How to Meditate

Meditation Techniques

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Transcendental Meditation (TM)

Description: TM is a focused, mantra-based system brought to the U.S. by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the sixties. After paying a substantial fee, an initiation ceremony is held. You are given a mantra in Sanskrit, “chosen” specifically for you, although there is some evidence that it is given on the basis of your age. You are instructed to repeat your mantra silently for 20 minutes, twice each day.

Benefits claimed: Studies confirm that TM, like other meditation techniques, can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, reduce depression and enhance the immune system. TM, however, has promised far more, including enlightenment, levitation and even world peace.

Disadvantages: First, TM charges a lot of money. Next, despite claims to the contrary, TM contains Hindu religious traditions. The mantras given are all Sanskrit and connected to Hindu deities and the initiation ceremony contains traditional Hindu rituals. Finally, there is almost a cult-like secrecy surrounding TM. You are never to share your mantra.

Advantages: TM is easy to learn and practice. A mantra gives you something to focus on. After the practice you feel refreshed, calm and relaxed. Studies have shown a reduction in stress, lower blood pressure, improved sleep, less depression, and enhanced immune systems.

Mindfulness Meditation (Vipassana)

Description: Mindfulness is defined as “moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness.” You sit and observe yourself, your breath, thoughts and feelings, including your pain, discomfort and distractions. You sit with these observations for 10 minutes to as long as six hours or more. Many describe mindfulness as a state of being, not doing, in which you rest in your own essence.

Benefits claimed: The biggest benefit claimed by mindfulness is happiness, living fully in the moment, with the joy and bliss that goes along with that awareness.

Disadvantages: Many consider it elusive. It is made out to be easy, but difficult to know if you’re really doing it. People who have suffered traumas in the past may lack the skill to disassociate from them, and can become more anxious and upset. It can even trigger schizophrenia or bi-polar episodes in people prone to those diseases. Another issue is the detachment. Yes, it can lessen worry, but for some, becoming too detached is also a danger, as it can quell the desire to succeed. Finally, despite claims that it is non-religious, it is a core Buddhist teaching.

Advantages: Studies have shown that mind-fulness meditation calms emotions, reduces stress for most people and produces a feeling of well-being. It can help relieve depression, improve sleep and lower blood pressure.

Meditation Plus (m+)

Description: M+ combines mantra with mindfulness. Mantras keep you focused while mindfulness keeps you engaged. M+ mantras are chosen to harmonize with your goals and aspirations. They can be practical, helping you develop more focus, patience, strength, clarity or wisdom. They can also be spiritual or chosen to support any religious tradition.

Benefits claimed: As all meditation techniques have shown, M+ will reduce stress, relieve depression, improve memory, boost the immune system and lower blood pressure. In addition, M+ capitalizes on recent discoveries in neuroscience. By linking the mantra to your breath and your goals, it allows you to tune in and reap the benefits of your practice whenever you need it.

Finally, there is one more big plus in M+. It gives you a structure for resolving personal problems. Once the emotions are calm you can think much clearer. When you learn how to meditate with M+ you learn how to take advantage of that opportunity.

Disadvantages: None. The practice is easy, accessible and effective for everyone.

Advantages: By combining mantra meditation with mindfulness you receive the benefits of both. Also, M+ is not connected to any religion. Finally, the structured period of clear, creative thinking is one of the biggest plusses in M+. The insights, ideas and choices you receive will change your life.

Don’t lose out on the benefits – read How to Meditate and begin today!

How to Meditate