Mindfulness vs. Vedic Meditation

“Mindfulness methods are methods that have been concocted from a variety of sources over the last few hundred years. Vedic Meditation goes back, in some instances we could say, as much as 10,000 years. We can trace it easily back 5,000 years.”

Thom Knoles

Episode Summary

Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years. There’s no shortage of teachers, books, apps or other tools to help us practice mindfulness. 

But how does mindfulness compare with Vedic Meditation? Is there a comparison at all or do they have different functions altogether?

Thom explains the difference between the two in a way that leaves no doubt as to which one has the most profound effect.

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Episode Highlights


Vedic Meditation Isn’t Really Meditation



Going Beyond Thought



A Doing That You’re Doing



A Charming Mantra



Comfort is Key


Jai Guru Deva


Mindfulness vs. Vedic Meditation

Vedic Meditation Isn’t Really Meditation

People often ask me what the differences are between mindfulness, mindfulness meditation, and Vedic Meditation. And first at the outset, we need to make it clear that the word meditation is a word that has entered into the common parlance and, in a way, is really a misnomer in the case of Vedic Meditation and I’ll tell you why.

[00:01:06] In Vedic Meditation we teach you a technique whereby the individual mind becomes less and less and less excited, thinking tendencies decrease and decrease until the mind touches upon a silent state of pure Being.

[00:01:22] In other practices of meditation we see obedience to the dictionary definition of meditation. When I look in the dictionary, I see that meditation means a thought process. I mean, for goodness sake, there’s even such a thing as ‘premeditated’ murder.

[00:01:36] So thinking, meditation, contemplation, all of that, generally speak to the individual having an agenda. Close your eyes and apply your individualistic agenda to what your mind is doing and mindfulness, and mindfulness meditation, fit into that category.

Going Beyond Thought

[00:01:58] I don’t think they’re harmful to anybody, but they do not equate with the spectrum of effects that Vedic Meditation can produce because, instead of working in the realm of thinking, with thoughts, thinking about thoughts and thinking about not thinking, Vedic Meditation instead takes us right beyond thought.

[00:02:18] It causes and triggers a state of transcendence, and transcendence is really the specialty of the Vedic Meditation technique.

[00:02:27] Mindfulness methods are methods that have been concocted from a variety of sources over the last few hundred years. Vedic Meditation goes back, in some instances we could say, as much as 10,000 years. We can trace it easily back 5,000 years.

[00:02:44] We’re not too sure, and probably unlikely, that the historic Buddha ever taught anything known as mindfulness or mindfulness meditation.

[00:02:53] These are constructs that have come up more recently from various practitioners of ideas that came out of what’s called “Buddhism,” and I’d have to put it in quotes here because there are so many different forms of it.

A Doing That You’re Doing

[00:03:05] And I would say that they’re still experimental. The jury is still out on what the full physiological changes and spectrum of changes are that might apply to these things. Though we do know that with Vedic Meditation, there are very clear benefits and the obvious approach is a very different one. Going to the state of Being, to the source of thought, rather than learning how to shepherd thoughts.

[00:03:31] In addition, in other forms of “meditation,” and meditation can mean almost any kind of thought process, there’s always an implicit idea that you need to be doing something. There’s a “doing” that you’re doing, some rule or some kind of applied effort, some discipline or some preference not to be experiencing certain things.

A Charming Mantra

[00:03:58] In Vedic Meditation we don’t toy with any of this. We have an absolutely effortless technique that uses a pulsation of sound, a mantra. The mind doesn’t have to concentrate upon it because it’s spontaneously charming to think the sound.

[00:04:14] And the sounds are selected individually to match, resonantly, the vibration of the individual who is using the mantra. And so then when the mind experiences the mantra, absolutely effortlessly, the mantra itself becomes increasingly charming.

[00:04:30] Fortunately, the mind is designed in such a way that it will spontaneously follow anything that becomes more and more charming, and it will do so without effort.

[00:04:40] As the mantra gets subtler and subtler and subtler it then goes quiet, and there’s a moment where the mind is experiencing no mantra and no thought replacing it.

[00:04:50] That’s that state of Being to which I have alluded, and that state arrives with absolute effortlessness, in contrast with other practices that are individually intellect driven and must use lots of effort to try to make certain things happen while the meditation is going on.

Comfort is Key

[00:05:10] One of the interesting features that contrasts Vedic Meditation with all other meditation techniques is that we advocate to our students a simple, upright, but comfortable position with the back supported and the head upright and free, sitting very relaxedly.

[00:05:28] There’s no requirement to bend one’s legs into pretzel positions, unless you find locking your legs in a cross-legged position more comfortable than letting your feet sit on the floor. Vedic Meditation does not depend upon, or the success of Vedic Meditation does not depend upon, a postural position, except that we do want to sit upright comfortably.

[00:05:51] This is a very important thing because people often hear the word meditation and they fear that they’re going to be asked to adopt some kind of arcane yoga position, or something that their knees just won’t be able to take, or they’re going to be asked to sit absolutely erect and upright without any back support.

[00:06:08] None of those things is true with Vedic Meditation. Our technique works best if people are sitting comfortably. The more comfortable you are, the greater success you have in stepping beyond thought into the state of Being, the state of pure serene, inner-contentedness.

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