What is Meditation?

The literal meaning of the word meditation is ‘to think or reflect deeply in silence.’ This, of course, has been interpreted in different ways, across different cultures. For example, some religions use it for contemplating their scriptures. Other cultures use it as a tool to calm the mind and explore the inner depths of our being.

Here are the most common meditation techniques that you might come across:

Focused attention

This is when you keep your mind focused and controlled. You focus on selective moments, such as walking, eating or breathing.

Open monitoring

This type of meditation keeps your mind in the present. For example, you might bring attention to sensations in your body and activities in the outer world without judgement.

Automatic self-transcendence

This is where your mind accesses inner stillness. This is Transcendental Meditation.

Understanding the Mind

You may have heard of the mind being referred to as the ‘monkey mind’, where it is unsettled, troubled and hard to quieten. The image of a wild monkey jumping from tree to tree, in need of taming so that peace can be restored, is a metaphor used in a number of meditation practices.

However, such a metaphor can be unhelpful as it makes the mind out to be an obstacle or inner enemy. This is what often makes people think meditation is hard and can be very off-putting when you are new to it and want to quieten your mind to reduce stress and anxiety.

Quietening the Mind

It is far easier than you think to quieten your mind. You simply need to look at it from a different perspective! This is where Transcendental Meditation comes in.

Your mind is always in search of happiness. The drive for happiness is natural in all of us and can take many forms. For some it may be a job promotion, others an academic achievement or a holiday in the sun.

Searching for Happiness

Imagine sitting comfortably in a room with some music playing that you enjoy. Then you notice music playing in the next room, which you enjoy even more. Your mind will naturally be drawn to the music in the next room, even if it is quieter. As your mind finds this music more pleasant, it prompts your body either to turn the music off in the room you’re in or move to the next room, or both.

As you can see, your body follows your mind’s desire for greater happiness. You can apply the same example when you want to change jobs, move home or buy a new car. Your mind will always move you towards what makes it happier.

But real world happiness will only satisfy your mind temporarily. It will soon desire a new song!

How Transcendental Meditation Works

Transcendental practices work so effectively because they allow for the fact that our minds seek happiness and that we can’t achieve long-lasting bliss purely from an outer, real world search.

Unlike other meditations, transcendence doesn’t seek to control or cage your mind; rather it seeks to understand it.

By using the right mantras, your ever-busy mind can be calmed, settled and charmed to a place of pure inner bliss. As your mind soothes in this state of bliss, your body quietens, leaving you in a state of deep rest.

The simple fact that it allows your mind to be free and uncontrolled makes this meditation easy for you to learn, use and benefit from in your everyday life.