We caught up with Andy and asked him to come out of trance for a few minutes to answer some down to earth questions about his approach to teaching meditation in Brighton.
The Brighton Magazine (TBM): We hear a lot in Brighton about meditation, but what exactly is meditation Andy?
Andy Lucas (AL): One of the problems with understanding meditation is to do with the English language actually, because we tend to talk about processes as if they are things, as if they are somehow outside of us, as if they happen to us.
The word meditation, being a noun, sounds like a 'thing', which you either have or don"t have. And we are so used to buying things in our society we might imagine meditation is yet another product that we buy somewhere in Brighton. You might think if you pay enough money somebody will sell you the right kind of meditation.
So let's change our mindset for a moment and talk about the verb, the action, a process we can learn to do – 'meditating' rather than 'meditation'. When you start considering meditating as actually doing something, you take the first step towards understanding what it is all about.
TBM: Interesting. And how would you describe the process of meditating Andy?
AL: I am sure you would get many different answers depending who you ask. I can tell you about my experience of meditating and why I am passionate about sharing my experience with others by giving practical tuition.
When I first learned to meditate I was astonished at the immediate impact I was able to have on my thinking, my emotions and my behaviour. This is because when you learn to meditate you learn to create stillness and peace in your mind, whether you do this for a few seconds, minutes, hours or even days.
TBM: What do you think people get from learning to meditate like that?
AL: It seems to me you get two benefits from learning to meditate.
Firstly you are learning to take time out, to release some noise or tension from the day and to discover a calmness and tranquillity for yourself. This is a great way to maintain a healthy perspective on your life, to withdraw from compulsive self-absorption and to gain an ability to see things from a different perspective.
Have you ever noticed when you are immersed in a situation you sometimes have difficulties finding solutions. Some people deal with this by taking a holiday, going on a retreat or just taking a walk.
Those activities can help to change your perspective, because they remove you from total absorption, they give you some distance. But you cannot always withdraw from a situation in that way.
This is where meditating can really help, because it is a process of shifting your thinking and changing your state instantly. It is very practical and extremely effective. And you will access levels of thinking and awareness way beyond your previous limitations.
TBM: And the second benefit?
AL: As you develop a meditation routine, as you make meditating a normal regular activity in your life, you are able to gain greater freedom from old habits of thinking and feeling. You become skilled at observing your own thoughts and guiding those thoughts in more useful and constructive ways.
There is a lot of talk about 'positive thinking' by new agers and in self-help books, yet I prefer the idea of 'constructive thinking', of being in the driving seat of your own mind and steering it in directions that are the most productive for you.
When you are free of old habitual thinking you inevitably develop greater flexibility in the way you solve problems, how you create new ideas and methods for achieving your goals. You become more intelligent in your thinking, your emotions and your responses.
TBM: It sounds like you have a lot to say about the advantages of meditating. I guess many of our readers already know it's a good idea, but aren't there enough meditation classes in Brighton. Why do we need another one? What is different about the way you teach meditation?
AL: Obviously I do not know what every meditation instructor is teaching in Brighton and I certainly don't see myself as competing with any of them. Actually I think it is fantastic there is so much choice available here. And I would encourage people to shop around to find an approach to suit them.
I guess one thing I tend to do differently is to dip into a variety of approaches to meditation. I"m not really attached to one particular tradition or doctrine. Nor do I expect my students to adopt a particular set of spiritual beliefs to enjoy my classes. People of any or no spiritual belief will benefit from my style of teaching meditation.
There is no need to have studied some theory or spiritual teachings or to achieve some intellectual understanding to succeed at meditating. In fact it works the other way around - as you meditate you enhance your mental processes, you improve your intellect and you somehow access your own inner wisdom.
I only started reading and studying the theory of this subject after experiencing certain understandings from my own practice of meditating. This seemed the right way around for me. Maybe it will seem like that for people reading this too – I hope so.
TBM: You are launching some new workshops and classes in October. What are your plans right now?
AL: Firstly I am planning to teach at least one three hour workshop each month starting on Saturday October 9th at The Studio, Aloka, East Street, Brighton. Each workshop will run from 10am to 1pm and will involve very practical instructions for achieving skills in meditating. I will start with an approach called Yoga Nidra and I will be incorporating ideas drawn from other traditions including NLP and Huna.
Then I am going to announce details of my weekly one hour meditation classes very soon.
Brighton Meditation And Yoga Nidra Workshop @ The Studio, Aloka, 14 East Street, Brighton, on Saturdays 9th October / 30th October / then monthly. Workshops run from 10am to 1pm & cost £30 in advance / £40 on the door (subject to availability).
To book your place visit Andy"s website @ www.springtomind.co.uk