Meditation is certainly having a moment. Everyone from Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey to Beyonce claim that the practice can help manage stress, improve creativity and boost energy.
But there’s a specific type of meditation that’s been getting a lot of buzz from high-profile individuals: Transcendental Meditation (TM).
At Oprah’s 2020 Vision Your Life In Focus Tour in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Saturday, Lady Gaga, aka Stefani Germanotta, and Oprah Winfrey spoke about mental health, including their shared love of transcendental meditation.
Germanotta and Winfrey, as well as billionaire Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio — who attributes much of his success to TM — learned Transcendental Meditation from the same teacher, Bob Roth, CEO of The David Lynch Foundation.
Transcendental Meditation is a proprietary practice taught by certified teachers (the four-day course is available on a sliding-scale and costs between $380 and $960). Generally though, as Roth explains it, TM is a simple form of meditation that requires sitting for 20 minutes twice a day and repeating a mantra.
While other meditation practices prompt you to observe thoughts or concentrate on your breath, Transcendental Meditation “allows the active thinking mind to just, all of it to just settle down, and experience quieter levels of thought,” Roth said in a 2014 YouTube video.
Winfrey, 65, has said that learning how to meditate was ”[o]ne of the most life-enhancing things I ever did,” she told comedian Amy Schumer in a 2018 interview for Oprah’s “Super Soul Conversations.”
After having such a positive experience with transcendental meditation, Winfrey brought a teacher into her production company at the time, Harpo Studios, to teach the employees how to meditate, she said in a 2011 interview with “The Dr. Oz Show.”
The staff would take two breaks during the day to meditate, Winfrey said. ”[I]t’s more important than the work you are doing,” she said. ”[It] brings a kind of energy and an intensity of energy, an intention that we have never had before.”
Dalio called Transcendental Meditation probably “the single most important reason for whatever success I’ve had,” in a 2018 Facebook post.
Dalio, now 70, first learned about TM in his early 20s. It “has enhanced my open-mindedness, higher-level perspective, equanimity and creativity,” Dalio wrote in his book “Principles.” “It helps slow things down so that I can act calmly, even in the face of chaos, just like a ninja in a street fight.”
Dalio also offered a transcendental meditation course for his employees at Bridgewater Associates.
Germanotta, 33, told Winfrey that she uses TM to manage her fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder that causes muscular pain and fatigue. “Sometimes I can get in a ton of pain and meditate and it goes away,” she said.
For those curious about transcendental meditation, Dailo recommends Roth’s 2018 book, “Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation.”
“I recommend it to non-meditators so you can get the picture, and I recommend it to meditators so you can enjoy it and pass it to your non-meditator friends to help them get the picture,” he wrote in a 2018 Facebook post.
Research suggests that Transcendental Meditation may also have health benefits. A 2009 study found that young people who practiced Transcendental Meditation for three months had lower blood pressure and lower levels of psychological distress, anxiety, depression, anger and hostility.