Why did you found The Art of Calm?
I’ve been a meditator for about 10 years… I’d done a Master degree in Buddhist Studies at The University of Hong Kong, and two years ago I started a free meditation group called ‘Meditation in the Park’ [through Meetup.com]. There’s a moment where you can pour from the can without emptying yourself and I felt that I was at a point where I could pass on the spiritual and theoretical knowledge of meditation to others.
Do Hong Kongers need this know-how?
The answer to this is a resounding ‘Yes’, though we all do. There have been many, many personal and global challenges over the past few years. Meditation is a great tool to counterbalance these challenges. It’s the mental application of the physical, ‘Engage your core’, that you might hear in a pilates class. Meditation is a mental workout which strengthens the spiritual core. We work out our bodies, so why not our minds?
What are the benefits of meditating?
Meditation has to be experienced. You can read about it and think about it, but, if you don’t do it, there’s no real benefit. Especially in Hong Kong — this city where there’s so many things that need doing all of the time — the benefits are numerous. I always say to people, you don’t need to meditate for anyone else. The need is not from the outside, it’s from the inside. We all need refuge from this world where there’s always someone or something to attend to. It’s a funny thing that taking time to meditate actually creates the sensation of having more time, Meditating makes you more effective and efficient; and more healthy — physically, mentally and emotionally. Research into the benefits of meditation shows that it lowers stress levels significantly. The more you meditate, the less stress and unhappiness you feel.
So, meditation has helped you?
Meditation has definitely helped me. Its benefits are universal, no matter who you are or where you come from. I see the opportunity to meditate as a blessing that has helped build resilience. Although we cannot totally shield ourselves from the ‘bad’ things in life, meditation makes our inner core stronger and is a buffer against adversity.
Who is The Art of Calm for?
It’s for people in all stages of life: children, adolescents, young adults, the rest of us, seniors. It’s also for people who are at different stages of meditation practice, from beginners to advanced practitioners. Meditation can give sanctuary to young people living with the insecurity of uncertain futures, give new parents a moment to themselves, create space and freedom for executives who always need to be ‘on’. Meditation is for everyone and the ability to meditate is at the core of us all.
Do you have any final words?
If you feel like there’s even a small part of you that would like to try meditation, but don’t know where, when or how, I would say, just come to one of our classes to feel if it’s something for you. For those wanting private instruction, we can research the types of meditation that are most helpful to you. Some techniques are better for some than others. It’s very personal. Those mindful of budget, can sign up for one of our free meditations in the park. If you have even the slightest urge to meditate, I would say, do it now, don’t postpone.