Gaëlle Piton: being a bodhisattva in the field

- through Fabrice Groult

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From accompanying artists to creating meditation workshops in the schools of Seine Saint-Denis, this sophrologist trained in mindfulness draws from her practice of Tibetan Buddhism, the fervor to appease violence.

When she first walked through the door of the ENNA vocational school in Saint-Denis, in the 93, Gaëlle Piton was not leading the way. How to convince these supposedly dropout boys, with closed faces under their hoods, of the virtues of meditation? “Mission impossible”, hammered his entourage. And yet, 70% of students signed up for his workshops. Although her teaching is secular, the petite 38-year-old draws her persuasiveness from her personal practice of Tibetan Buddhism, imbued with gratitude and benevolence. "It's what you embody that attracts," she observes with simplicity. And then, the absence of pressure seduces. “Meditation has no goal. So, when we propose to do something at school that is neither failed nor successful, it's revolutionary! »

From her native Lorraine, where she grew up in the middle of the housing estates around Nancy, Gaëlle Piton has kept a taste for social diversity. When eight years ago, she and her husband, a sound engineer, left Paris, which had become too expensive, to settle in Saint-Denis, she wanted to invest herself fully in this very special territory. “Although I am sometimes worried, I like to see our five-year-old daughter, Mila-Djinpa (“Djinpa” meaning generosity in Tibetan) comfortable with the diversity of populations. Trained at the source of sophrology, that of the Caycedian school (named after the founder of the discipline, the psychiatrist Alfonso Caycedo), she set up her practice there. The Dora Mar college, which has just opened its doors with the project of placing benevolence at the heart of its operation, calls on her for her dual skills in sophrology and meditation of mindfulness. In 2015, when the city was devastated by the attack on the Stade de France, she initiated her meditation workshops there with student volunteers. The establishment notes a decrease in fights and disciplinary councils. To the point that the teachers in turn ask to follow his meditation sessions. The experience analyzed in the field by a positive psychology laboratory is snowballing. Gaëlle Piton works in four establishments in the city, where she also trains ambassadors – students and teachers – to relay her. “You see, despite the violence and drug trafficking, Saint-Denis is full of initiatives and talents. Here, we are ready to try everything! », applauds the author of Meditation is life.

"Dancing your life"

The one who dreamed of being a dancer did not imagine such life missions, in turn sophrologist, coach, trainer, journalist and even lecturer at the Saint-Denis art and history museum, where she leads "slows » thematic visits in full awareness. From her very early thwarted passion – her parents deeming her too brilliant to cut herself off from intellectual studies – Gaëlle Piton makes it a point of honor to help others find their way. What she calls “dancing her life”. "I too often hear young people in consultation say that they are not in their place or that they have no future", she is indignant.

“Meditation has no goal. So, when we suggest that schoolchildren do something that is neither failed nor successful, it's revolutionary! »

Failing to wear ballet flats, this graduate of a doctorate in literature on the study of the representation of the dancer in the 24th century devotes ten years of her life to the accompaniment of artists and to choreography, in particular with Carolyn Carlson at the Atelier de Paris. "An extremely spiritual choreographer", who echoes her own childhood, rocked by the prayers of a Catholic grandmother. At XNUMX, Gaëlle Piton discovered Buddhism in Paris with the lama Ole Nydahl, in the tradition of Karma Kagyu. “I felt more drawn to Tibetan Buddhism than to Zen. The music, the sound of the drums, connected me to something more familiar. She continued her spiritual journey with her husband, at Karma Ling in Savoy, with Denys Teundroup Rinpoche. Gaëlle Tobden Drönma (literally "very powerful light") measures her luck to have encountered the dharma at the same time as her companion. “We are on the same wavelength”, rejoices the one who frequents the Loka sangha of Shangpa Kagyü tradition, in Paris in the XNUMXth arrondissement. When his occupations in Saint-Denis give him time.

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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