Many of you know that I’m a big believer in meditation. I have definitely bi-polar tendencies coupled with anxiety disorder that can almost cripple me with worry about everything from social gatherings to an unexpected turn of events to everyday minutiae.
Thankfully, as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned what I need to do to make sure I’m okay. Taking care of myself physically, emotionally, and mentally is a very big part of the equation. As long as I eat right, plan ahead as much as possible, eliminate negative people from my life when and where I can, take vitamins daily (including the magical B Complex – a must for anyone who tends toward depression or anxiety), have time for my writing, and practice yoga and/or meditating, I can generally keep from feeling like I want to crawl out of my own skin.
Yoga and meditation have been truly key in managing my BPD and anxiety. If I skip them for a couple of days, the stress creeps back in and I start to feel like I just want to crawl under the covers and disappear (something I can never do even when I want to because, well, I have responsibilities). Up until now, I’ve practiced mostly mindful meditation which involves being in the moment, and (for me) focusing only on my breath, in and out. It’s harder than it sounds to tune everything out! But It really does make an amazing difference. Sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly depressed/angry/resentful/bitter/hurt, I’ll use a mantra or I’ll imagine all the bad stuff leaving my body and spirit with my breath on the exhale.
Lately, I’ve become very interested in a thousands-year old form of meditation called Transcendental Meditation (TM). Favored by creative people, TM is said to allow one to access a higher plane of consciousness, the very source of thought, also called the Unified Field. This insight is said to open up one’s view of the world, one’s art, everything!
It’s different from mindful meditation in that mindful meditation keeps the mind busy by focusing on a given thing (breathing, mantra, etc) while TM focuses on a sound, given to you by a meditation teacher, that you repeat over and over. This is supposed to allow your mind to settle into a place of deeper alert, restful consciousness.
Tons of artistic people are advocates of TM including filmmaker David Lynch, Musicians Paul McCartney and Sheryl Crow, and director Clint Eastwood, among many others. David Lynch, in particular is a tremendous advocate for the method, crediting it for eliminating a persistent sense of anger he’d carried around his whole life in addition to feeding his (brilliant!) creative mind.
You can hear David Lynch speak about TM – what it is and how it changed him – below. You can also learn more about TM at http://www.tm.org/.
I’m listing this as a mystery because I find it fascinating to contemplate the possibility that reaching a higher and/or different level of consciousness can impact one’s sense of peace, artistic perspective, and general happiness.
What do you guys think?!