Transcendental Meditation is something that many have heard of and most know little about. I decided to find out more and set out in my 'search of research'. I expected to find very little in the way of concrete evidence for the extravagant claims of dramatically improved health. I was pleasantly surprised to find an abundance of materials to substantiate the benefits of TM. After consuming and then digesting the smorgasbord of facts, figures, research and reports I was excited about sharing the information with you and learning even more.
TM is simply a technique. It's not a religion, a form of hypnosis or even positive thinking. In fact you don't even have to believe it works to receive the benefits. The process takes only a few hours to learn and then 20 minutes twice a day to be applied. The technique is learned by spending a short period of time with a TM teacher. During your one to one training session your teacher will give you a 'mantra (meaningless sound). By properly applying your mantra you create conditions for the mind to experience subtler aspects of thought. A Mantra is the thought of a sound, a delicate impulse which is soothing to the nervous system.
The founder of Transcendental Meditation, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi describes TM in this way:
"The nature of the TM technique is the spontaneous settling down or
refinement of mental activity. It is a method of experiencing the source of
thought, the field of pure creative intelligence, in an effortless, systematic
"Automatically, naturally and very spontaneously, mental activity becomes refined and eventually the mind settles down to a state of no activity but with full awareness. The conscious mind gains the state of pure awareness. This is the technique of Transcendental Meditation."
In the U.S. the H.A. Montgomery Company introduced TM to three-quarters of its staff. Within three years, productivity increased by half, sales were up 120 per cent and profits up 520 per cent. Absenteeism dropped by 89 per cent within a 12-month period.
Recently established results from a survey using data from 600,000 clients of a major American insurance company were quite remarkable.
The medical insurance claims of a group of 2,000 people who practised TM were analysed for a five year period. They were found to be half as likely to fall ill as non-meditators and to spend 70 per cent fewer days in hospital.
Compared to non-meditating groups the TM groups had:
These are just a few examples, in fact there are over 500 well documented scientific studies to back up the results/benefits thousands of companies and individuals have found.
One of the most profound benefits is the reduction of stress and fatigue. This is said to be achieved during TM when the mind settles down to a quiet more restful state which causes a reduction in physical activity and produces rest deeper than in ordinary sleep. Dr Young says, "most people experience benefits right away. The important thing about TM is that it is completely natural, allowing the body's inner wisdom to correct things in the right order."
Let's now look at some of the most common questions that are asked about TM. This information is derived from 'Feel Great With TM - An introduction to Transcendental Meditation' by Jim Anderson and Bill Stevens.
A: We simply experience the mind becoming more calm and quiet, and the body becoming more deeply relaxed.
A: No. It's possible to practise TM even if we start in a very agitated state. TM works regardless of how we feel. It doesn't depend on our moods or feelings.
A: No. There is absolutely no need to change your diet or way of life. We just practise TM twice a day and get on with living.
A: Noise is no barrier to practising TM. All you need is somewhere to sit down and close your eyes. TM works automatically, regardless of our environment, and we can do it almost anywhere - on a train, a plane, a bus or even on a bench in a park.
A: No. It's purely a practical technique. If you have a religion, TM will help you to appreciate it more. TM does not depend on any kind of faith or belief.
A: Self-hypnosis always involves some kind of control. However, in TM the mind experiences its most calm and restful state in an innocent and natural manner.
Remember the question I posed at the beginning of this article? Would you take the vitamin that could produce these benefits? I am only starting to personally understand the positive results and applications of TM. When I started to look at this process I must say I was very sceptical, it sounded 'too good to be true'. Then I was reminded of two things, one - never judge something you know little about, you must investigate, study, try and apply. Than make a personal judgement. The second is that the process of TM is simply learning to utilise the tremendous natural resources we each possess inside. Anything that achieves that I will wholeheartedly support. As soon as I find out more I'm sure I'll let you know.