My mother introduced me to meditation when I was young. I used to think that it was a punishment when she gave me the silent treatment and sat quietly in her corner. It was not hard to imagine that I could not understand the purpose of sitting still then. I started delving into meditation because I was bored in my university days and was dealing with my fair share of “worldly sufferings.” Sometimes, it brought about clarity but more often the awareness fell on my aching back.
Since I started working, I could not sit still in meditation without realising midway that I had dozed off. I thought I am supposed to come out of a meditation session feeling more alert and focused. My interest in reintegrating meditation into my current lifestyle reignited since joining the 200Hr YTT at Tirisula. Meditation doesn’t have to be a session of cross-legged seating with eyes closed and attention focused on your breath.
Exploring meditative techniques:
- Find yourself comfortably seated, chanting ohm, eyes closed. It would be helpful with the aid of an application on the phone or via youtube where you can follow its chanting.
- Find yourself comfortably seated, eyes fixated on a single point. Keep your gaze soft.
- Find yourself comfortably seated, playing a clip of nature sounds, eyes closed. Allow your attention to follow the sound clip.
- Find an area where you can walk around, gaze softly at the ground. Attention on the pressure of each foot from the ground, pace slowly.
- In daily activities, we can slip in snippets of meditative moments as we pay full attention to what we are doing. For example, when we are having meals (yes, no talking when you’re eating!), taking a shower, washing hands, drinking water.
Meditation generates internal resources, creating the space and capacity for us to decide what to think about something that just happened, decide how we feel about a thought that transpired in our mind. Such a powerful practice, it is no wonder that it is being incorporated into different modes of psychotherapy – mindfulness based cognitive therapy, (MBCT), mindfulness-based stress reductions (MBSR), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Mindfulness has indeed taken on a leading role in psychotherapy. Mindfulness is essentially meditation, without a religious connotation, which people find easier to accept.
In a country like Singapore, we have been habituated to stress. We suffer physically and mentally, but we tell ourselves there’s no other way. There is another way. Meditation is one of them!
Jo-an Ng (200hr weekend)