When I was 19, a woman in my circle of friends learned the Transcendental Meditation technique. She loved it and was immediately consumed with the desire to tell us all about it and get us to learn too. I was curious, but I have to admit that I was also a little nervous about it. What little I’d heard about meditation, it seemed like something for monks. It might be something religious. I wondered if, during TM, I would see God (and I wasn’t convinced there was one) and was I ready for that? And would I even be able to meditate successfully?
I threw my caution to the wind and signed up for the course. I sat comfortably and listened to simple step by step instructions from a teacher, one on one. Within minutes during my instruction, I felt the weight of the world lift from my shoulders. I felt relaxation so deep that I was almost immobile. After, I was so refreshed that it was as if my life and the world were all new and shiny. “I want everyone to have this experience,” I thought, and immediately set out to tell everyone about TM—as consumed with the idea as my friend had been.
Transcendental Meditation was brought to the west by the program’s founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and it became very popular for three main reasons: It works for everyone, celebrities endorse it, and scientists continually publish studies verifying a broad range of benefits. Most women learn because someone in their family or a friend recommends it, as I did.
Unlike the stoic experience I had imagined, the TM technique is easy to learn and do and we meditate sitting comfortably (sitting uncomfortably is a no-no) for 15-20 minutes twice daily. The TM teachers explain in advance what to expect during the meditation and also as a result of the meditation, so we understand what’s going on and know we’re doing it right. Benefits are tangible and are both immediate and cumulative.
Learn it and see the benefits for yourself; you’ll become your friends’ best friend when you recommend it to them.
Janet Hoffman is the executive director of the TM program for women professionals in the USA.