Living in a big city with its distractions and stresses, combined with the heavy burden and expectation to raise one’s socioeconomic status in a world where everything is measured by material achievement, can cause some serious health psychophysical problems. This is why, more and more people seek different ways to maintain their wellbeings.
One of the increasingly popular methods to attain personal wellbeing is meditation, a practice rooted in Eastern religions’ tradition. There are many types of meditation that people use to clear their minds from wasteful thoughts or to become more aware of their bodily sensations, so they can be more skillful at controlling them. People typically find these two things useful to decrease their stress level.
Being a meditation practitioner who is fascinated by its principles and discipline, I recently joined a specific variation called the full moon meditation, which was conducted in conjunction with the launching of a new villa called Lanna’s Lair in the secluded Pejeng village in Gianyar, Bali.
The meditation was conducted on June 19, starting at 7 p.m., when the moon showed itself in full. People believe that the full moon helps to amplify the energy of human beings, whether it’s negative or positive. This is why loving compassion meditation is often conducted during this time, in order to shower human beings with positive energy that is believed to have the ability to heal their souls.
Describing itself as a “Haven for Holistic Health”, the villa was built in a compound in the village area, which was an ancient place where the first Balinese kingdoms were established during the 14th century.
Locals believe that the village is a strongly spiritual place rich with mystical elements. This is why the villa’s owner, Diena Haryana, who is more known as an anti-bullying activist, dedicated the property in the village for those who seek to escape from the world for a while and to rejuvenate themselves holistically.
Diena herself is a fascinating person with many different experiences and evolutions. She was trained as an English teacher at the Jakarta Education and Teacher Academy (IKIP Jakarta). After cutting her teeth for many decades in the field of learning and development, it was her experience managing her anti-bullying NGO Sejiwa that serves as a pivotal point to pursue spirituality, recognizing its potent power to relieve bullying survivors of their trauma and pain.
Now, at the age 50something, her life experiences sets her up for a new challenge: setting the villa, including taking care of its interior design and marketing, all dedicated for spiritual activities aimed at helping people heal themselves and achieve inner wellbeing.
“I establish this place and conduct this activity so that we can all unite in an exercise to vibrate loving compassion as well as controlling our Egos and dealing with negative emotions like fear, disappointment and anxiety,” she said during our chat after the meditation.
“I believe that all of us have our own true calls in life, and only through dealing with our own Ego as well as life’s trials and tribulations that we can walk the path where we are destined to go,” she added.
Focusing on the positive
The evening’s meditation session was kicked off by a few minutes of yoga practice joined by dozens of participants. Afterwards we were instructed to sit in a circle on the grass. The meditation instructor, Lily Fistanio, then asked us to close our eyes and focus on the feelings of love and compassion towards ourselves first. Then she asked us to emanate that feeling to all beings on Earth.
After taking part in the 15-minute meditation, we took a break before proceeding into the second part of the meditation facilitated by Sri Teguh. He asked us to focus on the full moon’s energy and surrender ourselves to that.
According to Lily, the full moon meditation’s objective is to set aside wasteful and negative thoughts or emotion temporarily by concentrating on one particular object.
“Basically, there are two types of meditation: the first one strives to achieve concentration and the second to achieve soul clarity. We will discuss the second type later, but for the first one, they focus on our own feelings of tenderness and compassion, as well as the idea that the full moon multiplies our energy of love and the desire to share it with all beings,” she said.
One participant, Yuni, who works in Bali’s hospitality sector, said the method of concentrating on the full moon works for her to attain stillness of mind.
“At the start of the meditation, I found it hard to concentrate. When the instructor, however, instructed us to recite the prayer that we would be prosperous and happy while focusing on the full moon’s energy, I was able to still my mind. I felt some cold temperature coming in and out of my body. The peaceful feeling was so strong that I didn’t want to stop my meditation,” she said.
Sri Teguh said that aside from setting aside negative thoughts and emotions, meditation also helps people access positive energy from within them. They, however, have to access the energy from external sources like the full moon first before they will eventually be able to generate it from themselves.
“This [ability to generate positive energy from within], however, can only be achieved through constant practice, like doing concentration meditation on any object for five to 15 minutes every day. The most common object of concentration is your own breathing,” he said.
The effect of concentration meditation in clearing away the mind, however, is just temporary.
“People often have a misconception that meditation can help them achieve peace of mind and happiness. These two things are just the byproducts resulting from your mind being cleared for a moment from negative feelings and thoughts, and you don’t always get them.
Unfortunately, many people who have this misconception often feel disappointed when they don’t get these two things after meditating,” explained Lily.
For those who seek to get more knowledge on how to better manage their emotions and thoughts, Lily suggested mind clarity meditation, another step that can be taken after one is already adept at doing the concentration meditation.
“The mind clarity meditation uses the vipassana technique, which uses a 12-day retreat to help people to become more aware of their bodily sensations and therefore being more skilled at controlling their emotions, which are rooted in these sensations,” she explained.
The mind clarity meditation practice should always be done under the supervision of a teacher, however, she said, even after the 12-day retreat, as it involves looking at one’s own pains and shadows and not everybody is ready to do that.
“You shouldn’t expect to be a saint after doing the mind clarity meditation. We are all challenged to constantly apply that knowledge to control our behaviors in a day-to-day life setting. That’s where our real classroom is,” she said.
The full meditation is a regular monthly program at Lanna’s Lair. For more information, visit lannaslair.com, send an email to [email protected] or call 0812 4639 7305.