Must be the meditation...


One of my favourite teachers is my great-uncle, now 95 years old, who has been meditating twice daily for at least 6 decades. When I asked him what his aim was each time her meditates (expecting an answer about transcending to a higher plane), he answered simply to come back to the present.

I could never quite understand such a simple expectation from such a diligent commitment. After all why would someone take the time regularly to sit with his eyes closed in silence only to be in the same place?

It is noticeable that meditation is a common daily practice for many high-achievers in varied fields such as sport, entertainment and business, and not just confined to spiritual seekers in far flung climes. There are volumes of research to back up its efficacy for physical, emotional and mental benefits of reduced stress, reduced blood pressure, increased energy, improved immunity, greater clarity.

Despite the multitude of benefits, it seems that many of us are too busy to take the time to meditate.I was taught to meditate when I was in the final year of university, and was given a mantra (sacred word) by a Buddhist monk. The idea of just sitting with my eyes closed and repeating a mantra felt too simple and I never managed to create a daily practice.

Years later a friend raved about her teachers and I was curious but very sceptical. The technique that was offered is said to be 2-5 times deeper than sleep, and unlike other approaches where the aim is to clear the mind, this technique welcomed thoughts as signs of the body purifying. The commitment (time and financial) to learn to meditate has proved worthwhile as I maintained a steady practice for a number of years. I recently went back for a refresher as I had lapsed out of my habit and it was so useful to renew my commitment and interest. A once a day practice was described as keeping your head above water to survive the stresses of the day, whilst meditating twice a day was more about increasing a state of bliss. I am a huge advocate of choosing the things that make you feel good and well- warm baths, bracing walks, nurturing treatments and good books are my personal choices.

It strikes me that so many of my pregnant clients invest in hypnobirthing and other approaches to help them through labour, but I would suggest that it's so helpful to find a tool that helps with all stages of life. Couples going through fertility treatment, dealing with challenging pregnancies and the newness of parenthood could all be supported by an easy but regular practice. Meditation has even been shown to increase peace in surrounding areas. There was a beautiful example of a centre in a run-down part of New York, where the knock-on effect was lowered crime and increased cohesion.

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