Yesterday I watched a TED presentation by Matthieu Ricard called ’The Habits of Happiness’ . Matthieu is a Biochemist turned Buddhist monk who is sometimes called the ‘happiest man in the world’ (following clinical tests at the University of Wisconsin on meditation some years ago). He believes we can train our minds in habits of well-being and thus generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment in our lives. He has written many books and is also a photographer.
I was listening to his talk rather than watching .. multi-tasking again unfortunately! But at one point I turned to the screen and saw a series of photograph’s that Matthieu had brought to the presentation .. pictures of Tibet, the Himalayas, stunning landscapes of wilderness and snow, mountains, blue sky .. and the beauty of prayer flags flying in the wind.
Last night I attended a guided meditation class where I was the only participant .. due in part to the heat in Melbourne yesterday of 37 degrees. In fact the cool change had come through a few hours earlier so it was quite comfortable in the small room overlooking the sea. As I don’t often get to be the one listening to a guided meditation in a class setting, I relished the opportunity to assume Savasana position and let the teacher gently guide me into that lovely peaceful stillness within.
As I listened and released the days tension .. began to feel that ‘flow’ and inner quiet that is so lovely .. I suddenly found these two pictures in my mind as shown above from Matthieu’s talk. For the whole hour I almost 'walked' within these pictures .. not distracted or thinking in any way .. I just found myself in Tibet feeling extremely peaceful and at home. Today, thinking back, it was as if the visuals were ‘my’ memories .. rather than pictures I had seen for just a brief moment.
Then this morning I had to go to the dentist. It wasn’t pretty and in the past I would have avoided the appointment all together (hence why I guess I am having issues now!). But this morning as I lay down in the chair and started to consciously relax and then watch my breath .. as I slowly let go .. these same images came again and for the duration of my time at the dentist’s I was actually in another place altogether .. I was walking the high plains of Tibet, and I was walking with a monk, and had this sense of excitement and joy that I had somehow finally made the journey to Tibet, and surprised to find that again I felt totally at home.
Visualisation/imagery can be a very powerful and meditative technique for relaxing .. and on this occasion my visualisation came very naturally, and was very strong . it has left me with a wonderful sense of connection to those images.
I left the dentist appointment completely refreshed and at peace (albeit with two large fillings!) ..