@ParadeMagazine asks @meditationbob what makes #TranscendentalMeditation so special

This is one of the most informative articles on Transcendental Meditation I’ve read. Nicole Pajer put it together for the February 19, 2020 issue of Parade. I asked Bob Roth about it and he said, “The reporter sent me a bunch of questions and I answered them, thinking she would lift parts of the answers for an article… instead they printed the whole thing!”

What Is Transcendental Meditation, the Practice Beloved by Celebs—and What Makes It So Special?

If you’ve done any research into the meditation, you’ve likely heard of Transcendental Meditation. Just about every celebrity seems to be practicing it these days. Popularized by The Beatles (who originally learned in 1967), it’s now a favorite of Katy Perry, Hugh Jackman, Sheryl Crow and Liv Tyler. After discovering it herself, Oprah even paid for her 400 employees to become trained in the methodology!

But what exactly is TM and how does it differ from the other types of meditation out there? We caught up with Transcendental Meditation expert and CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, Bob Roth, who walked us through the ins and outs of this popular form of meditation.

What is Transcendental Meditation (TM)?

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a mental technique that is practiced for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day, sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. During the technique, the mind and body settle down to a unique state of “restful alertness” where the whole physiology is deeply relaxed while the mind is quiet inside, yet wide awake. Hundreds of published studies show the technique is effective for reducing stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression and at the same time, improving health, focus and performance. TM does not involve religion, philosophy or a change in lifestyle. It has been learned by 10 million people.

How does TM differ from other forms of meditation?

The ocean is a great analogy for understanding different approaches to meditation. Just as the ocean can be turbulent on the surface with innumerable waves and quiet at its depth, so, too, the mind is active on the surface with innumerable thoughts but it is also naturally, profoundly quiet deep within. Other forms of meditation work to bring calm to the mind by stopping or observing thoughts—or visualizing new thoughts. This is like trying to create calm in the ocean by stopping the surface waves. On the other hand, Transcendental Meditation doesn’t mind the surface thoughts, it provides access to deeper levels of the mind, which are already calm and peaceful. For this, TM does not require concentration or control of thoughts, nor does it involve visualization or any type of guided practice.

It requires one-on-one instruction to master.

Unlike other forms of meditation that can be learned from a book or tape, TM is always taught in personal, one-to-one instruction by a certified instructor. That is because the ability to “transcend,” to settle down and access a field of silence that lies deep within the mind, while completely natural, is also a special skill that everyone learns at his or her own unique pace. For this, a teacher is incredibly helpful. The TM teacher instructs you in the skill of how to turn the attention of your mind, which is usually directed outward to the world around us, inward and to experience the deepest, most settled level of the mind where you are peaceful and quiet inside, yet wide awake and alert. For this your teacher will give you a mantra and then teach you how to use the mantra properly.

Transcendental Meditation is taught over four consecutive days, about 60 to 90 minutes each day. During the first session, your teacher will give you a mantra and then teach you how to use it properly. During the following three sessions over consecutive days, you learn addition information to stabilize the correct practice of the technique as well as learn about how the body reduces stress, improves health, and enhances brain functioning as you continue to meditate twice a day over the ensuing weeks, months, and years. Visit TM.org to find a certified TM teacher who offers a course in your area.

The technique is learned from a certified instructor, not from a video or book. That said, there are several videos you can watch that will help answer your questions about the technique and help you decide if you would like to learn:

(1) Transcendental Meditation: A Complete Introduction with Bob Roth

(2) An introduction to Transcendental Meditation by Dr. John Hagelin.

There are also books that will give you more of a background on this type of meditation: Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation by Bob Roth and Super Mind: How to Boost Performance and Live and Richer, Happier Life through Transcendental Meditation by Norman Rosenthal, MD.

Your practice will center around your own personal mantra.

The mantras in TM come from an ancient meditation tradition that is over 5,000 years old. A mantra is a specific word or thought that (1) has no meaning associated with it—because if there was a meaning then the mind would be stuck on the surface trying to it out and (2) the mantra is a soothing sound whose effects are known to be positive and life-supporting. When you learn TM, your teacher will give you a mantra and then equally importantly, will teach you how to use the mantra properly, which means effortlessly, without any concentration or control of the mind.

It’s best performed for 15 to 20 minutes, twice a day.

Once in the morning, before the day begins to give you the energy, resilience, and focus to enjoy the day with less stress and fatigue, and again, in the late afternoon or early evening, to wash off the stress of the day so that you can truly enjoy the evening with family and friends and sleep better at night.

How much does Transcendental Meditation cost?

The initial TM course is four sessions, and a one-time fee—based on income and ranging from $380-$960—is charged to cover the teacher’s salary. There is an option to split these payments over four months, and those who receive federal assistance such as SNAP may be eligible for a partial grant to help cover the fee. After these four sessions there is a lifetime of free follow up offered through any of the more than 200 teaching centers in the U.S. and any of the thousands of teaching centers worldwide.

What is a typical TM session like?

You sit comfortably with your eyes closed and you think the mantra in the easy, effortless way that your teacher has instructed you. There is no need for electronic apps or guided imagery. It is a natural process that is equally natural to practice. No tools, no apps, no videos. Just a comfortable place to sit and close your eyes for 20 minutes is all you need to participate.

Who can learn Transcendental Meditation?

Anyone from the age of 10 years and older can learn TM. Children ages 4-10 can learn a technique that is more appropriate for a youngster. TM is ideal for anyone: skeptic or advocate, experienced with other practices or novice. It is ideal for anyone who has had difficulty with techniques in the past that advocate stopping thoughts, clearing the mind of thoughts, or any form of concentration on the breath, sound, or areas of the body.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t do TM?

TM can be learned by anyone and can benefit everyone. That said, if a person is suffering from PTSD or another form of extreme trauma and is under the care of a physician or therapist it is important to continue those treatments along with the addition of TM practice.

What are the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation?

Research shows that TM is highly effective for giving the body deep rest and reducing stress, fatigue and trauma. At the same time, research also shows that TM can have a positive impact on the 80 to 90 percent of the diseases and disorders that are either caused by stress or exacerbated by stress, which includes reductions in high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, along with improvements in focus, creativity, problems-solving, and overall physical and mental health.

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Related: Other Parade articles posted on this blog: ‘Dear Prudence’ Bruns in Parade discusses world peace, the ’60s, and why kids love the Beatles and What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo. Parade also covered Lady Gaga’s appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus tour. She shared her history of trauma and the pain she’s been dealing with, what she’s doing for it, and how TM has been helping her in a big way. They discovered they had both learned TM from Bob Roth. You can see that part of the interview here.

Bob Roth recently appeared on a Frontiers podcast (S2:E4) by The Upside. In this episode Bob shared his journey to bring Transcendental Meditation to the Frontiers of medicine, education and the workplace. You can also listen to it on Apple Podcasts.

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3 Responses to “@ParadeMagazine asks @meditationbob what makes #TranscendentalMeditation so special”

  1. What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] A month later: ‘Dear Prudence’ Bruns in Parade discusses world peace, the ’60s, and why kids love the Beatles. Feb 19, 2020: @ParadeMagazine asks @meditationbob what makes #TranscendentalMeditation so special. […]

    Like

  2. ‘Dear Prudence’ Bruns in Parade discusses world peace, the ’60s, and why kids love the Beatles | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Feb 19, 2020: @ParadeMagazine asks @meditationbob what makes #TranscendentalMeditation so special. […]

    Like

  3. @DrTonyNader joins @Alberto_Lidji on #TheDoOneBetterPodcast to discuss #TranscendentalMeditation and its benefits | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Ken Chawkin's articles & poems: Transcendental Meditation, consciousness & enlightenment « @ParadeMagazine asks @meditationbob what makes #TranscendentalMeditation so special […]

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