I seemed to do a lot of meditating on my Paris weekend. AKA.. lying around doing nothing!
I developed my meditation technique in my thirties, after a breakdown, when I was seeking a “path to enlightenment” by trying different religions. A bit like the book/film “Eat , Pray , Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. without the eating bit. I loved the book, but couldn’t help thinking that after a year of running around she would have recovered from the depression of a broken marriage anyway. All this soul seeking did was distract her from the pain, ( but then again, been there done that!) and……
, ….. I was very disappointed that she fell into another relationship instead of being happy with herself.
(spoiler alert over!)
Well I didn’t find a religion I could be comfortable with, nor did I find enlightenment, ( well maybe a little!) but I did find that meditation helps me to centre myself in the here and now and overcome my tendency to become self absorbed. So can’t be bad… and I didn’t need to fall into another relationship within a year, and I did find contentment within myself. It was here all the time.
Sometimes in the mornings , when I have time, I call in the Hindu temple at work ( because it happens to be nearer my department than the Christian chapel) and meditate to start the day. …..helps to keep me calm for about two hours, instead of the usual blow up at frustrations of the “system“ after ten minutes. LOL!!………. just had the thought that maybe I should meditate at lunchtime. (like I have time!) Maybe the Muslims have the right idea to pray five times a day.
So I did a lot of meditation in Paris. Some, lying in the beautiful Parc Floral with my friend Muriel, letting the jazz music wash over me. The music was, what I would call a bit “doodly do” and would have been good as a film soundtrack, but lying in the lush green grass, in the sunshine, with the heady perfume of the flowers, the birdsong and the laughter of French children around, it was perfect.
The Paris Jazz festival is held every Saturday and Sunday during June and July in Parc Floral in the Bois de Vincennes at the end of metro line one. Entrance is 5 euro and there is usually two performances, plus some more jazz music in the parc before the first performance.
Apart from beautiful outdoor places I also like to meditate in churches. I happened to call in St Jaques de Haut pas, on rue st Jaques in the 5th, when they were singing a mass.
I respectfully sat at the back, being inspired by the soaring voices of the choir and meditated.
That days profound thought that popped into my head was
“whatever ritual or “truth” helps you to be loving and kind and help others, so be it, hang on to it….. But if your ritual or “truth”makes you judgemental or hateful or unkind or even worse violent, then I think there is something wrong, how can these negative emotions ever make you content?”
I lit a candle for Michael, (not sure why this particular ritual makes me feel better, but I suppose I am doing something concrete) and the box said 3 euro, but there was a homeless man praying at the back of the church so I gave 5 euro to him, because I figured he needed it more than the Catholic church!
I found other places to meditate also, the Tuilleries, Luxembourg gardens and the Jardins des Plantes, nearby Muriels apartment and of course the courtyard of the Grande Mosque de Paris. You cannot go into the prayer rooms unless you are Muslim but the courtyard is stunning and tranquil to sit in.
A year ago I was remembering my father.