Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Peace of Meditation

Good morning, Happy Souls!

Are you feeling motivated this morning? I certainly hope so. I know that I am!

Many people meditate on a daily basis. I have been following this practice for 11 years now. I spend about 30 minutes each morning and evening in my practice. I emerge fresh, energetic and focused.

When I first learned to meditate, I heard and read all kinds of claims. From my experience with meditation, I can now describe my own benefits.

Let me make a warning though. I suspect that each person gains something different from meditation. So don't assume that if you meditate that you will duplicate my experience . . . except perhaps the learning process.

Let me start by sharing a little background. About 19 years ago, I had a mysterious illness. I began stumbling and losing coordination while playing a round of golf with one of my children. By the time I got back to the car, I couldn't drive. My wife took me to the closest hospital, and I started to lose feeling all over my body. I thought I was a goner. While they were taking a CAT scan, I began to shiver violently . . . and gradually started to revive.

Nothing was ever diagnosed. It wasn't any of the usual suspects -- stroke, heart attack, meningitis, etc.

I was left with permanently reduced sensation on the left side of my body and searing pain (it hurt to even touch the sheets on my bed). Recovery was slow. It was almost a year before I could resume anything resembling a normal work schedule. And I would have setbacks from time to time after that.

The continued symptoms made it hard for me. I became grumpier and grumpier. I could hardly stand myself. I couldn't see how anyone else could stand me at all.

One day, I had an epiphany. I had been playing golf in a desert location. While playing my ball in the rough, I had walked into a cactus, torn the cactus stem off and had a large number of long needles connecting me to the torn-off part of the cactus. I didn't realize that I was carrying this cactus with me for several holes. I happened to look down and saw blood everywhere and this piece of cactus sticking out of my leg. The pain of having all those needles in me was so mild compared to my usual pain in that leg that I didn't even feel the needles. I decided it was time to take action.

I decided to try anything that anyone claimed had ever helped people to reduce pain or to control their moods. I took courses. I tried every kind of exotic treatment you've probably ever heard of. I changed my diet. I got various kinds of massages. I had hypnosis. And on it went.

Gradually, I began to find a few things that helped. During one of my setbacks when I was hospitalized, a nurse told me that many people with my problem were helped by chiropractors. I found someone who swore by her chiropractor's ability to reduce pain. It helped me, too. I eventually found that I needed orthotics. With the orthotics, I rarely needed the chiropractor. Acupuncture helped as well. Drinking more water was beneficial. And on it went into healthier, more balanced living.

But one day, I realized that although I was feeling better physically . . . I wasn't doing so well mentally and emotionally. I was worn out from trying to function in this impaired way while running from potential solution to potential solution.

A friend recommended transcendental meditation. The Beatles had experimented with this in the 60s so I had heard of it. I decided to give it a try.

The process of learning was easy. I could follow the directions immediately. I would relax so much that I would fall asleep in class and have a hard time waking up. This was an amazing result, because I had been suffering from insomnia for years. Within two weeks, I felt like the weight of the world was off my shoulders.

I immediately wanted to learn more and took a trial class to find out if I was ready for more advanced training, something called the Siddhi program. It turned out that I was ready and within six months I was enrolled. Rest became much deeper and sustained. My energy recovered. I became tranquil rather than in turmoil.

Gradually, I went from being angry all the time to being peaceful almost all the time.

One of the big differences was that the cacophony of self-directed abuse in my mind gradually quieted and went away.

More significantly, I found myself powerfully drawn to my Christian religion. I wanted to pray just as much as I wanted to meditate. The more I did of each, the more I wanted to develop my spiritual self. From there, it has been a profound, moving and delightful journey.

My ability to learn, work and communicate developed exponentially. They continue to do so today. It's like I acquired a higher level of mind than I was born with.

But the greatest gift is a sense of being at peace. I feel in touch with silence, tranquility and repose almost all the time. When I need to, I can quickly reconnect to those states of mind and body.

And by the way, although I still have reduced some sensation on the left side of my body, I usually don't have much pain any more.

In this season when we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, I suggest that you investigate whether meditation is right for you . . . as a way to gain the blessed peace that God wants you to have.

I have no idea about how other forms of meditation compare. I have only done TM.

For more information on learning TM (including free introductory classes) in the U.S. and Canada call 1-888-532-7686. You can visit the official Web site at

Could a billionaire do better? I sincerely doubt it.

Meditation is something you have to do yourself. I have no idea if some people have more innate ability to meditate than others, but I'm confident that material wealth is . . . if anything . . . a hindrance. You are trying to reach a state where the material world dissolves around you and you experience existence at a more fundamental level. If you are thinking about your billions while you try to make this transition, it has to make the process more difficult. However, the billionaire may need meditation more than those who are less burdened by the material world to begin with.


N.B. As you can tell, I'm experimenting with color. Let me know what you like and what I should change about my use of color.

Please let me know what else you would like to learn, and I'll do my best to help in future blog entries.

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May God bless you. Merry Christmas!

Donald W. Mitchell, Your Dream Concierge

Copyright 2005 Donald W. Mitchell


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