It was in the early days when Rachel came to join my classes. I was teaching in community centres in Sydney at the time. She was in her late twenties, worked as a nurse in a very stressful and busy environment with disabled children.
“It’s enough to drive anybody bonkers, she said. It’s non-stop physically, emotionally and mentally draining. I love what I do but when I get home I just want to die!”
She heard about meditation a while back but had been reluctant to try!
“I just thought it would be elitist and clicksh! But I can see now it’s anything but!”
Her first class was a huge benefit to her. She experiencing such tremendous “release” of tension that her whole body felt like it was thawing! Her posture was visibly changed afterwards and her face was beaming with inner light.
“It’s like I had been ripped outside of myself all these years without realising it…where have I been?”
In future sessions we discussed practical ways she could add meditation in her activities.
You can learn to BE meditative, I explained, so a build up of stress minimised, even cut out altogether.
“Really!” she exclaimed hardly believing that this would be possible.
We worked on ways she could be progressively more present. Presence is like a light with a dimmer, I explained. You can turn it up or down. Instead of just absent mindedly going about your tasks, in the dark, you are going to learn to let in more in more inner light of presence.
And I suggested she start thinking about meditation as a process of learning how to use her body differently, in a more conscious way. So that her movements stop being automatic.
Show me how you walk, I said. I suggested she speed up, then slow down, then speed up to break the automatum. Now walk naturally, and was now suddenly confused, suddenly unsure.
Perfect, keep doing that with your walking.
Take over the controls, this will invite you to be present. And if you let yourself feel the resistances to this, as they come up, just watch them without judging them.
Our aim in all this to become aware of the awareness, or the watcher.
We proceeded to build a whole program just around this sort of thing. The thing that Rachel really clicked with is feeling her voice as she spoke, as I advised, discerning where in the body she felt vibration and staying connected.
“This is something I can really do!”
She practiced during the week to continuously come back to the feeling of her voice.
“The biggest issue” she reported, “was forgetting!”
Exactly, I agreed! And that’s something you didn’t know but now you know! Welcome to reality. Because most people think they can remember, until they try. The fact is, is that you have been operating largely on automatic. And your system just wants to revert back to automatic, even it compromises your health and wellbeing.
It’s your job now to wake up inside yourself and check in, make sure you make the necessary adjustments in the new direction of health.
She really got this and in the following weeks she was a changed person, vital, present, and more alive, as she learned to be more present. And the more she was more present, the more her body/mind rewired accordingly.
I remember the first time she was able to do present for any length of time!
“It’s strange, it’s as if really, just as you said, I had just woken up inside myself out of a deep sleep! I feel more alive, and unflustered by situations. And not just at work, even my sleep is improved. Before I’d lie there just thinking and thinking. Now there’s presence, and I can see the presence, I am the presence, and I am more interested in the presence, and the thinking just goes away on its own.
“And you know it’s weird in my work… I feel detached, but at the same time more involved and more able. And my co-workers have noticed…
In 6 weeks her eyes shined with inner brilliance.
Last, and equally important, an issue that had troubled her for years is her “unbalanced eating habits”.
“I would just stop in the kitchen between tasks and snack. I had no idea that what I was actually doing was using food as an excuse to just stop… “