A SCOTS rock star has said the country could be a more peaceful nation through meditation after revealing he turned to the technique after a struggling with mental health issues.

Belle and Sebastian singer Stuart Murdoch talked candidly about his own battles with depression as he conducted a meditation session at the end of a music festival that his band had headlined.

He said meditation can be a life changer and added: "It is possible we could become pretty peaceful people and it is possible we could be carrying this source of peace around us in our pockets."

The singer conducted his own meditation session for some 300 people on the final day of the Doune The Rabbit Hole festival.

He conducted a basic meditation technique involving ridding the the mind of thoughts and concentrating on the rhythm of breathing.

The 53-year-old musician said he used to meditate 30 years ago, but said he got back into it eight years ago when his first child came along.

He has two young sons, Denny and Nico with his wife Marisa Privitera and has previously admitted it is "an extra burden" juggling the demands of fatherhood with the preservation of his fragile health.

In his 20s he was in the grip of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), an experience he previously credited with his first ventures into songwriting and guards his health jealously, particularly when he is on the road.

But he has not always been successful The band was forced to cancel a tour in 2015 when he succumbed to health issues.

He said: "In a sense coming to meditation bringing your thoughts into your mind, being alone with your mind can be a brave thing to do. "I hinted before in my early 20s it was the first time I had bad mental health.

"It is cool to talk about bad mental health these days. I like to think I was talking about bad mental health before the whole bad mental health craze, at least in the songs. "I had an old fashioned breakdown in my early 20s. I had poor physical health for a few years before that, I had been riding along and mu life turned upside down.

"Suddenly I couldn't do the things I used to do anymore. I tried to drop all my friends, was back living with my parents, just a typical disaster, a regular life disaster. It certainly changed my life.


Stuart Murdoch

"A couple of years after that, I thought this is crap, but I am coping with it, and then I couldn't cope. Everything went to hell. I had a proper breakdown. "It ends okay."

But he says he has found support through meditation.

"From my experience, and I don't want to generalise, the mind really likes to meditate. It really likes it. It is almost like the best thing. If your mind was your feet, then meditation would be a little foot spa. As the Morriston Orpheous Welsh Male Voice Choir began singing on the main stage, while people were in a meditative state, he remarked: "That's going to work, isn't it.

"I think choirs are okay, it is better than punk and techno. We can do choir."

He talked about focussing the mind on a "virtuous object" which he says "sounds quite Victorian".

"Really a virtuous object is something good," he said.

"And when you are in that meditative state you can think about love. Or you can think about compassion. "Or you can think about gratefulness.

"It is like harvesting good feelings. When you are in that space, the feelings can grow when you let your mind rest on that virtuous object.

"What is meditation, why do I meditate: For peace? Yes. But, the focussing on the virtuous object, that opens the gate to all sorts of stuff. That can be a life-changer if you like. That is really feeding the mind, it is really feeding the soul.

"It is not only good for you in that present moment, it is great for everybody else.

"I think some folks think about meditating people, they think, well that is very nice you are off meditating, congratulations, you are having a nice time, great, terrific, good for you.

"My wife is a bit like that, especially when she had the first kid and I was off meditating. I came home and, I would say you have to let me tell you about the stuff I learnt tonight. "She came up with the memorable line: 'Don't give be the Buddha, just give me a glass of wine.' That's acceptable. My thing at that point was to start delving into Dharma and Buddhism. She has her own thing."

He said that everyone can be that person who is like a rock, with nothing appearing to bother them.

"If you can be the slightly more patient person in the office, the slightly more patient mum or dad, this is great," he said.

"I don't know whether anybody has ever said to you that you are just an anxious person, or you may have felt that yourself. You give yourself a label, you think, okay I am an angry person. And sometimes these labels can be sticking, because nobody is anxious all the way round. If you were anxious all the way round, you would die of anxiety. If you were angry all the time, you couldn't exist either. "We are a mixture. In meditation there is a chance to accentuate the other stuff that we would really like. And it is there for everybody."

The Belle and Sebastian song If You Are Feeling Sinister, the title track of their 1996 second album, is about two young people, Anthony and Hillary,  who “walk to their death” because religion isn’t compelling enough to make them hopeful about their difficult lives.

He said he found meditation "very empowering" and provided an allegory to encourage people to use it more often.

"If I did 20 push-ups to get this, then what will happen if you did 1000 push-ups.

"It is possible we could become pretty peaceful people and it is possible we could be carrying this source of peace around us in our pockets.