To some it's an easy feat, keeping the mind still, maintaining balance and some sense of quietness even amidst a global economic recession and warming planet. For others it's a moment to moment effort to find a purposeful peace with and in each thing they do.
We all need to take breath every now and then; take a break from the activities and mind habits we occupy in the constant turning wheel of daily life. Some break with a beer at the pub, a run in the park or a holiday in sunshine. But these simply pause or distract the mind for temporarily relief.
It is not often we delve deeper or question why we feel the need to ‘break' at all. To give ourselves half a chance to feel real peace and happiness we must give ourselves the space and time to allow it.
Meditation is one of the most effective ways to find your own peace. The art of sitting quietly is not the easiest to master as I recently found out. I recently attended a 10-day Vipassana meditation course and learnt that peace of mind involves a lot of work - but work that's without doubt worth it's while with no pleasure in the world matching peace within yourself.
The Vipassana meditation technique requires noble silence, diligence, strong determination and patience with your own learning. It's better not to have a preconceived idea of what to expect (especially what you'll learn about yourself). Everybody has different experiences, this you will find out on the last day when silence is lifted.
Anyone can do the course; people from all walks of life travel from afar. I shared a room with a chemical engineer from Israel, and talked to a girl from Mongolia studying nutrition, a French Senegale child immigration lawyer, a technology artist from London, a Viennese English teacher and a mother of two from Scotland. All ages, all races, all seeking a more focused and balanced mind.
Courses are free. Facilities at the Darma Dipa centre I attended were simple but clean and tranquil. Hot water, a warm bed, delicious vegetarian food and woodland to wonder in. But a take caution: a Vipassana course is no holiday. It is work. Working solely on eradicating the mind of impurities that distract us from our own happiness - 4am wake-ups and an arduous day of meditation sits is what's on offer.
If us organic-ites really want to contribute positively to the health of our families and our planet we can only do it with genuine intention. The stronger the intention the stronger the effect; the more peaceful the mind, the stronger that intention will be.
If you would like do a Vipassana course in the UK visit www.dipa.dhamma.org
One more thing - the approach taught by teacher S.N.Goenka is non-sectarian so you can be assured no religious beliefs are pushed. It is simply a meditation course in learning the art of living.