Love was in the air recently. Were you one of the billions of people around the world who watched the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle?
The major highlights of the event for me were the songs “Stand by Me” and “Amen—This Little Light of Mine”, which seemed to burst out of the church as the new Duke and the Duchess of Sussex walked out and waved to the crowd.
The bride and groom had invited the current presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Curry—the first African American to serve in that capacity—to address the wedding. Bishop Curry gave an impassioned sermon in which he said, “We are made by a power of love and our lives were meant and are meant to be lived in that love… I am talking about some power, real power—power to change the world.”
What Keeps Us from Being Loving?
Love certainly has healing and redemptive power. It uplifts and gladdens and makes life richer. It softens the hardest of hearts and removes doubts. I’m sure we all enjoy the experience when love exalts our feelings and our hearts swell with joy. And though everyone advises us to “be loving” and to “love your neighbor as yourself,” we don’t always feel loving. Sometimes, as much as we attain to it, we can’t feel love.
What keeps us from being loving? It may sound simplistic, but the answer is simple: the obstacle to the flow of love from the heart is stress! As much as we would like to be loving, if we are tired, anxious, and have too many demands on us, it is challenging to feel—let alone express—love.
Stress is a block in a person’s physiology that resulted from some overwhelming physical, emotional, sensory or mental experience. We might have been hurt, or very ill, or traumatized emotionally. We can gain stress from dodging a speeding car, inhaling pollution, from relentless athletic activity, drugs, alcohol, unhealthy food, and even some side effects from medicine. Stress in the nervous system covers our most natural and fulfilled self. When the stress remains in our system, over time it can create disease (some say that over 90 percent of disease is caused or complicated by stress) and can also be the cause of depression, anger, fear and anxiety.
If you’re exhausted and overwhelmed you may resort to behavior that is not helpful to you and won’t address the underlying situation at hand. There’s a better way:
The Transcendental Meditation Technique Reduces the Harmful Effects of stress
During the practice of Transcendental Meditation, our mind effortlessly settles down to quieter levels of activity, subtler softer levels of thought. At the same time, our physiology receives a deep state of rest. This rest allows deep-rooted stress to be released. It also increases our resilience so we will be less and less vulnerable to stress as time goes by.
The surface, more active levels of our mind are where our to-do lists and other, sometimes incessant, daily thoughts take place. This active thinking level can be agitated or anxious and, at that time, the brain is functioning in a less orderly productive manner. Turning within, beyond that active state, during the TM technique, the mind enjoys more silence, more charm, and more peace. The quietest level at the foundation of our mind is stillness, also called the transcendent, or Being— a state of pure wakefulness.
When we experience this quietest level of our mind regularly through the twice-daily practice of Transcendental Meditation, we begin to find more calmness and orderliness in all aspects of our lives. When we are calm, collected, and less stressed, then we are automatically able to listen better, be more aware, and extend ourselves spontaneously—without trying. This is gaining the power of the transcendent, the deepest level within ourselves, that can generate free flowing feelings of love and kindness.
In my new book The Power of Transcendence: Growing in Love, Creativity, Health, and Happiness, which consists of over 50 short articles, I examine and illustrate in depth how the experience of the transcendent has the power to transform all aspects of life from within—love, creativity, health, happiness and even the world around us.
Transforming the World
I believe what Bishop Curry says. We do have the power to change the world through the power of love—but first we need to feel good within ourselves, and then we will be poised to help others and spread love.
For one hour during the royal wedding ceremony billions of people were unified in the inclusive feeling of love. With TM, every day we can be unified in the inclusive experience of silence and peace within and from there we can spread the power of love and goodness to transform the world. That will be cause for a truly transcendent royal celebration.
Ann Purcell, a certified TM teacher since 1973, is the award-winning author of The Transcendental Meditation Technique and the Journey of Enlightenment. Her second book, Tender Flower of Heaven, is a collection of 130 poems. Her most recent book is The Power of Transcendence: Growing in Love, Creativity, Heath, and Happiness.