Sat in one of the most beauty-full neo-classical buildings this city has to offer, gazing up in awe at the pale allegorical figures with the weight of the balcony on their shoulders, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride.
I’d woken up with a post-Wedding hangover and had two options; stay in bed swaddled in a blanket of self-pity and loathing or treat myself to ninety minutes of magic.
I made the right choice.
The Art of Positive Thinking.
Starting off with a promise to really concentrate during the opening meditation, I closed my eyes and focused on the cold air whistling through my nostrils and the warm air saying goodbye.
The negative thoughts that alcohol has a tendency of rearing trickled out of my pores and I genuinely felt cured.
The Buddhist monk, Gen Kelsang Tharpa, sat center stage in his traditional saffron and ochre robe, began to introduce the seminar. Words oozed out of his mouth so slowly that every dulcet syllable echoed on the walls of the Concert Hall and meant something.
He talked about Mindfulness, one of the core principles of Buddhism, how it’s such a Hashtag these days and how its true meaning is being mutated and misconstrued.
Mindfulness is the power of the mind to concentrate on the present moment
This is something I’ve been doing a lot of lately and it brings with it a tsunami of gratitude for even the simplest of things.
The analogy he used was the act of drinking a cup of tea.
In our everyday lives, we brew, we drink, and that’s about it. But if you take time out to stop and think, just as I did with my own mindfulness experiment last week, you realise that this little cup of warmth has passed hundreds of hands and travelled thousands of miles on its journey to your lips. It’s a thousand tiny acts of kindness that give you a few small sips of pleasure, and you feel so grateful to every thing and everyone who has made it possible.
Buddha was a supreme psychologist, he said and I couldn’t agree more; this, for me, is one of the most appealing aspects of Buddhism. Rather than focusing on an All Mighty and what you should and shouldn’t do, most of the Teachings help you to understand the inner-workings of your own mind.
If you swap your ego for compassion and take control of your thoughts, you can open up the flood gates to gallons of Happiness.
I’m not there yet, wherever there is, but I’m on the journey. I have a zillion thoughts a day, some days I can wake up and the first few thoughts that flutter around my cranium aren’t good ones. I literally coach myself, teasing out the good thoughts until they take over. I’ve started sending myself off to sleep with a soothing Yoga Nidra meditation on Insight Timer – a meditation community app – and waking myself up with a dose of self-compassion.
It’s all about doing good stuff to be a better me.
And as the monk wittily proclaimed to an audience full of Scousers…
All You Need Is Love