I've tried various types of meditation at different stages of my life, but none of them ever really stuck.
About a year ago a friend was telling me about his experience of doing transcendental meditation (TM).
He did it twice a day (20 minutes each time), and described it as going into a place of deep rest. Coming out of the meditation he felt better equipped to get on with the day. He also said that his poo issues had subsided. (He had the opposite of shy bowel: every time he left the house he was suddenly beset by the overwhelming urge to poo, to such an extent that he had to get off buses en route and run behind a bush to go. He hadn't crapped himself but reckoned it was only a matter of time before it happened.)
I was impressed by how TM had helped him, and also impressed by the fact that he kept doing it every day, twice a day, so i decided to give it a go and commit to six months of doing it twice a day.
You have to pay to learn TM. It's not cheap but it's not super expensive either, and i was able to get it for half price because of my low income. My teacher has given me so much help and support in the subsequent months, that i realize it's good value for money.
Anyway, i signed up last december and went along to be taught how to do it. After learning i went back now and then for follow up support. One of these times, a young man was there. He asked me what brought me to do TM. I said various stuff as a way to deflect him. What about you? i asked. Well, i suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and have a toilet phobia. Really? Is that toilet phobia shy bladder? No, it's to do with not being able to defecate when other people are around. Has the TM helped? i asked. Yes, both the IBS and the toilet phobia have largely disappeared. The results he experienced were impressive as was his openness in talking about shy bowel.
What was great was he was young (early twenties) and already identifying the problem and finding things that helped him.
Would TM have the same results for me?
I dutifully practiced my TM twice a day (first session upon getting up; second session in the early evening). My initial experience was a euphoric couple of weeks. then i crashed again, and stopped doing it for a couple of weeks. Then, with the help of my teacher, i got back into it, in a more grounded, resolute way.
it's seven months later, and i'm still doing it twice a day.
has it helped? in life terms, i'd say it's definitely a good support for getting through the day. i don't experience much in the way of transcending (which is a deep blissful state), but i do get a certain amount of relaxation from it and i find myself thinking, 'I'll do my meditation and then i'll know what to do'.
has it helped my shy bowel and IBS? not in the same way, it helped the young man. But, in my case, i'm older and they've probably become more entrenched in me. Plus, i'm on three different anti-depressants and i'm sure they just get in the way in the sense of jamming up the brain (not to mention the side effects like diarrhea).
My teacher says the reason, i'm not experiencing so much transcendence in the meditations is that i've got a lot of stress that is being released in my meditations. As time goes on, and the stress is cleared from my body by doing TM, i'll experience more of the deep, blissful state which is so replenishing, and supportive of life. Time will tell.
I just wish i'd started doing this type of meditation twenty years ago. The effects of meditation are cumulative so the longer you keep doing your daily practice, the more positive results you experience in your life.
So there it is; my TM story (so far).