Time Out gets a relaxing lesson about mind over matter
Ordinarily, we wouldn’t look to Russell Brand or Katy Perry for inspiration on how to find inner peace. Catchy tunes or faintly amusing buffoonery perhaps, but deep levels of self-awareness? Not so much. Yet these two are the latest in a long line of celebs who are vocal advocates of transcendental meditation, a practice that is also becoming increasingly popular here in the UAE.
Gerard Valente is a member of the Creative Intelligence Consultancy, which regularly holds lectures, events and workshops in Dubai on how to use transcendental meditation (TM). He has been practising TM for years, and says learning the technique was the most important decision he ever made. ‘It’s a unique yet simple mental practice that allows the mind to dive deep within itself and experience its unified, harmonious source,’ says Gerard. ‘TM goes beyond all our thinking and feeling to where our creativity, our intelligence and our emotions find a common point of origin. The name sums up the practice perfectly: ‘meditation’, meaning a mental practice, and ‘transcendental’, meaning ‘to go beyond’.
Although the description of TM sounds complicated, the practice itself is very straightforward. Twice a day you take 20 minutes to sit somewhere peaceful with your eyes closed. There’s not much more to it than that. ‘Because it draws the mind to its silent, peaceful source, even environmental noise isn’t a problem for successful practise,’ says Gerard. However, although it’s very simple to do, you do need to be trained by a fully qualified teacher to set you off on the right track.
The difference between TM and conventional mediation is that other techniques involve contemplation or some form of visualisation – you know, the ‘You are lying in the grass next to a still lake…’ type of flow. TM doesn’t require that you picture anything at all, but, as Gerard explains, it uses ‘only the natural tendency of the mind to transcend and refine mental activity. Your mind opens up to conscious awareness.’
Although the technique is based on the ancient Vedic tradition of enlightenment in India, Gerard says TM is not a religious practice, a philosophy or a way of life. Anyone can practise it without it interfering with their current lifestyle. ‘With TM, you will just be adding a technique for successful action. So it’s perfect for anyone who wants to achieve more from their life.’
TM practitioners say they benefit from better health, stronger immunity and a greater sense of calm on a day-to-day basis. In addition, TM can sharpen your intelligence, creativity, learning ability and memory. ‘All of these benefits have been scientifically documented. Because of this, there is a growing body of doctors, medical and health professionals, and educators who fully support and endorse TM.’ says Gerard. He says the UAE is the perfect climate in which to teach TM, because it is an exciting, dynamic place where many people and businesses are trying to develop and maximise their opportunities.
‘As human beings, “transcending” is built into the fabric of our minds. As well as great health and fulfilment on so many levels, transcendental meditation has also given me the realisation of just how unbounded human development is – and that’s a truly wonderful thing.’ Dhs3,670 for a four-day workshop, six months of follow-up consultations and lifelong membership. To book a workshop, contact Mahnaz Emami (050 114 0117) or visit www.tm.ae