A few years back, me and Lucy were travelling New Zealand. We'd been there for about 4 or 5 months and didn't have long left until we moved on to Thailand. We'd been all over both Islands. Hitch hiked a ton and had a small van for a while too. Slept under the stars and danced till we dropped at secret forest festivals. On our travels we bumped into a few people that had done this meditation thing; 10 days of meditation, food and accomodation were included and it was completely free! We'd dabbled in meditation, nothing serious, you know, a bit of guided mindfulness stuff. We had decided a little earlier that we didn't want to return to the system and work again, so we were living on very little money, trying to make it last and all that. The idea of 10 days good food and a nice bed really got us going. How hard could it be to meditate for 10 days anyway?!
We applied online and were accepted shortly after. We were due to attend 2 weeks before we flew out of Auckland. We didn't think much more of it until 2 days before our course started. Wow, did the nerves set in. See theres no talking at the centre. You're in complete silence for 9 out of the 10 days. This bit was really starting to freak us both out. There was never a moment when we weren't talking or reading or listening to music. We had no idea what happened without any of the usual stimulations. But we pressed on anyway.
It was without doubt, the hardest thing either of us have ever done! I really wanted to leave on day 3 and day 6. But it was properly in the middle of nowhere and we had got a lift off someone to get there, so there was kind of no escape. Looking back, i'm glad that was the case. Nothing we have done, and we've done a fair bit, has had anywhere near as much impact on us. There are no words to describe what it does to you. I read an article in the Guardian a while ago, written by someone that had done a course. She described it as a defrag of your mind. I liked that description, Its quite accurate. I guess you think you know who you are, but really you're just a collection of the influences around you. So when you do 10 days of silence and meditation, it knocks you off your usual rhythm. You see everything differently afterwards. Things taste better. Music sounds more beautiful. Art becomes deeper. Life feels richer.
We both meditate twice a day now, Lucy does a bit of yoga too but she's just showing off with that I reckon! So, and this is the point of why I'm telling you about this, last week we started meditating at work. Every morning at 10, we do 10 minutes Anapana meditation. Everyone stops whatever they're doing and joins us in the break room. We play a video of S.N. Goenka where he guides us through the breathing meditation. Heres the link if you're interested... 10 mins Anapana
We've spent a lot of time talking about how we could make the world a better place. We think meditation is as good a place to start as any. Put it this way, if everyone on the planet did 10 minutes meditation a day, would there be less war?
The technique we do is called Vipassana as taught by S.N. Goenka. They have centres in most countries. Heres the link if you're curious... dhamma.org
The photo is one of my favourites from New Zealand. It was taken by this incredible guy from Argentina. We bumped into him again in India last year. And Lucy didn't want me to use it..... so here it is.