Andy's Headspace: Does the 'where' matter in meditation?
Looking out over London last night, the sky-scrapers and apartment blocks looked uncharacteristically small. But then I guess they would compared to the Himalayas, which is where Rich and I have been staying for last couple of weeks, forming the strategy for the next phase of Headspace - in between bouts of skiing, snowboarding and altitude sickness that is. A gift from a generous investor, it was the ultimate place to get some headspace.
Which raises an interesting point. Does the environment matter when we’re trying to be mindful? And is meditation in the mountains any better than meditation in the city? Well, not being inundated with emails every day and having no mobile phone signal certainly allows the mind to settle a little quicker, but ultimately it still ends up at the same place - an awareness and appreciation of the present moment. Likewise, the wide open spaces and majestic scenery unquestionably help to inspire a very spacious state of mind, but no more spacious than a mind resting in awareness in the middle of London or New York.
The truth is, when we sit to meditate, or when we apply mindfulness in everyday life, it really doesn’t matter where we are. Sure, some environments might make the whole process feel a little easier, but to rely on those elements and that environment is to limit ones practice. On the other hand, if we can learn how to meditate and be mindful in the middle of one of the busiest cities on earth, with all the commitments and responsibilities of everyday life, then we will be able to meditate anywhere, no matter how favorable or unfavorable the conditions might be. Having this confidence is to have true peace of mind.