I keep referring to a “way of life”; what does this entail?
*Exercise / movement
*A calm, stressless, relaxed mind, SERENITY
We’ve talked about the first two, but how about the third?
First, a true story; and another example of how stupid I can be.
We were taking our baby sitter back to her home one night in East Lansing, Michigan. Çiğdem, about two then, and her mom were in the back seat and the babysitter was riding shotgun. There wasn’t much traffic and I flashed my high beams to the truck in front of me so that he would move to the right lane and let me pass. I guess I thought that he would comply and must have been a bit too close when instead of moving he hit his brakes. Safety belt regulations were not yet in force, in fact the car had none. The baby sitter’s head hit the windshield and Çiğdem and her mom were almost thrown to the front when I hit the brakes hard to avoid hitting the “gentleman” driving the truck.
I was ”a bit angered” by this, so I moved to the truck’s right, hoping to let him have my thoughts but he was too high relative to my BMW and I couldn’t even see him. I don’t even think he saw my finger.
Frustration overtook me and I rammed into his right side, which caused him to be forced into the grassy median of the highway. I stopped a bit further up, but he didn’t move. I knew he couldn’t have been injured, so I assumed that he wanted nothing to do with the crazy man that had just rammed him.
There were no “anger management” classes in those days, so I decided to look into Transcendental Meditation (TM). The benefits of TM were summarized to me as follows:
*Greater inner calm throughout the day
*Reduced cortisol (the “stress hormone”)
*Normalized blood pressure
*Lower risk of heart attack or stroke
*Reduced anxiety and depression
*Improved brain function and memory
This sounded good, so I took the “course”, got my mantra, which you’re told never to reveal to anyone, and I haven’t, and did it for about 5 years. In fact, people close to me would comment on how relaxed and mellow I had become.
For reasons I can’t recall now, I stopped doing TM about 40 years ago.
Three years ago, I thought I was experiencing what I thought was a bout of hypertension and had to ware a halter, measuring my blood pressure for 24 hours. My average was 11 for the (Systolic) and 6 for the (Diastolic). GREAT. But in the process, I started TM again. GOOD FOR ME.
Before I go on, I want to pass on something the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of TM, believed in. He believed that if the square root of 1 % of a city’s population meditated at the same time, that number would be 377 people for Istanbul, the crime rate would show a significant decrease. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
According to recent research meditation affects brain functioning long after the practice. One key discovery was the absence of activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain (also called the primitive brain) that processes emotional stimuli during and after the act of meditation. Maybe, this was what I was after 45 years ago in Michigan.
I have modified my meditation technique slightly since I started using Muse (the brain sensing headband) in October 2014.
I sill use my TM mantra, but in the meditation process, I get FEEDBACK from the headband as to my performance; this includes the percentage of time my brain was CALM, NEUTRAL and ACTIVE during my meditation. I think it has improved my calmness time tremendously.
For more information on Muse Calm go to: www.choosemuse.com
Besides getting feedback as to your “calmness” performance, there are options as to how long you want a meditation séance to last, challenges for each level of expertise you have reached, choice of background noise/scene, etc.
Those of you who have been reading my previous posts will know that “I try to kill a few birds with one stone”. For example, I try to touch my bellybutton to my spine to exercise my transverse abdominis, while brushing my teeth and using the water pick; I stand on my left foot (lefties should stand on the right foot) after getting out of the shower as a balancing exercise; and I combine meditation with stepping on “an earthing mat” which is an excellent way to get antioxidants into your body to fight free radicals.
The above picture is of an earthing mat, which simulates one standing on grass, close to or in the water, or the beach barefooted. When one walks on the earth barefooted, free electrons from the earth transfer into their body via the soles of their feet. These free electrons are some of the most potent antioxidants known to man.
It is a fact that very few of us ground ourselves, due to widespread use of rubber or plastic-soled shoes. This has, more than likely, contributed to the rise of modern diseases by allowing chronic inflammation to proliferate unchecked.
One of the most accepted theories on aging is the free radical theory, which I touched upon in my second post, “Eternal Youth, Can It Be For Real”. This theory basically states that aging occurs because of accumulated damage to your body caused by free radicals.
We have strayed a bit from meditation, but grounding, naturally or via an earthing mat, is strongly recommended.
Getting back to meditation, I discussed TM and muse calm in todays post, but don’t feel that you have to adopt either of these techniques. There are many other ways you can reap the benefits of meditation. All you need to do is put your mind to it.
Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, relax yourself starting at your head and step-by-step go all the way down to your toes. Head, neck, shoulders, chest, arms, stomach, thighs, calves, ankles and feet. Imagine that you are putting a smile on all these body parts.
When you feel relaxed, start concentrating on your breathing. Imagine a blue light going down from your nose to your tummy. Then imagine it coming back up to your nose. Slowly, as you relax, your breathing will get shallower, the blue light will only go down to your chest. And so on.
Many thoughts will come to your mind while doing this. Don’t let it bother you; don’t get angry with yourself. Slowly get back to concentrating on your breathing. Do this 15-20 minutes, twice a day. You can start with 5-10 minutes a day, initially, and slowly work up to 20 minutes, twice a day.
Explore meditation in Google, you may find a method that suits you better.
SERENITY is the third thing all of us should strive for. If you eat right, exercise/walk, do not sit for prolonged periods, but ignore this important aspect of life, YOU ARE CHEETING YOURSELF OUT OF MAXIMISING YOUR POTENTIAL.