Almost forty years ago Glenda Schneider traded her psychiatrist and tranquilizers for Transcendental Meditation (TM)—and never looked back.
Stressed from her difficult job as an art teacher on New York City’s Lower East Side and dealing with problems in her marriage, she realized she needed to make a change.
In 1974 she took the first step by learning Transcendental Meditation and within a couple of years she had not only gone on a month-long residency course but become a TM teacher herself.
In existence for thousands of years in India, Transcendental Meditation was brought to the world in the 1950s and 60s in large part by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Today over 5 million people have learned this unique state of restful alertness.
Unlike some types of meditation which ask practitioners to concentrate on something, the goal of Transcendental Meditation is to reach a state of “pure awareness” or “transcendence” using a specially designated individual mantra (sounds vibration).
The TM technique allows one’s mind to settle inward, beyond thought, to the most silent and peaceful level of consciousness—the innermost Self. In this state of restful alertness the brain functions with greater coherence and the body gains deep rest.
Most people meditate for two 20-minute sessions per day although Ms. Schneider has taken advanced classes and meditates longer.
Medical research indicates that there are physical as well as social benefits. These include everything from reduced blood pressure and heart rate to less narrowing of the arteries in the heart and brain in adults with high-risk hypertension, to reduce death rates.
Ms. Schneider feels more rested, alert, energetic and emotionally balanced after meditating. It improves her relationships with friends and family as stress has been reduced. She also feels freer to express her true nature.
The benefits of Transcendental Meditation don’t just stop at the individual level, however. After halting her teaching career to raise a family, Ms. Schneider and her husband eventually found themselves living at a Transcendental Meditation community in Iowa for several years.
With 1,800 to 2,000 other TM practitioners they meditated hours a day in a big dome for the purpose of creating world peace (a donor provided a stipend so they could fully focus on their meditation).
“Maharishi’s belief is that the more people who meditate, the more peace there will be,” says Ms. Schneider. “He said that the reason there’s all these wars and all these problems in the world is from stress and that meditation is the way to deal with this, not war. And so we meditated with the purpose of creating harmony.”
For anyone interested in learning more about Transcendental Meditation, Ms. Schneider recommends going to The Transcendental Meditation Program website at www.tm.org or calling 1-888-LEARN TM (1-888-532-7686).
Typically the process involves finding a TM center nearby to attend several informational lectures.
“It’s a really amazing technique,” says Ms. Schneider. “I am a true believer because of what it’s done for me in my life.You still have to live your life– we all came here to learn, for our purpose, and to accomplish our life’s mission. I would say that Transcendental Meditation is the high road to help you reach these goals.”
By Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart is an associate editor with WholesomeOne.