Since time immemorial, meditation has calmed the human mind and spirit. It has been introduced in various forms in different parts of the world over different times. But idea is the same - to get in touch with oneself. Many of my friends have benefited from Vipassana. I myself have not got a chance to try it out yet.
When I was a teenager, my dad learnt yoga. At that time, my brother was away in hostel and my mom too busy with her daily chores . Since I was the only one who seemed to be pretty idle, I became the recipient of my dad's yoga teachings. The yoga consisted of 3 sections - Pranayam (yoga breathing), exercise and meditation. The whole act would take 1 hour. For me 1 hour is too much of an effort for anything like yoga or exercise. The max I can give for anything like this is 20 -30 minutes. I started learning mainly because of the yoga exercise. But later I realised it does not help you lose weight but tone your body. The meditation helps to tone mind and accept yourself as you are.
The main concern for me was my dad was an early riser and would practise at 4:00 am . He would insist that I get up and learn at the same time. You can imagine my plight. On most days while meditating, I would drift off to sleep. The whole practise lasted for less than a month and then I gave up. Sporadically I would practise yoga for 30 minutes at a time convenient for me but with time, that too weaned off.
Later, my dad tried to pull me into morning walks. Again he would go for a walk at 5:00 -5:30 am in the morning. As a teenager, I had never risen before 6:30 am unless in cases of dire emergencies like exam (But now life has changed and it is a different story).
I remember once he pulled me off my bed and we went off for a walk in the near by park. The sun had not risen yet. So we had to make our way through the moon light and the park lights. In the park, I could see people sitting in groups and practicing exercise or meditation. I admired them for their courage (waking up at 5:00 am to mediate needs courage, at least for me) and their interest in keeping healthy body and mind. At some distance, I could see more profiles sitting in groups together. The only difference was these people looked lot more huge and bulky. I thought the groups were divided depending upon the size of a person -maybe kind of exercise depends on the weight and shape of the person. I moved closer to the group only to realise that it was actually a herd of buffaloes sleeping. That's when I became fully awake with my eyes wide open. I tiptoed back silently, not to disturb them from their sleep and joined back my dad in the side walk.
This is when I understood that whatever I wanted to realise in life, I need to do it fully awake else I can bump into things which might result in not-so-happy situations. Being fully awake in body and mind definitely makes one calmer and peaceful.