When and where did you begin to meditate?
When I moved to London from Madrid in 2012 I felt very open to new experiences. I felt alive and excited, that was the main reason I was receptive.
Another factor was that I had a sense of not belonging in London and lacked a sense of community. I was walking one day and saw the School of Meditation. Out of curiosity, I did an introductory course and that’s how I started.
At the time I was not motivated by a need for calm; I wasn’t anxious or in difficulty. I just wanted to do something I hadn’t tried before and meet new people.
Why did you take up a regular practice? What was the spark?
I had a strongly agnostic and rational mind. And then, my experience of meditation allowed me to rediscover a spirituality that I enjoyed and that had nothing to do with religion.
When I was a kid in Spain, it was a very Catholic country, and I associated this with rigidity. Religion was, for me, a lack of freedom.
With meditation, I found an inner calm in which I liked spending time with me. I was present, focused, happier and felt good.
What were your early experiences?
At the beginning I was quite rigid. I wanted to do it ‘well’ and it took time to realise that it doesn’t work that way. To get to the wisdom, you don’t need to be perfect, you need time.
I found that part of starting was that my mind would try to ‘improve’ the practice. It is part of our tradition to try to improve. But meditation is so much simpler that it can be hard to realise how simple it is...
It was just about being there with whatever was happening in the moment.
How does meditating affect your everyday life?
I am calmer, happier, more connected with myself and others.
One thing I have noticed is that I have more clarity to discern what is behind things. I see that we tell ourselves stories in life, that our problems are created by ourselves. Meditation gave me the power to discern between the two spheres: the stories and reality.
What has been your experience as a member of SoM?
For me, being a member of the School of Meditation is connected to my time in London. Now I am a distant member...
Those Thursday evening meetings were my special moment during the week, time with myself and the group. I am very grateful to the group, and to Rob, our tutor, too.
The things I experienced came with me and allowed me to experience them again now. Living back in Spain, I have joined other meditation groups, but I haven’t found the connection and magic that I had in London.
I left seven years ago, but I have kept my friends from the School of Meditation. We reconnected during the pandemic. I was in a cocoon at the start of the pandemic, and the sessions with the meditation group gave me a window out – they were very charming and special for me.
Although I cannot attend the School of Meditation anymore, I am happy to label myself a meditator.