My Transcendental Meditation Journey
This post will be updated soon as I am scheduled to start my Transcendental Meditation (TM) training on Sunday 1st November (a COVID safe 1-2-1 session which, I am told, includes a very special ritual.) But my Transcendental Meditation journey started over 3 years ago…
I will share details of the initial induction session (as much as I am allowed) and the following training lessons which, because of the pandemic, are now predominantly carried out using a newly developed Transcendental Meditation app and Zoom sessions.
But I wanted to start with a little bit of background to my Transcendental Meditation journey: why I have decided to learn meditation now, and why specifically TM.
I know the benefits of meditation, but…
As editor of a wellbeing website, I am, of course, very familiar with the benefits of meditation. The Healthy Life Essex website features lots of articles on meditation and, perhaps even more importantly, frequently espouses the benefits of meditation for a whole range of conditions.
We launched Healthy Life Essex in 2005, initially as a free-issue glossy magazine called Healthy Life, Mind Body & Soul.
And so, one might justifiably ask, if I fully understand the benefits, why haven’t I started practising meditation before?
I suppose the truth is that I am lucky enough to be quite well-balanced and very healthy both physically and mentally, so have never really felt the need to embrace meditation before.
So why now?
One might therefore assume that I now feel the need to meditate; that perhaps I am like thousands of other people who are feeling anxious about the pandemic; or that I have experienced other lifestyle changes that have exacerbated a need.
But I can honestly say that is not the case. Whilst our hearts ache for the thousands of people who have been affected by the pandemic in so many ways, either directly or indirectly, Mike and I count our blessings every day because the impact on us both personally and professionally has been minimal.
Yes, we self-isolated from the very beginning and still rarely go out or see anyone, but we have worked from a home-based office for years and are quite happy to be together 24/7. Plus, we are lucky enough to have a lovely garden that keeps us active and provides a great deal of pleasure. And our businesses are predominantly web-based. (As well as HLE, I am also CEO of the Organisation for Responsible Businesses)
I genuinely cannot explain the reason why I have committed to TM now, not even to myself. I just feel it is something the I must do! And when I say ‘it,’ I don’t mean meditation in general. I am intrinsically drawn towards TM.
Why Transcendental Meditation?
I first heard of TM about three years ago. I cannot remember now if it was a leaflet delivered or something I saw in a shop. But I checked out TM on the website and contacted Barry Spivack who provides TM training in Colchester and North Essex.
Barry took out a directory advertisement and provided a very informative article about Transcendental Meditation. As you will see, the practice is backed up by a great deal of scientific research and, although there is never any criticism of any other type of meditation, the article stresses that TM allows the brain to function in a different way than experienced with other forms of meditation.
It was very interesting, and I suppose I pondered on finding out more, but still did not feel the need. I wasn’t ready to properly start my Transcendental Meditation journey.
An Antidote to Violence
In June 2020, Barry Spivack and his colleague Patricia Saunders published An Antidote to Violence which evaluates the evidence which suggests large groups practising TM can have a dramatic positive impact on world peace.
I would probably have remained totally unaware of this book if it were not for a series of events that happened shortly after publication:
- Our monthly e-newsletter in July included our blog The True Cost of Cheap.
- Barry responded by email, asking me to keep an eye on the Agricultural Bill going through parliament as it also included attempts to relax regulations on gene editing which, he stressed, ‘has much more serious implications than chlorinated chickens.’
- I invited Barry to write an article on gene editing and the potential impacts of suggested changes in the Agricultural Bill, which he did. CLICK HERE to read.
- During our exchange of emails during this period, Barry added a note to his signature: Read my new book: An Antidote to Violence.
- I congratulated Barry on publishing his new book and offered to do a review.
This is my review on An Antidote to Violence. As I stated in the review, I think it is a really important book for everyone who cares about the ever-increasing violence in our world needs to read.
What I didn’t say, because it didn’t seem relevant to the review, was that I had only read a few pages of the book when I had this really strong feeling that I needed to practice TM, albeit the book is about the impact of group practice of TM as opposed to individual practice and personal development.
But I still didn’t do anything…
The Divine CEO
The next that was sent to me for review was The Divine CEO (a review will follow soon), the story of Geoff Thompson’s spiritual journey. He mentions meditation a few times quite early on and subsequently talks about meditation as the quickest and most direct way to connect to your inner guru, your personal inner tutor (your Divine CEO) He says there are lots of different types of meditation and whatever you choose, you should stick to it and practice regularly, but, he said:
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is my personal recommendation but only because I have experiential proof of its efficacy.,,,
… the moment the bridge is built and communication between you and the divine economy is initiated, instruction will start to download from the unconscious to the conscious.
Wow – now I really must start this TM training, I thought.
But still I struggled to commit.
Two core reasons, or perhaps I should say excuses, were holding me back.
1. The cost involved.
It isn’t a fortune, and there are payment options, (you can find the details of the course fees here) but we are not wealthy people and I was struggling to justify the expense, which leads me to the next reason;
2. The time commitment.
There is, understandably, a time commitment to taking the initial training and, as that was mostly the weekends, I wanted to make the most of the garden while the weather was still good. But that was just a delaying process, not a real reason. I knew I could find the time to take the course when I was ready to do so.
But there is a much bigger time commitment that really bothered me. And to be honest, it is still a concern as I write this just two days before I start training:
I have already mentioned that Geoff Thompson said one should practice regularly. Regularly, for TM, is 2 twenty-minute sessions each day, one in the morning and one early evening.
That’s 40 minutes out of my already busy day.
And so, although the little voice was telling me I should be doing this, and I really did want to do it, I was still prevaricating.
Could I really commit to this practice for 40-minutes every day? Would it really work for me – bearing in mind I don’t even know what I am expecting TM to do for me in terms of making a difference to my life! Or would I fail to commit and feel both frustrated with myself for ‘failing’ and annoyed that I had wasted the money?
The final omen!
A few months went by. The weather was pretty awful so not a lot of gardening to be done. And then I had an email from Olivia who takes the courses in South Essex telling me that the venue for the course starting on 1st November was at Roslin Beach Hotel in Southend, less than two miles from where I live.
That was the final omen and I committed to really starting my Transcendental Meditation journey!
But I’m still scared!
So, watch this space for an update on what happened at the first training session and onwards from there….