Training our minds
As a believer and a practitioner of training our minds as well as our bodies, I was curious to take a Vedic meditation course last week with Cathy Rolfe to deepen my practice and learn a new technique.
Cathy comes from the corporate world, which appealed to me with the program described as ‘an easy 4-step management program designed for busy professionals’.
This involved four morning sessions before work to learn the technique, practice and reflect in an iterative learning process.
The mantra based practice involves practicing for two 20 minute periods a day ongoing. Part of the idea through practicing this is to be able to tap into our being more regularly than our automatic thought, action, achievement orientation.
Deepak Chropra has some insightful thoughts on the benefits of meditation in this in a Super Soul interview with Oprah Winfrey. When we tap more into our being and accept each moment we accomplish more with less effort (law of least effort) as we’re being true to ourselves and are on our spiritual path. It makes authentic decision making easier.
As an example of acceptance on my own journey, on day three of the program I was getting the boys ready for daycare before the session with Cathy and managed to misplace my phone. This was an interesting exercise of acceptance in this digitally connected world. I realised:
– I didn’t have the address for my client meeting in North Sydney later that morning
– I couldn’t order an Uber myself between meetings or call a cab
– I didn’t have access to google maps to find a city meeting location later that day
– I didn’t have on the go communication to communicate with colleagues between meetings
– I didn’t have access to my wifi hotspot to connect in a cafe without wifi during a online session
– I couldn’t access my meeting notes saved in draft on my phone not in the cloud
It was a good chance to meditate on my mantra against these thoughts and settle the busy thought patterns down.
By good old fashioned communication and problem solving I found my way through the day but it was interesting to reflect on how much of my day to day life is now managed by this device.
By my second meditation later that afternoon I was quite relaxed about now not having my phone and wasn’t in any rush to find it. In fact, I had a very clear idea arise after the meditation which helped me solve a work problem. The phone did eventually turn up at 9pm when I had a look, finding it wedged behind the ottoman.
As my friend Tricky said this could be a great Executive Education exercise to randomly take an executive’s phone for the day and allow them to problem solve!
What did I learn?
One of the stand out concepts during the program for me was the notion of adaptation energy. My interpretation of this was the more we fill our energy bucket by things like good sleep, nourishing food, healthy relationships and rest time the more energy we have to adapt to unforeseen change and circumstances. When we are tired, we can be more irritable and react to things rather than respond. Vedic Meditation helps us get into a deep rest state (deeper than sleep) to help us recover and build our adaptation energy.
Interestingly, I hadn’t really reflected before how intense physical exercise is on the body as a stressor. If we keep pounding the body but aren’t adequately recovering we’re not tapping into the healing parasympathetic nervous system.
On Saturday I had a window to run after Owain’s training. I tapped into what my body needed and it wasn’t a run so I went and got a relaxing pedicure instead.
In a yoga essentials book I’m reading currently it says the more we tap into our being, the more we know what the body and mind needs and adapt our daily habits to suit this. Rather than being so regimented that we power through regardless. Good food for thought.
So what else have I noticed so far?
Yesterday when playing in the garden with the boys I felt my senses super heightened to the beauties of nature and was tuning in more than usual to the beautiful flowers, trees and sky. I also noticed a lot of ants carrying food which the boys then enjoyed watching too.
I really enjoyed watching them play together too with a new found appreciation for their relationship.
This morning on a Liv community ride I felt very present and grateful to my surroundings and enjoyed taking in the magical views.
This afternoon I tuned into my body and realised I needed a nap and slept with Huw for three hours, it was beautiful and I didn’t feel guilty that I didn’t make it to the shops! Online shopping here we come 🙂
As it says in the trust life daily inspiration book I’m reading there’s power in dropping ‘should’ for ‘could’.
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds over the next few months with work, travel, family life etc. I am committed to getting into a regular habit of twice daily practice as know based on the science this is what gets results. Like with physical training, consistency counts.
I’m sure some adaptability will be needed along the way. For instance yesterday I woke up before the boys and was all poised to go with my first 20 minutes of the day and Huwey woke up. I smiled, accepted the situation and took him onto the couch, put on Kung Fu panda and meditated next to him. Not ideal but practical.
Thanks Cathy for the great training and I look forward to the journey ahead!