Help us to establish Drala Jong - a Buddhist Retreat Centre in Wales

Help us to establish Drala Jong - a Buddhist Retreat Centre in Wales
Help us to establish Drala Jong - a Buddhist Retreat Centre in Wales

Sunday 15 June 2014

Take at least 10 minutes every day to meditate - Interview with Ngakma Nor'dzin

This interview with Ngakma Nor'dzin on the subject of stress first appeared in Sprout Savvy in August 2011 and we published an excerpt at the time.  Sprout Savvy seems to have disappeared so we're reproducing the article in full here.

Ngakma Nor’dzin is known for the natural down-to-earth realism of her presentation – and her wealth of experience in helping people with everyday problems.  She is loved particularly for her warmth and friendliness, her sense of humour and her down-to-earth answers to students’ questions.

Ngakma Nor'dzin is the award-winning author of Spacious Passion which explains the fundamental Buddhist teachings as relevant to our everyday lives and Relaxing into Meditation a guide to relaxation and breathing exercises that lead to meditation.

Q: What affects can stress have on a person’s physical and mental health?

Ngakma Nor'dzin: Stress eats away at people – they do not rest properly, normal eating patterns may be disturbed, and the joy of pleasurable experiences can be eroded by an undercurrent of stress. Common physical stress-related symptoms are digestive disorders, nervous tension, headaches, rashes, fatigue, respiratory issues. Common mental/emotional symptoms are possessiveness; irritability and anger; edginess; feelings of fear or insecurity; paranoia; jealousy; depression; feeling overwhelmed, undervalued or undermined.

Q: What are the benefits of meditation?

NN: Meditation practice injects a period of space into our lives – a few minutes that we give to ourselves to just be quiet and alone. A meditation practice of 10 minutes a day gradually builds into a daily experience of spaciousness where we can discover the mechanism of our habit patterns. It is these mental habit patterns that trigger emotional reactions and stress. We do not have to be slaves to our mental neurotic patterning – we can reveal this patterning through gently letting go of thought and becoming accustomed to emptiness of mind. This emptiness of mind—once discovered in meditation practice—can then spontaneously arise in our everyday experience, giving us the space to let go of the habitual responses that are the root of our unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Q: What inspired you to write Relaxing into Meditation?

NN: I have been a Buddhist and practitioner of meditation for over thirty years and have no doubt of the benefit of meditation. Wanting to offer meditation techniques to people who were not necessarily interested in Buddhism, I taught relaxation and meditation classes through the Community Education system for a number of years. Relaxing into Meditation is based my experience of teaching those classes. Hopefully this book has the scope to reach even more people and offer them the means to begin meditating.

Q: What is an easy way for beginners to meditate?

NN: Find a place where you can be undisturbed for a while and sit in a comfortable position. Bring your attention to your breathing, particularly noticing the out-breath. As you breath out, let go of thought. Breath thought away on the out-breath so that the mind becomes empty. Continue in this way, continually letting go of thought and allowing the mind to settle and discover empty mind-without-thought. If you find it difficult to stay with the mere awareness of breathing out, then count the out-breaths from 1 up to 21 and then from 21 back down to 1, letting go of thought on each out-breath. Give yourself 10 minutes every day to engage in this practice.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

NN: Practising every day—even for only a few minutes—is more important than practising for a longer period of time occasionally. I encourage people to commit to 10 minutes of practice a day – have you had your 10 a day? Everyone can find 10 quiet minutes to be quiet. Practise letting go of thought on the out-breath every day for 10 minutes and the benefits of meditation will manifest. Even 5 minutes a day will slowly produce results. Happy meditating!

Ngakma Nor'dzin is the author of Relaxing into Meditation 
Aro Books worldwide  ISBN 978-1-898185-17-8 
Available from,,, Wisdom Books, and other bookshops worldwide.