Yesterday, I started a short course on meditation.
It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. I’ve finally bitten the bullet. This isn’t my first meditative experience; I dabbled a little in the past, when I was going through a long and frustrating bout of insomnia.
I watched an excellent documentary series on BBC2 at the time called The Monastery, in which a handful of men – mostly non-religious - gave up the trappings of society for a few weeks to move into a Benedictine Monastery, to attempt the monastic way of life.
The programme had a surprisingly profound effect on me. I was stuck by how calm - and above all, happy - the monks were. The Abbot in charge of the monastery had a very switched-on and modernistic approach. I discovered that he’d written a book called Finding Sanctuary, which tackled the subject of applying some non-religious monastic principles to everyday life. I decided to track down a copy.
Ordering the book was my guilty secret. It felt like buying porn. Not that I know what that feels like, of course; I’m just very good at empathy.
I needn’t have worried. The book was a revelation. It taught me some simple meditation techniques that I started doing daily and my insomnia improved straight away.
Then, like all things that are good for you, I didn’t keep it up. I’ll still do it when I’m nervous, or to focus my mind before a gig or audition, but that’s about it.
Signing up for the course was an attempt to put this right. The first class was great. I was surprised at how easy it was to get back on the horse; figuratively, not literally, speaking. The session was relaxed and pressure-free.
Don’t worry, though. I won’t shave my head just yet.