Sandy C. Newbigging’s journey from chaos to calm with meditation
Turning points often come when you least expect them. Mine certainly did. Everything was great. Business was booming. I was running retreats in stunning resorts and I was on TV in 30 countries with my Mind Detox method. And my courses and clinics were full. I had a supportive girlfriend, we were living in an upmarket part of Edinburgh, and had more money than I thought possible. On paper, I was living a successful life.
Then one day I woke up to a really scary realisation: despite everything going so well, on the inside, it was a very different story.
Stressed to the hilt, I wasn’t experiencing an iota of peace. I spent most of my days frustrated because I wasn’t quite ‘there’ yet and, when I did get what I thought I wanted, I quickly became scared about losing what I’d worked so hard to achieve.
CONFUSED YET CURIOUS
I found it hard to sleep with the mayhem in my mind. Always tired, I was ill more often than I would care to admit, especially as I was working in the field of ‘health detox’.
I felt like a failure – a million miles from the peaceful, happy person I yearned to be. During that time a friend suggested meditation. I declined. ‘How do you know you can’t meditate?’ she asked. ‘Because I cannot stop my mind,’ I replied.
‘Ah, well you don’t have to stop your mind in order to enjoy peace when you are meditating,’ my friend joyfully declared. She sounded ridiculous. Could I really have a busy mind and be peaceful? Confused yet curious, I agreed to learn to meditate.
MEDITATING WITH MONKS
Soon after, I began to notice that I had a surprising amount of serenity. So much so, I went on a 10-week meditation retreat to the Greek island of Patmos with monks, and then on to Mexico. I had the opportunity to meditate all day and night, and received profound guidance along the way.
‘You are not your thoughts, emotions, body or circumstances,’ I was told. ‘You are that which is aware of these temporary things and that awareness is permanently calm, well and free – always.’
Since graduating as a meditation teacher, and becoming a monk myself, I’ve been teaching meditation around the world. Today I run the Calm Clan, an online community of people using my techniques, and I qualify Calmologists in my methods via the Calm Academy.
Please know this: an ongoing inner calm is not only possible, but much easier than you may think. The first step is to be willing to give it a go.
Read more: Cafe Fleur’s Lucy Piper on her journey from finance to food
FIND YOUR BALANCE
Sandy’s DOs and DON’Ts on making the most of meditation:
We are used to closing our eyes to sleep, but meditation is about waking up. Aim to be gently alert while meditating.
Worrying too much keeps you distracted from now and in the imagined past/ future. Try to put your attention on the present moment.
Confusion happens when you over-think things. Clarity comes from thinking less and trusting the perfect answer will appear at the perfect time.
Never resist thoughts, emotions, sounds etc. when meditating. Instead aim to be at peace with whatever happens.
CRAM IT ALL IN
Don’t struggle through long meditation sittings. Aim to do two or three shorter meditations per day that last between 15-20 minutes each.
BE SO CONTROLLING
Freedom tends to come from letting go of control and being willing to experience all that life brings.