A successful community is one in which you find comfort and support: one in which, however loosely you feel, you share something with those around you. This could be your local yoga studio, spiritual journal or coffee shop. Or, it could be your relationship, a community of two. Here’s a story of Rachel who found her practice of Transcendental Meditation alongside her partner.
The article was written by Shane Armstrong as an installment in his Share My Path series – a journalistic archive of the paths taken by practitioners of meditation. It was first published on Elephant Journal
When this week’s Share My Path participant mentioned, somewhat off-the-cuff, that she found her practice alongside her partner, I was unable to resist jumping in.
Rachel, a professional operatic soprano, schooled in music since the age of five, found herself in one of those moments in life when you have no choice but to question what seems, at the time, like everything. “I was super stressed, angry, sad, and mildly depressed. I guess I started looking for anything that would help alleviate these feelings,” she told me.
So when an article in a yoga magazine turned her on to Transcendental Meditation, she started doing some research. The more Rachel Googled, the more it stood out to her that it was indeed a path in need of further exploration.
The idea of meditation wasn’t completely new; through her yoga she’d practiced, “but never had any consistency.”
“I’d always had a tendency to be a busy, active, energetic person,” she told me, “which was great on the one hand for getting things done and never being lazy, but on the other hand, it was an avoidance behavior of stopping in order to be still. I guess I was subconsciously scared of being with myself and my thoughts and feelings.”
But new struggles brought new motivation. It was shortly after turning 40, a failed course of in vitro fertilization recently behind her, and a work schedule, not as full as she’d like, that she proposed the transcendental course to her partner.
“I expected him to say, no as he had never done any yoga or self-improvement course/retreat, etc., but to my surprise he was very happy to do the course too,” Rachel shared.
Now “we both have a twice daily Transcendental Meditation practice, often meditating together,” she tells me.
Intrigued by not only her path but also this idea of practicing with a loved one, I pressed, “What is this like?”
“Meditating with someone, whether they are your lover or not, is always a special experience I find. Sitting in silence with each other’s energy, but also as individuals, I think can help us develop our compassion for each other. When I meditate alone I still have a lovely experience though. It’s funny, if we are both able to meditate at the same time, according to our schedules, we always both want to do this. Coming out of a meditation and opening your eyes to each other for the first time always fills me with love for my partner. Also, sharing something so private as meditation with my partner brings a bond to us that no one else shares. It’s become another part of our relationship. There is also something incredibly rewarding about seeing the impact meditation has on the person you love. I have seen him change before my eyes in the last few months, for the better, and maybe he would say the same about me!”
The love ensconced in these words is palpable. When Rachel touches on the “changes for the better” it serves as a fine reminder to all of us who practice—whether our loved ones do or not—that we do so to be better people. The idea that Rachel and her partner have found this adventure together, and can witness the changes in each other, must be a powerful experience for them to share.
Continuing, we delve into how this new practice has aided her in her struggles.
“When making a decision, big or small, I seem able to really see the elements of it very clearly, to have uncluttered thinking and be also much more in tune with my intuitive thought, not just intellectual thought,” Rachel shares. The practice offers her the “the ability to accept what is, in terms of accepting what is happening now, in this moment, rather than projecting on to the situation what we expect or desire or want in the future.”
“And the relationship?” I wanted to know.
“Improved immensely. We have very few fallouts, and even when we do, we are much more willing and able to make up properly after it, and really listen to what each other has to say,” Rachel replies.
“It feels like a precious free gift every time I sit down.”
And a precious gift is what you have offered us here Rachel, reminding us that unique paths have unique results.
In meditation, it seems, many times, we speak to what the practice holds for one; in Rachel’s story, we’re shown the light of what manifests when power is multiplied by two.