Huh? We thought. This is not what meditation is about, surely? What happened to sitting in the lotus position and letting go of your mind?
As we were to discover, there is more to meditation than meets the eye.
It was near the end of our 18 month trip around Asia and we thought spending time meditating would be a great way to reflect on all the amazing experiences we had witnessed. The only condition of the Ashram was that we had to attend the nightly meditation sessions.
From our very first session we were introduced to a form of meditation that was like no other. We had to stand in two lines and face another person. For 3 minutes we looked into that person’s eyes without saying a word. After the 3 minutes passed we moved onto the next person and stared again. We repeated this process for 30 minutes.
It sounds easy but believe me it’s not. By the time I reached the second person my typical nervous western smile faded and I started to get paranoid. I couldn’t help thinking, “What if I giving this person a mean stare? Which eye shall I look at? Why aren't they smiling at me?”
Such is the craziness of our minds.
What was interesting was that the people I felt a connection to right on that very first session were also the people I truly bonded with during our stay.
My favourite was The Shamanic Meditation. It involved all of the participants sitting in a large circle, each of us holding a musical instrument of some sort. One of us lay in the middle of the circle while the rest started to jam along together.
It was amazing! When I lay down in the middle I could feel all this energy wash over me, and distinguish each and every sound that was being played in the room, even the delicate bell sound (during a cacophony of noise) that indicated your time was up. The outcome was the same as any meditation really and that is of being mindful of the here and now.
Since our stay in Australia we have continued to meditate. I write this from a small town in Mexico where every morning Karen & I head to the beach to do 20 mins of meditation. Its a blissful and beautiful way to start the day.
Meditation should not just be for when you are on the road though. On the contrary its even more vital to do when you are living your busy day to day lives. Those precious 10 to 20 mins where you do nothing but just “be” are so important. How does 20 mins of “me” time sound? We run around in this crazy race called life without ever stopping to be in the moment.
How about starting today? So unplug, switch off and sit comfortably and zone out or alternatively, jump up and down, breathing heavily through your nose, shouting hoo!
A great way to enter the world of meditation is through a website called: www.getsomeheadspace.com
(Main photo by aigle_dore via Flickr)
About The Author
Paul & Karen are a couple in their 30′s with a BIG passion for travel. After crossing Europe & Asia without using planes they set up globalhelpswap.com to share tips on memorable & meaningful travel. They also promote free volunteering opportunities around the world. When they are not travelling, you will find them deep in a good book with a bottle of red close by. To get a free copy of their top travel tips you can head here.