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Today I am celebrating my first meditation anniversary. Exactly a year ago I was sitting in the meditation sanctuary at the Yarra Valley living centre and George was telling us all to close our eyes, listen to the sounds coming from outside the room, feel into our bodies…
I feel very fortunate to have been introduced to meditation at a retreat. The benefits of actually having been taught (rather than muddling through on my own) are enormous. Plus with such a focus on meditation in such ideal surroundings, it was obvious even after a week that this was something I needed in my life.
Keeping it up on my own has been harder, but I have meditated every single day without fail since that week. To begin with once the calm feelings of the retreat wore off it was a bit of a chore. The half an hour that I set myself (often using Paul Bedson’s mindfulness CD as a guide) seemed to really drag. But over the months it got easier, especially when I became familiar enough with the script that I could do away with the CD. Sometimes I would meditate for an hour and not really notice the time.
Then recently I started reading Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson’s ‘Meditation: an in depth guide’ after hearing Ian lecture on meditation in Brisbane. I haven’t got very far with it (it’s a very fat book and you have to practice as you go) but one thing has been incredibly helpful. He suggests doing a progressive muscle relaxing technique at the start of every meditation. I started doing this and within a few days found that the quality of my meditation improved massively. On days when I found it really hard to calm my thoughts, my mind settled much more easily. And on days when I was already quite calm, I seemed to get into a more peaceful place than I had ever reached before. When this happened I began to really enjoy meditation in a new way. And of course, the more you enjoy something the more you want to do it, so I have found that I am spending more time meditating now than I used to.
So I have made some tiny advances, but I am still such a beginner. But the other day I realised something…if I imagine that the possibilities from meditation are like a huge towering mountain of awareness, then I am a couple of centimetres off the ground. But that is absolutely fine, because those few centimetres of awareness are enough to lift me out of the dirt that I was living in before. And as long as I keep meditating I will remain clear of the dirt.
For me meditation has done two things. On a practical level it has given me a safe and effective tool to deal with emotional trauma and stress – that is why I wanted to learn to meditate in the first place. And on a spiritual level it has allowed me to start getting to know my true self – that has been the completely unexpected bonus from all this. My life is now moving in a different direction because of it.
Deepak Chopra’s ‘Reinventing the Body, resurrecting the Soul’ is a great source of inspiration for me at the moment. He says: “A river runs faster on the surface, but is nearly motionless at the bottom. Approach your mind that way by finding the still, silent depths that open up through meditation. Like a river, your mind’s quiet depths aren’t detached from the activity on the surface. Every level of the river is made of the same water and moves toward the same goal. But the journey becomes much more comfortable when you aren’t tossed about like a drifting leaf.”
Here’s to many more years of comfort and inspiration.
OMG April 2010 OMS June 2010
Wow Karen!
What an inspiration your journey is to me (and I'm sure many others).
I am embarrassed to admit that despite knuckling down with the dietry changes immediately, I have not even attempted the meditation stuff over the past few months since starting the program. But... I am going to the Retreat in October and can hardly wait to be introduced to it - in a similar way to which you describe.
I have a 10month old baby so I know its going to be difficult to find the 30mins per day but I also know that if I really want to help myself, I can't make excuses.
Congratulations on your anniversary and I hope you're good health and happy being continues for a very long time.
Mel, I am so pleased for you that you are going to a retreat in October. Don't feel bad about not getting round to the meditation bit yet - think of it as saving the best til last! And I'm sure it will go so much better for you when you have a teacher to guide you. Diet can be done from books, Vitamin D even easier and exercise we all know about really...but meditation and emotional healing is something else. I also found that because I had all the other things kind of under control by the time I arrived at the retreat, I could really give my attention to the meditation and emotional side.
OMG April 2010 OMS June 2010

thanks for that. Meditation changed my life in the first 6 months I did it, to an extent that everyone noticed. I actually did a "lying down meditation" while on the elliptical machine, focusing on my breathing and each part of the body. It worked and was great. I keep practicing daily, but your post has inspired me to go deeper.

thanks and congratulations.


Diagnosis: Jan 2010, OMS April 2010.
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