Daily meditator for 21 years, graphic software expert by profession and scuba diving enthusiast, Zoran Imsiragic is a 44-year-old man from Serbia. We say, meditation can be done anytime, anywhere, and Zoran is a living example of this. He goes one step beyond by showing that you can even meditate under water! Here is an excerpt of an interview with Zoran.
Q. What’s your normal meditation routine like?
Zoran - I meditate twice a day – morning and evening, for 20 minutes. I try not to miss it any time even when I’m traveling. I can meditate anywhere - on a bus, in a flight, or at the airport.
When I initially learnt to meditate, we were told that at any place where you can think, you can also meditate! So if I can think on an airplane, why can’t I meditate there? And I really don’t have a problem doing so. Sometimes I’m on a bus where there’s loud music but it doesn’t bother me. I just meditate and it actually feels nice and different to experience the silence within amidst jarring noise outside.
Sometimes while traveling, I stay in a tent with non-meditators and I tell them, “If you see me sitting with eyes closed and doing nothing, don’t think I’ve gone crazy! (laughs). You don’t even need to stop doing whatever you are doing. As long as you don’t play music or approach me, it doesn’t bother me. And neither would I bother you because I’m not making any noise.”
Q. 21 years is a long time. Sometimes it’s difficult to continue any practice you start off with, even for a short time. How have you been able to meditate every day of your life for 21 years?
Zoran - It was easy when I discovered that meditation brought a change in me. I was thinking better and I was a better person. I used to be very short tempered prior to learning meditation. With meditation, I found myself becoming somebody who I would admire things. Meditation made me realize that I can change a job, an apartment, country, or anything, but who I am does not change. I really call this as my second birth because my life really changed after I started meditating.
Q. Could you please elaborate on this? In which specific areas of your life has meditation contributed?
Zoran – I can say that my life is truly blessed today. I’m getting closer to my Self. I have become more calm and stable in stressful situations. I was good in school but my mind was not very clear. I used to work at some places where there were very tight deadlines. I had to stay focused and calm. With meditation, I saw that I was able to work more, while also do a lot of things that I wanted to. I was now trying to find solutions to problems because I realized that yelling at someone is no solution.
Q. Can you recall any specific instances where meditation came as a savior?
Zoran – There have been many such occasions. Once when I was preparing for an exam, I had very little time because of work commitments. I was not able to grasp things fast and it was getting difficult. I decided to meditate for a while and then I was able to learn things faster and better! The next day I went for the exam and I got really good grades. The professor asked me how long I prepared for it and I said just one or two days. Although I don’t recommend preparing for the exams this way but I had no choice. So he said, if you would have got one week, I wonder how you would have fared!
Another such instance was when I meditated under water. I’m a SCUBA diver and once I was caught up in a situation. I took help from a boat nearby, took a reserve tank from them and went under water again. I was supposed to stay there for a certain time before I could come out to the surface. So I thought that while I’m there in that situation, meditation is the best thing that can help me. So I held on to the rope, closed my eyes and meditated for I don’t know how long. It was very good (laughs).
Q. In your view, what is the role of meditation in daily life?
Zoran – It connects you to yourself and gives you the base fiber for everything that you do in your life. I think I can survive without food for sometime but not without meditation. Sometimes I’m not able to do it in certain situations, but I accept it and the first instance I get, I meditate.
Q. Would you like to share a few tips for beginners to meditation?
Zoran – For those who are already meditating and are sometimes bothered by thoughts such as, “What is happening with meditation? Why should I do it”, I’d say that you should consider meditation as your daily power dose or potion that will make you stronger in life to face any situation. Your mind becomes more sharp and focused. So when you realize that meditation is your secret power, you will practice it.
Another thing I found from my own experience is that sometimes if you feel sleepy and then you sit to meditate, it is of no use because then only sleep happens with eyes closed and not meditation! So in such a situation, what I do is I sleep for 10- 15 minutes, I put an alarm to wake up, and then I feel that the fatigue is gone and wonderful meditation happens in that refreshed state. Although we say that meditation is deeper rest than sleep, but sometimes your body really asks for only sleep. Don’t resist it then.
The most important thing is to be regular with the practice. Even if you don’t feel like doing it for a few days, you are lazy or feeling sleepy, just say to yourself, “No, I will do it,” and then you will see that you are able to. Meditation gives you the strength to stick to your commitment.