Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham, to name a few. There are pilot programs for it to be taught to highly stressed populations in jails and inner city schools, and to veterans returning from the Middle East. People might do it for different reasons, but all of us want to be calmer and have access to more of our brains - who doesn't want reduced cortisol levels?
IT is Transcendental Meditation, and I am preparing myself to embark on this journey as a birthday present to myself in late June. Last night I finally went to the TM Center near my home in Bedford Hills, NY. It has quietly been pulling me towards it since I moved here four years ago, being right above one of my favorite coffee houses and organic markets, Table.
I have always been attracted to meditation, but never have had a very disciplined practice. I've stared at candles and counted sheep. I've pondered the great metaphysical questions. I practice yoga as a moving meditation, and lately, after reading Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being, I have been practicing the meditation outlined in that beautiful, brilliant book. But it was conversations with my bestie - who just started her own practice - that woke up the dream inside of me, and made me call the TM Center in Bedford Hills.
I walked up the stairs of its entrance on Babbit Road and was greeted with a warm smile and an offer of herbal tea. I started to say no, but then the saying of yes, even to herbal tea, opened my heart. I walked into a room with two other people: a youthful grandmother who had no previous experience, and a young handsome Dad from the Bronx who had just moved to Northern Westchester. He, like me, was interested in having a guide and a more structured practice.
The director, Sam Katz, took us on a journey through the science of brain waves and the benefits of TM, but he was preaching to the choir. We all wanted to sign up! The requirements are to have four consecutive days to be "trained", two hours each day, then to commit to coming in twice a month for at least four months. The other requirement is not to have taken any drugs for 15 days prior, (but I don't need to worry about that),and last but not least, there is the financial commitment, which is what I was worried about.
However, as I myself help run a non-profit that is committed to not turning anyone away based on their ability to pay, I was reasonably confident that a fellow non-profit wouldn't turn me away.
So even though I was in a hurry to get home, last night, I filled out an application form and spoke privately with the Director. The cost of $960 may not seem like a lot for a lifetime membership, but it is for my family. Still, I don't want to ask for financial aid - I like to barter services when I can.
I absolutely LOVED Sam's response: "Well, you're a writer, and we could use help getting the word out there. Why don't you write an article?" My face lit up. "Yes! And the angle should be writing about my experience of learning it - that would be more interesting than a straightforward journalistic piece, right?"
Hopefully, this will be something that a magazine would be interested in publishing, but Sam seemed confident that we could work out the financials, so I am, and it made me feel 150% positive that this is my next step in my personal growth. I know that I have so much more reserves of creativity and intellect within me!