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Meditation Course for Beginners - I Thought It Was Going to Be Boring But I Was Pleasantly Surprised
To me, meditation is a boring activity of just sitting down and thinking of nothing. So I was intrigued by the notion of a meditation course and what it could offer. A course is something you would go to learn a new skill. I hardly consider “not thinking” to be a skill.
But the course was recommended by a Lersi of repute, and one does not just ignore advice as direct and clear as this - “go sign up for basic meditation course, you need to strengthen your foundation first because right now you are WIFI no password.”
Wifi No Password. That’s the term I use on commoners who are prone to getting possessed. Fancy it being used on me. Touché.
To me, meditation is a boring activity of just sitting down and thinking of nothing.
I hadn’t always been this sensitive to the spirit world but eleven years of dealing with the unseen has somewhat thinned the veil. Incidences in the recent months leading up to my meeting with the Lersi were suspiciously supernatural in nature. According to the Lersi, spirits were attracted to my vibrations. The accumulation of negative energy had gotten so bad that to those with the sight, I look like McFarlane’s Spawn with a billowing shadowy cape made of dark entities.
It was cool to imagine but the revelation worries me.
To reduce my affiliation with the dark, I need to increase my vibrational energy so I can connect with the Devas instead. The Devas are benevolent supernatural beings. The biblical equivalent that most people would understand are the Angels. This would require me to follow the 5 Buddhist Precepts (similar to the 10 Commandments) and undergo proper basic meditation training.
According to the Lersi, spirits were attracted to my vibrations.
“Not for healing, not to see aura; not for chakra,” Phra Goh announced. He then asked us what is our purpose for joining this course and I thought about what I would say if he called on me? I didn’t have an answer that I thought he would have liked; and that’s precisely the type of mindset that this meditation can help overcome.
For most of us, we overthink things and complicate matters in our daily lives. Human beings have two dominant emotional states - hatred and greed.
When we are happy, we are hooked to that happy feeling, and we want more of it. That desire to chase happiness, at all cost, is greed. When we are upset, we look for things to blame, and wish it never happen. That’s hatred.
The approach that Phra Goh emphasise on is impermanence and compassion.
For most of us, we overthink things and complicate matters in our daily lives.
I nodded again, contemplating asking him why would a monk be watching a channel about ghost stories?
“It’s good what you are doing. Modern mind cannot believe what it cannot see.”
It was both humbling and delightful to discover that a monk enjoys my show.
The next part of the course was the practical bit and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t as boring as I had envisioned.
First of all, Phra Goh, clarified, as if he has read my mind, meditation is not about “not thinking”. Instead we will be doing a lot of thinking; on repeat. instead of emptying our minds, we have to be aware of our emotions and our feelings; and most importantly, we must be seated comfortably.
why would a monk be watching a channel about ghost stories?
“If you need to sit on a chair; sit on a chair. Don’t need ‘pai say’. Meditation is training of the mind, not the body. We don’t want you to suffer in pain for the next one hour,” Phra Goh said. “For those who are seated on the floor, if you can’t adopt the lotus position, you can do the reverse lotus.”
There were some confused looks around.
Phra Goh continued in his calm, deadpan demeanour: “The reverse lotus is how you normally sit cross-legged. But you can’t tell people that you attend meditation course and sit cross legged. It doesn’t sound professional. So let’s call it reverse lotus position. I made that up myself.”
The quick witted of us caught on with the joke and laughed confidently, the rest joined in a beat later.
Such is the charm of Phra Goh, that he is able to reach out to his participants across a diverse age group and background with humour to put us into a relaxed state.
First he had us close our eyes and imagine our hair: How they would grow, and fall away, and new ones would grow, and they too will fall away. Throughout the visual loop, we recited to each strand of hair, “I wish you well and happiness.” We repeated this exercise for our skin, and then our body. Next we acknowledged our feelings - aches, worries, joy, heartbreaks, uncertainties, etc - that just like our hair, and skin, and life, nothing lasts forever and that any emotional state we are in is actually very brief and transient.
Since everything is temporal, then there is no need to concern ourselves with complications. We consciously label each feeling as “impermanence” and allow it to, like the cycle of hair growth that we had visualised before, grow, die, and repeat itself again.
The repetition, Phra Goh explained after the session, is the evidenced-based approach to mantra recitation to bring us peace, and we can - and should - practice it anytime. By inculcating this mantra in our daily lives, the better we would be at managing our emotions.
By inculcating this mantra in our daily lives, the better we would be at managing our emotions.
The beauty about meditation is that the journey will be different for each of us. Our inner voice, guardian spirit, voice of god, the universal source, whatever-you-may-call-it, will distill the lesson we need to learn on a subconscious level.
For me, I walked away from the session accepting that I cannot change people’s preconceived assumptions of me, and that my anger, my joy, my successes, and failures are worth the same as a single strand of hair. Regardless of how others feel about themselves or towards us, we wish them well and happiness.
I’m looking forward to next session. This time, I might actually consider sitting on the chair.
Confession Journal is a collection of stories and reviews submitted by the public.