We talk a lot about meditation in yoga. About a year ago, I took the MBSR 8-week course led by Peta McAuley in Hong Kong and learned how to meditate. Before that, I had tried many methods I searched online, in books and even in apps but only felt frustrated because I was not experiencing what I thought I was supposed to (huge expectations!). Sounds familiar?

LEARN BY DIRECT EXPERIENCE

Better than words or images, meditation needs to be experienced. Meditation is NOT a state that you want to reach, where you try to make things turn out the way you want. I love this animation on Effort from headspace.com because of the analogy between trying to meditate and to fall asleep: you cannot force yourself, you let it happen.

During Peta’s workshop, I just sat, let go of the expectations and practised. I learned various techniques that I now use as a “toolbox” and experimented different methods (body scan, breathing awareness, visualisation, etc.) in different situations (formal and informal meditation). It was no longer some kind lofty goal of enlightenment but a daily practice.

I was then drawn to participate in a ten day Vipassana silent meditation camp in March, where I learned to deepen one meditation technique only: insight meditation. The daily 10-hour seated meditations were intense but I felt nourished and more aware of what was going on in my mind.

WHY MEDITATE?

To find oneself? To cultivate inner peace? I meditate to give space to my mind so I don’t get caught up in my emotional reactions, so I can see the bigger picture and be more present with whatever comes up. I also like to see it as a way to “weave a parachute” so that when I need it, it is already available to me.

HOW AND WHEN TO MEDITATE?

Going on a meditation retreat was a transformative experience and I was grateful that I could carve out 10 days to do so. However, practicing 5 or 10 minutes of formal meditation in my morning routines and “informal meditation” in a taxi, or at lunch time has helped me a lot during the day. There are many creative ways we can sprinkle some mindfulness in our daily lives. The key is doing it regularly and consistently.

Where has your meditation journey taken you to?