Feeling sceptical about meditation? I felt that way once too. For many years, I rejected the idea of meditation when people suggested it. I thought that it was a “new age, hippy concept” that would have no value in my life.
When I eventually hit my rock bottom, my youngest child was a newborn, and the enormity of the demands on my life had become too much. Layered on top of emotional scars from a painful, traumatic childhood and rebellious teenage years, I was battling overwhelming perfectionism. Juggling parenting three children, working on my marriage, running a small business, building a new house, and trying to prove myself in all of it was utterly exhausting — and left me completely shattered.
My neighbour and I would manage our stress over 'happy hour' drinks, but 'happy hour' got earlier and earlier! This perfect-looking little world I was trying to maintain was not fulfilling, and I was heading in a bad direction. Something had to give. I finally admitted that I needed help.
Once again, someone recommended meditation as a way to relax and de-stress. Although my reservations resurfaced, I picked up a flyer. I called in advance to ask lots of questions: “What do I wear?” “What will we sit on?” “How many people do you expect?” “What should I bring with me?” I really had no idea what it was all about and pictured myself getting all tied up in tricky yoga poses.
From the very first class, though, I realised that what they were teaching was exactly what I needed to hear. As we sat with our eyes closed, the instructor explained that we all have minds that constantly narrate, categorise, and even judge our experience. I was so startled that I opened my eyes to sneak a peek around the room to see if anyone else was surprised too.
“Is this guy serious?” I thought to myself. “It’s not just MY mind that’s outta control?” No one else looked surprised. I closed my eyes and continued to listen.
After that first class, I experimented with meditation and mindfulness over many years, finding my own ways to integrate it into my life.
I now meditate everyday and go on a weeklong silent meditation retreat every year.
In 2012, I discovered the renowned 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction workshop developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. I was amazed at how it presented such a thorough, structured method for learning how to practice meditation, supported with scientific research on brain plasticity and the effects of stress — and mindfulness! — on the human brain.
I would love to have taken this course early on when I was first introduced to meditation. Now, as an MBSR teacher, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to experience it for yourself.