The Virgin & the Meditator

LightsI have a meditation practice but I was in need of something to end the week, a week that was hectic and disorientating. This meditation workshop caught my eye, a teacher I had never heard of, and I felt the need to meditate in a group rather than my DIY job.  As the teacher outlined the basics of sitting positions for meditation, best time of the day and other basics, my mind began to wander, and wonder how I had picked this workshop for beginners. The workshop attendees were asking questions about the best sitting position, how long to meditate, what incense to burn, what time of day is best for meditation etc. When one student asked ‘how do I know when I’m meditating?’ the teacher smiled knowingly, and said something along the lines of –  you just know, if you experienced yourself in meditation, you would know, like you know when you’ve experienced an orgasm. He repeated it slowly and there was the silence of virgins in the room, drawn to more knowing like  moths to a flame.

I didn’t think too much about it at the time but as I went to teach my yoga class the next day, I remembered my first orgasm, I mean meditation experience, the moment I just knew! It was dawn, before sunrise in Pondicherry in South India. I awoke very early and spent time sitting very still on the balcony in the darkness of night and feeling a part of the transition to the lightness of the new day, and as the new day dawned, I found a new idea dawning from within, it felt like a deeper wisdom, a coming home –  an insightful moment that let me know that I could offer goodness and kindness into this world, that I could have something of real value to offer other people. In a daze, I walked down the road; life was so ordinary but seemed sacred and alive –  men soaping themselves at outside taps, children getting heavy school bags ready, hair being braided and tied with ribbons, the first traffic of the day slowly moving past, water being carried on heads in large vessels, and the sound and smell of mustard seed and curry leaves spitting in hot oil to temper breakfast with a flourish.

As I walked and walked, I felt calm and clear – it really felt like coming home, it was a magnificent morning in my life, and my dawn meditation really did shift something in me that day. It was the day I knew I had something to offer, the day I decided to train to become a yoga teacher. It was the day that made me commit to a regular meditation practice, even if I don’t reach orgasm or an enlightened blissful moment each time…Ok enough of the metaphors already…

If you’re interested to find out more about mindfulness and meditation, 1-2-1s, or group retreats, check out up and coming events at