It was during my 3rd year summer holidays from medical school in 2006 that I visited Dharamsala; a town in the foothills of the Himalayas to undertake some voluntary work. Whilst there I was privileged to hear the Dalai Lama speak at his resident temple. As he walked past me I felt an air of calmness. I was fully immersed in the moment. I was present. I was mindful. That feeling was temporary but it’s memory still lingers.
The years passed by and I got caught up in the stress of being a medical student and then a doctor. My friends and colleagues were caught up too so I presumed that it was normal. What I realised through my training and then my practice was that stress was a common state of being experienced by the majority. It seemed to have become the way of the world and I was falling into its clutches. I decided to take some time out of practice and turned to reflect upon the times in my life when I had felt ‘awake’. I remembered the event in Dharamsala. I also recalled the time when I met my newly born nephew for the first time; the time I sang to my grandma as she was counting her last few breaths. What was so special about these moments? Why was there calm in my being? I later understood it to be an absence of the past and future and full immersion into the present moment. It was mindfulness and I was being mindful.
To develop and further deepen my practice I re-visted India in 2014 and practiced pranayama (the regulation of the breath) and mindfulness meditation under the guidance of an experienced Ayurveda and Yoga practitioner.
As someone who now practices mindfulness meditation daily I find that I am able to respond rather than react to situations more easily. I am less angry and irritable, less stressed and live a more fulfilling and enjoyable life. This change has bought about a noticeable improvement in my personal and professional relationships too.
Many of us spend much of our waking hours at work or working. We often see work and life as two separate entities, striving to achieve some balance. My area of specialist interest is employee health and wellbeing. Empowering staff across various sectors from healthcare and education, to tech, corporates and construction for example to look after themselves and stay well using insights, learnings and teachings from the key areas of Neuroscience, Mindfulness Meditation, Practical Positive Psychology and Emotional Intelligence.