My first meeting with meditation was in 1974 when I attended a yoga class. No preconceptions other than there was no way I’d be able to do the lotus position with my stiff knees. By the end of the first class I’d decided this yoga definitely suited me, after the instructor told us to stop if it hurt. You have to remember this was in the era of no pain, no gain exercise videos. The second reason I liked it was that we lay down at the end with a suggestion we imagine a candle flame. If you’d told me that was a means to meditation I’d have disagreed. It seemed to me simply a beautiful image to hold.
Fast forward many years and classes, I still couldn’t do the lotus position, but I had realised the benefits of regular yoga. I approved its aim of uniting mind and body. Through the varying approaches of teachers I absorbed different ways that I could still my mind if only for moments. When my final teacher gave up, I struggled to fit in a class with my self-employed lifestyle but continued at home with DVDs.
By then I’d begun to practise meditation as a separate daily exercise with varying results. I found some methods too severe for my taste and my mind struggled to understand the logic. In the last five years I’ve tried Buddhist classes, Centering Prayer in the Christian tradition, Hindhu methods. Each has added to my understanding but something in my personality finds it difficult to stay with one method for longer than about three months. There’s the need to keep it alive and as one teacher called it, juicy.