This article, by Oprah, is a lovely testimonial to Transcendental Meditation. She tells us that the results of her staff practicing TM have been awesome. Better sleep. Improved relationships with spouses, children, co-workers. Some people who once suffered migraines don’t anymore. Greater productivity and creativity all around.
After reading Oprah’s words did you wonder how and why closing your eyes and practicing the TM technique twice a day has such profound effects?
What the Dickens is the TM Technique?
TM involves the use of mantras—sounds whose vibratory effects on the nervous system are said to be especially beneficial. The mantra is not something one uses to focus his or her mind. The term ‘transcendental’ indicates that in TM the mind transcends even the subtlest impulses of the mantra and other thought. The key principle behind the mantra is that sounds have an effect on the physiology. The mantra, even repeated silently, produces the sound.
But what exactly is this effect? Why do millions of people practice and benefit from this technique?
Scientists have learned that TM produces a completely different pattern of physiological activity than do other forms of meditation. Overall physiological rest and relaxation combine with an enriched blood supply to the brain. In other words, the physiology acquires deep rest, several times deeper than sleep, and this rest serves to create physical, mental, emotional and psychological health and wellbeing. As a matter of fact, TM practitioners, as compared to non-meditators of the same age and demographics, go to the hospital 56% less often for illness or surgery.
Since the TM technique, which produces a state of restful alertness, has a direct effect on the central nervous system, the benefits are to every aspect of human functioning. In Chapter 9 of our book Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way Sandra and I discuss the particular benefits of the TM technique in relation to depression. These effects are profound.
We also discuss the process of learning TM and the training required for one to become a teacher of this technique (a six month residence course). Certainly we realize that different forms of meditation work for different people, but our primary reason (and, I think, Oprah’s primary reason) for recommending the TM technique is that it has been rigorously evaluated for efficacy. In addition, unlike some forms of meditation, the TM technique, as mentioned before, doesn’t require adherence to any belief system.
If practiced regularly, the TM technique will inevitably yield positive results. Research has shown that this technique works no matter what the expectations of the practitioner are. It’s a bit like holding a tennis ball in your hand and then letting it go—the ball will fall to the ground whether you believe it will or not. In the same way, the TM technique will affect your physiology whether you expect it to or not.
Many scientific studies, conducted over a period of several decades, demonstrate that the TM technique yields physiological benefits and that it anchors us and broadens our horizons. As a result we are healthier and we are able to view life with more depth and breadth. Meditation is a key agent of vitality!
Oprah ends her article telling us that Glinda the Good Witch was right: “You’ve always had the power.” Glinda (and Oprah) are right. You do have the power. It lies within and is only covered by the stresses of living everyday life. With deep rest and the practice of a technique helping us to transcend the static of everyday thought, we can access the stillness and dynamism that lies within and reduce the effects of the stress that’s always there. In this way we tap into our potential, enhance our awareness and live life in a fuller and happier way.
Sandra and I thank Oprah for reminding us about the benefits of the TM technique! And,
as always, we wish you perfect health and happiness! We send our best to you, hoping you feel your best!