It was in Madras, Tamil Nadu in 1958 that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi founded the Spiritual Regeneration Movement. It was his goal to bring transcendental meditation (TM) to the masses in an effort to redirect the course of humanity. Maharishi was a man of peace dedicated to teaching individuals a direct way to reach the silence that lies within all men and women.
There is no doubt that individuals come to meditation through a multitude of doors. In fact, I have a friend who insists she came in the “cocktail party door”. Seriously, she felt inspired by the social conversation surrounding the “cool” factor of meditation. I learned TM because my mother told me to. It’s true. I had no great reason, no great calling and certainly no expectations. I innocently found myself learning TM at a time when no one was even talking about meditation. Unlike David Lynch, my first meditation did not include the elevator floor dropping from beneath me. I did not fall into a blissful state that immediately transformed my understanding of the world around me. I simply sat and meditated. It was nice. It was quiet.
Over time my meditation practice naturally became stabilized. Like brushing my teeth, sleeping, eating, walking and talking, the routine became a pattern and the pattern became a habit. I am not sure if I became “it” or “it” became me but meditation was an integral aspect of my being. It informed my daily life in rich and nuanced ways.
In the fall of 2012, I had the opportunity to go to Amherst College to speak at the Annual Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education Conference. I had planned to discuss the specifics of my class integrating TM into the core curriculum. At the last minute, I changed strategies. I discussed learning to speak the institutional language in order to successfully bring a meditation program into a college classroom. It went well by my estimation. I was happy with the positive feedback. People need ideas on how to connect with administrators. Fortunately, the research on mindfulness, vipassana and TM offers evidence of significant benefits for students: everything from increased creativity, lowered blood pressure, increased intelligence, better focusing skills and stress reduction, etc. Administrators like stuff like that. They think in terms of retention.
Since then I have thought a lot about why I feel so passionate about bringing meditation programs to college students across the country. There is no doubt that a focused student is a more successful student. I also happen to like the idea of unleashing the creative spirit in an organic way. Meditating students tend to be happier, too. I like happy kids. So, it’s all good.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi taught transcendental meditation to individuals in an effort to share a direct path by which to find inner peace. Maharishi knew that a man or woman who has discovered this path and who walks it will radiate serenity. This calm presence will ultimately fill the atmosphere around him and communicate itself to all who come in contact with him. This peace is infectious. It is pure. Expanding this inner bliss on the individual level is what will ultimately transform the world from a place of darkness to a sanctuary of light.
This is why I love transcendental meditation. Happy Birthday, Maharishi. May my every effort to bring your wisdom out into the world be blessed by your radiance.