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The 3 things I learned from going to a Meditation Retreat

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

This month I had the good fortune to attend a 5 day Buddhist meditation retreat, where we were guided by a very great and realised Tibetan Lama. A Lama, for those of you who may not know, is a person who has devoted their life (often many lives) to developing their mind and has vowed to help all beings be completely free of all suffering.

They are very pure and their only thoughts are for others. They have overcome their attachment to "self" which is the key to great happiness.

Just like the Dalai Lama many of them escaped to the West at the time of the Chinese Invasion and we are very fortunate to have them living and teaching with us in the West.

The most significant things that I learnt from the retreat were:-

  • To develop loving kindness and compassion for myself and for others. To go beyond friends and family and to expand this loving kindness to all others, even our enemies. This actually frees us from the suffering of holding resentments and negative feelings which only damage us. By letting go we set ourselves free!

  • To develop a steady mind and groundedness so outside influences do not disturb us so much. Truly understanding impermanence of everything, that nothing material lasts we can let go of our strong attachments. We will have to let them go in any event at the time of our death, so by loosening the strong hold, we set ourselves free!

  • That our mind is the most important asset we have, we can use our mind to harm and we can use the same mind to heal. Our mind lasts beyond this life and because it is immaterial it does not die at the moment of death unlike our body. Our mind is ever changeable and understanding this gives us a great opportunity to change. When we change our mind everything changes. Our mind can quite literally set us free!

I'm very fortunate to have been receiving meditation instruction and practicing Loving Kindness Meditation for the last 10 years thanks to the blessings of meeting our dear Lama.

Over time this has had a significant effect on my own mind and how I relate to others. Although I have a very, very long way to go before I could even have a fraction of the qualities of these incredible Lamas, mainly due to my laziness, I have noticed real differences in how I have changed over this time.

I have developed a little more patience and understanding of myself and others, that I'm definitely less reactive and feel a greater sense of peace and contentment. The highs are not so high and the lows not so low.

I feel more grounded and stable generally and even if I do get triggered I seem to be able to return to to that state of contentment much more quickly. I use my EFT tapping as soon as I can to take down the stress response and then bring my mind back to the present. I try to avoid spinning a whole story about what happened and create a dialogue of blame and accusations.

From these changes a natural sense of self compassion and compassion for others is growing. I can only hope that these qualities continue to mature so I can benefit others in greater ways.

I teach simple meditation/mindfulness techniques to clients and offer meditation sessions in my practice. I have just started recording a series on Fresh FM Community Radio of guided meditations to help others feel calmer and more at ease. I encourage my listeners to listen to these meditations every day to receive the benefits and shifts that arise naturally though the practice of meditation.

I understand that many people have given meditation a go and say "I just can't do it" or "it's just too hard" or "my mind is too unruly" and I realised that they just need a little help to get them started.

I felt that creating a series of guided meditations would make it much easier, like a guide taking you by the hand and showing you the way until you feel confident in doing it yourself. I hope that this series may create in impulse for others to develop of meditation practice for their own wellbeing, to benefit all those around them and the word as a whole. I truly believe if everyone meditated daily we would all be calmer and our world would be happier and more peaceful as a result.

There are many more benefits of meditation including health benefits, regulating your nervous system, reducing inflammation, boosting your immune system, reducing stress and anxiety, lifting depression, reducing anger, developing more loving relationships and many more.

There are many meditation groups in our area and online so do explore these and how you can benefit from begining a daily meditation practice.

To listen to the first Episode of Heartstream Meditations on Tues 6th July on Fresh FM or the subsequent recordings go to

Carolina Kerridge,

LLB (Hons), Holistic Therapist, Cert. and Accredited EFT and Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner, Holistic Coach and Meditation Instructor at Heartstream Wellness Centre and Clinic, Richmond, Nelson, NZ.

I specialise in stress, anxiety, trauma, addictions and negative emotions. I choose to support those looking for true personal transformation.

My vision is to "heal and transform the planet one person at a time".

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