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
If thoughts other than the mantra come to mind, the student
is asked to notice them and return to the mantra.
Practitioners silently repeat a
mantra over and over again.