“When more people meditate, we will have a much better world”. Francisco Moreno Ocampo lives with this strong faith; a faith that he has developed over eight years of regular practice. And, he is now working on building the same faith and belief in the youth of the country where he is living: Venezuela. Trauma-relief or better singing, Fran, as he is fondly addressed, believes that meditation can add value to all aspects of life. Excerpts from his interview:
Q - So you like to sing, has meditation enhanced your singing ability?
Definitely! Meditation complements my singing. When I meditate and sing, it comes from the heart and then others are able to catch the emotion and the positive vibrations that my songs carry. I feel that I can convey more through my singing now because somehow I feel connected to myself.
I always wanted to sing and I used to learn the guitar when I was 12 years old. But for some reason, I dropped it. I studied Economics and there were not many creative activities that I would do. When I began to meditate again, I gradually started becoming more creative and intuitive. Playing the guitar and singing became something very natural and enjoyable for me. There was a flavor in everything I was doing in life and I started to enjoy it more.
Most important, now I don´t feel nervous about singing in public so I can do it freely.
Q - How often do you like to meditate?
I normally meditate twice a day and sometimes three. But I like to first prepare my body for deep meditation. So, I do yoga in the morning and then meditate. When I meditate in the evening, I start with Padma Sadhana.
Apart from this, I love to meditate in the afternoon before lunch. It keeps me energized.
Q - Besides singing, in what other ways has meditation contributed to your everyday life?
The change in these eight years has been intense! Earlier, I used to sleep a lot. I used to get tired very easily. I was very restless in my mind. I used to worry a lot.
But now after regular practice of meditation, it’s all easy. Meditation gives me so much energy and peace of mind that I am more relaxed all the time. Even when I worry sometimes, I immediately become aware and I just come back to the moment. The experience is so beautiful. I cannot live without meditation.
Earlier, my life was about achieving things such as more money, getting a partner, getting married, having a car, a house, etc. But, my life was actually full of stress. After I learnt and practiced meditation, I felt so much joy, so much peace and love. This is what I was really looking for. It didn’t come in the form of a house or car, it came in the form of meditation and peace experience. I still enjoy having a car or traveling but I´m not worried about having or losing these things.
After doing meditation, there was a feeling of abundance – like I already had what I wanted. And I realized that I always wanted to feel like this.
There was a huge difference in the way I started responding to different situations. For example, earlier if a motorbike would have hit my car by mistake, I would have come out of the car and yelled at the person in spite of knowing that it would not help me or the person in any way. But that was because I would not be able to control my anger.
After meditation, there has been a huge change, at least that’s what my mother says (laughs). In fact, earlier I would even fight with my mother a lot. I was seeing a psychologist to solve this problem. I really wanted to have a good relationship with my mother. And meditation really helped. I stopped reacting to the situations in which I would get angry with her. I would just observe them and smile. I do not fight with my mother anymore and my relationship is also good. She was so amazed by my new behavior that she also became interested in learning meditation!
Q - You learnt your course eight years back. Sometimes, it’s difficult to keep up with such practices. How have you been able to meditate every single day of your life?
We usually keep up a discipline because we love to do it or because we think it will give some benefit in the long run. I had the experience of great joy and peace during meditation so I decided I will keep doing it as the most important activity during my day. Even if some meditations were not so enjoyable, I knew that in the long run, I would get the benefits.
Also, when you want to continue something, you look for ways that help you keep up with the practice. In my case, it was a change in the kind of food. Earlier, I was a non-vegetarian. But the days I would eat meat, I realized I would not be able to meditate. I liked meditation more than the non-vegetarian food so I dropped it off. And then, there was a difference - my meditations were deeper and I would feel much lighter. Since then, there has just been no looking back.
Q - It seems meditation has really helped you; has it also helped people you have taught the course to, especially in your country where violence rate is very high?
Yes, meditation really relieves you from trauma. I remember this young boy who had signed up for the course. One day before the course, he was kidnapped and beaten up. He was traumatized. I felt he really needed to do the course. So later when he joined, in just a few days after the course got over, he said, “Whatever happened does not bother me anymore, I feel I am totally free.” It's amazing how this impression of violence can go away only by the means of meditation.
There was another student I remember who had severe headache and she was takings medicines for 20 years. After she started meditating, she said her migraine went away. It rarely comes now. So meditation has a great healing power – it heals the mind and the body. Here, some people take meditation as a part of their medicine.
Q - So does meditation only help the youth or you think meditation goes beyond age, caste and culture?
Of course! Meditation goes beyond all this. It helps people from all walks of life. These days whether it’s executives or actors, lots of them practice meditation. Trendsetters are already meditating so I feel that there will be more and more people who meditate regularly.
We set up a trend on September 9, 2012 in Argentina - 150,000 people from all walks of life came to meditate together with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. People were so touched by meditation, they were so happy and most of them shared that this is what they were looking for.
Q - Do you think meditation has become a necessity for people and is not a luxury anymore?
Yes, once you know what meditation can do for you, it becomes a need. But most people are not aware of what good meditation can do. They need to experience it and once they see the benefits, they will realize that it will become a need for them. We all need to meditate. Most of the problems in the world (violence, poverty, inequality) are because people do not know how to manage their emotions and mind. But meditation will definitely help. I am sure when more people will meditate, we will have a much better world.
By Divya Sachdev