December 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Mystery Monday – Transcendantal Meditation

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?!

<3

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6 thoughts on “Mystery Monday – Transcendantal Meditation

  1. Brian says:

    That higher plane reminds me of something said in the book “What Dreams May Come”, In the book–which is a lot different than the movie–the main character, a writer, asks how he received his books. His guide told him, “There are people here that write them, you call them your muse. We send out the ideas and wait for them to be picked up.” That is a summation but you get the point.

    After I read the book, it changed me. It’s a great book. I’ve been doing mindful meditation for the last 10 years and after reading more about TM, I’m going to have to look into it more. Thanks Michelle.

    1. MichelleZink says:

      Good to know, Bri! I’ll have to look for the book. I remember the movie, but it sounds like the book IS very different. Thanks for the tip!
      <3

      MZ

      1. Brian says:

        The book is really different. I saw the movie first, the book really deals with all the existential details. I can’t imagine all the research he had to do for that book. I’ve read a lot of Richard Matheson and this is my favorite.

  2. Sarah Dowlin says:

    Thank you Michelle for sharing and bearing your heart. I have adult ADD and anxiety I struggle with and at times intense anger sometimes over such trivial things. Both my parents have bi-polar and they have gone back and forth on Bi-polar two cause I havent had a high since early high school, just anxiety. All this was worse and coupled by extreme depression after my son died and I found my faith and complete trust in handing my life over to God to be my biggest blessing. I am very interested in learning more and researching this as well though. It is very encouraging to see someone who has shared similar struggles be so strong and successful. You truly are one of my role models and heros. I hope to be as great a mom, woman, and writer as you are someday. Thank you again for sharing a piece of you and spreading some hope for all of us that others call not “normal” 🙂

    1. Sarah Dowlin says:

      *they go back and forth on diagnosing me w/ Bi-polar 2…that was a little unclear! LOL

    2. MichelleZink says:

      Honestly, Sarah? I think there are more “not normal” people out there than there are “normal.” People treat BPD and anxiety disorder (along with other things like depression) like it’s something to be ashamed of, but once you open up and start talking about it, it’s amazing how many people admit to suffering the same kinds of things. And not that it matters, but tons of super creative geniuses (like Hemingway) are said to have suffered from BPD. They just didn’t know what to call it then.

      I think you’re greater and stronger than you give yourself credit for, Sarah. You’ve come through an incredibly difficult loss, and you’ve come through it with your heart and spirit intact. That is something to be proud of, hon.
      <3

      MZ

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