During a recent summer vacation, I was introduced to a North Carolina beach. The heat and the thundering waves of the Atlantic Ocean created a setting which inspired me to take 10 minutes to an hour out of my day in order to try meditation.
Meditation is a practice that has been around for many thousands of years and helps people to train their minds and achieve a state of heightened consciousness. As I soon discovered, it takes hours of practice to be completely absorbed and not worrying or constantly thinking about what needs to be done. I attempted to relax with the sound of the Atlantic Ocean waves in the background. It was utterly amazing to to notice the sense of serenity and strength I experienced when focusing on the present!
During the trip I met a fellow traveler who practices meditation daily. She would wake up early in the morning (often at 4 am) to spend an hour, or even longer, meditating. It was a practice she had started a few weeks before this journey and was committed to continue as part of her daily life routine. I soon discovered that it required a huge time commitment in order to experience brief glimpses of consciousness into ones self.
Her ultimate goal was to participate in a meditation centre, where she would spend 10 days in complete solitude. Although she would be in the company of other people at meal times, the participants would not be allowed to make eye contact, communicate or express any emotion throughout the 10 day journey. The centre was not a test for her, but rather an opportunity to not be influenced by anything around her and find her path in life.
I could not imagine what it would be like to be in that type of environment, particularly given the amount of contact we have with other people on a daily basis. I admired her for ability to embark on that 10 day journey, because although 10 days is not a long time in the grand scheme of things, it would feel like an eternity to me to not have any outside contact!
The purpose of this story is to inspire and motivate you to take time out of your day, whether it is 10 minutes or more to truly relax, and focus on deep breathing and meditate. We are constantly bombarded by a technological and fast paced world. It is important to your health to take the time to step back occasionally and relax! Meditation is not about always sitting in solitude, but rather finding something in your life that you love, and are able to completely lose your your self into. For me those moments often come while riding a horse though the forest, but for others it might be Yoga, running along a favourite trail or knitting something special.
By Sarah Bamber