This week I went to my local Rigpa for the first time. They were offering a free introductory course on Tibetan Buddhist meditation so I thought I’d go along.
I’d meditated in the past – especially during my first pregnancy as part of the Calm Birth course and prenatal yoga. But since my son was born all those moments of mindfulness and calm went out the window (at post-natal yoga where you take your baby they didn’t even bother attempting a meditation at the end… which was pretty reflective of my general life).
So I went along to the Rigpa and started the course. We sat on cushions or chairs – I chose a cushion – in front of a giant gold Buddha surrounded in flowers. It had an instant calming effect even before we started the practice. When the guide announced we would do our first meditation I crossed my legs, put my hands on my knees and closed my eyes.
‘Don’t close your eyes,’ she said.
I looked up, surprised.
‘Focus on a spot in the room and keep your gaze there.’
We were told to let thoughts come an go. Don’t dwell on them, but don’t push them aside either. We were told it’s like standing at a bus stop and letting buses go by. Acknowledge the bus and let it pass. Not every bus that comes by the bus stop is the one you want… so don’t get on it.
Keeping my eyes open allowed me to focus more on my meditation. The knot on the wooden floor grew larger then seemed to move further away. Near and far. Near and far. Thoughts came but I waved them on. They weren’t the bus I needed to catch that night.
In previous meditations with my eyes closed, my mind was more likely to wander. With my eyes closed the darkness behind my eyelids quickly became images of things that would consume my thoughts. With my eyes open, and staring at the knot in the wooden floor, I didn’t once become consumed by the voice in my head. I was able to complete a solid meditation and give that overactive mind of mine some rest.