A recent interview from the North American Heartfulness Conferences.
When did you start meditating?
The first time I tried to meditate was right after I graduated college. In one of our last classes in the Theater program, a professor suggested we incorporate it into our day to support a healthy career and lifestyle. I sat under a tree and tried to relax and concentrate. It lasted about twenty minutes and I had no idea what I was doing. It took another five years before I tried again in earnest.
A good friend of mine from college went to a Vipassana retreat. That’s a ten-day silent meditation workshop. She thought I would get a lot out of it and she was right. It was like being in a lab for your mind/body. Having studied acting and learning about subtle energy from healing practices, it was a natural extension of the self-observation I had begun. But now instead of just being aware of myself, I was being trained to be equanimous to the sensation. It was like this key I was missing. As the sensation arose, I noticed it and moved on without reaction. This training helped us learn to react with neither aversion nor attraction and gently train our mind to find that middle balance.
I felt high afterwards. There was a hyper-awareness and a feeling of stability I had never known. But it didn’t last, and neither did my practice. There wasn’t an organized community outside the retreat, so after a month or two my practice fell off.