More and more types of meditation exist, this is explained by the increasing number of people who practice meditation on a regular basis. There are many applications today that allow meditation classes to be practiced using technology, however a few practices are still taught in their traditional form.
One of these traditions is Vedic meditation.
What is Vedic meditation?
Transcendental meditation is a technique of meditation that is part of the Vedic tradition. It was developed in 1958 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Indian spiritual master. He started from the observation that suffering was omnipresent in our society and that negative emotions such as stress and anxiety were on the increase. This observation led him to develop a meditation technique to fight against negative emotions: transcendental meditation.
The Vedic word itself means “of the Vedas”. The Vedas are ancient texts and ancient knowledge originating in India. However, they are considered universal knowledge, because this same information has been recognized around the world.
Knowledge of the Vedas is part of the same body of knowledge as Yoga and Ayurveda. The Vedas are over 5,000 years old and contain key elements of the Vedic style of meditation.
The Vedic method of meditation involves meditating for 20 minutes, twice a day, with the silent repetition of a mantra (a continuous sound, without words). The mantra is assigned to you by a teacher who is based on a few criteria, including your lifestyle, your age and your energy balance. This is a secret that should be kept to yourself and to which one should avoid giving meaning beyond meditation.
What is the principle of this meditation practice?
Transcendental meditation is based on the idea that the mind is naturally drawn to happiness, and that it can find it through the silence and rest of the mind afforded by the practice of transcendental meditation. The goal of transcendental meditation is therefore to attain transcendence, which refers to a state in which the mind comes to be in deep calm without effort. It is through the repetition of the mantra that each individual could achieve this state. Originally, a mantra is a kind of sacred incantation that would have a protective effect. Ultimately, transcendental meditation would allow any human being to access untapped resources related to intelligence, creativity, happiness and energy.
How do you do Vedic meditation?
The technique of Vedic meditation or transcendental meditation is very simple: the individual has to sit down, close his eyes and repeat a mantra in his head. As the sessions progress, this happens almost automatically and involuntarily. Unlike other meditation techniques, Transcendental Meditation does not rely on concentration, visualization, or contemplation. It does not require any effort or anticipation.
The mantras used are sounds, words or a phrase that have no meaning of their own. They are intended to prevent distracting thoughts from occurring since they occupy the individual’s full attention. This allows the mind and body to be in a state of intense calm, conducive to the state of bliss and transcendence. It is usually done twice a day, each session lasting about 20 minutes.
Vedic meditation mantras
Some of the mantras used in meditation have a long tradition. The best known come from Buddhism and Hindu culture. In these two cultures, meditation has a very deep value.
There are therefore five mantras for meditation that have been used for thousands of years. These are the following:
• OM. This is the most universal mantra for meditating. In fact, it is believed to represent the sound of the universe. This is the original sound, the primordial sound, the one that includes all other sounds.
• OM AH HUM. When we pronounce this mantra, we succeed in cleaning the place where we are going to perform the meditation. Additionally, the sound it produces helps increase concentration.
• OM TARE TUTTARE. This mantra helps to focus inner strength. It is used to remove internal obstacles. It also develops courage and confidence.
• OM NAMAH SHIVAYA. This is a mantra that comes from the Hindus. It is pronounced to summon well-being and happiness.
• OM MANI PADME HUM. It is one of the most powerful mantras for meditating. It invokes essential wisdom, union with the universe.
You should know that the most important in these mantras is their sound. Buddhists insist that one should not overthink their meaning. Their essence lies in their phonemes and the effects they have on consciousness.
Each person can create their own mantras to meditate or simply to calm down and gain more strength. Certain words or small sentences have special power over us. And never mind that they don’t have a clear meaning. The main thing is that they connect us to a feeling of calm and strength.
Examples of personal mantras can be: “MOVE ON”, “GROW”, “I AM LIGHT”, “I AM FINE”, or similar expressions. It is recommended to use them for a while and then change them. Their repetition actually decreases the influencing power they have over our mind.
Subject matter experts recommend avoiding the use of the word “NO” in the mantra. They say it could block us. Therefore, expressions should be formulated with positive terms. So instead of saying “I AM NOT AFRAID”, one should say “I AM COURAGEOUS”.
Vedic meditation benefits
The unique state of rest produced during the practice of Vedic Meditation frees the nervous system from general fatigue arising from daily activity and also dissolves tensions deeply rooted in physiology.
The practice improves the functioning of the nervous system as well as its coordination with the mind.
• on the mental level, with the development of the capacities of the mind as the stability of inner silence develops in the activity. The mind becomes stronger and turns out to be the driving force behind efficiency and satisfaction in activity.
• on the physical level, Vedic Meditation revitalizes and regenerates the body. Developing better coordination between body and mind is beneficial for both mental and physical health.
This “rejuvenating” influence led researchers in gerontology to deepen their work and find that the biological age of people who have practiced Vedic Meditation for five years or more was twelve years below the population norm.
• on the relational level, behavior is the expression of the interior quality of life, of the quality of consciousness. By acting from an expanded awareness, a more serene state of mind and satisfactory health, behaviors and relationships can only testify to the quality of these fundamental components of life.
Several studies show that the practice of Vedic Meditation naturally and spontaneously develops a more positive and constructive social, professional and family behavior.
• Socially and environmentally, Transcendental Meditation plays a significant role in “building” people at peace who build families at peace, societies at peace and nations at peace.
Vedic Meditation broadens consciousness, reduces stress, improves health, promotes effective and fulfilling activity, promotes the improvement of relationships and behaviors which are manifested overall by a better quality of individual and collective life.
Stress and Vedic meditation
Scientists describe Vedic meditation as “a technique of automatic self-transcendence.” The method allows the mind to calm down, resulting in a drop in metabolic rate, but also changes in stress chemistry (cortisol decreases, serotonin and dopamine increase), as well as in brain function. There is an increased blood flow to the prefrontal cortex (the area involved in decision making) as well as an increase in alpha brain waves (which is characteristic of reduced mental activity and relaxation). These changes induce a delicate balance between wakefulness and deep rest. Thoughts come back and the neurophysiological state changes, and the cycle continues.
Let us not forget that the value of a mantra lies primarily in its ability to connect us to the internal power that we all have.
Do all meditation techniques bring the same results?
They produce different effects on physiology, psychology, behavior or social life.
The unique benefits provided by Vedic or Transcendental Meditation have now been widely documented by research, in particular through numerous analyzes which have made it possible to compare the results of many practices in areas such as anxiety, depression or other related disorders. to stress.
The reason why the Vedic Meditation technique is so distinct from other techniques is that it does not require any concentration. It uses the mind’s natural tendency to move to levels of greater calm. As a result, it provides deeper rest and relaxation than those provided by any other technique, as comparative research has shown.