Interested in discovering the benefits of meditation for yourself? Are you looking to reduce stress and anxiety? Improve focus and concentration? Expand your consciousness and self awareness? Perhaps a combination of these? Still a little skeptical? Well, you should be. Not all meditation is created equal, and there are plenty with virtually zero scientific backing and are based largely on the “placebo effect.” While are dozens of types of meditation available worldwide, transcendental meditation has among the highest amount of scientific evidence available with over 800 studies and decades of data. In this beginner’s guide, we will teach you the awesome benefits and what to expect in a transcendental meditation course. Find out why celebrities like Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Russell Brand and billionaires like Ray Dalio and Oprah swear by it!
The Basics: What is Transcendental Meditation? Do I have to Believe In Anything? (No, You Don’t)
The Transcendental Meditation Course is a meditation technique that you practice sitting down with your eyes closed for approximately 20 minutes, twice per day. Simply put, the mind is naturally trying to calm itself and move towards serenity and bliss. The technique teaches you to move and settle “inward” by using a mantra (that’s given to you) and with a few simple instructions to follow. The end goal is for the mind to move towards “pure consciousness” a much more relaxed, alert, and focused state.
Although relatively new to the west, this technique is actually thousands of years old and has it roots in India. It was popularized by an Indian Guru named Maharishi Mahesh Yogi that brought this ancient Indian technique to the United States and the West in the 60’s.https://www.youtube.com/embed/fbX5eNAbpeo?feature=oembedTranscendental Meditation: Mechanics of the Technique (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)
Many Famous Celebrities and Highly Successful Businesspeople have been practicing Transcendental Meditation for Decades!
Today, the non-profit Maharishi Foundation has centers all over the United States and the world. Thanks to Maharishi, millions of people have learned this technique and have reaped the benefits. Today, famous celebrities like Oprah, sports legends like Tom Brady, and even Wall Street billionaires like Ray Dalio practice it daily and it has changed their lives for the better. It can change yours, too.
What do so many like about it? Unlike many types of meditation available, it’s science based. It’s been around for decades and backed by hundreds of studies. It doesn’t require any spiritual beliefs. No New Age “woo-woo” philosophy necessary! No “magic” crystals necessary. There are no robes ,hats, or hippie shenanigans. No Kool Aid (although it will become a “cool aid” that enriches your physical and mental well-being). If you can spare 2-3 hours for 4 days, follow basic instructions, and are willing to commit 40 minutes of your time each day, you can learn it, too!
How Much Money and Time Will it Cost?
The cost vary greatly, and based largely on your income and is based on an “honor system.” Right now, they range from $420 for a full time student to $980 for those whose household income is greater than $200,00 annually. This fee can be paid in either one lump sum or 4 monthly installments. Those participants receiving disability, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps or other types of federal assistance may be eligible for partial grants available or further support.
Is it worth yet? Yes! Don’t try to just do it yourself at home, either. The technique is simple, but not easy for everyone (especially in the beginning) and you are unlikely to reap the full benefits without a teacher and an official Transcendental Meditation Course. Don’t be like the person who has a serious medical condition and thinks they can fix it on WebMD with their degree from Google University instead of visiting a doctor. If your serious about changing your life, do it right! Make the investment. Your future self will thank you!
There are both online and in-person courses available that take only about 2-3 hours per day and take 4 days to complete. Your first day will be one-on-one, and the next three days are with a small group. You will be given a Sanskrit mantra by your instructor, and then you will repeat this in your head while you meditate. Your instructor will walk you through all of the details, and I will address many of them below.
No, it’s not going to get “weird” – Transcendental Meditation is Proven by Science!
There are countless benefits to meditation in general, and Transcendental Meditation is on another level! Unlike many other types of meditation, they are backed by science. And not just a “couple” of studies – collectively, there are over 800 over 40 years! I can’t emphasize this enough, because if you are like me, you’ve gone down the Netflix cult documentary rabbit hole and you understand how often self-described “gurus” can take advantage of people. Next thing you know you’ve just lost your life savings, the cops are outside the commune, and the “leader” is writing a manifesto barricaded in the basement with assault rifles. No thanks!
But seriously, your time and money are valuable, right? You are here to reap the benefits of transcendental meditation, not join a spiritual cult. Transcendental meditation is based on hard science with proven results.
6 Most Important Benefits of Transcendental Meditation
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Reducing stress and anxiety are among the most commonly sought after benefits of Transcendental Meditation. We live in a fast paced, digital world that’s only getting faster by the day. We all have family and work related stress and anxiety that we need to manage. Worse, we are all on electronic devices constantly (ironically, reading this right now on one) and scrolling through social media, blogs, and videos that are DESIGNED to keep your attention for as long as possible (so they can sell you stuff! Yay Capitalism!), and therefore causing an imbalance your dopamine levels and ultimately raising your cortisol levels. High levels of cortisol are DIRECTLY linked to high levels of stress and anxiety. Not good!
Transcendental meditation literately calms the mind and slows down brainwaves. This also slows down your breathing and heart rate. Slower brainwaves coupled with a slower heart and breath rate move your mind into a “alpha” brainwave state (this can be measured by an EEG machine) and are proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
Enhanced Self Awareness and Consciousness
Although less sought after, this may be the MOST important benefit of all because it allows the greatest opportunity for growth and change. We all lead busy lives. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our lives we are unable to really “see” ourselves and those around us clearly. Sometimes, day after day, we are almost running on autopilot. For example, have you ever driven a car during a conversation and forgot you are driving? Transcendental meditation puts us back in the driver seat of life! While practicing this technique, you will have the ability to step back and see your life, who are you, and the world itself as it REALLY is.
Why is this so important? This can help you become a better version of yourself. Snapping at your partner or kids at home? Transcendental meditation helps allow you to act less reactively and impulsively. You can step back for a second and pause. You realize that you are in charge of your thoughts, words, and actions. If it has a negative result, you don’t have to follow a script or act the way you did before!
Better Focus and Concentration
Through practicing Transcendental Meditation, you begin to clear out of lot of the garbage in your mind. One may argue that what you LOSE through practicing is more valuable than what you gain. You lose anxiety and stress. You lose overthinking. As a result, you lose thought patterns that are on a non-stop loop. As a result, your vision becomes to clear up. With less noise in the background, your mind becomes better at honing in on what you choose to focus on. Just like a blurry photograph sharpened to a high resolution image – you will be able to focus more clearly!
Insomniac? Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Transcendental Meditation Can help! Very commonly, it’s the stress and anxiety that are keeping us tossing and turning at night. As we mentioned earlier, transcendental meditation reduces stress and anxiety. As a result, physically we feel calmer and lighter. Our heart and breath rate also sleep down, too. A calm and relaxed demeanor coupled with a slower heart rate and breathing is the perfect recipe for a quality night’s sleep!
As mentioned earlier, your brainwaves slow down from beta (or high beta if your really stressed overthinking) to alpha. Alpha brainwaves are associated with calm, but also alertness. They simply require less energy for your brain to produce and maintain. They don’t produce the same stress producing chemicals like cortisol, which literately age your body. When you come out of meditation each time, you will feel more relaxed and with more energy at the same time. Perhaps, this is the state you were SUPPOSED to live you life in, before fear, stress, and anxiety got in the way.
A Heathier Heart
Unless you are exercising (or perhaps in a natural state of excitement or joy – your wedding day for example), your heart rate shouldn’t be high for extended periods of time! Transcendental meditation slows down your body – your mind (literately with slower brainwaves) and your body (heart and breath rate). When your heart is actually functioning calmly and normally, your blood pressure (also known as hypertension) goes down, there’s a major reduction in heart attack or stroke, decrease in high cholesterol, and a reduction on thickening of the carotid artery (atherosclerosis).
How is Transcendental Meditation From Other Meditation Techniques?
Proven by Science (Seriously, No Woo-Woo, New Age Nonsense!)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it’s proven by science! Transcendental Meditation has more scientific literature than virtually any other meditation technique. Over 800 studies spanning over 40 years! I’ve listed many of the best, most popular, and most recent studies at the bottom of this article for your reference.
Virtually Effortless and Beginner Friendly
You will not need to “empty your mind” (“like a cup” or any other vague Zen-style metaphors) You will not need several years of intense training. I’m not knocking other meditation techniques, some are also incredibly useful and helpful. Some also have proven benefits, too. But some of us, well…we just don’t have the time to uproot our lives and make huge lifestyle changes or commits. Not like a teenager scrolling through Instagram and watching Netflix for six hours a day who “says” they don’t I have the time. I mean, like, working moms and dads with kids and full time job kind of busy! Maybe even a needy dog or cat at home, too!
It doesn’t matter if you have never meditated before. It doesn’t matter if you have difficulty concentrating or can’t sit still. It’s even been proven effective on kids with ADHD! You don’t have to monitor your thoughts. In fact, you don’t have to do ANYTHING other than follow the technique instructions and practices, repeat your mantra in your head, and let it flow!
Transcendental Meditation in general is often likened to adding vegetables to your diet, you’ve got nothing to lose!
Actually, wait a minute, I misspoke (or err…mistyped).
You have so much to lose – your anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, and fears. Don’t live another day imagining what life you could be like with less worrying. Make the investment in you – you’re worth it! Try Transcendental Meditation today! Learn More and Sign up directly on the official Transcendental Meditation course HERE!
References: Transcendental Meditation Studies Grouped by Benefit
5 Top Transcendental Meditation Studies for Stress and Anxiety
Barnes VA, Bauza LB, Treiber FA. Impact of stress reduction on negative school behavior in adolescents. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2003 1(1):10
Barnes VA, Treiber FA, Davis H. Impact of Transcendental Meditation on cardiovascular function at rest and during acute stress in adolescents with high normal blood pressure. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2001 51(4):597-605
Barnes VA, Treiber FA, Johnson MH. Impact of stress reduction on ambulatory blood pressure in African American adolescents. American Journal of Hypertension 2004 17(4):366-369
Broome JR, Orme-Johnson D, Schmidt-Wilk J. Worksite stress reduction through the Transcendental Meditation program. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 2005 17(1):235-276
Castillo-Richmond A, Schneider RH, Alexander CN, Cook R, Myers H, Nidich S, Haney C, Rainforth M, Salerno J. Effects of stress reduction on carotid atherosclerosis in hypertensive African Americans. Stroke 2000 31(3):568-573
5 Top Transcendental Meditation Studies for better Brain Function:Clarity, Energy, Self- Awareness
Alexander CN, Kurth SC, Travis F, Alexander VK. Effect of practice of the children’s Transcendental Meditation technique on cognitive stage development: acquisition and consolidation of conservation. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 2005 17(1):21-46
Arenander A, Travis FT. Brain patterns of Self-awareness. In B Beitman, J Nair (eds), Self-Awareness Deficits. New York: WW Norton, 2004
Dixon C, Dillbeck MC, Travis F, Msemaje H, Clayborne BM, Dillbeck SL, Alexander CN. Accelerating cognitive and self development: longitudinal studies with preschool and elementary school children. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 2005 17(1):65-91
Harung H, Travis F, Blank W, Heaton D. Higher development, brain integration, and excellence in leadership. Management Decision 2009 47(6):872-894
Heaton D, Harung HS. Awakening creative intelligence and peak performance: reviving an Asian tradition. Chapter in J Kidd et al. (eds), Human Intelligence Deployment in Asian Business. London: Macmillan, and New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001
5 Top Transcendental Meditation Studies for Heart Health and Better Cardiovascular Function
Anderson JW, Liu C, Kryscio RJ. Blood pressure response to Transcendental Meditation: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Hypertension 2008 21(3):310-316
Barnes VA, Kapuku GK, Treiber FA. Impact of Transcendental Meditation on left ventricular mass in African American adolescents. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012:923153, 1-6.
Barnes VA, Orme-Johnson DW. Clinical and pre-clinical applications of the Transcendental Meditation program in the prevention and treatment of essential hypertension and cardiovascular disease in youth and adults. Current Hypertension Reviews 2006 2(3):207-218
Barnes VA, Orme-Johnson DW. El impacto de la reduccion del estres en el hypertension esencial y las enfermedades cardiovasculares. Revista Internacional De Ciencias Del Deporte (International Journal of Sports Science) 2008 4(12):1-30
Barnes VA, Orme-Johnson DW. Prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease in adolescents and adults through the Transcendental Meditation® Program: a research review update. Current Hypertension Reviews 2012 8(3):227-242
5 Top Transcendental Meditation Studies for Insomnia and Sleep Quality
Abrams AI, Siegel LM. The Transcendental Meditation program and rehabilitation at Folsom State Prison: a cross-validation study. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 1978, 5(1):3-20.
Alexander CN, Swanson GC, Rainforth MV, Carlisle TW, Todd CC, Oates RM. Effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on stress reduction, health, and employee development: a prospective study in two occupational settings. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 1993, 6:245-262.
Brooks JS, Scarano T. Transcendental Meditation in the treatment of post-Vietnam adjustment. Journal of Counseling and Development, 1985, 64:212-215.
Elder C, Nidich S, et al, Effect of Transcendental Meditation on Employee Burnout: A randomized controlled study. The Permanente Journal, 2014, Winter; 18(1):19-23.