“I never intended to be a meditator”
It wouldn't have been very diplomatic to mention it in my first book but now I can admit: Actually, I never intended to meditate. To me, meditators sitting stiff and liveless like a statue, looked always a bit strange, even awful and unreal to me. They appeared as if they would have lost any sense of life, as if they would have stepped out of reality. Even when I practised yoga in the nineties, I struggled with all the meditative prayers and mantras, and Om’s, and the worst was the contemplating sitting. What’s the point in breeding for hours with a painful straight back? Why accepting aching hip joints in order to sit cross-legged in a lotus position on the hard floor? Why disciplining and overrolling my body? Case closed: Meditation will never be my “cup of tea”. That’s what I thought at that time.
Years later, the whole story changed. And this is where the introduction of my first book on body-orientated meditation “Meditation: Body Bliss & Inner Glow” picks up.
I recently had an exciting dialogue with one of my former colleagues. "I did not know that you have dealt with meditation," he marvelled. "I thought the body would be your life calling."
True. The body has always fascinated me. Before this passion became a profession, I have been researching my own body in detail. Already as a child, I was very much attracted to it, its possibilities and limits of movement, sensations and pleasures. With six I raced with the guys from the fourth class and wanted to understand why the less joint-looking one was faster than me, but the large, powerful one remained panting at my back. I taught the neighbours' children cartwheels. Meanwhile, I was wondering why one could make twenty wheels a row and why another couldn't even get his hands to the floor. Also, I have tested myself vocally, as I heartily sang arias in our stairwell, so much so that my mother called me “blackbird." But when I was in kindergarten and they asked me to sing a song, I was as quiet as a mouse. And even at this early age, I questioned myself as to why I wouldn't sing. I was fascinated with everything that made me understand the inner mysteries.
I didn't have to tell my London colleague all about the journey from the excited body to introspective contemplation. Actually, it is quite simple: If curiosity is coupled with attention, and as a duet conquers the inner world, it automatically dives into the depths. Perception always has the tendency to be refined, so much that it will also, eventually, touch the centre of your being.
"Interesting ...", he politely nodded. "But to be honest ... that's a little too ... too new. But I promise, I'm thinking about it."
And then ... a long time after the cartwheels, after the running-around-the-bed and singing of arias, the serious life quietly began around me. I lost sight of what was important to me. And it would take a few years until the moment of reconciliation came.
I was in training to be a Feldenkrais Practitioner and experimented with the challenging movements that are part of Feldenkrais "Shear Awareness" lessons. In order for the brain to process the impulses of the movement, the intervals between the sequences are particularly important. So then, I rested on the floor and let my nervous system do its job. And boom! Boom! With a blow it was all gone. Without knowing, I slipped into a moment of nothing. Only silence was there, - a bright, infinite silence.
But in shock, and searching hard for an explanation, my brain immediately reorganized itself. Questions arose: What was that? Was it right? Why was it not possible to keep it? Over the next few days I carried inside myself a kind of inner confidence. I felt light and flowing, yet stable, strong and clear. I liked this mixture tremendously. What if ...? What if my life could always be this way? Yes, what if ...? Of course, I wanted to have the same experience again. I probably don't have to mention it, but at this time, this experience did not repeat itself. The more I tried, the more it moved away from me.
Meanwhile, almost 20 years later, meditation had become mainstream with the silent, contemplative Buddha as their symbol. Through neuroscience came a summary of evidence as to why experiencing inner silence has colossal effects on health and well-being. According to the experts, meditation can even undermine serious disturbances in the human organism.
But to me, still, I have never felt attracted to the passively aligned path of meditation. My experience with meditation techniques is still based on movement and self-perception. My inner journey is still connected to exploration, an authentic body sensation and crystal-clear sensory-motor pleasure.
"Without a happy body, no meditation," I say to my clients. I'm sure by now, that there is no genuine experience of meditation without a balanced Soma.
When I met my colleague again in the thick of Chelsea, he reminded me: "By the way ... I've been thinking about it. It sounds logical, what you're saying. But who ... but who really manages to be in utter peace with the body ...?”
Ok. So, this book is for him. And for all those who would like to have both: a completely satisfied body and, moreover, a natural approach to meditation.
your body could talk about
48 Q & A about how to quieten your body and mind
With most of my clients, I work with them because their body is causing them all kinds of problems. Specific complaints are addressed, such as being stressed, insomnia, postoperative symptoms, burnout, emotional challenges or chronic pain. To develop body awareness is appropriate, then. I view a differentiated perception as the key to stepping out of the danger zone. Frequently, it turns out to be that exactly this is the initial detonation that's needed to get a glimpse of a meditative experience. Curiosity awakens. Some people are amazed at how suddenly they trust their inner world.
Other clients inscribe for "BodyWareness” sessions or take part in stress relief workshops or meditation events. They may have heard that through the retreat inward, states of chronic disease, organ ailments and emotional crises are positively influenced. They want to learn how to meditate, in the hopes that it brings psycho-physical relief.
And beyond that, I meet clients who are already experienced meditators. They have the intention and desire that their introspection becomes deeper, more efficient or blissful.
From all of them come a lot of concerns, so the following conglomeration of questions, addressed in emails, calls, Facebook messages, blog feedbacks or personal talks are, thus, in a range of colours.
But even tough the backgrounds of my clients may be very different, at the same time, what drives them is similar: They all search. They all long for more. And instinctively, they know that an inner essence is worth being found. Why? Because that is part of human nature. It is healthy, wise and eternal.
Chapter 1: Start-Up Time
This is a question that I have been asked the most. I am especially reminded of Isabell, a client of mine, who wanted to book a series of Meditation Sessions. She wrote in an email:
“I’m asking myself what it can bring to me. Actually, I’m ok. But of course, I have everything that everyone else has … a stressful job, the demand of time, always a lot to do, trouble with my boyfriend, who wants to get married, and I don’t. And I never have enough money. I would like to have this be different, of course. I’ve heard that meditation can help with various situations.”
To get a taster:
Workshop "Meditation: Body Bliss & Inner Glow" in London on 21st Feb
If you would like to get a practical taster of body-orientated meditation, the workshop "Meditation: Body Bliss & Inner Glow" in London on 21st February might be interesting for you. For details, please check the calendar
Each participant will receive a signed copy of the book. "Bring a friend" options are available.
To start exploring NOW:
You are welcome to visit the "BodyWareness" Home Spa
You will find awareness exercises, simple yet powerful meditation techniques and 'little knacks' for your daily life here