An evening to meditate and “dissolve the knots”

The first door leads into a typically Parisian building courtyard. A second door to cross and… a change of scenery. The backyard overflows with vegetation, accompanied by the “gurgle” of a small fountain. Under the gaze of the statues nestled in the middle of the trees, the participants enter a large room. Here, the silence is deafening. The noises of the city are completely erased and no one dares to even whisper.

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About fifteen people take place, on the ground on cushions, kneeling on a small bench or simply on a chair. “Ding! », the tinkling of the Tibetan bowl marks the beginning of the lesson. Like every Wednesday evening since September, novices and regulars come together for a mindfulness meditation session, organized by the association Mediter differently. A participant, large green vest on the shoulders, slips that this practice helps her “to relativize”.

Focus to feel the moment

The exercise, more difficult than it seems, consists in letting go of all your thoughts in order to “be present”. In her soft voice, the instructor for the day, Mercedes Maj-Pelissier, offers to “focus on the part between the nose and the mouth… Feel your breath…” Behind the masks, only the sounds of breathing resonate.

For an hour, the whole body is reviewed. It’s necessary “feel his scalp”, “Becoming aware of the points of support” or “focus on palm contact”. “It’s a much more physical than mental exercise”concedes René Mimosa, at the origin of these evenings.

He himself has years of practice. “I spent fifteen years at the shrink, without much success, and then Vipassana meditation changed everything”, he says. This technique, rooted in Buddhism, is not taught here, because the association has preferred a secular approach, to open up to as many people as possible.

No miracle recipe

Mercedes Maj-Pelissier defends herself on any side “mystico-trick”. In civilian terms, the instructor is a psychiatrist in a hospital in Île-de-France. Twice a year, she offers meditative support to some of her patients, provided they are “fit, stabilized and not in crisis, ready to make the effort to sit on a cushion every day”.

The technique, known as MBCT (the English acronym for “mindfulness-based cognitive therapy”), is intended for people in remission from depressive episodes. “It is not a panacea and it does not suit everyone “, she warns.

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Tonight, those who were hoping for a relaxation session will be at their expense. Silent stillness can be uncomfortable. Jean-Patrick Razon, who has taken part in the workshop for years, admits that staying in position for more than an hour or two seems very complicated to him.

When everything closed with confinement, the retired anthropologist tried to meditate at home. “But hey, meditation, you have to devote a moment to it every day and I’m more of a dabbler”, he laughs. What do the weekly sessions bring him? “A good conscience! And probably a little more serenity… I should have started when I was still active. »

“Cut the hubbub”

In her stressful hospital daily life, Mercedes Maj-Pelissier assures us that meditating allows her to take some distance. “When I see that I am upset, that I ruminate, I refocusshe describes. After meditation, things seem obvious. It cuts out the hubbub. “It dissolves knots, physical and mental”believes René Mimosa.

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It also avoids emotional escalations, adds Eugenio Correnti, another instructor. This specialist in the so-called “MBSR” technique, intended for stress reduction, works in a prison environment. “I use meditation as a core practice in dealing with violence, for inmates and staff”, he says. In the rather grizzled assembly tonight, violence is not really in order. “Ding! », everyone opens their eyes and slowly unfolds. Before setting off again, with small muffled steps, towards the urban din of buses parading in the night.

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An evening to meditate and “dissolve the knots”

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