Laughing Out Loud!
If someone was to tell me 3 years ago that I would be sitting in stillness for 2 hours, I would have shook my head and laughed uncontrollably in disbelief! I’m a talker, an extrovert and I love chatting and meeting people. I enjoy listening to podcasts, watching documentaries and the occasional Spanish Netflix series or maybe many LOL! Communication is key. I’m always thinking, my mind racing, old ideas, new ideas, reinventing stuff, presentations, deadlines and to do list!
WOW… I’m exhausted and anxious just writing it all down!
How Did It All Start?
When I was taking my 300hr Yoga Teacher Training course in Bali in 2018, I sat in meditation for periods of up to 2 hours which seemed like an eternity. One of our wise yoga teachers, Rose, said it was dharana or concentration at best! Now, I know what she meant by that: I was on the right path to finding the Ultimate Truth but a long ways away from meditation! For the first time in 45 years, I sat in complete silence for 2 hours in the morning at 6am and 2 hours in the evening at 6pm with 1 hour of pranayama (breathing exercises).
It was so new to me, that I was instantly interested and fascinated by this new exercise. I immersed myself and dove in for 5 weeks with the rest of the 11 female students from around the world. The negative, fearful, judgmental thoughts came knocking. Past experiences and loads of different emotions and feelings were creeping into my mind. On the flip side, I felt safe and knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I felt a huge sense of community as we all shared the same practice of dhyana, which is Hindu for meditation and contemplation. We were in it together to support each other on our own individual yoga journey.
Back to Canada!
I stayed in Bali for almost five months. Five unforgettable months of total freedom and immense spiritual growth. Upon my return to Canada and back to regular life, I tried to keep up my meditation practice but was confronted with many obstacles. The biggest challenge was the awareness of how our Western ideals and ways of living are so different from Bali. We place great importance on working long hours, making money, status and power by way of our material possessions. We attribute a great part of our existence by what job we have how and where we choose to live. The capitalist and consumerist veil began to slowly take over my spiritual practices of meditation, pranayama and asana (yoga poses). Laziness also got the better of me and I chose more “doing” activities rather than “being”.
What’s the Silver Lining?
Well, with awareness comes change!
Awareness is the First Step…
I slowly began making the time to schedule in spiritual study time and this worked for me. I started re-reading my yoga books and teacher training notes. I attended Niagara Yoga Networking gatherings and I reached out to Niagara’s Spiritual Community for guidance and motivation to get back on my path.
I attempt to sit silently everyday and bring awareness to my breath as I concentrate on my third eye but It’s not easy. It’s frustrating and the temptation to do what I know I’m not supposed lingers as it whispers in my ear. Some days are easier and better than others. My commitment is constantly being tested but I’m on this path till the end! I want to find true inner happiness and peace that comes from freedom of attachments to the material earthly world. I come back to my practice without judgement.
I let it unfold.
Why do I put myself through this?
Maybe some of you might think this is torture and ridiculous?
I sit in concentration hoping and trusting that meditation will soon follow. Meditation is fundamental. It helps transform anger, worry, fear, ignorance and judgement with the flow of peace, love, acceptance, non-attachment and compassion. Anger is a raging fire and meditation is the water that puts out the fire!
I invite you to find your quiet, safe place and allow yourself to sit and breathe. The rest will come.