Trancendental meditation is probably one of the most practiced meditation technique for beginners in the western world. It has grown in popularity since its introduction in the west in the 1950s probably partly as a result of the connection between the Beatlesand its founder, Maharishi Maresh Yogi, starting in the 1960s.
As a form of meditation it benefits from huge support internationally, through well-established centres of expertise and teaching. It is very likely that you will find a centre near to you where you may follow the official training in this approach to meditation, for a fee.
It is probably also by far the most researched meditation technique, with several hundereds of academic publications that attempt to qualify and quantify what happens to the the meditator during trancendental meditation, as well as the longer term effects on physical health, mental health, anxiety, concentration and so on.
In this type meditation you are given a mantra. This is a sequence of vocalised sounds or a word (but without meaning) that are repeated many times over. After some time, the repeated recitation results in a change of consciousness, from 'monkey mind' to pure consciousness, pure being.
'Monkey mind' is the term often used to describe the second-to-second activity of our mind, jumping from thought to thouht, impression to impression. Trancendental meditation, like every other form of meditation, calms the monkey mind and thereby opens the mind up to a completely new vista of pure experience. The unique aspect of this meditation technique is proably its focus on sound, rather than meaning, thereby enticing the mind to let go of its unremitting attempt to make sense of the world.
The success of this meditation technique may well be due to this focus on sound, as well as the secrecy surrounding the particular mantra given to pupils. Also, the clearly defined structure for teaching this meditation technique to beginners increases the likelihood that the pupil reaches a sufficient level of accomplishment to continue meditating independently after the course. Finally, by facilitating the sustained practice of the meditation through teacher lectures and individual lessons, the pupil comes to experience the pleasant feelings associated with this calming of the mind. This may also make it more likely that the meditation technique will be sustained.
Trancendental Meditation is trademarked and its approach to teaching certified. As I do not yet have personal experience of it, I cannot provide you with an example of how this works in practice. Moreover, teachers of trancendental meditation are probably not allowed to divulge in any detail what their teaching consists of.
However, below you will find a simple mantra-meditation for beginners that just uses the same idea. Just keep in mind that I am not claiming this is an example of the specific technique, just my interpretation of what it might be like:
Make yourself comfortable, as usual. Feet on the floor, back supported, hands in lap. Sit on a chair, or on the floor, whatever posture will allow you to relax but stay awake.
Take a few deep breaths, filling and emptying your lungs completely.
Carry out a brief global body scan, letting go of any obvious tension in your jaw, neck, shoulders, back, pelvis and legs.
Keep still, keep breathing, allow yourself to relax.
Here is a sound sequence: "shruliffa baduhma" (don't worry about the exact pronunciation, as it does not mean anything)
Say "shruliffa baduhma", "shruliffa baduhma", "shruliffa baduhma", "shruliffa baduhma", "shruliffa baduhma", "shruliffa baduhma"...over and over again. You could vary in pitch, speed, and so on as and when it comes to you. Or you could keep the pronunciations and intonation constant.
Do this for about 20 minutes (you could set a timer to warn you, gently). Then stop and slowly return your awareness to the here and now. Get up, stretch, drink a glass of water. Then get on with your normal activity.
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