How to meditate for beginners
When you decide to learn to meditate, it is hard to know where to start. Can I learn from a book? Must I seek out a yogi in his cave in the Himalayas? Can I make up my own form of meditation?
Faced with these questions most people rely on a recommendation to a good teacher by someone they respect or, if they do not know anyone who meditates, they look for some objective evaluation of the practice by a medical body or by scientific research.
This is because there are many meditation techniques and, unfortunately, not all are equally effective. They vary from watching the breath to staring at a candle to concentrating on a thought. Some are easier than others. Many are frustrating to do. Some will even give you a headache.
However there is one meditation technique which has stood the test of time, is simple and effortless to do, has been subject to considerable scientific evaluation, and is so popular that over 5 million adults and children have learned it. That technique is called Transcendental Meditation (TM).
When you do TM you just sit in a comfortable chair and, using the sound you are given by your teacher which has a soothing vibrational effect, you soon dive deep within. It’s like turning the volume on a radio down, the radio is still on but it’s making no sound.
In the same way, in TM we effortlessly reduce all the noise and chatter in our mind, until we reach a state where we are awake, but just experiencing inner silence. It’s beautifully refreshing and enjoyable. And after meditation, you feel alert, refreshed and ready to take on all the busy tasks of the day.
TM involves no change in lifestyle, you have to wear no funny clothes or change your diet, you just add 20 minutes of profound relaxation – a level of rest shown by scientific research to be even deeper than deep sleep and hence more revitalising – to your daily routine twice daily and you soon notice that life is becoming a bit more satisfying, more harmonious, less stressful, even happier.
One senior manager I taught from an international company said that “ I don’t feel that I have changed – it’s just that our corporate lawyers have got less irritating!” Another student of TM slept so well after years of disrupted sleep following childbirth that her husband thought she had been drugged. A third said that he found himself happily chatting to people in the works canteen he had never spoken to before in many years of working there – he was feeling more free inside and able to open up and enjoy relationships more.
It’s just like watering the roots of a plant; if you provide nourishment at the most profound level, every aspect of the plant flourishes. In the same way, by giving yourself this profound level of relaxation, you begin to notice benefits in all areas of life.
We’ve all had nights when we’ve slept really well and the following day everything seems to go well; the traffic lights are green, you can find a parking space, even your boss is in a good mood (!); in other words, the world seems to reflect our inner experience. Well this is the effect TM has. Because you are deeply rested and feeling brighter and more creative, life becomes less of a struggle and more enjoyable.
You may think at this point, “it works for him, but will it work for me? Fortunately, you don’t just have to rely on my experience or even the experience of the friend who may have told you about meditation. There is a huge body of independent scientific research which consistently shows the benefits of Transcendental Meditation.
E.g.: “Transcendental Meditation is more than twice as effective for relieving the mental effects of stress as all other meditation and relaxation techniques.” Journal of Clinical Psychology 45: 957-974 (1989) & 33: 1076-1078 (1977). And in 2005, the American Journal of Cardiology reported that among 202 patients with raised blood pressure who were followed for 18 years, those who practised TM had a 23 per cent lower death rate. While The National Institutes of Health in the US has found that people practising meditation have lower breathing and heart rate yet “higher EEG coherence” indicating greater concentration and alertness.).
So, if by now you are thinking that you would like to know a bit more about TM, come to one of my regular free introductory talks. I will be pleased to tell you about the many benefits that TM can bring and explain how we do TM, where it comes from, how it differs from other sorts of techniques and answer any other questions you may have.
You contact me via my website www.meditationnorthwestlondon.com or by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 0845 226 9321. I look forward to hearing from you.
Michael Jon Pierce
Approved TM Teacher