"Are you a carnivore?" was one of the first things my meditation teacher asked me before the start of our first session. JM invited me to visit her house in Antipolo for an introduction on Christian Meditation last Saturday. For the record, this isn't something that I usually do because we live in a fast paced environment that I can't even spare 5 mins to "reflect" and I find silence lethal (well, sometimes). Start with 5 mins, she kept repeating.
It's interesting to note that she came from the hard core corporate world - the woman responsible for bringing Red Bull and Agfa Film in the Philippines. She also worked for P&G before becoming the VP Marketing for an Advertising firm. She's what I'd like to call metanoia personified - a total change of heart.
She told me that Christian meditation is different from Zen or Transcendental meditation because it involves Christ. You are doing it because of Him. I find it uncomfortable when religion was taken into consideration because it marginalizes those whose beliefs are different. She made it clear though that meditation is universal and not exclusive to any one faith or tradition.
Back in my oriental philosophy class, we tried to meditate for 5 mins - concentrate on your breathing, do not pay attention to your environment, thoughts or emotions. I found it difficult at that time, and I still did last Saturday. We were seated in the meditation room and JM asked me to repeat after a mantra inside my head - "ma ra na tha" which means "Come, Lord Jesus, come."
Different concerns start entering my head - the fashion show, Manila Kid, I'mABosco, how will I get home, what to wear in the next party... STOP. I'm paranoid. This was the time I realized that I needed to meditate. I'm usually cranky, disorganized and sleepless these days and this 12-week meditation tour will help me manage the stress.
JM told me to practice meditating at home even for just 5 mins every morning and evening. I'm quite surprised that being still for 5 mins is actually very difficult! It ain't lethal as I originally thought but it will leave you vulnerable. But maybe it's in that state that you get to know what your body (and soul) needs. It's all the external layers are being peeled to reveal the core person within. I have yet to arrive at a solid realization, but we're getting there.
11 weeks more to go!