A trip to Rishikesh, India transformed my life. It was on this trip that I committed fully to a vegetarian lifestyle.
Maharishi introduced the Transcendental Meditation technique to the western world in 1955. Jillian became his student in 1990 and began teaching shortly thereafter. She ran a group that I had joined in July 2011.
Meditation helps to purify the body to improve spiritual well-being. It involves meditating twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, for 20 minutes.
According to ancient teaching, this enables the mind to quiet down and allows the meditator to get in touch with the purest part of themselves, their spiritual centre.
Meditating transformed my outlook dramatically. I noticed the difference almost immediately. After struggling with insomnia for years, I could sleep more soundly than ever. I awoke at 5 am every morning without an alarm, feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Jillian explained that the process of meditation purified my system and I wanted to take this process even further, so I went on the spiritual retreat to India.
We traveled to Rishikesh, a town in the foothills of the Himalayas and the birthplace of Vedic teaching. Like most of India, the entire village was vegetarian and during our two-week stay at the Parmath Niketan, our daily meals at the ashram comprised a variety of rice and dhal or rice and vegetables.
We observed specific rituals around dining; these helped us connect the act of eating with the nourishment of our bodies and our spirits. On special occasions, we dined at a local restaurant that offered simple, tasty fare. I sampled delicious dishes like palak paneer (a spinach dish with Indian cheese) and chana masala (chickpea curry) for the first time and realized that I could easily maintain this type of diet.
Giving up meat was also part of the process of purification. And given what I knew about the horrific practices in meat farming from my previous readings, I found it made absolute sense to me.
— Nontsikelelo Mpulo, South Africa
Originally published in and reprinted courtesy to
Grocott’s Mail Online