Fun fact: Ivanka meditates twice daily—she even has her recurring twenty-minute sessions blocked off in her calendar. When she finds something she’s excited about, she has to share it (we’ve received emails from her at 11 p.m. with details on the latest thing she’s found and wants to try)—which is why our team found ourselves taking meditations this spring. Ivanka gave us the incredible opportunity to participate in a full transcendental meditation (TM) course, led by her friend, Bob Roth, of the David Lynch Foundation.
Each member of the team was treated to a one-on-one session with a trained TM instructor, where we were each given a personal mantra—a word or sound that, through repetition, helped to quiet our minds. We then meditated as a group each day for the rest of the week and learned about the many, varied benefits of TM (less stress and more productivity, among others).
Katie Evans, our art director, was totally into it.
Give it a chance
In our one-on-one sessions, our instructors started us off with three very short meditations. “After the first short meditation, I almost laughed when my instructor asked me how it was,” Katie said. “I felt the same as I had when I walked in. I wasn’t sure what I should be feeling. We did a couple more short meditations together before she left me alone to do a longer one on my own. I was able to let my thoughts flow and concentrate on my mantra slowly and softly. Somewhere in that last 20-minute meditation I lost myself and I felt very peaceful.”
It’s really good for you
Transcendental meditation is proven to reduce stress, anxiety, mood disorders, insomnia and hypertension. It reduces your cortisol levels (the stress hormone), lowers your risk of a heart attack and improves your brain function. Basically, it makes you healthier, happier and more effective in your day-to-day (who doesn’t want that?). Katie agreed. “Since starting to meditate, I feel calmer. My husband even said I’ve been more patient.”
You don’t need to clear your mind of all thought
“My instructor assured me it was completely normal for thoughts to come and go during my meditation.” Thoughts are totally normal and, in fact, are a sign that you’re doing it right.
Not every meditation will be life-changing
“After that first meditation, I felt like I was on a cloud. My mind was blissed out. Since then, I haven’t been able to get back to that level of peace, which has been frustrating, but my instructor said that it’s okay (and totally normal) to have a mix of good and bad meditations.”
It’s not easy for everyone
For some of us, it still hasn’t caught on. Everyone agreed that the toughest part is making time to fit it in. Even though she knew how beneficial it would be, Katie also struggled to make it part of her daily routine. “It’s actually been almost FIVE days since my last attempt (I tried on an airplane) and I can feel the difference of not doing it already. It’s silly that I can’t find that 20 minutes in the morning and evening.” But, hey, if Ivanka can make time for it, anyone can, right? Challenge accepted.