What do Oprah, Paul McCartney, David Lynch, Russell Brand, and Russell Simmons have in common? They all meditate as part of their daily routine. In fact, they all practice the Transcendental Meditation® technique and they love it. Oprah wrote an article about her experience,and had her company learn, too www.tm.org/research/home.html
David Lynch founded the David Lynch Foundation to help Veterans, children in inner schools, homeless people etc davidlynchfoundation.org

Does it really matter which type of meditation you choose or are most meditations the same? To answer that question, lets take a look at what goes on under the hood, see what happens in the brain when a person meditates.
A recent research study on meditation by Dr. Fred Travis, one of the most published researchers on meditation and brain functioning,showed that different types of meditation have different types of brain activity, different types of brain wave patterns that indicate different kind of activity in the brain during meditation practice.

1. Focused attention types of meditation such as Tibetan Budhhist, Zen Buddhist, and some Chinese Qigong are characterized by brain waves of the beta and gamma type. Beta waves are associated with everyday consciousness, gamma with high levels of focus and cognitive functioning (mental activity).
2. A different type of brain wave activity was seen in the open monitoring techniques (Buddhist mindfulness, some Quigong, and Vedic Sahaja Yoga meditations.They showed increased theta brain waves - the slowest of the brain waves in this context. They are usually associated with dreaming, creativity and extra sensory perception.
3. And the self-transcending styles of meditation (including Vedic Transcendental Meditation and some Chinese Qigong) induce alpha wave activity in the brain. This alpha activity represents a relaxed and effortless alertness in the brain.

A key-point here seems to be techniques that transcend their own activity. Techniques that spontaneously let the mind experience more and more subtle levels of thought or mental activity, and finally settles down in a state of inner silence, stillness, where activity is suspended or transcended; the mind goes beyond its own mental activity. Therefore the name of Transcendental Meditation® or TM for short.
In many traditions, the experience of transcendence is assumed to come as an end result of LONG years of practice. However, it is often and usually available at the beginning of meditation practice, when utilizing the inner nature of the mind to move toward areas more charming, attractive and enjoyable, as in Transcendental Meditation ™ and go deep within.

Some people seem to think that meditation must be difficult to learn and to do. Not when using s a natural technique, that is and easy to learn and to practice. Some people think you need to concentrate in order to meditate. Not with a technique that utilizes the very nature of the mind - that does not require effort or strain.
In short, different types of meditation have different types of brain waves patterns, which are associated with different kinds of brain activity. Meditation practices may have similar goals, they may be presented in similar ways, they may seem and sound similar. However, with those differences between meditations we have learned about here, one cannot reasonably assume, that they are the same in practice – or that they lead to the same kinds of results. Each type of meditation is different. One cannot just average them all together.
Hope this has brought a new perspective to the topic of differences between meditations.


Travis, F. and Shear, J. (2010). Focused attention, open monitoring and automatic self-transcending: Categories to organize meditations form Vedic, Budhist and Chinese traditions. Consciousness and Cognition, 19, 1110-1119.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1969. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad Gita. New York, Penquin books.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Rannie Ragnhild Boes received her Ph. D. in Vedic Psychology, 1999, Maharishi University of Management.
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention, which has received 24 million dollars from the National Institute of Health to research health effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique. Researcher, Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, Fairfield, Iowa, USA.