PRESS PAUSE & MEDITATE
My mother has always meditated. She would take her self off and lay down for an hour. Her form of meditation varied from guided visualisations or simple pray.
Like everything else, It was around me – I absorbed the ‘concept’ of meditation theoretically but did I ever put it into practice? Of course not. It wasn’t until the meditation workshop in my yoga teacher training that my interest was piqued. The teacher was literally the loveliest, calmest most incredibly glowing woman I had met. My god, I wanted that… to be like that!
I needed to know what meditation was all about. I remember asking the teacher if she could share some of her experiences. Quite surprisingly she said no, she couldn’t because they were deeply private. Her response shocked me, but mostly it just fuelled my desire to understand even more.
I had read about Transcendental Meditation on a few blogs and had noted it in my (long) list of things to study. But 2011 had been my cut-off. I HAD to learn how to meditate and mantra meditation resonated with me. No backing out.
My issue – traditional TM courses cost over $1000. Although I knew it’d be a life time investment I just couldn’t swallow that price.
And once again, my beautiful friend Emma introduced me to Carolyne Gowen from Still Your mind
My boyfriend bought me the course for my 29th Birthday (it’s a heap cheaper than TM!) Over four sessions I learnt the art of Primordial Sound Meditation and received my personal mantra. PSM is very similar to TM. Primordial Sound Meditation originates from the ancient wisdom of India. Primordial sounds are the basic, most essential and sacred sounds of nature. They are meaningless – you can’t translate them, but you wouldn’t want to. You don’t need to attach an impression to your mantra. It’s just the sound, the feeling and how it resonates with you.
During the course I received my own ‘sound’, the matra based on the vibration of the universe at the time of my birth.
When trying to understand Primordial Sounds I think about that feeling, not really the sound, but the energy in the room when a group of students chant OM after a yoga class. The first time I ever heard the chant OM was at Dharma Shala in Bondi. I was 21 and attending a yoga class. Totally unconnected to yoga at the time, it came as a surprise when tears literally sprang into my eyes as 30 yogis chanted with so much passion and intensity. It was like a wave rippled through my body. It felt amazing.
So, perhaps you get the importance of primordial sound if you’ve ever been to a yoga class? But if not, that’s cool. No need to intellectualise it, because it just is what it is.
When you meditate though, the feeling is much subtler than when chanting. It’s like a long, slow sigh… an exhale as everything settles, softens and the mind finds a little spot to sit down and stop amongst all the mayhem.
But, I digress – back to the course! Once I had my mantra Carolyne then guided me in the gentle art of meditating with that mantra. It’s so simple that of course I found a way to complicate it. In the beginning I was ‘waiting’ for it be easier. Trying to make it ‘work’ better and just generally doing what I do – putting pressure on trying to achieve! After meeting with Carolyne a couple of months after the course to talk it through she said something that clicked, made sense. She told me to give myself permission. To allow myself to simply meditate and let go of what I think should happen.
Now, I do just that.
A little insight into meditation:
Just sit. (Upright in a chair is best – feet flat to the floor)
Listen to your breath.
Then focus nothing on the mantra – repeat it gently.
Let it roll around in your mind. Use it to anchor you back to stillness when a thought pattern drags your attention away.
Sometimes it’s really difficult to quieten the mind, sometimes It might only happen for a moment. Other times you find ‘the gap’ – the space between your thoughts and it’s like the wind has stopped. For a moment it’s just peace and then you step back out again. Just tasting that moment is so delicious! It makes meditating each day a need, not just a want. And other times you learn something in meditation. I discovered that I had to study at Integrative Nutrition. The name of this blog also came to me when meditating, and sometimes strange memories from the past crop up. And each time I just try and come back to my mantra. Trusting what Carolyne says – if that thought, memory, idea is meant to be there it’ll be waiting for you when you finish.
It’s been life changing. And not in that big BANG kind of way – slow, gradual but noticeable. It’s something I will never stop doing. Something I love – just like ocean swims, or showering, or water, or cooking, or being in love. It is part of my life now.
I will post more about meditation another time. Breaking down the things that happen during meditation, what to expect, how I meditate and where.
If your interest is piqued or maybe you’ve been thinking about meditating then perhaps see this post as a meaningful coincidence and look into it. If you are in Sydney I cannot recommend Carolyne enough.
Signing off with an exhale.
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