I actually had another topic I wanted to write about this week but the experience I had this morning was so resounding, I wanted to write about it whilst my mind was fresh.
It was all getting a little too much by the end of the week: The glow of our Italy trip had ever so slowly started to fade as we returned to the wet and gloom of London. I hadn’t even unpacked my bags and yet I was due to go to Paris for the weekend – returning first thing Monday morning, then off to Milan on Wednesday to meet all my Italian colleagues, which can be an interesting experience to say the least… By the end of next week, I also needed to do all my performance appraisals for my team (that time of the year when human resource systems, objectives, values & beliefs, bell curves etc… all come into play), I had to form an opinion on a complex transaction matter and to discuss this with PWC. It was getting to crunch time.
Up popped my alarm clock then, at 5:45 AM. For one small moment, I contemplated getting ready and going straight to work to deal with the impending chaos that was quickly gathering (in my mind at least).
At 6 AM, I sat down in the normal “meditation” position on the couch with my new-found hero, the “meditation app” and resumed my morning routine. What happened during the next 20 minutes only God can explain. Upon arising from meditation, there was not a problem that existed in the world. The thought of cutting short my Paris trip and working all weekend to resolve my work issues had vanished… Upon arriving at work, I carefully worked out my tasks for the day and one by one started to knock them off, including carefully crafting a detailed answer to a complex question a colleague had put to me the day before (he replied “thank you – much appreciated” [I had been fearing the worst and that a debate was looming, but the matter was settled much to my satisfaction…])
So nothing in my schedule had changed, but I was now totally calm. How could this possibly be? Initially, my thoughts were so erratic and anxious, but this had been replaced by pure inner peace. The example demonstrated to me something which I already knew: that we are not our thoughts, nor are we our feelings. That our thoughts in that moment create our reality, but if those thoughts change or disappear, then that reality also changes.
If we are not our mind, then what are we? Buddha would say that there is no self. Others say that the self is our soul. I haven’t quite married those two ideas together, but the experience of meditation, this clearing of the mind, made me realise how the decisions we make are so often fraught with illusion and anxiety. Rather, my meditation routine has allowed me to channel my energy into a space that I never knew existed; as if I had become immersed in a vacuum with a very different perspective.
Moreover, it’s nice to carry that same feeling into the work place; of being able to organise my thoughts and put forward arguments and analysis in a rational and coherent way. I wish more people would discover this and perhaps in the end make better decisions.
I mentioned in my last post that I recently learnt that Richard Branson meditates every day. Clint Eastwood does too. Some would say that it makes people more creative. I think I’ve probably noticed that too, certainly in this blog at least.
So in all, I should probably end it right there with all this recent talk of meditation. But I guess when you realise something about a practice, that it really is “medication”, then I think that is a virtue worth sharing.