It was more than four years ago that I discovered meditation. I still remember the doubt in my mind as I sat down to meditate for the first time: why am I doing this? I could be doing all those hundreds of things on my “to do” list. But I am just sitting here, in the middle of the room, with my eyes closed, doing nothing. The only thing that motivated me back then was the Peace Revolution Fellowship in Thailand that I would attend after completing 42 days of self-development program. So I did it. After coming back from the Fellowship, this “doing nothing” turned out to be the most life-changing experience ever – now I wouldn’t skip a day without meditation.
Imagine yourself on a beautiful paradise island. You are watching the sunrise while doing yoga, eating delicious Thai food, meditating four times a day with around 30 people from all over the world, interacting with Teaching Monks and learning from their wisdom, doing different activities throughout the day that help you be mindful, see goodness in others and yourself, start noticing your habits and realize how lucky you are to be alive. You are not allowed to use electronic devices and internet, but you don’t need them, and it makes your mind fresh and free. You follow the discipline and wake up at 5 am for the early morning meditation, and you find it exciting and doable.
We don’t usually have these experiences in our daily life, do we? We are busy with our work, studies, personal life; we often think that we need to achieve more, earn more and possess more to be happy. But where is the limit? Can external things make us happy? For how long? The Fellowship in Thailand was about leaving all the desire, greed and ego behind. In fact, it was not about learning something new. The designed program, the discipline, the opportunity to be disconnected from all the worries and problems back home was all about returning to yourself: pure, happy and free.
Lost in India
Before the Fellowship, it was already some time that I felt lost in life. Despite having a good education with a great background in journalism and abundant project experience from all over the world, I felt that there was something more than that. I certainly knew that my life was not about going to an office and doing a job that I didn’t actually like or following the patterns of society and starting a family at a certain age. Therefore, having finished all my assignments in Europe, I went to India, the country that I loved and where I had worked as an English teacher before. I wanted India to somehow show me the direction, perhaps give a job that I would enjoy, find a place where I would stay and solve my problems. I was disappointed to learn that nothing was actually falling in my hands as I had expected. I struggled to find a place where to stay (moving from one place to another almost every day), my money was running out, no jobs came to me just like that, and my knee started to pain reminding me of an old injury that I had not fully fixed back home. With a desire to become a published writer, I realized that this would not bring me any income leading me into uncertainty and worries about my future and what I truly wanted to do in my life. When looking back at those days, I am grateful that it was exactly this moment that I joined the Peace Revolution Fellowship in Thailand and started a journey to my true self.
One may wonder: why is it necessary to find ourselves? What is there to discover when we already have a family, job, personal life, hobbies that we enjoy. At some extent we know who we are. We have our name, occupation, we have accumulated some knowledge and experiences in life. But is it our true self? Do the labels that we wear define us? Are they permanent? We never know when we are going to lose our job, end our relationship, change our status in society or on the contrary – get a new job, start a new relationship or move to another country; we want it or not, everything in this world is changing, and nothing is forever. This is why the external factors that happen to us, the roles that we play and the labels that we wear, even the thoughts that we think, – they do not define who we truly are. It is only when we still our mind and let go all of the external world, we can experience the awareness of a simple existence. Once discovered, we would want to keep that awareness, that purity of the mind with everything we think, say and do. This allows us to become more mindful, more understanding to ourselves and others, more compassionate and loving human beings that enjoy their life and that are grateful for each and every day spent on this planet.
Sharing with others
It doesn’t mean that after the Fellowship my problems got solved. I would still have my busy “to do” list, and I would still sometimes feel lost searching for answers. What has changed is the way I look at life, and that changes everything: I am now approaching problems with a positive, solution-oriented attitude. I have realized that different life situations that come are not there to hurt me; they are there to better me, to make me learn and grow. And no matter what life throws at me, I know that it is impermanent. I cannot control it, but I can control my mind. I can always choose the way I want to react.
After completing the Fellowship in Thailand, I joined Peace Revolution project as a Peace Coach and later became a mindfulness and meditation trainer (Peace Architect). Now as I sit down to meditate, I feel a totally different motivation. I want to take care of my mind. Moreover, meditation has become my mission that I want to share with everyone wherever I go.
Author: Agnija Kazusa