We asked Heartfulness meditator Zebedee Alby to reflect on what he gained from practising Heartfulness. Zebedee lives in Andover and started meditating in 2016.
Why do you meditate?
I meditate for several reasons. People I trust tell me it helps deal with life’s vicissitudes, and as this has been borne out in practice, I am encouraged to make it into a daily habit in the same way as with physical exercise. If I don’t exercise, I feel I’ve slacked off and am dissatisfied. I feel that I haven’t fulfilled the one half of the calories Inputs=Outputs equation, so cannot eat my several daily lunches and dinners guiltlessly. If I don’t meditate, I feel less centred and synchronised and am therefore less assured of acting in the best way with other people.
I meditate because I enjoy being still in a volatile world. I enjoy seeing the connections between the thoughts and feelings that come during meditation. I enjoy the refreshing blankness without thoughts and feelings that come for a few seconds or many minutes of a meditation. I enjoy dipping for 30 minutes into the Eternal Stream, always accessible but unseen.
What changes have you noticed in yourself from practising Heartfulness?
David Lynch says that within a few weeks of starting Transcendental Meditation, his wife asked him “Where has all your anger gone?” I myself am less angry. I am less temperamental and less ever-ready to have a meltdown when something untoward happens. Recently I have noticed that I leave a pause while writing or making a decision and await the arrival of the right words or next move. This must be what is meant when experienced meditators talk about the delay before reaction that regular meditation practice achieves. I have a more direct connection to my feelings, and more empathy with the people I interact with. None of which is to say that people consider me a paragon or role model. But to them, I say “Imagine what I would be like if I didn’t meditate!” I cannot watch the news or violent films indifferently as I used to, just recording their message without emotion. Now I am affected emotionally, although, like Chariji, I continue to watch violent action films with glee.
Do you do the evening cleaning process? If so, what benefits do you notice from doing it?
I have started doing the evening cleaning but I don’t find it easy to sit there for 30 mins willing complexities and impurities out. It takes too much effort and attention, and I don’t get the feeling of lightness which people say rewards the practice. But I am determined to give the practice more time to reveal its benefits.
How does your Heartfulness practice affect your work life? How about your family life?
I am less temperamental and less ready to have a meltdown when something untoward happens. It still happens, but less often and to a lesser degree than previously, I believe. I am also more able to continue listening while in the grip of such emotions, and adjust when I hear the right tone signifying proper communication and willingness to reach a just solution.
Do you feel your ability to cope with troubling situations has improved?
What part of the practice do you find particularly helpful when times are tough?
The meditation part is the most central to me still, despite hearing others talk about the paramountcy of Cleaning. It’s what I started out doing when I first met members of the Thruxton Group, and remains the most natural and easiest part of the Heartfulness practice.
Do you feel that being a part of Heartfulness, you feel like a part of a community?
Yes, definitely. From the start of my practice in 2016, the ready-made community that Heartfulness groups offer has been one of the best parts of the experience. As society becomes ever-more atomised and individuals are as far-flung from each other as solar systems in the galaxies, a ready-made community of like-minded and kindly people is a major attraction of Heartfulness.