Transcendental Meditation

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The Transcendental Meditation technique, or TM technique is a kind of meditation that was developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Today, the name is trademarked.

Illustration of a mental process occurring during the TM pratcise.

The meditation technique is practiced while sitting down with the eyes closed and is practiced twice a day.[1]

Reviews of studies on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique show some results are not definite[2][3][4][5] while some reviews of studies show patterns of positive effects.[6][7][8][9][10]

Procedure[change | change source]

The Transcendental Meditation technique is learned in seven steps. There are two lectures and a personal interview. This is followed by a session in which the student learns how to meditate. In three more sessions the meditation is checked to make sure the technique is being done correctly.[11]

Goal[change | change source]

The goal of the Transcendental Meditation technique is said to be that the meditator continue to feel the deep rest, and the comfort of the meditation while living everyday life.[12]

Origin[change | change source]

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Founder of the TM Program. (Jan 1978, Huntsville, Canada)

In 1955, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (born Mahesh Prasad Varma) began teaching a meditation technique he says was based on the Vedas. He gave this method for meditation the name, Transcendental Meditation.[13]

Before this, Maharishi had studied with his teacher Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, and was also his secretary from 1941 until Brahmananda Saraswati's death in 1953. In 1957, Maharishi began the Spiritual Regeneration Movement in Madras, India, on the last day of a festival held in memory of his teacher. In 1958, he began the first of a number of worldwide tours in which he began to teach the TM technique to people around the world.

In the early 1970s, Maharishi began to establish one Transcendental Meditation teaching center for each million of the people in the world, which at that time would have meant 3,600 Transcendental Meditation centers throughout the world. In 1990, Maharishi moved to the town of Vlodrop, in the Netherlands, where he began an organization he called The Global Country of World Peace that takes care of all of the teaching of the Transcendental Meditation technique around the world. The Global Country of World Peace says there are more than 6 million people worldwide who have learned the Transcendental Meditation technique.[14]

Effects on the Body[change | change source]

Transcendental Meditation has been researched since 1970. The earliest study, done in 1970, showed that with the Transcendental Meditation technique the body rests deeply, but is not asleep, and is alert.[15][16][17] This study also showed that with the Transcendental Meditation technique stress became less.

According to one study Transcendental Meditation has been found to not have any advantages over health education in improving a persons health.[18]

The Transcendental Meditation technique, religion, and cults[change | change source]

Transcendental Meditation websites say the Transcendental Meditation technique does not interfere with a person's religion.[19]

In 2013, Monsignor Raffaello Martinelli, servicing Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, having worked for over 23 years with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI),[20] said that for his Meditation, a Christian can learn from other religious traditions (zen, yoga, controlled respiration, Mantra): "As long as the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions, we should not despise these indications since non-Christian. Instead, we can collect from them what is useful, provided you never lose sight of the Christian conception of prayer, its logic and requirements, since it is within this that all these fragments must be reformulated and assumed.../...».[21] In 1984, Cardinal Sin, an Archbishop in the Catholic Church stated that the Transcendental Meditation technique interferes with Christian religions.[22] And other clergy believe the technique does not interfere with religious belief and practices.[23][24][25]

Experts on cults say those who use the Transcendental Meditation technique may show cult-like actions,[26] while David Orme-Johnson, a psychologist and researcher who was once a professor at Maharishi University of Management, says studies show that those who use the Transcendental Meditation technique act in ways that are adult and self – sufficient, and do not act in the way people in cults are said to act.[27]

References[change | change source]

  1. "The Transcendental Meditation Program". http://tm.org. (on the official webpage)
  2. Ospina, MB.; Bond, K.; Karkhaneh, M.; Tjosvold, L.; Vandermeer, B.; Liang, Y.; Bialy, L.; Hooton, N. et al. (June 2007). "Meditation practices for health: state of the research". Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep) (155): 1–263. PMID 17764203. http://www.ahrq.gov/downloads/pub/evidence/pdf/meditation/medit.pdf. "Meta-analyses based on low-quality studies and small numbers of hypertensive participants showed that TM®, Qi Gong and Zen Buddhist meditation significantly reduced blood pressure [...] A few studies of overall poor methodological quality were available for each comparison in the meta-analyses, most of which reported nonsignificant results. TM had no advantage over health education to improve measures of systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure, body weight, heart rate, stress, anger, self-efficacy, cholesterol, dietary intake, and level of physical activity in hypertensive patients".
  3. Krisanaprakornkit, T.; Krisanaprakornkit, W.; Piyavhatkul, N.; Laopaiboon, M. (2006). Krisanaprakornkit, Thawatchai. ed. "Meditation therapy for anxiety disorders". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1): CD004998. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004998.pub2. PMID 16437509. "The small number of studies included in this review do not permit any conclusions to be drawn on the effectiveness of meditation therapy for anxiety disorders. Transcendental meditation is comparable with other kinds of relaxation therapies in reducing anxiety".
  4. Canter PH, Ernst E (November 2004). "Insufficient evidence to conclude whether or not Transcendental Meditation decreases blood pressure: results of a systematic review of randomized clinical trials". Journal of Hypertension 22 (11): 2049–54. doi:10.1097/00004872-200411000-00002. PMID 15480084. http://meta.wkhealth.com/pt/pt-core/template-journal/lwwgateway/media/landingpage.htm?issn=0263-6352&volume=22&issue=11&spage=2049. "There is at present insufficient good-quality evidence to conclude whether or not TM has a cumulative positive effect on blood pressure.".
  5. Canter PH, Ernst E (November 2003). "The cumulative effects of Transcendental Meditation on cognitive function--a systematic review of randomised controlled trials". Wien. Klin. Wochenschr. 115 (21–22): 758–66. doi:10.1007/BF03040500. PMID 14743579. "The claim that TM has a specific and cumulative effect on cognitive function is not supported by the evidence from randomized controlled trials.".
  6. John Vogel, Rebecca Costello, and Mitchell Krucoff, Chapter 47 in Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, Peter Libbie, et al, eds, Saunders Elsevier, 2007, p. 1157. Quotation: "TM has been shown not only to improve blood pressure but also the insulin resistance components of the metabolic syndrome and cardiac autonomic nervous system tone."
  7. Italo Biaggioni, ed. (November 2011). Primer on the Autonomic Nervous System. Geoffrey Burnstock, Phillip A. Low, Julian F.R. Paton (3rd ed.). USA: Academic Press. pp. 297–298. "A meta-analysis of these studies indicates that TM significantly decreased low and high risk participants’ systolic and diastolic blood pressures. . . . In addition, psychological distress and coping abilities were significantly improved compared to control TM groups in both low and high risk groups."
  8. Shapiro, Shauna (2009). "Meditation and Positive Psychology". In Lopez, Shane; Snyder. Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 601–610. ISBN 978-0-19-518724-3. http://books.google.ca/books?ei=toOyT5zmGoTY2gWdms3pCA&id=R8kCoofE8VsC&dq=Oxford+Handbook+of+Positive+Psychology&q=transcendental+meditation#v=snippet&q=transcendental%20meditation&f=false. ". . . the TM group demonstrated . . . significantly decreased anxiety compared to a control group. The results suggest that TM’s effects extend beyond those of ordinary rest."
  9. Chen, Kevin W.; Christine C. Berger, Eric Manheimer, Darlene Forde, Jessica Magidson, Laya Dachman, C. W. Lejuez (June 2012). "Meditative Therapies for Reducing Anxiety: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials". Depression and Anxiety 29 (7): 1, 11–12. doi:10.1002/da.21964. "From abstract: "This review demonstrates some efficacy of meditative therapies in reducing anxiety symptoms, which has important clinical implications for applying meditative techniques in treating anxiety." (From Table 1, p. 7-9): "Nidich et al. (2009): The TM group showed significant(ly) more improvement in anxety at 3-month follow-up (p = .003) as compared to the WL control. CLEAR score: .89; Kondwani et al. (2005): TM group had a decrease in anxiety over time (p = .02) and a significant decrease in anxiety as compared to the control (p = .03). CLEAR score: .80; Sheppard et al. (1997) The TM group showed more decrease in anxiety at 3 months (p < .05) as compared to control and this pattern continued at 3 years follow-up. CLEAR score: .64"".
  10. Stephen Devries, ed. (2011). "The Integrative Approach to Hypertension, Ch. 11". Integrative Cardiology. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 236, 237. 978-0195383461. "A 2008 meta-analysis of nine studies found a 4.7 mmHg systolic blood pressure and 3.2 mmHg diastolic blood pressure decrease in those who practiced TM compared to control groups that included health education. These decreases were judged to be clinically significant."
  11. "The Seven-Step Course". http://tm.org/learn/course/index.html.on the official webpage.
  12. Transcendental Consciousness: The State of Inner Peace
  13. Coplin, J.R. (1990)Text and Context in the Communication of a Social Movement's Charisma, Ideology, and Consciousness: TM for India and the West. University of California, San Diego, p. 64
  14. The Transcendental Meditation Program
  15. Wallace RK. Physiological effects of Transcendental Meditation. Science 1970;167:1751–1754
  16. Wallace RK. The Physiology of Meditation. Scientific American 1972;226:84-90
  17. Wallace RK, Benson H, Wilson AF. A wakeful hypometabolic physiologic state. American Journal of Physiology 1971;221:795-799
  18. Ospina MB, Bond TK, Karkhaneh M, Tjosvold L, Vandermeer B, Liang Y, Bialy L, Hooton N, Buscemi N, Dryden DM, Klassen TP. (June 2007.). Meditation Practices for Health: State of the Research. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. http://www.ahrq.gov/downloads/pub/evidence/pdf/meditation/medit.pdf.
  19. "Statement on the official website". http://www.tm.org/discover/glance/what.html.
  20. http://www.sancarlo.pcn.net/Francais/RM1.htm Bishop Raffaello Martinelli presentation
  21. http://www.webdiocesi.chiesacattolica.it/cci_new/documenti_diocesi/80/2013-01/23-236/AdA-201301-Opera-Completa.pdf Argomenti di Attualità mons. Raffaello Martinelli ed. gennaio 2013 Page 135
  22. "The basic conflict between Marishi and Christianity". http://www.rcam.org/library/pastoral_statements/1981-1986/0025.htm., Roman Catholic archdiocese of Manila, October 16, 1984
  23. Vesely,Carolin, “Its All in Your Mind” Winnipeg Free Press, March 21, 2006.
  24. Smith, Adrian B., A Key to the Kingdom of Heaven: A Christian Understanding of Transcendental Meditation. Temple House Books, 1993.
  25. Pennington, Basil. “TM and Christian Prayer”, Daily We Touch Him: Practical Religious Experiences. Doubleday, 1977:73
  26. "Group Says Movement a Cult". http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/cult/trans_med/tm2.htm., The Washington Post, Phil McCombs, July 2, 1987
  27. "Is TM a Cult? - The truth about TM". http://www.TruthAboutTM.org/truth/IndividualEffects/IsTMaCult/index.cfm.