Mindful Meditation

Once, many years ago, I was on the number 50 bus, going home after a busy afternoon in town. The bus was packed and I was sitting downstairs at the back. I was wedged between two fellow passengers, and there were people standing the length of the aisle. I wasn't going far. I knew that when it was time for me to get off, it would need some strategic planning - start getting up while the bus is stationary at the stop before mine. Make sure I'm standing close enough to the driver as he nears my stop, so he knows I need to get off, not just standing.

None of this fazed me. I remember being totally content. Calm. I closed my eyes and sat there, travelling through Digbeth, Bradford Street, Moseley Road...

A few years later, I was waiting sitting on a bus, going home after a busy afternoon in town. This time I was not calm, or content. I was savagely discontent. I was stressed out. I was harrassed and harried. The journey was the same, the bus was the same, the fellow passengers were the same, and I remembered distinctly that day, when I had been in the same situation, and that I had had a completely different experience.

What had happened in my life during those two bus journies that could make them so staggeringly different? The simple answer is that I had stopped practising yoga.

I started practising yoga when I was about 13. I was determined to be able to do this.

Veruschka by Richard Avedon, 1972

It was an image for a book which became something of a handbook for me, Vogue's Body and Beauty Book.

This is my actual copy.

They should have called it a bible. I was obviously predisposed to be interested in yoga and fitness and wellbeing. I don't know why or where it came from, but being 13, I had no idea of the impact yoga would have on my life.

At a very distinct point in my life I had lost faith in eveything I had once believed. I started eating meat and drinking coffee and eating all kinds of processed shite. I stopped doing all the things I had believed would endow me with a sense of wellbeing, bring me closer to enlightenment. I started doing all the things I believed would harm me, disturb my equilibrium or damage my health.

ike all 'good habits', they weren't that hard to break. I had expected it to be more difficult. I had expected some kind of horrendous, physical reaction - warts, mouth ulcers, acne - but the truth was that I simply became more carefree.

"You're much more fun since you started eating meat," Marnie informed me.

So it's not surprising that it's taken me so long to come to the conclusion that I need to turn this ship around. I don't think I will ever be as fanatical as I was, but I do need to restructure my interior.

I feel extremeley grateful that I have so much positive experience with being mindful and being 'in my body'. Having experienced it so profoundly and for so many years, I'm confident that it's not going to take too much effort to get myself back to that state of being.

That's not to say I don't need help!

I found this article on How to Meditate in The Guardian Online, which I will glean for advice!



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