I was only seventeen when I first learnt to meditate and I had my first ah-ha moment. Time and space stood still that very first time I closed my eyes and found my breath.
I peeled back the first layer of the onion
That first meditation experience opened up a whole new inner world and awareness for me. I recognised in that briefest of moments, the potential for a deeper connection with myself and the world around me. I recognised a spaciousness within that was my true home and l started this meditation journey that has seen me sit and peel-away at the layers of ego, labels, habits and ‘self’ for 25+ years.
Meditation was almost unheard of in my world back then. The modern world had not reached that mysterious tipping point where something ancient and timeless becomes mainstream and suddenly new again ..
“that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire” Malcolm Gladwell
My journey back then required me to constantly self motivate .. to find, observe, ask questions and search for teachers, books and opportunities to learn .. and of course, to continued to just sit. Meditation is after all, an experiential practice.
'When the student is ready the teacher will appear'
I first found Sarah McLean online (you can read how here) and then the Universe provided us with an opportunity to meet in Melbourne (read more here) and over the years I have watching her growing sangha (community) at the McLean Meditation Institute and online. And again and again I would feel this calling to learn more float into my awareness. I waited for a ‘sign’.
And then in 2015 I was ready. I signed up. I started.
I was so excited to receive my course material .. to start, a big heavy box was delivered. Inside were nine books to read, a selection that included insights from brain science, spiritual traditions, ancient lineages and modern musings. There was also a heavy study binder full of articles, links to online talks, journal requirements and reflection projects. And an online sangha for questions and sharing. A magic box of untold new learning’s and wisdom.
And over the course of 2015, in among life and family and work .. I read, digested, contemplated, assessed, researched, discussed, shared and integrated.
It was challenging, heart-warming, intense, emotional, confusing, insightful and exciting.
I had committed to embark on this journey with Beginners Mind and I had to remind myself of this commitment again and again, to put aside knowing and open to unknowing again and again.
The course culminates in an eight day Meditation Intensive Retreat in Sedona; the home of Sarah McLean and the McLean Meditation Institute. I have just returned from the retreat and was lucky to be able to continue my journey with the following three-day Inaugural Meditation Teacher Symposium.
I had the opportunity to retreat, and then reintegrated, within the most breathtaking red rock and cactus landscapes (the Grand Canyon is only hours away), where energy vortex’s surround and move through you, and at night you can hear the coyotes call.
Many people have asked me about the course and why it has been so transformative. I shall share more in coming posts .. but having a personal meditation practice of more than 25+ years and a meditation teacher for the past five years = I learnt and expanded beyond and beyond again.
It takes kindness and courage to step onto the meditation cushion each day - and open yourself. To let go of all the stories and ‘stuff’ that have accumulated over a lifetime (or many lifetimes). To continue to show up when there is chaos and noise and uncertainty within, and learn how to embrace and allow with kindness and acceptance.
to sit and open and breathe
And so I have been continuing the peeling-away process.
Aware yet again, that each time we meditate we have an opportunity to observe our true selves at our very core .. and so continue to gently and kindly yield to the layers being stripped away.