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I have been wanting to write about meditation for some time now. It is a "Tool" that I use every day sometimes a few times a day. It's A very spiritual thing to do that dates back 5000+ years BC. So to say there is no proof of it working would be a lie. I always say slow the breath and slow the mind.
When we are in an anxious state of mind the body is going through turmoil. Fight or flight is what it's called. What's going on in ya mind with your thinking, the Buddhist call "Monkey Brain". It jumps from thought to thought like a monkey from branch to branch. But with our thinking, it keeps going until we crash. Sometimes, with me, it can lead to depression (anxiety and depression go hand in hand) or sometimes a complete loss of control, then exhaustion, like ya have gone a few rounds in a boxing ring. Why? Because your body goes through the complete process of chemicals firing like there is something to fear. Put a lion in front of you that is coming for you and ya body goes through the same process as you just having fearful thought without the danger. Your mind and body work off what you are thinking it knows no different whether there is a danger or not. Blood pressure rises, heart rate goes up, shallow breathing, sweats, shakes, confusion, chest pains, cortisol levels rise, not even counting what goes on with the stomach. It affects the body in many, many different ways. It can also affect each person differently. What one may feel, the other does not.
Anxiety and depression are a clash of emotions. There are no emotions without first being a thought first. No thinking, no emotions, Right? But we all know ya can't-not think. It's what the brain was designed to do. No thinking and ya body would not know what to do. The problem lies in that most of the thinking is programmed into our Subconscious mind which takes up about 90-95% of our brainpower. Our conscious mind is the rest. Yeah, the part of the brain where you may say "I want to pick that up". Or "I want to drive my car" Or "I would like to eat that" is only 10-15% of our mind. The subconscious negative programming is WAY bigger. When you started to learn to drive, your conscious mind played a big roll in the learning process. In fact, I remember thinking, "How am I going to remember all this with driving a stick?" But over and over, you keep the practice going. Then before ya know it, you can be talking to somebody and drive the car no problem. How? You are programmed. Over and over of practice, programmed your subconscious so now you don't feel yourself thinking about what to do to drive the car like when you first started. The same goes for when your driving and you lose track of some of the journey. You still got to where you needed to go safely all because your subconscious drove the car there.
So when anxiety or depression shows up it's down to what programs you have. Anger is a big one. Anger I find is always covering another emotion. But that is a whole different subject.
With meditation, you may reverse the past negative effects I spoke of (Blood pressure, Stomach issue, etc) because it slows the mind. Deep breaths alone will slow the mind and so slow the body. Lots of people say to me "I tried meditation but I couldn't block the thinking". That's not the point of meditation. Meditation is about seeing the thoughts without reaction. Allowing the thoughts to pass. At first, the thoughts keep coming but stick with it. As you practice more and more, your thoughts will "Thin Out" so to speak. There will still be days where you have more thinking than less thinking, but stick with it.
I now want to give you a simple breath meditation. Breath meditation is always going to be your "base" for meditation. There are many other forms of meditations that I want to teach and do vlogs on. But with the breath, you always have it with you, no matter where you are.
1. Find a place that is free from distraction. Somewhere that you can sit for at least 5 min during this breath meditation. (I start with 5 min because you are more likely to stick with 5 min over a period of time then an increased amount of time. As you become comfortable you can increase your time. More time the better. I will do at least 15 to 20 min a day).
2. Find a chair (I use a Zofu pillow) and sit upright, back straight and off the backrest if possible. Place your feet flat on the floor. Preferably barefoot but at least no shoes. Look straight ahead eyes open at first and just tilt your chin down slightly to take the pressure off the upper neck vertebra (Chin Lock).
3. Place your hand's palms up for acceptance on your thighs or use a Mudra of your choice.
4. Place your tongue in a relaxed fashion on the roof of your mouth. Close your eyes and scan through your body from head to toe. Become aware of your body. Relaxing each body part. Including your face, jaw, brow, scalp, etc. Do the same for each body part. All the way to your toes.
5. Now be aware of your breath. (I do all my breathwork mainly through my nose).
6. Take long, slow, deep breaths in through your nose filling your stomach with air. Your stomach will be puffing out like filling a balloon. Then breathe out slower than you breathe in. Expelling all the air by pulling your navel in. Start with a 4 count in and 6 count-out. Extending this time as you become familiar with the practice. The slower and longer the better.
7. Pay attention to what your body does while doing the breath too. Focus on every aspect possible of the breath. The air going over your top lip into your nose. The coolness in the nostrils and back of the throat. The warmth on the breath out. The pause at the top and bottom of the breath. Your body movements during each breath. Every detail that you can put your mind too do so.
8. When a thought arrives, (and it will), see it, do not react, say thinking and bring yourself back to the breath. Over and over again. When your mind has wandered off and you recognize that it has, congratulate yourself for recognizing it, and without judgment, come back to your breath.
9. When you are ready to leave the practice. Wriggle your fingers and toes. Maybe have a little stretch and slowly open your eyes.
Set a timer if you wish for 5 min. Then increase the time up from there as you feel more comfortable. Do not give up. People say it doesn't work! It does work. It takes time, patience and repetition. It's a practice that gets better the more you do it. Don't give up on yourself.
Don't take my word for it. Do your own research on this ancient practice. It's not been practiced for thousands of years for nothing.