“The experience of happiness is a direct means of replenishing life energy and revitalizing the mind.” —Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
For Mother’s Day, Natural Awakenings Long Island Publisher Kelly Martinsen gave herself an early present. “More like I gave my family a present,” says Martinsen with a laugh. After years of listening to Howard Stern tout the benefits of transcendental meditation (TM)—brought to the U.S. in the mid-50s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi—she decided to sign up for a course to join the more than 6 million people worldwide that have learned this unique technique.
The TM technique taught at the Transcendental Meditation Program of Long Island, in Garden City, is a simple, natural, effortless and extremely effective process practiced 15 to 20 minutes twice daily while sitting comfortably with eyes closed. “To be honest, I have done guided meditation after yoga and even on my own sporadically,” shares Martinsen, “but it’s hard to find a guide at a moment’s notice, and it’s also hard to be one with what the guide may be focused on at that time; meaning if the guide is picturing a rain forest and I just don’t have that vision while trying to meditate, I find myself having a lot of self-chatter and not really meditating. I need it to be less work and more available to me at home, and that is what appeals to me about TM.”
The program, which is designed to be done in a specific order, consists primarily of group instruction, with one day of personal instruction and a lifetime of follow-up help. Harry Martinian, the director of the Transcendental Meditation Program of Long Island, who learned the TM technique in 1968 and has taught TM for more than 40 years, was extremely accommodating to Martinsen’s hectic schedule, ensuring she attended the classes in correct succession. That flexibility allowed for Martinsen, a busy working mom, to complete the course and begin her journey. She made a commitment to herself that for the next 30 days she would practice TM twice daily.
“Well, the Earth didn’t move and the skies didn’t open up,” says Martinsen, “and yet, the Earth didn’t move and the skies didn’t open up. What I mean is that I was imagining a life-altering experience overnight, instead what I clearly experienced was a calm or a pause in my daily life and an ability to see things a bit more in perspective.” Martinsen did manage to meditate every one of those 30 days, but did miss some of those second daily meditations. “On days when I went out of my way and made sure to meditate two times a day—in a car, on a train, literally locked in the only place my family will give me peace: my bathroom!—I was a bit more focused, a bit more calm, and that little bit translated to big things. Those days there was also less yelling in my house, less chaos.”
During those 30 days, Martinsen shares that she made a large mistake that cost her company money. Yet, it was very simple for her to put it into perspective. She addressed the issue and moved forward, instead of ruminating on it like she would have in the past. “TM has a way of balancing me,” explains Martinsen, “and I imagine if I stick with it, the mistakes will be less, too, because there is a calming and clearing effect of some sort that I can’t explain and yet it is there.”
Source: Transcendental Meditation Program of Long Island. Location: 66 New Hyde Park Rd., Garden City. Free introductory lectures are available. For more information, call 516-345-2634 or visit TM.org.