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Does it take a long time to learn and master the practise of Transcendental Meditation?

Ask the Doctors    Translate This Article
3 July 2011

The Transcendental Meditation technique is completely effortless to learn and to practice, and it doesn't take years to master, say medical professionals who prescribe the programme for their patients. The process is easy, natural, and spontaneous, and typically results are found from the beginning days of the practice.

In a series of questions and answers, James Krag, M.D.,* and Steven Rector, M.D.,** describe the effortless process of the mind settling down to quieter levels of activity during Transcendental Meditation, which also brings a state of deep physiological rest.

Q: If I close my eyes, my mind is filled with thoughts—how could I ever successfully practice TM? 

Dr. Jim Krag:
Unless you are unconscious or deceased, it's normal for your mind to be active. Fortunately, an active mind is not a problem when practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, because the technique actually uses this active tendency of the mind to dive within. Even if your mind starts out in an active state, it will spontaneously experience more quiet, refined, settled levels of activity during the practice.

As the mind becomes more settled and alert, it leads the physiology to a state of very deep rest. The process is easy, natural, and spontaneous. And research has shown that when you have this experience of restful alertness on a daily basis, you naturally start feeling calmer, more clear and focused in activity.

Q: It sounds like it could be difficult to meditate properly—does it take a long time to get 'good' at TM? 

Dr. Steven Rector:
Not at all. Even a ten-year-old child can practice the Transcendental Meditation technique.

Transcendental Meditation practice is based on an intrinsic tendency of the human nervous system that everyone possesses and automatically knows how to use: the tendency to settle down to the state of restful alertness.

The TM technique is completely effortless to practice and to learn, and it doesn't take years to master. Typically, results are there right from the start. Studies on EEG show that someone who has been practicing TM for only two weeks has about the same level of increased brainwave coherence during meditation as someone who has been practicing the technique for 20 years—although the long-term meditator will be enjoying more benefits OUTSIDE of meditation as the result of so many years of meditating twice a day. The benefits are cumulative, like a tree that grows more and more flowers and fruit over time.


Dr Krag and Dr Rector are members of a panel of physicians who discuss the Transcendental Meditation technique—how it works; beneficial physiological changes during and as a result of the practice; how it differs from other forms of meditation and relaxation; and the hundreds of scientific research studies validating the benefits of the technique. Their discussion is featured on the website Ask the Doctors.

See also 'What is the value of the 'mantra' in the practice of Transcendental Meditation?'

Click here for more questions and answers about the Transcendental Meditation technique.

* James Krag, M.D., is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, president of the Psychiatric Society of Virginia, and former president of the Virginia Association of Community Psychiatrists for four years. He is currently Medical Director of Liberty Point, a residential treatment program for adolescents with psychiatric problems.

** Steven J. Rector, M.D., has practiced emergency medicine for the past 18 years. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine.

© Copyright 2011 American Association of Physicians Practicing the Transcendental Meditation Technique

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