How To Sit During Meditation?

meditation posture

Meditation posture is very important; it is the first thing that I teach when explaining meditation to the people in my workshops. What is the right way to sit when you meditate and is there a right way? Below are some tips on your posture that will make meditation pleasant and lasting.

Back straight

Many people ask me if they can lie down during meditation. Technically you can, but 1) there is a high chance that you will fall asleep, 2) most meditation schools suggest that sitting upright is necessary to keep your spine straight. One of the explanations is that along your spine is the energy channel which connects you between the earth and the sky, and sitting upright keeps this channel open. Physiologically, the explanation is simple – when a person is sitting with the back straight, there is enough space in the chest and stomach to breathe fully, the inner organs are not contracted and have enough space in the stomach.

Legs crossed

When you meditate for a long time, crossing your legs into a half lotus position will keep your posture stable. Your two knees and the buttocks form a triangle which stabilises the posture and allows the meditator to sit without movement for hours.

Cushion

It is a good idea to sit on a cushion to support your back. If your buttocks are higher than your knees, there will be no pressure on the knees and it will be easy to maintain the posture for a long time.

It is ok to sit on a chair

Meditation is a practice for the mind. If you meditate less than an hour, it is totally fine to sit on the chair. Remember that keeping yourself comfortable will help you forget about the body and concentrate on the mind. When you sit on the chair, try not to lean on the backrest, and keep your feet flat on the floor, your hands on the knees or right hand on the left hand.

Eyes relaxed

We often keep the most tension in our eyes and shoulders. Relaxing your eyes will help you relax the full body. Try to open the space between your eyelashes a bit, so the light comes in, but you do not see anything. Do not look towards your stomach if you visualize something there; your eyes are to be relaxed at all times. When visualizing, feel the object inside your center, and keep your eyes relaxed.

Adjust your posture

If you feel too much pain or discomfort, feel free to move and adjust your position. Making your meditation experience pleasant will assure you to come back to it. Our body remembers all the unpleasant activities and forms resistance towards them. Do not torture yourself, if your legs are numb or in pain, simply change your position. If your back is in too much pain, allow yourself to lean on the backrest/wall for a while, and then come back to sitting upright. May your posture depict your self love.

If you have any special condition, remember to consult with your physician about the meditation posture you will stay in for a long time.

Thank you for reading, if you are ready to meditate, join our free 42 days online self development program. Today is the best day to start changing your life for better. Learn about 4 ways traveling makes you grow, and combine traveling with your meditation practice.

I am happy to hear from you! Share your tips about meditation posture in the comments below.

meditation posture

How Meditation Helped Thai Boys Survive in the Cave

How could meditation help when you are trapped in a cave and may think you are about to die? We’ve heard the story of 12 Thai boys and their football coach who were rescued from a flooded cave in Northern Thailand after spending there almost 10 days. In order to survive, they were guided into meditation by their coach, who had once been a Monk, and miraculously – it helped them attract the rescue team and survive. Peace Revolution Teaching Monk John Paramai explains how it was possible.

1) Meditation reduces the need for food

When we meditate, we reduce the need to use energy. When the body is still, the amount of energy that the body needs decreases. Then, as we observe our breath during meditation, we make our breathing softer, smoother and longer. This is how the body naturally needs less energy resulting in less metabolism and lower oxygen consumption. Therefore, meditators can stay alive many days with less food or in some case with no food at all.

2) Meditation reduces fear

If we got trapped in a room with no light for days without knowing when we would be freed, would we be able to let go of worry from the mind? When the amount of worry is more than the amount of hope, we  – humans – develop fear in the mind. Meditation reduces the number of thoughts. Moreover, meditators can choose positive thoughts over negative ones. Those who meditate regularly will fear nothing regardless of the situation they are in.

3) Meditation reduces conflicts

Getting trapped in a place with so many people, how did the boys stay so calm? It looks as if they didn’t have any conflict with each other at all. When we meditate, we develop empathy, and that’s how we can see and understand from other people’s perspective. Those who meditate regularly will not only think about themselves, but will develop compassion towards others. That might be the secret of how all the boys survived and no one was left behind before the rescue team arrived.

4) Meditation increases patience

Waiting requires patience, which is always hard to find and easy to lose. People get tired of waiting, especially when you have to wait indefinitely. The mind that can let go, helps us wait longer. Additionally, the amount of expectation that keeps growing every minute we wait, is gong to blow our patience away. When we meditate, we learn to let go, lower our expectations and stay with the present. And that’s how patience is developed.

5) Meditation increases positive energy

Buddha taught us that the mind is everything: what you think, you become. When we meditate, our mind cultivates positive energy which by the law of attraction, will attract positive things to your life. When all boys meditated together, the amount of their combined positive energy could potentially attract the rescue team that finally discovered them. And this is the secret power of the mind.

If you wonder where to start exploring the power of your mind, you may consider applying for the upcoming Peace Revolution Fellowship in Thailand.

La magie de l’expérience de la méditation

La première fois que je l’ai réellement expérimenté, c’était avec l’un des Peace Architect du World Peace Initiative. A l’époque, il m’avait conviée à l’une de ses séances en groupe qui devait se tenir à Porto-Novo. J’ai essayé, j’ai découvert la méditation, une vraie magie. Je vous épargne les détails. J’en suis tombée amoureuse: pas a priori de la pratique, mais de l’effet qu’elle fait. Découvrez dans cet article la magie de la méditation.

Le début de la magie

J’ai continué à apprendre et à me familiariser avec la méditation grâce à un programme de développement personnel en ligne sur le site internet de PEACE REVOLUTION. C’est 42 jours de pur délice, où tout un cocktail de cours est gratuitement disponible pour apprendre à prendre conscience de certains faits de votre quotidien, jusque-là banalisés. A la fin de ce programme, vous êtes transformé positivement: vous respirez et répandez naturellement la paix. Mais avant même la fin, vous remarquez l’impact positif des leçons sur vos relations avec les autres, sur votre manière de voir les choses; vous êtes désormais plus enclin à la tolérance, à laisser passer certains choses jadis insupportables.

Des opportunités pour améliorer sa pratique

Après les 42 jours de cours en ligne, vous avez également la possibilité de saisir des opportunités pour approfondir et développer votre pratique de la paix intérieure. J’ai donc été à la première édition de la Formation ALAFIA pour l’Afrique francophone du 10 au 12 octobre 2017. C’était une occasion inédite que j’ai partagé avec 21 autres jeunes de l’Afrique francophone. C’était une expérience inoubliable de paix profonde.

De même, des milliers d’autres opportunités existent comme par exemple le Global Peace on the Move (GPM) qui est à sa 21e édition cette année, et actuellement en cours. Vous avez donc la possibilité d’y postuler jusqu’au 15 août, délai butoire. C’est une rencontre des jeunes de tous les pays du monde entier en Thaîlande durant 2 semaines. Plus de détails à travers le lien suivant.

Faire l’expérience

Maintenant que vous avez découvert les B-A BA, je vous invite à lire mon prochain article pour découvrir des thématiques concrètes pouvant vous aider à cultiver la paix, tant en vous et avec vous, qu’en dehors de vous et envers les autres.

Seven Steps For A Yogi Path

There’s a lot of confusion about yoga these days. For many, it’s just a brand to market their products, or a tool used in social media as a way to get thousands of likes and followers. However, yoga is not only about a perfect headstand pose, or holding your leg behind your neck. The asana (poses) practice is a very important part of this whole technology; it helps you be in a good physical condition, prevents you from loosing the right function of your body, helps you detox and restore your system from all the negative impact of the environment but is not definitely the only aspect of it.

When I became interested in yoga, I had no idea what I was doing, in fact, I had many misconceptions about it, like yoga is for women, yoga is for flexible people, yoga is religion and so on. Anyways I went for classes every week until I fell in love with it. Fortunately, thanks to this first approach to yoga and meditation, in a few months my life changed completely in the four areas: personal, social, professional, mental. I could witness my body and mind changing, while my heart started to open little by little allowing me to connect with my intuition, self-love, and compassion.

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root YUJ, which means “to unite”. And the ultimate goal of it is liberation, also known as Samadhi, through the union of the individual self with the universal soul. According to the old scriptures, yoga began with the universal sound OM, the powerful cosmic vibration that lies in the bottom of all atomic energies, the word of creation.

For me, one of the most important aspects of engaging into a yoga lifestyle is to have the right reasons; you need to be one hundred percent committed to your daily practice Sadhana if you are to have success in maintaining it. Your “why” should be more important to you than the reasons and excuses for not doing it. So, before you start any yoga practice, you want to create a Sankalpa or a personal intention, formed by the heart and the mind, which serves as your personal resolution.

If you are wondering where to start, here are simple steps for a yogi path:

1) Moral discipline

As human beings, we have the ability to choose between the right and wrong. This can be considered as a very important practice for training our thoughts, speech, and actions in relation to the external world. Remember, we are not alone, we depend on others not only to survive but to build pure and lasting relationships, either you practice yoga or not.

2) Positive duties

This is a practice for healthy living concerned with ourselves and bringing an impact to the outside world as well. Some of these duties include purifying our body and mind, cultivating an attitude of contentment, self-discipline, self-study or inner exploration, and if you are deep into spirituality, you may consider surrendering to your spiritual source.

3) Posture

According to Patanjali, the physical aspect of yoga is the third step on the path of freedom. Asana means “seat” (for the practice of meditation), the posture should be steady and comfortable. Instead of focusing on only one posture that we can hold comfortable and motionlessness, we should be able to attain many poses really comfortable and steady.

In this article, I am taking the risk of stepping out of the Indian tradition and honoring the Tibetan Lamas with these Five Rites to activate and stimulate the seven main Chakras (wheels of spinning energy). According to Peter Kelder “performing the Five Rites stimulates the circulation of essential life energy throughout the body”.

4) Breathing techniques

In sánskrit it is called Pranayama, the yogic practice of regulating and channelling one’s breath. Another path translates it as “freedom of breath”. The goal is to change our state of being so that we become more focused on what is to be the focus especially to meditate without distractions. My two favorite practices are:

Chandra Bhedana: our left nostril is energetically associated with the moon, our body’s cooling energy.

Surya Bedhana: our right nostril represented by the sun, carries our body’s healing energy.

5) Meditation

So far we reviewed the moral aspect of the being, the physical body and the breath as a source of balancing the energies. Now I am reaching one of my favorite aspects of yoga which is understanding the nature of the mind. We have two parts: the body and the mind, like the hardware and the software. The software controls the hardware, so the software needs to be optimized and clean in order for the hardware to work properly. The same way we need to keep the mind clean and optimized; keep it positive all the time, rest and let go of everything that no longer serves us. Meditation is a very effective tool to control the mind, desires, thoughts, speech and finally our actions. Research shows that regular meditation helps improve concentration skills, clarity, and emotional positivity.

I recommend you to start with a guided meditation.

6) Yogi eating

The type of food we eat plays an important role in our lifestyle, the energy levels and the deepening of the meditation and asana practice. It is our responsibility to fulfil all the requirements for the body, be aware of the quality of the food, and make it simple.

Avoid intoxicants like alcohol, drugs, smoking. This keeps you stimulated, and your ability to perceive and feel changes. The level of clarity gets limited, and you may make wrong decisions. Another advice is to make 40% of your diet plant-based, with fruits and veggies. Animals carry memory and information that your body absorbs and make it part of itself. As evolving beings, we no longer need to eat large quantities of meat. And, of course, if you are willing to spread love and kindness to all beings, think about all the sacrificed animals that die in order to satisfy your old habits and cravings.

7) Heal yourself

Emotionally, psychologically, physically and spiritually, we all have something to heal, in fact, I truly believe that the only reason we are born is to know who we really are. We carry deep fears, self-judgments, imposed beliefs, that are hard to face and can only be eradicated with the willpower and courage to recognize when something is wrong. Since my first contact with yoga, I notice a change in my consciousness and a deep desire to develop my life, cultivate my inner desires and dreams only by listening to the heart and getting away from all the possible distractions of the matrix.

As the Dalai Lama says: “Be free to experience on your own what works for you or not.”

These paragraphs that I’m sharing with you are not the ultimate truth but all of the tips mentioned have been used for thousands of years in many traditions and cultures. Too often, I keep repeating to myself that everything happens for a reason, and thanks to yoga I can understand myself better and spread the words of well-being around me. I believe in changes, and one by one we can all change the situations, mindset, and misperceptions that keep us away from being happy and at peace.

LOVE YOURSELF.

Can We Train Our Brain for More Empathy and Compassion?

We often hear that we have come to this world only to fight for our own interests and individual survival. But is this true or could it be possible that as human beings we have the compassion that moves us to worry about others as an instinctive characteristic? These are the questions widely discussed in various contexts of our society. 

In general, we live in a society that promotes competitiveness, individuality and a struggle fostering a misinterpretation of Darwin’s Law of Natural Selection: survival of the fittest. The artificial environments existing in large cities and accompanied by technological advancements have been favouring this competitiveness, largely fostered by the dominant political-economic system. This substitution for individual economic survival makes the empathetic, cooperative and altruistic spirit disappear that should instead lead us – as a society – on a more natural path.

We are altruistic by nature

Empathy is nothing but the ability to be in resonance with the feelings of another person. It is the ability to identify and understand the situation of the other, putting ourselves “in their shoes” and seeing things no longer from our own perspective, but from the viewpoint of the other. Being empathetic helps us understand why or how others react to certain situations, which in turn gives us useful information about how we deal with people. Empathy is an extremely positive characteristic to have, since it can help create better relationships and a more peaceful and harmonious world.

The biologist Frans De Waal in his book The Time of Empathy shows us how empathy and altruism arise in humans and animals. For example, it has been scientifically proved that human beings evolve in a group, not individually like other species do. In the following text, I will present evidence from the analysis of the behaviour of great primates, such as chimpanzees, bonobos and Capuchin monkeys, as well as dolphins and elephants, which show that many animals are concerned about their peers and are willing to help them, in some cases even risking their lives. Thus, empathy is an ancestral trait that characterises animals and men, which contradicts the sombre vision of human nature proposed by some (as noted by the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud).

Is empathetic brain predetermined?

Nowadays evolution and the natural world show us that the condition of empathy and altruism towards others is something that is a part of our own nature. However, it is undeniable that some people have a greater capacity than others for expressing these traits and putting them into practice. So, is it that some of these skills are fixed and predetermined or can we develop and improve them throughout our lives?

From the neuro-physiological point of view, empathy is the ability to be in neural resonance with the feelings of another person. Studies carried out by the renowned Max Planck Institute in Germany have showed that some of the autonomous (unconscious) processes of our body undergo changes when a person “comes into resonance” with another. Examples of this are the fact that our eye pupils dilate or contract, our temperature increases and the rhythm of our breathing can be altered, among several others.

The responsible part of the brain for this is called right supramarginal gyrus, and is a part of the cerebral cortex that is located approximately at the junction of the parietal, temporal and frontal lobes. When this region of the brain does not function properly, or when we have to make particularly rapid decisions, our empathetic capacity and compassion are drastically reduced, as researchers have found. This area of ​​the brain helps us distinguish our own emotional state from that of other people, revealing something unusual: that the empathy could be actually represented by brain structures and cell populations

Because the neural circuits of our brain are malleable and can be reconnected through neuroplasticity, the tendency of empathy and compassion is not fixed. We must all practice “putting ourselves in the shoes” of another person to reinforce the neural networks that allow us connect in a positive way with the feelings and circumstances of others. Luckily, these findings provide us with an early evidence that compassion is a skill that can be trained, rather than a stable and a predetermined trait gained at birth, as previously thought. This could be applied in various areas in our society where it is necessary to improve relationships and communication skills such as, health care, education and business.

As easy as sitting down, closing your eyes and meditating

Various studies in the fields of neuroscience have showed that through meditation techniques we can actually “train” our ability to feel compassion and empathy for others, as if it were a muscle of our body. In this sense, areas of our brain change when we train it to be more compassionate through meditation, and as a result, the chemistry of our brain changes activating areas that were not active previously.

There are no easy answers on how to raise people’s awareness and empathetic response. However, by adopting new habits that change the mentality and behavioural choices made on a day-to-day basis, anyone can reconnect their brain to be more empathetic.

One of these habits that allow compassion training, as demonstrated more and more, is to practice a rigorous mindfulness training and loving kindness meditation. This practice, although powerful, is very easy to do. All you need is take a few minutes every day to sit quietly and systematically send thoughts charged with love, well-being and compassion to: (1) family and friends; (2) someone with whom you have tension or conflict; (3) strangers and all living beings around the world who may be suffering; (4) connect with the feeling of self-compassion, forgiveness and love towards oneself.

Doing this simple 4-step practice literally reconnects our brain by involving neural connections linked to empathy. We can feel that the vessels in our brain change and open up to empathy just by spending a few minutes going through this systematic practice of meditation.

How much lightness and joy it is to know that we can improve our capacity to love and interact positively with those around us every day! You and I are the result of four billion years of successful evolution. Let’s act as such! 

Photo by: Hermes Rivera on Unsplash.

Comment entraîner notre cerveau pour être plus empathique et compatissant?

Nous entendons souvent dire que nous sommes venus au monde seulement pour nous battre pour nos propres intérêts et notre survie individuelle, mais, est-ce vrai? Ou, sera-t-il possible qu’en tant qu’êtres humains, nous ayons comme caractéristique instinctive la compassion qui nous pousse à nous préoccuper des autres? Celles-ci sont des questions largement discutées dans divers contextes de notre société et dont la réponse (selon la façon qu’elle est interprétée) a créé des paradigmes sur notre nature en tant qu’êtres humains. J’apporte à travers cet article quelques pistes pouvant nous aider à savoir comment entraîner le cerveau, afin de le rendre plus emphatique et compatissant.

En général, nous vivons dans une société qui favorise la compétitivité, l’individualité et les luttes entre les gens, favorisant une mauvaise interprétation de la Loi de la Sélection Naturelle de Darwin de la survie du plus apte. L’environnement artificiel existant dans les grandes villes, accompagné de progrès technologiques, a favorisé cette compétitivité, largement favorisée par le système politico-économique dominant. Cette substitution de la survie économique individuelle fait disparaître l’esprit empathique, coopératif et altruiste qui devrait nous conduire, en tant que société, dans une direction plus naturelle.

Mais qu’est-ce que c’est l’empathie?

L’empathie n’est rien d’autre que la capacité d’être en résonance avec les sentiments d’une autre personne. C’est la capacité d’identifier et de comprendre la situation de l’autre, de nous mettre « dans leurs chaussures » et ne voir plus les événements de notre point de vue, mais du point de vue de l’autre. Être empathique nous fournit des informations utiles sur la façon dont nous traitons les gens. L’empathie est une caractéristique extrêmement positive à avoir, car elle peut aider à créer de meilleures relations, un monde plus pacifique et harmonieux.

Nous sommes altruistes par nature

Dans son livre «Le temps de l’empathie», le biologiste Frans de Waal nous montre comment l’empathie et l’altruisme se manifestent chez les humains et les animaux. Par exemple, il a été scientifiquement prouvé que l’être humain a évolué dans un groupe, pas individuellement comme les autres espèces. Dans un prochain article, je présenterai des preuves de l’analyse du comportement des grands singes comme les chimpanzés, les bonobos et les singes capucins, ainsi que les dauphins et les éléphants, qui montrent que beaucoup d’animaux prennent soin de leurs semblables et sont prêts à aller à l’aide de leurs pairs, en certains cas même en risquant leur vie. Donc, l’empathie serait un trait ancestral qui caractérise les animaux et les Hommes, ce qui contredit la vision sombre de la nature humaine proposée par certains (par exemple, le célèbre psychologue Sigmund Freud).

Un cerveau empathique et compatissant: est-ce quelque chose de prédéterminé où peut être développé?

L’évolution et le monde naturel montrent que la condition de l’empathie et l’altruisme envers les autres est quelque chose qui fait partie de notre nature, mais il existe des preuves indéniables autour de nous que certaines personnes ont tendance ou une plus grande capacité que les autres pour exprimer et mettre en pratique ces traits. 

Du point de vue neuro-physiologique, l’empathie est la capacité d’être en résonance neurale avec des sentiments d’une autre personne. Des études menées par l’Institut de renom Max Planck en Allemagne ont montré que certains des processus autonomes (inconscients) de notre corps subissent des changements quand une personne «résonne» avec une autre. Des exemples de ceux-ci est le fait que nos pupilles se dilatent et/ou contractent, la température corporelle peux augmenter et le rythme de notre respiration s’altérer, entre autres. La partie du cerveau responsable de ce mécanisme s’appelle « gyrus supramarginal droit» et c’est une partie du cortex cérébral qui est à peu près à la jonction du lobe pariétal, temporal et frontal. Lorsque cette région du cerveau ne fonctionne pas correctement, ou lorsque nous devons prendre des décisions rapides, notre capacité empathique et la compassion sont considérablement réduites, selon les chercheurs. Cette zone du cerveau nous aide à distinguer notre propre état émotionnel d’autrui, révélant quelque chose d’inhabituel: que l’empathie pourrait être représentée par des structures cérébrales et des populations de cellules. 

Parce que les circuits neuronaux de notre cerveau sont malléables et peuvent se reconnecter par la neuroplasticité, la tendance de l’empathie et la compassion ne sont pas quelque chose de fixe. Nous devons apprendre à « nous mettre à la place des autres» pour renforcer les réseaux de neurones qui nous permettent de connecter d’une manière positive avec les sentiments et les circonstances des autres. Heureusement, ces résultats nous fournissent une preuve que la compassion est une compétence qui peut être formé, au lieu d’un trait de naissance stable et prédéterminée, comme on le pensait précédemment. Cela pourrait être appliquée à divers aspects si nécessaires, notamment améliorer les relations et la communication, et dans différents domaines comme les soins de la santé, l’éducation et les affaires.

Entraîner notre cerveau: aussi facile que s’asseoir, fermer les yeux et méditer!

Diverses études dans les domaines des neurosciences, ont montré que grâce à des techniques de méditation, nous pouvons réellement former notre capacité à ressentir de la compassion et de l’empathie pour les autres, comme s’il s’agissait d’un muscle de notre corps. En ce sens, les zones de notre cerveau changent lorsque nous l’entraînons à être plus compatissant à travers la méditation, et par conséquent, la chimie de notre cerveau change les zones d’activation qui ne l’étaient pas auparavant.

Il n’y a pas de réponses faciles sur la façon de sensibiliser les gens et d’apporter une réponse empathique. Cependant, en adoptant de nouvelles habitudes qui changent la mentalité et les choix de comportements au quotidien, n’importe qui peut reconnecter son cerveau pour être plus empathique. Une de ces habitudes qui permettent l’entraînement du cerveau a développé la compassion, comme démontré de plus en plus, est la pratique rigoureuse de la pleine conscience ou la méditation. Cette pratique est très puissante et facile à faire. Elle demande juste un peu de temps, quelques minutes chaque jour pour vous asseoir tranquillement et envoyer systématiquement des pensées chargées d’amour, de bien-être et de compassion à:

1) la famille et les amis;

2) quelqu’un avec qui vous avez des tensions ou des conflits;

3) les étrangers et tous les êtres vivants dans le monde qui peuvent souffrir;

4) se connecter avec le sentiment d’apitoiement, pardon et d’amour envers soi-même.

Faire cette pratique reconnecte littéralement votre cerveau en impliquant des connexions neuronales liées à l’empathie. Vous pouvez sentir que les vaisseaux de votre cerveau changent et s’ouvrent à l’empathie juste en passant quelques minutes à méditer.

Combien de légèreté et de joie est-ce de savoir que nous pouvons améliorer notre capacité à aimer et interagir positivement avec ceux qui nous entourent chaque jour. Nous sommes le résultat de quatre milliards d’années d’évolution réussie. Agissons comme tels! 

Photo par: Mayu Gala en Unsplash.

Why She Introduced Meditation in Her School in Kenya

She came to Kenya from India at the age of 23. Her passion to serve in Africa  was her reason for coming. She started teaching at a village school in Mombasa, Bamburi High School. Gradually, she rose up the ranks of leadership and service to establish Nairobi International Schools. The first E school in East Africa. If you do not know much about the school, here is one thing you must always remember from Mrs Radhika Lee herself.

From nothing, extraordinary things emerge if we believe and connect to a higher experience of God.

I got into the school 30 minutes late. I had missed my directions to the majestic high school section that rests off Maji mazuri Road, Lavington area of Nairobi. Getting in, you are immediately struck by the calmness and cleanliness within. At the reception, I notice Mrs Lee in a meeting; she’s quite noticeable from the several images of her work in the media.

I am curious and excited to meet her and a bit nervous too. When I eventually get into the office, I meet a lady, quite confident, calm and inviting.

It’s interesting how someone like her, appearing successful has had immense challenges, from abusive relationship to having no money. Her story of trying to survive and showing her best self every day at some point in her life, reflects what several people go through in their pursuit to make a difference today. Here are a few nuggets that we captured from the 1 hour encounter with Mrs Lee at her Senior school’s center:

1) Giving up is not an option

In her pursuit to make a difference and offer her gift to the international education landscape, she battled with several issues. Family abuse, financial challenges and identity, being an Indian living in Kenya tops the list. Despite all these, she would think of several other things, and giving up was never a part of them.

2) Paint your vision, put some pictures and words into your dream

At the point of struggles, and survival, even though she had a job, she still woke up early to write and put down images of her dream into paper. She recalls with a smile on her face how she would talk with her son about the names of the classes in their conversations. She indicates that early mornings, with all calmness, were her time to put down her thoughts.

3) Show up your best always

It’s common that when we have challenges in our personal life, we let it trickle into our work and several areas of our life. While we recommend people to take action whenever they are in any crisis, Mrs Lee also believed in showing up her best at all times. In one instance, when a receptionist in one of the former schools she headed talked poorly to a parent, she was dismayed and offered to speak to the parent directly. To her, the parent was the reason for their being there and she had to show respect and understanding to them. She adds that the culture of an institution determines how the people there experience life and transformation.

4) Nurture and treasure relationships

When she came to Kenya, then in a rural village school, it’s by the support of close connections who gave her the push to expand beyond what she already knew. When she took it upon herself to treat a parent right, the parent eventually became a trusted partner in her dream school becoming a reality. She says that relationships are very important in the life of a new generation leader. Some of the sauce to nurture effective relationships is openness, flexibility to meet people at their point of need and being relatable. You could almost laugh when she recounts listening to trendy music and playing basketball, for the fun of it while connecting more to her teen students.

5) Prayer, meditation/quiet time & connecting to the divine is a bedrock for progress and impact

Importantly, Mrs. Radhika Lee has had an immense connection with God in her life and experience. In fact, she attributes all her success and impact to the God advantage. When asked what exactly she means by God, she starts passionately about the experience of God and reflections that are personal to each and everyone; only available in quiet times when the mind is calm. She has a tradition at her school of a 30 minutes quiet time every morning. According to her, each silence is a chance for the students to tap into their experience of God. As she explained, I could almost imagine all classes quiet; gates to the school locked, all students calm, as meditation music guidance chimes from the speakers available in each and every class.

Photo Credits: Rainbows in Clouds

Much recently, Mrs. Lee published a book called Rainbows in my Clouds, a sensational experience of a young girl who blossoms into a woman of the modern times. It’s a story of resilience, persistence, courage and consistency to overcome insurmountable odds and make a difference in the lives of children across the world. In the book, you will find out how she almost lost her life had her house manager not acted quick enough at the face of an abuse.

The proceeds of her book go to support CATSI, The Cancer Awareness and Treatment Support Initiative that lends a helping hand to the brave souls fighting cancer.

What inspires you from Mrs. Lee’s life nuggets? My favorite is number 5. Let’s take this conversation to more people that need it! Share the love!

Photo credits: Kenya High Commission 

Peace Revolution Visits Guyana

This inevitable human growth comes with a certain turmoil: as children, we are ignorant to the outside world, we are unaware of what the working world is like, what paying bills are like and what the everyday decision making brings with it. As we advance from childhood to adulthood, we have a more precise view of it. Some may say that adulthood teaches us a lot while others think it brings a discomfort caused by our inner dissatisfaction of where we are and where we want to be. As such, we tend to be unhappy and dissatisfied until, most of the times, our materialistic goals are achieved.

Then along comes two beautiful souls who are trained in mindfulness and meditation, the technique that has allowed many to have a new-found sense of calm and well-being on finding inner peace. Ana Laura Lloveras and Stephanie Bianchi are a part of the Peace Revolution project, and visited Guyana between April 27 and May 1, 2018. These angels are sent to allow us realize a new perspective on inner peace and remaining calm in a world that is constantly giving us reasons to be dissatisfied. They are humans but have the aura to brighten up the room as they enter it; they are capable of making a profound and positive impact on the first meeting which is much needed in the world.

The PR tour allowed me, one of the organizers, to have a new perspective on the importance of inner growth. The techniques of yoga and meditation were taught, and never before had I realized the impact it can have on the mind. The 5-day tour allowed me to see the impact yoga can have on children who are victims of their surrounding. These children would have been a product of their negative surrounding but were able to relate to the exercises and discussions on meditation and yoga and how to make their mind at ease. 

As the tour came to an end, my appreciation for the art of meditation grew. It showed me the importance of not being caught up in the fight to achieving something that is beyond myself – the materialistic items. Meditation taught me that self-care is important especially that of the mind, and taking a few moments for my mental well-being can have a profound impact on my everyday life. Being an adult, I am filled with lots of decision making, problem solving and being caught up in the everyday happening of the world of work. But through the realization of inner peace – a result from meditation – I can be my true-self.

*The tour was organized in cooperation with The Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pourquoi devons-nous être en paix avec nous–mêmes?

Nous sommes conditionné de façon à ce que tout ce que nous disons ou faisons a une conséquence sur notre entourage immédiat ou lointain. Etre en paix avec nous-mêmes nous permet donc de mesurer la portée de nos paroles et actions avec plus de lucidité, avant même de les exprimer.  Alors, pourquoi devons-nous être en paix avec nous-mêmes ? En d’autres termes, que nous apporte la paix intérieure en tant que personne vivante dans une communauté ? Lisez cet article pour en savoir davantage.

Les bienfaits de la paix intérieure

Etre en paix avec soi-même nous apprend à répondre de façon mature à la provocation. Etre en paix avec soi-même nous inculque la sagesse en toute chose. Etre en paix avec soi-même nous fait prendre conscience de la simplicité de la vie et du bonheur d’être libre en son âme et conscience ; car OUI, que nous le voulons ou non, les tensions et conflits, qu’elles soient personnelles ou professionnelles nous mettent dans un état d’instabilité mentale qui se répercute immédiatement sur notre humeur, affectant ainsi nos réactions envers les autres. Etre en paix alors nous donne une perpétuelle joie de vivre qui contamine automatiquement les autres.

La paix intérieure améliore vos relations

La façon dont nous voyons les autres n’est souvent pas l’adéquate, mais plutôt le résultat que nous fait apercevoir notre pensée « sale ». Qu’il vous souvienne l’anecdote qui parlait d’une femme qui regardait pendant des mois par la vitre de sa fenêtre, le linge que séchait sur la corde sa voisine, et se moquait car elle les trouvait sale. Un beau jour, à son étonnement, elle se rendit compte que le linge était propre ; c’est alors que son mari lui dixit qu’il venait de nettoyer la vitre pour la rendre propre et qu’en fait, la voisine ne faisait jamais mal sa lessive.

La nature de la pensée

Notre pensée se comporte exactement de la même manière que cette vitre. Lorsqu’elle est sale, c’est-à-dire lorsque nous ne sommes pas en paix avec nous-mêmes, nous trouvons vite la paille dans l’œil de notre confrère. Conséquence : nous le jugeons, parfois même sévèrement. Combien de fois n’avons-nous pas médit d’une personne parce qu’elle a commis ce que nous qualifions souvent de « bassesse » ? Alors qu’il nous aurait fallu avoir une pensée claire pour parvenir à la hauteur d’âme qui nous ferait comprendre qu’en réalité la solution n’est pas de critiquer, mais d’aider, de provoquer un changement.

Découvrir sa paix intérieure avec PEACE REVOLUTION

En attendant mon prochain article sur les avantages que revêt le fait d’être en paix avec les autres, je vous propose de commencer le programme de développement personnel de PEACE REVOLUTION, afin de cultiver votre paix intérieure. N’hésitez pas aussi à me laisser votre avis en commentaire.

Why I Love Meditation Retreats

Sukkhothai Retreat

If you are one of those people (just like me) who always seek for something else than just relaxing holidays far away from daily routine, then you should consider this kind of retreat. Not only will you enjoy cosy accommodation, beautiful surroundings and delicious healthy food, but also precious time to have a real encounter with your true-self.

Suggestion from a cousin

When I used to think of holidays, I always imagined going away from daily life, resting an endless amount of hours, and lying on the beach. Basically, doing nothing. And I was lucky enough to do that many times. But sometimes I ended up more tired than when I arrived. Why so?

Because my mind did not take rest seriously. While I was drinking coconut and sunbathing, my mind was still jumping agitatedly from one thought to another. I was recalling everything I had left behind, stressing myself even more just because I had more free time to overthink.

Therefore, I always ended up having this taste for more. But what was it exactly that I was searching for?

Just randomly as awesome things happen in life, a cousin of mine suggested me to take a look at an article about a retreat taking place in Thailand. Although I had never participated in a meditation retreat before, I decided to take part in the one organized by WPI in January 2016. That was when I found a perfect balance: impeccable combination of relax, re-energizing activities and life wisdom. Later on, I participated in many more.

Connecting East and West

I felt this retreat was a synthesis of many aspects of my life that had always been there, latent, hoping to be awakened. Taking part in it gave me the opportunity to look back at myself, my emotions, and my essence. To enjoy some silence and be able to listen to whatever my body, my mind and my soul were trying to tell me.

Sukhothai Retreat view

Organized in a delicate way, the retreat made me feel relaxed, comfortable, encouraged, inspired and embraced at the same time. My wandering mind had no chance but to finally surrender to the possibility of taking some rest.

What’s more, I had always been interested in learning about different cultures, connecting Eastern and Western philosophies. The retreat gave me an incredible chance to gain valuable knowledge about life from Buddhist wisdom.  Face-to-face lectures with Teaching monks allowed me to find pragmatic keys to have a different approach to my problems. I learnt about the way my thoughts, emotions, and actions are interconnected and how responsible I am for my own sake of mind.

Creating my reality

Basically, meditation taught me that I am the creator of my reality. Difficult and challenging situations will always be there and I cannot change them. However, I have absolute responsibility of the way I am reacting to those situations. Hence, I have the chance to build up my reality from a perspective connected to peace, freedom, truth and dignity. In this way, I am creating my own reality, I can stop assuming myself as a victim of external circumstances. Consequently, I am able to start considering myself as an active agent of transformation of my own life.

I understood that meditation actually requires just a little investment of time that brings countless benefits to my life.

If you are also passionate about diving into profound life experiences and would like to give rest not only to your body but also to your mind in a precious and tranquil environment, I would highly recommend you to take a look at this 7 Day Mindfulness and Meditation holidays for ultimate happiness that will take place in Thailand in July.

Be sure to enjoy the fulfilling experience of nourishing your true-self.