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Transcendental Meditation, sometimes referred to as TM for short, is unique from some other forms of meditation in that it is taught one-on-one by certified teachers. It was introduced in its current form in the 1970s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi—if you’ve heard of it, you may know that The Beatles practiced it!
Transcendental Meditation involves mantras that are specific to each practitioner and requires consistent daily practice, with the recommendation being two sessions of 20 minutes each, every day.
Curious to learn more about the TM meaning and how to get started yourself? Read on.
What is Transcendental Meditation or TM Meditation?
Transcendental Meditation is more personalized than other forms of meditation. It involves mantras, which technically makes it a form of mantra meditation, but it differs from standard mantra meditation in that Transcendental Meditation mantras are not self-selected or readily available to anyone.
Practitioners believe that truly anyone can practice this type of meditation and that beginners and experts experience the same level of benefits.
The History Behind TM
Indian teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is credited with bringing TM to the public. He believed that using mantras allowed people to “experience the thought of that sound and . . . experience the finer states of that thought—until the source of thought is fathomed and the conscious mind reaches the transcendental area of being.”
The method is taught in America by a nonprofit organization called the Maharishi Foundation, which also provides scholarships to certain communities, like at-risk children, military veterans, homeless people, and others, enabling these groups to learn TM techniques and experience its benefits.
Proponents of Transcendental Meditation extol its evidence-based impact, including increased feelings of calm and relaxation, bolstered creativity, decreased stress, and physical and immune-system related benefits.
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Is Transcendental Meditation Dangerous?
While some people may be skeptical of TM because of its structure (i.e., having to visit a certified teacher and pay to learn the technique), and because of the celebrity ties to it, there is no evidence to suggest that the meditation method is dangerous.
On the contrary, the results experienced by practitioners seem to suggest that the method is safe and has a positive impact on people’s lives. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health has invested in TM, seeming to further indicate that it is safe and healthy to pursue.
How Do You Meditate with Transcendental Meditation?
The TM method is only taught by certified practitioners and is distilled to students in four parts. As such, you cannot fully learn how to do Transcendental Meditation on your own or without a certified teacher, but here is a general overview of what you can expect from the process.
Visit a TM Teacher
You’ll first want to find a teacher (more on that below). You can expect to pay around $1000 for the entire TM curriculum. The fee will cover the course and lifetime checkups with your teacher.
Receive a Mantra
Students of the course are not allowed to reveal info about the Transcendental Meditation mantras they’ve received, so we can’t give you mantra examples, or even tell you much in the way of what to expect here. However, your teacher will give you a mantra or a vibration to focus on, and that’s what you’ll use when you practice your daily meditations.
Engage in Daily Meditation
As with any good habit, consistency is key. You’ll want to create a comfortable meditation space you can return to that will allow you to relax and center your thoughts. The general recommendation is to practice meditating twice a day, for 20 minutes at a time. Before breakfast and dinner are the suggested ideal times to meditate.
You’ll start with 30 seconds of quiet, then begin repeating the mantra your teacher gave you for the bulk of your meditation session, watching your other thoughts float by as you repeat the words. There is no pressure to do this meditation “right” or to free your mind of other thoughts, just to sit with them and let them happen.
Where to Find TM Centers
Interested in trying TM for yourself? The Transcendental Meditation site offers a search tool to find certified teachers and centers in your area; they also offer an online course option so that anyone can receive the training. Click here or here to search for a teacher, or simply Google “transcendental meditation near me” to find out if there are any local groups practicing this type of meditation.
Transcendental Meditation is Just One Way to Meditate
If TM has piqued your interest, we hope you’ll take the steps to learn more and reach out to a certified instructor in your area. And if not—or if there are barriers to access for you—remember that there are lots of different ways to access meditation or start your own practice. The path you take is entirely up to you.
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