For most of my life, I’ve been incredibly skeptical of meditation. I’ve said things like, “I don’t have time. I suck at it. I can’t turn off my brain. I’m not into that woo-woo stuff.”
If you’d rather listen to this blog than read it, please click the play button. Otherwise, keep reading below.
For the past couple years, I’ve dabbled in meditation. It seemed like everywhere I turned, someone I respect or admire was talking about the power of meditation in their life.
I did guided meditations. Breath-led meditations. Mindfulness meditations. I used apps like Headspace and Insight Timer. I listened to podcasts and read books that touted the benefits.
But still, I wasn’t sold.
I felt better after doing it, but I really struggled to create the time. I felt like there was something else I should be doing – something more productive.
I was fairly consistent in a variable meditation practice. Every day was different in the type of meditation and the duration of the practice. For years, it felt hard. The time dragged by. My thoughts were all over the place.
In the last 6 months or so, I kept hearing people rave about a particular form of meditation: Transcendental Meditation (or TM). Specifically, Ray Dalio, founder of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates and author of Principles, attributed his personal and professional success to, of all things, his TM practice.
It peaked my interest. I’ve always been curious about what contributes to the success, discipline and creativity of people who perform at higher levels than me.
I’m quite certain that if Ray Dalio has time to practice TM, so do I….
I’m quite certain that if Ray Dalio thinks it’s worthwhile, there’s something I can glean from it.
But…there were a few big ‘but’s…
- You can’t learn it from a book or a podcast. That’s not very convenient…
- You have to learn from a licensed instructor and you have to commit to 4 consecutive days of instruction! (Only about 90 min per day, but still!!!!)
- It’s not free. It’s actually fairly pricey!
Though seriously skeptical about the whole instructor thing and the price, I decided that learning the practice of TM was one of my 2018 goals. I wanted to be more present. I wanted to feel less rushed. I wanted to experience more of life instead of going through the motions every day.
Before the new year even started, I had scheduled my introductory meeting with an instructor.
Early in January I completed my 4 days of training and since the first day, I’ve practiced TM for twenty minutes, twice a day, every day, without exception. (Even I’m shocked by that…40 minutes a day of meditation seemed like an impossibility and entirely impractical in my life)
I can’t put it more simply: practicing TM has already changed my life.
If I had a magic wand and two wishes, here’s what they’d be:
- I wish I had learned it 30 years ago
- I wish everyone would learn & practice
It is wildly different from any other form of meditation I’ve practiced.
Episode 454 of the podcast is dedicated to a look at the other forms of meditation and my experience with TM, as well as the experience of a skeptical friend of mine who did his training at the same time as I did mine. He’s a medical doctor who also runs a side business as a coffee roaster. Needless to say, he’s a busy guy.
If you’re curious, please listen to that podcast but I wanted to make sure to share with you the ways that this practice has created change in my life in just the last 4(ish) weeks:
- I am happier
- I am more relaxed – stressing far less about the daily “to-dos”
- I am remarkably more focused and productive
- I feel less distracted while I’m working
- I am sleeping better – fall asleep more easily, waking less in the night, feel more rested in the morning
- I’m drinking less coffee (unintentionally)
- I feel less hungry
- I have fewer cravings
- I’m more motivated to get to the gym
- I feel more energized during my workouts
- I feel more clear-headed
- I feel more creative
- Fewer things ruffle my feathers (than normal)
I totally understand everyone who thinks it’s not for them or that they just don’t have time. I hope you’ll listen to episode 454 because this is one of those things that actually creates more time, and I explain exactly what I mean by that in episode 454.
To learn more about TM, you can also visit TM.org.