I’ve noticed that a lot of people really want to get into a meditation practice but find that it’s just too hard to sit still or “control” their thoughts.
Well let me tell you, that used to be me. I used to feel the exact same way and then finally learned just how easy (and amazing) it is. So, today I want to go a bit deeper into meditation: the method I like, why I like it, and alllll the benefits :)
The method that I practice is Transcendental Meditation (TM). It might sound intimidating, but trust me it’s not. To be totally honest, the reason I got into it was because I noticed many people around me, from various walks of life, swore by it. I tried for years and just couldn’t get “there” until I finally took a course. I took a course with the David Lynch Foundation, and in one day I achieved what I had been trying to for years. I guess it took someone sitting with me one on one, breaking it down, and explaining exactly how it worked. From that day on I fell in love, one of the main reasons being just how effortless it is. Now, I realize that taking a course isn’t feasible for everyone, which is exactly why i wanted to write this article. I’m hoping to share with you how I learned so that you too can enjoy the benefits.
By the way: if another form of meditation works for you, that’s amazing also! This article just serves to add another option on the table.
Here’s how TM works: all you have to do is sit. There is NO focusing on breath, NO mindfulness, NO trying to empty your thoughts (I know…its mind blowing!) The only two things you have to do are (1) sit with your eyes closed and (2) sit up.
Research actually shows that brain waves don’t activate as well when lying down. But hey, if that’s the only rule, I can handle that! Plus, you can lean back or slouch a little, and even sit cross-legged if you want to. Just no laying down.
Now if I haven’t sold you yet, let’s talk about benefits. Meditation acts on the body, mind, AND soul, and you will feel the difference for yourself, no doubt. But for those skeptics who love science (me, included), I’ll get into the research to back this up.
Overall, studies indicate that effects range from cardiovascular health to lengthening telomeres (which protect our DNA and essentially anti-age us) to increasing alpha brain waves for relaxation and focus.
Personally, I notice differences in my mood when I keep up with my meditation routine. Like, major. I mean, I’ve always been a nice person, don’t get me wrong. But I’m noticeably calmer and kinder since starting my meditation routine. One meta-analysis reported that meditation supports the process of self-actualization, and that the effect of TM, in particular, was approximately 3 times larger than other forms of meditation and relaxation. (Uhhh, is anyone impressed yet?) Self-awareness brings about positivity, kindness and compassion. Being more mindful within each day will help you to see the big picture of how you treat people and how you affect those around you.
Here’s another point, just in case you need a little extra convincing—We know the mind is powerful in managing our health because of placebo studies, which are done for every single drug that’s released on the market. Here’s how it works: in drug studies, an experimental group (this is the group who gets the treatment/medication) is compared to a placebo group (the ones who are told they are getting medication but are actually getting a sugar pill). Often, the placebo group does indeed show improvement, even though they didn’t even get the drug! All they did was BELIEVE they were taking a drug to heal them. Talk about the power of the mind! I just wanted to point this out because it’s a perfect example that the mind CAN heal :)
If nothing else has worked for you, I highly recommend giving Transcendental Meditation a try. Learning it changed everything for me, and I can now *gratefully* say that I have a consistent meditation practice. Who knew it could be so easy.