Meditation is the buzz word of the day and for good reason. It works.
Today, it is more than spiritual teachers who encourage the practice of meditation for the full range of benefits it can bring. Meditation has become a mainstream recommendation for numerous physical health issues, especially those dealing with stress. Stress is known to contribute to over 80% of the dis-eases plaguing the 21st century, and meditation can give our bodies and our minds a chance to slow down, unwind and rejuvenate.
In the hustle and bustle of our ever busier lives, meditation can be a calm refuge from the chaos of the outer world and more importantly the inner world. With the growing science and understanding of the body-mind connection we are now aware that stress is mind made. Yes, mind made! Think about it. What stresses out one person may not stress out another. What makes the difference is how each person thinks and feels about it. The good news is this, if we create stress in our over busy minds, then all we need do is slow down our mind, and we slow down or release our stress.
Teachers like Eckart Tolle remind us there are many different ways to practice a meditative state of mind, sitting, walking, drinking and eating to name a few. Anyone can learn how to meditate. The challenge is to be in the practice for what is not some spiritually unobtainable nirvana or non-thought. All meditation is a form of awareness practice which, simply put, means being aware of and choosing where you are directing your attention. Focusing on all the obligations, deadlines, chaos and problems of your day creates stress mentally, emotionally and physically.
A simple meditation practice of tens minutes once or twice a day can beneficially lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tension and headaches, increase seratonin and uplift mood and behaviour, reduce acidic and arthritic conditions, improve memory and concentration, reduce anxiety attacks and more. Is it worth it? You bet. Practise and discover the answers for yourself as millions of other supporters have.
If we could all learn to quiet our minds and pay better attention to the messages the body sends we may avoid a lot of health crisis or complications. Just to take the time to sit quietly within yourself, with nothing to do bus be aware, to witness your thoughts, follow your breath, drift into the silence behind the sounds, ride on the wave of the wind or absorb the scent of a flower, is what it’s all about. Once you get into a consistent practice, positive results will be present in all areas of your life but most importantly, the relationship you embrace with yourself. The feelings of calm, pride and confidence that come from the disciplined practice (which is keeping your word to yourself), cannot be understated or understood until you experience it yourself. Imagine the rewards being calm, open, centered alert, focused and peaceful could bring to your life personally and professionally. Meditation practice is a breath of fresh air amidst the congestion of our stressful lives and the simplest way to meditate is to be with your breath.
- Take a moment now, even as you read this and do what I call a stress check.
- Be aware of your brow. Now relax it.
- Relax your jaw and let your teeth part, swallow, drop your shoulders, relax your belly, let your hips and buttocks settle into the chair.
- Be aware of a slight sensation of energy or tingling inside your feet. You are feeling, sensing, if you will, the life force within your feet.
- Now gently become aware of your breathing. No need to control it, just be aware. Notice the gentle rhythm of your lungs as they expand and contract. Just witnessing, you will notice your breathing is nice and calm.
- If your mind wanders or thoughts get your attention, simple notice them and come back to following your breath. Come back again and follow your breath. You may want to count every exhale just to keep you focused. That is it. Just breathe.
There is nothing more important in this moment that you simply being.
Can you do it?
Can you give yourself the gift and opportunity to simply be?
In time this simple practice can bring you closer to your Self and that will gift your life. Take the challenge. Find a style that suits you best. Commit to the practice and reap the rewards.