The Gift of Meditation

Lesson Learned from Oprah Winfrey

By Maria Genao-Homs

For the past several years, the practice of meditation has slowly infiltrated mainstream culture in the United States. No longer does it seem as an elusive practice of the Far East. Now, books, seminars and even mobile device apps are readily available to help you find your “ooom” moment. But even with the accessibility factor being bumped up a few notches and solid research backing up the life–changing health benefits of sitting in silence for a few minutes, most people are skeptical; not to mention often “too busy” to take a few minutes to themselves. I, too, was a skeptic until I tried it for myself. And I am here to tell you that it is a game changer.

After completing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Central Florida, I had the fortune of grabbing my first gig as a production assistant in the television industry—a dream that I had worked so hard to achieve. I literally packed every sole possession I had into my little four-door coupe and hit the road to New York City. I was excited as thoughts of meeting amazing people, working in a studio and living the life in the concrete jungle bounced in mind. Don’t get me wrong; I knew working in television was going to be hard work. Little did I know that would mean averaging an 80-hour work week, eating every meal at my desk and being connected 24/7 while living in 500 square feet of space. I held up, but quickly realized that it was taking a toll on my health and my personal life.

Fast forward nine years, still working in the same high-pressure industry with the difference being that I can now compartmentalize that pressure all because I have started the practice of Transcendental Meditation thanks to my boss, Oprah Winfrey. I have had the great fortune of working as a producer at Harpo Studios for a little over a year now. Ms. Winfrey has been a student of meditation for many years and often preached its benefits to her viewers and also to her staff. She believes in it so much, that she gave the staff opportunity to learn the practice of Transcendental Meditation earlier this year. And who could say no to that? Not me! So, I signed up, dove right in and have never looked back. I cannot begin to tell you what a generous gift it is and so easy, too.

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