I first engaged seriously in meditation when I was about 15years old. I had the tremendous good fortune to be part of the A-school (the “Alternative” school) as Palo Alto High School, and met an amazing teacher who invited us to participate in an optional “class” – meditation and chanting led on Wednesday mornings in a small room in the Bell Tower of the Old Building on campus.
I had an awareness of the practice of meditation from much earlier. When my family lived for about 18 months in Sri Lanka, when I was between 4 and 6 years old, I have vivid childish memories of tiptoeing past the room of my grandfather, who I knew as Pithu. Pithu and I would meet in the mornings to share breakfast, often leftover curry from the previous night’s dinner, and he was kind and fun. But it was very serious business, in the mid-afternoons, not to make any noise outside Pithu’s rooms, because he was meditating! Of course, I had no idea what that meant, but I remember the importance of being quiet, and allowing him to do whatever “meditating” might be.
I am not even sure that I was aware, as a teenager, participating in this cool, alternative experience of meditating and chanting, of the connection with the practice of my grandfather – that awareness and realization came many years later, when I reengaged in meditation practice. I am NOT morning person, and this class with this amazing teacher met at 5:45am. I must have been quite motivated to participate in this activity so early in the morning I can’t even recall what prompted me to join the class. But, it’s value has lived with me ever since.
Not that I have maintained a regular meditation practice.
In college, I got into Iyengar Yoga, and I found that to be hugely helpful, but, again, it’s been a bit of an on-again-off-again practice for me.
It’s hard to find time to be contemplative, and to take care of one’s body, mind and spirit. But, so important.
So, thank you, Ms Huffington, for reminding me of the things that are vital to staying balanced, especially at times like now, when things are so volatile and topsy-turvey.
I needed the reminder.
We’ll see if I can put it into action…
This post was inspired by Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington who encourages everyone to sleep their way to the top. Join From Left to Write on May 1 we discuss Thrive. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.