The Transcendental Meditation technique and contemplation/contemplative meditation

Contemplation practices typically use either controlled focus or open monitoring, depending on whether one is focusing deeply on a particular idea or meaning (controlled focus) or employing “free association” (a form of open monitoring).

Contemplative practices tend to keep the mind active and involved in the realm of thinking, meaning and ideas. This can be valuable for gaining insight during meditation but is very different from the Transcendental Meditation technique. 

TM practice is a form of automatic self-transcending, which allows the mind to go beyond thinking and conceptualization. During TM practice one transcends the realm of belief, dogma and opinion, to experience pure consciousness, described as the source of thought or a state of self-knowing—one’s true self in its deepest, most blissful and expansive state.

This process of transcending during TM practice provides deep physiological rest and creates widespread EEG coherence in the brain, as numerous scientific studies have shown.

Everything good about the brain, including our ability to gain insight and understanding, depends on the brain’s coherent, orderly functioning. As coherence and efficiency of brain functioning grow in daily life through TM practice, mental performance improves and one naturally grows in the ability to gain deeper insight and understanding.

According to research studies, the profound rest gained during the TM technique is an extremely low-stress state that restores balance to the physiology, reducing anxiety and depression, improving cardiovascular health, reducing incidents of disease and promoting longevity.

Practices that tend to keep the mind engaged in thinking have not been found to consistently produce this state of deep, coherent rest or result in this holistic range of benefits (please see scientific research).

During TM practice, one experiences that it is the mind's inherent nature to settle inward and experience the state of pure awareness. While it may be possible to transcend during any form of meditation, contemplative type practices — which have their specific benefits — typically engage the mind on the levels of thinking and conceptualization. The Transcendental Meditation technique allows the mind to spontaneously settle inward and experience finer, increasingly subtler stages of the thinking process, until one transcends thought and arrives at the source of thought—the state of pure awareness.

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