It’s been a busy few years. Moving north from Sydney, fumbling my way through a PhD while teaching at university, building a house, supporting my fiancé as he opened his own business. I’ve always been sensitive, but the frenetic pace soon became overwhelming. Apprehension, uneasiness and disquiet quickly developed into a generalised anxiety disorder, panic attacks, insomnia and a crippling fear of driving. Constant stress, pressure and deadlines left me feeling consumed, overwhelmed and depleted. I tried everything – kinesiology, hypnotherapy, counselling, psychology. I soon learned that meditation and exercise were crucial, but I still struggled to find the time for them. I felt that meditation calmed me and eased my racing heart in times of immense stress, but I struggled to cultivate that sense of peace throughout my day. Meditation became somewhat of a crutch, my incessant attempt at alleviating the anxiety.
I was wedded to guided meditations, though often felt like a failure when I couldn’t keep focused. I often felt bewildered and discouraged when I couldn’t escape the racing thoughts. NEVER in a million years did I think I would be able to meditate on my own. My mind was constantly pummelled by an unending stream of thoughts and feelings whenever I closed my eyes – from emails to send, chapters to edit, articles to write, family to call, groceries to buy, plants to water, washing to hang – you get the picture! When Kate informed me I would soon be meditating independently, with no guided instructions, no music, no nothing, I was deeply sceptical. I worried that I was wasting my money (and her time) even trying.
I can honestly share, hand on heart, that my very first 20 minute Vedic meditation with Kate was a blissful, tranquil, spacious and conscious experience. But the best thing about Vedic meditation is that it’s ALL good. If my mind is calm and quiet in my meditation, that’s awesome. But if my mind is busy and noisy, that’s fantastic too, because it means I am processing and releasing the stress, tension and fatigue that has built up in my body. This means there is no wrong way to meditate, which relieves the negative self-talk and anxiety about getting right. For me, that has been a GAME CHANGER. Where before meditation was another job on my to do list, it is now a practice that I genuinely look forward to. I meditate for 25 minutes, twice per day, without fail, and the effects on my daily life are profound. I am sleeping better, I feel more calm, less anxious, better able to handle pressure and deadlines, less reactive, more balanced. I won’t pretend that the anxiety disappeared immediately, but I definitely feel more empowered, stronger, and more in control. I am also more accepting when anxious feelings arise.
Kate draws upon ancient wisdom, neuroscience and interesting anecdotes to teach the practice, and her meditation space is a blissful jungle oasis in the wilderness behind Byron Bay. The course is engaging, fascinating and joyful, with ample opportunities to ask questions, share challenges and seek deeper understandings about the intricacies of Vedic meditation. I rave about Kate and the course to anyone that will listen. When I meditate, I feel full of warm, radiant aliveness, and best of all, I can cultivate this feeling throughout the rest of my day. I genuinely believe that my commitment to this daily practice is life changing.