The longest I’ve sat in meditation was for 10 days during a Vipassana course. Even so, I was apprehensive about sitting in meditation all night. I love my sleep, and even in the Vipassana course, we got to sleep! But the all-night Dukh Bhanjan meditation to end suffering at Southall’s Gurdwara was calling me. Chanting ‘Wahe Guru’ from 9pm on Saturday to 5am on Sunday, it was an evening for contemplation, cleansing and healing.
Acknowledging my apprehensions, Prof Surinder Singh, who was leading the event, said before we started our journey: ‘This night will pass. Seven hours of meditation is a long time, but it will pass. Whether you’re asleep in bed or sitting in meditation, it makes no difference. It will pass.’
And so it did. As we chanted ‘Wahe Guru’ – a sacred exclamation of enlightenment – accompanied by Raj Academy ragis playing Sikh string instruments, the meditation took me on a journey of highs and lows. At times I was so lost in the sound current and felt at one with everyone and everything; at others (I’m looking at you, 3am!) I was exasperated, exhausted and desperate to sleep. I continued to chant through the undulations in mood, the mantra carrying me from one moment to the next. And once I opened my eyes to see the supermoon shining upon us through the gurdwara window. Until finally, we landed at 5am, by which time, I have to admit, the world looked a little trippy!
The next day I felt so soft and open. I slept for a few hours when I got home, and when I woke I had a very gentle day; I did my yoga and meditation, some painting (a joy, I normally don’t get around to it!), made some delicious food. I generally felt very emotional and shed a few tears. And I slept extremely well that night.
If you get a chance to attend one of these events, PLEASE GO! It was truly magical. There’s one every autumn at the Southall Gurdwara.
Sat nam x