till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?
– Lao-Tzu, Tao-te-Ching –
I am a poor at meditating. There I said it! I’ve tried, but I could never wrap my head around the idea that in order for me to free my mind, live mindfully and be fully present in this life could be dependent on me sitting cross-legged for any length of time. Any equanimity I might have experienced is disturbed by my body telling me to move. My whole life, I have used movement, either in the form of dance or other form as moving meditation. It’s probably a combination of age and a lifetime of burning the candle at both ends that has me revisiting my commitment to including it my repertoire of self-care.
My closest practice to meditation has been constructive rest or what I call Adult Time-Out in a variety of positions, depending on time of day or how my body is feeling. My path to mindfulness has been through movement. Where I can cultivate awareness of sensation, equanimity, curiosity and Breath. And Breathe. Just the fact, that I say I’m poor at meditating is a good example why, if I don’t do the practice regularly, I make really harsh statements and judgements about myself and then other people! Even though I say I am poor at meditating, which is a judgemental and almost self flagellation…it’s a practice that I’ll continue as it is serves so well
The practice of developing self-awareness, without judgement or reproach is a cornerstone of self-care.
The practice of observing one’s inner landscape, that’s filled with the never-ending self dialogue, for some of us the hard-wired self-destructive truths, the rehearsals of potential or past experiences and buffering it with neutrality ….is critical if you are dealing with health issues, whether they are neural or somatic (mind and body or mind-body).
The research in neurosciences continues to confirm the benefits of mindfulness. For many years research with peer-reviewed clinical studies, have been documenting the health benefits of mindfulness training.People report lower blood pressure, fewer headaches, less pain or the ability to self manage symptoms more effectively. People also report the ability to optimize their emotional responses to external stimuli better. They were no longer held hostage to their emotions sabotaging their life. In a nutshell, somatic complaints were minimized and there were cognitive and psychological benefits.
With sophisticated imaging like MRI and PET scans, specific areas of the brain associated with different functions can be observed. Along with cognitive benefits and reduced physical complaints, there is an observable change in the structural matter of the brain.
The state of our inner landscape is a major factor in how successfully we navigate life’s challenges. It is the tool we bring to the table in every situation we engage in. A continuous practice (even if you think you aren’t any good at it)
This self-care method is harnessing our body’s natural capacity for healing, while it actively changes your brain structure. This is pretty heady stuff, considering all the research that is accumulating about neurodegeneration.
I see many sick people every day and have for decades. Some of them don’t need any more health care, they need self-care. This (below) is one of the first links I share with patients. Like the patients I see, many never find the benefits, because they are looking for another kind of “fix” and don’t even entertain the idea (by going to the website or other explorations) that they, themselves can influence their health. I understand. Sometimes we are so sick or in so much pain, that we need help, the situation is too much to deal with (that’s why they come to a doc)…BUT, this is one tool we can learn and practice…so that our situations become less “too much to deal with”.
With Unconditional Regards,
Ready? This excellent free online resource has writings,videos, meditations and exercises which make it, (I think) a valuable tool for anyone who has the motivation.
This one is excellent also!
Can you take any of the elements you are learning into to the field of life? How about eating? How about walking? I’m doing the body scan (from the above program) and then I’m going for a walk.