Mindfulness vs Transcendental Meditation: Difference and Comparison

Meditation is a practice in which an individual uses mindfulness, or the skill of concentrating on specific thoughts, things, or activities, to cultivate attention and focus and reach a state of mental calm, emotional peace, and stability.

Two of the meditations are mindfulness and transcendental Meditation. These meditations come from different backgrounds, are conducted in different ways, and have other effects.

Mindfulness and transcendental Meditation both need increased awareness, breathing and focus. They have also been examined for their ability to boost cognitive and emotional well-being.

Key Takeaways

  1. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment and observing thoughts without judgment, while Transcendental Meditation uses a specific mantra to achieve a state of restful alertness.
  2. Mindfulness can be practiced in various ways and durations, while Transcendental Meditation requires a specific 20-minute practice twice daily.
  3. Transcendental Meditation involves formal training from a certified teacher, whereas mindfulness can be learned independently or through various resources.

Mindfulness vs Transcendental Meditation

Mindfulness is a state of awareness that involves paying attention to the present moment with non-judgmental acceptance. Transcendental Meditation ™ is a specific form of Meditation that consists in using a word or phrase repeated silently to help focus the mind and achieve a state of deep relaxation.

Mindfulness vs Transcendental Meditation

The goal behind practising mindfulness is training the mind to stay in the present moment, and this is done by paying close attention to one’s thoughts and emotions without passing judgment.

So, the ultimate objective of mindfulness is to be in the current moment at all times and to achieve greater focus and clarity.

Transcendental Meditation, or TM, is a technique that uses no focus or concentration and shifts your attention within, beyond one’s thoughts.

Long-term practice can lead to a state of cosmic consciousness, in which the sense of transcendence is consistently there in one’s awareness, even while doing something.

One gradually starts to perceive oneself as universal and omnipresent. The individual’s identity is replaced by the cosmic.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMindfulness MeditationTranscendental Meditation
MeaningExtensively trained teachersMeditation that uses mantra to let the mind settle down naturally and, ultimately, to transcend thought

OriginBuddhist traditionVedic tradition
How to learnBy reading a book or attending a meditation classto transcend thought itself and experienced a state of “pure awareness”
GoalTo have one’s thoughts be on the present momentto transcend thought itself and experienced a state of “pure awareness.”
Brain wave patternTheta brain waves, associated with readiness to process incoming signals  Alpha brain waves, associated with relaxation
Neurophysiologic state affectedActivates  the brain’s default mode networkDeactivates default mode network

What is Mindfulness?

From where mindfulness originated, Buddhism says that we continue to suffer until we don’t learn to see things as they are. Mindfulness meditation offers the possibility to deliver this message successfully.

Also Read:  Meditation vs Sleep: Difference and Comparison

We get so caught up in our thoughts and feelings that we start judging them, and based on that judgment, we create a false self-image. But most of these thoughts and feelings are negative, at least for most of us.

The principles of mindfulness and Meditation are combined in mindfulness meditation. When you are mindful, you stay in the present moment.

You are aware of your surroundings while connected to your internal ideas and feelings. In difficult times, mindfulness prevents you from panicking or becoming overwhelmed.

Meditation enables you to examine your mind’s inner workings. Exploring diverse feelings created by acts such as breathing or inhaling scents is also a part of the exercise.

Mindfulness meditation involves mental discipline, alertness, and intent. It enables you to examine your thoughts and feelings objectively without being influenced by your subconscious reactions.

It’s about observing what’s going on without attempting to alter it. This can be beneficial for persons who are dealing with challenging emotions.

One doesn’t require expensive equipment or a particular religious or spiritual discipline to begin practising mindfulness meditation.

All one has to do is adhere to the practice. Some people prefer to have others accompany or assist them through the experience.

Benefits that a person may gain through mindfulness meditation are- Reducing depression symptoms, Reducing binge eating, Improving cognitive abilities, and Coping with chronic pain.

mindfulness meditation

What is Transcendental Meditation?

Transcendental Meditation originates in the Vedic traditions, but it was introduced around the world by the Indian Yogi Maharishi Mahesh.

It is a simple meditation technique in which you sit peacefully with your eyes closed and softly recite a mantra. This mantra can be a word or a sound that helps the mind settle naturally in a calm and restful state.

TM does not focus on building concentration or contemplation, as is believed.

Repeated practice of TM allows you to transcend the ordinary thinking process and take your awareness to subtler regions of the mind, where it rests in perfect stillness, stability, peace, and silence.

It is commonly considered the second phase of Meditation and relates to psychological fulfilment. TM is used to relax our active minds by allowing them to simmer down to the deepest quietest level possible.

Also Read:  Yoga vs Meditation: Difference and Comparison

The goal is to transcend any urge of thought and entirely disconnect from the conscious stream of thought that rushes through one’s mind.

The lower amount of oxygen consumption in your body and the drop in heart rate during Meditation demonstrate the influence of TM on calming your brain while remaining awake.

Furthermore, because of TM’s relaxing impact on your body, it is a very beneficial technique for combating high blood pressure, increasing insulin resistance (significant for diabetes people), reducing anxiety, and preventing negativity.

transcendental meditation 1

Main Differences Between Mindfulness and Transcendental Meditation

  1. Mindfulness meditation is training the mind to be in the present moment. At the same time, Transcendental Meditation is an easy meditation practice that does not require concentration. Instead, mantras are used to make the mind naturally settle down and, eventually, transcend thoughts.
  2. Mindfulness originated in the Buddhist tradition, while TM originated from the Vedic tradition and was introduced to the world by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
  3. Reading books or joining a casual meditation class can help you learn mindfulness. Conversely, TM is taught exclusively by extensively trained certified teachers who teach in a very accurate way.
  4. The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to focus one’s attention on the existing moment. Still, Transcendental Meditation aims to surpass thought and experience a stage of “pure awareness,” wherein one is aware without thinking about anything.
  5. The brain wave patterns linked with each practice differ as well. Theta brain waves, linked with a readiness to interpret incoming signals, characterize mindfulness meditation. Transcendental Meditation is associated with alpha brain waves related to relaxation.
  6. Both have contrasting neurophysiologic states associated with them. Mindfulness meditation deactivates the default mode network. While Transcendental Meditation activates the same. The default mode network is the natural resting state of the brain.
Difference Between Mindfulness and Transcendental Meditation
  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jclp.20544
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/jhh20156

Last Updated : 02 July, 2023

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