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A popular method of achieving spiritual relaxation is transcendental meditation (TM). Were you to take training in TM, you would be privately interviewed by an instructor and assigned a mantra. Mantras are special sounds (e.g. om, ieng, ah nam, to name a few) that reflect your character and profession. Your mantra is private and a pledge to its secrecy is encouraged.

To meditate, you settle down for a half-minute or so, and close your eyes. Repeat the mantra to yourself for a period of fifteen to twenty minutes. By doing so, you develop a passive attitude and drift into a trance or trance-like state. This allows your mind to transcend the external world and identify with its universal self. Meditating twice a day is general practice for TM practitioners.

For many Westerners, the Eastern methods of achieving higher levels of relaxation are viewed as much too unorthodox and mystical for experimental practice. If you are skeptical of TM, but have some curiosity there are some interesting findings you might want to note. Extensive studies in the United States have demonstrated that one doesn’t have to adopt Eastern doctrines or exclusive Yoga practices to benefit from their conceptual inductive methods of higher levels of relaxation, and the use of mantras are not essential. Repeating a simple word such as “relax” or the number “one” over and over, or concentrating on your breathing for extended periods of time will suffice to elicit a desired state of higher-level relaxation. The schedule and length of time of your practice can be set according to your personal conveniences.

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