An approaching anniversary
Forty years ago my mother went to the Town Hall in Stratford upon Avon to a talk and life was never the same. The talk was an introduction to transcendental meditation (TM) that had been developed and brought to 'the West' by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (with undoubted propulsion provided by the Maharishi being, temporarily, embraced by the Beatles in the late 60s).
The talk made a deep summoning sense to my mother and she decided to learn undoubtedly helped by the charism and sincerity of the husband and wife team who were the TM teachers.
The effects were instantaneous such that next month my father (a much more sceptical proposition) learnt and, a month later, so did I!
I remember that particular afternoon in the hot, dry summer of 1976 as if it were yesterday. I remember the small room at the back of a semi-detached house in Wellsbourne, my offering of flowers, the simple ceremony and receiving my mantra. I remember my first meditation session and how it was not helped by someone mowing the grass at a neighbouring house!
I remember stepping into a world that was to be intensely private - as a thirteen year old in 70s Britain announcing you meditated was not an option! My mother recalls a teacher of mine at parents' evening interrogating his perceived change in my confidence and performance and my mother in smiling acknowledgement refusing to offer a possible explanation!
But it was not essentially about the psychological benefits (even as these were real, if more noticeably in others than myself), for me it was about stepping into a daily routine of silence, quietly seeking stillness for which I will ever remain deeply grateful.
With time, this process became 'baptised' with a different focus and intention but that, as they say, is different story.