How do we find presence of mind, again and again, so that we can be the best versions of ourselves in our work and personal lives?
Over the last three years, Transcendental Meditation has been a tool that has enabled me to come back to myself time and again, alleviating stress, anxiety and fatigue.
Growing up with a father who was a doctor, I was indoctrinated to believe wholeheartedly in the science of medicine and its benefits. I had been taught very little about alternative, non-medicinal and holistic modes of healing. Until I discovered transcendental meditation (TM).
This practice originated with Maharishni Mahesh Yogi, a guru from India. His technique spread across the globe when a variety of public figures and influencers such as The Beatles, Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld, and David Lynch started speaking publicly about the life changing effects of TM meditation.
The TM technique involves the silent repetition of a special Sanskrit word or phrase, known as a ‘mantra’. The concept behind this is that through repetition of the mantra, the mind can be stilled and a deep state of relaxation can be achieved. The aim of TM is to help us find our way through the noise of the mind’s surface to the tranquility of our deeper levels of consciousness.
In doing this, we can achieve a greater sense of contentment, vitality and creativity. We can shed layers of stress and practice the art of being present.
Studies have shown that TM helps alleviate depression, lowers blood pressure, soothes chronic pain, cures insomnia, among many other body/mind conditions.
Bob Roth, one of the voices at the forefront of the TM movement, explains the physiological process behind this. According to Roth, research shows that when we practice TM, our cortisol levels (our stress hormone) drop by 30%. There is an increase in serotonin as well as prolactin, both of which are hormones that contribute to a feeling of well-being.
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During my first TM meditation in 2016, I felt something shift in my brain. It almost felt like a weight was being lifted as all my thoughts started slipping like sand in an hourglass, gently dissolving and falling away. It felt like rest in its purest form and I experienced a bliss of sorts.
The TM Centre in Houghton, Johannesburg, has had thousands of people walking through its doors. I asked Dr Vicki Broome, co-director of the centre, how she thinks TM meditation can change our lives and why she believes everybody should practice it. She explains: “TM raises consciousness as we grow towards enlightenment. TM meditators feel they are growing as people day by day and are so much happier and healthier than before.”
Dr Vicki Broome believes that everyone should practice TM because “nobody can manage in today's noisy, changing world without accessing a place of stillness daily.” She likens it taking a mini vacation twice a day, wherever you are.
TM Meditation is my daily fuel. I echo David Lynch’s words, and the words of many TM meditators around the globe, time and again: “If you don’t already meditate, take my advice: Start. It will be the best decision you ever make.”
Do you practice any form of meditation, mindfulness practice or affirmations? Tell us about how it has benefited you here.
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