Standing in front of the lake at the Pinatubo crater will always be one of my most treasured moments.
I treasure it so much that I had to have my picture taken. So much that I forgot to turn off the digicam's date. But I guess, it's better that I have it right there to help me remember.
I remember how I stood gazing at the lake for minutes on end, the moment we arrived and the next morning before we left.
I wanted so much to take it all in. I wanted to memorize every detail and keep a clear picture of that moment in my head. I was sure it would be a long time before I could experience that moment again.
Now, I feel the benefits of those moments.
Since I have started taking up meditation lessons at Brahma Kumaris, this memory helps me to focus on the feelings of peace.
I had my first class at 9 this morning and up until now, I feel so relaxed.
Though some things still cropped up that could potentially ruin my day, I slipped with irritation and defensiveness only for few moments and quickly reverted to my peaceful mode.
Though people may find it weird why I don't defend myself, it doesn't really matter. This stuff works for me.
I love my peace.
Brings me back to a journal entry I wrote last month when I first went to Brahma Kumaris (QC):
June 30, 2006 8:00 pm
I feel rejuvenated and a smile keeps spreading across my face. Right now, I have no other thoughts in my head other than peace, love and happiness.
People who saw me when I arrived thought I just had some, that's why I looked flushed. But I don't feel any need to explain. I finally went to Brahma Kumaris two hours ago and that was probably... no surely, one of the best decisions I've made.
Stepping into the meditation center was like coming home. Sister Vicky, one of the volunteers, met me at the door and led me in. She gave me some brochures which told me I just missed a session yesterday. Good thing I learned just in time that they have a Raja Yoga session tomorrow. I also met Sister Leni, whom I talked with on the phone and who suggested that I visit the center to see it for myself. She explained to me that all the sessions were free and that you can actually arrange a regular meditation session with your teacher.
I knew then that this is what I needed.
I badly need quiet time.
Being surrounded by the four walls of the cubicle does something to you. All day you are subjected to various sights and sounds that would stress you.
People shouting at each other. Complaining. Cursing. Gossiping. Worrying. The sounds of the television open 24/7, the computer keyboard hit by frantic hands, phones ringing off the ook, cellphones blaring, the messages that won't stop coming...
No matter where you go, noise follows.
This is what I need, a serene place where I could let everything go and submit myself to silence.
After discussing the class schedules with Sister Leni, I was about to leave when an old woman came down from the second floor. Sister Leni introduced me to Sister Alma who welcomed warmly and told me to wait.
"What can we do for you, anak?" she asked. What an amazing woman, I never expected somebody I just met to ask how she can serve me.
"I need peace, sister," I said.
And then, that's when it all began, the most wonderful conversation I've ever had my whole life.
I hardly spoke a word but I felt as if Sister Alma understood what I felt and she seemed to answer all the questions in my head. She told me that I am a peaceful soul by nature and I only need to find that peace again. That my body is just like clothing and my real essence is my sould that is connected with all other things in the world.
She said that I should fill my mind with positive thoughts to attract good things in my life. That instead of wishing for others to change, I should change myself because therein lies my power. In a way, my change will influence others to change. There is no use pretending to be someone else. I should always be myself because what other people think of me is of little consequence compared to what I think of myself. She reminded me to never lose my self-respect and the respect of others.
My work, she said, should not be done to please my boss or other people, but to please myself. And most of all, to honor GOD. She encouraged me to follow my heart and recognize my mission in life because God gave me a unique talent that I can use to serve others. One that will also bring me happiness.
She told me that I should not be afraid of anything because fear attracts negative forces in your life. Instead, she told me to pursue my dreams and believe in my God-given talents. That I should not compete with anyone but myself.
She taught me the words "Om Shanti," the Brahma Kumaris greeting which means, "I am a being of peace and you are a being of peace."
I was so awed by the presence of this woman. Every word she spoke, was like a golden nugget of wisdom, and her gentle manner soothed my frayed nerves. She conversed with me with so much humor and lightheartedness, I felt as if I was speaking with a long-lost friend or perhaps, a mother and mentor. She told me about her victorious battle with cancer and how she feels she still has a mission to help others.
And she has done just that for me.
I hardly realized it was already 7:30 pm. She asked me to leave. I wasn't in the least bit surprised when she said that she was asking me to leave because I am not her visitor but because I am her adopted daughter and she's looking after my own good. I felt so touched by this gesture that I hugged her before I stepped out the door.
I was thinking how I should have taken down notes or recorded what she said so that I could re-wind and replay her pieces of advice when I needed them. When I told her this, she said there is no need for that because I will remember only what I need for now.
Only what I need for now.
I have never felt so relaxed in my life. It was as if a great boulder was lifted off my shoulders. Even when it took me a few minutes before I could hail a cab, I did not fret.
People passing by me at the sidewalk were throwing glances at me, perhaps thinking how could I look so happy. I wanted to tell them, I have found my peace because I've just come from the spa.
The spa for my soul.
For a little piece of peace, visit: www.bktagaytay.com