Vedic meditation is a form of meditation called “automatic self-transcending” which is widely recognised or labelled the easiest, effective and most effortless form of meditation.
Big call right.
In the modern world, it is so easy to make claims and statements, post them online and call it a fact without any supportive evidence. Just go on social media, there are so many “experts” and unvalidated statements that get thrown around. So we need to engage our intellect and a positive scepticism and ask “is that so?”.
So now that I’ve framed that, back to the statement that Vedic Meditation is the easiest, effective and most effortless form of meditation. Is that really so?
Can I quantify that statement? Aside from the personal experience of myself and students who may have a bias to want this to be that way.
The answer is yes. Thanks to the wonders of modern science.
There are bodies and bodies of research into transcending forms of meditation and meditation as a whole (over 6,000 scientific studies, is that a claim…). To look specifically at this claim, I found a peer-reviewed scientific article (this is the highest calibre of reporting, as it needs to be reviewed by other scientists before it can get published). This particular study looked into Transcendental meditation (which is also a form of Automatic self-transcending meditation) and what happens to our brain during rest, activity and meditation. They also compared studies that have researched the impact of the other main forms of meditation such open monitoring/awareness (mindfulness, contemplation practices) and focused attention (concentration forms of meditation such as Vipassana) on the default mode network (a network system within the brain which is active during periods of rest and self-referential activity and deactivated during periods where constructive mental activity is required). It was found that the meditations listed above all deactivated the default mode network during meditation. This is due to the goal-orientated nature of the practice, in controlling thought or holding awareness. Whereas with Transcendental meditation the default mode network remained active. This highlights that there is no effort of control required with effortless transcending meditation practices. After all, this is what most people have a challenge with “controlling the mind”.
Another key finding of this study was that there was little to no difference in the brain patterns of novice meditators to experienced meditators. This is unique, as with techniques where mind control is required, there is a distinct difference in brain patterns between experienced meditators and novices. So new meditators are not achieving the depth of experience that experienced meditators are.
However, with Transcendental meditation, new meditators were shown to experience “transcendence” as often as experienced meditators. Transcendence is described as a state in which awareness seems expanded beyond the boundaries of thought, beyond the limits of time and space, without the sense of body or environment. Sounds good? It certainly feels good when we drop into this space, and with Vedic meditation, we experience this often.
So back to the question is automatic self-transcending forms of meditation such as Vedic Meditation really the easiest, effective and most effortless form of meditation? According to millions of practitioners, it is a resounding yes, and this is supported not just by their experience but by science.