When I was nineteen, my darling sister and wise brother-in-law, a state cricketer at the time, had just been taught the Transcendental Meditation (or TM) technique. They mentioned that their teacher had taught a lot of highly successful athletes and business people and suggested that I might also like to learn as a way to help my football career they obviously thought that I needed all the help I could get! Within days, I was sitting in a corporate office in the heart of Melbourne’s business district, about to learn the ancient mental art of transcending.
My instruction of Transcendental Meditation in Melbourne began by watching a videotape of Maharishi, the man who brought TM from India to the West. Maharishi was a small yet strongly built man with a long, full beard. He sat cross-legged in a white robe and waved a bright yellow rose as he explained his famous analogy of ‘watering the root to enjoy the fruit’. To a teenage Western ‘jock’ footballer, all this was certainly a new experience to say the least! However, as he illuminated some of the most profound wisdoms of life while laughing and giggling like a small child, he seemed to be the happiest person I’d ever seen. I was on the edge of my seat, wanting to learn his secret.
Maharishi went on to discuss how the human mind is just like an ocean. On the surface of the ocean, many waves come and go, rising up and crashing down. This is like the many thoughts that continually rise up in our busy minds. However, at the bottom of an ocean, everything is perfectly calm and silent. Likewise, at the deepest level of who we are is a silent, infinitely calm ocean of ‘consciousness’. It was suggested that by connecting to this inner field of consciousness we become like a boat dropping an anchor to the depths of the ocean floor. Regardless of how rough the waves on the surface of the ocean may be, if the boat is securely anchored, it can ride out any storm. Similarly, if we anchor ourselves to our inner, unbounded spiritual source, the inevitable ups and downs of life, which are the nature of the material world, gradually fail to disturb us so much. To use another analogy, like being in the eye of a hurricane we are better able to remain relaxed, calm and silent within, despite the noisy winds of life blowing all around us. What really got my attention, however, was when Maharishi detailed how this unbounded, inner field was not at all difficult to contact. In fact, he explained that the common belief that meditation or spiritual growth requires much discipline and effort was indeed a complete misunderstanding. It was pointed out that the experience of happiness is in reality completely natural for our mind, and with the right mental training each of us can access this silent, inner field in the most effortless way. Though this all sounded wonderful, I had had enough of the theory and wanted to experience this inner field of consciousness for myself. Soon enough my wish was granted. I was taught the timeless art of transcending and within minutes I had an experience I will never forget.
Having been given a mantra, a sound that promotes transcending, and specific instruction in how to use it, I began to meditate. Like it was only yesterday, I remember almost instantaneously falling into a deep state of pure relaxation. It was like I was sinking down within myself. Soon my body became completely still. My breathing slowed almost to a state of suspension and the endless chatter of my mind, which was usually my constant companion, seemed to evaporate away. I was not asleep, and in fact was more awake than I had ever been. I continued to sink deeper and deeper into a state of profound peace, while my mind seemed to be expanding and expanding. I was so completely relaxed that I could not feel the boundaries of my physical body, yet I was completely alert. It was like I was silently observing the whole process and I felt that I had temporarily glimpsed what the yogis of times past meant by the term ‘witnessing’.
|About The Author: Mark Bunn is a former AFL footballer who has been practicing Transcendental Meditation for over 20 years. He is trained in both Western health-science and the ancient eastern science of Maharishi Ayurveda. Mark has studied the secrets of the world’s healthiest and longest living cultures, and is the author of the best-selling ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health‘.|