been praised for its high visibility and effective global propagation. The technique has been described as both religious and non-religious, and its impact on mental and physical health continues to be studied and debated.

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The cost of self-transcending meditation courses

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a form of silent meditation developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It involves silently repeating a mantra for 15-20 minutes, twice a day, and is practised in a seated position with closed eyes. TM is taught by certified teachers through a standard seven-step course, with fees varying depending on the country and the income of the participant.

TM instruction encourages students not to be alarmed by random thoughts but to return to the mantra. The mantra is said to be a vehicle that allows the individual's attention to travel naturally to a quieter style of mental functioning. The mantra is chosen by the teacher and is based on the student's personal interview, age, and gender.

The TM course fee covers initial training and lifetime follow-up, as well as contributing to the building and maintenance of TM centres and schools worldwide. As of 2023, the course fee ranges from $420 for students to $980 for members of households with incomes of $200,000 or more. The fee includes private and group instruction, a short puja ceremony, and follow-up sessions to confirm the technique is being practised correctly.

TM has been taught to millions of people worldwide, and its popularity has been boosted by celebrity endorsements and claims of scientific validation. However, it has also faced criticism and controversy, with some accusing the founder of selling "commercial mantras" and questioning his motives due to the high fees involved. Despite this, TM remains a widely practised form of meditation with reported benefits for stress relief, improved wellbeing, and reduced blood pressure.

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The science behind self-transcending meditation

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a form of meditation that involves silently repeating a mantra or sound, and is practised for 15 to 20 minutes, twice per day. TM was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1950s and is based on ancient meditative yoga practices. It is considered a non-religious method that promotes relaxed awareness, stress relief, self-development, and higher states of consciousness.

TM has been the subject of various scientific studies investigating its potential therapeutic benefits. While some research suggests that TM may be effective in reducing blood pressure and improving sleep, pain management, mental health, and overall well-being, other studies have found no significant difference between TM and other meditation techniques in improving psychological variables.

One specific type of TM is Automatic Self-Transcending Meditation (ASTM), which has been studied for its potential benefits in late-life depression (LLD). ASTM is characterised by alpha1 brain activity and is designed to transcend its own activity, unlike focused attention or open monitoring meditations. A recent study found that ASTM may improve autonomic tone in LLD, suggesting that it could be a useful non-pharmacological intervention for improving cardiovascular health in individuals with depression.

Overall, while there is some scientific evidence to support the benefits of TM, more rigorous research is needed to confirm its effectiveness compared to other meditation techniques and interventions.

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Frequently asked questions

Self-transcending meditation is a form of meditation that involves mentally repeating a word or phrase until you reach a state of inner peace. It is also known as Transcendental Meditation (TM).

Self-transcending meditation has been found to have several health benefits, including lower blood pressure and reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. It may also improve sleep, enhance creativity, intelligence and awareness, and increase compassion and gratitude.

To practice self-transcending meditation, you should sit comfortably with your eyes closed and silently repeat a mantra in your head for 20 minutes, twice a day. It is recommended to learn the technique from a certified teacher, who will provide personalized one-on-one training and select a mantra for you.

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