Posts Tagged ‘spiritual life’

Enlightenment Is Sexy, a memoir by Valerie Gangas, is out today, and it’s not just for women!

July 14, 2015

EIS Book CoverA first book from Valerie Gangas, ENLIGHTENMENT IS SEXY: Every Woman’s Guide To A Magical Life, is out today, and it’s not just for women!

Valerie is a great writer. She’s colorful, direct, and pulls no punches. Her effervescent personality shines through the amazing stories she shares with her readers, awakening them to their own inherent greatness.

The book is divided into short easy-to-read chapters packed with practical insightful wisdom. It’s also an inspirational testimony to the transformational power of TM, and I am enjoying reading every word of it!

Valerie sent us this intro to her story.

Awakening to Me

In 2011, I woke up and realized everything I thought I knew was wrong.

~ Valerie Gangas

For as long as I can remember, I have been running. Waking up in the morning and running to the gym. Running to the hospital to support my mother, who battled cancer for 13 years. Running to my job, managing an extremely busy Chicago restaurant/bar. Running from boyfriend to boyfriend. Running from one social event to another. Running to deal with the pressures modern women face to be perfect, to get the job done right, to be a caretaker, to look good—let’s face it: to be Wonder Woman.

Then one day, I was forced to stop running.

In late 2010, the restaurant I’d managed for 15 years was sold . . . but it turned out to be a weird sort of blessing, in that I got to spend day and night with my beautiful mother who, by Thanksgiving that year only had a couple of months left on the planet.

All of this time, I had been on a steady diet of double espressos, bottles of Cabernet and late nights eating steaks, cooked rare. (Did I mention I don’t eat meat?)

I was losing my mind as I watched her slowly slip away. I’d had a bad case of insomnia for years, my depression was deepening, and the distractions I’d held up like masks were no longer working well . . . make that, at all.

My mom passed away on January 25, 2011. And my world went black.

After she died, I felt like I’d died right along with her. I was out of a job, suicidal and completely unhealthy. My “diet”—mainly fueled by booze and caffeine—had caught up with me. I was the thinnest I’d been since high school, and my nerves were on fire. And it was like Groundhog’s Day—every night was the same scene. Go to bed, wake up at 3 a.m., stare at the ceiling, my thoughts reeling, feeling like complete crap, until I had to get up a couple hours later. Then my “day cycle” would start again. Down some caffeine, make myself workout (I had to fit in my cocktail dresses, duh!) and then never stop throughout the workday, ‘til I collapsed later that night.

Reflecting back, thoughts of suicide regularly arose in my mind. I didn’t feel like I could go on without my mom, who’d been my best friend. Clearly, I was a broken woman. Yes, I had been seeing a therapist and was trying to get my head above water. But nothing seemed to be working. My suicidal thoughts were getting stronger and stronger. I had gone so far as to ask my aunt and uncle to take my dog (I couldn’t bear messing up her little life), and I didn’t get a new car when my lease was up . . . because people who are going to kill themselves don’t need a car. I also wrote out my will.

Yep, I was gearing up to end my life.

One particularly horrible day I was on my knees in the shower, when I just collapsed and screamed out, “God, Mom, anyone, please help me kill myself or please save me!” In that moment, I completely surrendered. I was nothing. I was no one. And I completely gave myself and my fate over to God.

A week later, a friend suggested I learn Transcendental Meditation (TM). My only hope, at the time, was that I would be able to get some sleep. I hadn’t read anything about meditation, hadn’t thought about it or even wondered about it. But I was in such a dark place, one morning I made the call.

Within days, I borrowed that same friend’s car and drove to a Transcendental Meditation center in Chicago. The home which doubled as a TM center had a feeling of calm I couldn’t quite put my finger on—the air seemed lighter, somehow, and the view was all lake. Even upon entering the center’s lobby, I felt a bit calmer. Huh, I thought, these people who work here are super different. They were so chilled and completely filled with love . . . it was immediately clear to me they were there to help me. My next thought was, I’m here, so I might as well learn how to do this.

I sat down with my teacher and after a short, but beautiful ceremony, I was given my “mantra”—a sound she said my awareness would naturally follow, as it subsided into the depths of silence in my mind. When we both closed our eyes, I easily and effortlessly said the mantra to myself less than five times . . . and just like that, I was gone. I dove into a part of my body and mind I never knew existed—boundless, limitless and totally awesome. Yes-sir, something major had just happened . . . but soon I was discovering I’d only glimpsed the tip of the iceberg.

Driving home down Lake Shore Drive, I immediately began noticing how the world seemed so much different to me than it had on my way to the center. The colors all around me were more vivid, the sounds of the birds felt like sweet music to my ears, I seemed to be connected to all of the trees I saw . . . and above all, I felt happy. But, my mind called out to me, Is this really happening?! Do I really feel happy? How? Why? What the hell?

Fortunately, the essence of that experience stuck and stayed, and I came to find it was in fact “real”—that in twenty minutes, my whole life had changed. I woke up and realized everything I thought I knew was wrong. My life was no longer defined by outer circumstances. I was having a direct experience of what I have come to know as my true Self.

I cannot explain what followed . . . you know, the why of it. Within weeks of learning to meditate, I was standing in front of Oprah Winfrey, explaining how her newfound TM practice was going to make her limitless and boundless. Now, one would think standing in front of one of the most powerful women in the world would cause some serious butterflies in the stomach. But this wasn’t my experience. In that moment, when I stood at the front of the room and described my journey to her, I could only “see” her. The fame and the power didn’t exist. I was only concerned with helping the beautiful human in front of me the only way I knew how . . . with honesty, passion and a dash of humor.

I walked out of Harpo Studios that Friday morning and knew I was about to head down a very different life path. My soul and heart were breaking open and I was watching the right words leave my lips before my mind could even think them. I felt the power of the whole universe in my little body. That day, I decided to give everything I had to try to bring peace and goodness to the world. To do my part.

It has actually taken me the past few years to really understand this new way of living: that is, from the inside out. I felt compelled to write in my journal every night. I mean, the realizations I was having were just too profound not to write them down. I turned what I wrote about into a manuscript . . . and today I am proud to say I have just published my first book, Enlightenment Is Sexy: Every Woman’s Guide To A Magical Life. I’ve also started a brand I love and have continued to speak about consciousness, happiness, freedom, and above all, Transcendental Meditation.

Learning to meditate saved my life . . . but it also gave me more than I could have ever dreamt of: awakening to the real me.

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George Foster of Foster Covers, with help from wife Mary, designed the colorful cover! Order the book today at http://amzn.com/0996350209. Nice comments on Amazon.

Related: Read an interview with Valerie Gangas at TM Home, and this poem I wrote for her: Scheherazade Incarnate. TM Home also posted this today: Valerie Gangas reveals her top 5 reasons to learn Transcendental Meditation. And Val posted and sent this out. Transcendental Meditation for Women also posted Awakening to Me.

Valerie Gangas Shows Why Enlightenment Is Sexy on Writers’ Voices.

Spirit Matters Talk Interview with Valerie

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Maharishi describes the nature of inner life: bondage and liberation, and gaining bliss consciousness through Transcendental Meditation

May 9, 2010

Maharishi at Lake Louise

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation produced this beautiful documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation technique, during his visit to Canada’s premier hotel Chateau Lake Louise,  June 10-14, 1968, the course location for Canadian meditators. I was very lucky to have been on that course and met Maharishi for the first time. All of the course participants lined up to present Maharishi with flowers for the CBC to film. It was used to open and close that documentary profile, which was made for the CBC program series called Telescope.

This CBC documentary remains one of the best films ever made on Maharishi. Filmed inside the hotel’s main lecture hall and outside with the backdrop of the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains, it respectfully portrays Maharishi as a great spiritual teacher. They filmed him walking in front of the glacier lake, the image of which he used to describe the nature of inner life, bondage and liberation, and contacting and integrating bliss consciousness into daily life through the regular practice of Transcendental Meditation.

Posted here is an edited version of that documentary, minus the opening introduction, segues, and commercials, which was aired on Canadian national television during the Fall of 1968. Here is a partial transcription of that segment of the video. To view the whole video click on the title, Maharishi at Lake Louise, and then the picture of Maharishi at Lake Louise on the tm.org website. It can also be viewed on the Maharishi Channel on You Tube: Transcendental Meditation – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at Lake Louise, Canada, 1968. Also, the Transcendental Meditation blog has a well-written comprehensive, historical, contextual description about this video by Bob Roth: Maharishi: A rare glimpse into the message of meditation from 40 years ago. It’s also embed here for you to enjoy.

The depth of the lake, and the ripples, and the beautiful reflection of the glacier, reminds me of the story of inner life. The mind is deep like a lake. The ripples on the surface represent the conscious mind, the activity of the mind on the surface. And the whole depth of the lake is silent. And that is the subconscious mind, which is not used by the wave. But if, the wave could deepen, and incorporate more silent levels of the water, the waves could become the waves of the ocean, the mighty waves.

This is what happens in Transcendental Meditation. The surface activity of the conscious mind deepens and incorporates within its fold the depth of the subconscious. And with practice, nothing remains subconscious. The whole subconscious becomes conscious, and a man starts using full potential of the mind.

And the reflection of the glacier on the water is like the impression of the objects that the mind perceives. And as long as the mind is not capable of maintaining its essential nature, which is bliss consciousness, so long the mind gets imprinted by the perceptions of the objects. And this is called the bondage of the mind. The mind loses bliss consciousness and gains the joy of the reflections of the world, the joy of the relative order, losing the bliss of the absolute eternal Being.

When the mind is not capable of maintaining its essential nature, bliss consciousness, and is overshadowed by the reflections of the object of perception, then only the object remains, and the subject, as if, becomes annihilated. This annihilation of the subjective nature within is a great loss. It’s a loss of eternal bliss at the cost of temporary joys. Such a life where the value of the matter dominates is called material life, and the spirit gets annihilated.

But, when through the practice of Transcendental Meditation, the mind goes deep within to the source of thought, transcends the thought, and gains bliss consciousness, and is capable of maintaining that even when it comes out into the worldly experience of objective nature, then it is called spiritual life—that the spirit is not capable of being overshadowed anymore by the objective experience. And this is spiritual life. This is life in eternal liberation. And without this, life is in bondage. A great loss. As if loss of a billion pounds, and gain of a million. Loss of eternal bliss consciousness and gain of a worldly fleeting joy.

The vision, the vision of the lake, brings about a great teaching of spiritual life. …

New Post: Watch the 1968 film of Maharishi at Lake Louise.


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