B.A. (Modern European Languages), Dip. Ed. (Sydney), A.A.L.I.A.
Robyn has been a member of the Centre since 1981 (its foundation year) and took a leading role in the Centre’s early development. Her teaching experience stems from the late 80s, expanding from giving occasional talks and guided meditations to running weekend retreats and courses.
Formerly a Sydney High School teacher Robyn later became a professional librarian working in academic libraries for over 30 years including Melbourne University and Flinders University. Robyn also manages the Centre’s library at the Lifeflow Studio in Frewville .
Robyn first became interested in meditation in her early 20s when visiting the Borobudur temple in Central Java where she experienced a sense of deep mystery and calm along with a strong desire to develop and explore this quality in her own life.
For Robyn meditation practice has meant developing a greater self-understanding and acceptance of life’s changes. It has enhanced her sense of joy in everyday things such as sunsets, moon rise, the wind in the trees, birds flying and the cycles of day and night. Her favourite meditations are based on visualisation and breathing.
Robyn has one son, Tim, who is a physiotherapist living and working in Sydney.
Her other passions are walking the bush tracks and back roads of the Heysen Trail, exploring national parks especially in Tasmania, photography, reading, gentle cycling, swimming, travel and music.
Two minutes with Robyn Walden
Robyn is a teacher and librarian with Lifeflow. She recently retired from Flinders University where she worked as a senior librarian.
What brought you into contact with meditation?
I was visiting the Borobudur Temple in Central Java in my early twenties, sitting at the top next to a beautiful statue of the Buddha, looking out over the surrounding mountains, rich green plains and forests below. The face of the statue was very peaceful, with a sense of serenity and mystery. I wanted to understand where that quality came from and experience it for myself. On a recent visit I discovered that Borobudur was a teaching site for Tantric Buddhism which was practised in Indonesia at the time the monument was built in the 8th Century AD.
Did you have to do anything differently to make room for meditation in your life?
I found that I naturally woke at about 5am so I started to use that early time for meditation. I enjoyed it so I found it easy to maintain a regular practice.
There was also a natural progression toward a simpler lifestyle and taking what I already had more seriously (like being a parent and my career) – in the past I had looked for more external things to satisfy me.
What difference has it made?
Meditation has given me a wider perspective – the ability to open up to more than just my point of view. I think it has also made me steadier and more dependable.
I have much more contact with nature and appreciate things like watching the sun or moon rise – growing up in Sydney I was fairly cut off from this.
Also, learning more about the body and appreciating and experiencing the life in the body.
Meditation has also given me the courage to take on things I might otherwise have run away from.
What has surprised you about doing meditation?
The clarity – I expected peace and calm from meditation but the clarity I found within the first couple of years was a real boon.
Also, the joy and pleasure you can find in little things through opening up to the senses – it brings more colour into your life.
Meditation also allows you to rest more easily in the present moment and to trust that your life will find its own pace and direction if you just allow it to unfold in its own time.
What do you enjoy most as a Lifeflow teacher?
Watching the changes in people, even during one class, seeing faces soften and tension melt away.
Also to see people’s understanding of their life and meditation grow in the courses and retreats I am involved in.
I also love working with the other teachers at Lifeflow: we are all different and can learn from each other.
Any personal suggestions or tips for beginners?
Be patient and give it a go – do a bit each day if you can. Trust yourself and your instincts.
Build in contact with nature and have some time to yourself each day.
Is there a piece of advice you have received regarding your meditation practice that stands out?
You are where your body is! If you don’t use it you lose it.
Also, you don’t always get what you want but you get what you need – accepting this fact.
Other passions in life?
Bushwalking, especially on the Heysen Trail.
Photography, films, classical music, camping, swimming and the beach, travel, learning languages and experiencing other cultures. I also recently discovered a love of Australian history and I enjoy research. I also love seeing my beautiful granddaughter April grow and thrive.