Introduction: What’s all this about?
Transcendental Meditation (TM from now on) has gained enormous popularity for its ability to reduce stress and promote relaxation. We are all total stress-monsters, so this is great news. While it is a simple, natural, and effortless technique, the high cost of learning it and the sect-like culture surrounding the practice can be off-putting. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the benefits of TM and introduce its alternatives, Japa and Centring Prayer.
“Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural, effortless technique for the mind to experience quieter levels of thought and for the body to gain a state of deep rest. Through consistent practice, TM can help bring about a profound sense of inner peace, happiness, and well-being.”Dali Lama
The Benefits of Transcendental Meditation
TM is known for its ability to bring about a profound sense of inner peace, happiness, and well-being. The repetition of a mantra while seated with eyes closed helps the mind to experience quieter levels of thought and the body to gain a state of deep rest. Famous people like Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, and Jerry Seinfeld have all spoken about the positive effects of TM. TM, it seems, is all the rage.
Transcendental Meditation… and now the bad news
While TM may seem like the perfect solution for stress and anxiety, it has a few blemishes that spoil the idyllic meditative landscape. The Beatles, who followed Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his famed TM practice, lost all faith in the founder of the movement, after some rather worrying allegations made against him. They even made a rather unflattering song about him. “Sexy Sadie” is about this dethroned spiritual leader. Additionally, the sect-like culture surrounding the practice and the high cost of learning it can be off-putting for many.
Alternatives to Transcendental Meditation
Japa meditation and Centring Prayer are two alternatives that are similar to TM in nature. Japa meditation involves the repetition of a specific word or phrase, such as “Aum,” without the need to dish out a fortune. Centring Prayer is a form of Christian meditation that emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment and cultivating a sense of peace and connection to the divine. Both types of meditation are not focused on the meaning of the word but rather as an anchor word to remind you to place your attention upon something transcendent.
How to do each one;
- Find a nice place where you won’t be disturbed.
- Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed.
- Relax and breathe calmly.
- Start repeating the sound of “Aum” slowly and steadily. This is out loud and often starts louder and fades into semi silence after a while.
- Focus on the sound and also the vibration of the mantra. This is your focus.
- Let go of any thoughts or distractions and focus your mind on the sound and vibration of “Aum.”
- Keep going for anything between ten and thirty minutes.
- Find a nice place where you won’t be disturbed..
- Choose a word or phrase that helps you connect to the transcendent such as “love,” “peace,” or “Jesus.”
- Close your eyes and silently repeat your chosen word or phrase. Don’t endlessly repeat it, but use the word to remind you to connect to the transcendent.
- Let go of any thoughts or distractions.
- Keep doing this for 20-30 minutes.
Of course, you don’t have to be Christian nor Hindu to benefit from the techniques. Both methods may be taken with religious connotation but even the secular are waking up to the value of this age-old practise.
The Right Meditation for You
There are many other types of meditation available, and it’s essential to find the one that resonates with you the most. Experiment with different techniques to discover the one that suits you best. If you’re new to meditation, there are many apps available to help guide you through the process, such as MindFit.
Transcendental Meditation is a great technique, but it’s not especially better than Japa or Centering Prayer. Whether you’re rich or poor, you can gain the benefits of meditation without having to empty your bank account. Meditation is a powerful tool that can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and find inner peace.