How is the Transcendental Meditation technique different from other meditation practices?

Meditating Man

1. Effortless transcending Unlike other forms of meditation, this technique involves no effort, concentration, or control of the mind. The TM technique allows you to effortlessly transcend: to settle deeply inward, spontaneously—beyond the busy or active mind—to the natural, rejuvenating state of restful alertness or pure awareness.

Practices that keep the mind actively attentive or engaged in thinking have not been found by scientific research to produce the deep relaxation or holistic benefits associated with the TM technique.
The Transcendental Meditation technique is not designed to keep the mind active or engaged in thinking. It is designed specifically for transcending. To "transcend" means to go beyond. The TM technique allows the mind to effortlessly settle inward, beyond all thinking and mental activity, to experience the revitalizing state of restful alertness or pure consciousness at the basis of the mind. This state is called "pure" consciousness because it is consciousness by itself, in its simplest state, the mind's essence.
People practicing the TM technique often describe this silent, peaceful state as a reservoir of unlimited creativity and intelligence. Research shows that twice-daily experience of this state of "unbounded awareness" rejuvenates all aspects of life.
Is brain functioning and physiology different in TM, compared to other practices? Neuroscientists have found that TM practice produces a style of brain functioning very different from other forms of meditation. Neural imaging and EEG research shows that the TM technique is the only meditation technique known to consistently create widespread brain wave coherence, bringing the different parts of the brain into a more harmonious whole—resulting in more efficient brain functioning and improved mental performance outside of meditation.
Studies on the physiological changes during TM practice show a marked drop in biochemicals associated with stress and anxiety, such as cortisol and plasma lactate, while breath rate and other measures show profound physiological rest—a state that is the extreme opposite of the body's stress response.
According to researchers, the TM technique is the only meditation or relaxation practice known to create a state of relaxation more than twice as deep as than ordinary eyes-closed rest. Other practices, which tend to keep the mind more active or engaged in thinking or contemplation, have not been found to consistently produce this deeply settled, rejuvenating state of restful alertness.
You can learn more about how the TM technique is different from other practices at a free Introductory Talk—given by a certified TM instructor in your area.

2. Evidence based Over 350 peer-reviewed, published scientific studies from 250 universities—including medical schools at Harvard, Stanford, Yale, UCLA and many others—have documented the TM technique's wide range of benefits. Research findings include reduced stress and anxiety, improved health and well-being, more orderly and holistic brain functioning, and heightened self-actualization. Evidence Based Benefits

3. Standardized for effectiveness Learning meditation from a certified TM teacher ensures consistent, all-positive results. In most other forms of meditation, the nature and quality of instruction varies widely from teacher to teacher.

While the process of learning the TM technique is standardized, it is also a personalized process in which each student progresses step-by-step at their own pace. To maintain the highest standard of teaching, TM instructors undergo rigorous professional training, have thousands of hours of experience, and attend regular TM teacher re-certification.


How is the TM technique different from mindfulness meditation?

The Transcendental Meditation technique is a very different process—and scientific studies show it produces a different range of results.

The TM technique does not involve monitoring thoughts or sensations, as in mindfulness meditation, nor does TM practice involve concentration or contemplation. It's an effortless technique for transcending thought—settling inward beyond mental activity to arrive at the silent state of pure awareness. Described as the deepest level of the mind, here there are no thoughts, perceptions or sensations, only consciousness at rest in its most expanded and peaceful state, fully awake within itself.

Hundreds of research studies on the TM technique have shown this state of restful alertness to be highly rejuvenating for mind and body, producing a holistic range of benefits not associated with mindfulness or other practices—including long-term benefits on objective measures such as reduced heart attack and stroke,1 reduced symptoms of PTSD2 and depression3, decreased use of medical care,4and improved cardiovascular functioning.5

American Heart Association: A recent American Heart Association study concluded that the TM technique is the only form of meditation physicians are advised to recommend for reduction of high blood pressure: "All other meditation techniques, including mindfulness, received a 'no benefit level of evidence' ...and are not recommended at this time."6

Differences in brain functioning: The TM technique produces a style of brain functioning very different from mindfulness meditation. During mindfulness, researchers report localized frontal theta activity (5-8 Hz). During TM practice, researchers report widespread alpha coherence (8-10 Hz), strongest across the brain's frontal regions and often spreading to interconnect the different parts of the brain. This long-range neural connectivity indicates more efficient, integrated brain functioning, increased inner wakefulness and greater presence of mind.,7

Different levels of relaxation: Research studies show that the unique style of physiological functioning gained during TM practice is a state of relaxation much deeper than ordinary, eyes-closed rest. Mindfulness and other practices that keep the mind actively attentive have not been found to consistently produce this deeply settled, rejuvenating state of mind and body—a state characterized by profound physiological relaxation along with heightened inner wakefulness.8

Scientific references:

    1. Circulation 2(5), 2012
    2. Journal of Traumatic Stress 1-14, 2013
    3. 31st Annual Meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, 2011
    4. Psychosomatic Medicine 1987;49:493-507
    5. American Journal of Hypertension 22(12): 1326-1331, 2009
    6. Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association (61) 2013
    7. Cognitive Processing 11(1), 21-30, 2010
    8. American Psychologist 42: 879–881, 1987; The Journal of Mind and Behavior 10(4):307-334, 1989

 

Where did the TM technique come from?

The TM technique comes from an ancient tradition of meditation, the same tradition that gave us yoga. The technique had been long lost to society—even in India, the land of its origin—until introduced in 1955 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

 

"In this meditation we do not concentrate or control the mind. We satisfy the mind."

 

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Founder of Transcendental Meditation

Uniqueness of the
TM Technique

  • Easy to learn
  • Effortless to practice
  • Scientifically validated
  • Effortless transcending
  • Holistic, cumulative benefits

See all benefits

 

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John Hagelin PhD, Quantum Physicist

Dr Mehmet Oz, M.D

"Speaking as a scientist, the amazing thing about Transcendental Meditation is the very well-established research showing that the technique impacts things that we didn't think were changeable."