Meditation Time: Get Some Headspace by Discovering Transcendental Meditation

Meditation Image 1Transcendental Meditation: What do you know about? Most likely it’s the whole host of celebrities who can’t get enough of this kind of thing. Those in the public eye who have learnt the technique include Russell Brand (who frequently speaks on its benefits) Jennifer Aniston, Lena Dunham, Hugh Jackman, Miranda Kerr and Beatle Paul McCartney. Director David Lynch (he’s behind Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet) is such an advocate of the benefits of Transcendental Meditation (or TM as those who practice it often call it) that he’s set up the David Lynch Foundation, which helps to teach children and adults the technique. The foundation has taught everyone from school kids to prisoners.

Transcendental meditation

This form of meditation was created in India by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who used his knowledge of meditation and ancient Vedic traditions to create this technique in 1955, and which he began to teach soon after. He travelled the world spreading the news of this technique but came to fame when The Beatles came to learn with him in the late 1960s. He is thought to have taught more than 40,000 people before his death in 2008.

What is it?

Transcendental meditation is a form of meditation based around the repetition of a mantra to achieve a state of deep relaxation and awareness. Transcendence is a notion that is key to TM, the idea that without trying, your mind can calm and you can access deeper parts of your consciousness. While it might sound a bit strange to say, in TM you’re not encouraged to consciously try and focus but instead let your mind be open to what might wander into it. It’s one of the most popular forms of meditation worldwide, with an estimated ten million people thought to have learnt the technique.

How do you do it?

Each person who learns the technique is given their own specific mantra (which you’re meant to keep to yourself) which should be used each time they meditate. You are advised to do 20 minutes of the mediation, twice a day, every day. Ideally you should do it just before you start your day and again at the end of the day. There’s no need to sit cross legged, it can be done anywhere as long as you won’t be disturbed. The exact technique itself is a closely guarded secret which is only shared from instructor to pupil in order to ensure that it is taught and practiced properly. Once learnt it’s a skill you will have for life.

What are the benefits?

There are so many benefits that TM claims to give its practitioners. These range from stress reduction and a great ability to focus to having more energy, better sleep, a reduction in anxiety and better memory. There have also been studies which have looked into its effect on heart attacks and strokes, and there’s some evidence these can be reduced by those practicing TM. Generally, people who practice TM report an increase in wellbeing, both mental and physical. As a form of self care it allows those who practice it 40 minutes every day to become more aware of who they are both mentally and physically.

How will you feel?

We learnt the technique and the first time we tried it we were blow away by how relaxed and generally zen we felt. The mind feels quieter and more able to focus on one thing at a time. But every person is difference so your experience might not be exactly the same. One thing is for sure though, everyone who practices it reports how calm it makes you feel.

How do you learn?

You can only learn TM from a qualified instructor, usually in a dedicated TM centre. The reason for this is that you will be delving deeply into your mind and to do so you need to learn how to do this correctly. Classes usually take place in stages so your instructor can monitor how you are progressing and help with any concerns or questions you might have. So you may need to set aside a few days or evenings in which to learn. On your first meeting you will be asked to bring along flowers, fruit and a clean white piece of cloth to give to the instructor as part of a small ceremony. Follow-ups are encouraged, as is connecting with other people who have learnt the technique, with group meditation often offered too. There are classes offered all over Ireland with TM instructors based not only in Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Cork and Galway, but also in Letterkenny, Naas, Tullamore and Drogheda.

To find out more on TM see www.tm-ireland.org

Written by Aran Sweaters Direct.

To read more of the benefits and research being on meditation, see meditativewisdom.com

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