Some of the toughest moments in life are when we feel uprooted or directionless, with no clear path or fulfilling goals.
For Steven Baxter growing up, purpose was connected to the routine of playing baseball, a sport which defined his upbringing and high-school years. Without that structure, Steven had to redefine what a fulfilling life looked like.
He vividly recalls:
“It was 1978 and I was a sophomore in college. Life seemed to accelerate after high school. Many of the dreams I held just a year before began to crumble in front of my eyes, and, it seemed, in my very soul. My life felt like one of those shiny silver pinballs that bounced from side to side in the video game store where I hung out.
Until then, playing baseball had been the stabilizing influence in my life. Spring and summer were ordered and predictable. I knew when my next game was and when and where the game after that would be. And the one after that. And so on.
Even in the off-season, I had an established routine to get ready for the next year on the diamond; I knew exactly how many days were left before the first pitch of the new season. A big red circle captured that date on the calendar. Every day prior had a neatly hand-written number, and each day that number got smaller until it was “0” on opening day.
Now, as a college sophomore, I didn’t have that date circled in red to anticipate, to plan for, to look forward to. I was stuck and directionless. What did I have to prepare for? I had no sense of connection to the future or, worse, no connection to myself. I felt adrift on an ocean with no discernable horizon. Haphazard swells and waves were pushing me in every direction without relief or coherence.”
But all of that was about to change.
“In my sophomore year I went to a presentation at my school about Transcendental Meditation (TM). After learning the technique, it was suddenly as if I wore a new and better prescription in my eyeglasses. TM brought focus. It smoothed the waves that buffeted me daily. Even though I didn’t know (at that point) exactly where I was going, TM helped me to understand and appreciate where I was at any given moment. Knowing that, I felt like I could quickly and confidently set out on life’s journey when it was time to do so. I had recalibrated my internal compass to True North.
After graduating from community college in 1979, despite my newfound experience and “grounding” from TM, I still felt storm-tossed from time to time. In the late ’70s, there were few jobs in the northeast United States; those that were available didn’t appeal to me. As a result, I joined the United States Navy, hoping to find even deeper meaning and purpose in life. Thankfully, I did, and enjoyed a successful and rewarding career of more than 30 years.
Following retirement from the Navy in 2012, I returned to college and earned a master’s degree in teaching, specializing in elementary and middle-level education. Now, I’m a successful consultant, working for an international strategy and technology firm. I honestly don’t know if I would have found my life’s path if it hadn’t been for that initial course correction provided by TM back in 1978.”