I’ve had a committed meditation practice for some time now. In addition to meditating daily I really love reading about, talking about, and listening to podcasts about all things meditation. The 10% Happier podcast by Dan Harris is an absolute treasure and I’ve caught almost all of his 130 or so episodes. One recent guest on the podcast was Bob Roth, probably the most well-known Transcendental Meditation teacher in America. He’s taught this meditation technique (commonly referred to as TM) to a wide range of celebrities, CEOs, inner city schoolchildren, and people of all walks of life in between. I was so intrigued by Bob’s description of the TM technique and how it differs from other kinds of meditation practices that I decided to check it out. I found a wonderful teacher on the east side of Cleveland, signed up for the four-day introductory course, and started meditating the TM-way.
That was almost a month ago. And I am BLOWN AWAY. Practicing TM means sitting for a twenty minute meditation session twice a day, once in the morning and then again later in the day, sometime before dinner. I take a seat in my favorite chair in my home office, close my eyes, and start to gently recite my new mantra in my head. The mantra is a Sanskrit sound assigned by my teacher that is simply a tool to facilitate the process of transcending the constant clutter and wanderings of the mind.
Roth describes the process like this: the gentle, easy recitation of the mantra takes the practitioner away from the choppy waters at the surface of the mind and into the deep stillness and ease that is underneath, much like the calm deep waters of the ocean. No matter how much turbulence the surface waves produce, there is an abiding stillness below. And tapping into it feels peaceful. And easy. And comforting. And powerful.
While there is some level of mystique surrounding TM, the technique is extremely accessible and simple. I may still be quite aware of the seemingly incessant mental chatter as I sit, but I also almost immediately feel something deeper, too. A connection to that deep part of myself. The part of me that exists in all of us, and that connects us to one another. The part of me that we bow to when we say Namaste at the end of a yoga class.
TM is easy. Teachers describe it as effortless, and it does really feel that way. At the same time, it is strong. And powerful. And delicious, like a coveted soy latte. I am not exaggerating when I say I look forward to getting up twenty minutes earlier for my morning TM practice. And I look forward to it again as the late afternoon approaches. Kind of like that latte.