Transcendence and the Third Metric

This article was featured on the Huffington Post’s Less Stress, More Living page.

Stuck inside during a rainy weekend in the mountains of North Carolina, I was happy to discover Huffington Post’s webcast entitled, “The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money and Power.”

As a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique, I see more and more women turning within to redefine success and happiness. Women are recognizing that lasting fulfillment doesn’t come from outer achievements alone. For many women, this lesson has been learned the hard way: In pursuit of career, relationships or family, too many women have exhausted themselves and resorted to anti-depressants or tranquilizers before realizing there’s a better way. It’s great to see women such as those participating in the Huffington Post women’s conference gaining energy, calm and happiness from meditation, and living more balanced lives.

I found it heartening to hear Arianna Huffington, Mika Brzezinski and Katie Couric relay stories of how, amid hectic careers, they realized the necessity of taking better care of themselves and their family—of relieving stress and gaining inner peace. These women are on a path of discovering deeper meaning within a successful life.

Katie Couric spoke of how true success and fulfillment come from a more holistic approach to life and work rather than focusing primarily on elements of career at the expense of health, family and relationships.

Arianna Huffington noted, “The workplace is fueled by stress and burnout, and we as women can begin to change that. We can set a new standard.” As more and more women in positions of leadership create flexibility and balance in the workplace, the standard for all women (and men) can change.

MSNBC’s host Mika Brzezinski emphasized the importance of having a meditation practice to become a more intuitive and successful leader, and she encouraged women to be more mindful of every moment.

Here in North Carolina, I lead a women’s meditation group, and we discuss similar topics of work-life balance. We begin every meeting with a group TM practice. Our discussions are lively and opinionated. Due to the influence of meditation, these women bring a scintillating intelligence and deep wisdom to the issues that women everywhere are facing. They are doctors, mothers, writers, lawyers, nurses, therapists, students, artists—their careers are demanding. They talk of how their success comes from connecting to deeper, more harmonious levels of heart and mind, and how effortless it is to do this through meditation. They find that meditating twice a day dissolves deep-rooted stress and naturally creates inner contentment and greater awareness of each moment. TM practice makes it easier to set priorities, to be creative in solving problems, and to get things done more efficiently and energetically. It expands our capacity to appreciate others and experience joy.

Back to the conference in New York: I found it interesting to hear various speakers explain how it took an emotional meltdown, rude awakening or health crisis to arrive at the decision to stop pushing themselves so hard for outer success.

A meditation practice that effectively dissolves stress and revitalizes the whole person can help prevent such meltdowns and relieve the pressure before it causes emotional trauma or health problems. The meditation practice I was trained to teach, the Transcendental Meditation technique, is a practice geared toward transcendence: taking attention beyond the busy or agitated mind to the silent, transcendental reservoir of energy, creativity and intelligence that resides within everyone.

I think most women under pressure who have learned to “transcend” appreciate how quickly the experience refreshes heart and mind and brings both inner and outer fulfillment. I suggest that the experience of transcendence, one’s deepest inner essence, is the third metric we are all searching for.

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