Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied “Nothing!” “However, Buddha said, let me tell you what I lost: Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, Fear of Old Age, and Death.”
How old is meditation? There is a belief that our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have used a form of meditation when hunting prey. To be successful, their senses needed to be on high alert while their bodies’ remained motionless for long periods of time. The written record of meditation goes back some 4,000 years ago, can be found in many religions including Christianity, and used by most of the Martial Arts to increase concentration and power. Meditation is resting more deeply while remaining awake and alert. It’s a time for rest and renewal.
Mindful meditation (a powerful stress-management tool) can be done in as little as 5 minutes by focusing on breath. Thinking is a major part of meditation. As thoughts vie for your attention, you acknowledge them, and then let them go to focus on your breath again. This technique helps to cut mind chatter, and proven beneficial for patients dealing with cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and type 2 diabetes. This form of stress-management can be performed by nearly everybody, and you do not need to sit cross-legged. You can sit on a chair, stand, walk, or lay down.
Active meditation (like the martial arts, yoga, and tai chi) improves optimism, reduces cortisol levels (stress), and decreases depression and anxiety.
“Meditation is all about the pursuit of nothingness. It’s like the ultimate rest. It’s better than the best sleep you ever had. It’s a quieting of the mind.”
Many large corporations are offering a meditation room or “quiet room” for their employees. By doing so, the employee can manage stress on their terms, and the company acknowledges workforce well-being as a priority. According to a 2009 Ohio State University study, by providing such space, companies can increase productivity while reducing workplace injuries, and number of sick days used. Companies that give such space are: Prentice Hall Publishing, Deutsche Bank, Procter & Gamble, HBO, and Google. If you wish to add your company to this list, then please comment or email to the address below. Let’s grow this list!
The meditation technique, I will begin tomorrow morning, and do for one month, is called the Hot-Cold Shower. Here are the steps:
• Breathe in the smell while shampooing.
• Take longer with your head under the water. Enjoy some conscious breaths with the water streaming over your hair.
• Let the water massage your neck while you breathe consciously.
• Take longer shaving or toweling.
• Rub lotion all over your body.
After you have gotten into that, perhaps after a few days, experiment with turning the water on cool at the end. Do that for a few days, then gradually make the water cooler and cooler. “It can take a month to be able to handle a cold shower even for ten seconds and have it be pleasurable. As you get used to it gradually, the shock becomes invigorating rather than painful.” For this and other suggested techniques, Meditation Made Easy by Lorin Roche, PH.D., is a great resource.
What meditation technique will you begin or are currently using?
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