The practice is based on the understanding that while the mind may have disturbances and agitations at the surface level, it is naturally peaceful. Think of the ocean: if you're on the surface, you may experience huge storms and waves. But in the vastness underneath the surface, the water is calm.
This is also one of the more popular forms of meditation because it appeals to skeptics who don’t want to put their faith in a spiritual system.
Rather, this mindfulness-based stress reduction occurs regardless of the practitioner’s beliefs.
Perform it for 20 minutes, 2 times per day by focusing on a mantra that your teacher assigns you. The mantra does not have a meaning, because meaning will trap you on the surface levels.
TM is practised by silently and effortlessly thinking a mantra or sound, which has been passed on during personal instruction by a fully-trained teacher following careful guidelines laid down by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
The mantra does not act as a focus for the mind as in other forms of meditation, but as a ‘vehicle’ upon which the attention gently and innocently rests. This allows the mind to settle into increasingly subtle levels of thinking, and finally the mantra itself is transcended and we settle into silence.
There are two qualities of the Transcendental Meditation mantra which are important for this process to occur:
It is a meaningless sound. Using a word with meaning would keep the mind on the surface, thinking about the word, and not allow it to transcend (go beyond) that level.
Its vibration has a resonance with its source in the primordial hum ( Om ) close to the silent, blissful level of the mind which gives it to tendency to fade in that direction. This attracts and charms the mind, which itself is always searching for greater happiness, so the mind settles with the mantra towards silence.