One of the rewards of having an active community is to watch our initiates grow. They find creative ways to find time to practice. This is a chat with Meredith who is an advance initiate.
Tell me about yourself
I live in Harvard, MA with my husband of 28 years. I'm the mother of two children. One is in her second year of college in the UK and the other is a junior at the British International School in Boston. I have worked in Financial Services for the past 25 years in a variety of communication related roles including technical writing, copywriting, training, product design, information architecture, and content strategy and development.
How long have you been an initiate with DHC?
I've been an initiate since 2011.
How did your practice change over time?
For the first few years, I just practiced a couple of times a month during classes and/or when the spirit moved me. After the third initiation, I started practicing more frequently and I began to see things change in my life. I started to keep a journal and do a retrospective each night. I began to see patterns in my life and I started working on them. This made me want to go to the next level. I began to practice every day and I made the decision to do additional initiations when I felt I was ready. Each initiation brought new insights and increased my commitment.
You are busy with a full-time job, how do you manage your practice time? What are your schedules? How is it different from the earlier days when you were a new initiate?
My job got busier over the years and I had even less time to practice. However, what I discovered was that if I followed through on my practice the physical universe aligned to support me. For example, a meeting I needed to prepare for was cancelled. Or, there was snow storm that lasted several days. Things like that! In the earlier days I put work and family first. Now, I try to put my practice first because everything else runs more smoothly as a result. I make time for it by waking up a couple of hours earlier. I simply willed it one day and I began to wake up automatically and do it. I never felt tired. It just happened naturally when I wanted it to. I also take advantage of my commute to Boston each day. I listen to one of Shailesh's CDs or I do pranayam (I have to drive slowly).
Was there a point in your journey when you started deeper practices?
Yes, after I took the third initiation everything changed. The experience was so profound I started taking my practices very seriously. For some reason, I didn't realize the importance of the practices after the first and second level initiations. For example, I was too focused on the amount of time the touch healing took. I thought once a week was good enough.
Looks like you are nearing the 1000 pranayam per day - that is a lot. It takes nearly 45 minutes plus to do around 100, how do you manage it? Tell me more about it.
Yes! I wake up early and get a good start before I leave the house. Then, I take advantage of my commute to and from Boston each day. And I wrap up at night before I go to bed. If I take a walk at work, I do it then. Sometimes, I do it while I'm walking on the treadmill at home (but I always hold on because it can get very intense). I don't always manage to get to 1008 but I get pretty darn close. It just becomes a habit. When I do that many I can feel the electricity running through my body. My hands shake. It's unbelievable. When I have loving thoughts during the practice (I can't always silence my mind) my body tingles from head to toe. I realize that I must have pure thoughts to make that connection to the spiritual field. Any negativity and I feel nothing. But I don't stop. I push beyond it.
Do you do all that in one sitting? How long does it take?
No I don't do it all in one sitting. I do it throughout the day. I do seem to get 300 or 500 knocked off before noontime. That gives me incentive. It takes self-effort!
Are there different states you achieve in one sitting? Maybe there is a preparatory phase and you go deep?
The deep states come in the early morning or at night before I go to bed. It doesn't always happen. Sometimes my mind is restless, but I still keep trying.
Do you have to be physically fit to manage through
No, you don't have to be physically fit or eat perfectly. Just start. Over time those challenges go away. I found that I was attracted to healthier foods as a result. I stopped eating red meat and I eat very little chicken now. I used to gag when I ate fruits and vegetables, now I eat them more frequently. It just happened naturally.
What changes do you see - both internally and externally?
There are so many I don't know where to start! Things don't hurt the way they used to; I am able to manage things constructively. I'm much happier and my life is more manageable. I also receive a lot of direction during mediation. Lots of incredible ideas and answers to my questions and clues. And my dreams changed. At this point, I receive written messages in my dreams! They are difficult to remember. I literally see them being written out on a piece of paper. So, I've began an investigation to see if eating healthier food will increase my energy and help me to bring the messages I'm receiving down more easily from the ethereal level.
What is your advice for initiates?
My advice is to treat your practice like the Scientific Method. Keep a daily journal and experiment. You will see the result for yourself. This is spiritual but it's also science. It's truly amazing!
Thank you Meredith.
One things that stands out is how through practice we become capable of handling problems and achieving peace in the process. While problems may not go away, we attain the maturity and strength to handle them well.
Discipline and perseverance are key to sustained practice to experience full benefits. Everything else falls into place.