Meditation – isn’t it just for buddhists?

Some years ago a friend of mine and I went on a meditation course at the London Buddhist Centre.

It was as you might imagine – run by people wearing orange robes, teaching us the value of silence, peace and serenity.

And we had to sit on the floor.

It wasn’t the first time I’d meditated, but it was one of the most unusual.

2 minutes walk from the centre was the busy main road leading to London Bridge. The traffic was fast and the horn-honking was loud. So the relative peace and quiet of the centre provided a contrast that’s hard to fully capture in words.

In my mind a Buddhist centre is the seat of meditation. Spiritual and attempting to connect people with the dharma.

Perhaps because I was used to more secular forms, I didn’t really gel with the Buddhist way. And to be honest, I never felt entirely comfortable at the centre. As peaceful as it was, I felt uneasy about what they believed.

The whole idea of the course also didn’t seem right – I paid to experience their culture. They sold it so they could keep the centre open. I felt like a tourist and (probably incorrectly), judged.

But it was a good experience to have, and fortunately didn’t put me off for life.

Meditation waves

I noticed recently that I go through cycles of enthusiasm for mediation. I do it in waves.

Here’s how they roll for me:

  1. Something negative happens in my life.
  2. I remember meditation and start my practice, usually 10-20 mins/day
  3. Day 1-7 or 10, I enjoy it and start seeing quick benefits
  4. Day 10+ I love it and start seeing deeper benefits
  5. Month 2-3 ish, the benefits have embedded so deeply that I feel like new, forget I need to meditate and stop doing it.
  6. There’s a half life and the benefits last for, maybe another 2-3 months, but eventually wear off.
  7. Something negative happens in my life.
  8. And so on.

I’ve never successfully beaten step 5. It’s my bogeyman.

Right now I’m at step 1, things are going mad in my life and I need to get some head space.

What about you?

If you’ve never tried to meditate, I encourage you to give it a try.

Here’s a great article on what happens when you do, and some research conducted on US Marines.

You don’t have to empty your mind, and it’s not just for the monks.


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