I need it more than I thought I did.
After a quick chat to Matt on the phone, we organised a time for my initial catch-up. This was a one-on-one meeting at his ocean-facing home where we spoke about what I can expect over the next few days, and what I'll learn. First learning? This guy is a character — a former corporate and a family man who was funny, relatable, and yes, I'm going to say it; inspiring. Not quite the hemp-wearing hippie I had in mind. He's been meditating for over six years, and was trained by Thom Knoles (Maharishi Vyasananda) who is basically considered the top-dog authority on on vedic meditation in the western world. In meditation circles, he's kind of a big deal.
I asked Matt why a busy 20-something should invest the time (and the money) in meditation. "The reason for that is, we’ve all got within us this, like a kind of reservoir of creative potential. It’s a good place and when we’re kids we’ve got pretty free and easy access to it. And then when we get older, we start to get stressed, and stress just means anytime when we get overwhelmed and we can’t handle the feeling," Matt started, explaining, "So what happens with all these stresses is that they just get in the way of getting in touch with that place of creative intelligence. That stops you being able to be fully happy, fully creative, fully healthy because it gets in the way. What this meditation does, which I teach, is it systematically removes those layers of stress so that you can start to feel your potential again."
Call me cynical, but first reaction to anyone who claims their product or service will have health benefits is always the same — prove it. Turns out, there's a surprisingly large amount of data out there in favour of meditation. Although there aren't conclusive large-scale studies, smaller studies have found a few key benefits: relief from anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, better school performance, and even reduced blood pressure. A report from the American Heart Association found that transcendental meditation lowers blood pressure and recommended the technique could be considered in clinical practice for the prevention and treatment of hypertension.