Stemming the Tide of Depression with Transcendental Meditation

In September my grandfather passed away and there were a few things about that which set me into a severe depression which no one noticed, not even my wife.

The depression lasted until late February, but it’s been a recurring thing for me since. I’ll get all melancholy, and now that my wife knows what I was going through, she knows what to look for.

Since breaking through the depression, I’d found myself going in and out of depression. Thoughts of suicide ran rampant through my mind on a daily basis during the depression, and lets just say it’s a good thing I don’t own a firearm.

My reasons for trying Transcendental Meditation (TM) stem a lot from the depression I fell into, caused by events following my grandfather’s passing.

In early November I got shingles, I knew this was from the stress of my grandfather’s passing. I also understood that I was beginning to spiral, though I hid it well from my wife, family and co-workers.

The catalyst to get me into TM was a breakdown I had at work, caused by an interaction with a co-worker, who said, “I don’t care what’s wrong with you.” His statement sent me over the cliff.

After work that day I cried in my car for twenty minutes. It was hard sobbing, uncontrollable crying. The type of crying you’d do as a kid. I called my wife on my way home and told her I needed to do something, and soon.

After that day, I knew I had two choices, be done with living, or truly start living. TM is my way to live.

When I attended the first introduction meeting I knew I would do it before I walked in. The next week I took my first lesson. That was one week ago. I feel more awake, and for the first time in a very long time, I feel alive.

TM is a lot like other meditations, except for the mantra. When you learn TM, your teacher gives you a mantra, it’s a word, phrase or combined words which create a tone, that centers you in a way that makes your body drop all its defenses and sends you spiraling into a deep pool of bliss.

I can’t tell you my mantra, because each one is special to each individual. I keep it as a sacred thing.

I can only speak of my experience, but TM was my last stop before jumping. I’ve backed away from the cliff in the last week and I’m now more comfortable in my skin than I’ve been since before my parents were divorced, when I was 8.

If you have any question or comments, please ask them.


24 thoughts on “Stemming the Tide of Depression with Transcendental Meditation

  1. Hi Brian!
    My name is Rose Hoffmann. I help manage the Transcendental Meditation blog, and I’m wondering if we can repost your 2 blogs about your experience with the TM technique. If you’re interested, get back to me at! It was great to read your story. Hope to hear from you.

    • I’m not sure where to post this, but after reading Brian’s experience with TM after just one week, I was impressed. I am not new to meditation. I have been practicing in one way or another since 1980. I received formal training from Tibetan Buddhist lamas throughout the 1990s. Because Brian’s story leans heavily on grief and loss, I wanted to leave this link for him and others. My story is very similar. My partner, best-friend and soul mate of 14 years passed in 2002. I had a very long, hard road with grief. I would say 10 years time. I found that after participating in Self-guided Afterlife Connections (and my experience with meditation in general) I really approached a turning point and resolution with the grief. Perhaps others here could benefit from TM and my experience with the Afterlife Connections. It is free of charge and can be found here:

  2. Pingback: Stemming the Tide of Depression: My First Experience with TM, Pt II

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  4. U told my story only it was my best friend and Im still in the deep 2 yrs later, Ive become agoraphobic , I have looked into TM but I can barely take a shower, thank u for ur insight and I will try to reconsider making TM a true option

    • I’m sorry for the loss of your friend, and I understand how difficult it is to come out of a depression. With TM I’ve honestly never felt better about who I am, what I’m doing with my life, and what I’m doing with it.

      As someone who’s gone through depression I want to help others who’ve gone through the same thing. Through TM and talking about TM I believe I can help others who’ve gone through depression.

      I hope that helps and I hope you’re able to leave the house, attend a meeting and get started taking back your life.

    • Susie, I’ve been meditating for many years, and from my own experience and the research I’ve seen, I feel certain you will find TM helpful. To find a TM teacher near you, you can call 888-LEARN-TM (888-532-7686) or if you can’t muster the energy to call, there’s a form you can fill out at
      and someone will get back to you.Depending on where you live, it’s possible a teacher would come to your house to give you private lessons. (Because of the agoraphobia.) Please take action on this, I’m sure you won’t be sorry.. On a gray day, the sun is hidden behind the clouds, but it’s still there; TM will help blow away the clouds.

  5. thank you for your comments Brian
    I didn’t experience a death, but a number of other things
    that have lead me into depression too
    I’m now more encouraged than ever after reading your comments

  6. Awesome for sharing your story Brian! I was in a very similar mental state when I started TM 14 years ago and have from the very first moment never missed a day because of all the amazing benefits…Stick to it, my friend, it only gets better and better!

  7. My father believes TM to be a gateway or vulnerable state of becoming possessed by a negative or evil spirit. Do you have any insight on this?

    • When I told my mom that I’d started doing TM she said something similar. My mom lives across town from me and we don’t see each other as often as either of us would like, mostly because of my day job.

      The first time she saw me after I’d been doing TM for a few weeks, her words were this, “I have my boy back.”

      The transformation, which is the way I truly feel, changed her thoughts on TM and she is curious about doing it as well.

      I’d tell your father that TM is the same as prayer, or any type of act which gets you closer to your beliefs.

      There are those who are devout religiously and they’ve said they feel closer to their religion because of TM.

      Thank you for your comment and I hope my reply helps your father understand TM a little better.

  8. “I can’t tell you my mantra, because each one is special to each individual. I keep it as a sacred thing.”

    Technically speaking, there are only a few TM mantras. Think of them as blood types: different kinds of people get different mantras.

    That said, the fact that you never say your mantra out loud, or write it down (or sign it or type it phonetically, or semaphore it) means that it has become intimately part of you. Think about it: you say your name out loud far, far more often than you do your mantra. Western science doesn’t know how to evaluate what that potentially does with respect to meditation practice, but I’m pretty sure that eventually scientists will find an explanation for why it is such a good thing to never again make your mantra as concrete as when you first learned it.

    • I am a teacher of TM and there are way more than a few mantras.

      After meditating for over 40 yearsI just want to say that you will find that your experiences of the Self will grow and change over time. A beautiful flower blooms from within. Flowers need light and this technique brings it.

      I can also add that the natural state of man is achieved by this simple practice. Anyone who can think a thought can learn it, no matter what is the state of the mind.

      • Thanks. I’ve been meditating for over 40 years too. Started the same day (or maybe a week later) that David Lynch did, in July 1973.

        And by “few” I meant that not everyone gets a different mantra. A lot of people think that TM teachers somehow give a mantra that is unique for them, which would mean billions of mantras (don’t think people think these things through), so I say “few” to point out that its a limited number.

  9. Pingback: What do we do when our life gets out of control? | Delusions of Ink

    • is a good place

      Here’s a study you can read:

      Bottom line: perceived stress, depression, and teacher burnout were statistically significantly AND clinically significantly reduced. Effects ranged from 4/10 standard deviations improvement over controls to 9/10 standard deviation over controls .

      15 IQ points = 1 standard deviation on a standard IQ test to give you a feel for what that means. It’s like they had the equivalent of 4-13 IQ points improvement on measures like depression (if people had a “Depression Quotient” scale).

    • Hello Denise. The best place to start is

      There is a signup on the right side of the webpage. After filling it out, a teacher will contact you either through e-mail or phone, whichever you prefer.

      Good luck!


  10. Hi Brian

    I am so sorry that you experienced such an awful time. I am so glad to hear you are healing and doing so well. This story resonants with me so much, do you perhaps have any info on how to train and can this technique help children?
    Caoimhe in DC
    Thanks a million

    • Hello Caoimhe,

      There are TM centers around the world. The best place to start is

      TM helps children. My wife and I are both meditators and our 10 year old has ADHD and he will be starting TM in the next couple months. For children, it quiets their mind the way it does with adults, but because children’s minds wander more than ours, the way the technique is taught is different.

      On the site, there is a box on the top left where you can enter in your zip code and it will give you the name of the nearest TM teacher.

      I hope this helps. If you need any information other than what I gave, please feel free to respond and I’ll talk to my teacher and find a solution for you.


  11. If TM is so healing and wonderful, why do they charge an arm and leg to learn it. That doesn’t make any sense… But, it does make cents. Many many cents. It’s really unfair to people that can’t afford it, but need it…..

    • TM is a non-profit and the money from the teachings is used to pay for rent and other things the centers may use. TM teachers are not paid to teach TM.

      The David Lynch Foundation helps find TM for underprivileged or at risk youth.

      TM is also offered to soldiers with PTSD at a lower rate than others.

      They will try to work with you if you’re low income and can’t afford the fee.

      If you’re interested you should contact a teacher in your area if only to ask questions.

      Thanks for commenting.

  12. Hello Brian,
    I just started my TM. Today was my last day of training. After starting TM my anxiety is much higher. So I talked to my teacher about it and he says it is normal for some people to have such kind of experience and tells me to keep practicing. This is completely opposite to what I expected. Did you have such experience ? Maybe I am not the right candidate for TM.


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