In Profile

In Profile: Meditation In Life

We profile Rohan, Amitabha, Shanti and others who have used meditation to enrich, heal and guide them through the challenges of life – from a major life-change to changing nappies!

Rohan (pictured below) has spent the last three years intensely in search of Truth – in and out of the world.

“Getting to silence, knowing silence, by leaving the world is not possible, because you can’t leave the negativity out. The real possibility is available where one is. Rather than rejecting or getting attached to what shows up, the sheer act of simply witnessing it – the good, the bad, because it’s all the same – makes all the difference. And the real world is the best place to practise that!
There are many meditative techniques to train the mind to relax into a witnessing state, to remain in the Now. The body is always in the Now and I found that the best way, after much experimentation, was just honouring the body – not denying its needs and wants, but by bringing consciousness to every single act, right from eating food to the breath we take and everything in between.
Four years ago, while I was successful from most counts, life seemed unlived. The dreams I was fulfilling weren’t mine and it felt as if I was a spectator, leaving a stadium after a match. Reading self-help books and attending short meditation events helped, but just. This suppressed the symptoms but the underlying discomfort remained.
Three years ago I had a near-fatal car accident on the M25 in London – for a few seconds during that accident, I experienced silence and a distinct absence of pain, misery or any suffering – a state of ‘no-mind’, just the Now. After experiencing that state, I just couldn’t come back and live as before.
At the time I had just quit an investment banking career and was running my own business and living as though I had all the time in the world, living the ‘high life’ and being ‘battle-ready’ at all times. With the accident, I realised the futility of postponing things, realising the fact that there was no ‘tomorrow’ in reality. I went into a stage of experimentation with meditation, trying many different methods and teachers. When I came into contact with Tantra, I really started to experience some of the magic, the silence that I had known in the midst of the accident – that silent space I had been searching for was available here. It gave me the chance to witness the mind and experience its attractions and repulsions.
I explored a number of meditative techniques too, ranging from Vipassana to some far more dynamic ones, including engaging a 100% into fasting, reading scriptures, practising energy breath processes, sun gazing and many, many more. All this had to result in a breakdown and it did.

Sunrise over the Ganges

What was surprising was that I thought I was wide awake all along. I gave everything up, transferring all my assets to my family and left without an agenda, just travelling where my heart took me. The last stop in that travel was to a city in India called Varanasi. On the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi, seeing dead bodies being burnt, at that very instant I felt the deepest of Truths and the sheer certainty that everything has to go.
On this journey I met my teacher, whose guidance allowed me to see the obvious. He suggested something very, very simple for me to try and experience and suggested I drop everything else. When I described to him what I was doing – reading scriptures, doing all sorts of meditations and fasting – he said that I would either go mad or blind! I realised I had gone to the other extreme. Since then, just the dropping of all the spiritual babble and baggage and residing in simplicity has made such a huge, huge difference. Sleep patterns are normal, my health is in perfect condition with the body responding to the Now and there is a world of possibilities that has opened up, all without any inordinate amount of effort.
I reconnected to my roots, to my family, to friends from my life, honouring their presence and contribution. I also let go of a lot of baggage, all that was inconsequential, including my business and other pastimes that seemed so important before. I became extremely physically fit because the body, as I see it, is as divine as anything else.
I now lead events and seminars, where I share my life and use that as a context for those participating to go into a deeper enquiry on what it takes to be truly free, free from societal conditioning and live a life that is spontaneous, one that expresses personal power. All this started very innocuously, where I was invited by friends and former colleagues to share what was working for me as they saw me happier, physically fitter and far more available to the Now. In those conversations, many started to share their life issues and it all seemed just natural to allow for a deep exploration into what it took to enable freedom from the limiting state they were in.
Our story holds us hostage to how we perceive ourselves and yet there is a new beginning in the realisation that we are not our story. The real opportunity as a human being is to go beyond the limiting confines of the story. That is the real beginning”.

You can read about Rohan (also known as Ekant)’s journey in the book – “In Search of Silence” – email him to find out more about what he does.

Amitabha (pictured below) uses Buddhist practices to bring healing to parts of the world that have experienced great suffering.

“I have used meditation to connect with love and light in places that seem to have lost it through the suffering that has happened there. In a way that is polar opposite to the conventional wisdom to leave the negative well alone. I choose to embrace it and transform it.
I have used many types of meditation and healing techniques, but to get really connected I use Buddhist Master Atisha’s Heart Meditation – breathing suffering into the heart, breathing out love. The process is perfect in honouring the suffering that has taken place, but goes much further in bringing this experience into the heart and breathing love back to the land and the beings past and present who have suffered there.
When I first experienced the suffering of sites like Auschwitz in 2001, I felt the choice I had was to deny the suffering or experience it, but I had not learnt that we are able to transform it through the heart at that point.
Working with the ascended masters and angels, I went through a deep process of enquiry of who was in the heart, and after many hours, who was not. I saw the Stalins, Hitlers and Pol Pots of this world were not inside my heart and I was asked if I was afraid of the effect of their negativity in my heart. I was given a choice to  take the next step to put all the darkness, the negative energies, human conflicts, wars, famines, droughts, abuses, sickness from all history inside the heart, so the process of acceptance and compassion for all beings could begin.
I was guided through a process to transform and heal the negative energies of the place and people involved in the suffering. I found myself experiencing love and gratitude for the people involved and appreciating their journeys. This allowed the energy of the place to move and begin the process of realising the negative energies – which can take years to clear, due to the extent of the suffering.
I was given clear instruction that man has been responsible for the loss and suffering that has befallen him, yet as we consciously shift we can be the same force that liberates mankind asking for the love, compassion and forgiveness for all beings. The masters and ascended masters cannot do it for us – we have to exercise free will and choose to heal separation and illusion as we are the ones living in it.
The more I do this healing work, the more I see that all the histories, stories and sufferings of the world are just one story of separation and that love will set us free.  That is being a Christ and Buddha within rather than waiting for one to appear before you.”

Shanti is the mother of a one-year old baby boy, Indra (both pictured below). She has been meditating and practising Tantra, yoga, dance and movement for many years.

“I usually do Yoga once or twice a day, even for 10 minutes, to release and open the body, and I dance once or twice a week. But I find that having my baby is now my main meditation practice! Staying present for him and with him is a constant practice.
Changing his nappy is a meditation practice, because for me, one element of meditation is repetition – how do you stay present and keep something that you do over and over again fresh? You can make it a game, play with it and stay present. These mundane things can be real moments of awareness.
Having a baby has also helped me to be really total and in the moment. When I am with my child, I am total. When I get time off, I’m total with my time because it’s precious. And if I’m not totally with him, he’ll pull me back into the present moment by crying or somehow getting my attention!
Having a child is also a devotional practice – it brings me out of my head and into the heart – like a loving kindness meditation. It connects me to a sense of service, to something bigger than myself. I don’t get so much time to think about myself, there’s no time for naval gazing any more! It’s lovely to have time to myself, but somehow I feel much more grounded in reality, and connected to something that’s not just about me and my ego, and it’s really coming from the heart.”

Shanti is raising money for Indra’s father Prashant, who is in India, to have holistic treatment for leukemia and a brain tumour. See the Facebook page for more details.

And a few thoughts on how meditation helps in daily life…..
“Meditation has a mainly calming effect. I am more in my body and less in my head, clearer – less cluttered with thoughts. Sometimes it triggers insights and/or emotional release.
A daily practice helps me to be less stressed, more relaxed, not identified and caught up in the mind and the dramas of life and able to respond more positively.
I think it probably helps in all aspects of life, but for me it can release more creativity. Equally this is a reminder to myself of the possibility of making my creative activity, such as playing music, a meditation. Meditation helps me to access a deeper space within me. In creating this space, ideas for songs can then arise spontaneously.
For me practising meditation means I am better able to deal with the challenges of life, more present and available to experience and enjoy life, and more in touch with who I really am and able to maximise my own potential. And also that calm meditative space can transmit to others.”
Merlina, Swindon

“I practise Yoga daily, mainly the sun salutation and pregnancy poses with relaxation breathing and visualisation. It helps to keep me calm, focused and get regular exercise, especially as anything too strenuous is out of the question with being pregnant! The practice helps with pregnancy aches and pains and worries and anxieties. I will continue with it after birth as I’m finding it very enjoyable and rewarding, physically and mentally.”
Lou, London (eight months pregnant)

“I’ve spent many years “doing” meditations. After reading Ekhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth”, I have a different perspective on meditation practice. In that he says: “Invite the present”. Wow. That is a different thing from doing all those meditations! Invite the present. Three words to describe a relaxed, accepting, but awakened consciousness. I love it and I carry it through the day. Sometimes I am conscious, most of the time not. But the difference becomes very clear, and I hope to grow the conscious moments more and more.”

Almasta, Berlin

Sitting meditation thumbnail picture copyright Long Trek Home

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