I love sharing this story because it just illustrates, for me, the saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I was working at a telecommunications company in Oregon back in the early 2000s, and one day, after having put a very delicate and time-sensitive part of a project to rest, my client Bruce, who was based in North Carolina, and I got to talking, and strangely enough, ended up talking about meditation.
Searching for the Right Practice
I was at a point in my life where I was committed to exploring options to help me heal and manage emotional and mental stresses that I related to sexual abuse during my childhood. These stresses had begun to interfere with my quality of life, my relationships, my well-being, and self-worth. I’d been practicing yoga on and off for a few years and found it helpful… and there was room to expand and deepen that. I was curious about meditation, thinking it might offer more support.
Over the course of many months, I explored various meditation techniques. Candle-gazing and watching the breath were two of many that I tried. In every case, when I was faced with the reality of actually sitting and meditating on a regular basis, I literally came up with any excuse not to. I practically forced myself to sit and came to dislike it.
Eventually, after many tries with many meditation styles, I stopped forcing myself and gave up. It was discouraging, and I considered myself one of those folks who just couldn’t meditate.
“When the Student Is Ready, the Teacher Will Appear”
So, when my client Bruce and I started discussing meditation, I shared all this with him, along with the observation of how I was just too antsy to sit still and meditate. He said he could relate, and remembered what it was like to feel that way, but it had been a very long time. He went on to tell me that he’d been a regular meditator for 20+ years, practicing the Transcendental Meditation® (TM) technique.
Of course I had heard of TM, but was reluctant because it was a steep financial commitment for me—and what if it was like all the others I had tried? But our conversation was inspiring, and I felt like it was worth exploring. Long story short, a few weeks later I learned TM.
From the first moment of silently thinking the mantra, it was so sweet and so easy. Within moments of learning, I just knew, down to my bones, that I had found the meditation that was for me. It was such a relief. I was a meditator after all!
The day after learning TM, I literally could not wait to meditate, I was so delighted by how I felt when meditating and afterwards.
Within moments of learning, I just knew, down to my bones, that I had found the meditation that was for me… I was a meditator after all!
Becoming Better at Being Me
That impulse of wanting to meditate and loving my practice (every day!) has stuck with me for years… 13 years. TM is part of my life. It is a lifeline to a calmer, more connected, more creative version of myself… helping me become better at being me.
The longer I practice, the more I notice that the challenging, painful parts of life aren’t as pinching or devastating. I believe my TM practice actually helps me suffer less in life, and to me that is a precious and priceless gift… and a tool in my bag of self-loving actions.
That timely and synchronistic conversation with Bruce and my choosing to learn TM changed the storyline of my life in countless and beautiful ways.
Tracy Chipman is a storyteller, Yoga instructor, and Ayurvedic wellness coach living in Menomonie, Wisconsin.