In our home meditation is known as ‘Just having 20 minutes’!
My husband introduced me to meditating shortly after we met all those years ago in the North East. After attending an introductory talk about Transcendental Meditation (TM) I decided to pay the money and learn…..that was back in 1976!!
I am still meditating, not twice a day for 20 minutes as suggested but I generally manage once a day. There have been periods in my life when I had no meditation practice, particularly after our daughter was born. It was enough to get dressed and stagger through the normal bits of the day, sitting in silence was not an option. Mantras were not really useful with a babe who suffered colic and projectile vomiting. That may sound rather shallow, but living in the back of beyond in baking-hot temperatures was not conducive to self-reflection. Peace did not exist. I may have been up most mornings at 5.30 but it was to play collecting stones and reading stories to a very lively, inquisitive child who had big ideas way before she could walk and talk
So, that rather sets the tone. I have meditated when and if I could. I have sat quietly in planes, trains and waiting rooms in various parts of the world and meditated. I have no special place, candle or shawl, I simply bring to mind my mantra and breathe.
I have had revelations during my meditation, some tiny and some rather amazing. I have had a gentle voice in my ear and have had amazing ‘pictures’ flash by. Sometimes, I just come out of my quiet time knowing the answer to some conundrum that has been bugging me.
Ideally, I meditate in my therapy room sitting on my yoga mat or a lovely rug I brought back from Jaipur. I do also sit comfortably on my futon chair if my back feels somewhat fragile. What I’m trying to say is, for me there is no special place, way or time I simply do it.
And how has this practice impacted upon me?
A very good question….
It is so long ago since I began that I would be lying if I stated categorically this,that and the other happened after learning. The truth is, I simply have a sense of things running more smoothly, I got through more work (I was at college at the time) and perhaps, I felt calmer. I do know that I felt different.
There have been many scientific studies on the efficacy of Transcendental Meditation. There is much evidence to indicate that a regular practice has many benefits, eg.relief from, migraine, anxiety, nervous tension, high blood pressure and asthma to name only a few. To learn more there is a link below that may be of interest.
Nowadays, meditation provides me with a space. Afterwards I feel refreshed and as if I’ve had a period of really good quality sleep. Sometimes, the experience is smooth and sweet, at other times it feels fractured and agitating and then the challenge is to stay in the process and feel what ever comes up.
There are many ways to meditate and there are some wonderful teachers out there to enable and support people on their individual journeys. I can only speak about TM where each person is given their own mantra..or are they? That is what you are told but how and why they choose that particular ‘sound’ I have no idea and surprisingly, in my case it has never mattered. It is also interesting to me that using another mantra, such as Om has never worked for me personally. I guess after 37 years I resonate only with my own mantra.
Another insight that is purely my own personal observation..there have times when I have actively chosen not to meditate. All of my life I have suffered periods of depression, sometimes mild and at other times much more severe and prolonged. I learnt long ago that to sit alone and meditate was not right for me..this was purely an instinctive feeling. I found that, although the effort was huge I needed to get out into the fresh air and walk….and walk. We have always had dogs and my Airedales helped walk me well on many occasions. It was tempting to simply take myself off for 20 minutes but it simply did not help. However, it is always indicated that meditation is very helpful to those suffering depression. I believe that with a teacher supporting you then your journey of healing may well involve meditation but that was not available to me.
Much has been written about meditating and there is much to read and learn from books and the Internet but this post is really only about how it has worked for me and for me to say very definitely that all people on this earth would benefit and enrich theirs and the lives of others if they were to learn meditation.
Some useful links;
Transcendental Meditation is one of several sites that offer TM training.
Tanya Wright teaches Mindfulness Meditation.
http://mindfulnessman.com/ writes a lovely blog on meditating.
Zenhabits: Breathe, Meditation for beginners this gives some practical advice on beginning meditation.
It seems to me that meditation has been my constant companion for much of my adult life. It is a quiet, gentle presence that is alongside me on my journey. It feels so normal and reassuring to sit in my space and breathe.