Today I traveled for 3 hours to spend an hour learning Transcendental Meditation (TM). A technique for meditation involving silently repeating a mantra that is specially chosen for you.
I had been really excited about today, but I arrived at the center feeling stressed and grumpy, some would say my normal state these days. Driving in the city after two hours on the motorway is not my idea of fun, but arriving at my destination to find the parking is horrendous, resulted in a fair amount of stress. My mood really plummeted though when I walked up to the venue and found the door locked and a note saying it might take them a while to open it for me! After a three hour drive I had expected to be able to go to the toilet and rest for a few minutes before the course started, so I was rather surprised to be left sitting outside waiting. To match my mood it had even started raining. In fact I went next door and to a Cafe and used their toilet, but still felt rather grumpy and stressed by the time someone (a receptionist?) did open the door for me.
Normally I would have held on to this mood for a while, probably imagining telling everyone how bad I thought it was, but to my surprise when my first hours instruction started, the mood vanished.
Learning TM starts with your teacher performing a brief ceremony of thanks to their teachers. My teacher, Mike, explained that this also reminded him of the many mantras he has been taught, keeping their sound pure in his mind and helps him select one for me. During the ceremony he chanted Sanskrit in a sing song way and then at the end just told me my mantra and asked me to repeat it. I was expecting more, but that was it. He then explained the technique of using the mantra for meditatio and I practiced.
The publicity material is full of testimonials saying how easy TM is, and I was relieved to agree. The publicity material is full of stories from people who have found the practice beneficial too, even the first session, so I was interested to see what would happen for me.
During the meditation I completely lost sense of time, something I normally associate with hypnosis. In some ways it felt like just minutes of meditation, yet I felt as if I had rested for longer. On the drive home I felt wide awake, I also noticed my responses to others being different. Somehow I was not surprised when the Audi A3 cut me up and then wove through the motorway traffic only to get stuck a couple of cars ahead. What was surprising to me was the lack of my negative emotions regarding the event. Sat in the service station I found myself smiling at the antics of a family walking back to their car. It was almost as if I felt their fun rather than being preoccupied with my issues.
You could say that I was primed to notice benefits from the start, which is true. That does not detract to the fact that there were for me, noticeable changes in my reactions.
As suggested by Mike I stopped on the way home and meditated for a further 20 minutes, then continued driving completely refreshed.
It’s only the first session of four, but so far Transcendental Meditation has lived up to expectation.
To find out more about Transcendental Meditation follow the link!