Mindfulness, meditation, Buddhism in general have been hot topics lately. I often found myself getting extremely overwhelmed with my work schedule, planning, commuting, trying to be perfect, cooking and some how maintaining a social life. On the outside I really tried by best to keep it together, but in the inside I was very fragile and weak. I often felt like a teapot ready to boil over and it was only a matter of time until that happened. It wasn’t a sustainable way to live. Always feeling like I was on the go, worrying about what the next task was and not taking my health into account when I did finally make it out to socialize.
While teaching the Illuminated Cities Project it is mandatory that our students begin the class with five minutes of mediation (not much, but enough to notice a difference). So I decided to go further in my research. After reading loads of articles, books and blogs online about Buddhism and mediation, I found a lovely center smack dab in the middle of south Delhi, Tushita. It’s a Mahayana center that offers guided mediation two days a week.
One thing that I was really missing in my life was spirituality. My father is Muslim and my mother is Catholic, neither of those religions really sat well me, because the of their dogmatic nature. What really attracted me to Buddhism was within the first meeting at Tushita they stated, “this is not a religion, but an education of the mind, you can add whatever we teach here to your own faith.” Yea, I liked that. Also, their definition of spirituality was to get to know ones’ mind. Yea, I like that too. And whoa! Is the mind one interesting place to explore. Forget space, forget the ocean, our minds are the last frontier.
Meditation is so subtle yet powerful. We have become so accustomed to hyperactive stimulation. We’re raised to want quick fixes; pills, surgery, alcohol, material goods, all of which are superficial and do not offer a consistent level of contentment. The happiness from these things fades, just as they fade. Diving deep into your mind through meditation really shows where your true power lies, your mind is your most powerful tool.
I went to McLeod Gang this year for a ten day silent meditation retreat at Tushita’s main center. Best part about it, no phone! It was an introduction to Buddhism course and a life changing experience for me. Just me, 90 other people, our teacher, the mountains and silence.
In the end I realized I’m extremely fortunate. For my health, for the mistakes I have made in life, for my family, for my friends, for my students, for their families, for all the people that love me despite my faults (because no one is perfect). Our lives are beautiful tapestries of many pictures, colors, textures and yet we often only focus on the one thread that is out of place. Take a step back and admire your life.