By Veerta Singh, WorkStory Ambassador at Western University
Sarah Hea can’t remember a time when Transcendental Meditation wasn’t a part of her life. Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a technique that is practiced to promote a relaxed state of awareness. Sarah was introduced to TM at a young age, as she was born into a family of meditators and grew up in a small meditating community in Ottawa. Having meditated since childhood, Sarah has seen the value of meditating as a student first-hand. It provided her with energy for her academics and was a great way to cope with stress or anxiety.
The opportunity to learn about TM is offered through Global Country of World Peace, an education not-for-profit organization. And in Toronto, an organization called Transcendental Meditation Canada has a branch located in downtown Toronto. They teach and host many information sessions on what TM is and how it can be practiced. The organization has approximately 11 teachers who run these sessions and teach students how to meditate. Sarah, a certified teacher of TM, is one of these teachers.
What path did Sarah follow to pursue her passion? She attended Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa. MUM is a school that incorporates meditation and the study of consciousness into the curriculum. She graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature, with an emphasis in creative writing. After completing her undergraduate education, Sarah began her Master’s degree in Maharishi Vedic Science in 2008. As part of her degree, she took a Transcendental Meditation teacher training course to become a certified teacher. Immediately after her training, Sarah became a teacher and therefore did not complete her Master’s degree.
After completing her B.A., Sarah travelled and taught English as a Second Language in Japan, which she says was her “first foray into the teaching world”. Afterwards, she moved back to Iowa and worked at her Alma Mater as an academic advisor and a teaching assistant for courses like College Composition. Sarah says that these experiences helped her become a successful meditation teacher.
A typical day for Sarah begins with administrative work. It involves calling and emailing current and prospective students and organizing introduction talks. She continues her day by arranging special events, guest speakers, workshops and updating the website. Then of course, she runs group meditations and teaches the TM course.
To be successful in this field, Sarah stresses the importance of being personable and empathetic. “Often students are coming because they have stress they want to deal with and get rid of. It’s important to be sensitive to that. A big part of the job is teaching and communicating. Making sure that you are talking in a way that is clear, interesting, and understandable is essential. It’s also important to be organized and self-motivated. For the most part, I’m doing a lot of the work on my own, so motivation and time-management are very important”.
What inspired Sarah to become a Transcendental Meditation teacher? “I love helping people. It’s an amazing blessing to see people transform right before my eyes. People come to me with stress and trauma and every time I see them, they look lighter and happier. I wanted to do something meaningful with my life and this has given me that opportunity”. Sarah explains that she has many passions she would like to pursue further, but teaching TM will always be a major part of her life. “It’s hard for me to imagine something more rewarding”. When Sarah isn’t teaching, she enjoys writing, attending theatre and film productions, practicing yoga and travelling.
When asked if she had any career advice, Sarah responded with some great guidance that we should all try to keep in mind when pursuing a passion. “An important thing to remember when you’re first starting out in your career is that you won’t be instantly great at your job and every day won’t be amazing. There’s always a learning curve and barriers, internally and externally, to work through, so doing work that is meaningful to you is important. It’s important to find the strength to keep working and getting better every single day”.
For more information on Sarah Hea or Transcendental Meditation in Toronto, visit this website: http://ca.tm.org/web/toronto/contact-us