Chill Out, Why Don't You? An Impromptu Article About Meditation
By Steve Rudd
Face it - it's impossible to avoid getting stressed-out.
Still, have you ever considered that age-old method of meditation that is alleged to
help overcome stress to an overwhelming extent?
No? Well, neither had I until I decided to pay the beautiful Madhyamaka Buddhist Centre
near Pocklington a visit on the evening of Thursday June 15th for a spot of meditation and anger management.
Literally on the back of having had a hard time just lately following a serious work
accident, my mind, body and soul have all been undermined to a demoralising and depressing degree.
I realise full well that a bout or two of meditation can't exactly sort out the
physical state of my body, but if I can improve my mind and master the notion of
patient acceptance, then I might just be able to live with my neck and back problems
to a more manageable extent. In theory.
I'd asked various friends and family members if they'd be interested in accompanying
me for the two-hour session, but there were no takers, so I headed off on my own ...
and got angry as soon as I'd got in my car and out of the drive when I got stuck behind a
Sunday driver who was seemingly going as slow as he could for badness.
I reckon he knew that I was in a hurry, especially as I had to get down to the bank for
some money (it costs £4 per session). Typically, the ATM at the bank was out of order,
which naturally made me even angrier on top of the pain that I was having to endure as standard.
I eventually got to the Buddhist Centre with a few minutes to spare, which I used up by
browsing around the small but enticing shop in the plush Georgian manor at Kilnwick Percy.
I had no idea whatsoever what to expect from the session ahead, and I almost made an embarrassing
blunder straight away by rushing into the room in which the session was to be held with my shoes on.
Luckily, just as I was about to step into the room I glanced down to my left and noticed a cluster of
pairs of shoes scattered neatly around the doorway. Strange, I mused; and then it clicked.
The session itself was made up of four parts, with a relaxing meditation preceding something
that resembled a lecture on the causes of anger and how best to avoid getting angry by practising patience.
Then there was another meditation, before a brief discussion in small groups about what we'd
learnt and thought about the session - and how we were going to put all the theory into
practise in our daily lives.
It was a fascinating and entrancing experience, and I will definitely go back there for
another course sometime soon. I was already something of a fan of Buddhism from when I
spent a month in Nepal some years back, having been mesmerised by how devoted the majority
of Nepalese people seemed to be to the religion and Buddha's legendary teachings.
The meditations themselves are genuinely invigorating and effective, once you've closed your
eyes and forced yourself to concentrate on your breathing patterns in order to provoke your body into relaxing.
The teacher taking the session kept telling the pupils (there were fifteen of us altogether) to
imagine a warm sensation slowly but surely travelling down the body, and smoothing out any
tightness or discomfort along the way.
Still, as hard as I concentrated and willed all my discomfort to disappear, pronounced pain
persisted not just in my neck and back, but further down. Hmm, I tell you: don't ever sit on
your car keys whilst meditating - it could seriously damage your health!
Joking aside, I found my mind and body relaxing to such an extent that I almost nodded off a
couple of times, which could have been pretty painful should I have plunged head-first off my
chair in an unconscious stupor.
All in all, I would thoroughly recommend trying meditation to anyone. The Buddhist Centre at
Kilnwick Percy is an amazing place, but if you live nowhere near - don't fear.
If you keep your ears and eyes open you will find that meditation classes are held in most
towns and cities on a regular basis. So get along if you can, and see if you can change
your life for the better: sooner rather than later.
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