When I discovered meditation in my 20’s it was originally for health reasons. I had a very painful ulcer at the age of 27 and no amount of prescription antacids helped. The day I got a mantra and learned to meditate was the day my stomach pain went away! Seriously, I tell no lie. I was struggling for two years with a very painful ulcer. The day I learned to meditate, was the first day of the rest of my life. Truly, I believe my life didn’t start until I started meditating. Before meditation I was a flailing singer/songwriter. I was twenty pounds overweight and in pain constantly with acid stomach. I was no depressed but I also was not happy. I was struggling both emotionally and financially hence the ulcer! I remember driving to the TM teacher’s house in Belle Meade, Nashville. The meditation instruction was costing me $425 and my car had just broken down. I was seriously thinking of canceling my attendance in the class. But honestly, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, so I attended the class and my life changed forever. Not only did the pain of my ulcer disappear but a sense of inner peace began to grow inside me. Colors seemed brighter and I felt more connected to everything and everyone around me. Life started falling into place more easily and I decided to go to Massage School. I feel the meditation gave me the clarity for that choice, a choice that allowed me financial freedom for the first time in my life. Within a month of receiving my personal mantra to meditate with, I went on my first weekend meditation retreat. Though I enjoyed the extended meditations and times of silence very much, I was confused by the discussions on consciousness. I had no idea what the word consciousness meant and I wanted to know what it had to do with my ulcer disappearing. I have come a long way from that first fateful weekend and yes, I finally figured out what consciousness was : ). From that first retreat onward I was hooked on silence and started on the fast path. Three months later I found myself on a 30 day advanced meditation and silent retreat. There was 4,000 of us meditating in Washington DC and it was part of a three month long study. Harvard and the FBI did the statistics. Looking back now I feel so blessed to have been drawn to this journey. I mean a 28 year old doing a month of meditation with no talking…that is not a common thing! I loved it! I remember just past the half way point, after two weeks of 6 hours of meditation daily, I had some very interesting experiences. I looked in the mirror and saw myself looking at myself but the self that was looking was this huge presence and no longer a small self but a vast expansiveness Self. This feeling has never left me and I have been aware of this vast inner stillness ever since. And the study done by Harvard? The crime rate went down in DC over that summer 48%. The FBI said there should have been a snow storm in the middle of summer for a change like that to take place but there was no snow storm. Just the hot, humid DC summer. So this is why I go on silent retreats whenever I get a chance. I feel like i am dipping into the well, the source within that is pure peace and bliss. I just returned from the Omega Institute up in Rhinebeck, NY with a teacher named Adyashanti. There was no talking from Friday the 6th to Friday the 13th and we meditated up to 6 hours a day. I was in heaven! I really like this facilitator very much and I recommend his lectures and books. You can download a free copy of his book calledThe Way of Liberation on the homepage of his website. www.adyashanti.org. Adya says that all of his teachers are in this little book that is 100 pages long. He spent almost two years writing it because he labored over each and every word to be a helpful and specific as he could. He is what is sometimes referred to as self realized or enlightened and his life purpose is to help everyone else wake up to their own divinity that is within each and every one of us. I became a meditation teacher in 1995 and I have taught hundreds and maybe even thousands of people how to meditate. It is my passion and the basis of all that we do here at the Ivy House. I believe, well not just believe, but I have experienced myself that all of the answers in life come from the stillness within each of us. It doesn’t come from your linear thinking but from the infinite creative source each of us has within us. But how on earth can you listen to that infinite source when you have 85,000 thoughts daily? And 95% of those thoughts are the exact same thoughts as you had yesterday. How can you hear the whispers of the universe when your life and your head is so full of business and information. If you want to learn, we are here to teach you! Satya chooses the mantras based on your date, time and place of birth through Vedic Astrology. It is actually the sound the universe made when you were born. Do you want a personal mantra to meditate with? Hope to see you in class very soon.