My first experience of meditation was through a yoga class. I was in my early 20's, a new mum and curious but totally clueless. At this point it wasn't in the forefront of my mind, I was concentrating on yoga and revelling in the fact that I was getting an hour to myself each week. Each meditation session was only 5 or 10 mins long and in all honesty that was sufficient for me. Mostly it was guided meditation, sometimes breathing exercises, sometimes just relaxing whilst listening to music. The art of focusing on one thing was a real challenge for me but I didn't realise the impact it would have if I worked at it. I carried on perfectly comfortably musing the weeks shopping list or the housework I was going home to do. In hindsight the benefits I could have had during such a busy time in my life were huge and I totally missed the boat on it.
The benefits were yet to come, I just wasn't ready to journey down that path then, mostly because I hadn't actually noticed the path was even there. As life progressed, the kids grew and a career built. Throughout it all consensus was that I would be good at managing stress because I did yoga and meditated. Well that was way off the mark ha ha.
It was only a few years ago that I began to realise where my interests truly lay and how close, yet how far I had been to my path all along. I began to make a conscious effort during yogas meditation sessions and to appreciate the effects it had. Having changed career and now focusing it on wellbeing, my knowledge grew and the link between physical and emotional issues became more and more apparent, not to mention the fact relaxation is actually very difficult for the majority of people. Alternative therapies are based on a holistic approach, meaning that the body is treated as a whole rather than concentrating on a single aspect. Meditation therefore became more important I even started incorporating it into my daily life without realising, using breathing techniques, visualisation and attempting the biggest challenge of all - clearing the mind.
Last year I joined a meditation group. It was a small group and very peaceful but I found it difficult. I am a firm believer in patience and trial and error so I kept going, determined to clear my mind. The sessions were in pure silence, this is not an easy meditation to do but I did learn a lot. Yes my mind still wandered, I was however beginning to steer it back to the meditation if it was a trivial distraction. The bigger thoughts were much harder to quash and to be honest they still are. But if I can clear my mind for just a minute I can feel the benefit. The trick is to not try, to simply accept that the wandering thought entered and allow it to leave again. Do not dwell on the thought or be annoyed that it occurred, just move on. As I continued with the group I began to realise that I wanted more from a class and my visualisations became a plan of how I would run my own class. Although I wasn't shutting my brain down I was in actual fact meditating. I was unaware of my surroundings, noises did not disturb me in the slightest and when I came back from each session I felt refreshed and relaxed. My vision remained at the back of my mind as do all the plans and ambitions I have for my business and my life, I trust that I am working towards all of them and that they are in reach, just like with meditation, you have to have patience.
I began to look at courses to become a teacher or leader (I haven't quite decided what title I prefer yet). When I found the one that felt right for me I mulled it over and then took the plunge telling myself if I didn't hit that enrol button right now it would never happen. The course wasn't just informative, I genuinely found it inspiring. By the end of it my workbook was completely scribbled on with ideas for scripts and room set ups, plans for advertising and even the new Facebook page and adapted logo. My head was swimming - not an easy time to meditate ha ha. I also met some really interesting people on the course, everyone had their own take on meditation and a unique back story of what brought them to the course and also how they wanted to use their teaching diploma. The varying approaches are what ensures that meditation can reach everyone, because what works for one doesn't suit all. Embracing our own visions is what incites progress.
Having completed the course the next thing to do was set up a class. I was already aware that there were no other classes local to me as I had had to travel to get to the one I was attending. I phoned so many places looking for a suitable location. I knew what I wanted : comfortable, not large and echoy, easily accessible to everyone, car parking spaces and plenty of chairs available. I'm not at all fussy ha ha. When I found what I was looking for I jumped at it and everything else seemed to just fall into place. My first class would be in 3 weeks time.
Writing the scripts can be time consuming but very rewarding, I enjoy writing and have quite a few ideas for topics. My plan is to have a different script and topic each week. As I write them I am on the journey myself, envisioning everything in detail and experiencing the environment, creating comfort and relaxation for everyone who will travel to my destination over time.
That first class would be such an unknown quantity, insecurities, self doubt - the whole lot. I was however bowled over with the number of people who came. Trying to stifle my nerves I ran the class as to what I wanted from my own sessions. I had never actually read any of my writing to anyone before and this was a challenge in itself, I used my breath to keep me calm and did it, just as I had promised all those who had made the effort to come and join in. I knew of course that the ultimate test would be to see if they returned the following week, and they did!!!! What a compliment. Yes I encourage everyone to keep coming back, to maximise the benefits of meditation, to not give up. I also recognise that it is not always convenient and so it is important to me that they can use the journeys I take them on at home as well. Recalling that peaceful place and using it to calm their minds at anytime, not just within the class. I know that people will come and go, I want people to feel comfortable to drop in when they need it, when they are ready and not think they can't return because they have missed a few weeks. The class is there for everyone. I really believe that meditation is a life skill, it is personal to each individual and incredibly beneficial especially in today's modern society where stress, pressure and trauma are unfortunately part of day to day living.
I am ambitious, I want meditation and its benefits to be widely understood and utilised. I hope to expand into more classes and create a community where it is widely used for enjoyment, stress relief and wellbeing. Luckily I am patient ( thanks to my own meditation practice ha ha)