On this day: March 4th, 2008, 8 years ago exactly, I was initiated into Vedic Meditation by a guru (with a long white beard) named Thom Knoles, along with my girlfriend at the time, Zibby Allen.
I had tried meditation before this and I hated everything about it. I had been ill with Lyme Disease for several years and during that time I started doing a mindfulness meditation technique. Unfortunately it was either boring or frustrating. Nothing about it was fun or cosmic. It was too difficult. It sucked. Though the Lyme had been cured, the symptoms of fatigue, lethargy, memory problems, apathy, and insomnia persisted. Mindfulness didn’t seem to help any of these. So not only was it difficult, it just wasn't working.
Then Zibby and I met Thom. A dear friend of hers encouraged us to meet him and learn. We were curious and had nothing to lose, so we agreed to meet him and try his form of meditation. I did some light internet stalking of Thom beforehand and he certainly looked the part. Calm, smiling visage. White beard. Seemed legit enough. We had to bring fruit and flowers. We were going to get a mantra. I was hoping this would work because I needed something. Nothing in my life had been working lately. I was struggling and I was tired of struggling. I was hoping for a some kind of miracle.
The initiation was profund for me. I had a miniature breakdown of sorts. A coniption fit. I was given a mantra and that was it. I began laughing and couldn’t stop. This was not a bout of giggles but an all-out fit of hsyterics. On the floor, scream-laughing with snot and tears spraying from my face. I honestly thought I was to have a heart-attack.
Somehow (and after a long time) I regained my composure and left the initiation (very embarrassed) and went home. That night I slept lke a rock without any help from Ambien. This was the first time I had slipped off to sleep without any medication in years. The next day I returned with Zibby to our meditation class and I "transcended" - moved completley beyond thought into an unbounded void of bliss and stillness.
After that, I was hooked. I was happier and sleeping better. I’ve been a twice-a-day meditator ever since. I fell so in love with this practice that I began teaching it. Before meditation I struggled to change myself, change my circumstnaces, think more positively, find happiness. But nothing chnaged. Not until I learned Vedic Meditation.
Many people who struggle to change their circumstances go about it by trying to adjust their behavior. Some try to change their cicumstances by changing their thinking. Power of positive thought, and all that. This is what I used to do. But it didn’t work for me. Though positive thinking is much better than negative thinking, it is still an attempt to establish a life in the turbulent realm of thought. Thought, even positive thought, is unstable. Always changing. We need to go deeper. If we want to change our circumstances, behaviors, and thinking, we must change our consciousness first. We must access this consciousness beyond thought and establish ourselves there, in Being. Meditating is the easiest way I know to access that feild of bliss
Thank you, Thom-ji, for this amazing practice and knowledge. I have no idea what would have become of me if Zibby and I hadn't been initiated. It is with immense gratitude that I pass this knowledge of Vedic Meditation to others as an initiator.
Zibby (my ex-girlfriend and now spiritual BFF) and I caught up yesterday at the Self Realization Fellowship in Mount Washington to have Sidney Bensimon take a few "Meditation Anniversary" pictures of us. I am in awe or how far we've come and how much meditation and the light of consciousness has helped us march forth form who we were 8 years ago. I'm so glad I learned how to meditate. I'm so glad I can share this gift with others.
So much gratitude. March forth, everyone.