Alina Dyachenko, the CEO of Chic Icon magazine, met Dr. Tony Nader for the first time during the Venice Film Festival 2022 for this interview. This is how a beautiful long-term collaboration was born. On February 8-21st 2023, we are organizing the Chic Icon Expedition Cruise to Antarctica where for the first time the TM will be introduced to a cruise public. It will be one of-a-kind trip during which you’ll be able to learn the famous Transcendental Meditation by Dr. Tony Nader’s team and will follow your mental health path by attending every day yoga and breathing (pranayama) classes. Book it HERE now and get a 3% discount by using CHICICON promocode.
Before jumping to the interview, let us quickly breif you on Dr. Tony Nader if you are not familiar yet with his significant work. Tony Nader, MD, PhD is a medical doctor and best selling author of the book, One Unbounded Ocean of Consciousness. He trained at Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD in neuroscience) and is the head of the Transcendental Meditation organizations globally. Dr. Nader is internationally recognized as an expert in the science of consciousness and human development. His training includes internal medicine, psychiatry, and neurology.
CHIC ICON: What was your motivation to step onto a self-awareness path?
Dr. Tony Nader: I was studying medicine and psychiatry, trying to better understand how the mind works—why we think the way we do, and act the way we do. I learned that we weren’t so knowledgeable about physiology and its relationship to the mind, or how our brain activity leads to decision-making and behavior. I was interested in how we experience and the role that consciousness plays in our lives because I believed consciousness to be the most important factor in determining how we experience and interact with our world.
Around the same time, I was lucky to learn a simple mental technique called Transcendental Meditation (or TM), which helped me discover that there’s so much more to our consciousness than I had realized.
While attending a health conference in Switzerland, I met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the teacher who introduced Transcendental Meditation to the West. After obtaining my Ph.D. in brain and cognitive sciences at MIT and completing my fellowship in neurology at Harvard, Maharishi invited me to visit him in India. What was to be a short visit for a few days turned into a lifelong, worldwide adventure of knowledge, training, and experience, in a most intimate, caring, and fulfilling apprenticeship under Maharishi’s guidance. It was a fascinating exploration of the nature of life, the nature of reality, which deepened my understanding of consciousness and brought me to the frontiers of scientific research.
CHIC ICON: What is the biggest challenge on the way to self-awareness?
Dr. Tony Nader: I think the biggest challenge to unfolding higher consciousness, the biggest obstacle for people, is the tendency to assume that everything that life has to offer is what’s available on the surface. Life is like an ocean. On the surface of the ocean are all the waves of activity. But most of the ocean is beneath the surface. There is the active surface level of our awareness, but there’s also the silent depth, the stillness, and clarity that’s always there deep within us. The mind is an ocean of consciousness.
We’re always looking outside ourselves for something more—a more beautiful home, a better car, and more money. But because these things exist on the outer changing surface of life, in the sphere of impermanence, they will never provide lasting happiness. We’ll always want something more.
It’s natural to want more, but to attain true happiness, we need to look within. In the ancient texts of yoga, our true self is known as sat-chit-ananda, which means, never-changing bliss consciousness. Our deepest inner self exists in a natural state of fulfillment. It is unbounded and free. To find true happiness, we need to transcend, go beyond the mind’s active surface values, and dive within.
This doesn’t mean we must forsake the outer world or our responsibilities, it means we’ll never find true happiness or know our true self if we tend only to the outer, surface values. Fortunately, the teachers of TM offer a simple, natural technique for diving within.
CHIC ICON: What is the self-awareness to you?
Dr. Tony Nader: Realizing that I am unbounded pure consciousness. I am a pure being. I am not just this localized, individual reality. I am that reality that is a witness to everything, which is not to be defined by just some small aspects of personality. When we discover who we truly are, this is liberation. This is a great truth extolled in the ancient knowledge of yoga, which includes techniques for awakening to that reality. This is true self-awareness.
CHIC ICON: What are the attributes of a successful person these days?
Dr. Tony Nader: A successful life is, above all else, a life lived in happiness. Happiness is an indication of inner fulfillment. Degrees of fulfillment may come from achieving one’s goals or attaining one’s desires, from accomplishing something great and knowing you’re contributing to your well-being and society. But ultimately, one’s inner experience of life is what creates happiness, and that’s why transcending—and developing consciousness—is so important. Transcendental Meditation provides us access to that field of inner bliss and unfolds it in daily life, regardless of what one’s outer circumstances might be.
Success is feeling that you’re growing, knowing that your life is getting better, and ever-increasing happiness is a good measure of that.
CHIC ICON: What suggestions can you give to Chic Icon readers during these challenging times?
Dr. Tony Nader: Experience inner silence. The self-sufficiency and inner strength that one experiences through transcending provide an anchor in life, even during difficult situations and circumstances. Through Transcendental Meditation, anyone can experience and live that inner silence.
CHIC ICON: What is special about your method of Transcendental Meditation?
Dr. Tony Nader: Our teaching of Transcendental Meditation is a science of consciousness, a science of expanding the mind and rejuvenating the body. This form of meditation isn’t a philosophy or belief system. It works for you whether you believe in it or not. We offer it as a way to utilize more of our potential as human beings. Growth of consciousness, growth of compassion, increased happiness and forgiveness, more taking care of others, better behavior and decision-making—all of these have been shown to improve in people who practice TM. The research has shown that TM helps remove stress, helps prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke, and reduces hospital admissions. 400 scientific research studies are verifying the TM technique’s effectiveness.
CHIC ICON: How can TM improve a person’s life in a short period?
Dr. Tony Nader: As soon as I learned TM, with the very first meditation, I experienced that inner transcendental reality beyond the senses, beyond thought, that field of pure unbounded awareness. It was an abstract experience, but more full, more peaceful, more blissful, and even more real than anything I had ever experienced on the surface of life. Over time, as this inner reality became more and more stabilized in my life, I discovered inner strength, true and lasting inner peace, and happiness. I could deal with difficult situations with ease and be as creative as I needed to be. I could focus better. I learned things more quickly. I enjoyed a higher state of health. Everyone has their own personal experience with TM, but most people report tremendous benefits right from the start.
CHIC ICON: Are there any challenges to learning TM?
Dr. Tony Nader: All that you need to learn Transcendental Meditation is the desire to live a better life. The technique is easy to learn and practice. Effortlessness is the key to TM’s effectiveness. There’s no controlling the mind or trying to concentrate. But you do need to learn it from one of our certified teachers, all of whom undergo extensive training through our non-profit foundation. Fortunately, you can now learn the TM technique in a single meeting with the teacher, and then take the remainder of the course through an “at-home” learning option.
CHIC ICON: Are you curious to learn any other methods/practices?
Dr. Tony Nader: When you learn how to transcend, then a completely different reality dawns, a clarity, an expansiveness of awareness, bringing self-sufficiency and inner fulfillment. It transforms everything for you. I’m no longer a seeker. My role is to enjoy life and help others to enjoy—ever discovering more and more possibilities within this ever-expanding horizon of knowledge.
CHIC ICON: Is there anything left you to want to try in this life?
Dr. Tony Nader: I recently launched an initiative that I call, Making Life Work For Everyone. This is the goal of our program. It may sound overambitious. It is indeed unfeasible and impractical if undertaken on only the physical and material levels. But it’s doable through technologies such as TM that transform individual and collective consciousness. To understand the power of these technologies, we need a new understanding of consciousness. I’ve written a book to change the paradigm. The old paradigm, which still dominates modern science, sees reality as entirely physical and material. The rising paradigm sees consciousness as primary, as the fundamental reality. My book, One Unbounded Ocean of Consciousness, explains how the whole universe is a manifestation of consciousness. The consciousness paradigm offers simple but satisfying answers to all of life’s big questions. I wish to see the consciousness paradigm become the everyday understanding throughout the world so that people everywhere can live free from suffering and know how great life can be for them, can know what’s possible if we rise to our natural state of fully awakened consciousness.
Read more SELF-AWARENESS articles HERE