An oil painting of Sitting Buddha that I bought from a street market in Hong Kong.

“Meditators showed a pronounced shift in activity to the left frontal lobe. In other words, they were calmer and happier than before.” – Psychology Today

I have decided to take up meditation. I’ve been aware of the health benefits for years (both physical and mental) and if Gisele and Miranda Kerr swear by it, it must have some seriously positive side effects.

It is, however, notoriously difficult to be a proficient meditator. To feel the benefits regular meditation, a little every day or at least three times a week, is required. Unless you are dedicated and consistent you may as well not bother. From what I hear.

There is a small Buddhist centre very near my house that runs sessions of varying lengths for about £8 so I really have no excuse. I went once a couple of years ago and was very impressed by the woman leading the meditation – she was normal and funny and all the things I had expected her not to be.

I was so impressed by the generosity and kindness of all the people who lived there but the meditation itself didn’t do much for me. I mean I tried, I sat there (in a chair, not the floor), and tried to do the guided breathing and visualisations but I didn’t seem to be making much progress.

I had taken my mother along and she had predictably rushed straight to the front row, so we were sitting right opposite the teacher on our first ever attempt to meditate. I think it was a Beginners class, so it wasn’t as awkward as it could have been, because we did start to giggle at more than one point.

My mother used to have a friend who could meditate away a headache. If they were driving, he would sit in the back of the car and meditate to relieve his headache. I, ironically, found that the meditation gave me a stinking headache.

I was told this was normal for the first few times and that it was probably because I was concentrating too hard, but that it would get better. I obviously paid no attention, thought I would rather not have a headache and never did it again.

But in the spirit of self-improvement I have decided to give it another shot and do a proper course this time, once a week for 6 weeks. Watch this space.



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