A recent concert in NYC, which reunited Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney has once again brought attention to Transcendental Meditation. It’s quite historic for the two surviving Beatles to perform together, and the concert brings back images of the Foursome’s days in India so many decades ago.
The purpose of the event—organized by David Lynch’s Foundation and the TM Foundation, for the US Committee for Stress Free Schools—aims to give the gift of meditation to as many children as possible.
As someone who learned TM when I was nine years old, and spent most of my youth in the TM Movement, I have been reading about the event and the goals of the Foundation with interest. It fascinates me that the legacy of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who faced adulation and controversy in his life, continues to attract such highly influential people from around the world. Of course, my father was one of Maharishi’s inner circle, and I spent hundreds of hours in his presence, so understand the spell binding nature of what it was like to be around him.
It comforts me that the legacy of Maharishi will continue to be realized through the wonderful tool that is meditation. Personally, I am not comfortable with a movement around meditation. Rather, I think the practice of meditation itself, whether TM, Primordial Sound Meditation, breathing, yoga, or mindfulness, is the most important.
For me as a child, meditation gave me a sense of who I really was. The experiential silence of meditation gave me a sense of security, because I had the tool to silence my thoughts and process all the busyness of my life (particularly in my teen age years) in a way where I felt I was in control.
It helped me feel connected to something bigger, but also physically made me feel more rested, clear and energetic. With advanced techniques, I felt a sense of power that, again, could only come from experientially knowing myself and my capabilities.
I was always irregular in my meditation practice—sometimes meditating twice a day, other times going for months without doing it. I always appreciate that my parents gave me the tool of meditation, but then let me practice it when and if I wanted. Because they meditated, and it made them happier and more relaxed in their own lives, I meditated more regularly.
My daughters both learned meditation from my father when they were about four years old. They love the idea that they know how to meditate, even if they don’t do it all the time. And now, when we need a Time Out, we actually take a Time In. Meditation helps them relax and focus, but also gives them a connection to a sense of spirit that I could never explain to them.
So, I applaud the resurgence of the conversation around meditation and children. I hope it will be embraced as a tool to help humanity, and not an effort propagated by a movement. Hopefully, an openness about the variety of tools that can help our children (and ourselves) will be the model moving forward.
Mallika Chopra blogs regularly at Intent