My life has changed in huge and positive ways since last year starting, I think, with the art retreat I went on in September. I came back from that referring to myself as an artist for the first time, which was a massive step for me. I'd also enjoyed the meditation and the yoga so much that I signed up for a local yoga class and then, at the start of this year, also started going to a meditation class.
I had aims in mind when I signed up to both of these and these, in general, were to learn to relax a bit more, to step away from the stresses of life and, in particular, to avoid getting sucked into the challenges of life in quite such an emotional way. To control my reactions, and to remain grounded.
And, although it's still very early days, I've seen benefits from both.
However, I've discovered it's quite a can of worms to discuss or mention these activities, or at least the meditation. Although it's now fairly mainstream, some people still raise an eyebrow. And not least when I reveal that the meditation class is at the Buddhist Centre.
That said, I've spent the last couple of days researching other options for the meditation class. I've found the classes helpful so far, but out of the 1.5 hour session, about twenty minutes is a meditation session and the rest is a talk about some aspect of Buddhism. It's not a Buddhism class, as such, so it's kept at a fairly high level. But I've grown to realise that I would prefer more focus on the meditation and a bit less on the learnings. I don't feel drawn to Buddhism and even though some of the principles are very helpful, for now I'm looking to deepen the practice of calming the mind.
But that got me thinking about all the other options available. There is now so much available on the internet and with ebooks that it is possible to be exposed to so much – Osho, Buddhism, Kundalini, the list goes on. And for a while I found myself reluctant to read anything in case it was taking me down a path I don't want to go.
And then I realised that this was silly, and that the very best thing is to dip toes in to anything that looks helpful, yet ask a lot of questions and make sure that you are not adopting anything that isn't going to contribute towards your end goal.
I am loving my relaxation room, with the candles and the paintings and the Osho cards, and my simple focus is going to be on learning to let go, learning to relax, and to cultivate that positive energy that comes from a regular practice.