"Hey Sorry, checked your message just a while ago... had switched off my mobile. Just back from my meditation class."
I had been waiting for her text all through the day and at about 4pm she finally responded with this apology. But there was something more to this message than just an apology. I couldn't take my eyes off the words 'Meditation Class'. I was instantly hooked!
I had no previous experience on this subject; my knowledge was restricted to yoga and pranayama and nothing beyond. With technology easily available right in our palms, I did some quick research and realised that meditation, which I perhaps used to associate with yogi's and sadhna, is now, in fact, being widely and effectively practiced world over by people from all walks of life.
With some browsing, I ordered some books online on this subject and my friend, courteous as ever, soon enough couriered a few cd's. From the day I received that text message from her to this day, there has not been a single day that I skipped practicing meditation!
Practicing this mindfulness has been extremely beneficial to me in terms of health - both physical and mental. I have noticed, we as a country, are becoming cautious about maintaining our physical health, be it by enrolling in the nearest gym or the new-found fads like Zumba or just Jogging regularly, which is all good. But, when it comes to maintaining mental/emotional good health, they forget about doing something about it, we are not even conscious about keeping ourselves emotionally fit. Friends, a healthy mind is as important as a healthy body!
Practicing this stillness takes just about 20 minutes of your time. We, here in India, are extremely fortunate to have so many teachers who are more than happy to teach us this art and some of them don't even charge us as they feel it their way of doing a bit for the society. Not that this is something difficult to learn, but learning from a Guru has its distinct advantages.
Apart from meditating, few more things that I do that have helped me immensely to improve my emotional health:
- A peaceful walk in a garden does wonders for me. We all go through days, some of them are 'good' and some 'not-so-good', connecting with nature and its beauty sure has a soothing effect on mind.
- I resumed reading, my long-forgotten hobby which has helped me make new like-minded friends.
- Spending time with friends is therapeutic and I always look forward to catching up with friend's in-person (something we used to do before the invention of 'Chat Groups' in our mobiles).
- Expressing thankfulness brings an instant smile on everyone's face and it is one thing so underrated, practicing gratitude does wonders for me.
I quote His Holiness the Dalai Lama "It's not just money we need to lead a happy life, more important is to find inner peace" -- something I realised with the text message notification in my mobile. A Beep that changed my life!