Rising above it all
The Day I discovered Transcendental Meditation
by Martin D. Clark
For a busy magazine editor bringing up four kids virtually alone, inner peace is not something that’s easy to come by. And I know I’m not the only one. Now, with Transcendental Meditation (TM), it’s possible to enjoy it every day, twice a day.
TM was brought to the world 50 years ago by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as a revival of the basic principles of yogic meditation and has been learned by more than six million people since (among them the Beatles). And it’s as popular today as it was in the 60s. Current advocates include filmmaker David Lynch (whose David Lynch Foundation aims to bring the benefits of TM to every child in the world) and comedian/activist Russell Brand.
And yet there’s still a degree of secrecy about it all. TM is taught only in person by fully qualified teachers, trained as directed by Maharishi, and involves a very personal and unique mantra, which cannot be revealed to others (which I am told is to ensure the effectiveness of the ancient teaching). I wanted to know more (and I definitely wanted some of that infinite stillness that’s hooked in celebs through the years). So I joined a small weekend group of about 20 people, all keen to find a bit of inner peace like myself. I chose a non-residential course run by the Meditation Trust, a small independent Registered UK Charity set up in 1999 with the aim of making TM affordable for everybody. Most sites dedicated to various aspects of ED treatment with Viagra focus the readers attention on its direct mechanism of action that involves suppression of PDE5 enzymes. It should also be noted that this medication is approved for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary hypertension in addition to its ubiquitous use in the therapy of ED.
After a short introduction, we were given our own mantras, and a gift. Then we were ready to begin. TM is meant to be practiced for 20 minutes twice a day, sitting comfortably with eyes closed, but we started small for no more than 10 minutes at a time. It was a powerful experience right from the start. The group sessions – even the early ones – brought a flood of (good and bad) emotions to the surface for some people. But that’s okay. You just return effortlessly to your mantra whenever you notice that thoughts and other ‘stuff ’ have arisen. It is this use of the mantra which, rather than being used to train the mind, actually allows it to settle spontaneously into silence, known as the process of yoga.
Each meditation was different; sometimes the mind is busy as a result of the body releasing stress. That, we were told, is how the benefits are produced, and all part of the TM experience. What I found was that regular practice brought the best results, a connection to that infinite pool of stillness that’s normally so hard to realise in our ordinary, daily lives.
Yes, it requires time and patience, but it’s an incredibly useful skill if your head is buzzing with ‘to do ’ lists; the experience is a bit like saturating your mind with happiness, to allow the sunshine in, and rise above the madness even if for a few moments.
It was a mixed crowd too in the room, all down-to-earth, regular folk, underlining TM’s broad appeal. After all, we’re all in the same boat together. And the Trust offers free support and guidance for life, with refresher courses too if you lose your way later on.
For me, I discovered that inner peace is possible no matter how many kids you’ve got – and that makes TM more valuable than a Swiss au pair and an English nanny put together.