One of my friends recently told me that I was the only person he knew who was both a rock and roll girl and a meditation teacher. We were in Singapore, at a fun rooftop bar, celebrating my newly earned certification as a SoulCentre Meditation Teacher. I can imagine that might come as shock for those who have in mind that meditation is only for people who can sit crossed-legged in the lotus position, breathing deeply with an empty mind, in a state of complete enlightenment. There might even be an underlying assumption that people who meditate don’t drink coffee, eat raw food and have left behind all the pleasures of life to dedicate themselves to becoming a pure human being or a buddhist monk. Nice fantasy, but quite far from the truth! So I have decided to tell you all about my love affair with meditation because the myths around what meditation is, and is not, may have stopped you from discovering one of the most precious gifts you can ever give yourself.
If you have ever been truly, deeply in love, you know that feeling when you feel so wonderful, so complete, so at one with the world. It does not matter anymore where you live or what your circumstances are. The world has taken on a new colour because you are both in love and loved. You smile at the angry car driver because you are just so happy, you don’t mind the rain because you are walking hands in hands with your lover, work is not ideal but you don’t mind that much because there is something greater than that in your life. Love gives a new perspective on everything. You get the picture! Well, this is exactly what happens with meditation: a change of perspective. The world around you does not change but the way you perceive the world is turned upside down or rather from the outside in to the inside out. Your outside circumstances are not what direct your life experiences anymore but rather the way you filter the world. This is living from the inside out: going from being in reaction to life and feeling powerless, to choosing to respond and gaining freedom.
You may think that you would rather be in love than learn meditation. Yet if romantic love gives us a glimpse of heaven on earth, we tend to fall out of that state of pure bliss. And there we are, searching to recapture it, thinking that if only we could get what is missing in our life – money, success, relationships, social recognition, a long holiday, health etc.. we would be happy and stress-free once again.
I know I have definitely been there, wishing for less stress and more happiness. But I have been blessed to find on my path the best lover of all, I have discovered meditation. I have discovered the key to pure joy, to creating success and happiness in my life whatever my outside circumstances. I have finally opened the door to feeling at peace with life. I have finally understood I did not need to be in love with someone else or get what I perceived as missing in my life to experience those feelings, I simply needed to master my mind.
‘Mediation is the science of freedom and power’ is what Vikas Malkani, my own meditation teacher says. Shattering the myth that mediation is only some kind of funky breathing technique, I have discovered that meditation is a state of awareness and a way to live life consciously. Understanding how the mind works, gives us power to see life more clearly and to free ourselves from our conditioned thoughts. This is why Swami Rama, Vikas’ own meditation teacher, tells us that ‘Mediation does what nothing else can do, it introduces you to yourself’. Socrates the famous Greek philosopher also used to say ‘Know Thyself’. And indeed true freedom and inner peace arises from knowing ourselves and our mind. As we discover our error of perceptions and limiting beliefs, we are able to change perspective and gain the insight that was needed to create happiness and success. This is literally ‘thinking out of the box’…the box being the mind and the ‘out the box’ being a new state of awareness.
Mediation is truly a way of life, a state of mind, before being a technique. This was for me the biggest insight I had when learning Meditation Made Simple with Vikas in Singapore. I had learned various meditation techniques such as mindfulness meditation or transcendental meditation but it is only with Meditation Made Simple that the pieces of the jigsaw fell into place. I realised that there are no practices that can stand alone without understanding how the mind works. The wisdom is an essential part of meditation and is the pillar under the tools. Various practices can be used as a mean to train the mind to this new state of awareness. They do not involve stopping the mind from having thoughts, another huge misconception. It is simply not possible to stop the mind from thinking but it is possible to become the observer of the mind and introduce a gap between our thoughts and our actions. The truth is that, we can all meditate, finding a way that works for us, and it can be simply done only in a few minutes a day, washing the dishes, in the tube, on the dance floor or in the forest…
Mediation has indeed changed my life. I have fallen deeply in love with life again and discovered the meaning of living in the now. I know in the depth of my heart that I create my own life and my own experience. I know I have a choice in the face of life ‘s challenges. I have indeed found the most amazing love affair : ‘for better, for worse’, meditation has opened my heart to true love and happiness.