Modern-Day Meditation

Tristan speaks about the importance of meditation in our modern times.


"What you are seeking is seeking you." Tristan Gribbin quotes the Eastern mystic poet Rumi to describe what can happen in meditation. Once you begin to search for what you want to find, it begins to come to you.

Tristan moved back home to Iceland two years ago and has tried all kinds of meditation in different places in the world along with her husband Stefan Árni. Together they teach Modern-Day Meditation weekly at Dansverkstæðið every Wednesday evening and this type of meditation they teach has a special powerful energy and expression that Tristan says is designed to help people living in stressful modern times. She says that meditation helps people to open to everything that is inside of us, helping us to break free from old patterns and thoughts that hold us back. People are always seeking more well-being, love, care, truth and inner strength. It is our own responsibility to choose what we do with our lives and how we go about this search.

When did you start to meditate?

I first started to meditate seriously in January 2000 when I went to a meditation workshop in Skálholt, Iceland. I experienced a phenomenal spiritual connection that had a big influence on me. It awakened a spiritual longing which made me want to keep going. My life experience up to that point had me closed down to my own heart, passion and my body, and this meditation opened that all up for me again. My husband Stefan Árni started to meditate very soon after, and he had a similar experience. We have grown together and supported each other in this spiritual work.

Why do you think it is important for people to meditate?

Most of us are at the mercy of our own emotions. We tend to close down difficult and painful feelings and that is natural for people who are going through difficult times. We all go though tough times, whether it is with our families, relationships, financial, health or other stresses. Most often we do not want to feel pain so we push it down, or aside, but really to get free we need to face these feelings head on in order to be able to learn to let go. Meditation helps us to live with an open heart. In the process of opening our heart, we need to go deep within and feel our feelings, in all the ways they show up, in order to be able to let go of emotional or mental obstacles. We become more sensitive and receptive, and begin to understand ourselves better, opening our hearts and letting go and healing old wounds. In this way we find more self-trust, more love, more affection, compassion, and connection to our whole self. This gives us more and more freedom to begin to live the way we desire to live.

How does Modern-Day Meditation work?

Modern-Day Meditation has four parts. The first part is called Opening, and during this part we focus on going deep within and connecting to our heart’s desire, and giving this longing the space to express itself. This meditation is always very personal and unique and we trust ourselves and our feelings that come up. We use all kinds of music and freedom of movement to help us open. We focus on the breath, and allow ourselves to open and release, sometimes through movement, screaming in a towel or allowing tears. Once we have opened, we have let go of what is in the way of finding and accessing a deeper calm within. The second part is called Calming, and we go there naturally after having made the effort to open. It is important to prepare ourselves by opening because we can’t usually instantly go to calming unless we have released feelings or stress that might be in the way. The third part is called Meditative Thinking. This part also follows naturally since we have come to an open, receptive and clear place where we can access our higher intelligence.

"We choose to think about something that matters to us in our lives and can find new information or clarity on the subject by focussing on the topic from this new place we have come to within ourselves."

The fourth part is called Taking Action which is an exciting aspect of this meditation because really you can use this meditation to find and implement solutions for everything in your life. You can use it to figure out anything, whether it be connected to work, finances, relationships, health i.e. sleep. We can contemplate everything that matters to us. For example, you might have a realization during meditation ‘I need to call this person and have this conversation.’ You make a note of it and once you actually take that action, you are in direct connection with the transformative positive energy of meditation you found. This helps keep in motion your positive spiritual transformation.

How is Modern-Day Meditation different from other meditations?

Our meditation provides a strong medicine for the modern mind. We have so much to think about and our minds are so busy on a daily basis. We need powerful tools to help us go deeper than the mind. I am not saying that everyone has to do this type of meditation. I just know it works really well for me. I did not know, for example, when I started, that I needed to scream in a towel. Once I did, my feelings rose up like a volcano and I cried deep tears of longing that I did not even know were inside of me.

What do you think about the Icelandic attitude towards mediation?

I think a lot of Icelandic people are ready to meditate now. When I started in the year 2000 there were just a few people thinking about it. There were more people that had started doing yoga and yoga really is a form of meditation, as yoga came out of meditation. When I started, yoga was for people who were a little different, a little more open-minded. It took some time for yoga to become mainstream. Now it is so popular you can practice yoga in places everywhere around town. That will also happen with meditation after a few years, it will become much more mainstream. It will become part of a healthy lifestyle like eating healthy food.

You don’t have to change your lifestyle to start meditating. You can be a really regular down to earth person living a normal life. You certainly don’t have to go into a cave or monastery. With meditation you are more real, more grounded. People have been meditating for thousands of years, so it is part of our heritage. Modern-Day Meditation is not connected to any particular belief system so it can be for everyone.

"Some of the largest companies in the United States have started to offer meditation to their employees, like Apple and Google. They see it increases well-being and productivity for the staff."

Famous and powerful people like Oprah have started to promote meditation as a most important way to let go of stress and help us live happier lives. Meditation is part of a growing trend and we will see it increase in the months and years to come.

How do people respond to your meditations?

People of all ages participate. It is just wonderful to see people open up and change. People are more open and alive and you can see it in their in their faces and hear it in their voices after meditation. Peoples eyes are brighter and they are more present in their physically and emotinally. It’s hard to describe the change that happens for people, but it is a wonder to see. It is also always so personal, so unique to each person, and a miracle.

I feel like Icelanders are very open for spiritual work and you see that especially in the younger generation. They just ‘get it’ and they are longing for positive changes, and something that will make a difference in their lives. Icelanders are waking up and seeking all kinds of new ways to improve our lifestyle. It’s up to us and we make choices continually. For example, we take a vote with every meal, whether we choose healthy or unhealthy food, right? We start with ourselves, and that will have a positive effect on everyone around us.