I have been a meditator for about 12 years. It has given me energy, strength, health, wisdom, and access to my own inner stillness, inner silence, inner bliss. It is my connection to myself; it is my connection to the universe.
About two years ago, I visited a school in South Africa where all the students practiced one particular form of meditation—Transcendental Meditation (TM). They were bright, alert, energized with life. A short while later I returned to New York and I met a long-time TM teacher, Bob Roth, who is a national director of the David Lynch Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has provided scholarships for over 100,000 at-risk school children (and at-risk teens and adults and elderly people) to learn to meditate.
I always thought of meditation as a way to trick the mind to be still. Yogis know that when the mind is still, when the noise is gone, then the person is in total bliss, total happiness. I had heard a lot about Transcendental Meditation but had never learned it.
Bob talked about how TM worked. He described the mind as like an ocean, with waves on the surface (thoughts) and silence at its depths. He said that many meditations try to impose an artificial calm on the surface of the mind while this meditation accepted thoughts but simply allowed the thinking mind to effortlessly settle down and experience the transcendent—the field of silence within.
Decades of research conducted at medical schools like Harvard and Stanford, and funded with tens of millions of dollars by the National Institutes of Health showed TM developed the brain and increased creativity and intelligence, and reduced stress, anxiety, depression and high blood pressure. (Some insurance companies even reimburse for TM instruction if you have high blood pressure.) Research on meditating students showed rising grades and reduced suspensions and expulsions, fewer dropouts, and higher graduation rates.