Journey # 95 Albania
By LP John Paramai
I went to organize a series of mindfulness and meditation for psychologists in Albania. The program is called the inner life, managed by an acclaimed psychologist Fleura Shkembi, endorsed by the Albanian Order of Psychologists in Tirana. The training went for two days with four meditation sessions.
I shared how changing the perspective of life will help us to let go better. Meditation also helps control the mind so that it is not under the control of mental viruses. The participants felt light, spacious, peaceful, and comfortable. Some felt that their body disappeared.
Some saw the inner light within their body. In some sessions, participants could visualize the inner brightness or sphere, allowing them to feel peace and contentment when they closed their eyes. Some also had different experiences, such as feeling the heaviness of the body, feeling the body’s movement, feeling body disappearance, or falling from the sky.
In a more extended session, which lasted 40 minutes in total, some people saw the sun shining from within their bodies. A pregnant psychologist, who couldn’t meditate on the first session because her baby kicked her all the time, said that once she used the baby as her meditation object, she could meditate the whole time, and the baby didn’t kick her anymore. She could see inner brightness and felt extreme contentment during the meditation.
I had a chance to visit the Mesdhetar University located in the capital city of Tirana and guided a meditation session for students. Most of them come from the department of psychology, and this was their first time doing meditation. I shared that usually, the mind of human beings will keep thinking in a loop about the problems in the past and expectations in the future. As a result, we were rarely able to finish our thoughts without proper concentration. But when we could, we put too much force and became stressed later on.
Meditation allows us to stay with one single feeling and increases both awareness relaxation at the same time. It improves the quality of the mind, boosts creativity, and enables us to feel happy even though many problems persist. Then I guided a 25-minute meditation session. The students and professors had good meditation experiences alike. They didn’t feel their body, they didn’t breathe at some point, but they felt content during that moment. Some saw a bright shining sun at the center of the body. Even though the sun was hot but they didn’t feel bad at all. A professor also shared that she had meditated for a long time, but the sessions were not as deep as today. She felt delighted and thankful for that.
On the final mission abroad of 2019, I guided meditation in a retreat at Dajti mountain in Albania for a group of Albanians interested in mindfulness and meditation practice. Most of them had meditated before. I started the weekend by giving a new definition of happiness that true happiness did not come from searching, but happiness was about overcoming unhappiness from the mind. But to remove the causes of unhappiness permanently, we needed to begin by changing ourselves. I explained the nature of the reason it refused to change because of the mental viruses (sometimes we call them defilements). Thus changing ourselves is difficult.
Meditation will strengthen the mind and develop a higher discipline that will finally lead to permanent and sustainable changes. Then I guided over five sessions of meditation practice. People enjoyed the sessions and had good experiences from their courses. Some felt that the time went very fast. The inner voice slowly subsided, and the body was very light. Some thought that the body was shrunk and became like a dot. There was an expansion at the same time.
Eventually, she felt she was falling from the sky. She didn’t feel the awareness of the breath at the same time. Some saw inner brightness that became brighter and more excited because it was the first time seeing something like that. Some saw a bright object at the body’s center together with the warmness that she could transmit to anyone. The participants all wanted to apply meditation in their life to find true everlasting happiness from within.