5 Fruits of a Meditation Practice

5:30 a.m., the alarm goes off. Half-awake I make my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Reorganized, I make my way to the clear corner of my room where my meditation space awaits. I sit down on my meditation block. Thoughts begin to make their presence known. Cluttering my mind and fogging my brain. The decision to return to the coziness and comfort of my bed plague today’s mind chatter. Other thoughts start narrating stories as if I could possibly do anything about it in this moment. I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and regather myself. It isn’t long before I can see my thoughts passing over my mind like waves washing over a barren coastline. At this point, I begin to cultivate gratitude. I begin to deepen my awareness by checking in with my physical body, my energies, my emotions, and my breath. A deep sense of calmness, serenity, and peace engulf the space that was once relentless chatter.  Now there is clarity, purpose, and life.

This simple tool has been an awakening to greater fulfillment in all aspects of my life. However, to sit in stillness and observe is not so easy. Many of us are afraid to be with ourselves in silence for even a few moments let alone several minutes. How is it that some may sit in reverent silence and others are quick to leave the aspects of their mind? For one, it’s is frightening. Think to be alone with the object that has caused past pain, trauma, suffering, and destruction is intimidating. To face your thoughts takes courage! Think of the last time you were quiet. How many thoughts raced uninterrupted through your mind? How many times were these thoughts destructive in nature or worse yet, manifested into a negative emotional state or other forms of altercation. We are wired to react. The sympathetic nervous system, or often referred to as the fight, flight, or freeze state is the dominant force behind many of our daily struggles. This state can cause anxiety, self-doubt, frustration, anger, impulsivity, and depression. This system is critical for our survival, but on average we over rely on this system to create everyday thoughts, decisions, and actions. The majority of us are trapped in this sympathetic state, unaware, and our quality of life is suffering. 

A simple meditative practice can begin to reengineer your thinking practice. It will allow you to rediscover inner workings that will allow more soundness in judgement and an overall sense of wellbeing. Many believe that meditation can’t be achieved. Only those locked in caves or secluded from society can achieve the benefits of meditation. The answer is far from that. Meditation is the most accessible, cost effective, empowering tool that is available to us. This practice will help gain an overall sense of purpose and fulfillment that will spill into your relationships, career, body, emotions, and life.

Below are 5 Fruits I have learned from my daily practice:

1)      Meditation increases and improves awareness (physical, emotional, spiritual, and energetic).  Meditation allows one to examine the intent of their actions rather than react to the survival flight, flight, or freeze instinct.

 

2)      Meditation cultivates a sense of wellbeing throughout your day and life. Rather than reacting to situations, you begin to respond to situations with greater clarity of intention, mindfulness, and emotion. Mediation can create a sense of purpose, direction, and ease.

 

3)      Mediation creates space in a cluttered mind. The moment stillness is achieved, awareness begins. This is when the journey begins.

 

4)      Meditate anywhere! Seated, in the shower, walking, driving, in line for coffee. The beauty is this tool is available to us all at any time without restriction. Being aware of your thoughts in the presence of nature is one of the most powerful and healing practices that you can offer to yourself.

 

5)      Meditation is a daily practice. The practice might change as insights grow, or may change on a daily basis.  Like any skill, it will take practice to learn how to use it. There is no end, nor beginning for a matter of fact.  This being said, do not become discouraged if you can’t sit for more than 5 minutes. If your intent is to sit still for 1 minute. Then that’s your practice. Over time your awareness will improve and your tolerance will increase

 

This practice even works well with many physical practices: yoga, running, weightlifting, and many sport activities. Find your intention, find stillness, clarity, and respond with awareness. Practice daily anytime anywhere. Happy training!

Baby Talk. Get to Know Your Body

I’m sure we have all seen a baby, held one, or even had the privilege of raising one. Some may say that babies can be considered supreme movers due to their adaptability and resiliency. They can transition in and out of positions effortlessly once learned. They are able to figure out how to transform from a dependent arm accessory into a running, screaming, little person. They are able to perform mind bending feats like sticking their feet in their mouths, or squatting to depths that as adults we only wonder how.

In my experience babies may hold a key to understanding how we hurt as adults, why we hurt, and how long we hurt. The next time you find yourself with a little one Observe. And Notice. Try not to analyze or judge, just Watch. You may start to notice patterns. For example: a preference to rest their head to one side over the other when resting. A tendency to roll to one particular side more often, or standing using a similar sequence each time.

Why? The reason is simple. The developing infant is creating a dominant side. A dominant motor pattern or preferred movement strategy to engage with their environment and their surroundings. I want to emphasis that there is nothing wrong with those infants that follow these strategies. Also this does not apply to all developing babies. When babies learn a new skill, it is often repeated and repeated over again. This creates skill acquisition and creates success within the movement being learned. For example, a baby rolling repeatedly to one side will create motor and neuro programming to eventually allow him or her to roll efficiently with great skill onto their bellies to that side.

What does this mean for us? All gross movement has evolved from these basic developmental movement patterns learned as an infant. These are the building blocks of mobility. This creates the foundation for us to move as adults whether good or bad. We can infer that biasing one side, although will lead to precise skill, may lead to over use within the muscles and an over dominance within the nervous system. Thus creating a preferential pattern of movement at a subconscious level that we may not be aware of. Think of the last time you became fully aware of the way you were sitting, standing, or how you even carry yourself. Most of us our out-of-tune with our bodies and have no clue how our bodies present or move in space in any given moment. To begin to understand our bodies as capable moving beings without pain we need to first understand the relationship within our bodies. Most of us have a dominant side and non dominant side. There is reason for this. Both sides offer skill sets equivocal to one another and may compliment each other. The problem arises when we become unaware of what we are doing, a distracted mind. A distracted mind tends to bias previous old neurological pathways in the brain. A mind then becomes preoccupied and absorbed with thought, emotion, sensation, or fear. This creates movement in unhealthy ways, often times biasing a particular movement pattern over and over again. Which can lead to injuries, pain, bodily aches, and sense of dis- ease.

The goal is not to create symmetry, but rather awareness between the soft yielding non dominant side and the hard forceful dominant side. Thus creating harmony, a sense of ease, and strength into your daily lives. There are simple practices that you can begin with immediately. 1) Practicing noticing how your body feels. Do you feel sore, tight, pain within your body? 2) Breathing. Practice deep breathing techniques when walking, sitting, or standing to reduce the chatter of your mind. Breathe in for 4 counts and out for 8. Repeat this several times throughout the day. 3) Mindfulness. Don’t react respond to situations in your daily. Allow yourself to feel at ease by taking walks, exercising, meditating, ect.