Excerpts from an essay by Barry Marenberg. View the full piece on Medium.com.
A year ago I was unhappy with the direction of my life. I was out of shape, overtired, and depressed. I was merely going through the motions of waking, working and sleeping. When I was awake, I was not fully “present.” I was experiencing financial issues, personal and professional issues.
Once a week my family and I would dine at a restaurant at which time we would always walk past a building that housed a Transcendental Meditation Center. Signs hung in the window extolling the benefits of this mysterious (to me) practice. For months, I ignored these signs. Late one night I navigated to the website for this Transcendental Meditation Center. The website was bright and filled with easy-to-read information, videos and testimonials of everyday people, along with athletes, celebrities and well-known business professionals.
I watched the videos, I read all the testimonials and the FAQs. It sounded easy and it sounded like something that could help and make a change in my life. I certainly had nothing to lose. I reached out to the Transcendental Meditation Center and asked to visit and chat.
After all this, I decided to enroll. Training encompassed classes on 4 consecutive days with each class lasting about an hour and a half to 2 hours. Day 1 featured a very short spiritual ceremony in which my instructor gifted me my meditation “mantra,” a two-syllable word that means absolutely nothing to me. The rest of Day 1, along with Days 2–4 consisted of in-depth teaching about the practice of TM and included guided meditation sessions with the instructor. I found the TM technique very easy to learn and the personalized interactive guidance to be a valuable and enjoyable part of the learning process. Practicing TM is a simple and unrigid procedure. I don’t need to try to clear my mind and block out all thoughts. Sitting in a certain way or placing my hands in a specific place is not required. If I need to scratch my nose during the mediation, I scratch it. If I need to shift in my seat, I do so. None of these actions interfere with my meditation.
What I liked about learning TM:
• If you are skeptical, as I was, the technique works no matter that you are skeptical
• Practicing TM involved no concentration or focus on my part
• I did not have to exert effort or fight to control or clear my mind of thoughts
So, what has TM done for me in the past year that I have been practicing?
Am I a completely different person one year later? No. Am I physically and mentally improved? I feel that I am. I meditate twice a day, every day. I enjoy it immensely and it makes a difference in my day and my life overall. I have lost a substantial amount of weight in the past year. My weight loss is not solely attributable to TM but my mindset has changed for the better and my level of positivity has given me enhanced incentive to change my eating habits and hit the gym regularly. As a result, my blood pressure has significantly decreased, and my cholesterol level has improved so that I no longer need to take the blood pressure and cholesterol medications. For me, that’s a significant win. Furthermore, I am calmer and more patient. My anxiety level has decreased substantially.
TM has provided me with a tool that allows me to deal with the curve balls life throws in a more controlled and positive manner.
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