What is Transcendental Meditation?
Meditation is becoming more and more popular to manage stress but the true experience of transcending has a far more profound effect than just relaxation. Unfortunately, the knowledge of how to easily transcend had been lost to the world until recently. The ancient texts from the oldest tradition of knowledge describe transcending as the highest human experience, essential for our full human development. Today, we can confirm this, through modern science, by measuring what happens in the body and particularly the brain during the practice of Transcendental Meditation. We see –
1. A profound state of rest: much deeper than ordinary relaxation, even deeper than sleep.
2. Inner peace and happiness: decrease of stress hormones/increase of happiness hormones
3. Holistic brain development: measurable through EEG brain wave coherence measurements.
These effects together make the TM practice effective across all areas of life.
Transcending = Deep Rest
When the mind transcends the finest impulse of thought, it comes into a state of complete inner silence. This happens in a completely natural and effortless way. We can’t try to make the mind silent, nor do we have to. With the right technique, the mind will go there by itself.
Mind and body go together, and where one goes the other has to follow. During this deep state of mental rest the body will also come into a deep state of physical relaxation. This state of rest has been measured to be significantly deeper than ordinary relaxation or eyes closed rest, often even deeper than the rest during sleep.
This deep rest can easily be objectively measured. This graph shows the average results in effect size of no less than 30 studies, performed around the world over 15 years. It shows that during TM practice respiratory rate, a measure of relaxation, goes down far more than during eyes closed rest. Other measures of relaxation, like basal skin conductance and the stress hormone plasma lactate, show similar decreases that indicate a far deeper rest than ordinary relaxation.Ref.American Psychologist, 1987, 42: 879-881.
This deep rest activates the inner healing power in our own bodies. Relaxation means relaxing tensions. The body has a completely natural way to remove tensions that it accumulates. This is what we happens during sleep but the rest during sleep doesn’t always go deep enough to remove more deeply-rooted, traumatic stresses. Transcending gives a level of rest that can help dissolve those deeper rooted stresses.
Sometimes, the results can be most dramatic with those who need it most. A recent study with US Iraq War veterans showed a 50% reduction in PTSD and depression after only 8 weeks of TM practice.Ref.Journal of Counseling and Development 64: 212–215 The results were so impressive that CNN TV did a feature on it on US Veteran’s Day. (Watch the CNN video.)
This was a confirmation of earlier research with Vietnam war veterans that was done 25 years ago.
In this study, the TM group saw such significant improvements (in PTSD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, alcoholism, family problems etc.) that, after only 3 months of practice, 70% of the war veterans required no further treatment. The control group that received standard psychotherapy showed no improvement.Ref.Military Medicine, june 2011
These war veterans have problems that go far deeper than most people. If TM can help them, where other approaches failed, it holds the prospect for helping anybody.
In search of Happiness
Stress disturbs the normal functioning of the brain, causing, amongst other things, a decrease in the production of the “happiness hormone,” serotonin. A lack of serotonin influences not only our inner sense of happiness but is also associated with migraines, sleep disorders, anxiety, anger outbursts, Alzheimer’s, eating disorders, addictions and many others. One can try to influence serotonin artificially (as anti-depressants seem to do) but this only treats the symptoms, not the real problem.The experience of transcending, on the other hand, activates the body’s own healing ability so that the brain can function normally.
The result? A completely natural increase in serotonin production during the TM practice and eventually a stabilization of higher levels even outside of meditation.Ref.BUJATTI, M., and RIEDERER, P. in Transcendental Meditation technique. Journal of Neural Transmission 39: 257–267,1976. This has implications in all areas of life as can be seen on this site.
Transcending = Measurable Brain Development
Transcending not only has an effect on our health, our well-being, our self-esteem and our relationships but it also influences brain development, even in adults, whose brains are supposed to already be fully developed. How can a simple experience affect the brain in a way that was previously hard to credit, such as increase IQ and creativity in adults etc? This requires a little more explanation. (See transcending = highest human experience.)
But the effects themselves are clearly measurable, for example through EEG coherence.
Every time a part of our brain is active, the electrical activity can be measured through an electroencephalogram (EEG) and the results can be displayed as a waveform. Nowadays, one can send two of these waveforms from different parts of the brain to a computer and mathematically calculate the extent to which these waves are similar, or coherent. A high coherence means that these different parts of the brains work together as one whole.
Transcending is essentially the experience of unity. (More info at: transcending = highest human experience.) This is directly measurable in the brain. Here’s a video where you can see how EEG coherence rises to a maximum during the TM practice in real-time.
The more we have this experience of high EEG coherence, the more our brains get used to optimal functioning. As a consequence, EEG coherence outside of the TM practice rises also. A higher EEG coherence is associated with higher IQ, more creativity, more emotional stability, better reflexes, and more ethical thinking, etc.. For more information, see transcending = brain development.
How can I learn to transcend?
Real meditation is effortless and pleasant to do, it can be learned by anyone, and gives immediate results.
The experience of transcending can be achieved only in a completely natural and effortless way. It is an experience of complete, inner silence that cannot be achieved by trying to be quiet. The more we try, the more we keep the mind active. Trying to relax is a contradiction in terms. That is why most “meditation” methods that require concentration have limited effect.
The Transcendental Meditation technique is taught individually, by a professionally trained teacher who is able to lead a person, in a completely natural way, to the experience of transcending.
If one has had this experience once, then the mind remembers it and, afterwards, it can go back there spontaneously, in a totally natural and effortless way, provided that one uses the correct technique. This technique is taught step by step, during four consecutive meetings. This initial training course is followed by a extensive program of follow-up meetings to ensure continued correct practice.
Do you have 1 hour to discover how everything can change?
Throughout this site you can find more information on what TM is and how it works and how you can learn TM. The first step, however, is simply to attend a free, no-obligation information seminar. During these seminars, you’ll hear in more detail how the TM technique actually works and what you can expect from it.
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What people are saying
I have done so many meditation courses, but there was always something that felt not right; I missed something. I did not feel satisfied. When I learned TM, it felt just like coming home to me. Finally I have found it.
Nina Van Herwegen
This technique is truly one of a kind.
I am meditating now for almost 30 years and my general health is excellent, especially when compared to my peers. Not only did it make my creativity grow remarkably, but also my ability to deal with a team of employees and actors in an inspiring and stimulating way.
I am still amazed on a daily basis to see how such a simple, natural technique can generate so many positive effects. And it is also nice to do.