To be completely honest, I’ve not had much experience in mindfulness meditation myself. It’s always been something of interest and I believe the benefits of mindfulness meditation but I’ve not been patient enough to sit still for long to experience it. But I said to myself, I need to know more about mindfulness as its one of the key contents at my retreats. I need to experience it and feel the benefits of it so I could share with people who come to my retreats.
Here I came, on a sunny Friday morning, to Tara Kadampa Meditation Centre near Burton. It is a serene place surrounded by huge grounds and fields. I’m joining a meditation class about Concentration. Arriving at the reception, everyone is taking off their shoes before entering the meditation room. All of us sat quietly waiting for teacher Emma. Shortly after, a smiling lady walked in. She kneeled and worshiped the statues then sat on her cushion.
Emma started the class with a short breathing meditation practice. Basically we just feel our inhales and exhales through our nostrils and keep our concentration on them. Her voice was calm, the room was quiet, but I felt my thoughts were all over the place. When I heard her voice again I managed to concentrate but soon my mind went astray.
After the practice, Emma said it’s completely normal that you feel your minds scattering. The good thing is that you realise it and bring it back to the present moment. Mindfulness IS about the present moment. As Master Thich Nhat Hanh said, “What is the purpose of eating a tangerine? It is to eat the tangerine. During the time you eat a tangerine, eating that tangerine is the most important thing in your life.” Likewise, breathing and feeling my breathes should be the most important thing in my life at that moment, that is truly mindfulness. It shouldn’t be about getting to know ‘mindfulness’, as when I worried about getting to know ‘mindfulness’, I wasn’t being mindful already.
Emma then went on talking about concentration and how staying mindfulness improves concentration. It was quite a lot to take in but I must admit, that morning at Tara KMC has opened up a door for me. Immediately I felt the benefits of meditation — even just a short 5 minutes of breathing practice, I’ve created an opportunity to live in the present moment. After the class, I was more confident that mindfulness would definitely help people to eat better and exercise better, which will result in healthy body and peaceful mind.
Believe — the benefits of mindfulness
Wish — I would like to have mindfulness
Practice — I shall live with mindfulness