The Truth About Transcendental Meditation

transcendental-meditationIs this just a big mind f*ck?  I'm being mind f*cked right now.  Those were my exact thoughts as I sat through a four day course on transcendental meditation (TM).  Then I realized, maybe just maybe, I'm actually not being mind f*cked and this is for real.  My interest in TM started about a year ago after attending one of Gabby Bernstein's lectures.  She swore by it and promises it leads to a more fulfilled life.  The fact that it can cure migraines didn't hurt either.  Enter the new year.  Learning and practicing TM was one of my goals and now I can say, I'm an expert at it.  So what exactly is it and more importantly, is it working?

Transcendental Meditation (according to the Mayo Clinic) is a form of meditation that allows your body to settle into a state of profound rest and relaxation and your mind to achieve a state of inner peace, without needing to use concentration or effort.  A delve into the unconscious mind.  By practicing TM for 20 minutes twice a day, the benefits – all backed by science – include reduced stress, reduced insomnia, normalized blood pressure, lower risk of a heart attack and stroke, reduced anxiety and depression and overall improvement in brain function and memory.

transcendental-meditation-chartI began practicing meditation at my yoga studio, Integral Yoga Institute New York, about six months ago.  Focusing on the breath or sometimes maybe a candle light, it came easy to me and I found a true appreciation and love for it.  My anxiety has lessened and I have an overall feeling of calmness and peace afterwards.  Plus, it's the ultimate version of "me" time.

After attending an introductory lecture at a TM center in NYC, I realized that if I was going to take the time to meditate, I might as well get the most out of my practice and signed up. Studies prove the benefits, so what did I have to lose?  I eagerly jumped into a four day course (despite the fact that it costs $1,000) and my open mind was 100% on board.

The first meeting, I met privately with an instructor, (instructors become certified after a five month long meditation retreat, working on TM 24/7), and she preformed a ritual in Sanskrit where I gave a offering on an alter of three sweet fruits (in my case all oranges), 12 flowers (I gave yellow tulips) and a new, white handkerchief to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the man who bought the practice of TM to the world.  Then, I was given my mantra (a vehicle for transcendence) and taught the simple, effortless technique.

transcendental-meditation-offeringBright eyed, I went home and practiced what I learned later that afternoon.  The following three days, I met with a class of about 30 people who were in the course that was lead by four teachers. This is where the mind fucking comes in.  We all shared our experiences of how our TM practice was going each day, and no matter what the experiences were, (thoughts, flashing lights, even headaches) they were all positive results of TM.  The answer – they're a result of stress leaving the body.  All of them! As long as you use your mantra and practice two times a day for 20 minutes, you're good!  So did I just pay a grand to learn how to sit still for 20 minutes?  No, it's more than that, but what really got me was the fact that it's completely effortless.  There was no magic spell.

And you know what, after practicing twice a day for a little over a week now, I believe in it.  I believe that my TM experiences allow stress, which is the cause of so many poor health conditions, to leave my mind and body.  I've been happier (living my life by the laws of The Secret, I'm a pretty happy person, but this is a more of a peaceful, blissful state), clarity has improved, I'm more productive and efficient with my time, sleep better and maybe best of all, my anxiety has settled.

Truth is, if everyone practiced TM, our world would vibrate at a higher frequency and there would be no war – within ourselves and others.

Finding Peace in the City that Never Sleeps

jeannine-morrisWhen I first met Gabby Bernstein back in April, I had no idea my life would be forever changed – for the better.  As a freelance journalist who thrives off of the energy of the hustle and bustle of NYC, I've found the time and interest to begin following a spiritual path.  Through meditation, Hatha yoga and workshops I'm more present and centered than ever before.  And this is only the beginning.

secret_daily_teachings__large Years ago I read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and began practicing the law of attraction – if you think it and believe it, it will come – and it has.  Little did I know, that this was the first step in my spiritual journey.  When living The Secret, you are taught to retrain your thoughts of negativity and weakness (I'm so broke.) to positive, empowering ones (The check's in the mail.).  The positivity you project through your thoughts starts to become your reality.  Today, I credit The Secret for much of my success in business.

gabby-bernsteinThen, I met Gabby Bernstein.  At a press event for Philosophy, Gabby began talking about her life as a spiritual teacher and educating us on practical ways to meditate in today's world, and I immediately wanted more.  One example of a practice she gave was about taking a "mental shower," in which you practice a breathing exercise during your morning shower to set the tone for your day.  (Breathe in for five seconds, hold for five seconds, release for five seconds.  Repeat.)  I went on to read all of her books, attend her workshops and now, practice meditation at the Integral Yoga Institute in NYC. The same place, she learned to meditate.

"Our mind is like a drunken monkey stung by a scorpion," Jyothi, my meditation teacher explained.

The breathing, chanting and vibration of meditation allows for a togetherness with complete strangers who I have zero attachment to.  I'm addicted.  I feel alive and present when I'm at the IYI and find myself craving the next time I can go back.  While I'm still trying to dedicate myself to meditating twice a day at home, the group meditation really works for me.

Now, not only am I practicing The Secret, but I've enhanced my life with Gabby's spiritual practices as well – to try to always be in the light by trying to bring forth my highest energy and elevate my state of joy.  Through forgiveness and willingness, I'm trying to vibrate at a frequency of positivity and hoping to spread the love in order to make a radical impact on others. With this shift in energy, I am at peace, allowing myself to be present and see the world through eyes of love.

Through my mind and body, I've started to find peace in the city that never sleeps. Interested? Then start reading The Secret and then read Gabby Bernstein's books.  The practices learned lead to living an optimal lifestyle.  And if you think you don't have time to read or try meditation, then ask yourself (in Gabby's words), "Do you have time to feel like shit?"

Gabby Bernstein's 'Miracles Now' Will Change Your Life

It's ironic that April is Stress Awareness Month, because as a freelancer with a calendar full of deadlines and a wedding in about seven weeks, I've been living almost stress free.  Enter Gabby Bernstein, who I like to call my new life coach.  A the author of "Miracles Now" and self proclaimed "Spirit Junkie,"who I'm telling you, after hearing her speak at a breakfast with Philosophy, changed my life.  I can't stop talking about her, reading her books and practicing what she preaches.  Here's why.

As soon as she began talking about the energy field we each have around us I knew she was my girl.  As a strong believer of "The Secret" and the law of attraction, Gabby enhanced everything I learned from that book and taught actual techniques from the practice of Kundalini, (the yoga of awareness), on how to control your stress and anxiety and add flow to your life.  "When you practice these techniques, fear will melt away, inspiration will spring up and a sense of peace will set in," she says.  Believe.

As a NY Times Best Selling Author, Gabby's new book, "Miracles Now," is the first one I read. (out of four).  By practicing paying attention to my breath and meditating by taking what she calls a "mental shower" I'm a much calmer person.  And let me tell you, my anxiety often tries to get the best of me.  I even start my mornings by listening to her "Super Soul Sunday" playlist on Spotify.

Pick up Gabby's book, "Miracles Now" at Barnes and Noble and you'll see what I mean.

My First Date with an Epidermologist

Last week I experienced something like never before.  I visited an epidermologist for the first time, Isabelle Bellis, for what I thought was going to be a regular facial.  I was wrong.  She has a truly unique talent. The beginning of the facial was all about connecting your mind and body through breathing, meditation and relaxation.  I laid under a blanket on the facial bed as Isabelle took me through a meditation and massaged my face.  Throughout the facial she used plant based products by Joelle Coicco and the mind and body connection remained a consistent theme.

Isabelle also did lymphatic drainage, which helped to drain toxins from my skin.  The whole idea was to drain toxins from your skin and your mind.  I absolutely loved it.  As a New Yorker who's constantly on the go, it was nice to take the time out and enjoy a beauty treatment and truly relax.  Think yoga mixed with a facial. An hour and a half later I swear I had an out of body experience.

Isabelle Bellis, 60 East 66th St., New York, NY 10065