1. Meditation is
something hippies do.
2. Meditation is not for
sounds like some mystic cult / religion where you worship a statue
surrounded by the smell of rotting fruit and burning
familiar? A lot of people will never be interested in meditation or
even want to understand it. But some people are searching,
searching for a way to come out of misery. This post will
articulate how meditation is helping me to come out of mine. Grab a
pot of tea.
meditating in 2009 in my room on a navy base in Sydney. I looked up
meditation on you tube and found a number of recordings including
listening to rain, spoken word and visualisations. All were
In 2010 I
began Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for
Depression / Anxiety. The author of the treatment was Dr Richards from the Social Anxiety
Institute in Phoenix USA. It was a 20 cd series with
exercises including guided meditation. It
was incredibly helpful and
only a stepping stone. I did my exercises every day for 2
I met a man who took me even further into the realm of mind and
matter at The Energy Store in Bondi Sydney. This
is when the insomnia I’d had since I was 1o years old left my life.
I haven’t had a sleepless night in 12 months.
While sitting down against a brick
wall outside The Energy Store waiting for my appointment, I had a
conversation with a passer by. He told me he visited an amazing
meditation retreat in The Blue Mountains NSW.
6 months later I googled it and found
part in a 10 day meditation course at Dhamma
Bhumi which is on a beautiful property in
Blackheath, NSW. It was very hard and equally as
you’ve done a 10 day course you become an “old student” and are
free to attend one of the more than 100 centres worldwide to “sit”
(meditate) or “serve” other students staying at the
As I was
travelling through the United States I thought I would drop
Dhara in Shelburne, Massachusetts for some
up staying for 15 days and completed my 2nd 10 day course. No
mobile phones, 2 vegetarian meals a day, no eye contact, no
talking, no sensual entertainments. Just me and my monkey
It was harder
than the first. Much Harder.
You observe the breath for the first
3 days, sitting in a hall with 100 other students on cushions. You
sit crossed legged for an hour at a time and do anywhere between 8
- 12 sits a day.
remaining days you observe the sensations on your body which hold
the key to the door of the deepest level of the mind. This is where
you keep all your stock of misery. The place that makes you say
things like “I’m this way because this happened to me when I was
days go by you are encouraged to sit for the entire 1 hour period
without changing your posture at all. Not even moving. This is
where the magic begins to happen.
When I first started meditating I
could not sit for more than 20 minutes without severe back ache and
the feeling that someone was drilling into my hips with an electric
drill. Now I can sit for 2 hours without flinching. At some point
you teach your mind to observe pain. It’s like a white screen goes
up in front of you, you are standing in a control room and a red
light goes off with a sign saying “Pain is arising on the right
knee, let’s see how long it lasts”. Your hand is on a lever with
two options, “Change Position” or “Just Observe”. The pain is going
to stay there until you learn how to observe it. When you learn, it
becomes half. This is one of the
very important lessons. Imagine how useful this could be in life?
The pain of being rejected by somebody, the pain of addiction, the
pain of loss in it’s many forms. The pain of craving things,
attention, beauty, RICHES. It’s all there. You learn to observe it
all. Suddenly you begin to see that your just trying to fill a
space, and not just see,
Whenever I generate negativity
in my mind I become agitated. These thoughts are automatic because
I have been practicing them my whole life. With Vipassana, I am
learning to observe them without reacting.
I meditate twice a day. 1 hour in the
morning and 1 hour at night. It is very hard staying at a
was going to the energy store, I told my teacher how I was very
lonely and how I would sit at home by myself in Surry Hills on my
red couch thinking “I just need
something” some friends, a root, a cigarette, a
coffee, a drink, anything! It didn’t matter how many times I’d run
off distracting myself from those feelings, they would always be
back. My teacher said to me something I repeat often
“feel the heat
exactly the same thing that Vipassana teaches. Feel the pain,
observe it, it does not last forever.
that I’m not spending my time wishing I had more friends or a
girlfriend, wanting to be somebody or wishing I was famous. I also
used to spend a lot of time reliving the moments when my friends
had said things that upset me. We are not our thoughts. Thinking is
the cause, Meditation is the answer.
I haven’t drunk or smoked in 2
I do however have an unhealthy sugar
addiction. I have been choosing to ignore these sensations. Not all
all the shaven heads? The brown robes? The worshipping of the
Flying Spaghetti Monster? Nope, it’s just you, in the beginning and
in the end. “Know thy self and the truth will be
want to know more about the technique and where you can attend a
course head here.
This is a great Vipassana introduction video.
A documentary was released in 2007
chronicling the experience of inmates in an Alabama prison using
Vipassana meditation. Even if you don’t want to meditate it’s a