One of my favorite things about the Transcendental Meditation technique, which I have been practicing for 12 years, is that you can take it with you anywhere. You’ve probably (definitely) heard of the expression, “home is where the heart is,” but I like to think that home is wherever I can meditate. So here is a list of places that I practice the TM technique.
1. Airplanes and airports
With 6 continents under my belt, I’m no stranger to jet lag. Unfortunately, sleeping on planes isn’t my strong suit, but instead of forlornly watching the heads of the passengers’ around me bob up and down as they fall asleep, I close my eyes and I meditate. On longer flights, I like to close my eyes for TM practice every few hours (between movies!), and during the descent (you have to turn all your electronics off anyway!).
This doesn’t completely cancel the dreaded effects of jet lag, but I think it lets me smile at the flight attendants, forgive the child kicking my seat, breathe calmly during turbulence, and wait patiently for my bags (which always come out last).
The TM technique is also a great way to pass the time during layovers, and some airports even have meditation/yoga rooms, where announcements over the loudspeakers are muted. Just don’t miss your flight!
2. In the car
If you’re carpooling or taking public transport to work, using your commute as time to meditate is a great way to fit your practice into your day. You get to begin your work day on the right foot, and then put it behind you and start your evening feeling refreshed, all without taking a second away from the hours you’re not in a vehicle.
If you’re commuting alone, leave early to beat the traffic, then meditate in your car in the parking lot before work.
And if you’re on a good old fashioned road trip, it’s a quick way to wake up without losing too much time – just pull into a rest stop if you’re alone, or meditate while your companion is driving and then switch (not only do you get rested, you get 20 minutes “away” from whoever you’re sharing the car with).
3. In bed
Whether it’s in a hotel room or in my own apartment, in bed is the place I meditate most. After TM instruction, you’re self-sufficient for life. That means you don’t need a group or a guide, and you don’t need to leave your room. When I wake up in the morning, I brush my teeth and wash my face to make sure I’m fully awake, and then I get right back in bed. 20 minutes later, I feel like everyone imagines they will after they hit the snooze button, but never actually do. And I’ve already brushed my teeth!
4. On the beach, in the mountains, or at a camp ground
Sometimes 5 PM, my favorite time for afternoon TM practice, finds me on a hike or at the beach. Fortunately, both of these are great places to meditate! And on a 90 degree day in Arches National Park, the car is not where you want to be. Just check that you aren’t sitting on an anthill, in a wolf’s den, or amidst a hoard of mosquitos. If you’re at a campsite, you can meditate in your tent, but I prefer to lean against a tree or rock.
5. At any TM center in the US and around the world
Travelling is fun, but it can be lonely, and sometimes I find myself feeling a little overwhelmed. Finding other people that practice the TM technique and meditating with them is a great way to feel at home when you’re traveling, get grounded, and meet like-minded locals. They’ve probably got some great suggestions about what to do and where to eat! Talk to your local teacher to find out if there is a center or group meditations where you’re traveling.
6. In churches, temples, or museums
If you’re out sightseeing, you probably don’t want to take the time to go back to your hotel to meditate – there’s so little time and so many things to see! (And if you’re on my kind of budget, your hotel is waaaaay out of the city center.) My solution? The back row in an old church, a quiet hallway of a museum, or a corner in a spacious temple courtyard. I’ve meditated in St. Peter’s Basilica, in the Art Institute of Chicago, and in countless Buddhist temples in China and Thailand.
7. In a waiting room
Nervous? Bored? Tired? Watching the minutes tick by while thinking about the million other things you need to do? You can pass the time, calm your nerves, and get one thing out of the way (while simultaneously improving your ability to handle the rest of your day) by closing your eyes and doing your TM practice.