by George Pickford.
[groups_non_member group=”Registered”]Why did I start learning to meditate? I was always busy. Dashing around non-stop morning to night. I would find myself tearing from one meeting to the next, one appointment/class to the next, one social engagement to the next; and as I went I would have a bag (it could be a sports/overnight/laptop bag) in one hand and the mobile phone in the other – checking emails, text messages, phone calls, Facebook. Down time was going for a run or heading out to catch up with friends. I would feel constantly stretched,
To read this entire blog please log in
[groups_member group=”Registered”]Why did I start learning to meditate? I was always busy. Dashing around non-stop morning to night. I would find myself tearing from one meeting to the next, one appointment/class to the next, one social engagement to the next; and as I went I would have a bag (it could be a sports/overnight/laptop bag) in one hand and the mobile phone in the other – checking emails, text messages, phone calls, Facebook. Down time was going for a run or heading out to catch up with friends. I would feel constantly stretched, always trying to give my best to everyone and everything yet feeling like I was letting myself and those around me down through having too many balls in the air. On the weekends whilst trying to catch up with family, I would find myself drifting in conversation and never really present, I would feel restless and dissatisfied. Even on holiday visiting beautiful places I would look at stunning views and know that I should be excited by them yet somehow failed to be. There were moments of fun but these were increasingly found at only particular peak moments like on a steep ski slope or at a wild party on a beach. I knew this was all wrong, my life hadn’t always been like this, I was coping but knew life had more to offer. Why was life becoming increasingly tricky? A friend of mine suggested meditation, I wasn’t particularly excited about the prospect; how much good was being sat on cushion following my breath really going to do? But being increasingly fed-up with my situation I decided to give it a go and signed up to the Art of Meditation 7 day healing retreat.
With some trepidation I turned up at Poulstone Court for my first retreat and was somewhat relatively surprised how normal (or rather unhippyish!) the other people were. Andrew had his own business, Beverly was a barrister, Katie was an acupuncturist, George a psychotherapist, Antonia a teacher; I was working in the city at the time and had expectations of a room full of sacred song singers (although I have come to love them now..). After a first couple of tough days, I began to settle and started to find some peace in my meditation, however, it wasn’t until night 4 that I had my first breakthrough moment – I woke up in the middle of the night and felt inside my body and it was bubbling like a freshly corked bottle of champagne – the feeling of numbness that had characterised my last few years was gone; I felt energised, I felt alive. Thank God!
For the final couple of days whilst walking outside in the breaks I was able to connect with my environment in a way that I had not consciously been aware of before – the trees were not longer trees, but living, breathing beings. On the final day when we broke our silence, I remember not wanting it to end. Burgs played some music (something classical) and I felt deeply moved; emotions started welling inside of me and I had to go outside for a walk where I then cried; my first cry for some years. I didn’t really know why I was crying to begin with, other than I was able to see clearly how overcomplicated I had made my life and how I could actually find pleasures in the simple things. I knew I would be back. Since starting meditation 4 years ago now, I practice most days (anything from 5 minutes to 40 minutes) and try and go on one retreat a year. I mostly practice first thing in the morning, which helps me kick start the day in a calm and more focused fashion, or last thing before bed to settle me down to get a good nights sleep. But the benefits to my life are far greater than that. I now have a tool that I can turn to that helps keep me calm and keep life in perspective. I feel the need to ask less questions and have much more balance in my life – what a relief.[/groups_member]