Saturday, 16 May 2015
The ten lessons that I learnt by slowing down
From The Irish Examiner
by Matt Padwick
1 The first step towards contentment was recognising my confusion. I was an adventure travel guide — my dream job — but I was not happy.
It was only when I slowed down, and stopped chasing rainbows, that I realised that inner peace and contentment were the goal, and that the greatest adventure of all was not ‘outside’ in the world-of-things, but within me.
2 I learned to relax and to feel more comfortable in my own company.
Science has confirmed this is possible, that the adult brain is capable of forming new cells and pathways, and that it reshapes itself in response to environment, experience and training.
This rewiring is called neuro-plasticity, and confirms what the Buddha taught 2,500 years ago — that meditation is the path to inner peace and well-being.
I followed a trail left by generations of meditation masters, who had perfected their art and entrusted it to their students with the heartfelt wish that it relieve them of their frustrations and bring them happiness.
3 To sustain ourselves we have to eat — every day. I had the taste of meditation, but I had to practise it — every day.
There was no quick-fix, but I experienced the benefits from the beginning. When I sat still, my mind jumped around.
The meditation taught me to bring my mind into my body. Here. Now.
Every time my mind escaped to another place or time, I brought it home again. Here. Now.
When I did this, I found meditation was not staring at nothing; it was developing an appreciation of everything.
4 We tell children to take a breath and count to ten. Being attentive to breathing is a popular and powerful method of meditation.
Simple, yet profound — it can wipe the mental slate clean... Read it all