“When the mind is not trained it is like a monkey. Meditation helps you to focus”. Dhammananda Bikkhuni.
One of the most enjoyable parts of my life before the pandemic was going to exhibitions in my free time. I really miss it. I even subscribed to a National Art Pass – Art Fund (during lockdown I had most of it refunded). It was a fantastic way to be encouraged to make the most of the variety of exhibitions in the several venues in London (making you feel really spoilt for choice). Before making this decision I used to be a member of the Barbican, located in the City. I usually managed to visit the exhibitions during my breaks while meeting face to face with clients (all over London, mostly in the City). It makes me feel very nostalgic to think about this.
This might resonate with Art lovers and in this specific blog post. I would like to share some relevant insights about my wonderful experience at the exhibition “Buddhism” at the British Library last year. Art is extremely stimulating and inspiring. A real boost for creativity. This exhibition in particular further inspired me to embrace meditation and learn how to slow down.
I obtained my qualifications for Mindfulness during lockdown last year and I have been really enjoying both my personal and professional experience with it. My own journey with Mindfulness started three years ago, precisely during spring time when I was diagnosed with a benign paroxysmal vertigo. However, I started to meditate back in 2008.
In Western culture we get praised for achieving tasks (many of them and perhaps some simultaneously). There is a sense of productivity around this aspect in our lives. It often causes anxiety.
My ticket order (with an Art Fund discount) dates back Feb 23rd for the exhibition “Buddhism” at the British Library.
I had a chance to meet with my friend and social media coach Paolo for a catch up at a pub in Soho after several months and before quite some time apart during lockdown. Life has changed significantly since then.
The exhibition was extremely gripping and mind blowing.
The picture of the Buddha above was also the first post I shared when starting my Instagram account where I share mostly about Mindfulness (started March 20th last year). It is very calming and representative of values of wisdom and a deep life of reflection, suffering, search for meaning and spirituality.
Buddhist philosophy originated from ancient cosmology in India. It all is around the concept of Kharma, the cycle of rebirth that continues the pain experienced in the world. The cycle of birth – death – rebirth is called Samsara.
The Buddha’s teachings are based on the Four Noble Truth:
- There is suffering in life
- Desire is the cause of the pain
- Hardships can be overcome
- Liberation is achievable in the so called Middle Way
They are called Dharma, one of the Three Jewels in Buddhism.
Siddhartha completely disengages from all distractions in the world through a process of meditation reaches a state of complete freedom. He then achieves full enlightenment in May while sitting under a Bhodi tree on a full moon day. His gesture of touching the Earth with the right hand to call her as his witness is defined as Buhmisparsa Mudra.
As I share this, some very positive memories of a very engaging teacher at secondary school for the subject of religion spring to mind. What a joyful time that was. I remember hanging on his every word about Buddhism. It really suits my introspective and reflective personality. When we covered the topic a whole new world opened up to me. What a journey back in time that makes me feel the alignment to my values even deeper.
I have always had a real fascination for Buddhism and I feel influenced by the fact that Dr Rick Hanson’s approach is a combination of Buddhism, Psychology and Neuroscience. It makes it even more appealing to me. Back in 2018 I started to follow his meditation session online with the Awake network, an online community of experts in the field. My meditations are inspired by his resources.
I really enjoyed the warm, brain friendly orange colour. During the visit I was also particularly struck by the power of the prayer wheel. It is used in the Tibetan tradition for the repetition of mantras. They are on paper scroll inside the drum. It rotates in clockwise direction on the wooden handle. It is considered as propitious. The weight of the chain supports it to spin. Mantra are usually “Om Many Padme Hum”, six syllables that are symbol of six kingdoms and rebirth. Pilgrims tend to recite mantras while walking clockwise around images of the Buddha.
Just before the end of it I had a chance to ring a bell, which was very liberating.
“You yourself must strive. “The Buddhas only point the way”.
Magga-vagga (The Path, Sutra Pitaka)
Finally, as I am a real language lover and a language trainer, I purchased a pocket sized copy of the Diamond Sutra by The British Library. It is the world’s earliest dated printed book. It was made in AD868, more than 500 years before Gutenberg’s movable type printing in Europe. I mention this also in my Q&A with Gabriella Ferenczi.
I am currently in the process of waiting to book a ticket for the exhibition “Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers” at the Design Museum. Music is another great passion of mine.