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Transcendental vs. Mindfulness Meditation – Which Is Better?


Transcendental vs. Mindfulness Meditation – Which Is Better?


girl meditating - transcendental vs. mindfulness meditation

First encounter with meditation

I was in the sixth grade when my father, who has a keen interest in Meditation, asked me if I would like to try it too.

I was too young at that time, to understand the depth of this concept or what I was going to take up.

It was Transcendental Meditation

ad did tell me a little about what we were going to try, i.e. Transcendental Meditation and with the little information I got, I said ‘Yes’ for my childish reasons. Reasons like, it would be a good time-killer for my summer vacations and that I would get to spend a good deal of time with my Dad, which I otherwise couldn’t.

Soon I started accompanying my Dad daily to the T.M. sessions at the Maharishi Meditation centre, which was on the outskirts of the city, where a teacher would guide us to meditate on a ‘mantra’ (a unique chant assigned to every student).

Till date, I don’t know what mantra was given to my Dad, as it is supposed to be kept confidential and should not be pronounced even physically. I enjoyed meditating there and we used to be back home in less than two hours.

Time passed. Summer vacations got over. Naive, as I was, I pushed meditation under the pile of few so-called important things I did as a child. Slowly, meditation slipped out of my life.

Second encounter with meditation

Seven years later, I was again introduced to it, when I met an Aunt of mine, who practiced meditation. I told her that I too tried Transcendental Meditation as a child, but quit it for no reason.

It was turn for Mindfulness Meditation

Since, this time I was matured enough to start things and not leave them just like that, I decided to take up her style of contemplation, Mindfulness Meditation.

Let me share the details of both with you, so that while choosing a technique for yourself, you would be able to make a well informed decision.

Both are great, but which one for you?

transcendental vs. mindfulness meditation

Parameter Transcendental Meditation (T.M.) Mindfulness Meditation (M.M.)
Also known as Mantra meditation Insightful Meditation
Origin Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (in the mid 1950s) Buddhism (Insightful living is a Buddhist philosophy)
What is it? A closed eye chanting of a mantra while focusing on oneself and the words of the mantra A closed eye technique which uses one’s own breath as an object for meditation. Attention is focused on the movement and sound of the breath
Daily commitment Typically, 15-20 mins twice a day (morning before breakfast and afternoon before lunch) Practiced for 10 mins a day, increasing the duration daily depending on one’s own comfort.
How to begin Introduction in person by a certified T.M. teacher includes:

  1. 1 hour introductory lecture giving basic information about T.M. technique and its effects
  2. 45 min lecture containing specific information
  3. 10-15 min interview
  4. 1-2 hrs of personal instructions
  5. Assignment of a mantra
  • No teachers are required to teach you the method as it is all about self-help.
  • Meet people who practice it, buy self-help books and guides or go online and read about the technique before starting.
  1. Sit comfortably with eyes closed and silently repeat the mantra in your mind, trying to focus all your attention on it.
  2. Do it effortlessly as this technique does not call for concentration.
  1. Sit comfortably and erect with eyes closed. Focus all your attention on the breath that is coming in and going out.
  2. Thoughts that come in the process are to be treated in a non-judgmental way and all focus should be brought back on the object chosen for meditation.
  • Provides relaxation and inner peace
  • Promotes creativity
  • Reduces stress
  • Boosts self-development
  • Improves quality of life resulting in happiness
  • Reduces risk of hypertension, diabetes and obesity
  • Increases life span
  • Reduces the risk of heart failure
  • Promotes stability, inner peace and non-reactivity of the mind
  • Effective in managing stress, anxiety, chronic pain, depression and medical or mental health conditions.
  • Develops deeper concentration
  • Improves mood and boosts immune function
  • Helps you sleep better
Extra Bites Advanced version is called T.M.-Sidhi Program or Yogic Flying. Called so because it is believed that while practicing this technique the regular thought process is ‘transcended’ by a state of pure consciousness. The mind is said to be totally calm and at rest at this stage.

This meditation can also be practiced in the lion posture (lying down position) but that often induces sleep, so is avoided by many.

Other postures for practicing are: walking (open eye), seated and reclined.

Both these forms of meditation are taught and practiced regularly in schools, colleges, health institutions, corporate wellness programs, hospitals, prison settings across the USA and the like.

You can also try open eye meditation if you find concentrating with eyes closed a little difficult.

So, which one would you go for and why?

  1. Hello, this is a very nice article. I enjoyed reading it. I would like to add that in Transcendental Meditation, we effortlessly bring our attention to the mantra. The point is that the practice is effortless. This might cause the body to sleep, if it needs to sleep, or come into a state of restful alertness. We don’t try to put all of our attention on the mantra, though. Thoughts are okay in TM, and it is okay when there are no thoughts 🙂