Tag Archives: meditation

Good people bring out the good in people…

Have you ever thought about the company you are with? In terms of your social circle.

You have, right? We all have at some point.

Have you ever realised how important this actually is?

Well, I only discovered this on a recent trip to France this summer. A week away in France on a meditation trip, living in a forest and not knowing what the people were going to be like naturally did seem ominous.

On arrival I realised the scale of this retreat. Approximately 3,000 people in the middle of nowhere from all different nationalities around the world and all age groups. Literally toddlers to 70 year plus people. I was somewhat overwhelmed.

As I was setting up my tent in a pitch black forest I heard a voice behind me say “Satnam”. This means ‘truth’ and is a way people in kundalini yoga greet and close meetings with others. It was a girl from Russia, also on her first retreat. She asked if I needed a torch she was holding. I was thinking I don’t know you, your battery is probably draining on the torch that you will need for the next seven nights, why would you offer your torch to me? I was on guard!

The next day as I walked aimlessly not knowing where I was meant to be I tried the “Satnam” approach. I made new friends who not only directed and walked with me but they also offered me extra padding for support as they were worried my mat was perhaps too thin for the ground.

Where was I? Do these people think I’m some type of deity or Hollywood star to offer such hospitality?

At meal times, complete strangers would offer food to each other if anyone were short. If you have a question about something, people will greet you with a warm smile before answering.

One evening, I returned to my tent to find a note attached. I had completely forgot but I’d left my shirt on top of my tent to dry that morning. It rained in the afternoon and there was a note saying, “It started to rain. Hope you don’t mind but I put your shirt under a cover next to the tree”. No name was mentioned. It was only two days later that a complete stranger said, “I hope you found your shirt”.

Maybe this is what heaven feels like.

There are many stories and towards the end of that week I made some very good friends.

But I noticed something about my behaviour when I was there. I was obviously happy, but I felt more confident. I felt at peace. I could ask any question and no one would judge me.

People randomly told me my good qualities. Qualities I didn’t even know I had. They did this with others. I was doing it too. It was contagious to be nice to people.

“When you appreciate the good. The good appreciates”.

The word appreciate means two things 1. to value something 2. to increase in worth.

I realised as more people were being authentic and helpful it made me even more authentic and helpful. We were in a circle that I always wanted to be in..

It hit me when I was there just how important it is to be around good people. How it made me feel. The strongest memories are made of feelings.

It doesn’t mean you never disagree or get angry or disappointed. That happened too. What is important is how those emotions are channeled being around good company.

I came back thinking about the company I am with. Why do I have to leave that feeling in France? What if it could exist in my personal life at home and in my work life? Where we can make choices about the people we are with, that’s what I chose to do. I still have all my same friends but I am more careful when I spend my time. I am amazed at how different I feel. I knew it was important but never this much.

If you truly want to excel in your life, whether in work in your society or spirituality, stay in the company of good people.

Take time this week to reflect on the company you are with. Then make proactive choices to spend time in the company of the good.

“Company of good people is like walking in to a shop of perfumes. Whether you buy the perfumes or not, you are bound to receive the fragrance”.

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Whilst I thought I was learning how to live, I was learning how to die..

I spent a lot of time this summer away from home travelling and meeting people.

En route to a meditation retreat living in a forest in France for a week I was accompanied by this gentleman – Amarpal Singh, a psychologist and philosopher from Argentina.

With seven hours of driving ahead of us, I was inevitably asked the question “so why are you doing this?”

I said I want to learn more about myself. I had many questions in life and I said very passionately that I wanted to know what my purpose in life is.

There was silence for a few minutes as Amarpal stared out of the window. I sat turned uncomfortably in the front passenger seat looking at him. Maybe he didn’t hear me?

Then he said “So you must look forward to dying then?”

I was thinking no not really. I just said I wanted to LIVE my life. To the full.

He said in his rather strong American accent “Well, the thing is….you’re dying everyday”. Smiling as he now stared at me.

So what started off as a very happy conversation now seemed quite grim.

I told him I didn’t understand what he meant. He explained.

In order for me to really live, the old me has to die. This is a way of knowing who you are, what you like and don’t like. Your sub-conscious thoughts may not always match your actions. Imagine if your sub-conscious thoughts always matched your actions. You will be living a life of your true self. An authentic life. One that you are comfortable with, not interrupted by conscious or societal pressures.

So everyday we are dying because everyday we are living a new life.

I then understood what he said but disagreed. I asked but why does it have to be so morbid as death? Why can’t you say I am living everyday and I am learning new things rather than dying?

Amarpal explained if you don’t die, you only move side-ways not upwards. All your old aspects remain and you learn new things but don’t get rid of the old. It’s like carrying baggage.

When you blossom in to a new being you create new possibilities with the new you. Ready to die once again.

That made sense to me completely. So for example, and you may be able to relate to this, I used to worry a lot about what people thought of me. We all do. But I realised one day that you can’t and you never will satisfy everybody. All I can do is be the best person that I can be because the relationship is not between me and other people but between me and God. This created a whole new perspective on life for me. Not least immensely lightening the weight on my shoulders. Now I look back and think how ridiculous I was to live my life worrying like that. It almost feels like that could not have even been me.

So welcome death. Learn more about who you really are. Then start life…

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