We've all heard about meditation, especially TM or Transcendental Meditation. Scientific studies have shown that meditation produces a state of calm alertness. During meditation, the output of the heart is reduced and oygen consumption is decreased, indicating bodily relaxation. At the same time, the brain registers an increase in alpha-wave activity which is an indication of increased psychic awareness.

These stages signify a state of bodily restfulness and heightened mental alertness. Meditation seems to do to the mind what exercise does for the body. Many people have described it as an occasion in which the body is in a state as deep as, or deeper than, sleep, but you are fully conscious.

Most people who practice meditation report a feeling of greater mental clarity in their everyday life as well as a sort of tranquility. It is also said to promote an ability to be more objective about things around us, and is said to help people overcome bad habits such as smoking, alcoholism, drugs, etc.

The benefits of meditation have been proven scientifically and are demonstrable. Almost anyone can derive some good out of the practice of meditation. Perhaps just providing this small escape from the frenetic pace of everyday life, relaxing and reflecting for a few moments, can help you to savor and enjoy this life you lead just a little bit more. We all need a break now and then from the hectic routine we seem to settle into. Stress seems to be a part of everyday life in this day and age and can lead to ulcers, heart attack, etc. Meditation can help you to overcome stress and make you better able to cope with stressful situations. "Be still and ye shall know" is wise advice.

Moments of insight, revelation and inspiration do not happen generally as a result of conscious thought or effort. To achieve moments of creativity, insights and mystical delights, we need only still our bodies and allow our minds freedom. Simply step back from yourself and allow this spring inside each of us to burst forth.

In the modern day world, it seems that we have pressures all around us that must be dealt with and overcome. Interrelations at the ofice, at home, with the people and events we encounter every day, whether it's on the freeway going home from work, or the bills that just seem to keep mounting up, it can frustrate almost anyone.

Meditation is/can be the tool that will help you to conquer and control your own reactions to these negative stimuli, and help you to find a new joy in your own life.

Meditation is incredibly easy to learn, it takes only three minutes to master the technique, When Maharishi Mahish Yogi first attempted to introduce TM to the western world, he offered to teach the principles for nothing, and was almost ignored. Then the Beatles gave him much needed publicity and he began to charge for his teachings, It seems that putting a price tag on his classes was all the western world was waiting for. We seem to believe that if we don't have to pay for something, it must not be of use. Classes on Transcendental Meditation began to spring up all over the country, and were largely successful. Some one million people signed up and paid their money. Without the embellishment or ceremony, this is what they learned.

First set aside a regular time and place for meditation. To get the full benefits of meditation you should set aside at least fifteen minutes a day.

Ideally, fifteen to twenty minutes per session, twice a day should be practiced, Don't worry that you won't have enough time for this regimen on a daily basis, you will find that, as a result of meditation, your days will actually seem to have more time in them. This is one of its many benefits.

Learn to be still: You should select a place that is relatively quiet and where you won't be disturbed ( some people may have to lock themselves in the bathroom to do this). After you have practiced for a while, you will find that you will be able to meditate almost anywhere, including riding to or from work ( not driving! ).

The position you assume while you meditate is not important as long as you are comfortable. The important thing is to relax physically. Whether you choose the traditional postures such as the lotus position or kneeling with your hands clasped, or just sitting upright in you favorite old chair doesn't matter, as long as you are comfortable and at ease.

The Mantra: Teachers of TM will tell you that each person has their own personal mantra selected especially for them from among thousands, after careful investigation and thought. The truth is, any one or two syllable word will work as long as it has no semantic meaning for you personally. Teachers of TM will tell you that each mantra is matched to a particular personality. Wrong. The mantras are given according to the age of the initiate. This is not really fraudulent, it is just part of the "mystery" that is used to sell a product that is really quite basic and simple.

Following are the "secret" mantras and how they are assigned:

EM 12-13 YEARS

You may use the one that would normally be assigned to you or any of the others that might strike your fancy. Or, if you wish, you may use the more traditional OM, which represents "God in all his fullness and power." You may even substitute a word of religious significance such as "Praise God" or even a short prayer. Saying the rosary is a form of religious meditation. Use whatever you feel most comfortable with.

Which ever mantra you choose, stick with it. This is the way you use it. Assuming that you are in a comfortable position and that it is relatively quiet, you simply close your eyes (to shut out distractions). and begin repeating your mantra over and over to yourself. Repeat the mantra to yourself as you breathe out, letting the word or words just sort of flow out of you. Try to think of nothing but your mantra, If you find your mind wandering, or outside thoughts beginning to creep in, simply push them aside, gently putting them out of your conscious mind and return your concentration to your mantra, Don't worry if you find yourself drifting off into sleep of if you should actually fall asleep. With practice this will stop being a problem. After twenty minutes of meditation you may feel that you are as refreshed as if you had just taken a nap.

Basically that is all that there is to it, except for a few pointers. Don't try too hard, stop striving. We as a people are so used to making things happen that we rarely just allow them to happen. Relax. The benefits of meditation are subtle and may not be noticed immediately. We are so conditioned to "instant" everything that we find it easy to grow impatient. This once, just allow yourself the pleasure of "letting time be still," and enjoying it for yourself, or itself. Don't become discouraged if your life doesn't change overnight, practice at least once a day for about six weeks and then compare the quality of your life, your ability to cope with stress, the way people interact with you, and even your happiness, with the way you were before meditation and you should be pleasantly surprised.

Through the use of meditation you may find a new relationship with the world around you, the people, and even yourself. It is not unusual to experience "cosmic union" or a feeling of oneness with the universe, or even a sense of enlightenment.

Meditation may open many new doors for you. It will definitely have beneficial effects upon your health and well being, and may help to avert heart attack, ulcers and other stress related diseases.

The secret" has been revealed to you, now it's up to you what you choose to do with it. Good luck and enjoy!