Meditation. The word is everywhere, even though people misuse it and misunderstand it. Folks think that it’s an activity. Yet, in order to use meditation fruitfully, it has to be exactly the opposite of activity. One wise teacher said, “Do nothing then rest afterward.” That’s closer to it.
To understand meditation and why it has a well-deserved reputation for promoting physical health, longevity, clear thinking and peace of mind, it helps to know what meditation isn’t. I’ve had scores of people over the years describe their so-called stress reduction methods and somehow refer to them as meditational. One guy told me he had “a handle on stress. Yep, I come home, pop a cold one, put my feet up and watch SportsCenter. Very meditative.” That’s not meditation. That’s watching SportsCenter and drinking. Others have said, “I have a recording of spacey, meditational music. I put my earbuds in and listen to that and meditate.” Got news for ya. That’s not meditation. That’s called “listening to music.” And some say, “I’ll sit and stare at a candle and think about the day.” That’s not meditation, either. That’s staring at a candle and thinking about the day.
“The world is too much with us…” Meditation is a specific practice that coaxes the mind to let go of thought, to become a blank slate, a tabula rasa, if only for brief moments. A drop into thought-lessness results in a release from the world. As thoughts slow down, the body slows down. Physiological change follows the mind. Results and benefits are automatic, effortless. That’s why I say that listening to a recording or doing anything that requires thought or even attention, defeats the process.
Historically, over millennia, an initiate would spend years at the foot of a Master Teacher to learn something as powerful as meditation. Picture Tibetan monks in the Himalayas or rishis in an ashram or Taoist leaders with attentive students. Only after years of dedication would a student find the benefits of meditation. That changed in the 1950s. A physicist from north central India who had turned to spiritual regeneration under the tutelage of a venerated Indian guru left his native country to teach meditation to the world.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi landed in Hawaii in 1959 and within five years had circled the globe five times, drawing crowds eager to learn what he named Transcendental Meditation. Perhaps it was the Maharishi’s background in 20th century science that gave him the tools to adapt an ancient technique to a modern world. Whatever it was, his methodology was embraced by a generation that was ready to learn. Within years, Maharishi graced the covers of Time, Saturday Evening Post, Look and major media. Celebrities, socialites and scientists visited his ashram in India. College students around the world flocked to his lectures and presentations. There is little doubt that single-handedly, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought meditation to the mainstream. He began personally training a small number of selected teachers to carry on the work.
Available to all. Since the early days of the Maharishi, the number of certified TM teachers worldwide has grown. Qualified teachers are available worldwide, including at the TM Center here in Omaha. Institutions founded by Maharishi, such as the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, have flourished. So too have alternative methods of learning meditation. Meditation techniques such as The Silva Method and Mindfulness Meditation draw from the Maharishi’s work. Though similar they are not the same, sharing some of the technique. Still, as in the words of that wise teacher I mentioned, “TM is like the ‘Cadillac’ of meditation training. When you learn TM, you know that you have learned how to really meditate.”
The physical, mental and even spiritual benefits of meditation are well-documented. The list of celebrities, world-class athletes and business tycoons using TM is long and entertaining. Just google. But that shouldn’t be the kicker to get you to learn. It’s common sense.
If your mind is your single best tool to create change, whether it’s in the arena of wellness, performance, peace of mind or simply enjoyment of life, meditation is where to start. Insomnia? Meditation. Illness? Meditation. Weight? Meditation. Prosperity? Yes, meditation. There is no single thing in life that is not affected by our mind and meditation is the single most effective tool to adopt.
I’ve always maintained that unless a person is willing to devote a measly 2% of their day (roughly 2, fifteen-minute segments) to something that can change their life for the better, it makes me wonder if they’re really serious about wanting change. Or just want to watch Sportscenter with a beer.
There are scholarships available to help defray cost of TM training. But in reality, when one totals the amount of money spent on drugs, herbs, methodology, etc in even a short period of time that hasn’t worked, then the investment in something that does, comes into perspective.
For a recent CBS segment on TM, visit http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-quiet-power-of-meditation/
To find a meditation teacher, visit HeartlandHealing.com
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.