Welcome back to Galway Chamber’s Business of Week series. This week, we spoke to Dee McGrath of Transcendental Meditation Galway.
Hi, my name is Dee McGrath and I’m from Galway.
That’s me, second on the left- in the Pink!!
This picture (taken around this time last year) is from the 6 month residential teacher training course in Transcendental Meditation (aka TM) which I completed in Chanthaburi, Thailand. This course was attended by 40 women from 22 countries- a wonderful diverse group of people and everyone who attended this course has returned to their home country to teach TM and this is what I am doing now (more details of which can be found at www.tm-ireland.org).
TM and Galway Chamber- what’s the connection?
I was walking by the Galway Chamber office when I saw the conference room through the frosted glass. I instantly thought of a colleague in Oslo who gives introductory talks to local business executives in a similar room at lunchtimes. Mary, Elaine and Emma were very helpful & welcoming when I arrived at their door with the sole purpose to create awareness about what TM is and what are the benefits not just for individuals but also for businesses and business people. For example Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates advocates meditation as ‘the single most important reason’ for his success.
Tell us about Transcendental Meditation.
Transcendental Meditation is very easy to do. For 20 minutes twice a day, you sit quietly in a chair with your eyes closed. To quote one person (the Guardian UK): “I get to shut myself away. There is no TV, no rolling news, no phone calls or emails… I find it profoundly relaxing…. I’ve discovered that I can concentrate more easily throughout the day…. I am much less tired than I was a month ago. My sleep is deep and unbroken”.
What are the main benefits of practicing transcendental meditation?
Over 600 research studies on TM indicate the positive effects, for example:
- Faster recovery from stress
- Decreased anxiety and insomnia
- Reduced substance abuse
- Decreased depression
- Reduction in high blood pressure
The net effect of practising TM regularly is that you lose stress and gain in alertness. Not only are the negative problems of tension, anxiety and fatigue done away with, they are replaced by a more subtle and rewarding ability to experience life. This is important as good health means feeling bright, alert and creative as well as feeling physically well.
How do you get started in learning how to practice TM?
The course of instruction begins with a free Introductory Presentation. This involves no commitment to learn Transcendental Meditation and lasts about 60 minutes. It is often possible to arrange to see a teacher individually, by appointment.
The Transcendental Meditation course is taught in four 90 minute sessions on consecutive days, and includes personal instruction. The meetings give information about how to get maximum benefit from your meditation. You are then ready to practise on your own at home.
There is also a very thorough optional one year follow up, which includes individual and group meetings (monthly), to ensure correct practice.
What initiated you to start practicing and teaching TM?
I learnt TM in the late 1980s to help with studying and doing the Leaving Cert. I was a bit of a worrier, shy and introverted. You might even say a nerd! We had aptitude tests at school to give us career guidance on what we would be suited to in terms of career. For each of the tests, it was timed, and our teacher counted us down “1 minute left”, “30 seconds left”, “10 seconds” etc., “put down your pens”. Well I got very nervous in that final minute. When I handed up the test the teacher said: “you need to do something about that” (that being my general state of stress and anxiety in reaction/over reaction to the test countdown). I knew I needed to do something to help me to relax and attend to my sensitivity. I knew the intensity I experienced was judged as a little bit odd at the time. To put it into context: around that time I was regularly the first and only person at the school gate in the morning waiting for the vice principal as she arrived to open up! This I’d say is not so odd now. It was only 8.20am!! However the gift of this experience has become obvious: my parents knew and I knew I needed to do something for myself and I learnt TM.
My teenage self had the idea to become a TM teacher but the opportunity for this to become real only came in 2017 after I moved back to Galway from Dublin to continue my career in sales. The move back didn’t quite work out like I thought it would. Following the career advice working in Sales (not Advertising or Physics, my other recommendations) my TM practice had grown stronger ‘to keep on keeping on’ having weathered a number of life stresses/storms. Suddenly I found myself free with the opportunity to go. I applied for sponsorship, was successful in my application, completed the training and now I am teaching in the west of Ireland largely, Galway and Westport in particular.
What is the main difference in TM and other types of meditation?
Most Transcendental Meditation Teachers instruct people who have practised other techniques, including mindfulness and Vipassana. The common response when learning TM is, “This is so easy.” The main difference seems to be TM’s effortlessness and how clear and revitalized you feel afterwards.
TM is also distinguished by the systematic, standardized way that it’s taught and by the extent of scientific validation. For example, the American Heart Association did research  into various major meditation practices, and published a study recommending TM as the only meditation proven significantly effective for reducing high blood pressure.
What areas of your life can Transcendental Meditation affect?
To quote a very experienced colleague in the US: “… after teaching TM for over 40 years (and as every TM teacher knows), there’s no question: this meditation technique changes lives—from within. Overcoming stress, accessing your inner reserves of energy and creativity, opening awareness to your deepest, highest self, is transforming. To function from your higher self, unburdened by tiredness and fatigue, able to make better decisions, being more content within yourself—is to become a better person.”
Transcendental Meditation Galway
T: 086 0358133