Seeking Zen in the Busy City?
Mandy Yuen – Lifestyle Blogger
Living in HK can leave you feeling lost and alone – too busy being busy for anything or anyone it seems! The last thing we seem to think we have time for would be to sit down and have a bit of ‘me-time’, but meditation guru Shantum Seth reminds us that if we are able to pause, calm the mind (also known as Samantha) and ‘look deeply’ (vipassana), we realize how much of a better person we can be: less reactive, more responsive, more empathy and more inner peace.
That also means less angry drivers and pedestrians, less angry protests and violence, less hate and dislike towards one another and a more peaceful Hong Kong.
Ahhh… the thought of those wonderful things seem to even lower the Air Pollution Index!
You may be wondering, “What does Shantum know about meditation anyway?” Well, he’s walked ‘In the Footsteps of the Buddha’ since 1988 after visiting sites associated with Buddha with his teacher, the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, and has gone on an annual pilgrimage since. From his journeys he has gotten to know himself a lot better and had begun to love sharing his love for the Buddha and India with the people he meets or invites along the way.
What is proper meditation?
If you are one of those who think meditation means sitting cross-legged for an hour with your eyes closed and breathing deeply, you are not alone – That’s how most people imagine it to be. Shantum tells us, though, that meditation is the ability to develop the energy of mindfulness, and we can do this in everything we do, from the moment we wake up, whether it is while walking, eating, brushing our teeth, or even being on the telephone. It is about cultivating a present moment of awareness, focusing on a single point object like the natural in and out movement of our breath.
If you would rather spend your energy socializing and making friends, try meditating first. As we develop our present moment of awareness through meditation, we intuitively start connecting with another’s thoughts and feelings, making it easier for you to empathize with others!
Feeling like you want to start feeling like a better person ASAP? Good news: Shantum will be hosting a meditation workshop on March 1st, 2016 at Ovolo Southside. Head to the following link to find about more on how you can join! http://asiasociety.org/hong-kong/events/buddhist-day-footsteps-buddha
Before that, though, you can try slipping in some meditation into your day with the follow tips from Shantum:
When you wake up in the morning, just be aware of your breath as you breathe in and out, and say silently “breathing in I know I am alive, Breathing out I smile to life’. This gentle half smile of awareness helps us acknowledge that we are alive and have another 24 brand new hours. We can also vow internally that we will live each moment fully and look at all beings with the eyes of compassion. You can use the words:
‘Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion’
Shantum also recommends Hongkongers to try out the training in meditation that the Asian Institute of Applied Buddhism (AIAB) offers. It is situated in Lotus Pond Temple, Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. The monastics and lay people there practice and train mindfulness meditation in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. Find out more at www.pvfhk.org
If you are interested in finding out more about Shantum’s Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, who he calls one of the greatest teachers of Mindfulness meditation, head to www.plumvillage.org or see his work in India through www.ahimsatrust.org
Mandy Yuen is a teacher, lifestyle and fashion blogger and an Instagram addict – but mainly just a happy multitasker who loves to look at and blog about beautiful things. Mismatched outfits can bring down her mood, but a really good meal can lift it up immediately. During her free time, you’d probably find her on the couch in front of her laptop with the TV on and busily scrolling and double tapping on Instagram with her phone. You can keep a tab on her via instagram @mandeeeee or on her blog mandeeeeesays.blogspot.hk