May 12, 2010

Transcendental Meditation

“So, where did you first hear of Transcendental Meditation?” she asked.
“Why, the Beatles, of course.” I replied.
This was how my introduction began to the Maharishi Yogi’s mind improving meditation. All my life I had heard about the practice of Transcendental Meditation, beginning with the Beatles and their 1968 journey to meet with the Maharishi in India. This was the best PR campaign he could ever have received, and the Maharishi took good advantage, spreading the word about TM and building his organization into a multi-million-dollar business, complete with universities devoted to World Peace. Like all well planned followings, Transcendental Meditation grew into something bigger, with a simple message: Anyone can find inner peace.
In my simple way, I had always found a way to pace myself throughout my busy life. I found corners during lunch hours to sit quietly or I’d drive to work an hour before I was needed, just to relax before the day. I’d take holidays in tranquil places after busy assignments, and I would have the office schedule me some down time to chill out after filming in a particular fun location: Perhaps Paris, Scotland, Nepal, Hawaii, Malaysia or San Francisco. I would take long walks and find spiritual places. I loved the great Cathedrals of Europe and the Buddhist Temples in Taiwan. Maybe it would be a quiet Mosque or an art gallery to sit near in a far away place. Much of my quiet time was beside the sea. I could sit and stare at the sea for hours, or I would hike around a lake or a farm. I remember how the high mountains, the Himalayas, Alps or the Rockies, grabbed at my imagination. Here, I would find a place to view the top of the world. I even found peace sitting in the window seat of a jetliner or beside a fireplace, or watching a candle. Then, there was the music: Beethoven, Bach, Schubert or Mendolsson all performed their magic to calm me down from my hectic life of a film maker.
However, when my busy schedule slowed down a few years ago, I started to lose my connection with my spiritual side; my peace with life, myself. Somehow the hustle of my world had kept me on the right track. I’m not one for organized religion, but I am very spiritual and I need that inward peace and guidance for contentment. Recently, I knew I had to find this part of me again. I remembered the Beatles and the Maharishi.
My questions were: How can I calm my active and restless brain? How can I bring an inner peace back to this, one time, contented soul? How can I find my way back to the relaxation I used to know instinctively?  
Last weekend, we joined a Transcendental Meditation class. It was a course introduction of four different classes on four days, comprising lecture, teaching and meditation. It’s not cheap, but I was willing to spend the money to try to regain my sense of “me.” Of course, the first thing I did was sign a paper that told me not to tell anyone how they teach TM or the method. But, I can write of my own personal experience and benefits. The strangest thing, I started off with thoughts that I knew I didn't live; a sort of false history swirling around. Somehow, I’ve experienced them through my first meditations, through dreams, while sleeping. It was somewhat disconcerting but I guess that’s what my new life of dreams and calmness  realizes: new thoughts, ideas and contemplations. This means, I’ll have to stay with the program, balance the experience and sort out what is real. So far, meditations are very peaceful; filled with colour and mind-wandering thoughts.
Ancient Indian Transcendental Meditation has been brought down from Guru to Guru for thousands of years. This method popularized by the Maharishi was handed down in teachings from his mentor Guru Dev. Since then, our world has been treated to this way of inner peace from the teachings that were set up in colleges and universities by the Mararishi. 
I’m looking to find the peace I have always known.  But, I also hope to find a new awareness of the world and my potential through this meditation.

"You don't have to be some sort of freak to meditate."
- John Lennon

"Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom."
- Buddha

"Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity. "
- Voltaire

"I went through two schools of acting but I learned more about acting from meditating and from my marshall arts teacher."
- Forrest Whitaker

"So transcendental meditation brings about transcendental consciousness, which is self-referral consciousness, the source of all intelligence."  
- Maharishi Mahesh