Why I Practice TM
In case you’re living under a rock, Transcendental Meditation (now referred to simply as TM), is having a bit of “a moment”. Even though the practice originated in India over 5,000 years ago and has been on the public’s radar since the 1960’s (thanks to the Beatles), until recently it was primarily thought of (if at all) as another strange, cultish, hippie-culture fad. Much like yoga before it though, the “fad” gradually caught the interest of many highly successful businesspeople, entrepreneurs and celebrities. To hear them touting the incredible mind and body boosting benefits was all it needed to gain traction into the mainstream.
Of course I’m always open to trying anything health and wellness-related, so it would seem perfectly natural that my path would eventually lead me to TM. However, it was actually my 8-year old daughter that inspired me to begin researching and eventually learning it last year. Last fall, I was reading extensively about stress and anxiety management tools for young girls when I came upon a very compelling article about the benefits of TM for children. I understood the importance of mindfulness and meditation, and tried my best to make it a part of all of our daily routines, but so far nothing seemed to “click” for her the way I had hoped. So, I decided to enroll both of us in the beginner course at our local TM Center—not knowing much but hoping for the best. What transpired over those three days was awesome.
The first awesome thing is that you don’t actually have to “believe” in anything. You also don’t have to subscribe to any particular philosophy or religion, nor does it require any lengthy training concentration or contemplation. Whereas mindfulness requires active self-reflection, TM is just about letting go. You sit silently and comfortably in a chair for 20 minutes, closing your eyes and allowing your mind to quiet. You repeat a mantra – a Sanskrit sound given only to you by your teacher– and eventually, when practiced correctly, your body and mind fills with a warm, blissful feeling. Hence, “transcendence.”
The second awesome thing was that it works almost immediately. By the end of Day 2, both my daughter and I had already achieved that state (to an initial degree) and felt the immediate effects of stress melting away. After we were done, we felt happier, calmer and less reactive, yet also more focused and energized. We were sold. Now, we both practice daily (she even begins her school day with an 8-10 minute session) and have experienced a significant reduction in overall stress and anxiety, a greater sense of emotional balance, and an improved quality of sleep. I even think I look more rested and youthful! The scientifically-proven benefits of TM extend far beyond this however. Practicing daily can help ease pain, reduce depression, lower cortisol (and hence lose weight), reduce the risk of heart attack & stroke, improve brain function, creativity & memory and slow the visible signs of aging. Essentially, it is one of the most simple tools to help people achieve an optimal state of wellness for their mind, body and soul. Not yet a believer? Check out TM.org to learn more about this life-altering practice or to find a TM center near you.