A Peaceful Mind
"The goal of the Transcendental Meditation technique is enlightenment. This simply means we experience inner-calmness, that quiet state of Stillness, even when we are outwardly busy. If world peace is to be established, peace in the individual must be established first. Transcendental meditation brings peace directly to the individual, so meditate and enjoy!"
As the world around us continues to speed up and grow ever more challenging, many people are finding it difficult to relax the mind, as they feel increasingly overwhelmed by fear, worry and anxiety about what may happen next. Even people who have meditated for many years are reporting that it is sometimes difficult to enter the Stillness of meditation and let go of the growing concerns that they face each day. Spiritual teacher Mooji has echoed this growing anxiety by saying that many people are now experiencing 'mind storms', which make it very difficult to keep perspective, and remain calm and centered. One of the good things that has happened because of this growing uncertainty in the world is that many people are now turning to meditation as a way to alleviate this overwhelming sense of fear and unease that they feel in their everyday lives.
Though I usually teach mindfulness meditation (which is a technique of relaxed awareness and following the breath), in our Tao Tribe classes and intensives, I have begun to introduce people to mantra meditation as a powerful way of calming and relaxing the mind into a state of effortless meditation. Mantra meditation, which includes the very popular and well researched technique of TM (Transcendental Meditation), is a very simple but effective way of calming and relaxing the mind into a profound state of Stillness and peace. In TM, instead of allowing the busy mind to chase after every crazy thought that arises, we give it a one or two syllable word - called a mantra - to repeat over and over and over again. This mantra (which means vehicle) has a way of focusing the mind and settling it down naturally and easily, and its power comes, not from what the words means, but how it sounds and resonates in the mind.
Though it had been sometime since I practiced TM, I decided to start up again a couple of weeks ago, and have found that the technique opens up a very delightful and effortless state of meditation, all through repeating the mantra. I have also found that my energy levels have increased, along with a deeper sense of peace and flow. Because I feel it can be extremely helpful in navigating these very tumultuous times, I will share the basic technique here for anyone who wishes to give it a try. And by try, I don't mean doing it once and then throwing it away. I mean, make it a part of your regular practice for at least a week or three and see for yourself what happens, and whether you have benefited from doing it. My feeling is that, for most of you, no matter how long or what other types of meditation you have tried, TM will be like an antidote for the 'mind storms' you may be going through, and make it possible to regain the joy and harmony that may seem elusive right now.
To practice TM is very very simple:
Sit quietly and comfortably (do not lie down for this technique). I recommend allowing the body to be perfectly still while you practice, and to lift the interior gaze as if looking through your forehead into a big open sky (this is not part of the official TM technique, but I find this makes meditation way easier to do, and way more powerful).
After settling down, introduce the mantra to the mind. In this case I will give you one of the 'official' mantras that are used by TM (and which costs you thousands of dollars to receive!). Begin to repeat the word Shama...Shama...Shama over and over in your mind. You don't have to focus on anything else; not the breath, not the body - only the mantra - spoken internally, over and over again...Shama...Shama...
Shama. Whenever you notice that your Awareness has gotten caught up in thinking about this or that; gently bring it back to the mantra., over and over again. You should repeat this sound without force or effort, and without trying to make anything happen, or to get to a 'special' state.
The power of TM is that the mantra will do all of the work for you. Just relax, focus and enjoy. After you have finished, be sure to spend at least a few minutes (or longer) simply resting in the delicious Stillness and peace that will have opened up in you through the repetition of the mantra. Also, it is recommended that you sit for 20 minutes, twice a day. Mornings, when you wake up are highly recommended, and then before dinner. However, if this doesn't work for you, do it at least once per day, at a time that is good for you. Worth noting; feel free to choose your own mantra if you don't resonate with the one I have given here. Just make sure it is no more than three syllables. You can find a detailed list of other TM mantras online if you wish, and also choose from one of those.
Finally, I encourage you again to stick with the practice for awhile, so that you can truly see if it works for you. Trying it once or twice will not give you a real sense of whether it is something that will benefit your life. I also encourage you to join the Tao Tribe online for one of our weekly meditations, where you can practice with our community. Though we will not be doing the TM technique every week, we will be doing it on occasion, and this will give you the opportunity to make sure you are doing the practice correctly. Remember this; peace, joy and a sense of delight are available right here and now - no matter what the outer circumstances of your life may be -for those who are willing to be still and turn within. Given the uncertainty that we now live in, what else are you going to do with your time?