“I was betrayed by someone I loved and after years of being unable to let it go; I turned to Google for advice and every article I came across suggested meditation” narrated 28 year old Melissa Mukaiwa.
Meditation dates back to the Hindi traditions of Vedantism in 1500BC and is derived from the Latin root word ‘meditatum’ which means ‘To Ponder’.
In the 5th and 6th century it branched out when the Chinese Taoist tribe and the Indian Buddhists came up with various methods of meditation which helped people cope better with matters of life and death.
Mukaiwa who currently offers meditation classes and workshops told The Lounge in an interview that she was raised in a Christian home and because of that she was very hesitant to dip into meditation.
However out of sheer desperation, she conducted further research on it and soon learned that many of the preconceived notions, she had about it were wrong.
After months of practising meditation on her own, she later found herself spending more time in temples in Thailand where she and a group of other people would meditate for up to 15 hours a day.
“This is where I then learned to understand that meditation is one of the single most important skills you can learn in today’s crazy, stimulant and saturated world”.
Whilst in Thailand, Mukaiwa noticed that tourists would ask her to teach them the art of meditation and when she came back to Namibia, similar requests followed suit.
This then led to the establishment of meditation classes which she has been offering for over six years to date.
As a mediation teacher Mukaiwa explained that meditation is not a one-size-fits-all, therefore the type of classes she offers are based on the most basic secular interventions.
“We do this with the goal of helping people find the best technique for themselves given their inherent natures and current challenges”.
She noted that the public has been very receptive of the practise even though a few others still have areas of misconception and confusion.
“However, I’ve found most people’s inquiries to be genuinely curious as opposed to confrontational”.
Meditation in this era, is said to have the world’s top performers swear by it irrespective of their age, race, religion, culture and creed.
Having attended a business conference once overseas, Mukaiwa noticed something that stood out during the time was the way in which the attendees would start every session with a short meditation to help everyone in the session relax, become present and focus.
“This actually made me happy, the truth is that no one asked whether meditation works because what people are more concerned with is how they can make meditation work for themselves”.
Mukaiwa brought forth a list of meditation benefits where she explained that the benefits depended on how individuals practice and the reason as to why they do.
“It can boost your health by increasing your immune function, it can boosts ones happiness by increasing positive emotion, decreasing depression, stress as well as Anxiety.
It also boosts ones social life and on the emotional intelligence level it makes one more compassionate, increases cortical thickness in areas related to paying attention and improves one’s ability to multitask or stay focused on a single task among other things”.
For Mukaiwa staying present while meditating is an art she has learned to master as all meditations are based on a mind and focal object act.
“It may be focusing on an object like a candle, it may be a feeling sensation, a word or even a particular piece of scripture from your religion. What you focus on and how you focus is what largely differentiates the different types of meditations as well as the affects you might experience”.
She noted that staying present is a practice like exercise, which is important to make sure that one is doing the right type of meditation in order to meet your goals.
Mukaiwa further highlighted that this may be challenging at first but the more one does it, the easier it gets and the more distasteful life seems to be without it.
“Having a teacher, coach or supportive community is also likely to help you stay on track and evolve your practice as needed”.
She describes one of her greatest life lessons learned to date as a result of meditation.
It is all so self-reinforcing and hopelessly interconnected.
She however found that when practiced correctly, mediation will quite frankly make one better at everything.
“Your work, connecting to your inherent nature and purpose, following through on your creative endeavours, your relationships, even your sex and intimate life can improve as a result”.
She has experienced so many rewarding life lessons, one of them having been developing an ability to know and understand herself better, to enact her hopes and dreams, “to love my ugly and to move through disappointments more quickly.
Many people believe that stress gives them their edge and short term stress might, but long term stress wreaks havoc on their body and mind. Honestly, stress relief is really just the tip of the ice-berg in terms of the incredible changes that can come from having a satisfying meditation practice”.
She recommends that one practices meditation both at the start and end of their day.
“Doing it in the morning, sets the tone for your day. Doing it at night, allows you to drop the mental emotional baggage that you may have accumulated in your day.
Personally I recommend some form of movement along with your morning meditation just to get you up and ready for the day. I also suggest meditating in your lunch period and around 3 to 4pm when you start to hit that midday slump”.
Speaking on the basis of her workshops Mukaiwa highlighted that the workshops and classes are open to the public, corporations, schools and private groups.
“My team and I offer a range of free and paid opportunities both in person and online where we have a cumulative 10 Module Syllabus that exposes people to a range of meditations to help them experientially discern the best type of meditation for them”.
There is also a Free Audio-Visual Meditation Starter Kit which Melissa Mukaiwa offers.
She encouraged the public to conduct various reviews of scientific journals, and then most importantly commit to trying it out and seeing for themselves.
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