Meditation, Yoga and Awakening Self
My childhood was filled with internal workings. I was confident and extroverted on the outside, and on the inside, I had crippling anxiety, depression, severe claustrophobia and a very elaborate sense of imagination.
I had swimming, tutors, English class, martial arts and piano lessons every day and I loved them all. No one forced me to do them. I genuinely enjoyed them. And at the same time, I had a crushing pressure to perform. It wasn’t really about “winning” as you might imagine but it was about being under the spotlight that terrified me so much so that I made myself sick every martial arts’ competition. But to everyone else’s eyes, I was very confident and loved being the centre of attention.
I would like to emphasise again. NO ONE FORCED ME to do this. My parents saw an opportunity and always asked me if I wanted to do it. Every activity interested me so I signed up. I was not the best but always “pretty good” at them. So I kept on signing up. Now that I look back, I think I was desperate to excel at one thing. THAT ONE thing that made me special and in that process I got busy. It felt good to be busy. When all the other kids had no agenda after school, here I was, off to another lesson until 8 or 9pm.
Until inexplicably, I was struck by acute pneumonia when I was 9 years old and I was hospitalised for over a month. I couldn’t do anything. I was literally locked inside of a tiny hospital room where my parents visited every day. My grandmother took care of me. She stayed, ate and slept in the hospital room while my father worked and my mother took care of my little sister. When I finally came home, the simple car ride completely exhausted me and I had to go to bed immediately. It took a while to recover and I developed a dreaded sense of running behind on everything so I asked my parents to sign me up for another tutoring school.
I believe that I was addicted to running. Not the healthy kind of running but mental running. I didn’t know how to handle myself unless I was running.
Fast forward 11 years later, in my attempt to make friends in my new home, Canada, I went to a yoga class. I had no idea what I was doing and felt silly but I still remember the shining light coming in through the windows at that church (there was no yoga studio at the time) on a Saturday lying there in Savasana. Outside was a proper Canadian winter of -20 Celcius and somehow I felt a deep sense of what I now know to be peace.
But the idea and concept of inner peace didn’t really start there. It was actually instilled by my grandmother long ago when I was still in my childhood. My grandmother is a devout buddhist. She would chant, light up incense and ding the singing bowl seven times every single day. At times, I felt ashamed and asked her not to light the incense or chant when my friends were around. But she planted something inside of me that was fundamental, unbeknownst to my knowledge at the time, and that is the power of meditation and self-inquiry.
She is relentless in questioning her mind. She would chant for a few hours and when she gets up, she always has something to say and shares her inner workings in her mind. That was the seed of everything.
So when yoga finally came into my life in Canada, the practice re-organized my experiences in a way I could understand. First, I was hooked with the rush of very physical practice which eventually led to power vinyasa. I loved it. I still do. In my sweat, there was always a few drops of tears that were squeezed out of my misery from my relentlessly busy mind and slowly but surely, I felt healing for the first time. Then eventually, one day, my friend started teaching yin yoga and that showed me a way to soften, to hold myself with loving kindness.
Then I could finally get to work with meditation. I know I was ready because I was surrounded by teachers. I was lucky enough to have a coffee daily with my teachers and talk about compassion, kindness, struggles, judgement, shame, and everything else that showed up in meditation and contemplation.
With the pillars of meditation and yoga, I could feel myself slowly coming home. A home that is inside me.
Self-awakening is not actually about awakening. It’s more about walking back home.
Most of us don’t just wake up and say “hey, I’m an awakened one.” Most of us spend our lifetime walking. Walking home on our own path at our own pace. That’s self-awakening.
Did I keep that inner peace? Yes and no. Thanks to my teachers, I now know how to access it but I don’t manage all of the time. I still find myself running through a million projects and at times, it makes me feel like a tire on a rainy day that is hydroplaning as it spins violently. But I know when I am out of control and I know what I need to do to return to self.
This is what this workshop is about. Starting our walk together. Our walk back home.
50HR Workshop in Nusa Lembongan, Bali
This workshop is being offered from April 29th to May 4, 2020 on a beautiful island in Bali, called Nusa Lembongan. We have partnered with a great yoga studio, Yoga Dunia Lembongan. If you’d like to learn more, click HERE
Meditate with Tomomi
Download this fantastic app called Insight Timer and meditate daily with Tomomi