Most people become interested in their health only after they’ve misplaced it. Then they want a quick cure, an instant remedy, or a pill for their disease. Please don’t be like most people. If you have misplaced your health we can help you find it. And even if it’s lost, we have answers that will help you smile again.
So, what is health? Modern medicine tells us that when there is no disease, what remains is health. This is deception, not a definition. It is like defining light in relationship to darkness, or life to death–if you are not dead then you are alive–etc., etc. Medicine’s dilemma–it’s not able to tell us what health is, only disease. The irony of all that is most of the time they can’t even tell us the cause, but by gosh they sure can treat our symptoms with toxic drugs, chemo, radiation, or surgery. So the patient ends up with additional symptoms from the “cure,” besides the initial disease. That’s why most cancer patients die from the “cure” and not the disease.
We need a paradigm shift: and a good place to start is by treating the patient, and not the disease.
Become your own health advocate–start meditating.
Not long ago, February 2, 2013, to be exact, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the journal of Brain, Behavior and Immunity reported what we’ve known all along–that meditation reduces the symptoms of chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease–click here to read the full story. The old saying is true that an ounce of meditation is truly worth a pound of medications. Along those lines, I’m convinced people will eventually do the right thing, but only after they’ve exhausted all other possibilities. It seems everyone wants to be rid of the “ills of the flesh,” but few are willing to give up “the pleasures.” Herein lies our dilemma.
So, as we head into 2016 we can be thankful for some positive developments that occurred in 2015. It was a year of “wellness” awakening in the United States. People are tired of being “sick-and-tired”, overweight, and frustrated with “symptom management” through pharmaceuticals that are toxic to the body.
They are hungry for knowledge on how to live well, in order to be well. From-Medication-to-Meditation is a practical guide to wellness. If disciplined, it guarantees to teach you the skills for:
(1) synchronizing your body and mind;
(2) overcoming habitual behaviors;
(3) relaxing within discipline; and
(4) facing the world with openness and fearlessness.
So to begin 2016 let’s examine our own experience, in order to see what it contains that is of value. A great deal of turmoil in the world takes place because people don’t appreciate themselves. Having never developed compassion or kindness towards themselves, they cannot experience serenity. Therefore what they project on to others is fear and confusion. Instead of appreciating our lives, we often take our existence for granted or find it depressing and burdensome. People often end up doing something that seems contrary to their own best interest, including being addicted to legal and/or illegal drugs to cope.
Yes, it is good to take our lives seriously but not too seriously. Not to the point where we constantly complain about our problems or hold resentments against loved ones and acquaintances.
TODAY WE ACCEPT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR UPLIFTING OUR OWN LIVES.
There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about meditation–through this article we will be clearing up a lot of those misconceptions.
Wishful thinking, daydreaming, or simply talking about it daily doesn’t help. But a formal sitting meditation practice does. By meditation we mean something very basic and simple:
(1) Sitting on a chair or cushion,
(2) Assuming a good posture,
(3) Developing a sense of “being;”
(4) Developing a “knowing-wisdom” and
(5) That we are in the right place, right here, right now.
This process allows us to silence the mind and open our heart. Right now the mind is filled with discursive thoughts, and our heart with emotional turmoil. Both vessels are full of un-divine things that limit us. When we empty the heart and mind vessels, God will fill them with divine peace, lightness and bliss, “that passes all understanding.” We are then liberated.
IF A PERSON DOES NOT BELIEVE IN GOD, CAN HE STILL PRACTICE MEDITATION?
Yes, but he or she may not achieve anything. Meditation is the path that leads to God. If you do not believe in God, then you will not naturally follow that path… but you may be surprised by God along the path!
WHY DO WE MEDITATE?
Click the play button to hear MP3 Audio: “Why Meditate?”
We meditate because this world of ours has not been able to fulfill us. The so called “peace” we feel FOR 5 MINUTES in our day-to-day life, after ten hours of anxiety, worry, and frustration, is but an example of how most of us live. We are constantly at the mercy of negative thoughts and forces that are all around us: jealousy, fear, doubt, worry, anxiety, depression, and despair. These forces are like ravenous monkeys. When they get tired of biting us for a few moments, we say we are enjoying ourselves. But this is not real at all, just a reprieve before they attack again.
Meditation is not an escape but our self-awakening and God’s Self-offering. When man’s self-awakening and God’s Self-offering meet, man becomes fulfilled in the inner world and God becomes fulfilled in the outer world. Medication is the language of the flesh and ego,meditation is the language of God. If we want to know what God’s will is in our life, if we want God to guide us, mould us and fulfill Himself in and through us, then meditation is the prescription we must use.
In this commentary we are going to discuss the BEGINNING TECHNIQUES OF MEDITATION in some detail, but it is important to remember that, if you want to fully understand this practice, you may need direct, PERSONAL INSTRUCTION.
Instead of coming to meditation with the same attitude that has prevailed most of our lives, we can come in an atmosphere of unconditional friendliness toward ourselves. We come to discover who we are at our wisest and most confused, while not making a big deal out of either circumstance. For example, we acknowledge our problems or the pain we feel in our bodies, but don’t make them into a “big-deal.” We learn to honor things without putting the magnifying glass over them–not belittling but not fanning things either.
So what is meditation? And, how does it work? But, most of all how do I do it?
THREE ELEMENTS OF MEDITATION
When meditating, choose a spot that is away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and where you will not be disturbed. Meditate early in the morning and initially keep your sessions brief–5 to 10 minutes. There are three aspects of meditation that we commonly address:
(1) Your posture,
(2) The object of meditation, and
(3) How we deal with our thoughts.
1. POSTURE: Sit upright on a flat surface, preferably in a padded folding chair, with your feet planted firmly on the ground and an upright back–NOT TILTING TO THE FRONT, BACK, OR SIDES–a feeling of being well balanced. A good posture is extremely important — an upright/straight back is not an artificial posture. It is natural–when you slouch, that is unhealthy. You can’t breathe properly when you slouch. Don’t strain yourself by pulling up your shoulders or pushing out your chest. Do not hold your head down; you are not bending to anything. Then allow your legs to rest naturally on the floor, hip width apart. Allow your hands to rest palms open on your thighs. Keep your heart and eyes open by sitting with an open front.
Click the play button to hear MP3 Audio: “Posture and Breathing”
Do not gaze randomly around. You have a sense that you are there properly, eyes open, a gesture of openness, but your gaze is directed slightly downward, about six feet in front of you. The mouth is just a tiny bit open, barely visible, just enough to relax the jaw, face and neck; this allows the breath to flow out naturally. If you experience discomfort, you can make slight adjustments to your body.
2. OBJECT OF MEDITATION: BE MINDFUL OF THE OUT-BREATH as you sit with a good posture, pay attention to your OUT-breath. When you breathe, you are utterly there.You’re mindful of the out-breath, your breath dissolves, and then the in-breath happens naturally. Then you breathe out again–there is just more attention to the out-breath. So there is a constant going out with the out-breath. As you breathe out, you dissolve, you diffuse. Then your in-breath occurs naturally–waiting for the out-breath. You don’t have to follow it… mindful of your posture; you are ready for another out-breath. Relaxing, letting go, softening outward, very light awareness of the breath as it goes out–being there in a light sort of way.
3. WORKING WITH YOUR THOUGHTS: inevitably there will be a “bing”–A THOUGHT! Meditation is not about getting rid of thoughts. If it were we would all eventually get very discouraged. At that point, you simply gently say to yourself, “thinking.” Like a feather touching a soap bubble, say “thinking” – without judgment. You don’t say it out loud; you say it mentally; “thinking.” Labeling your thoughts gives you tremendous leverage to come back to your breath.
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THOUGHTS YOU HAVE. In the sitting practice of meditation, whether you have monstrous thoughts or benevolent thoughts, all of them are regarded purely as “thinking.” They are neither virtuous nor sinful. Please don’t be shocked by your thoughts: any thought is just “thinking.” Just label them simply as “thinking,” and go back to your breath. “Thinking,” back to the breath; “thinking,” back to the breath.
Click the play button to hear MP3 Audio: “Pure Meditation”
THE PRACTICE OF MEDITATION IS VERY PRECISE.
It has to be right on the beam, right on the dot. It is simple, yet can be hard work if you don’t remember the importance of your posture which enables you to synchronize your mind and body through the breath and the “feather” approach to “thinking.”
When thoughts arise, you label them “thinking” and come back to your posture, back to your breath. You are not working with your mind alone. You are working with your mind and body, and when the two work together, you never leave the NOW MOMENT–the body and mind are synchronized.
IN CONCLUSION: this method is simple. As you simply sit on this earth eventually a sense of individual dignity will arise. You will feel as if you deserve this earth and the earth deserves you. You are there–fully, personally, genuinely. Meditation teaches us to be honest and genuine–true to ourselves. The way to begin to liberate the world is to liberate ourselves from the mind and its construct. From being open and honest with ourselves, we can then become open with others. And we can work with others without aggression but with openness, kindness, and compassion.
If you are still having problems meditating may I suggest that you try the following “affirmations” by yours truly, the author, Reinhard Hermes
Click the play button to hear MP3 Audio: “Affirmations Intro”
Click the play button to hear MP3 Audio: “Positive Affirmations”
Click the play button to hear MP3 Audio: “The Promises”