TM Has Given Me an Underlying Base of Happiness in My Life
Ian Fowles is a musician, writer and actor. Most importantly, he’s the guitarist for Aquabats, a comedic superhero rock band in which he transforms into the alter ego Eaglebones Falconhawk. We caught up with him over the summer to see what he was up to and how his practice of Transcendental Meditation is affecting his life.
What does a typical day in your week look like?
It’s a bit difficult for me because when I’m on tour it’s pretty structured, but when I’m at home it’s less structured. Out on the street it wakes up on the tour bus, meditates, searches for food, does a sound check at the concert venue, searches for food, meditates, does a meet and greet, plays the show, searches for food and then sleep on the bus, while he’s driving to the next town. Rinse and repeat. At home, my day is focused on my family and children, giving guitar lessons and working on my doctoral thesis. All of these obligations vary widely from day to day, so many more things are played by ear.
Do you see yourself as someone who took a leap in confidence to lead a more creative life, or did it just happen?
I think it only grew gradually and naturally as I continued to pursue the things I loved. Over time, things accumulated and built on each other. I met more people, had more opportunities, etc.
Talk about your greatest success and greatest failure. What did you learn from them?
Well, they are probably the same, and then our band got our own TV show. It was so fun and exciting, but then the network we were on went out of business after the show had only aired for about three years. We won an Emmy during the day and had a really fun program to do. We hoped it could take many years, but it didn’t. We were amazed when it was over, but we moved on and kept making music and videos ourselves. I’ve learned to enjoy everything you can as long as you can because there’s no telling how long it will take. Plus, I’ve learned to keep pushing no matter what.
What are your three favorite tools for a happy and healthy life?
It’s been at the top of the list since I learned TM. It gives me the energy and calmness to face whatever comes my way.
I love to spend as much time as possible on the beach / ocean. It’s my favorite natural environment that I find both grounding and inspiring.
Traveling also helps me feel happy and alive. Even when I’m not out with bands, I like to go on road trips along the coast whenever I can. There is always an energizing sense of adventure that I love.
How did you find out about TM® technology?
I became seriously interested in learning TM for the first time after reading a book by David Lynch Catch the big fish. It was around a recording studio I was recording in and I devoured it during some downtime. I read and studied more books about it over the next several years, but I hadn’t taken the plunge into formal study and practice. I resumed with the same band when I first read this book years ago and soon found that the singer had learned TM. He told me about his positive experience with it. It was the extra boost I needed to finally learn myself.
How long have you been practicing Transcendental Meditation?
About a year and a half.
How does it fit in your life
Lately I’ve had to put it in before my kids wake up and after they go to bed. They are young and full of energy and keep me busy every minute they are awake.
Have you felt more creative since you started practicing TM?
Yes, but it didn’t turn out the way I imagined. I thought it was instant, but it was more gradual. I had subtle or strong bursts of ideas during meditation, such as topics for a column I am writing for guitar Magazine. I have also experienced the ability to “inspire” it more easily in times when I did not have the opportunity to formally prepare. It’s a kind of creativity that enables me to think better on my feet in certain situations. I didn’t really have that ability before.
Where is the strangest place you can fit in your TM practice?
On a concrete staircase behind the stage of a concert hall. Actually, when I’m on tour with the band, I have to find places like this quite often. I’ll be using some noise-canceling headphones and a white noise app on my phone to filter out the chaos of live production around me. I love that TM can be done anywhere.
Do you feel that the TM technique helped you achieve your goals?
I feel like it has. After meditation, I can prioritize better if I have a list of tasks in front of me. It gives me more energy than it used to be and I think it made me a nicer and more positive person in general. TM has given me a fundamental foundation for happiness in my life. It has made me more patient, especially with my children. I sleep better. I now get sporadic feelings of gratitude for small and big things in my life. These outbursts can also extend to an experience of oneness and connection with nature or people. The list goes on and on. All of these beneficial properties that come from practicing TM have helped every area of my life.
If you could give someone some advice when you are considering a career like yours, what would you say to them?
I would say join in. Because on the other hand, you definitely don’t want to have lived and thought: “What if?” I think if anyone thinks about it, give it a try. Try as best you can. Whether it works over the long term or not, at least you’ve tried. The music industry is also big, and besides musicians like tour managers, promoters, sound engineers etc. there are many different roles to be filled. The other great thing about music is that even if it’s not your full-time career, it’s always something that can be done on the side in your future, even if it’s just for your own pleasure. Most people probably don’t play too much football in their 60s and 70s, but at an advanced age you can still play guitar all day.