Bénédicte Juhel: From a lawyer's robe to meditation: a path open to possibilities

- through Fabrice Groult

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The encounter of this former lawyer and legal director with Buddhism in 2004 completely changed her life. Sixteen years later, she passes on her experience of meditation, mixing it with her other passion: naturopathy.

“With a legal background, I started a career as a lawyer in 2000. I practiced in Parisian business firms where young employees are subject to high stress and an intense pace of work. It was common to spend a large part of the nights in the office, as well as the weekends, ”recalls Bénédicte. After four years of this rhythm, she suffered a burnout: “In two days, I could no longer speak, eat or sleep. I had fallen into a bottomless pit, not knowing what was happening to me, prey to deep anguish. »

The Four Noble Truths, an invaluable treasure

Shortly after emerging from the most critical phase of this episode, she encountered Buddhism “by chance”. “It was through someone I met on a social network that I discovered Buddhism and meditation. The one who will become a friend advises him to read a book: Awaken the Buddha within you by Lama Surya Das. “It was a revelation. When I first read the teaching of the Four Noble Truths, I felt like I had stumbled upon a priceless treasure. I, who had just lived through a period of great suffering, knowing that there was a lasting way out of it gave me immense hope. A light had just appeared in my dark night. This light never went out and never stopped growing. Bénédicte devours all the books on Buddhism that come to hand, then looks for a center in Paris where she can learn about meditation. Her choice fell on the Kalachakra center, where she took part in meditation sessions and teachings, before doing her first retreat in 2007. Other retreats followed, at least once a year, mainly Vipassana retreats.

Stop the infernal machine

A year later, wishing to train in care around the psychology of emotions, Bénédicte enrolled at the Tarab Institute France. For four years, she delved into Buddhist philosophy and the practice of meditation, according to the approach of Tarab Tulku Rinpoche, created for Westerners. Later, she discovered dzogchen and followed the teachings of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, a Bon master living in the United States. Then the program MBSR and begins training to become an instructor.

“Meditation offered me a choice: that of not engaging in these automatisms, of letting these emotions and thoughts pass without getting bogged down in them, of not identifying with them. »

“Meditation taught me a lot about myself. Understanding that I was largely cut off from my body, observing my emotional reactions, my behavioral automatisms and my mental ruminations… Day after day, I discovered essential unknown aspects. At first, this troubled me, because I realized that I had no control over these mental and emotional mechanisms that made me unhappy, that they happened automatically, as if someone were pressing a button. button that started an infernal machine. But very quickly, I understood that I could free myself from them thanks to meditation which offered me a choice: that of not engaging in these automatisms, of letting these emotions and thoughts pass without getting bogged down in them, not to identify with them. It was then that I really understood what was meant in Buddhism by “being a slave” and what freedom meant. »

Naturopathy & Body Mind concept

But life has new surprises in store for her. In 2013: discovering that she had an autoimmune disease, Bénédicte then became interested in naturopathy.

“Even though this autoimmune disease is not serious compared to others, it made me think: that my body produced antibodies against my own organs and killed itself was not trivial. I then realized, thanks to naturopathy, the importance of diet and lifestyle. Unfortunately, our modern diet and way of life are not at all adapted to our physiology, making the bed of many chronic diseases. She changes her diet, practices detox, mono-diet cures and fasting, which helps her reduce the immune problem and make the symptoms disappear. And, is formed at CENATHO, a school of naturopathy.

After leaving her last position as legal director and deciding to launch her own activity in 2017, Bénédicte chose to pass on her experience and what she discovered through meditation and naturopathy, by creating Body Mind concept. “I am so grateful to meditation and naturopathy, which have changed my life! And I see so many people in a state of stress and suffering, especially at work, or who suffer from "civilization" health problems... Through a secular approach to meditation and a pleasure approach to food, I try to bring participants to change their way of seeing things in order to evolve smoothly. »

And always with the hope of bringing a positive change: "When, for example, one of the participants told me recently that thanks to meditation, she was able to overcome her fears and get out of a toxic relationship, which joy ! The positive feedback I receive is a great source of motivation,” she concludes.

photo of author

Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

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