On 13-Dec-2020 I announced that I began practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM). To date, I have maintained my routine. I say routine because it becomes a part of your daily schedule, like brushing your teeth. Every morning I wake up, empty my bladder, meditate, eat a small breakfast, brush my teeth, shower, and begin my day. Every evening I meditate, eat dinner, have my leisure time, brush my teeth, and then go to bed. Thus, TM easily becomes a part of one’s life.
So how is it going? Thus far, some meditations are easier than others. By that I mean there are times when my mind is flooded with thoughts and I lose track of the mantra. When I used to do traditional Zen meditation I would sit calmly, breathe deeply, and focus my attention away from thoughts (focusing on breath, a point of light, visualizing my thoughts as bubbles floating away). I have had some success and a lot of failures in this approach. Though, even in failure there are still benefits to be gained.
The contrast with how I meditate now is that in TM we are taught to accept thoughts as part of the process. There are times when I will feel bodily sensations, which are also part of the process. These thoughts and sensations are ways of releasing stress and we must “take it as it comes”.
Some Things I Have Noticed
When I am out shopping for groceries, and other shoppers refuse to socially distance I am not getting angry. I still get annoyed, but I am no longer angry every single time. Although, I have been suffering with a diverticulosis flare-up since 20-Dec-2020. I had to go to the hospital, and I have been taking some heavy-duty antibiotics. This made me more susceptible to COVID-19 (and other infections) since the antibiotics wipe out the good and bad gut bacteria. I have had to get groceries and incidentals on three occasions since then and I have tried to stay away from other shoppers. I have been polite to them, but I sometimes felt anger towards the ones who refuse to stay away from me. I tell myself that they do not know my circumstances, and that I do not know theirs. Meditation has helped me come to terms because I now realize that my anger was fueled by assumptions I made about these other shoppers.
I also noticed that my evening meditation is easier than my morning meditation. In the morning meditation my mind is flooded with thoughts. This makes me lose track of my mantra. Some of these thoughts are quite powerful (visually stunning, compelling ideas, etc.). Still, I continue and finish each morning meditation. The evening meditation is smoother since there are less thoughts, which fade away quicker. Logically, I would have thought that my morning meditation would go smoother than my evening meditation. I base this on the fact that my day will be filled with events and thoughts, whereas I would have a clean slate in the morning. Surprisingly, it is the opposite.
I am getting creative again. "Hello old friend, it’s really good to see you once again”. I will say that the antibiotics have wiped me out. I am adhering to a BRAT diet and trying to drink water and other fluids. It has been difficult because of the extreme nausea every time I eat or drink. Yogurt seems to help. However, this has left me dizzy and very sleepy, both of which are also side effects of the medication. I am also having difficulty focusing. The good news is that I will be finished with that horrible medicine on 05-Jan-2021. By Thursday I should be back on point mentally. That said, I still was able to plot out a database design for a Career Tracker, which would be an expansion of the Job Seeker database I made to track my job search activities when I was laid off from Seres Therapeutics. I could not write the SQL code to build the database since I was too mentally exhausted and unable to sit comfortably long enough to achieve this. However, I will soon be able to crank this out.
The fact that I was able to maintain my meditation practice throughout my illness is testament to TM becoming a part of my life. I am not expecting anything from my TM practices, but I can safely assume that it will only become more beneficial to me and my family as I continue.