According to the World Health Organization report (1) around 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental health disorders. Regular transcendental meditation daily may help relieve your stress, anxiety, and depression.
What is Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental meditation is a simple meditation technique that allows your body and mind to relax. Meditation also helps our mental health (2)
Whenever we think of meditation we picture a man or woman sitting cross legged and chanting… trying to empty their mind. I don’t blame you because that is often what we see in the movies.
Unlike other meditation techniques, transcendental meditation does not require you to concentrate or to empty your mind. You don’t even need to learn a breathing technique. Anyone can do this meditation because it is effortless. Nor does this style of meditation require months to master. Some people just takes days to master this technique or for a few people, minutes!
This technique is popularly known as TM. It was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who brought this technique to the U.S. in the 1960s. It became popular because it allows a person to avoid distracting thoughts and places you in a state of relaxation. Since then, this technique has been incorporated into educational and various social programs all over the world to improve mental health.
7 Steps to Achieve Transcendental Meditation and Boost Mental Health
- Know the sutras or words and phrases from Vedic tradition that are used in TM. Take note that TM requires only specific words to be used in meditation. So it is important that you are familiar with them before choosing a mantra for meditation.
- Sit down and close your eyes. You don’t need to be cross-legged for it to work. Any sitting position that is comfortable for you is allowed.
- Start thinking of the mantra. Do not chant as chanting may defeat the purpose of the meditation by distracting you, especially for the beginner.
- After a while allow the mantra to “let go”. At this stage, the mantra can be louder in your mind or become softer. TM teachers describe this as hearing the mantra.
- Allow your mind to naturally travel to a less active state along with the mantra. You don’t need to override your thoughts with the mantra. According to the Maharishi, at this stage, “bubbles of thought are produced in a stream one after the other”. (3)
- The mind will go on with other thoughts after that. All you need to do is be aware that you are no longer hearing the mantra. Being aware that you no longer hear the mantra will allow you to hear the mantra again.
- When you hear the mantra again, stop thinking of the mantra to end the meditation. Keep your eyes closed for about two minutes before you open your eyes.
Only 15-20 minutes of your time is needed to finish these steps. After you perform this mindfulness meditation, your thinking calms. Stillness may take hold, with rest and free of mental boundaries.
Transcendental meditation is a wonderful way to improve your mental focus and wellbeing. But if it seems a little over your head, fear not. There are other ways to relax and reach a stage of meditation. In his article, The Art Of Mindfulness: Why Mindfulness Matters, John Parrot shares some great information about mindfulness… including 5 easy mindfulness methods. It’s well worth the read.