My handy-dandy phone app tells me it has been two years since I started practicing TM (transcendental meditation) – twenty minutes twice a day. That is the guideline but I achieve it half the time. But still – two years is two years – and two years more than ever before. So – Where am I? Has it helped?
Irritation Management: Imagine you sit in a quiet room to meditate and a kid walks in. First one looks and goes away. Second one looks and asks what are you doing? Third one says can you play with me? Except these are not kids that – it is my thoughts – my monkey mind. I don’t get angry with kids. Now I don’t get angry with my thoughts. I acknowledge good as well as ugly thoughts (anger, worry, injustice, or warm hug, a loving word) and they go away. No fuss. No drama. In just a few weeks I learned to be calmer and not let things irritate me. Now I can summon a few minutes of breathing whenever I need.
Pain Management: whether it is age or busted knee or doing too much – when I am tired or something hurts – I go and meditate. Very often, twenty minutes later the pain is less or gone; I feel rested and less anxious about how I will manage what all I have to do. This happens more when I travel and sleep is irregular, food is less healthy, routine is different. Heat gives me fainting spells and it helps with that too. This one turned out to be pretty great since I travel a good bit.
Mood Upliftment: When I was a teenager I used to have sad days and I still do though less so. I had learned to manage those days with exercise , reading, long walks. Now I can’t focus on books or get enough exercise but I meditate. I find it easier. Meditation can be done anywhere. No equipment required. I think it lowers my heart rate and reduces energy consumption (take soft, small noiseless breaths). What ever it is, the body chemistry changes – no euphoria but no suicidal thoughts either. No – What’s it all About Alfie? I see no bright lights, no pin-point of energy or anything dramatic. Even the thoughts keep coming. But there it is – a sense of calm acceptance that there is a higher power and mine is to do my dharma to find happiness. Solitude without loneliness.
Should I keep up with it? What do you think? They tell us just do it – no expectations and no judgement. That is why it works for me. Thoughts still flit in and out and some days I am better than others but I am proud of myself for having had the discipline to keep it up.
As a scientist I look for chemical explanations but there are not enough studies yet. Maybe its a placebo. Maybe its the discipline. But for sure – Meditation is Mind over Matter. And what I am doing is working for me. Also it has lowered my BP.