A couple of years ago I had my first experience with meditation. My dear friend Rianne told me about an open meditation evening that was held in the city of Groningen, and asked me to come with. My open mind told me that I should go, and so I joined this kind group of young meditators that evening. At the end of the evening I thought: I SHOULD TOTALLY MAKE THIS MY PATH.
And so I didn’t, because my mind has a different life goal every few weeks and so, after a couple of weeks of daily meditation it simply started to fade. Every once in a while I would see my cushion and think ‘I should sit more often’. And every once a while I would sit down daily for a couple of weeks and then it would start to fade again and, well, you know the story by now.
I think I was about 20 years old when I went to that open meditation evening. I was a student. Life was a lot different from now. I am now 25 years old, have a very stressful full time job in the IT sector and am worried about everything an adult could be worried about. And more. Lately I have been feeling that I need some sort of anchor, a solid ground to return to whenever I have the feeling I cannot handle the things. That is when I returned to meditation.
A couple of weeks ago I had the same lightbulb thought I had five years ago, and I ordered the book I have seen so many times on Rianne’s bookshelf: The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa. I did not actually have a reason for this, I just felt that I wanted it. So I started reading it, thinking it would be an easy read. But of course it was not. The book raised many questions and it somehow frustrated me, because I did not fully understand what was written. But it also intrigued me. What does basic goodness actually mean? Can a warrior still greatly enjoy a pizza? Should a warrior always be in the present, no matter where they are or what they do?
I decided I wanted to have another opinion on this book, and so I asked Rianne what she thought of it. We discussed it for a while and it became clear to me that I was not the only one with questions. Even an experienced practitioner had questions about the meaning of these words. This was oddly motivating for me, because it meant I was not stupid or naïve. I was simply a newbie in this area. And I still am.
All about basic goodness
When I bought the book, Rianne asked me if I wanted to join a Shambhala meditation course, called ‘Meditation in Everyday Life’. Again, my open mind said I should go. So I signed up for the course and experienced my first full day in meditation and teachings. I felt a bit awkward at first, because it seemed most people there had more experience with Shambhala than I had. During the first teaching, which was all about basic goodness, I raised my hand and asked a question. I asked if I could interpret basic goodness as ‘being okay in this world’. Apparently this was funny, because I heard some laughter in the room and I immediately regretted asking the question. Was this a western way of thinking? And immediately after that: Do I belong here if I ask this kind of questions?
This feeling started to fade during the day. I got to know the people and that we were all there with the same goal: Improving our practice. No one was judging me for my question and it occurred to me that they may have related to the question, rather than judging me.
The course was based on a book called Turning the Mind into an Ally by Sakyong Mipham. At the end of the course I bought the book, hoping that it would help me deepen my experience and knowledge about meditation and Shambhala. And it does. I feel inspired every time I read a chapter and it makes me want to sit and attempt to tame the horse. For the best part I still have no clue of what I am doing, but I am doing it. And I am happy with it. YES, THIS IS TOTALLY MY PATH.