Meditation, Find Your Inner Peace

The world in which we live today is fast paced, crazy, and sometimes chaotic. It is essential that we all find ways to relax and reduce stress in our daily lives. I’ll bet you didn’t know this, according to an article in Newsweek on this very subject, an estimated ninety percent of all doctor visits are prompted by stress related complaints. Also in this article it says that over the last 30 years a lot of studies have confirmed the benefits of relaxation exercises. Everyone should learn to achieve a state of mental calmness allowing your blood pressure to drop, your heart rate to slow, your breathing deep and slow, and your muscles become less tense. If you practice regularly, it will become easier to do, you will be able to do it just about anywhere, and the benefits are tremendous for your body, mind, and spirit.

There are several ways to accomplish this mental calmness and not all of them require you to sit quietly. If you prefer to sit motionless and quietly, one good way to do this is through meditation. A good method of meditation is to choose a short phrase that comes from one of your beliefs, such as “peace and goodwill” or “the Lord is my light.” Sit with your eyes closed, quietly with no distractions, and in a comfortable position. Relax your muscles focusing on your feet and moving on up to the top of your head. Meanwhile keep repeating your selected phrase, if your thoughts drift or other thoughts intrude, don’t be too concerned about it, just acknowledge it, and return calmly to your selected phrase. Do this exercise for ten to twenty minutes, but actually five minutes of deep relaxation will leave you feeling calm and refreshed, however the more and longer you do this the more you will benefit.

Another form of deep relaxation is to practice deep breathing exercises. Most people do not use the full capacity of their lungs when breathing normally on a day to day basis. As a result, only the top third of their lungs are used in normal breathing, and the bottom two thirds contain stale air that never gets recycled.

Reclining or sitting quietly, breathe in through your nose long and slow breaths, filling your lungs with air as much as you can to full capacity. Now exhale through your nose long and slow, emptying your lungs as much as you can before inhaling again. Do this for five to ten minutes in the morning after getting out of bed and before doing anything else, and do it again as your last activity of the day before going to sleep. After diligently practicing these deep-breathing exercises you may also find an improvement in the quality of your sleep.

The benefits of meditation extend far beyond contemplation, deep breathing, and quieting the mind. Through consistent and regular practice meditation can reduce your risk of heart disease, increase your body's ability to protect itself by giving your immune system a boost, elevate your energy levels, and reduce inflammation. A tremendous amount of research has uncovered how well meditation influences brain function by increasing the connections between neurons which can greatly decrease depression and anxiety as well as increase the endorphins that positively affect your mood and help you think more clearly. If you practice meditation on a regular basis it will have an overall positive effect on your mental, physical, and spiritual well being. Consequently, when this trilogy is positively influence you will feel more inspirational.

A study was conducted by a team of neuroscientists from the University of California at Los Angeles and they found that regular and consistent meditation can give your brain the ability to increase cortical gyrification. The cerebral cortex is the outermost cover of neural tissue in the brain and it is vital in helping you control your memory, how you think about things, the decisions you make, how you focus your attention, and how you create your own awareness. Cortical Gyrification is an important function allowing the cerebral cortex to fold, creating creases, and increasing the brain's capacity to process information, create memories, understand the logic in making decisions. Additionally, you will be able to control your emotions, have a higher sense of awareness, and have the ability to look inside yourself.

It is only when you can calm your mind and control the onslaught of continuous and persistent mind talk will you then be able to go deeper into your consciousness and experience those healing benefits I talked about earlier allowing you to fully realize the true nature of peace, compassion, and love. A regular meditative practice is a great stress buster and can greatly help you with all the distractions going on inside your life and your mind. The thing is, you don't have to sit in a lotus position for hours on end staring off into infinity like a monk in a monastery, I mean unless you want to, just ten to fifteen minutes a day will give you tremendous benefits. Of course meditation is just like everything else in life, the more and longer you do it, the more beneficial it is, and the more you will gain from it.

I first learned about meditation from Japanese Sensei Toshiro Hanue when I was a young man stationed at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo Japan. He was also a tenth degree black belt grandmaster in classic Shotokan Karate and a big believer in the art and skill of meditation. Over the years I have learned other relaxation techniques to free my mind of stress and tension. Now that I am older I have taken a softer approach to working out, and I have added Qi Gong (pronounced Chee Gong) and Tai Chi while still practicing the art I learned long ago.

Back in the day, when I was working, I spent a lot of time on the road, and I was always busy. I still managed to meditate whenever I could. It’s all a question of priorities. I’ve heard people say, “oh, I don’t have time for that.” Yes, you do. If you want to do something bad enough, you will find the time. It’s all a question of priorities.

Now that I am retired, I do several things in addition to meditation and martial arts to bring a sense of balance and peace to my life. Some of the things I find therapeutic are reading, listening to music or playing music, and walking through the forest when the weather is good.

I try to be aware of my thoughts, when I experience a negative thought I consciously tell my mind to stop and focus on something positive, and that goes for my mind talk also.  I try to be patient when encountering a difficult situation, and many times the solution will arise on its own.  If were to tell you how to bring a sense of Zen to your day, I would say, don’t wait for things to happen, when you have a positive dream or inspiration, take action and make it happen.  If you think happy thoughts you will be a happier person and generate an increase feeling of Zen. Take responsibility for your own actions and stop blaming others.  Don’t sweat the small stuff and try not to worry about something that you have no control over. Be flexible, yes you need to have plans and goals, but you also need to adapt and change when a particular plan or goal doesn’t work out the way you want it to.

Lastly, I think you have a lot more control over what goes on in your daily life than you may realize. Believe it or not, and you should believe it, a lot of things that happen in your day to day living is how you allow it to affect you. Seriously, it is mostly your attitude, so start right now, let the anger go, relax more, and you will have more peace in your life.

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In my opinion the world we live in today is considerably more complicated and chaotic than any other time in my life. Living cost a lot more these days and to be truthful, cost of living has been steadily going up from year to year, and yet somehow, making more money to keep up has always been a problem. I can’t believe what I have to pay for a car and gasoline, not to mention food. The world population is getting crazier day by day, with the war on terrorism, and other geographical conflicts. Apparently, politics are up for grabs by anyone who has enough money to pursue such an endeavor, qualified or not, and we seemed to be having another civil war. I don’t mean like the North and the South, I mean between the Democrats and the Republicans, or the left and the right. We are all Americans, well most of us, and we should be working together.

Do you find yourself worrying about these things along with all the other personal areas of your life like relationships, family dynamics, and finances to name a few? Do you find yourself not having enough time to think or to even relax? The time has come to change all that, and I mean right now. Look, you’re not getting any younger, and I’m here to tell you from experience, for most of us, the older we get, the more our health takes a hit. It is time for you to realize awareness and clarity. It is time for you to have peace of mind, help you achieve clear focus, and experience enlightenment.

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