Meditation: the Portable Health Tonic
Meditation, Not Medication!
This world is manic, there is no doubt about it. Do you ever wonder why some people are absolutely crazy with the daily distractions of life and others just take everything in stride? Ironically these more relaxed folk don't have anything less to do, but, they do one thing differently; they take care of themselves first. Unless you're taking care of an invalid parent, child, spouse or pet, you may want to adopt this approach. Even if you are taking care of a seriously ill person or animal, there has to be different points in your day when you can take a breather. That's right, don't forget to breath. That's what my ballet teacher used to tell the class all the time. What a difference it made in our dancing! Worked like a charm every time. I could bend deeper and reach higher the deeper I breathed, and, it put me in a more receptive state of learning.
Ask yourself if there is anywhere that you could be right now, or anything you would like to do right now, even something as simple as breathing in the heavenly scent of lavender, how could you accomplish this? Just walk right out the front door if you can and take ten deep breaths of fresh air. Breathe in as much as you can before you exhale. Now imagine laying back in a cloud of one thousand count thread sheets, the wind at your back, or that amazing lavender fragrance. You are on your way to meditation. It really is that simple. How can something as elemental as breathing have such outstanding health benefits? Deep breathing slows your mind down along with your stressed out body signals, (tight shoulders anyone, anyone clenching their jaw?) As soon as your mind and heart stop racing, you will be able to release thoughts from your mind and become an empty vessel. Your body and mind become receptive instead of defensive. All ego is put on the back burner and your essential core is unveiled. It is at this point where problem solving and creativity are at their highest.
Anti-depressants are sometimes necessary and I am not knocking them for people who cannot overcome their depression. Depression and other psychiatric diseases and disorders are serious. Be aware of your how you may be stressing yourself out or how a situation is fraying your nerves. Self medicating or overeating is just going to tie the noose a little bit tighter. Not only are people overwrought, but so is the world. Blogging is at an all time high because as much as technology advances, people remain endearingly and maddeningly human (in the best sense of the word) and need to connect to other human beings in a meaningful way.
How Imagery Helps
Take a look at the picture above. How does it make you feel? When I look at it, I remember the sound of the birds as much as the glow of the day. Imagery is very personal, though. Someone who is afraid of water may find this image very disturbing. So, to those out there who are not enamored of water, my apologies.
Your mind is like a long running movie. Only replay the images that bring you absolute happiness and security. Golden tones tend to make me feel secure, so I gravitate towards them. I find that I need beauty around me, so I find that I hang up a lot of artwork, whether it is wall sculpture, photographs, mosaics or paintings. Find the images that inspire you and bring you happiness, then hang them up or put them in a prominent place in your home. I guarantee every time you look at one of these images, your stress level will drop by about ten points. Yey for you!
The Power of Scent
Of all of our senses, the power of scent to trigger a memory is perhaps the most potent. I have a cutting garden, and by far the two most arresting fragrances in the garden are the Russian Sage and the Artemisia. They both have a fresh complex smell and as I walk by them, I brush them with my clothes and that scent is is released all around me. So are my endorphins. These scents have a positive association for me, so I immediately feel relaxed around them.
As in imagery, surround yourself with scents that leave you happy. You will carry that attitude with you the whole day. Memories can and do put a person in a meditative state. Start with the great memories and the scents and imagery that went with them and you will do your body and soul a world of good.
I believe meditation can heal ourselves and the world around us (please say a prayer for the victims of the Colorado movie theater shootings). What could be more practical? Meditation can be done at any time, anywhere and is completely free. Although in essence, you are doing "nothing", I think meditation is one of the best uses of time a person can engage in. Now breathe in completely, and out.......don't you feel better?
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