1. What led you to meditation?
I’m a thinker and a worrier. My mind is always going at full speed and I find it hard to switch off. When I was younger, I experienced a couple of episodes of depression — I had some very negative beliefs and thoughts about myself and the state of the world, and I just couldn’t get a balanced perspective. A friend introduced me to meditation in my early 20s, when I was volunteering on the Thai-Burma border, so I gave it a shot. I found it helped me find peace through focusing on the present moment, and also gave me some distance from my thoughts so I could look at them objectively and assess their merits.
2. What value has practising meditation brought to your life?
Meditation allows my brain to get some R&R! It brings me into the present moment and gives me distance from my thoughts so that I can focus on one thing at a time. I’ve also started to think about my life values every morning, and that’s helping me to live more authentically.
3. How has meditation supported you in your professional life?
I’ve found meditation to be a great way of managing stress and it also helps me to focus. If I feel my shoulders going up around my ears or get a little angry about something, I try to take five minutes to focus on my breath. It’s just five minutes, but it boosts my energy a bit, calms me down and helps me to work more effectively.
4.What are the biggest obstacles to your practice?
I tend to make the excuse that I lack time. Yes, I do have a lengthy commute and work long hours, and like to exercise or catch up with friends in my spare time, but my main obstacle is my mind. I find it hard to sit still and to turn my mind inward, so my mind makes up excuses for me not to meditate! When I make a habit of meditating though, even for just 10 minutes a day, I don’t have a problem fitting it in.
5.What is a quote that most inspires you and why?
I like the John Lennon line, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” It gives me goose bumps, because it reminds me how important it is to live fully in the present, and not put life on hold. I also think it applies to meditation because when you meditate you’re concentrating on each moment and living it intensely. You then carry that mindfulness with you afterwards, and can focus more fully on your life and what you’re doing with it.
6.What is a book that has opened you to new ideas and inspired your growth, why?
A friend loaned me the Louise L Hay book You Can Heal Your Life when I was at uni, and her ideas about the power of the mind have stuck with me.
7.What Mindful Music do you listen to (ie. music that grabs your full attention and brings you into the moment.)
Classical music, opera or anything by The XX. Music really helps to calm me down, and I love to listen to a bit of classical on the train to and from work.