Have you read that correctly?  Did I really mean that?  Isn’t that against everything that meditation stands for???? 

On the face of it, it would appear that I’ve either gone nuts, or I don’t really understand what meditation is all about.  If you’ll bear with me, I’ll explain what it’s all about.

I received a lovely chatty email this week from a student who came on her first course with me in the autumn.  She wrote to say that she was suddenly reminded of my charater by someone else that she’d met last weekend. 

As you can imagine, I just had to read on!  We all love to know what other people think about us, even if afterwards we wish we hadn’t been so curious!!  She went on to say that what she had been reminded about was my two personas – my “meeintg like-minded people”, social persona and my “solitary, meditative” private persona. 

One morning, being an early riser, she had come into the workshop whilst I was setting the fire.  Now I have a little ritual that sets me up for the day, but which is usually conducted in private.  It was during this little ritual that she had come in and, not wishing to disturb me, she had quietly gone upstairs onto the balcony to look at some of my weaving and design books.  But she had been intrigued by my actions and quietly observed.

My ritual involves doing the yoga Salutation to the Sun several times on my yoga mat before my unlit stove.  That loosens up my muscles and warms me up in order to do the bending necessary for lighting the studio fire.  I approach lighting the fire a little bit like a Japanese tea ceremony, I guess.  I love the graceful movements, the focus and the ritual involved in such a seemingly mundane process and I apply this to the processes involved in clearing out the grate, chopping the wood, setting the fire and lighting it.

She watched quietly as I went about my ritual, totally absorbed and unaware that she was upstairs.  After this, I grab my cup of tea from the kitchen, and come back in to check that the fire has taken well, and sometimes I also light a candle, put it on a small footstool, grab some cushions and sit and look at the candle flame.  Like so many people, I love looking at flames, and I try just to focus on the flame.  This is something I do if I have a particularly knotty problem to solve and it’s pouring with rain outside! 

My favourite way of solving problems is to take Charlie the dog for a walk and just get involved with the beauty of the countryside through which I’m walking.  I think this is known as ‘walking meditation’.  Gratitude for where you are and what you are able to do goes a long way towards reducing problems to their proper proportions and re-establishing perspective, I’ve found, and I feel this most when I’m out with Charlie, observing nature at work and play. 

Do you have a particular way of meditating?  Do you call it meditating, or does that feel too pretentious to you?  Do you have little rituals that make you feel more centred?  More connected?  I’m sure most of us do have this dual aspect to our daily lives, but we may not separate the two aspects, or label them, or even be aware of them.  I feel that being aware of the amazing abilities of my mind to ease my fears and solve my problems helps me to access a state of inner calm – that even in the storm of things that affect us, I can feel secure knowing that I will come through and will have learnt from the experience. 

It’s an amazing feeling to carry with you each day.  It gives you an inner confidence that underpins whatever else you do.  It helps you to appreciate the wonderful little things that happen each day.  Which is a good way to finish.  I’m off to appreciate the wonderful, sunny albeit very cold, day today along with my great companion, Charlie! 

Enjoy your day!