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    You are here : Home » Get Involved » MSRC Interactive » Help, Advice and Inspiration from people with MS » What Has Helped You » Treatments / Techniques » Transcendental Meditation

    Transcendental Meditation

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    Transcendental Meditation works for me - Daniel Buchsbaum
    MeditationWith MS we have many physical symptoms but our state of mind also plays a big role in how we are feeling at the end of the day. We still have a choice in that if we choose to allow ourselves to feel miserable we will end up feeling a lot worst than if we choose a sunny outlook. There are many ways to help us to keep a bright attitude.

    The one I find the most effective is: "Transcendental Meditation". There is a lot of talk about it, as if there’s a veil of mystic or magic about it but that’s a load of old cobblers as it is quite easy, simple and safe to practice! All you really need is to want to do it! Find yourself a quiet room where you will not be disturbed. Just sit own quietly and breathe in and out from the diaphragm.

    Next make sure that you are relaxed. I mean properly relaxed. Then start breathing in and out really deeply, listening to the natural rhythm of the breath. When I breathe in I like to use the mantra (which is a word or short phrase) ‘raising’ (as my tummy rises up). And when I breath out, ‘falling’ (as the diaphragm relaxes back). If possible try not to think of anything else but if the mind wanders, I simply note the thought (or chain of thoughts) without getting involved with them and then simply bring my focus back to the breath.

    It will probably take you between 5 to 10 cycles until you set your mind free, but don’t worry too much if you cannot quieten the ‘mind chatter’ straight away. This will happen in its own time. Whatever level you are on, you will still benefit from this daily practice.

    When you successfully meditate, you feel as if you are millions of miles away, although you obviously haven’t physically moved at all. I practice it everyday and it keeps me in very high spirits. Give it a go and see how well you will feel. It costs nothing and will make you feel great!

    Have a go!

    Transcendental Meditation - Anne Barrett
    If you'd said to me a couple of years ago that very soon I'd be spending a large part of every afternoon doing nothing and enjoying it, I wouldn't have believed you. That I would discover my best friend is me, and like her? Absolutely not. That I would turn down the extraneous volume in my life and find 'the peace that there is in silence'. No.

    When I was diagnosed with MS I was rapidly forced to change my lifestyle - a frenetic whistlestop up-and-down rollercoaster ride of canned laughter and flashes-beforeyour-eyes to a more thoughtful existence which gave me time to calm down and reassess my life.

    It's amazing how you change when you have to, the different things you are forced to learn, to find out how close you were to self destruction. In other words, MS was a blessing for me, though of course I didn't appreciate it at the time.

    But it was a direct influence on every change in my life, and the chance to meditate is just one of the gifts it has given me. I had always been a little highly strung, to put it mildly. The smallest problems gave mestress, both emotional and physical, in the form of pain, stomach upsets and diarrhoea.

    On top of that, I would feel alternately guilty and angry about things I couldn't change, things that happened a long time ago. Outwardly I was very much in control of my emotions, but inwardly I was a gibbering wreck. I know I would never have considered meditation in the normal course of events, so I have no idea what made me turn to it practically as soon as I was diagnosed in October 1998. My long-ignored 'inner self'?

    Who knows. But as I have learned since, 'when the student is ready, the teacher will appear'.

    I learned how not to think

    At first meditation was just a pleasant way of spending the evening, but as the months passed, it came to mean more to me and became something I really looked forward to. I wanted the silence, I wanted to learn how not to think. I've never thought of it as an easy option. There's nothing easy about quietening your mind; try it for a moment and you'll see what I mean.

    Thoughts are continually battling to get to the front, bringing emotions with them, memories, worries, things you've forgotten to I get, your shopping list - the past, present and future all live in you. And they like living together, a colourful argumentative abstract that would much rather you concentrated on them than anything else.

    This article isn't just about how meditation has changed me, it's also about how four of us, all in the same group and all with MS, have learnt to welcome and incorporate it in our lives. First there's Alison Tucker, who runs the group. Alison was diagnosed with MS over twenty years ago.

    However, far from letting it dictate to her, she chose to call the shots and now runs both the meditation group and several thriving yoga groups. She remains our outstanding example of what is possible with determination, a positive attitude, and hard work.

    Secondly, there's Chris. Four years ago she was bedridden, but now she holds down a busy job while making sure she has time to meditate. There's also Tim, recently diagnosed and using meditation to see him through many stresses. And then there's me.

    All four of us have benefited from the peace, support and friendship of the group. Each of us goes to the class for a reason - stress, depression or to find inner peace. The physical body craves peace though it is rarely given the chance to find it. One of the first things we discover is that peace always comes from the inside out, not the outside in. But craving it is not enough - you have to help it emerge, like a butterfly from a cocoon. Find your inner peace.

    One of the lessons we are gradually learning is that everyone has their own peace inside them - their inner self, devoid of flesh, emotion and thoughts and infinitely wiser than we give it credit for. And before you ask, this has nothing to do with God or religion; it is up to the individual what he or she chooses to believe in.

    The class is a workshop, and therefore experiments with lots of different types of meditation. There are usually two sessions, separated by a short break. In the first we try something 'new', while in the second we meditate in our own personal, private space. At the end of the first session, Alison goes round the room asking everybody if it worked for them. The answer may not be in the affirmative!

    You learn very quickly that what works for one person may not work for another, and also that it really doesn't matter. What does matter is that you practise, and Alison cannot emphasise enough the importance of this. It doesn't matter if you don't feel you're 'doing it right', just that you are doing it at all. We are encouraged to set aside maybe ten minutes, maybe half an hour of our day to meditate, and it's surprising how habit-forming it is.

    Put it this way, if you don't do it one day, you notice the difference (and so does everyone else)! I can safely say it works for everyone. One of our group has reduced her high blood pressure, another has alleviated her stress. And we four people - with our shared additional knowledge of MS - have all experienced a lessening of symptoms, an increase in energy and an upsurge in positive thinking. You can't buy that! And the ironic thing is, it was inside us all the time.

    The Joys of Meditation - Betty Iams
    The following comments were taken from Betty's monthly MS Newsletter - 'A Journey to Wellness'. To find out more about this newsletter and how to subscribe, please visit her website.

    Meditation has been an important part of my life for quite a few years. It is my special time of day when I forget everything else and allow myself to just be. When I heard James Garner recite the following beautiful poem in a popular commercial, it occurred to me that it beautifully describes meditation. It was written by ad copyrighter Patrick O'Leary.

    Nobody Knows It But Me

    There's a place I travel when I want to roam,
    And nobody knows it but me.
    The roads don't go there and the signs stay home,
    And nobody knows it but me.
    It's far, far away and way, way afar,
    It's over the moon and the sea,
    And wherever you're going that's wherever you are.
    And nobody knows it but me.

    I invite you to learn to travel to your "very special place" that nobody will know but you. It is worth the effort to discover the road which leads to that place. If you still have not discovered the great healing joy of meditation, I devote a chapter of very basic how-to information in my book, "From M.S. to Wellness".

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