Teaching the field of consciousness
From my current perspective I was very young–22 years old–when I was trained in an intensive five month program to be a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique. The first person I taught upon returning home was a middle-aged sophisticated architect–to me, an actual grown-up. I was worried about how she would feel about being taught by a novice who was comparatively young.
During the woman’s TM instruction, after her first experience with the meditation, she turned to me with a very serious expression on her face–I actually wondered if she was going to complain to me. Instead, quietly and with great sincerity, she said, “I have never known a joy so profound.”
I knew I had chosen the right career.
A woman’s profession allows her to contribute to, and participate in, society–in addition to the contribution she makes to her family. To be competent or excel in the majority of professions, we usually require training and then continuing professional development.
Everyone in society relies on the continuation of excellence in every profession. We trust our family’s health and education to dentists, physicians, and teachers, and we seek advice from financial managers, career advisers, clergy, and all sorts of other experts. Whereas only medicine, religion and law were defined professions of the 19th century, now there are more than thirty types of professions commonly listed. The list is constantly increasing in size, and most professions have fields of specialty within them.
So, with many choices of occupation open to me, and with the advantage of a good education and the resources to explore many career opportunities, why did I become a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique? It was because I ‘discovered’ consciousness.
Almost all of our academic studies and careers lie in the field of thought and activity—examinations of the physical world by our conscious mind. But before we can be conscious of anything, we first must be conscious. My career involves the enlivenment of the transcendental foundation of all successful thought and action that lies in the field of consciousness.
What is consciousness?
Consciousness lies out of relative existence where the experiencer or mind is left awake by itself in full awareness of itself without any experience of an object. Consciousness is unmanifest, beyond—transcendental to—thinking and activity. It is the source of our thought, much as an ocean is the source and stuff of all waves, ripples, and drops. As it is the source or foundation of all of the mind’s activity, consciousness must be a field of infinite energy, intelligence, and creativity. When consciousness is profound and enlivened, waves of thought will be more powerful, intelligent and creative.
Without the knowledge and experience of this fundamental of life, living is like dwelling in a building that has no foundation. It’s perilous, cracks appear, the walls shake, it may all fall down around you. So it is important to securely establish one’s experience of consciousness in order to be steady no matter what activity the mind entertains.
The Transcendental Meditation technique is a technology for transcending concrete mental activity to subtler levels of thought to the transcendent. Consciousness is enlivened by transcending the most subtle level of thought in the most settled silent state of the mind where we experience a state of restful alertness—called a “wakeful hypo-metabolic state” by researchers at Stanford in the 1970s—at this time the whole brain is enlivened.
During TM, when the conscious mind settles down and comes into regular contact with its inner nature of pure consciousness, that infinite source within is tapped, and, as a result, the conscious mind retains more of its capacity day by day. Our daily life then reflects the enlivenment of this infinite potential in all of our experience and pursuits. It allows us to enjoy all aspects of life fully.
An Added Benefit
Because the mind and body are intimately connected, as the mind settles down the metabolism of the body is reduced—deep rest occurs—and stress and fatigue are reduced. It is the natural function of our body to release these imbalances and encumbrances. For example, our eye tears automatically when some particle gets in it. We cough, yawn, sneeze, and have myriad other functions take place daily as our body seeks to normalize and un-encumber itself. Our body heals itself most profoundly when it gets deep rest–this, of course, is why our physician recommends bed rest when we are ill. During TM practice, rest is so profound that deeply rooted stress and fatigue are eliminated, giving rise to a better state of health.
Validation of Higher States of Consciousness
Because the outward manifestations of the development of consciousness are found in all aspects of thinking and behavior and realized concretely in the physical world, the results can be laid open to investigation and validation. Of course, the expansion of consciousness is reflected in brain function, so scientific investigation has been done on meditators’ brains; many published studies show changes indicating the development of consciousness uniquely through Transcendental Meditation. By 2013, over 360 peer-reviewed scientific research studies had been published on the broad range of mental, emotional, physiological, neurological and sociological benefits of the TM technique.
And, Back to Me…
This “one solution to all problems” character of the TM program is what attracted me to learn to meditate and, having learned, to want to share it with everyone I met. I’ve been teaching Transcendental Meditation courses for more than four decades; I’ve seen the gratitude of uncountable women and girls, from vulnerable students in schools-at-risk to wealthy celebrities, and I continue to celebrate my career choice.
Recently, I asked a new student how she felt after her instruction and she replied, “I feel like I’ve been blessed.”
“Yes,” I replied, “me too.”
About the Author
Janet Hoffman is the executive director of TM for Women Professionals, a division of TM for Women in the USA