My journey started long before I actually sat for my first meditation over 20 years ago. I had recently got divorced at a very young age and had read a book which was a life changer for me at that point in my life.
The book by the way was the Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield and the concept that there was something more out there and something very different to what my traditional, conservative upbringing had taught me, was seeded.
A little background – I was extremely busy ‘doing’. I was working as an airport manager by day managing an airport operation for a domestic airline at Cape Town International Airport, with a staff compliment of just under 300 people. In the evenings I either rehearsed or performed as a flamenco dancer and soloist for a professional dance company. I packed my days and nights to the brim and I was very particular about detail. So in my quest to start meditating because I had heard of transcendental meditation and the effects this had – I started reading books. The one that stood out most was Diamond Minds: Psychology of Meditation by Rob Nairn. I then decided to join a meditation course for beginners. My search was for the perfect method – how little I understood back then!! Being a disciplined person, I began to set time aside early every morning to meditate – and with my busy mind, this was a constant battle. Most my meditations were a struggle with my thoughts. However I persisted – determination is a quality I have in huge doses. Eventually it eased off and I could sit for 15-20 minutes and felt that I could call that meditation.
I chose silent mediation observing my breath as opposed to a guided meditation or working with a mantra. It instinctually felt like the more appropriate way for me. I did however enjoy joining group meditations and would go to a monthly full moon meditation. The effects of a group meditation can be very powerful and one can easily go deep into that quiet state, when there are many with the same intention. The first effects I clearly remember observing from my daily meditation practice – was the feeling that time had slowed down.I now seemed to have more than enough time to do what needed to be done in my busy day – and it honestly felt like things moved in slow motion, somehow allowing me the time to fit everything in. Better phrased today – I would say that I started gaining clarity of thought and became more focused as the noise and clutter of my mind was quietening down and this was spilling out into my daily routines and life. My energy levels also seemed boundless.
The effects of meditation is accumulative and the more one meditates the more clarity one gains - as well as the ability to deal with the highs and lows of life, through one’s neutral observer. The best piece of advice I ever received about meditation when trying to release my thoughts – (I would either engage or resist them, which in effect either action was an engagement) - was to observe them in a frame like passing clouds in the sky. Observe them passing by without the need to engage or resist them. Like a cloud it will pass by, so will the next one and the next and the more present my neutral observer became, the more I was able to do this.
I will mention at this point, that over and above meditation I was doing many other courses and exercises in self enquiry and so I became increasingly mindful of my words, thoughts and actions as well.
No meditation is the same, some are deep, other’s less deep – there are times I need to meditate twice a day and other times when I can skip a few days. Either way, it has become a part of my life and my experience and through this practice; I have found peace, clarity, joy as well as union with my Inner Self.
Many an impulse or brilliant idea comes to me during a meditation or just after and likewise when life has thrown me a curveball, moments of peace and calm also come to me from my practice. Everyone’s journey with meditation is so personal and those who have a calling to meditate will find their own bespoke path in their practice. As the mind calms, the sound of our intuition becomes clearer, even louder and our ability to trust this and follow our inner guidance becomes bolder. There is no end to this journey, it continues and we continue to evolve as individuals and as a mass consciousness.