TM also has one of the largest libraries of scientific research supporting it, substantiating claims of everything from increased cardiovascular health to decreased violence to increased creativity. So why has this method of meditation endured the test of time and received a stamp of approval from doctors and celebrities alike?
This writer recently learned the technique at the New York City TM Center and has been pleased with the results. The key here is conditioning, and in fact, the TM technique can be thought of as a conditioning technique. Conditioning, or programming, is a phenomenon that must take place in order for us to live our lives. When we practice TM, we're conditioning our minds to have a completely new response to thought itself.
As mentioned above, when one practices TM, she gently returns to the mantra once she realizes she has drifted to a thought.
The two 20-minute sessions of TM one practices daily are no different than practicing for a particular sport. TM helps in much the same way: If our "naturally programmed" response is to be reactive, either with emotion or action, TM helps us practice being non-reactive to thoughts. Just think, if you're able to either eliminate or mitigate your action (internal or external) or emotional reaction to thought, wouldn't that lower your blood pressure? In the case of creativity, imagine thoughts not disrupting the creative process when you're trying to write, paint or play music. Jeff Halevy is an internationally recognized expert in behavioral health, nutrition and exercise science. CORRECTION: Due to a typing error, an early version of this article stated that Fairfield had a population of 95,000.


The answer would comprise of one or more of the following elements: exercise, a healthy diet, physical hygiene, and taking proper medicine when required. This can range from improving cardiovascular function and stamina, to improving muscle tone, gaining muscle mass, weight loss, and so on.
Take oral hygiene (brushing our teeth, flossing, mouth wash, etc.), bathing, and other grooming exercises. In both cases (exercise and physical hygiene), every aspect requires a different set of tools and type of care. Since The Beatles first tried it decades ago, it's garnered the following of a bevy of celebrities and high profile individuals, like Russell Simmons and Jerry Seinfeld. But celebrity endorsements and even the best academic studies can hardly be relied on as conclusive proof. One sits comfortably, closes his or her eyes, and repeats a mantra (in Sanskrit) without moving the lips or making a sound for about 20 minutes, two times a day.
The simplest example: You think "I'm hungry," and as a result, get something to eat or make a plan to get something to eat. It completely changes our standard reaction to thoughts -- our 'conditioning' or 'programming,' if you will. If you've ever tried a combat sport for instance, you have to completely recondition your "natural" response of turning away from -- or turning your back to -- an attacker. If you've been practicing TM consistently, when a thought that may spike blood pressure or the emotions or actions that lead to a spike in blood pressure comes along, your reconditioned, non-reactive response should ensue, thereby averting the emotion or action response that would normally take place. If we use the ability to condition our response to thought, we can reap tremendous benefits; if we allow ourselves to simply play into existing conditioning, we know just how detrimental that can be.
Oz about her newfound practice and her visit to Fairfield, Iowa, a town of 9,500 people where an estimated third of the population has a regular meditation practice.


Simply put together the different tools and techniques we use just for taking care of our oral health and hygiene.
We learn that a flame is hot, for instance, and condition ourselves to fear making contact with flames. For example, we may think of a relationship or business deal gone bad, and as a result -- even if only mild and temporary -- we'll have a shift in emotional state. One doesn't dwell on the thought, take the time to invest emotion or carry out action – one simply just returns to the mantra. This takes time and repetition, but after a while, you've completely reconditioned a "naturally programmed" response.
After surviving the removal of a pear-sized tumor and a substance abuse problem, Jeff turned his life around, founding New York City private gym Halevy Life and starring in healthy lifestyle TV show "Workout From Within with Jeff Halevy," which airs nationally on Veria Living. The only other crucial piece of information one must know to do the technique correctly is to not 'force' anything.
We develop what we believe are "natural responses" to specific stimuli -- not all that different from Pavlov's dogs. For instance, haven't you ever, out of nowhere, thought about an old friend and made a mental note to call her at a later point? And while learning the method can be a bit on the expensive side, it may be well worth the long-term return. That is, allow thoughts to come and go -- and if one realizes he's stopped repeating the mantra in his head, to just gently come back to it.



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