Thread: relax more
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Old 10-28-2000, 01:57 AM   #5
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
Re: Trancendental Meditation

I'm probably going to disappoint you but here goes.

stratcat wrote:
Eric- that sounds like an interesting exercise. Could you please elaborate a little bit? What are the "warm up", "work and peak" and "cool down" phases of the exercise, if any?
Nothing. You can sit in a chair or I usually lay down. Laying down is more dangerous as I sometimes fall asleep. You repeat the phrase for 15 minutes in the morning and in the evening. You can say it out loud or mentally. I usually do it mentally but not always and I just do it when I'm stressing.

What are the specifics on breathing during this exercise?
Breath in, breath out. There are no connotations with breath that I know of but I never took the TM course. I adapted from books I read on the subject. Maybe if you spend a lot of money they talk about it. I have tried just following my breath for 15 minutes but the phrase seems to work better.

What, if any, is the importance of the actual content of the phrase? What would some sample phrases be?
In theory, for the $400 or so you spend to learn TM they give you a customized phrase to harmonize with your spiritual being (or whatever). The general consensus among the scholars is that it doesn't matter. Mine agrees with that. I've used "Om Mayne Padme Hum" (a real one in theory), "one" (own), and any of numerous positive thinking affirmations. All achieve exactly the same results but I never got the secret one. I'm convinced that repeating "I'm convinced" would work fine.

What, if any, is the relationship between this exercise, and the phrases used in it with O'Sensei's work on Kototama? Or its relationship with Zen meditation?
None, it's Indian in origin. A Mahareshi something yogi. It was really big in the 70's. Do a search on Transcendental meditation for more info. I'm sure it's still out there, right along with the Silvas and EST(TM'rs can go to the john after 15 minutes). I will postulate (guess, in other words) that it really is different than either of the two you mentioned. I know very little about the kotodama (other than an occasional run in with it on the mat) but what I know is different. Zen is probably different. TM might be Zen light in a sense when I really get it right but from what I know of Zen it really isn't.

What are the psychological underpinnings of this exercise?
Who knows. The TM'rs claim the usual things: Relaxation, better health, etc. I've heard people claim that TM'rs meditating in your area will lower crime. Probably true, because those people aren't out commiting crimes, they're meditating.

For me what happens is that it turns my mind off. Focusing on the phrase provides a lever that neutralizes the nut cycle I get into when stressed. It provides a center for the mind. When I get it right (usually) my body relaxes and my mind relaxes. Another way of putting that is it changes my focus and it works for me.

I hate to say this but it's almost like counting sheep only you don't go to sleep. When you really get it right, it's like sleep but isn't. You probably wind up in kind of an Alpha state (if that term is still used) which is between wakefulness and sleeping. When I get it right I think I get borderline to deeper than that but much deeper and it's sleep time (then we would have to visit lucid dreaming, another fun topic).

What would a good amount of time be for a beginner in this sort of exercise? Etc.
15 to 20 minutes. The relaxation usually hits about 8 to 10 minutes in.

I got my comments on the other exercise from a book titled "Sports Psyching" by Thomas Tutko and Umberto Tosi. It's kind of lame in parts (it was really the first of it's kind and it's dated) but the 6 week program had some really interesting results for me in high school. Unfortunately, I could only do it when we were at home as I couldn't find any privacy for road games.
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