There are many forms of meditation, all having different procedures, goals, and outcomes. In Pimlico, we offer Transcendental Meditation (TM), which comes from the heart of the Yoga tradition and is significantly different from other forms of meditation. In Transcendental Meditation no concentration, control, or even training of the mind is involved. Instead, because of its complete understanding of the nature of the mind, it’s an effortless, natural technique, simply sitting comfortably on a chair thinking a mantra silently.
The difference even from mindfulness, whilst superficially appearing quite subtle, produces profoundly different outcomes. Whilst mindfulness involves training the mind, Transcendental Meditation liberates the mind and allows it to naturally, effortlessly and spontaneously transcend (go beyond) the active, surface levels, beyond even the present moment.
Always wandering in search of happiness, the mind naturally settles towards a silence so deep that the body also gains a unique state of very deep rest, indicated by scientific research to be much deeper even than sleep. This is the exact physiological opposite to the stress (fight/flight) response, and therefore even the deepest stresses created during life’s most challenging experiences, and ultimately the cause of all physical and mental health problems, are spontaneously released.
According to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was responsible for the spread of Transcendental Meditation from the ashrams of India from 1958, undue pressure of experience, whether mental or physical, may result in structural and biochemical abnormalities (‘stress’) in the body (known in Yoga literature for thousands of years as samskara or impressions [“scars”] in the nervous system). It is these ‘cellular memories’ rather than mental memories that cause the continuing experience of both physical and mental illness.
Effects of challenging experience or even trauma, including anxiety, depression, and symptoms of PTSD, are seen as the result of these physiological abnormalities distorting mental experience, and the physical release during TM practice relieves the psychological symptoms without any attention being given to the symptoms themselves. It is this ‘unstressing’ that is said to be responsible for the spontaneous restoration of normal function of various systems in the body during meditation, particularly those involved in adapting to environmental challenges.
A wide range of resulting improvements in all areas of life from just 20 minutes of twice-daily TM practice have been indicated by more than 700 scientific research studies, including reductions in symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD and addiction. Also, improvements in sleep, self-confidence, relationships, well-being and clarity of thought as well as a whole spectrum of physical health problems.
Learning Transcendental Meditation does not require analysis or discussion of problems, (apart from a very brief and simple application form) because of the very subtle level at which it works. So it is very compatible with, and enhances, other treatments including psychological therapy and mindfulness (as indicated both by research and anecdotal evidence).
TM can be learned by people as young as 6 years old and irrespective of beliefs, ability or background. It is an easy technique to learn and practice, even for those with the most active minds!
The course consists of a one hour individual instruction followed by three two and a half hour group sessions (over three consecutive days) with no discussion of an individual’s problems and includes free support and guidance for life.
The Transcendetal Meditation course in Pimlico is taught by Dr Gemma Beckley, a qualified HCPC registered Clinical Psychologist with many years of experience working in the NHS (including teaching mindfulness) and a qualified independent teacher of transcendental meditation (‘TM’). Her focus is now on teaching courses in TM for the registered UK charity the Meditation Trust, who offer courses for up to 50% off standard UK course fees. By learning with the Meditation Trust you are also supporting their Charitable Projects, making TM accessible and affordable for all, including their Trauma Recovery© and Time Out© Programmes.
During Gemma’s career, she has conducted research exploring the effects of TM on occupational stress, and also on anxiety, depression and well-being. Her training to teach the technique of transcendental meditation began with instruction at the age of 6, followed by many years of intensive practice and advanced courses, culminating in several months of specific residential training in the methods laid down by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
She has since taught TM privately to the general public who are often experiencing high levels of stress with a range of physical and mental health problems including anxiety, depression and insomnia, plus people on the Autistic Spectrum and with diagnoses of ADHD, personality disorder, PTSD and schizophrenia. She is also the Director of the Trust’s Charitable Projects, which has involved teaching children in care and in schools both in the UK and developing countries.