Many years ago, a Saturday morning in early May 1972, I learned Transcendental Meditation (TM), as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It was a house in Leeds. I forget my teachers name (Claire?)
I came to it from a bad place. Several months earlier a friend slipped me some LSD in my beans on toast. He had been trying to persuade me to use it, but I always said no. I had tried cannabis a couple of times, and got a mildly pleasant feeling followed by several hours of discomfort. I just wasn’t interested. Within a shortish time – I do not know exactly how long – I was hallucinating severely in Baker Street tube station. It left me frightened. I had no understanding of what had happened or how. My explanation now is not something which occurred to me until several weeks later.
So, come that May morning I felt terrified of letting go. I was trying hard constantly not to let my mind wander. I feared where it might go. I had considered TM for a couple of years, and then a very good friend, Mas, learned it, and recommended it to me.
I was instructed to do the very thing which terrified me – to let go – to leave my mind entirley free to go where it wanted, without my learned constraint. I had decided that I could no longer allow my life to be ruled by the fear I felt. It was a leap into frightening, completely unknown possibilities. Instead, within rather less than ten minutes of actually starting, something astonishing happened. The deepest relaxation I had ever felt simply overwhelmed me. In an instant, I knew I had found a home.
Fifty years later, I still meditate (TM) every day. It has had an enormous and beneficial effect on my life, and I will continue. In the early years I became more committed to TM, and learned several advanced techniques and much theory. Each time I willingly gave a promise to keep what I had learned to myself. At the same time, it is many years since I have had any close contact with the movement – several years before Maharishi died. We had a family tragedy which put a hold on many elements in our lives and we never got back to some former interests. I would not have got through that without TM, but the advanced stuff fell by the wayside. I still get emails, but they reflect a very different movement to the one I first entrance. I do not deny it, but it does not attract me.
I willl not therefore do anything which I consider to be a betrayal of any of my promises, but my own understanding and feel for how this works has changed a little. I want to set that my present understanding out, in the hope that others may be encouraged to try something for themselves.
For clarity, I am not teaching TM. TM comes from a background I respect immensely, and I wish to very clear that I make no pretence of understanding the tradition. I am not a Hindu, or any variant of it. TM says that such an association is not integral to the movement. Well it did, but whether it persists with that assertion I do not know.
This will not be TM under another name. I anticipate that TM texts giving full details of the teachings, guidance, practice and mantras are available on the net. I do not speak as to their accuracy. I think that I know and respect the boundaries.
I had an extraordinarily good introduction to TM. Some people, more that I would wish, do not get the same instant results, and do not persist as I think they should. I do not blame them – we are all time pressed. I paid a tiny amount to learn. Nowadays it is a much more significant sum. That sum would have been worth it for me but, I simply would not have been able to find anything like it at the time.
To be continued.
Today, I am back in hospital for my second ‘flush’ of oxaliplatin by cannula. The infusion lasts two to two and a half. I have a fifteen minute saline drip on either side. I receive this in the MacMillan unit at Calderdale Royal.
Am now back. it went better than last time (which wasn’t too bad either), having started with the pins and needles only after the treatment finished. I hope to get away with something a little less painful this time.
We chaps shave. Let’s just stick to facial hair. Like most others I grew up to think that to shave we needed the latest expensive shaving stick, and some sort of foam. I was wrong. There was a politician who had a lot to answer for – Conservative and racist – Enoch Powell – but I heard him once say that when a prisoner of war all they had to shave with were a sharp blade and water. He preferred hot water.
I tried it it worked. All you need to shave are a facecloth dipped in hot water and a sharp and very very cheap two blade razor from Tesco or Lidl or similar. 80p for 10 or similar. Apply the hot towel to the face for several seconds, and use the razor. It just works. No soap or foam or expensive razor. Yes, such a razor will last no more than a week, but you will never miss the foam, and you can use a dozen of such blades for any one expensive blade and still be well ahead.
No mess, no fuss, it just works.
With the Internet were born FAQs – Frequentky Asked Questions – and documents suggesting answers. Where would we be without them.
They are however only a perfect part of an imperfect world. The nme does not say it, but the implication is that there are indeed answers.
I am happy to provide my FQAs – ‘Frequently Questioned Answers’.
A definition? I hardly dare suggest. Typically they have been my slightly less than persuasive thoughts in answer to some often unasked questions.
I am sorry to have to announce this, but I have been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. It is advanced, and the only mitigations offered are chemotherapy and pain control.
I have in my favour that I have a loving family around me and have been really quite fit. That is enough for the moment: I will be here tomorrow.