I never believed in meditation until this year. In January, I spent some time with a man who was involved in the early stages of Redbox. After Redbox, he launched several other successful businesses that made him a lot of money. When I asked him if there was one thing that had contributed to this success, he emphatically gave all the credit to practicing transcendental meditation.
I think I had heard of this type of meditation in the past, but I really didn’t think much of it. To me, meditation has always seemed like some type of new age hippie magic, and I didn’t believe in it. However, after spending more time with this very intelligent, successful, normal man who meditated 15 minutes every morning and 15 minutes every evening, I decided maybe I should look into it.
When I started to research transcendental meditation, I learned that Hugh Jackman is a big believer. If you know me well, you also know that one of my crushes is Hugh Jackman. So, if he’s practicing the art of transcendental meditation (TM), you know I’m likely to pay attention.
In an interview with Oprah, Hugh Jackman said “With meditation, my anxiety levels dropped considerably. It seems to me that the mind is fuel to the fire of fear. The mind can make us worry about things beyond their measure. And the great thing about meditation is that twice a day, the monkey mind just calms down.”
Because 2021 was going to be my year to be brave, I knew I needed to set myself free of my fears. So, I added learning TM to my List of 50 Things and began my own journey of practicing transcendental meditation. I know some of you may be thinking this is a little crazy, but please read ahead to learn how it’s changed my life.
Meditation is an ancient tradition practiced all over the world to create a sense of calm and inner harmony. After doing additional research, I learned that there are 16+ different types of meditation, and transcendental meditation is just one of them. There’s spiritual meditation, mantra meditation, visualization meditation, and mindfulness meditation—just to name a few. Since every type is a little different, you need to find the one that works for you.
Transcendental Meditation is traditionally taught one-on-one with a certified TM teacher. Unlike other forms of meditation, it doesn’t focus on breathing or chanting. It’s relatively easy to master and it allows your active mind to settle down. Over the past 40 years, there have been over 400 independent research studies published on the technique that shows it reduces anxiety, depression, and insomnia and improves memory, focus and creativity.
“You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” — Old Zen Saying
During my research, I discovered a free app called 1 Giant Mind that teaches TM. Since I wasn’t fully convinced of the benefits of TM, and unwilling to invest in a certified instructor, I decided to give it a shot.
1 Giant Mind has been teaching people since 2011 to meditate. I like the app because it walks you through the process of meditation and sends you daily reminders to help you stay on track. Once you finish the 30-day challenge, you can customize your meditation experience (still for free). You can choose how long you meditate, the voice of the instructor, and the music/sounds (or silence) in the background. You follow 12 easy steps, and then you work towards a consistent habit of meditating every day.
When I first considered meditating, I didn’t feel like I had 15 minutes to spare “doing nothing.” Give me a To Do List of 20 things and I can crank it out. But ask me to just sit there in silence, and it’s really hard.
Once I found a time to do it every day (7:45 am), I was able to meditate consistently. The more I did it, the more I noticed a difference. Soon, I was looking forward to my daily meditation sessions.
It has now been over six months since I started meditating, and I love it. I’m calmer, happier, and less stressed. I usually meditate for 15-20 minutes most days and try never to miss. Meditating truly helps me quiet my brain and get ready for the day.
Before I started meditating, I found that most workdays were stressful for me. I worried about meetings and the work to be done. However, now I no longer stress out about work and the things I can’t control. Instead, I “take a deep breath in through my nose, into the belly, drawing further breath into the chest, and then release…”