I knew it all along.
Meditation is the best thing ever (hear, hear!)
Travel journalist Brigid Delaney tells us why in her fun-packed travel tome, Wellmania.
A modern girl like us, beset with the usual angst that comes from decades in the fast lane (the years of partying, the drinking and late nights) Delaney was well in need of an overhaul.
Exhausted, anxious, a bit flabby (her own words) as well as moody and … well, unhappy.
And fabulous at her job. Armed with a backpack and notepad, Delaney toured Wellness in all corners of the world for over a decade. Yup, she put up with the boutique accommodation, the gorgeous settings, the infinity pools… for the sake of her mission: to sort the value from the rubbish.
What stacked up and what didn’t?
Delaney sampled it all: colonics, paleo, miracle diets, cold-pressed juices, sugar quitting, spas, vitamins, anti-ageing products, fitness, weight loss, healthy eating, purification ceremonies, multi-day hikes, hot yoga, cold yoga, luke-warm yoga, group psychotherapy, mindfulness groups, retreats.
She liked meditation best. Why so?
Err. Because it … worked.
What was it like?
“After the first meditation a very subtle but undeniable feeling comes over me – I feel slightly buzzed, grinning and happy. ... After a week of meditating I feel a definite effect...
“During the week of the course, the anxious feelings immediately stop and my concentration improves. I don’t feel as overwhelmed ... The only issue is getting up early enough to meditate …”
What was so good about it?
Writes Delaney: “the discovery of stillness. Finally! Stillness is the gateway to serenity. Serenity is like one of those wild animals that will only approach if you remain very still and quiet, like a statue. Yet we are so conditioned to recoil from stillness, confusing it with boredom or inertia. We don’t really know how to do it.
“Meditation … is the base that holds everything up. … There’s no point rocking a hot body and having a clean liver and being able to backbend like a sabre if you are unable to control or at least deal with the blows, the bad moods, the existential angst, the disappointments and just general all-round sadness that is sure to come your way.
“Of course, meditation doesn’t promise to rid you of these things, but what it does do is give you mental space – and perhaps the ability to hold the line as the waves crash over you.
My favourite line
“Of all the wellness things I have tried for this book, it is meditation that there is the most love for. .... Finally, I become a meditator.”
Did she keep going?
“I keep going, doing it twice a day, because I quite like it. My brain starts to crave these regular mini-breaks. As one meditator puts it in GQ: it ‘taps an inner calm we all have, a calm that gives the brain a chance to settle and repair its frazzled neurons’.
A bloody good read
Okay, I admit it’s not just the subject matter that held me. Delaney rocks a good turn of phrase. In the tagline of Australia’s well-loved journo Annabel Crabbe: “One suspects Brigid Delaney could write about flossing her teeth and be funny and interesting.”
Brigid Delaney, Wellmania: Extreme Misadventures in the Search for Wellness, 2017
Interesting fact: During her Wellness tour, Brigid Delaney campaigned for the release of two Australians on death row in Bali – Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
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