Transcendental meditation, also known as TM, is a form of traditional meditation in which people usually meditate silently while thinking of a chant or mantra or a sound. These chants and mantras are also known to do more than just to help our minds focus and relax our souls.
The mantras also help our mind and body to settle in a quiet and relaxed state. This is why before starting transcendental meditation; we need to learn about the ideals mantras that can help us with our transcendental meditation.
So in this article, we’ll explain what transcendental meditation is, how you can try it, and how to choose an ideal mantra for your transcendental meditation.
(Also Read: 21 Mantras to Transform Your Meditation Practice)
Table of Contents
I. Transcendental Meditation: A Closer Look
Transcendental meditation is an ancient Indian tradition that is derived from the term Yoga, which is often defined as the union. This form of meditation has been recently getting popular in the West as well, especially in the United States.
David Lynch even initiated a foundation in 2005 which is entirely dedicated to transcendental meditation practice. Also, if it helps, many high-profile celebrities including Oprah and Jim Carrey are known for practicing transcendental meditation.
II. The Benefits of Transcendental Meditation:
Transcendental meditation is a psychological exercise that usually helps our mind, soul, and body to get in a completely relaxed, zen, and silent state. The practice is also known for helping people get more energetic, refreshed, and focused when they practice it regularly.
According to modern research, it also offers multiple physical and mental health benefits along with psychological well-being. The practice also helps with asthma, slows the progression of cardiovascular diseases, improves cognitive functions, lowers blood pressure, etc.
In terms of psychological benefits, it usually helps us focus more on our key objectives and goals while relieving the stress and anxiety we might be having. It also keeps us calm in uncertain circumstances, while improving our creativity, and developing relevant problem-solving skills to refresh our minds.
Note: All of the above-mentioned benefits are only possible if you are using the right mantras in your mind.
III. Transcendental Meditation and Its Key Benefits for Mental Health:
Known as the best meditation for stress, anxiety, and depression. Transcendental Meditation, if practiced regularly, can provide the following benefits for mental health:
1. Avoid Negative Thoughts:
- Remove even the deepest traumatic stress and thoughts
- Eliminate thoughts that can affect the emotional wellbeing
- Interrupt the cycle of negative thinking
2. Better Sleep Quality:
- Experience deep relaxation
- Enjoy improved sleep time and quality
- Avoid insomnia and sleeplessness
3. Happy and Healthy Relationships:
- Learn to deeply connect with others in a more natural manner
- Feel more compassionate and loving
- Learn to have a kind and calm approach towards relationships
4. Better Intelligence:
- Improved cognitive functioning, social behavior, and personality
- Boost speed of information processing
- Get positive energy and the ability to achieve success at work
5. Improved Health and Wellness:
- Avoid hypertension and stress-related health problems
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure
- Decreased risks of heart strokes and diseases
IV. A Few More Mindful Steps to Ease Stress with Transcendental Meditation:
- Set aside 20 minutes each day to do the transcendental meditation
- Sit in a comfortable position, you can also sit on a cushion or a chair at your convenience
- Close your eyes, and then take a few deep breaths to relax your mind and body
- Return and bring back your attention to your mantras when the negative thoughts start to arise
- After 20 minutes, begin to move your fingers and toes to ease yourself back to the world
- Then accordingly, open your eyes
- Sit for a few minutes until you feel more relaxed and ready to continue with your daily chores and responsibilities
V. The Mantras
Transcendental meditation was developed by a well-known Indian Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who also created the mantras that we use with transcendental meditation. The mantras are the key to transcendental meditation, and they are very powerful and can give you great results if used and implemented accordingly.
Without the use of these chants and mantras, there is no transcendental meditation, or we can say it is incomplete without the use of mantras. These chants are commonly one or two-word chants, very rarely any more words that we read in our mind with a rhythm.
The word mantra is known to be derived from the two Sanskrit words, which are: “MAN” and “TRA”. “Man” in Sanskrit is often defined as the mind, and “tra” can be defined as the instrument. This means that it is a key element and instrument of one’s thought that helps one to achieve the state of a quiet and silent mind without any negative thoughts and emotions. In simple terms, it is a complete mindless state.
VI. How to Choose a Mantra for Transcendental Meditation?
When choosing a mantra for your transcendental meditation, you have to keep two basic things in mind, which are as follows:
1. The Sound:
The sound of the chant and mantra must be completely meaningless or senseless because the key objective and purpose of the mantra here are to settle one’s soul and mind into a silent state and in a completely relaxed state of being. If the sound has a meaning, it will provide information to your mind to work on and will divert your attention, and it will cause a distraction for your mind’s focus.
So, whatever the sound or chant you are going to choose, make sure it does not make any sense for your mind to think about it. It should be without any true meaning.
2. The Vibration:
The vibration of the mantra and chant sound must have resonance with the actual source, which is the well-known primordial hum, often referred to as OM. The vibration needs to fade slowly as the rhythms of one’s breaths, in the same direction as the primordial hum. This usually helps one’s mind and thoughts to settle in with the guided mantras, as our mind tends to move towards a complete zen state, and silence gradually on its own.
VII. The Uniqueness of Transcendental Meditation Mantras
1. Choosing the Mantra
Even though mantras are very commonly used in almost all types of traditional and non-traditional meditations and some types of mindful yoga, it’s meaning, and use is mandatory and unique in transcendental meditation. In other words, in different types or forms of meditation, you can choose a mantra on your own or you can even do it without a mantra based on your state of mind that helps you relax more.
On the other hand, in transcendental meditation, only a certified professional can guide you through the process of choosing an ideal mantra for yourself, and only an instructor can teach you how to use a mantra. But if you try to choose it on your own, by reading some old books and watching some tutorials, remember you need experience in this form of meditation like math, and without practical experience, it will not work.
Similarly, mantras in other types and forms of meditations often have some wisdom or pure meaning attached to them, but mantras used in this type of meditation do not have any hidden deep meaning.
2. Number of Words
In addition, mantras or chants for other meditation forms and types usually include more than two words, but mantras for transcendental meditation are most commonly no more than two words.
Similarly, mantras in this type of practice are often the focal and key point of mediation in which your mind focuses only on the particular mantra. In Transcendental Meditation, the mantra is not a focal point. It is completely meaningless, so you just use it as an instrument to focus and settle into a quieter mental state.
Transcendental meditation and its mantras are different than other types or forms of meditation. While other forms of meditations often allow you to customize your meditation experience, methods, and mantras according to your own unique needs and comfort at that particular moment, transcendental meditation follows more rigid set rules and processes of instructions to follow.
3. Learning Process
You cannot learn transcendental meditation on your own by reading a book or watching a video, as you need to go to one of the transcendental meditation sessions or institutes, or you can also hire a certified meditation instructor to guide you through the entire process.
The personal instructor option is often very expensive, which is why many of us cannot choose a TM meditation as our option.
As transcendental meditation is a more of a complex form or type of meditation in which you have to slowly settle your focus and mind and body to a state of nothing: while emptying all the thoughts, no emotions, no stress, just emptiness using the chants and mantra, and it often required a regular practice. This is why you need to join an institution, where an instructor can guide you through the: do’s and don’ts and how to’s and which mantra to use and which sound to focus on, etc.
The instructor also explains to you which mantra to focus on for what purpose. The focus of Transcendental Meditation and the mantra is not to do something new to our body and mind, but to use the natural tendency of our thoughts and mind to settle down to a more silent and relaxed state.
The primary objective of the concept is to understand that choosing a mantra for your transcendental meditation is totally up to your instructor, and you don’t get to choose a mantra for your practice until or unless you have more than three to four years of experience.
So, you must take seek guidance from your certified transcendental meditation instructor or counselor, and let him/her select and guide you through the entire mantra meditation process, as mantras have a solid power that works just like positive or negative affirmations.
So, if you are a beginner and don’t know much about transcendental meditation, join a professional session, and practice it with other people who are in a similar position as you.
Transcendental meditation is very different than other types of meditation or mindfulness practices, so are the mantras used in this practice, and also how they are used. So, you need to depend on a certified professional to learn about the mantras at the beginning, and to practice them as per their instructions.
Transcendental meditation mantras are not the focal point, but only a genuine form of assistance to help you achieve your desired goal or the outcome, which is in any case, is to achieve an open and complete zen-like state and a mental and psychological state of emptiness.
Many people don’t know what Transcendental meditation is, and they often mix it with other forms of traditional or non-traditional meditation and often choose their chants and words or affirmations as a mantra that sounds good and aligns with their current objectives.
But unfortunately, this is not how transcendental meditation works. So, until and unless the mantra is taught step by step in a process to you by a certified professional, it will not work.
So, make sure to follow through with all the above-mentioned guidelines to start with your transcendental meditation to get the desired outcomes.
(Related: Beginner’s Guide to Chakra Meditation)