Several months into recovery I went to see a psychic-medium and the word ‘meditation’ kept coming up. At the time, I didn’t meditate and certainly didn’t know anything about calming my mind. Drugs and alcohol were a thing of the past, remaining behind firmly locked gates while other, new avenues, opened for me, but my head was still a dangerous place to be alone. Too often I confronted myself in the dark alleys that my all-too-vivid imagination took me to. Respite from my self-sabotaging thoughts was rare and precious as the drugs and alcohol weren’t there to numb anymore. I was soon to be introduced to a new, natural high, which would protect me from myself, connect me with my Self and in doing so introduce me to the spiritual and creative energy now driving my writing.
When I was nearly a year clean, the guidance from that medium began to make sense. The wonderful lady who taught me the first two levels of Reiki told me about a talk being given which she felt was important I came to. That was the first time I’d heard about Transcendental Meditation. A teacher from the Meditation Trust told us about a man we may’ve seen the Beatles hanging out with, in India, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He told us about how Maharishi left India with nothing but his sandals and robe for San Francisco, to embark on the first of what would be seven world tours with just one goal – world peace. “I will fill with world with love and create a heaven on earth”, he said. Now, Maharishi wouldn’t have been the first in history to try and spread such a message, and I was intrigued about how he aimed to do this. I was never academically gifted, but I managed to apply myself to four months of treatment and the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to get well and bring back the first spark of light my life had seen in many years. I sat on the edge of my seat and soaked up every word.
“We’re all individual waves on a sea of consciousness,” he said. “When we meditate with the mantra, we transcend from the surface down to the stillest, quietest realms of the mind where there is no thought, no feeling, no time or space. There, we become one with the Unified Field of energy underpinning all of the world’s religions. We become one with everything.” I was gripped, he was talking my space-cadet language. He was no space cadet, though. He had been to a place as dark as I had known and TM had brought him back from the edge. But what was it, what was TM?
The more I learnt about the simplest, yet most powerful meditation technique, the more I realised I’d found a huge piece of my spiritual jigsaw. Rehab helped me realise that Nature was my higher power, my G.O.D. or Great Out Doors. As the fog cleared, I saw Nature in new glorious technicolour. I felt the elements with new vigour, and connected with the Mother of all mountains, Table Mountain, in a way which is probably the closest I’ll ever come to defining what having a ‘religious experience’ means to me. Blessing’s came in many guises during rock-bottom and rehab. Being given the chance to heal in Cape Town was one of the biggest gifts, second only to meeting my soulmate and having the family I yearned for and now have. They only came to me because I’d found rock-bottom, though. Funny how it works isn’t it. With this new-found love of the environment in my recovery toolkit, I was then given my TM mantra, a sound of Nature itself. A combination of two syllables, meaningless where the English language is concerned, but with a vibration which forms part of the primordial hum of the Universe. A sound of Mother Nature and the more I repeat it, the more powerful it becomes and the closer it brings me to Nature. Step eleven – ‘Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him/her,’ had just taken on new meaning. Nature’s natural instinct is to support and help grow, so I was tapped into a force which would always look for the best outcomes, the highest good.
The TM mantras are part of the ancient language of Sanskrit, which I find especially interesting as Dr Usui found the Reiki healing system within Sanskrit texts and the TM mantras have universal healing properties. I was given my mantra at a weekend course and within a few minutes of repetition I experienced a euphoria I’ve never felt before, or since that time. It may come again, or it may not. I have no way of knowing, but that burst of happiness was what I was seeking and to know it was there, even in such brevity, was all the proof I needed to continue with my practice. Some of our group wondered how they would fit the recommended twenty minutes, twice a day into their busy lives, but I had more than enough vacant spaces, left empty by the absence of unhealthy past-times. Active addiction turned me into a freaked out night owl who tried to hide from the day. Now, recovery was giving me opportunities to fill my life with spirit and people. TM wasn’t going to be a bed of roses, far from it actually. My mantra stirred up and released stress-infused sludge I never knew existed. My meditations had the propensity to be roller-coaster rides of anger, hate, love, happiness, frustration, confusion, and also a peace beyond compare. By releasing stress during TM, bliss takes its place, a bliss infinite and eternal – I call it happiness.