03 Jun Meditation and mindfulness in busy lives
By Rajesh Ramani
Rajesh is the Meditation and Life Enhancement Mentor at Koh Samui’s beautiful lifestyle retreat Kamalaya. Ahead of his workshop Creating & Sustaining Positive Habits, to be held at Flex Studio One Island South on 15th June, he talks us through introducing meditation and mindfulness into busy lives.
1. What’s the first thing you would say to someone who told you they have never meditated in their life?
It is not true to say that we have never meditated. We could rather say that we haven’t done a conscious meditation practice. Every time we have enjoyed a sunset or been enthralled by a piece of music we were in a state of meditation.
2. We hear a lot about meditating to decrease stress and to wind down at the end of the day, what else can meditation do for us? What are some of the lesser-known benefits?
Meditation is ‘the practice of seeing what is there’. A sustained meditation practice could take us to greater clarity in our mind. This will help in responding to life situations from a balanced place. It will improve our focus and concentration. Meditation could also help in opening up kindness and compassion towards oneself and others.
3. Mindfulness is a buzzword that is thrown around a lot, can you tell us what true mindfulness really is and what it feels like when it is achieved?
Mindfulness has become a concept everyone wants to refer to. Mindfulness can be defined as ‘paying conscious attention to what is there without altering it’. One feels a sense of ease when there is mindfulness.
4. And how does one start to experience mindfulness?
Start by bringing attention to one area or action in our day. It could be attention on the act of ‘walking’ or ‘eating’ or ‘showering’ or any of our everyday chores. We need to observe how our body and senses work. This attention itself will open us to a sense of ease. This is what we call ‘a state of being’. When we practice enough to be aware of these everyday actions, we could move on to mindfulness of our emotions, feelings and thoughts.
5. Can you share a story (your own or one of your students’) of how meditation has transformed someone’s life?
One of the stories I would like to share is that of a busy investment banker. He had a typical stressed life of a banker, with lifestyle imbalance and relationship crises. He started the meditation practice when he was right in the middle of the crises. Having a practice of 30 minutes each day helped him have greater awareness of his real needs as well as the needs of his family. This led to an emotional balance and correct action. Within six months, his broken marriage was healed as was his health and emotional state. Meditation reduces the clutter in our mind and hence takes us to clarity.
6. There are some people who insist they are just not the meditating type. What would you say to them?
When people say that, what they actually imply is that, they are not the sitting and focusing type. I would ask them to start getting in touch with their body movements and sensations even as they go about their normal life.
7. Are there any particular forms of meditation (active meditation) that these kinds of people who struggle with meditation would benefit from? Or another good starting point e.g. yoga?
They could practice other forms of non-sedentary practices like ‘walking meditation’ and ‘mindful eating’ exercises. A person without much body awareness or attention could start from physical exercises and Pilates/yoga etc. This would help them ground their attention on their bodies.
8. Can you please give us a quick beginner’s guide to meditation?
• Start with a simple and easily doable practice.
• Choose a comfortable posture with your back erect.
• Be relaxed; be still; be watchful of what is happening in and around you.
• Bring your focus to the object of attention for 3 to 4 minutes (breath, body sensations, sound, image, mantra etc). Rest your mind for a couple of minutes. Repeat this cycle of ‘focus and rest’ a few times.
• Do not try to control or empty your mind. If your mind wanders about, get back to the object with a gentle smile.
• Appreciate yourself with a smile when you find yourself focused even for a short period of time. Take a mental selfie of yourself meditating.
Creating & Sustaining Positive Habits
15th June | 11:45pm – 1:15pm | One Island South
A complimentary workshop, Rajesh will help you identify and let go of unhealthy habits and the emotions surrounding them, making room to create and sustain healthy habits to take you forward into a brighter future.
Find more information about Rajesh and Kamalaya on www.kamalaya.com