Meditation and Mindfulness Sessions at Taylor Place With Paul Meek
20 February 2022
Paul Meek has been practicing mindfulness since 1997 and has an extensive background in meditation, based on traditional Buddhist practices. From the 24th of February, you can find Paul at the studio in Taylor Place in Dorking, as he begins his sessions for our homeowners and the local Dorking community.
We sat down with Paul to chat about his extensive background, experience in the field and what can be expected from his sessions:
Hi Paul, could you tell us how you became involved in meditation?
“It started out when I went on a gap year in India at 18, helping at a charity shelter for street kids. Coming from Western England, I was chucked into the thick of it all with very little preparation, and struck up a friendship with a young boy with polio. Although he couldn’t speak English, the boy was extremely articulate and we formed a real bond.”
With the help and advice from the charity, Paul travelled with the child from Mumbai to Moradabad, a city east of Deli. The aim was to find his parents, who needed to sign a consent form to give approval for his corrective surgery. Paul found the boy’s parents in a poor village and guided the family on a long journey across India to meet with a doctor. It was after waiting on a train platform for 7 hours, with the importance and weight placed on his 18 year old shoulders of being responsible for leading the family across India, that Paul found a peace with his emotions by embracing them and channeling them into a form of meditation. It was the first time in his life that he realised that emotions pass and impulses like anger and fear are not permanent.
On the long journey back to Mumbai, he had a chance encounter on the train with a Buddhist Nun who studied under the Dalai Lama. She shared her wisdom with those around her in the carriage, Paul and the young boy. It was this meeting that later inspired Paul. On his return to the UK, he adopted Buddhist practices to help process and channel some of the emotions and trauma from his trip.
What have you learnt through meditation?
“If you concentrate on an object and you can hold it in your mind, till all your thoughts and worries drop away, you are left with a calmness. It can be really great for mental health.
The best advice I received from the Buddhist nun was that when you have a problem, you have to turn to yourself. You need to firstly understand, what is your personal expectation in this scenario? And how do these feelings reflect upon you? This can be applied to all situations you might face.
The discipline that is involved in Buddhist meditation, really helps you achieve the most in these sessions. Like in school, you often find that the best teachers are the ones who are strict but fair. I found that with the Buddhist monks - they are not lenient, but they help to bring a toughness or a softness, depending on what a person truly needs and they can understand who needs what when. At the end of the day, the most important thing is not if a person is perfect in what they are doing, but if they are doing their best.”
You have helped to guide people of all ages in the practice of meditation. Can meditation be for anyone?
“With meditation, you will find that confidence happens over time and depends on the person. What tends to happen, as with everything, is that confidence comes as you build up a comfortable relationship with what you are doing and the people around you.
I find that, on the whole, people really enjoy it! I have had experience with past younger students, who at first were apprehensive of the sessions, but have later told me they have used the tools when facing a challenge in their life”.
What can be expected from the sessions at Taylor Place in Dorking?
“Every week will be different and depend on the group that day. The sessions work as you connect with different people in the room. As that is an authentic and subjective experience, it doesn’t work if the classes have a set out structure. However, the class will typically follow a standard in that there will be a time for meditation and also a time for tea and discussion.
I will not be teaching set techniques as such, but I offer guidance and pointers to help those in the sessions find what works best for them. I want to avoid a right or wrong approach, as it is not the point to be perfect, but to use your intuition to guide what feels correct for you.
For instance, when doing breathing exercises I ask people to find the breath in their body and for some people they might find it in their shoulders, some might find it in their ribs or focus on their nose. It’s not the same for everyone, so there is no point in telling someone where to feel their breath and emotion.
Paul’s classes will begin on the 24th of February and will be held every Thursday in the studio at Taylor Place in Dorking, for homeowners and the surrounding community.
To find out more about his meditation practice, you can take a look at Paul’s website here: https://www.dorkingdhamma.com/
Taylor Place has a stunning collection of one and two bedroom homes, with a communal lounge and studio. For more information contact: 01306 230 010 / [email protected]p