I thrive off rituals and routines. I guess it keeps me as sane as possible with the mounting anxiety that tends to haunt me in life. The only difficulty is following the right rituals that will in turn benefit my life. In entering adulthood I attempt to become the individual I want to be more and more each day and take on practises and habits I wish to carry on for the rest of my life. In the midst of my soul-searching, I feel I grow more spiritual and more connected with the metaphysical and it’s practises.
When we watch yogis, practising Buddhists, fitness gurus and such we , as observers, become fixated on the practise of ‘Meditation’ as an art form. It manifests into this perfected state of peace and internal transformation that people like myself can never fully achieve because we are unfocused, unbalanced and imperfect human beings that just can’t seem to sit still. This is when I was much enlightened with the concept of Transcendental Meditation. A simple and natural process that endorses distracting thoughts and slouched resting positions through the mediation. There are no mind-boggling incantations nor the compulsion to clear your mind, which, in actuality is beyond difficult to achieve.
For anyone out there with pending stress, anxiety, depression or mounting paranoia, introducing Transcendental Meditation into your daily routine just may change your life or as many practising ‘yogis’ tend to mention , will help you ‘centre yourself’ in a most effortless fashion.
An Alien’s guide to TM ( Transcendental Meditation) :
- Practise 20 minutes a day , twice ( i.e. the morning and night is ideal)
- Silent Technique
- Sitting Down ( preferably) , eyes closed
- No strict philosophies as there is nothing to believe in but a simple Mantra
The beauty of TM is that it can slide into one’s busy working day like sliding a knife down a creamy cheesecake knowing that it will ,at the least , feed your starving soul. This can be practised on public transport , in a bath ( or long shower , if you can afford it ) and such. There are no location regulated rules , the world is your oyster and you can TM wherever you like ( that is safe ) .
“They are Sanskrit sounds, the language which is the closest possible human imitation of the natural vibrations” – The Meditation Trust
The technique and mantra of TM has been standardized by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
During the TM process , and like all forms of meditation, we must try to clear our minds. It’s a psychological chore( believe me I know) in which we hope to reap many benefits from. Ironically, TM doesn’t force this ‘mind-clearing’ business anymore than we want to and it is indicative that we only repeat one simple sound to attempt to focus.
Know that if you drift from the mantra it is important not to punish yourself , or not to rush off and forcefully clear your mind. Just let your thoughts pass until you come back to the mantra.
Unless instructed by a Yogi or such , selecting one’s mantra should not be an overwhelming task. The mantra must be based on your age and gender then followed by selecting a sound that resonates with you. This is paramount to achieving a state that you desire so whenever you get lost in your thoughts it is easier to regain focus and internal direction.
As this is more or less an independent / beginner’s guide to TM disregard the dates on the Mantra grid as they simply underline the year of a particular practise.
The Psychology behind TM , i.e. The Ocean Analogy
When you look out at the ocean you recognise how ferocious , how active it appears on the surface, while the depths of the ocean are naturally still and tranquil. The waves, the tides , the moon and sun are all players of the nature of the ocean. That is inarguable science. Philosophically speaking , we use the nature of the ocean to mirror the levels of thought inside the mind. Hence, we assume an active thinking mind during the day and at night the desire and satisfaction for inner peace. Inner peace , the operative word. So the question is how do we get there.
We already have some form of innate calmness ( hopefully) , which plays as a balancing component to keeping ourselves sane and in control . A lot can come from calmness and peace . An Ancient Meditation Text surmised that innate calmness is the,
“source of our unbounded creativity, unbounded intelligence, happiness, focus , clarity” .
Through TM we have so much to unlock from ourselves, like the depths of the ocean our capabilities lay dormant and when this peace is unexpectedly disrupted we kill our inner direction and our real potential is lost. It is our prerogative to at least control the harsh tides of the surface with the tranquility of the depths. Realistically, we have lost it. This innate calmness is ever dissolving within the toxins of our minds. As humans, we tend to pollute ourselves for no beneficial reason. We exist on “the gotta , gotta ,gotta”. Always in a rush to do or think something .
TM allows active thinking to settle and to experience quieter levels of thought , i.e. ‘transcendental thought ‘ or ‘ pure consciousness’. Research shows that during TM the body goes into a state of relaxation and rest. Deeper than levels of sleep. This allows for the build up of stress, fatigue , tension and anxiety to dissolve.
The More Neurological Science behind TM
The Cortisol (adrenal) glands produce anxiety in which TM has the capability to drop anxiousness 30 % more than sleep. With TM our minds are consciously fighting for ‘quieter levels of thought’ , wherein deep sleep , anxiety is like a stain on a rug , you can cover the stain but it will always be there if it is not actively dealt with. Serotonin ( the chemical responsible for happiness) is increased. Atherosclerosis ( caused by high blood pressure and cholesterol) , stroke , heart attack , Bipolar mood swings chances are decreased.
The process of TM taps into and confronts :
- the amygdala ; centre of the brain , the fear centre) ,
- the frontal lobes; executive functioning , governing decision-making / planning/ judgment/ethical reasoning
- the hemispheres of the brain ; both analytical and creative
TM allows for the strengthening of the frontal and occipital lobes to access the varying levels of your mind and provide some sort of inward direction amidst a messy mind state (which I can only assume is the case for a lot of us). Much more can be discussed about TM in which self driven exploration about the practise is heavily endorsed.
The Visual Cliffnotes