One of the best influences in my life came on accident, in the form of a public broadcasting TV show. I worked graveyard shift at a gas station as a teenager and it was boring. I went through all my books and everything I could get my hands on to read. This was the 80's. I didn't have the Internet, just outdated furniture and an oily smell. So, I brought an old TV in. But it only picket up PBS, and in the middle of the night, there was only one show on, and it was paid-for advertising.
This wasn't your average paid for program, though. I first tuned in and saw the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi giving this long winded speech. He was holding a flower, and I thought, "This guy is stoned out of his mind" but some of the words he was saying were sinking in. I still thought "man, this guy is out there."
But then, there was a resounding applause, and when the camera panned out, I could see that he was speaking to the United Nations, and they were giving him a standing ovation! And still to this day I think about that speech and his analogy to life being like a flower, and how a person grows. But that's another story.
I watched him speak every night for probably about a year before I took a different job. It was all powerful stuff he talked about. There was never any fluff. I have never practiced TM or had any exposure to him since, but many of the Mararishi's words are still rolling around in my brain 30 years later.
Lately I've been thinking about one of his key concepts: what he called "spontaneous right action." Basically, he says that if your mind and body are right, then your instincts will always be correct. The last year of my recuperation from a neck injury has been working towards that end.
There are Yogis who can do incredible feats, like stopping their heart for 10 minutes without any ill effect. Driven over by trucks--incredible stuff. Not many of us will ever have that mastery of mind and body, but I can say from experience that there are varying degrees--it's not all or nothing.
Just being anywhere in the same ballpark is transformative, and I'm finally feeling it, and getting the boost from positive momentum I knew would come. A flower can't not grow, and neither can a person.