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Health

Meditation: Feeling the Space

Image: David Lynch, Twice daily meditation

David Hughes contemplates “meditation for people who think they can’t meditate”

Anyone over 60 probably first heard of Transcendental Meditation in the ‘summer of love’, 1967, when the Beatles travelled to Bangor – and later India – with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Now TM is making a comeback, and it seems the Beatles were on to something.

Five decades of scientific research have found remarkable benefits for mind and body from this simple technique – and it’s now being taken seriously by health professionals.

According to researchers, it dramatically reduces anxiety, slows the ageing process, improves memory and mental performance, cuts risk factors formetabolic syndrome, and lowers health care costs – especially for older people. And it’s the only form of meditation identified by the American Heart Association as being able to reduce high blood pressure.

Studies have found TM to give mind and body the exact opposite of a stressful experience, a result which has obvious health implications – around 80 per cent of all illness is thought to be caused or aggravated by stress.

Reducing stress may even be protective against Alzheimer’s, according to a recent study in the US, which found that people who were the most stressed were two-anda- half times more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, often a precursor to dementia. What’s also attractive about this particular type of meditation is that you don’t have to do much. It’s easy to learn and pleasant to practise, sitting comfortably for 20 minutes twice daily with eyes closed.

There’s no concentration or effort, nor even monitoring of thoughts or breathing. You don’t need to believe in it – TM is a technique, not a religion or philosophy. You don’t join an organisation. And you can use TM anywhere, even on a bus or train; you don’t need peace and quiet.

Twenty minutes might seem a fair chunk of time, but TM doesn’t need to be ‘applied’ during the day. You just do it and then forget about it, like a good night’s sleep which leaves you refreshed. TM is meditation for people who think they can’t meditate.

Scientists first became intrigued with TM in the early Seventies when research at Harvard University, published in Scientific American, discovered that the technique produced a remarkably deep level of physical rest – twice as deep as just sitting with eyes closed. This deep rest dissolves accumulated tiredness, tension and stress.

Continue Reading to find out more about TM and how you can learn the technique, click here

Have you tried TM? Want more health news? 

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