Easy Meditation for Everyone
If you used a search engine to find a form of meditation that is easy to do, it’s probably because you’d heard somewhere that meditation is difficult. Or perhaps you’ve tried meditating and found it difficult, or unpleasant, or unsuccessful. After that experience, it would be natural to feel some trepidation about checking out meditation again.
No worries! This article discusses Transcendental Meditation (TM) and explains how meditation, done properly, is effortless and rewarding from the start.
Let’s clear away some misconceptions first
You don’t need any special skill to learn the TM technique—you only need the ability to follow simple instructions. With this meditation, you don’t have to sit in a classical yoga posture— you just sit comfortably. You don’t need special clothing, silence or music, candles or darkness, incense or other paraphernalia, or even seclusion. There is no particular lifestyle or diet to adopt.
Neither philosophy nor religion are a part of this program. Even belief that the technique will work for you is unnecessary because you will notice some evidence of it right from the start, and then tangible benefits accumulate as you meditate regularly over time.
In TM, we don’t try to control our mind or try to stop thoughts or monitor them. In TM, there is no concentration or contemplative pursuit of profound meaning. We don’t focus on our breath or visualize anything.
Easy meditation that really works
The Transcendental Meditation technique is meditation done properly. It is natural, simple, effortless and universally effective.
Here’s why: Deep within our mind, we each have a silent state of Being, from which the thoughts of everyday life arise and give direction to our behavior. Most of us are so caught up in the thoughts and perceptions and circumstances of life, that the silent level of pure Being within is overlooked, in the same way that we don’t notice the foundation under a house. In order to experience and tap into the silence within us, we must transcend (go beyond) thoughts. That is what TM does. And because the inner field of silence is restful, settling down into it is easier than being active with thoughts. The only way to get to that level within the mind is to experience thought at successively fainter and subtler levels of expression until the mind finds itself silent. Getting an angle in that inner direction is the unique domain of Transcendental Meditation. Like learning how to dive, your instructor sets you up on the right angle and then what happens next is effortless.
During the TM technique, when the mind settles down and becomes still and calm, the reduction of mental activity affects the metabolism. Because our minds and bodies are connected and reflect each other, at the same time mental activity becomes quieter the body becomes very deeply relaxed and at ease. Some indications are:
- During TM breathing slows down measurably—evidence of very deep rest.
- Skin conductance, a measure of the electricity that passes between two points on the skin is significantly lower, indicating anxiety is greatly reduced.
- Plasma lactate—which is associated with anxiety—also significantly decreases, showing the body is in a deep state of rest.
With repeated experience of the settling down of the mind, stillness and calm grow in daily life outside of meditation allowing for improved mental, physical and emotional health.
The deep rest helps to dissolve even deeply rooted stress and strain, helping to restore well-being. Thus, not only is this meditation technique easy to do but life itself becomes easier due to the vast range of benefits TM provides.
Compare types of meditation techniques
The TM technique has been rigorously studied by science and has been found to produce a unique style of brain functioning and deep relaxation not found in other practices. TM differs from other meditation practices because it involves transcending thoughts, a systematically more effortless experience than thinking in the present moment.
The range of benefits verified by published research is far greater than with other methods. TM has both psychological and neurophysiological effects. Evidence from studies on adults shows:
TM is unique in that it positively impacts brain functioning by promoting higher frontal electroencephalographic coherence and brain integration which supports attention, learning, planning, working memory, moral reasoning, increased IQ, academic performance, creativity, concept learning, serenity, emotional stability, self-esteem, and consciousness orientation
TM is also associated with improved physiological markers of stress (e.g., slower heartbeat, lower blood cortisol levels and cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., lower heart rate and blood pressure). Probability of cardiovascular disease and stroke is reduced as much as 70%. Reduction in anxiety is approximately twice that of other meditations.
For a comparison of the Transcendental Meditation program with Mindfulness, Zen, Guided Meditation and other practices, please click here.
About the Author
Janet Hoffman is the executive director of TM for Women Professionals in the USA.