My name is Anthony. It all started for me in 1989 on a regular STD bus in India. We were sitting right in the back row, driving through the valleys on the way up to up to Dharamshala and we’ve had this odd experience in Delhi beforehand where I’ve been bouncing around on the roof of this building, completely oblivious to the fact that the whole building was shaking and there I was, with my headphones on, just listening to music and that was my escape in those days
-Was it an earthquake or …
Anthony: No, no, no, no, no, I was just dancing on the roof with my headphones just completely lost in the music. I was just, I was right away, what was going on, so, Katie says to me, what was going on? And I said, sometimes, I just have to get away. What do you mean get away? I said, well, there are some songs you listen to, you just have to put it on, you have to hear it over and again and again and again. That’s where I go when I need to be away. She says, do you want that all the time? I’d only done my A levels but I understood about sensitization, receptors, a bit of an intellectual biology level point so I said, no, no, no, that would be bad because then the experience would go down and down, it wouldn’t have that intensity to it. She says, all right, you bloody intellectual, what about if you could have it so you could switch it on and switch it off. That was absolutely it for me, so we got up to the top of this mountain, found this place, completely deserted hut on the edge of a mountain and sat down and that was that, that was where it all began.
-Did you know that Katie was already meditating?
Anthony: I sort of vaguely heard
-But it wasn’t a big deal in your friendship?
Anthony: No, it wasn’t a and it didn’t come with a great deal of explanation.
-Even though you’ve gone to India together as well?
Anthony: I’d gone as the chaperon, she was going with a school friend and her parents said you need to have a man with you to look after you so I was the token man. This place we went to, we had to walk for about 3 hours, it was just a dirt track through the forest and then out onto the mountain, past little village and all the little kids throwing stones at us and we got to this place and sat down and we had one tape with us of music which was Mozart’s Clarinet and Flute Concertos, won’t never forget and we put it on and she made me sit down cross-legged, which in those days was extremely hard, and did something behind me and then said, put your hand above your head. It was the bizarre concept but, so I did it. And then she goes, does it feel cool? I go, Yeah. That was almost the sum total of our collective knowledge of Sahaja yoga and vibrations and meditation. But, I still remember those meditations and the peace of this mountain. And we get to go back every now and again and I still remember the little hut where we used to sit.
– Was that a yoga meditation or was it just a hut?
Anthony: It wasn’t really an ashram. There was a guy who lived somewhere around the corner on the mountain but not actually in the building. That building had 3 or 4 guestrooms and had more like little meditation hall. We͛d have to ask somebody who knew about the ashram and what it was.
-How did you know it was there?
Anthony: Katie had been told. She had three addresses, I think. So, we had Dehradun, where we went on the way down. We had this, there was something there, but it was like an address. And then we had an address in Katmandu. So, we went there as well. And that was where I heard my first talk of Shri Mataji, was in Katmandu. And for some appalling reason, which I won’t ever understand why, I decided to sit on the floor to watch my first video of Shri Mataji. When you can’t sit very well cross-legged and you sit on the floor for it must have been a full hour of public program, talk, it was the most uncomfortable hour of my life. I still now worry for people who get invited to go as tourists, without knowing quite what they’re letting themselves in for. But, yeah, that was meditation and actually, that’s still what it is. That side of meditation.
– And did you find you can switch it on and switch it off actually like Katie suggested?
Anthony: I think it took about some 15 years to get to the switch on, switch off status. That was much later. In 2007, I got to spend five weeks in Cabella and that was very much where I learned switch on, switch off, so it’s actually been more than 15 years later.
– Do you want to perhaps just talk a little bit about those 5 weeks? I know it’s pretty special time, isn’t it?
Anthony: For me, it was all focused around just being able to be in the castle in Cabella and I had the most minor of duties and all the rest of the time I could either sleep or meditate. That’s how I remember it. And I just remember enjoying sitting for hours and just meditating and discovering different things about sensations and meditation, different things about going thoughtless and learning how I could sustain thoughtlessness for myself which was something I didn’t know prior to that. And it had this switch it on, switch it off context because we would have some days where Shri Mataji would just be asleep. So, there was no disturbance and no small duties to perform. And there was always things going on but there was always a space somewhere around the dining room table or underneath it where you could just sit and be completely silent. And in other days it would be quite busy and you do things but I also, we’ve been striving for so many years to understand how to be thoughtless in our everyday life and while it wasn’t a completely ordinary everyday life, it was a lot where you had to answer the telephone, you get up and move furniture or leave the house and shop and do this and do just ordinary things. But having the chance to try and do that with this attention above the Sahasrara chakra and see if you can sustain it and having a few weeks just to practice was definitely, I haven’t put it into context but it seemed to be some sort of cycle which links back to those early days on the edge of a mountain in the Himalayas.
-Okay, that’s great.
Anthony: I think that’s all for now.