Key Concepts 8 of 17  

2. Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation (TM), was developed and introduced into the United States in the early 1960s by the Indian leader Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is estimated that there are now well over 2 million practitioners. Herbert Benson and others have done much research on the health effects of this type of meditation, in part because it was the first widely used meditation technique in the United States.

The concept of TM is relatively simple. Students are given the mental device of a personal mantra (a word or sound) to repeat silently over and over again while sitting in a comfortable position. The mantra is selected not for meaning but strictly for sound. It is the understanding that this sound alone attracts the mind and leads it effortlessly and naturally to a slightly subtler level of the thinking process.

If thoughts other than the mantra come to mind, the student is asked to notice them and return to the mantra.

Woman meditating on Shavashya

Practitioners silently repeat a
mantra over and over again.