Meditation for Non-Meditators
Bring Meditation Into Your Daily Life Through Mindfulness Meditation
One of the staunchest proponents of meditation is Dr. Dean Ornish who, for the past 25 years, has demonstrated that comprehensive lifestyle changes can reverse severe coronary heart disease without drugs or surgery. He prescribes meditation as a necessary tool for reversing heart disease. Dr. Ornish says that when one meditates, “a number of changes occur in your body, as you experience a profound state of relaxation, deeper even than sleep. Your blood pressure decreases, your heart rate slows, your arteries dilate, you think more clearly… you experience your senses more fully…your mind quiets down and you experience an inner sense of peace, joy and wellbeing.”
Meditation is a tool that has been used for centuries to help develop the ability to control our mental states. It brings the brain wave pattern into a level of consciousness that promotes a healing state. Meditation balances a person’s physical, emotional and mental states – no wonder then that more and more physicians are prescribing meditation to help people deal with stress, pain, cancer and other chronic illnesses, infertility, heart disease, high blood pressure, psoriasis, respiratory crises, tension headaches, PMS, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia.
There are numerous meditation techniques and learning them usually requires time and the guidance of a teacher. How then can one fit this age-old healing tool into a busy schedule?
The easiest and simplest way to meditate is through mindfulness. By simply being mindful of or by paying attention to your daily activities, you are in fact practicing meditation. In other words, become aware of what you’re doing while you’re doing it – and you will enjoy the benefits that meditation brings!
By “being where you are” and by paying attention to what you are doing you slow down your sense of time and learn to monitor your moods and thoughts. This is the reason why we feel so relaxed when we indulge in activities like gardening, crafting, painting, taking a solitary walk, listening to music, or fishing.
When we engage in activities we enjoy all our senses are active and we are “in the moment.” If this same quality of attentiveness can be brought to the performance of our daily tasks, we will be able to enjoy the benefits of meditation on a daily basis.
It seems deceptively simple, but if you try to do one small task – like cleaning your table – you will probably discover that your mind is full of other thoughts that have nothing at all to do with cleaning the table. Is it because cleaning the table is a boring chore? Probably, but chances are your mind is racing with other thoughts simply because it is no longer used to focusing on one activity.
If you go further and try to notice how your body is feeling while you are cleaning the table, you will most likely discover that your shoulders are tight, your jaws are clenched and you are probably exerting more effort than is needed for such a simple task. This is because your mind – filled with a flurry of thoughts – is unable to communicate with your body. The end result is that you add stress to your whole system just by cleaning a table.
To practice mindfulness meditation, start small. Choose a simple task that will take five minutes to accomplish. As you perform this simple chore, try to be there – feel your body while you are doing it. If other thoughts come rushing by, ignore them and focus instead on what you are doing. The trick is to be the performer and observer at the same time.
Practiced on a daily basis, this short mindfulness meditation will work wonders for your body, mind and spirit. In time you will be able to stretch the period of mindfulness and if you are really serious about it, you will eventually arrive at a point where you will be able to bring focus and intent to all that you do.
Even while doing our everyday chores we can relax ourselves, quiet the conscious mind, experience stillness and leave room for deeper levels of inspiration and understanding – all we need do is perform our tasks with mindfulness.
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