When I was a 17 year old medical student at Monash, I went to a weekly yoga class for a while. At the end of the class we all sat in silence to meditate for 15-20 minutes. Other than being told to “quiet your mind” there was no particular instruction. I remember sitting there in utter frustration because I was not able to “quiet my mind”. Either my desire to experience this was so great or my need to succeed was the driver, but I was an absolute pain to my yoga teacher. I kept asking her how to do this. Her vague responses to “just sit” made me anything but peaceful. Eventually she got so fed up with my incomprehension that she took me to see her guru. He spoke things like “sitting”, “silence,” telling me it would come. None of it made sense to me. The silence did not come so I stopped going. Life took over and I did not even think about meditation.
The study of medicine is intense and we are taught about disease, diagnosis and treatment. I graduated versed in the science and slowly developed the art of practice as all professionals, in any field, must do. Medicine emphasises the rational. For me personally some part of my eastern heritage of mysticism was put aside to belong to this new way.
Over 20 years ago now, I was in an extremely challenging place in my life. Always given to existential questioning, I stood still for a time and scrutinised myself. Despite an unbelievably busy schedule and a little one, I explored intensely. One of the things I discovered in my search was meditation. I reconnected with it and, this time, made a commitment to myself to practice each day and to let it unfold. The thoughts were still there—I continued to sit. I soon noticed my life shifting. I felt different inside, calmer, more peaceful. In the early days, on the odd occasions that I did not meditate in the mornings, my very little daughter would say “Mummy did you meditate this morning?” Out of the mouth of babes! To this day, I still meditate mostly twice daily.
These last 18 months have been a difficult time for both my daughter and I—a time of losses and change. We both meditate (she is a bit less regular!). I know this sustained practice of meditation has allowed me to deal with these situations and return to a place of balance.
Because I experience such ongoing benefits from a daily practice, I am passionate about sharing the power of meditation and still run meditation classes. The other things I love about it are: no special equipment is required; you can practice anywhere at anytime you choose; there are no age limits; whether you are 8 or 108 it is easy to do. All you need is the desire and the decision to commit. It is worth trying.
Love & joy