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A Private Orchestra Rehearsal in the Mind

I had a surprise visit today from someone I had not seen in almost 20 years. It was one of my first students that I taught transcendental meditation and she felt it was time to refresh her technique.

With Sally’s permission, I’d like to share with you some of what we talked about.

As you can imagine a lot has happened in the intervening years;  completion of a 5-year degree, 3 children, 2 husbands, 2 dogs, parents and in-laws dying and/or requiring nursing etc.

And if that wasn’t enough, how about being inside collapsing buildings during not one but two Christchurch earthquakes and the subsequent issues of survival that followed- that was the edited version.

Not Missed More Than 20 Meditations In 20 Years

However, with a few exceptions – childbirth,  the afternoons of the earthquakes and maybe 2 or 3 other traumatic occasions – she managed to meditate twice a day. Sally estimates that since learning to meditate she has not missed more than 20 meditations.

She also credits her twice daily meditations as her saving grace. The glue that held her and her family together through some extremely testing times. She believes that she not only coped better than most but was able to make better decisions under immense pressure because of her meditations.

But while very fascinating, that’s not what I wanted to share with you. It’s what we talked about next that I hope you will gain insight from.

The Mind Can Be Like An Orchestra Warming Up

We talked about the perverseness of the mind, how the mind can take on a persona (or in some cases, multiple personas) and twist and distort reality. A reality, that if we don’t have some way of filtering, some way to distinguish between truth and this distorted reality, we can soon start to believe.

Sally likened it to her musical recital rehearsals with the following analogy. If you have ever been to a live orchestra concert and arrived early you will have heard all the musicians warming up and tuning their respective instruments. It can sound quite chaotic. Then as the conductor arrives at the rostrum/podium and taps his/her baton all goes quiet. Silence. Silence, but for the shuffling in the audience.

It’s an analogy I had not heard before yet I knew exactly what she meant. I think that you will agree with me when I say we all experience days where its feels like the mind has been taken over by an orchestra warming up. No apparent cohesion between one sound/thought and another. And there’s no off switch let alone volume control. Unless, you know how to meditate that is, then we get to sit and meditate. Silence.

The Benefits of Meditation

It’s during meditation when the mind and body are deeply rested that we experience true silence. Yet, at the same time, we are fully aware of all that going on around us – the shuffling in the audience.

We get to transcend the stress and tension of life. To take time out and enjoy the peace and solitude from within.

In daily life, the benefits of meditation are often experienced as a clarity of mind, greater ability to cope under pressure, compassion, tolerance, more energy and to experience a better quality of sleep.

As for refreshing Sally’s technique, I reminded her that transcendental meditation is not like learning a musical instrument – it doesn’t take years before you become proficient – but it does require practice. We practice every day, it’s why it said “One Practices Meditation”.  We talked about her experiences during meditation and what they mean so she’ll be right now for another 20 years!

NOTE: I am no longer associated in any way whatsoever with the Transcendental Meditation Foundation of New Zealand. However, if you learnt TM from me (or anyone else for that matter) I am more than happy to Check and/or Refresh your technique.




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