It’s an unusually grey, October day as I head across the Harbour Bridge to the Stanton Library in North Sydney. The meditation is held in a bland conference room save for the half circle window allowing us to gaze upon the peaceful green trees that surround us. The short Buddhist meditations are organised by the Mahasiddha Kadampa Meditation Centre in Surry Hills and given by volunteer lecturers. They occur in 12 different locations around Sydney throughout the week at varying times in order to accommodate most folks.
Kerry is our instructor today. She is so sweet and easy to talk to as I am the first to arrive and I try to pick her brain a bit. She began meditating 20 years ago when she realised there has to be a better way to spend her time with her children. This occurred to her as she found herself cross with her 3 year old son. I relate to her instantly. Another mom who wants to be the best version of herself. We are a constant work in progress.
The class runs like this: a 15 minute breath meditation, a 10 minute chat on the topic of the week and then another meditation. While we meditate we are instructed to sit upright, hands on our laps, palms up, right hand in left with thumbs touching.
I am not new to meditation, I love it and practise very regularly. I know consistency is key as the benefits blossom clearly. I am more flexible, I react more mindfully, and happiness flows. This, however, is my first meditation class ever. I generally use the Head Space app as it works for me and my schedule. After having practised this way for years I decide I need to dive deeper, attend a class and connect with others which is why I am here today.
I am regretting my second flat white before leaving home today as I try to relax and focus on my breath, I feel caffeine coursing through me. I am electric but try to reel my mind in.
As we conclude our first 15 minutes of mindfulness we listen to the Buddhist Liberating Prayer. The prayer is a recording and the rendition is incredibly cheesy. I try not to laugh. Why must we sing to prayer? I realise it’s completely inappropriate but I can’t help but think of Greenday’s Kill the DJ.
We talk about inner peace, today’s topic. Apparently, these lunch time meditations alternate between 9 lessons and today’s is the start of the cycle which is perfect for me. Kerry talks about our thoughts and how they affect everything. When we have control over the mind we tend not to react versus when we don’t and find we have an opinion on everything. Finding inner peace through meditation and maintaining it through big troubles, everyday worries and even things that make us happy. For if we are not at peace we are not present. She defines enlightenment as finding inner peace and keeping it. That’s the trick really, isn’t it?
I find this true of myself. Some days I have so much to do I feel as if I’m on auto-pilot. Running from one thing on my checklist to the next. By the end of the day I feel like although I’ve accomplished my goals it’s as if I wasn’t really there while doing them, as though it’s still a day lost. Or I’m busy with dinner and the kids vie for my attention only to be brushed off because I’m busy. Too busy to connect with these beautiful little souls that I’ve created for what? Because dinner can’t wait? It’s not the life I want. I want more. I want to feel it completely, to be present, to live fully. It all hits home and I have a lot to reflect on, to work on.