Everyone will experience TM differently, depending on their physiology and past ‘history’. Not everyone has a high level of sleep deprivation prior to starting TM, thus not everyone will go through a period of fatigue-release (a.k.a. sleeping lots). If you do, you will be supported by your TM teacher as you adjust the meditation technique and move forward.
Since learning Transcendental Meditation (TM) in January 2018, I’ve had many changes. One of which is my energy level. When I first took the training I was energized out of my eyeballs; unlike other people’s testimonials about TM helping them to sleep, I felt the opposite. I was abuzz with life with an incredible sense of urgency to get my life in order all at once, no time to waste.
I felt like a dervish, pregnant woman in the throes of ‘nesting phase’ when all one wants to do is organize everything … the bookshelves, the files, under the beds. The desire to put life into order was pervasive. It was as if the ‘inner order’ that I experienced in meditation was finding its way into the rest of my life. The way I saw life started to change; I had a fresh set of eyes and what I saw was messes everywhere; both internally and externally.
The last thing I wanted to do in those first days and weeks of learning TM was make time to sleep. I was on a high and if anything I slept less than normal. Yet, when I did sleep I slept deeply in a way I hadn’t done since I was a teen. I was used to needing 8-9 hours to feel rested, yet, with TM I was bouncing out of bed after just 6-7 hours.
About 6 weeks into practicing TM, I was struck with a heavy kind of fatigue and that bouncy, energetic Tigger energy morphed into pure Eeyore always looking for a soft spot to lay down. I no longer woke up with buoyancy in my step. Instead my feet hit the floor with a thud. All I wanted to do was crawl back into bed. I slept everywhere … at the rest stop, in the parking lot, in a lawn chair, on the couch. I felt like a kid with an endless need to nap. The tiredness sweeping through my body until even my eye lids were too heavy to stay awake.
The frustrating thing was that no matter how much I slept, I still felt tired. The kind of tired that gets into your bones and sits there. The fatigue felt deep in my body. I would wake up and feel good, even great, ready to face my day. Within an hour though, the fatigue met me like an everlasting friend. The napping only gave a brief respite of relief – like being without sex for too long and when you finally orgasm it is ever so slight; barely rubbing the surface of the huge need below. Yet, I am more patient sexually than I am with the need to sleep. When I got tired I resisted until the fatigue rolled into nausea and I forced me to shut my eyes.
No amount of black tea or chocolate could have kept me awake. I also came to the conclusion that I did not want it to. Though I have always resisted naps, I began to realize that there was an underlying reason for this fatigue to crop up. I knew I was burnt out on both ends of the string. All those years of single motherhood, working non-stop to make ends meet, and feeling burdened with the non-stop need to do. To go somewhere. To do something. This go-go, do-do had caught up with me and I knew it was my time to slow down and BE.
So, I slept. I stopped drinking black tea and coffee. I ate less chocolate. I knew that these stimulants were hampering my own natural energy to find its way. I took time off from work to take care of myself; scheduling clients later in the day as time allowed. I had no choice but to listen to this inner fatigue. I pulled the curtains, locked the door, put my phone in airplane mode, and slept for a few minutes. Sometimes as much as two hours would pass.
I continued to meditate twice a day, 20 minutes each and when I did I felt steady and engaged. Underneath the immense layer of fatigue was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed human being named Tara. I could feel her fluidity and clarity of thought. The vitality burning bright in my core.
This deep inner fatigue is still present as I write this today but my perspective is shifting. I am less and less looking at this tiredness as a negative thing that is holding me back, holding me down and instead have succumbed to this obvious need to rest. I embrace the fatigue in both arms and notice how deeply relaxed I am. Nowadays, I sleep when and where I can…catnaps I call them, and I keep on taking care of myself and of course I keep meditating.
You know, I watch my cat sleep all day; always looking for a spot to curl up, relax. He has become a teacher of sorts, a reminder to lay down and not make such a big deal. Just to close my eyes and sleep, feel at rest, and then get up with focus and move throughout my day. I am learning. Right now I prioritize self-care like it was my new business to run. And like my cat, I nap. I always seem to be looking for a spot these days. To be. To breathe into this relaxation that is spreading throughout my limbs, intertwining into the muscles and fiber of my being. I am 43 and daresay feel more relaxed than I can remember feeling in a long time.
Three cheers to taking care of ourselves and learning as we go.
May all bellies be happy!