Now I can say I’ve tried meditation

Trees at Hyde Park

For lack of a cheaper activity, I went to the London Buddhist Centre yesterday and today to join a lunchtime drop-in meditation class for £1.

Me? Meditating? I’m the sort of person who did Muay Thai (Thai kick-boxing) for stress relief, and here I am doing meditation.

Being just a short walk from my apartment, being just £1 and no bookings necessary, so why not.

I’ve always been too self-concious, and so sitting in a roomful of strangers with my eyes closed makes me want to be that one annoying kid who sits with their eyes wide open smirking at everyone else.

I struggled to settle and relax, thinking: “Is everyone else really sitting with their eyes closed?” “Maybe someone is looking at me.” “Maybe I should open my eyes and stare back.” “But what if the teacher is looking at me?” “Fuck, I’m gonna sit an hour like this?!” “I think I need to pee.”

The Serpentine

To me, meditation and yoga has always been a new-age hippy thing.

I play hockey. I played basketball. I played handball. For one reason or the other, contact sports get me going. I can unleash my rage and lose myself by concentrating on elbowing someone else. And in yoga and meditation, I don’t get to bash anybody!

The 2 sessions I went to were very different. Led by different teachers, they taught different styles/ways to meditate. And I realize both who your teachers are, and what style they teach can make a big difference.

I’m lucky that the first session I went to was taught how it was, because if my first lesson was what I experienced in the second, I would tell you that meditation is crap and you’re better off curling under some duvets at home.

Having a mind that wanders, the teaching of meditation using breathing techniques really helped ease me into being still and focused. The teacher gave points in our bodies to focus on. He taught us how to observe our breathing. It gives me something to concentrate my thoughts on.

In the second session, for one, the teacher simply wasn’t that good, and two, I had nothing to focus on. We weren’t doing breathing techniques. Instead, he told us to “feel compassion towards ourselves”. Then towards a friend, then an acquaintance, then a person you dislike. We were simply told to do it, but not how.

Dude, if I have that much kindness and compassion to begin with, I would be a friggin’ saint.

Hyde Park

I dragged Stefi along with me today, coz she seem to be in quite a bad state these days. We should be going back tomorrow, coz it’s breathing techniques again. And until I get bored, breathing meditation (I know I don’t have the right term for it) seems to relax and clear my mind these days, so I just might be there for the next few sessions.

Unless, of course, someone finds me something else to do for £1.

2 thoughts on “Now I can say I’ve tried meditation

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