I love spiritual happenings! Meditation of any kind. I struggle a bit with Anapanasati but I adore all kinds of guided meditation. From simple loving-kindness meditation to chakra, sound, crystal or fire meditation.
My first approach to meditation was at school at the age of 16. There was an organized excursion to a monastery where we spent a few days meditating with music and fire. I remember that those days seemed to me like a few surreal, distant days, like ‘out of a movie’. We went only to the next town and spent about 4 days there but I recall the feeling of having had left to another part of the globe for a few months. Those days ‘outside of my ordinary life’ made me happy. I admit that what might have contributed to my happiness was the fact that there was a boy in our group I really liked. Probably also the fact, that it was in the evenings, in that monastery cellar when I had my first glass(es) of wine – the beginning of my love for the grape-juice ;). But mostly it was the feeling of a different, better and quieter state of mind that I recall from those days. During the music meditation I was so touched that I was fighting back my tears to not to embarrass myself in front of my classmates.
For many years I forgot that feeling and meditation was a nice distant memory. I’m not sure why I forgot…
During my first (office) job – also years ago – I started to experiment with different relaxation methods to balance out the daily routine of sitting in front of a computer. I went to the class of ‚autogenous training’ where during a journey through your body you focus on the sensations of all the different parts of you, being hot and heavy. At the end you go to your ‚special place’ and relax during a nice chill out song. I really liked it!
Then again I lost meditation in my life. Again I don’t know why.
When I had man-troubles I liked to seek the assistance of one of the ‚wise women’ or I paid someone to clean my chakras, but that was about it.
My stay in Bali was meant to bring spirituality back to my life. Thanks to a friend who lived for a few years in Ubud (a very spiritual place and home for many yogis) I was invited to all kind of happenings and events.
I really liked the sound healing – a wonderful way of recharging and relaxing with different musicians, instruments, voices and shamanic chanting. First we all chanted to get the vibrations at the right energy level and then the session began. I was lying there and most of the time I had the feeling that I was flying. At one point my arms felt very heavy and when I peeked out from under my eye lashes I saw two people on both sides of my shoulders doing something with their instruments. What an energy!
I also had the chance to meet Jeremiah Abrams, a Jungian therapist and author, called by his friends ‚Dr.Love’ for a little one-on-one session in his beautiful garden. A lovely experience and an interesting conversation about heart matters. I also listened to his talk about healing the wounds of love. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the retreat he was offering on this subject because I was about to leave the island.
After Bali I went to a silent meditation retreat in the Dipabhavan Meditation Center in Koh Samui I had booked back in Europe. It was the only planning I did from home before my adventure to South East Asia. I was intrigued by the story of someone I met before leaving Europe. This girl did that retreat herself. I was intrigued but also a bit skeptical…
The meditation retreat turned to be an incredible experience! High in the mountains of Koh Samui, in a jungle overlooking a bay, around fifty silent people from all over the world were living for one week next to each other, going inside themselves but also strangely and amazingly becoming friends through the silence – with friendliness, kindness, gestures and simple smiles. We were taught about Buddhism by the monks and enjoyed lovely vegetarian food. Everyone had little chores to do and so, gradually, one week passed in our little silent routine.
There were some tears but mostly happy ones when the silence stopped, and someone said ‘oh my god we are all glowing’. I looked around and saw only happy faces!!! Simple conditions, the jungle with snakes and scorpions, waking up at 4:30AM in the middle of a thunderstorm and climbing a dark hill to sit in silence over a candle in the meditation hall, yoga at 6:00AM and not being able to talk to people you (energetically) started to like… It sounds tough, doesn’t it? Actually it was easy, cozy and a BEAUTIFUL experience!!! Afterwards I was filled with gratitude, happiness and love for everyone!
Obviously I enjoyed the king size bed and hot shower the night after the retreat but I promised myself to go back (which I did two years later).
Back to London I found a circle of people who organized all kind of meditation evenings like “regression”, for example. I went to Jonette Crowley’s Soul Body Fusion (performed by Ewa Folley, a polish author and holistic teacher), I went to an evening dedicated to the creation of visualization boards and I also took part in a circle of radical forgiveness where all the present women were crying like babies during the session.
One year had passed in my London-work-routine and I returned to South East Asia, this time with my boyfriend. Since he is also interested in meditation we took every opportunity to experience new things.
We went to a liberating 5 Rhythm dance meditation in a beautiful dome in the middle of Bali’s rice paddies, to a crystal healing meditation in a lovely cave in the same building. The highlight however, was a Balinese purification ceremony at the bottom of a volcano where a Guru was guiding us through a ceremony as unique as it was strange. We ran barefoot and half-naked (bikini plus sarong) across rice fields, prayed to stones, dove into a river and drank water from waterfalls. I found that the day had been a beautiful experience and I didn’t really take it seriously, but I have to admit that when, at the end, the Guru was reading my palm and I was told that I have problems with the direction in my life I got a little scared (I had just quit my secure job – for the second time – and was full of questions of my future). That pulled me down rather than liberating blockades in my life. My boyfriend didn’t have any emotional side effects but he got ‚purified’ in the literal meaning of the word and spent the next few days not leaving the villa.
I am now in Valencia and have also found a Buddhist Center here for my meditation.
The center also offers yoga classes. My yoga teacher is a lovely British lady who offers classes in English and gathers the girls (there are usually more ladies than men) for a coffee afterwards. This gives the yoga a personal touch and is an opportunity to meet new people among the local expat community. Tina’s focuses on breathing and relaxation in her sessions, combining them with the asanas. Her Yoga has spiritual components like OHM chanting, background music and loving-kindness meditation during Shavasana.
When Tina is not doing yoga, she is painting. She is an artist and travels through art history re-creating iconic paintings by Old Masters with ‚ordinary people’ (visitors to the museum, gallery or festival, as community projects or corporate incentives) by inviting them to paint a square on a canvas in a collaborative performance.
I personally find that idea amazing and also kind of meditative in its process. You can check Tina’s website here.
Recently I visited a friend in Palma de Mallorca and there I had the chance to experience a new way of spirituality. I was invited to a Circulo de las Mujeres en Luna llena (a women’s Circle during full moon). Another beautiful experience. The leading person of the circle is Alejandra Piña, Mexican and a member of the Fire Line of the ‚Raices de la Tierra’ (the Roots of the Earth) that comes from Mexico. Its an ancient ceremony that represents the uterus of Mother Earth where indigenous leaders and shamans come together to pray and sanctify the four elements.
Her teachings are based in the female power and in Mother Earth representing the fertility of a woman and her primordial role of a mother. She refers to the female cycles as to the cycle of the moon.
Alejandra offers individual teaching sessions and rituals and also organizes diverse happenings such as the shamanic Earth Healing Ceremony Tamazcal and the Full Moon Women’s circles. Her message is for women to be willing to work on their spiritual growth and help Mother Earth to awake the consciousness of humanity.
Every month one of the ladies takes the ‚barra de la palabra’ (‘the branch of the word’ – basically a decorated tree branch – which symbolises Nature and Mother Earth and gives us the power of speech/ communication) home and observes her state of mind and her emotions in the different phases of the moon cycle. At the end of the cycle she shares her experiences with the other women during the full moon night, preparing her own ceremony to reflect her impressions of the past month.
This time it was an Argentinian lady who prepared an encounter with our inner child. We had to bring a photograph of ourselves as a child and went into a guided meditation where in the middle of a forest, on a beautiful and peaceful glade we met our inner child. The little girl was lost and scared and we soothed her, gave her love and warmth and played with her, reassuring her that we are always there for her and that she can always come back to this place and meet us when she needs us. It was truly beautiful. We then went into a different meditation where we would create light and share it with others.
Afterwards we shared our experiences and it was really emotional. The ‘barra’ circulated and the lady who had it in her hands talked about what was in her heart. Many women cried.
There was a reading of Tarot cards and some little games to brighten the ambience but what I liked the most was the dance we performed at the end. Accompanied by the tambor (Mexican tribal drum) and singing loudly, we danced across the room. The song was about being birds and having wings. I really felt like I was flying. Amazing. Such a feeling of liberation, love and divinity. So much beauty and female power in the atmosphere. I left the venue feeling like a goddess…
I am truly grateful for all those experiences and I thank all the people I met, who were my spiritual guidance.
I will continue to walk my spiritual path. I hope I inspired you too, with this post, to have a closer look a your divinity.