My Journey with Transcendental Meditation – Part 3 – by Lauren Vaknine

As I pointed out in my first blog, I have been practicing meditation in one form or another for around twelve years now. Although I never felt like I’d found ‘the one’ in terms of my choice of meditation technique, I had quite a good run with Chakra meditation. I used to be able to switch off and fall deep into a restful meditation, one where I would be visualising a tranquil place – my place, as I thought of it – where I could relax and ask for healing and relaxation.

I was in so much pain for so long with the arthritis that my sole purpose for meditating seemed to be for healing. I would ask my guides for healing, I would visualise healing, I would visualise myself being pain-free. Basically the whole task ended up being about getting better.

Then, after lots of hard work (homeopathy, strict diet, strict lifestyle, no drugs, lots of supplements etc), I got better and all of a sudden I was unable to meditate. I just stopped being able to find that tranquil, calming, oasis of a retreat that I had thought of as my sanctuary for so long. I could picture it, but I couldn’t take myself there. After a few weeks I started getting really frustrated for not being able to meditate. I was angry at myself, which is never a good thing. I came to the conclusion that I had spent so long using meditation as a tool for one particular part of my life, that I didn’t know how to meditate now I was better. Eventually I decided to stop trying and be kinder to myself and accept the fact that when the timing was right, the right meditation would make itself known to me and lo and behold, it did, in the form of Transcendental Meditation.

Because I’d found it increasingly hard to ‘shut off’ like most meditations require you to do in those few months, TM seemed like the perfect choice; it’s effortless. Perhaps the most effortless form of meditation there is and at a time when I was struggling, effortless seemed like a good option.

Because I had been so used to ‘concentrating’ during meditation, it was hard to see what TM was actually doing for me. What am I actually doing? What is it doing for me? What am I gaining? Surely anything worth doing can’t be this easy? Am I missing something?

No, was the answer. I wasn’t missing anything. It really is that easy and after speaking to my TM coach, Michael Pierce, about it, as well as watching perhaps every YouTube clip there is of Maharishi speaking, it made sense.

It is there simply to relax you, to enable you to be less stressed with daily life and although you feel like not much is happening at the beginning when you are engaging in the actual twenty-minute ritual, more is happening than you are aware of.

During meditation our breathing becomes more refined, our metabolic rate becomes more refined, therefore we have found a deeper state of rest than if we were not to perform this twice a day for twenty minutes. These 40 minutes a day of what is essentially deep rest, can eliminate stress and scientists are now proving that this is the case. Through the gaining of unbounded awareness, Maharishi says, the body automatically lets go of stresses and strains, even if we can’t feel that happening. It’s simply magical really.

It’s a bit like saying to someone who is stressed, ‘I have the perfect cure for you,’ ‘OK, great, what do I have to do?’ ‘Nothing.’ Sounds a bit too good to be true doesn’t it?

So when did it strike me that it was actually working? Well, writers tend to be epic procrastinators, I mean, Facebook and Twitter have a lot to offer when you’re meant to be crafting your literary masterpiece, but a few weeks into my TM journey I realised increase concentration and an increased ability to retain new knowledge and vocabulary.

Maharishi uses a great analogy (you may need to use your own imagination to make it relevant in the modern day, I think this was before cashpoints and shopping malls!); if you spend five minutes in the bank, you can enjoy a whole day at the market. If someone says, ‘I have too much to do at the market, I don’t have time to go to the bank’, how will they be able to get all the things they need at the market?

To summarise, sometimes we need to take time out of our very hectic lives to make time for our minds and bodies. What, after all, is more important than your health and wellbeing? All the money in the world cannot make you healthy if you are sick, so why not try to prevent the stress and illness in the first place, instead of trying to deal with it when it is too late? I teach people the same when it comes to health and physical healing; preventative is more important than cure and that is where our modern society goes wrong. It teaches us to make lots of money and work all the hours God sends, but then our bodies and minds can’t cope. And it teaches us to consume the soft drinks and sugary sweets and processed foods and that there will be some sort of pill to help you when you get ill because of it all.

Let’s change the way we think and the way we live our lives for the better, and let’s start by practising TM on a daily basis. I’ll let you be the judge of how it enriches your life!

‘Water the root, enjoy the fruit.’ – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

By Lauren Vaknine.

To contact Lauren please get in touch with NW London TM at




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