At my introduction to Vedic meditation class this past weekend in Atlanta, I totally lucked out. Not only did 15 people come, on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon, to learn more about Vedic meditation, but they asked the most AMAZING questions.
One (hilarious, I might add) gentleman asked about new beginnings in the life of a meditator. He mentioned the trend for meditation teachers and gurus to retreat from the world, live in a cave, or spend all their time in India, and he expressed his concern that if he were to learn Vedic meditation, that he would stop wanting to live his life, or that he would quit his job and move to India. (#dreamquestion)
Here’s the thing about Vedic meditation: it is DESIGNED for people who want to live in the world, who want families, relationships, money, jobs, cars. You know, the good stuff! In our Vedic tradition, we call these people ‘householders’. Sure, there are other meditation traditions that are monastic (i.e. those who want to live in a cave). But most of us are not naturally monastic. We like connecting with people, and we like to have ‘things’. None of us should feel guilty about that!
Here’s a few ways Vedic meditation gives us ‘householders’ a new beginning that enhances how fully we engage in our lives:
1. Our meditation practice is just 20 minutes twice a day. And, what time we use meditating, we more than make up for in the efficiency that grows as we meditate consistently. Vedic meditation teachers actually discourage meditating more frequently than that, in large part because it takes us away from our lives.
2. We like having ‘things’, but we aren’t attached to them. Go ahead and want a fancy new car, or a new iPhone! The key: Vedic meditators won’t get caught up in what happens if we don’t get those things. As we meditate more, we realize that if something happens that doesn’t go according to our expectations, it’s most likely because something even better is coming around the corner. We learn to avoid wallowing in disappointment, so that we do not miss opportunities we never knew were coming!
3. Vedic meditation actually prepares us for living our life to its fullest, much like how pulling back a bowstring prepares an arrow for flight. The farther we pull back the bow, the more effectively and efficiently the arrow is able to fly. Here’s how this works: the longer we have been meditating, the more we come into contact with the place of deep rest, also called transcendence, that we can only access when we meditate. That deep rest allows our bodies and mind to systematically, on a cellular level, reverse the negative effects of a lifetime of stress and the ‘fight or flight’ response, and we emerge from meditation relaxed, even-keeled, and present to whatever comes our way. Bring it on.
Yes, I am aware that I have put my medical practice on hold to teach Vedic meditation! But I’m more ‘in’ my life than I ever was while I was practicing medicine. I still drive a car, I love to travel (not just to India), and I adore my family and friends. And my iPhone. In addition to all of that, every day I get to teach people a technique allows them to be the best version of themselves.
New beginnings don’t have to be as drastic as changing careers, moving to another country, or giving up material possessions. My colleague, Kelsey Mathes, and I are co-hosting an intimate fall retreat on Lake Michigan to further explore this concept. In addition to delicious, homemade Ayurvedic meals, meditation instruction, and personalized one-on-one sessions with each retreat attendee, we will discuss how the practice of Vedic meditation gives us the tools to make choices in our lives so that we can effect positive changes, but still be true to who we are. As a preview, we are doing a free online class on August 17 at 12pm EST, which will focus on practical steps anyone can take to make real changes in their life.
Come join us on our retreat! Register now to save $100- our early bird registration ends August 1!