When I first started meditating more than 30 years ago I found the whole concept fascinating and I wanted to learn more. As I searched I discovered that there were all different ways of meditating, including going away for 10days and spending that time in silence.
As I had four children, was working full-time and paying the bills was our main focus 10 days away didn’t seem like an option. I must say that the silence didn’t appeal to me at all as I had spent too much time unable to speak when I went to boarding school at the age of seven (although silence from the constant bickering and ‘mmmmuuuuuummmm’ did sound rather blissful!)
So I had to find something that worked for me.
We lived in a very small house, the six of us, and finding a space to be alone was impossible, that is until I discovered that if I had a bath I could legitimately locked the door!
As everyone else in the household was mad about football, but me, they would watch it 5 nights of the week. It was too early for me to go to bed with a book and I could still hear the commentary. I would take myself off to the other end of the house, lock the door and sink into a bath full of bubbles. The quiet was shattering.
It was in this quiet that I learned to feel comfortable. It was such an odd experience when my life was filled with noise, but after a time I began to crave it.
There is much you can do in the bath. You can have candles, music, be in the dark or read a book. Put on a face mask. Be alone with your thoughts
This is where I started to practise the meditation techniques I had learnt. For a few minutes to start with and then I would read a book.
Slowly I began to enjoy being alone with my thoughts, something I had avoided in the ‘real’ world by constantly surrounding myself with noise. If the ids were at school I would have the radio or TV on for some background noise. But what I was in effect doing was avoiding being in the silence, that, I was terrified of.
I moved out of the bathroom and began sitting on my decking first thing in the morning with a cup of herbal tea before the rest of the house stirred from their slumbers. There is something magical about being up before the rest of the world. It is so quiet. And then the birds start to sing – just for you.
What I started to noticed was I began to feel different. I was calmer, deep down inside. I had found small moments of peace.
And the more you do it, the more you want to do it. So you begin to make sure you fit it in to your day.
Meditation became an escape. It was my way of retreating from the world.
As I say in my classes, when you are little you clean you teeth because your mother nagged you, or got you in a head lock and did it (ask my eldest son!) or you were scared of the dentist. As an adult you clean your teeth because it feels better when you do it … and that’s how it is with meditation.
It doesn’t mean you have to sit on the top of a mountain cross-legged chanting mantras, although that is rather wonderful. You have to find what works for you … in your life, now. And then …
You do it because you feel better when you do.