Have a read through Sam's story on how he got into the practice of meditation, what kept him hooked for 12 years, and why he know does what he does...
Who is in control of my thoughts? Me, I think?
Try this for yourself:
Put on a 5 minute timer, settle in, close your eyes and try to focus on just your breath. Don’t think, just feel the movement of your breath. Listen to it. It won’t take long before you realise that your mind has shifted away from your breath and onto some mundane thoughts of the day. You may start ruminating on recent conversations (win arguments from previous days) or start a worry stricken to-do list .
When you realise your mind has wandered, take a moment to notice: where is your mind taking you?
As I began my journey with meditation, I was awestruck by the realisation. Maybe I’m not in control? It was a truly reality shifting experience for me at such a young age. And so, as an ever curious young guy, I had to find out more.
So I practised.
Every day for 10 minutes. “Put the timer on, settle in, close your eyes and focus on your breath”. The majority of the time I was all over the show, mind-wandering all sort of places through the ten minutes. But even in the early stages I caught brief glimpses of clarity. Moments where everything, all my worries, concerns, embarrassments, failures washed away and all that was left was my breath. The more I practised, the more my mind changed.
For the first time in my life I was deeply engrossing myself in the books I wanted to read. I was catching the angry, frustrated, doubtful thoughts that often overwhelmed me and let them rest. I was hungry to find out more about what my mind is capable of.
It’s now 12 years since I found meditation.
In that time I’ve poured my enthusiasm into all things of the mind. I spent a year in Thailand learning the language, the culture and Buddhist practice. I came home to complete a degree in psychology and philosophy, focusing my studies on a range of mental practices and what their emerging research has to say about society, politics and ‘the good life’.
And here I am in this moment. Almost two years into my dream project: a Modern Wellness Space dedicated to supporting our community to use mental practices to improve their lives, as they have mine.
My thoughts on meditation have come a long way since those early days. Meditation and contemplative practices are not only there for us to control our thinking, but to help us grapple with the hard questions of what we do with our minds once we have control.
Meditation, in the Buddhist tradition, is more than an individual pursuit. It’s a tool for society to better adapt to the hardships of existence. The modern world is a challenging place for minds like ours, and I believe meditation is a key tool to help us face those challenges head on.
I have taught meditation at O-Studio almost every single weekday since we opened two years ago. I’ve loved every minute of it! I’m more passionate than ever about our mission to change the world through meditation, one breath at a time.