25 January 2009

Transcendental Meditation in Egypt

Amr Khaled

Almost everyone has heard about meditation but almost no one knows how it works or what it does. The concept of quieting the mind for improving the quality of life has been shrouded in mysticism and has not had the necessary technical explanation for too long. In many cases, hardcore scientists have discarded the idea altogether, deeming it fanciful and unrealistic, until recently - when modern research began its exploration into the uncharted waters of consciousness.

The beginning:
The pioneers of this field were the Transcendental Meditation (TM) people. TM is a meditation technique, founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian spiritual teacher and physicist, who facilitates the process and cuts down the time and effort usually needed to learn it in other meditation movements, making it readily available to everyone, especially the busy modern householder.

Does it work?
The following results are based on a small sample of more than 600 scientific studies conducted on TM in over 200 independent research institutions in 35 countries during the past 40 years. The following has been determined:

Mind

Body

Relationships

Professional Life

World

That aside, let us look more into the mechanics of meditation and how this ancient process really works. To understand that, we need to first look at how the mind works in relation to the body.

The mind and the body are interrelated, each affecting the other. Dr. Deepak Chopra, M.D., renowned author and spiritual leader says in his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, "Your mind is a thought-generating organ. Thought forms perpetually arise in your awareness. The activity in your mind is communicated to every cell in your body. When your mind is turbulent, your messenger molecules communicate turbulence to your cells, tissues, and organs. If you can quiet your mind, you can send messages of peace and harmony to every cell in your body. To experience the real essence of yoga –the full integration of body, mind, and spirit- you need to develop the ability to quiet your mind. Meditation is the technology that enables you to do so."

Tracing down the thinking process to its finer states, through meditation, we eventually arrive at the source of the mind’s activity, a domain of unbounded awareness. In this state, the mind, and thus the body, finds itself balanced and joyful for no reason other than for existing. That state of un-constricted awareness is the natural state that we should experience in our everyday lives. The reason why we might not have such experience is because our stress levels have incredibly increased, creating mind turbulence, which pushes us away from that natural happy state. This natural state is the condition babies are in when they are first born, before they begin accumulating stresses.

In the past, people followed the rhythms of nature, they woke up at sunrise and slept after dark, they ate fresh foods and breathed clean air, so sleeping at night was sufficient to release any accumulated stress. Today, unfortunately, this is no longer the case; we are being bombarded with stress from all directions.

When someone is clear headed they take the right action spontaneously, there is no internal conflict: one thinks happy thoughts, feels good feelings and acts in ways beneficial to everyone involved. When someone is stressed – stress, being any abnormal experience one undertakes; physically, mentally, or emotionally – clarity of mind decreases and the ability to take the right action, which is life supporting to the one taking the action and everyone else concerned, becomes difficult.

How to do it?
So, how does one perform Transcendental Meditation? A session of Transcendental Meditation only requires 10 minutes to 40 minutes per day, depending on how long one decides to remain in a trance. The first step is to find an environment that is not distracting and assume a comfortable position, such as sitting. Next, the person chooses a word, image, or phrase and concentrates on it. By focusing on this one object the person falls into a trance. This trance can last for as long as the person chooses. While the person remains in this state of mind, he or she is psychologically present while paying minimal attention.

According to Nada Haidar, a teacher of the TM technique, "Any stress or overloading causes damage to the system. For example, if you go to a party and dance all night, the next day you cannot walk. Yet, we cannot tell people to withdraw from the world. Don't enjoy life, don't go to movies, don't ride cars, don't see friends. Who would want to do that? It is simply not applicable, at least not nowadays! That's why we need to increase the capacity of the nervous system to handle experiences by releasing previously accumulated tensions, for we do not want to detach from life but to attach to it and live it in its fullness. This is where our technique comes in. Our Transcendental Meditation, which takes only 20 minutes of your time, is practiced once in the morning and once in the evening, wherever you are, and the only ability required for practicing it is the ability to think!"

Perhaps, in the past, spiritual techniques, like meditation, were a luxury reserved for those who had free time on their hands, however, today, in the fast paced rhythm of our modern world and the stress-packed environment that surrounds us, extra measures for stress release are becoming a daily necessity for everyone. Whether one is looking for clarity, stress release, spiritual understanding, a better quality of living or just something out-of-the ordinary, meditation is definitely the way to go.

For more information on TM in Egypt e-mail amrkhaled22@gmail.com

www.ct-egypt.com/news/299/ARTICLE/1185/2008-06-01.html

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