Good question! In my backpacker days I’d seen Tibetan monks chant as I travelled through China. It left me with a sense of awe and inner peace. Earlier during the same trip we had visited a monastery where monks kindly invited us to join them for yak butter tea (definitely an acquired taste!). We spoke no Tibetan & they spoke no English. It didn’t matter, we laughed together & they were warm & welcoming hosts. Their natural joy seemed misplaced as their native homeland was being invaded by the Chinese.
Time passed, I emigrated to Australia & friends who were travelling around the world arrived in Cairns & shared their experiences of a Vipassana meditation retreat in New Zealand.
For 10 days they had done seated meditations which seemed very brave considering they had never meditated before. It was physically challenging for them but they came away feeling a deep sense of connection.
They inspired me to book a 10 day silent retreat in Thailand. A mixture of walking, working & seated meditation.
An Initial Experience
I realised how busy and distracted my mind was. As I practiced being present everything became clear. Meals were simple but when you ate mindfully you were aware of flavours, texture, & colours. A feeling of gratitude & appreciation for the food, the nuns preparing it and our hosts naturally arose.
After lunch we would walk up a hill in the grounds that overlooked Koh Phangan. I noticed the lizards would come and sit with us. In my garden at home now I appreciate that when we slow down, listen & focus you see the beauty of what’s around you & the wildlife comes closer.
What Meditation Gives You
We are not our thoughts, our emotions or our fantasies and when you meditate regularly you realise this. Instead of clinging & identifying with them you recognise them for what they are, events that are passing through our minds. We remember the past & get anxious about the future but that is not our truth. As we become more present, letting go of our worries and anger, we also have more energy.
Living so externally in this material world you realise that when you go within so much is revealed. Life becomes happier when you are calm and balanced.
After the retreat I returned home, life got busy and my intentions of having a regular meditation practice disappeared! Determined to reconnect to meditation I went to the local Buddhist Centre & started practicing once more.
Learning traditional Japanese Reiki in 2010 I discovered a system of Reiki that included a variety of different meditations & techniques. Practicing these over the years has deepened my practice considerably.
Why learn to meditate?
When you practice daily you see the benefits. It effects everyone around you – your kids, family & work colleagues. You become calmer & more patient and this state of mind is reflected back to you.
The other wonderful thing about meditation is you can do it anywhere, on a chair, a cushion or even seated on a bed, whatever is comfortable for you. Of course it’s wonderful to do it at retreat, but really all you need is you.
My goal is to inspire others to find their light within & for me, meditation is the key that unlocks that door.