What is Transcendental Meditation?

Transcendental meditation has grown in popularity as more and more celebrities are discussing its benefits. The practice is a form of silent mantra meditation aimed at avoiding distraction and promoting relaxation and awareness. Transcendental meditation is described as an effortless form of meditation that bring about wonderful benefits with only twenty minutes of practice twice a day.
The Transcendental Meditation technique uses the repetition of a silent mantra to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and aid in self-development. Jeff Halevy, in a 2013 US News Health article entitled Does Transcendental Meditation Actually Work, explains, “Without going too in-depth, the TM technique is relatively simple. One sits comfortably, closes his or her eyes, and repeats a mantra (in Sanskrit) without moving the lips or making a sound for about 20 minutes, two times a day. Yes, that’s just about it. The only other crucial piece of information one must know to do the technique correctly is to not ‘force’ anything. That is, allow thoughts to come and go – and if one realizes he’s stopped repeating the mantra in his head, to just gently come back to it.” Although the technique seems simple, research has shown that meditation can be effective in reducing chronic pain, anxiety, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and improve one’s sense of wellbeing.
Transcendental meditation differs from other meditation techniques in its described “effortlessness.” According to The Meditation Trust, “TM is not concentration or visualization, nor is it control or even mindfulness. Using a mantra (or sound) upon which to gently and innocently rest our attention, we simply allow the mind the freedom to follow its natural tendency towards happiness, and it will settle spontaneously into silence. This unique approach, passed on during personal instruction by a teacher trained as directed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, comes from the ancient Vedic tradition of India.”
Research into the effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation has yielded surprising result. According to Richard Feloni, in a 2018 Business Insider article entitled Everyone from Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to Tom Hanks has Adopted the Meditation Technique Sweeping Wall Street, “The celebrity endorsements have certainly helped, but perhaps more important has been the research from the federally funded National Institutes of Health, Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medical School, and more recently, the University of Chicago. There is now enough evidence that TM, practiced twice a day in 20-minute sessions, can lower blood pressure and decrease the presence of stress-reducing hormones. Both the American Heart Association and the Veterans Association recommend TM.” The practice may be effective in reducing the feelings of stress and other negative emotions in our recovery.

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