After floating in what felt like a private sea of happiness for about twenty minutes, I was brought back to my usual, comparatively mundane level of experience by the voice of the teacher. I was informed that what I had temporarily experienced was what Maharishi called the state of ‘restful alertness’. The body experiences deep relaxation while the mind is perfectly clear and awake. It was explained that when one dips a white cloth into coloured dye, each time the cloth is taken out it retains a little more of the colour. Similarly, after dipping into the silent ocean of consciousness within, we come back out into activity with a little more of the silence, energy, creativity and balance—which is the nature of consciousness itself. Having this experience regularly is said to be the basis of maintaining a state of peaceful equanimity within the incessant activity of life – the eye of the hurricane. The usual worries, anxieties and fears that can commonly fill our thoughts fail to grip us so much. Combined with simple living, the regular cultivation of the state of restful alertness is what the ancient sages and yogic masters used as the basis for their spiritual growth. Ultimately, this is what enabled them to live ‘in this world, but not of this world, i.e. to live successfully in the world without being rocked by the fluctuating fortunes of life.
At the conclusion of my instruction, I was recommended to practise my new technique twice a day. I did this diligently, even meditating in football change rooms (that was certainly a challenge!), on planes and in my car. Although I didn’t have the same unbounded experience each time, it was always relaxing, enjoyable and highly rejuvenating. Motivated by my experiences, I wanted to learn more about the practice of transcending, and began avidly researching the topic. I discovered that in traditions such as the Vedic tradition of India, transcending the everyday world of thoughts was seen to be the basis of what the spiritual adepts called ‘enlightenment’. As the theory went, when we transcend mind, body and senses, we become one with our source. With time, we experience the ‘light of God’ and some would say, enter the kingdom of heaven. The inner light of consciousness begins to shine more fully, and we naturally begin to radiate that light in our lives. That all seemed light years away from my own experience—at 19 all I cared about was girls and football!—but it sure sounded good.
The more I read, the more I realised that there was a united thread of transcendence linking many of the world’s most well-known figures. The great discoveries of scientists such as Einstein, Archimedes and Newton were all accompanied by self-described transcendental experiences. Many scholars suggest that the missing years of Jesus’ life were spent in the East transcending his way to higher consciousness. The Buddha was said to have transcended the sufferings of the world in order to gain enlightenment or nirvana during his 40 days under the bodhi tree. The Vedic texts that date back thousands of years detail how the ancient ‘rishis’ (seers of reality) brought to light the innumerable laws of nature that govern our world, including the principles of Ayurveda contained in this book, through individual and collective transcending.
Despite the impressive history of transcendence, I was also interested to see whether such mental technologies are practical and useful in today’s world. Specifically in regard to health, I found that the time-honoured art of transcending provides a foundation for supporting every area of health and performance. In fact, research studies on TM, which have been conducted at medical schools and universities such as Harvard, Stanford, UCLA and Yale, and reported in the most prestigious scientific journals throughout the world1, clearly demonstrate the power of transcending. The findings showed that regular transcendence helps everything from reducing blood pressure, stress, anxiety, substance abuse and depression to optimising brain functioning, increasing self-actualisation (the ability to realise more of one’s potential) and even promoting higher states of consciousness.2 Many of today’s most widespread diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity, were also shown to be significantly reduced.3 My favourite finding, however, was that people who had transcended on a daily basis for more than five years were found to have reduced their biological age, i.e. the actual functional age of their body, by over twelve years.4 It seemed that while cosmetic creams and potions may help us look good on the outside, transcending provided an even more powerful way to retard the ageing process … from the inside.
|About The Author: Mark Bunn is a former AFL footballer who has been practicing Transcendental Meditation for over 20 years. He is trained in both Western health-science and the ancient eastern science of Maharishi Ayurveda. Mark has studied the secrets of the world’s healthiest and longest living cultures, and is the author of the best-selling ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health‘.|