Have you ever heard famous Buddhist proverb that says,
“Everyone should meditate for 20 minutes a day. If you are too busy, then you should meditate for longer.”
It resonates so deeply with me knowing the benefits that mediation can bring to your life, health and peace of mind.
As I never do anything by halves, I began my journey into meditation going full throttle! I signed up for a 10 Day Vipassana silent retreat – no talking at all for 10 days! I thought for sure that I would immediately be calmer, more peaceful and universally inspired.
Well, I was wrong …
I did realise that a 10 day silent retreat was a little extreme, (as my introduction to meditation) but I just knew this was what I needed. Of course I had done my research, I learned that the technique of Vipassana Meditation is a practical way to achieve peace of mind and live a happy, productive life.
This technique is designed to help practitioners come out of suffering; it is non-sectarian and is suitable to all people regardless of religion, gender, race or nationality. Despite reading up on the course thoroughly, I could never prepare for the journey ahead. From day one to three, I followed the program as designed, content that all I needed to do was follow the program. I also knew there was a high percentage of people who quit on day three, but I was determined to get past this period. Once I did, I entered into what I called, the ‘cray cray period.’ It was here I wanted to scream, escape and run as far away as I could. It was such a full-on process to go through, learning how to silence the thoughts that were trapped inside my mind, stop the constant chatter and put an end to analysing every past experience, (hurtful ones were the ones which surfaced mainly) and completely overthinking every single thought.
After a few days, I managed to overcome the intensity of this hurdle. It was as though I was crawling through a tunnel and finally I had reached an open space. A place where I could be present, breathe and observe. From there, it was an on-going journey, but it took some discipline.
This discipline allowed me to access a deep inner connection, where I wasn’t grasping for things, rather, I felt a sense of calm, of knowing all is well. It wasn’t that I found answers for questions or solutions to the problems I was dealing with in life. It was more that I found a sense of inner strength and trust that with my awareness I could over come anything.
That was 15 years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I embarked on a life long journey with meditation that continues to inspire me and teach me new things every day.
During my Yoga Arts Teaching Training, we meditated every day for nine months. This planted a deeper seed for daily practice. I have continued to learn many different forms of mediation, which has allowed me to experience the power of mantra (sound vibration), visualisation and breath awareness meditation. I have continued to study Buddhist meditation as this deeply resonates with me.
I believe meditation is imperative to attaining peace within. Everyone of us is experiencing some kind of struggle, and learning how to cope with the stress that life can throw along our path is our gift.
Meditation is the one method that I know can universally help everyone. Some say it is only for certain people. It isn’t. Anyone can meditate – there are practical tools that allow even the busiest of minds to awaken to the stillness meditation offers.
I have worked with a plethora of people, from recovering drug and alcohol addicts, to professional athletes, cricketers and schools in India, to homeless at Mission Australia or ordinary Australians dealing with day-to-day life. Everyone struggles with harnessing the mind, but like anything, with some discipline, a commitment to practice and consistency you can build and strengthen the most powerful muscle you have, that is your mind. Like a bicep muscle, the mind can only be strengthened with practice. You can’t talk about it, wish for it or hope – you need to practice.
A regular meditation practice has so many benefits. It cleanses your mind and it nourishes you from within, awakening you to the space of vastness, calmness, inner wisdom and creativity. A few minutes each day is enough to experience these benefits. As you observe and learn more about yourself you’ll naturally bring about a personal transformation.
Yes, it can be boring, especially when you are trying to experience a certain feeling. However, when you open yourself up to being in the moment, the boredom slips away and the magic happens. You enjoy the wonder of how divine we are and universally connected. You will also clearly observe how busy our minds like to be!
Meditation is like a seed you water and nurture and when you cultivate a seed with love, it will blossom beautifully. I hope this ignites your spark, but if not, take with you what my beautiful eight year old daughter, Tara, says when she meditates: “Meditation means love, hope and peace.”
At Inhale Life, I offer regular Meditation on Monday nights, open to all levels and by donation. Also, if you would like to learn to meditate, doing a six-week introductory course is a good way to learn the fundamentals (see details below for course times). Finally, check out my OMM (One Minute Meditation) program. It’s a community initiative to have people anywhere at anytime take ONE minute to feel the benefit of mindfulness .
With love and peace