It all started when I chanced upon an advertisement in the local papers – ‘Redefine Your Reality’. I’ve been trying to do that for the past few years but to no valid outcome. I called up to enquire about the 3 nights course and the nice gentleman with a foreign accent said he would send me some reading reference.
What arrived was a booklet on the synopsis of the course and another magazine like book, detailing the presentation and the presenter. It was a lot of information, plus many testimonies from people who had benefitted. There are homework to be done every night and for the first night, it’s meditation for 10 minutes. (Although the author describes it more like a yogi breathing exercise we do prior to the start of yoga session.) The second day homework was practising mindfulness.
In my twice weekly session of yoga, we are required to be mindful and practise meditation at the end of the class. I am very poor at being mindful. Even during the yogi breathing where I have to count my breath, I can count and day-dream at the same time. Many times, I forget how many breaths I’ve taken, even though my brain is still counting. During yoga session, I forgot which side I am supposed to do next, left or right? My end of session meditation is filled with questions on what I shall eat after class – wonton mee or bak chor mee?
I knew if I were to sign up for the $1490 course, my destiny would not be redefined if I can’t even control my wandering mind.
Thus, I decided from henceforth then, I shall practise mindfulness and meditate for twenty minutes nightly. I have also stacked a pile of books on Buddhism next to my bed to help.
After one week of practise on my own, other than achieving numb legs, I do not see much progress. I decided to heed O magazine’s recommendation and downloaded How to Meditate with Pema Chodron from Soundstrue. I was really happy to learn I did most things correctly from her first lessons on how to start. I sit crossed-legged, spine erect, hands position correct. However, she recommended eyes open, gaze downwards and mouth slightly open, which I found distracting…. I have yet to go on to the next chapter.
The Feb 2012 issue of Yoga Journal also gave practical hints (like where to look for visual people, or what sounds to make (for those auditory learners.) There’s a note on walking meditation by practising mindful walking…left feet up, note ‘lift’,…Then move that foot through space and notice the sensation of the foot and leg moving, silently noting ‘Move’. I know I ‘ll be a disaster at that.
Still, I should give myself an “A” for persevering thus far. I am at least aware when my mind starts wandering (can’t last me eight breaths max) and how my mind alternates between memory of the day and plans for the next few days. I pull my mind back to my breath, feeling the cool gush of air tickles my nostril hair as it enters and the warm humid breath leaving a moist stain on my philtrum. My eyes try to focus in the dark behind my lids and I wonder if I should open it. I imagine my mind at the centre of my body (like how I was taught in yoga class) and wonder if I should imagine myself sitting in the middle of my gut, body fluid rushing around me, or just imagine a white ball in my abdominal cavity. Before long, my mind turns to the event of the day and I find myself giving a an imaginary lecture to Aaron…oops, mind, go back to the centre of the body….
Buddhism advises practise, practise before wisdom can come. I was wondering practise what? Now I know. Hopefully this time next year, I would have achieve some sense of wisdom and clarity, and have redefined my destiny…somewhat.