Do you know what my favourite thing is about being a meditation teacher? When I see someone transformed by it. It's a 100% thrill. Every. Single. Time.
When a student comes up to me and they're lit up like a Christmas tree because they really want to say how it has changed them, I want to jump up and down inside.
But you know, I have to act somewhat teacherly-like and say, "mmm, that's great! very good."
I know that everyone can experience this radical shift too. Yet before now, I wasn't quite sure how to guide it based on my monk training. I mean, I saw the shift in myself early on, but how do I subsequently say with certainty, "this is how you get there"...? Some would get it, yet some wouldn't.
(As an aside, you'd be surprised that when I was a monk, many articles of tradition were taken on faith and not put to the test. Why question all those nit-picky teaching details when you can just agree with tradition? Yeah, monks are lazy too. But I digress...)
Meet Clém, the inspiration
The "transformation puzzle" finally solved itself, and I'd like to share with you the student who inspired me. His name is Clém from Belgium. He couldn't finish his course due to work pressures, but he promised he would return to the next course and finish his Jedi training.
So the next course rolls around three months later, and I was expecting to have to do a refresher for Clém because he only had half the training as his peers and half the support. As with other students who split their course, I expected that he wouldn't have meditated in the interim 90 days.
But he had! Every day, for 45 minutes or more, all in one long shot, consistently. And even then, he only had two of the techniques, not the full set.
He was fired up and very much wanted to share how it had completely transformed his life.
Of course, I nearly fell off my chair.
He said he was a different person at his super-high-stress job, not taking his stress home anymore, and you could genuinely sense how he seemed happy, content, and satisfied. His life had new meaning and possibility. I was so happy for him!
Keeping it simple
Clém wasn't the first to share this kind of inner rebirth, yet he was the one to crystalize the pattern in front of my eyes. Now I can confidently share with you how you too can experience this. Wouldn't that be nice? To feel like you did when you were little, filled with awe? To have a peace inside your head that feels light?
Like all good solutions, the answer is simple. What Clém, and others like him, did was to ensure that he got in 45 minutes of meditation a day. But all at once.
In the past, I've instructed my students to do multiple 15-20 minutes sessions. (This was the artefact of my monk training that I was alluding to.) But the reality is in our culture that unless you're retired, you will have a lot of distracting things pulling at your attention.
Practice-wise, this is how it begins for most people.... you get in the first 20 minute meditation of your day. All good. You sincerely plan to get in a second and (hopefully) a third. But that doesn't happen. Other Stuff Happens. The next day, same deal.
You begin think to yourself, "well, I've been meditating like the teacher said, sure, admittedly once a day, but I don't see the shifts that he mentioned. Plus, I don't see any space or stillness in my mind. Bleh, this isn't working."
If this was you, then don't feel bad in the slightest. Remember to put all the weight on my shoulders for you "getting" this; that's my responsibility. We're just going to tweak a few bits here and there.
It's all about timing
That 20 minute meditation session you started your day with dialled back your stress and cortisol levels. So far so good. But without extra sessions, you don't get the time to go past the stories and "stress burn-off phase" and get ahead into "quality time" with the Infinite.
The Infinite is where the big transformation lies. This is where you are remembering You. This is the awe experience of the "...oh my gosh..." at what is opening up within. Awakening.
Nearly everyone who has had this has meditated cumulatively for at least 45 minutes a day. They meditate in one big block so that they ensure that it happens fully. They don't gamble that they'll get in a future 20 minute session.
Their attitude is, "Just do it." No matter how they feel--they just do it.
Almost everyone who has had a transformation such as Clém has used this same "big block" approach. I've seen it enough times to assert this confidently.
Now I want you to have this kind of transformation. You have all the training, even if it's fuzzy, it's still in there.
But I can hear the nerds asking, why 45 minutes? Well, 45 minutes is the amount of time that I've come to notice where the cellular stress has had sufficient time to release and there are more windows to allow the Infinite back in. What initially feels like "it's not working" becomes "that went by too fast, I don't want this to stop" by the end.
That's your hook. You'll want to do it again.
(As an aside, many other practices advocate a big block too, but they'll say, "meditate for 2 hours a sitting." That's not necessary for us, because the techniques are so time efficient. Yes, even if you feel there's lots of drifting, wandering and competing inner stories. Those won't matter. This approach is powerful.)
Can you meditate 45 minutes in one block at some consistent point in your day? Yes, I know you can; you can find a way.
Can you imagine what it'll be like if you do this for 3 months? No way. Impossible.
But let me know. I want you to be the one who next shares with me their transformation story come June. Yes, you too can do it--Clém would say the same thing.