I Tried Transcendental Meditation for a Week and Here’s What Happened


Violet Cole tries transcendental meditation.

Violet Cole, Health & Wellness Writer

Probably one of the more well known techniques of meditation, transcendental meditation, gets rave reviews from everyone from Hugh Jackman to my dad. So, what does it mean? Well, transcendental meditation is the practice of achieving a stable mental state by connecting yourself to a spiritual, non-physical realm. But how did this style of meditation get so mainstream? How do you do it? 

Origins of Transcendental Meditation 

Transcendental meditation (T.M.) has been around for thousands of years, deeply embedded in Indian culture. Though it is deeply rooted in Hinduism, the Western world has adapted it to separate it from its religious ties and commonly use it for personal development. So if it’s been around for this long, why did it only recently become so popular? Well, founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was a student under Guru Dev, a highly regarded Yogi in the early to mid twentieth century. After the death of Guru Dev in 1953, Maharishi took it upon himself to introduce Dev’s teachings to the western world. He traveled to Los Angeles, California where he gave lectures about what he learned and spirituality. With L.A. being the celebrity hotspot, he easily garnered the attention of many mainstream figures like The Beach Boys (they even wrote a song about T.M. It’s really bad!). 

In the 60’s,  he became the personal teacher to The Beatles after they took a trip to India and helped ignite their spirituality which was then reflected into their music. With the help of the most famous people in the world, Maharishi was able to get the word out there about transcendental meditation. In 21st century pop-culture, celebrities like Hugh Jackman (triple threat actor, musical theater nerd and aspiring dancer), can’t stop talking about it. On the Oprah Show, Jackman said that T.M. allowed him to learn a lot about himself and who he truly is. David Lynch, director of films such as Twin Peaks, Dune and Eraserhead, was so infatuated with T.M. he startedthe David Lynch Institute, where he teaches people about trancendental medetation. 

What exactly is Transcendental Meditation? How do you do it? 

We’ve discussed how it became so popular, but you’re still probably thinking, “What is this girl talking about?” When you think of meditation, do you normally think of some mystical shaman sitting criss-cross-applesauce with their eyes closed saying “om” over and over? If that’s what you visualize, that’s what transcendental meditation looks like. 

The main objective of transcendental meditation is to clear your mind and remove yourself from your surroundings and physical senses. It’s essentially sitting in a calm, controlled, distraction-less environment with your eyes closed, repeating a mantra. A mantra is a motivational word or phrase that one could use to live their life by. A mantra could be “my body is a temple,” or any other egotistical statement. One word mantras, which are a little different, are more commonly used for this T.M. Most of the time if you look up a list of one word mantras, you’ll find a list of seemingly meaningless gibberish. One word mantras are ideal for T.M. because they prevent you from digging any deeper into the meaning. 

To perform T.M., you sit or lie down in a comfortable position in a quiet controlled environment with your eyes closed, clear your mind and repeat your one-worded mantra either out loud or in your head. Transcendental meditation is designed to be done twice a day morning and night for 15-30 minutes, but it’s really flexible, so you can do it however often you like. That’s the reason why this style of meditation is so appealing; There’s not much that goes into it. 

My Experience:

To start my journey to unlock a higher level of being, I will be doing transcendental meditation every day for a week using the mantra “enga”. Do I know what that means? No, I just got it from the internet. It’s meaningless in terms of being a mantra, which I guess is fitting for transcendental meditation. Moving on, every night after meditating for 15 minutes, I will be logging how it went. 


Honestly, I don’t really know what to expect from this. I don’t think only doing this for a week will really do anything but I’m in a time crunch. I’ve meditated before, but that was just sleep meditation, and I didn’t really like it because I’ve always stayed up well after the tape stopped. But I’m not listening to a tape, I’m setting a timer and saying a word so it’s definitely going to be different. Going off of my past experiences I don’t think that this will be effective, but I’m going try not to go in with a negative attitude. Only positive vibes for this girl. 

February/28/2022 – Day One:

My first time doing transcendental meditation was not what I expected. I expected to ascend to a higher level of being, or have some sort of out-of-body experience. BUT NO! Instead, my mouth got really dry because if I didn’t say my mantra out loud then it would have scrambled in my mind- like some sort of tongue twister. Also, all I could think about was how much I wanted it to be over. I don’t know if this is just me complaining too much, but I think that 15 minutes is a little excessive.

March/1/2022 – Day Two:

I know that you’re supposed to have some sort of spiritual awakening during this, but the only thing that I’ve been awakened to is that I’m a heavy breather. I know that I’m supposed to have a positive outlook on this, but I’m not a positive person, so that’s tough. At least I’m trying it, alright? I’ve noticed my biggest problem is that my mind tends to wander, and I start thinking up a montage of all of the most embarrassing moments of my life, or whether or not my contacts will get permanently stuck to my eyes.

March/2/2022 – Day Three:

Today it felt more like a nap than a meditation sesh. Maybe changing into my pajamas before this wasn’t the right call, but it’s too late for that now, isn’t it? While I was meditating, I used to wonder if I would reach a state of transcendence, but honestly at this point I’ve lost all hope. But I have to stay positive. Another thing I’ve noticed is that if I focus on a specific part of my body- like my hands or legs- then I can feel them. I dont know if this is already a known thing and I’m just stupid, or if I’m the first person to realize this. but now I know what to do while I’m meditating. 

March/3/2022 – Day Four:

Okay so today was very different. I decided to change it up a bit and take what I learned from the past few days, applying it to today’s meditation session. I turned off all the lights in my room and sat on the floor, instead of keeping my lamp on and lying down on my bed. Also, I didn’t change into my pajamas. I actually found it easier to do, and I wasn’t dreading it as much while I was doing it. I also had a pretty horrible day, so it was pretty chill to just decompress and forget about it all. I still had some of the recurring problems, such as my mind wandering and checking the timer. Other than that, the experiment is starting to look up! But I’m not gonna jinx it.

March/4/2022 – Day Five:

Today was similar to yesterday, the only difference was that I was at my mom’s house and not my dad’s so it was a different environment. Also, I sat on my bed instead of the floor because yesterday my butt hurt so much. Additionally, my friend wouldn’t stop texting me and I forgot to turn my ringer off, so my lil sesh was interrupted halfway through, but it was fine. I still haven’t unlocked my third eye or become some beacon of light yet, but I’m starting to think that that’s never gonna happen. I’m also still having concentration issues, but I also don’t think that will disappear because it’s hard to stop thinking, you know? 

March/5/2022 – Day Six:

I started drooling because I almost fell asleep. I was also really distracted with what it’s like to have your eyes closed. You know how when your eyes are closed you see black but you can also see other stuff? I have know idea if I’m describing this right but I was just moving my eyes around while they were closed. Then I was wondering what it was like to be blind, and freaked out because I have horrible vision and my prescription gets higher at a very alarming rate, so I was ready to accept that that’s how I would see the world. Aside from me catastrophizing and getting spit all over my face, it was pretty nice. I managed to only check the timer once, and I felt significantly more relaxed than my previous trials.

March/6/2022 – Day Seven:

I’m nearing the end of my experiment, and if there’s one thing that I’m going to take away from this, it’s that you have to pee before meditating. I’m just gonna leave it at that. I think today was the best session so far because I was like one huge ball of negativity. I have no idea what happened but I woke up and was like “You know what, I hate everyone and everything” and that’s totally okay. However, I did get a lot out of taking a break from my negative energy and just sitting there not thinking or doing anything. I think today I started to understand why people do T.M. and why it works for some people. I suppose that people who rave about it actually like taking a break from their day-to-day lives and just do nothing for a quick second. But why couldn’t I have learned this earlier?

My Final Thoughts

Well, this is it. I think the main thing that I was expecting out of this experiment was to have an out-of-body experience or become spirit Violet and float around the universe for a quick sec. That didn’t happen, but I was talking to my friend today who actually does meditate, and has been for a few decades (Yes, she’s 70, what about it?), and she said that most of the time you can’t really get out of your head. I feel like that should have come up in my research but it didn’t so that kind of blows. I literally wasted this whole week trying to become a spiritual goddess. I guess wasted isn’t the right word to use because I was doing an experiment that I’ve inflicted upon myself. With that being said, I was able to learn a lot about myself such as my thought patterns and how to reason with myself as well as different breathing methods that help me calm down. I was also able to form a newfound respect for meditation and those who do it because I did find it pretty difficult to do. 

The practice of transcendental meditation has rocked the meditation world. People rave about it and follow it religiously, they find solace and comfort in the practice. Everyone has their own experience, opinions and thoughts about it, and I’m no different. While I did enter this experiment with a bias against meditation, I still tried to keep an open mind. When it was time for me to meditate, I thought of it as a burden. Now reflecting on this past week, I do fully recognize that I probably did gain more out of it then I thought I did. While meditating I was able to be alone with my thoughts and learn a lot about myself. There was a 15 minute part of my day where I wasnt so heavily reliant on technology for entertainment – I had my own brain! While it wasn’t fun having all my most embarrassing memories resurface, I did find myself looking forward to my little break from reality everyday. 

It took me a little while to really get into the groove of it, but by the end of the week I was able to do it like, 85% correctly. If you were to ask me if I think you should do it, I’d tell you that you should! Sure you might not get anything out of it, but nothing bad will come of trying it out. Should you do it for 15 minutes though? Absolutely not. Maybe it’s just me but I have the attention span of a goldfish so 15 minutes seems like a lifetime. Maybe 5 minutes is the way to go. But just like the song by The Beach Boys goes, “Transcendental meditation can emancipate the man”. Well, do I feel emancipated? No, quite the opposite actually. Am I a man? Also no, I’m a woman.