What has meditation done for me? Well, I can’t possibly imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t started meditating. I was in a dreadful mental state. I was leading a life full of drugs, alcohol, aggression and depression.
I started going to a weightlifting gym and this gave me some respite from my problems. I started doing martial arts and gained some more self discipline. I found that you could enjoy yourself in good company without getting drunk or drugged.
A Karate instructor, Dennis Martin, took me to the Liverpool Buddhist Society for a meditation class and I was hooked.
The Meditation instructors were Tibetan monks, refugees from the Chinese invaders of Tibet and teaching at Durham University (?) . These were marvellous human beings that projected warmth, peace love in every atom of their body, their every word and every thought. They visited Liverpool once a week, they were extremely advanced teachers and we were very fortunate to be able to study with them.
They made such an impression that the Society decided to have a live in teacher. The Tibetan monks were all busy lecturing in Durham but we learned about Japanese Zen monk teaching in the London area. He had been the head instructor in the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram in India. He left his top position in India to bring Zen meditation to the Western World as a wandering teacher ( This is a Zen tradition ). He required no payment just a bed and food. We rented a large flat and he started meditation classes.
The Tibetan monks had told us about one of their passing-out tests. On the coldest night of the year ( In icy Tibet ) they had to sit in the open wearing just a robe and a bucket of water was poured over them. They didn’t just sit there and ignore the wet, coldness. They had to use mental powers to generate heat in their bodies and dry the robe out. This was done three times in the same night.
When Zengo ( His priestly name translates as go=strong and Zen=meditation ) arrived in Liverpool he brought with him one change of robe and one pair of flip-flop sandals. All of the the Society were impressed by this sign of simple living and the ability to ignore cold. Or so we thought.
One particularly cold day, we took him into town to buy him some food. As we walked through Marks & Spencers to the food department, he was wearing just his flip flops on his bare feet and I noticed him glance at the socks counter. A thought struck me and I asked: “Are you cold, Sensei?”
I had always called him Sensei since first meeting him. It is something that I had picked up in my martial arts training. It means Master and indicates respect for his position as my teacher. He said: “There is no need to call me Sensei” l
I realised that this was just him being polite. So I ignored him and continued calling him Sensei. I could tell this pleased him. Particularly when all the other people called him Zengo. Which isn’t how Japanese students talk to their teachers. It is considered to be not showing respect.
Any how, I asked: “Are you cold, Sensei?”
He replied “No! No!”
Knowing how polite he could be, I ignored this and bought him a pack of socks. He thanked me.
So I bought him 2 sweaters. Again he thanked me
So I bought him a scarf and pair of gloves and immediately became his favourite student. LOL.
Because I had a business that could run without me, I became Zengo’s assistant. I looked after his everyday stuff and spent most of the day and evening meditating with him. This would be about four hours a day.
But here is the additional benefit that I was receiving. Because I was spending so much time with him, we became close friends.
As the other students would be in a class of 12 to 15 people, they would have to wait their turn to ask questions or to have a Darshan (private, one-on-one sessions). I was spending lots of time with him and benefiting from having private sessions with him for hours on end. I was learning his wisdom while sharing tea, or taking him to the shops or strolling around Sefton Park.
If you would like to share the lessons and wisdoms that I learned from Zengo, go to my blog at https://happinessguru.wordpress.com
Love, Peace and Happiness,
P.S The last time I heard of Zengo, he had five meditation centres in America. T
- HuffPost: The Best Friend You Will Ever Have: Meditation (karahpino.me)
- Meditation for Anxiety Relief (everydayhealth.com)