Years ago I attended a residential workshop about Vipassana, a form of meditation that involves keeping silent; I was silent for almost 10 days, while I shared this experience with other people which I saw every day getting up at dawn, meditating, having breakfast, meditating, having lunch, meditating, dining, being together, in silence.
Of those days I remember the depth of the technique and how day after day, that silence, that practice, allowed a contact with oneself as I had almost never had. Since it was not easy for me at all, towards lunchtime I went up to the first floor of one of the residences that hosted us, I sat and looked at the hilly landscape, very beautiful, very peaceful. Inside of me I called it “my television”; I reserved that moment to relax my gaze on those hills, on their shape, their movement.
Then I witnessed the life of my traveling companions, and I felt deep compassion for each of us, observing the determination and sacrifice that each was experiencing. It was not easy for any of us, but we knew that “that thing there” was doing us good, even if it was not a walk.
The awareness that I reached in those days was precious to me, and I think I approached an authentic perception of what meditation is, even if I use this word with caution, and perhaps it would be preferable to talk about mindfullness, or the ability to be in your present.
Having said that, over the years I have then tried to live some essential oils as a support to the path of mental presence; although obviously aromatherapy is not essential, I think it can support us internally, especially when we have to create a protected space where we are, wherever it is.
One choice is certainly the essential oil of Incense (Boswellia sacra), which “has always been” an essence that helps people connect with something wider than themselves; with that sense of direction that is ours but that responds to something wider. Incense trees grow even in extreme conditions, perhaps demonstrating that the connection with one’s deep self can take place in all circumstances.
There are so many types of incense actually, and a more pungent essence that I appreciate is Indian incense, Boswellia serrata. In some ways less ethereal than the Boswellia sacra, this plant reminds me of the vigor of the Indian character, the determination that I have seen so many times on the faces of the people I have met in India. A character forged by difficulties, and sometimes a mercantilism that showed how clever you had to be in an environment in which often “the blanket was too short to be for everyone”. They always beat us on negotiation, because they lived in a much less guaranteed environment than ours, or so it seemed to me.
Do not forget also Sandalwood, today especially Santalum austrocaledonicum, although traditionally it was Santalum album. One of the most beautiful gifts that a friend gave me was to tell me one day “when you arrived, sandalwood came to mind“.
You can use the essential oil diffused in the environment, or make it a roll-on, with jojoba oil, to restore our heart and mind. Why not try a meditation roll-on:
In 10 ml of jojoba oil:
3 drops of Boswellia sacra essential oil
3 drops of Boswellia serrata essential oil
3 drops of Sandalwood essential oil
To remind us that we can always feel “at home”.