Thursday, 13 October 2011

Meditation and the Journey.

Today I learned... Buddha is a complete way of life, concerned with the wholesome development of the individual. In the words of Buddha himself: Learn to do good, Cease to do harm, Control the mind, and Benefit others. These are principles I try to live by, but being tutored feels especially beneficial in helping my understanding of things that I questioned before.

Not being completely sure what to expect from my pre-booked meditation class, I arrived at the school, parked up quickly then as I stepped out of the car I felt the nerves begin to twitch. Hurrying through the school car park, no clue where to gain entrance, I saw the back of a lonely figure a few yards ahead of me. Calling out... the young lady turned and without taking breath I asked where K Block was, she smiled and said she had no idea then asked where I wanted to go... Meditation, I said breathlessly, aha she smiled that’s where I am going.  As if by magic, I now had someone to walk into class with. All day I had been anxious and dreaded the very thought of walking in alone. It was almost like my prayers had been answered. Good start I thought!

The room not as I imagined a meditation-room to be was an ordinary class-room the students used for drama. There were film posters around the walls, books and tapes. I observed the seated individuals and yes despite my surroundings, I sensed something very calm about the room and its occupants.

Welcoming the class our teacher introduced herself. We spent the first part of our time with a prayer and then with a teaching on different levels of ‘happiness and love’ and what that meant in terms of how we perceived and dealt with these emotions. There was a lot more to it and I felt the teacher explained herself very well... despite me never having attended before, I had a clear grasp on what she was saying and it all made perfect sense to me. I felt like I’d been here before and I understood the concept of the message and at that point I felt a warmth begin to spread inside of me. Previously I’d worried I wouldn’t understand, and yet here I was in a new class, I felt completely at home. I knew I had made the right decision to attend.

Our first mediation about to begin... I felt incredibly nervous and I wanted to laugh... My teacher told us to relax, place both feet flat on the floor and hold our hands in our laps, whichever way felt comfortable, and to help stop hands from moving we were to hold our thumbs close together. Throughout the first meditation all I heard was her soft soothing voice. I have to admit, I kept opening my eyes, thoughts kept breaking through. I felt frustrated knowing this is just what happens at home, I’m never going to be able to quieten my mind I thought negatively. There was a further Buddha teaching, which I found very interesting, it made me think of the possibilities of these new thoughts, especially now they were being explained to me. We then had a second meditation this was called a ‘Contemplation Meditation’ by this time I felt more comfortable and felt able to relax. Throughout I concentrated on my breath... My teacher told us if you find thoughts invading your mind; concentrate on the breath as you inhale through your nostrils... Each and every time those thoughts penetrated, I immediately took myself to the breath and it worked... so much so, I almost fell asleep and experienced a complete blankness which had an amazing affect on me. As long as I have lived, that’s never happened. I have never been able to have nothing on my mind...   After ‘Contemplation Meditation’ we got to chat to each other over coffee. I further discovered all of the participants had been doing meditation for a couple of years and longer... they were friendly and I didn’t feel awkward.

I also learned how Buddhism teaches us to overcome problems and difficulties by understanding and overcoming their causes. I understood from discussion that normally we look outwards for answers to problems, Buddha teaches us to look inwards. He shows how feelings of dissatisfaction arise from negative states of mind. He offers methods to eliminate these by developing generosity, compassion, wisdom and other positive states of mind. Cultivating these qualities, we discover an inner state of peace and strength.

Throughout the two hours in class and further reading, I learned the word Buddha means ‘Awakened One’ A Buddha is one who has awakened from an ignorant sleep, sees things as they really are and is free from faults and mental obstructions.

The Buddha school I attend encourages people from all ethnic backgrounds to adopt the wisdom and compassion of Buddha and to put it into practice in a way that suits their particular culture...

After all I have seen and felt over the last twenty-four hours ... My passion rises to unknown heights and although I know this is probably ludicrous to some. It will be magical to others...

Be true to yourself and don’t be afraid to explore unknown depths.

Stay with me ~ Namaste

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