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Away from the desk - July 2015

01 Jul 2015

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Meditating Mike rises above it all

Docklands is the perfect place for meditating. Who would have thunk it?

My work mate, Tam, and I recently attended a few meditation sessions in Docklands as part of Mindfulness Month.

You’re probably thinking this involved a nice, comfy cushion, peaceful music playing in the background and lovely harbour views? Well, no.

It was more a case of sitting on a rock-hard chair, hearing the whir of a nearby coffee machine and pretending we’re not in the lobby of one of Australia’s largest banks.

But that’s the beauty of meditation. You should be able to plonk yourself wherever you like, shut your eyes, and block out – or at least accept – your immediate surroundings. Only then can your mind be taken away to the subconscious.

Do you know what meditation is? When I first heard about it, almost 10 years ago, I didn’t have a clue. So to learn more about it, I decided to sign up for a short course.

I was quite proud of this first step and even told my boss about it. “Do you mean you’re learning how to chant?” she replied apprehensively.

After a few classes, I discovered that apart from the occasional “om” mantra, chanting is not mainstream meditation at all (quite a relief for someone like me with a shocking singing voice).

In a modern Western context, meditation is the practice of stilling the mind. It allows the body to achieve a deep state of relaxation, and the mind to find a place of inner stillness, heightened awareness and focus.

In fact, regular meditation can reduce stress, improve health and even increase productivity. And who wouldn’t want to achieve all that?

I recently put my meditation into practice when I witnessed a heated exchange between two colleagues. As the confrontation played out, I focused on maintaining my inner calm and keeping regular breath.

Momentarily, I felt that I was rising above the people around me – not out of pretentiousness or the shutting out of reality, but with tolerance of what I would normally find an unpleasant situation.

Afterwards, I felt quite blissful. It was like the feeling you get from the first bite of a Tim Tam.

Apart from the Mindfulness Month sessions, I must admit I’ve been pretty slack at meditating. I shall blame this on my office building having only three floors.

(Side note: I previously worked on the 37th floor of a skyscraper in the CBD and I used the time spent in the lift to meditate. This is called a ‘spot meditation’ – typically a quick meditation that you squeeze in when you can, often in an unusual setting. I like to call it good time management!)

In the coming months, I plan to meditate more often. It’s a good “winter sport” as it’s easy to do indoors. Stay tuned for an update!

So whether you meditate by the waterside, in an elevator or in a bank’s lobby, the Docklands is a wonderful place to do it.

As long as you’ve got the right attitude and a willingness to let go, you can rise above it all.

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