Stephen studied meditation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Stephen was my TM (Transcendental Meditation) teacher and he recently shared this email from one of his meditation students. Here is the text of the email, with Stephen’s wise response.
From his student:
One important event in my life was the day that I learned how to meditate. I attended a meeting with a meditation instructor four years ago, and I have meditated for forty minutes a day every day since. Meditation has taught me many things. One of the most important lessons I have learned is how to completely focus on the present.
Before I began meditating I was always planning and worrying about the next assignment due, or the next chore, or the next test. Worrying about the future can completely destroy your present. Now, I find that tuning into the world, dedicating yourself to the task at hand, and taking everything as it comes, is the way of life that I find most enjoyable.
It is easy for anyone to get swept up in the commotion of a normal day. It is incredibly difficult to think about somebody else when your days and nights are packed with things that you have to do.
However, meditation has taught me a lot about empathy, because it gives me the time to think and understand how I feel, how others feel, and what would be the most helpful way someone could act towards me if I were in their position.
I also learned that connecting with others is very worthwhile. We are all people, who feel the same emotions, so why not help somebody; nothing bad can come of it. Meditation has really slowed me down and showed me about what the world has to offer. Knowing when to lead and when follow are good skills to have, however I believe that being able to walk alongside somebody is something that gets overlooked and can actually can bring a lot of joy to a lot of people.
Wow! I wish I had had this type of wisdom and maturity when I was still in college. This is what meditation creates–a balance between the mind and body. Intellectual knowledge is not enough to lead a happy, healthy, and balanced life. If it were, all the smartest people would be the happiest, healthiest and most successful!
A regular meditation practice is, in my opinion, possibly the most you can ever give to a child. And interestingly, probably the most important gift you can ever give to yourself. I know–the new lover, the trip to Paris, the beach house… They all come and go. What remains is what we have become during all the coming and going.