Effortless Meditation

Heart Attacks & Strokes Cut in Half

American Heart Association Says Meditation Helps

New research, funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), found that people with heart disease who regularly meditate may be able to reduce their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke nearly by half.

For the study, which was published in the journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease patients were enrolled in a stress-reducing program based on Transcendental Meditation (compare Effortless Meditation). The participants were required to meditate for about 20 minutes twice a day, practicing specific techniques that allowed their bodies and minds to experience a sense of deep rest and relaxation.

Meditation has been practiced in various forms for thousands of years all around the globe. Transcendental Meditation / Effortless Meditation are simple, effortless and natural ways to settle down to a quiet state of mind.

Benefits may be::

  • Tranquility and inner peace
  • Awareness
  • Calmness & emotional balance
  • Helps with treatment of medical conditions (those aggravated by stress and anxiety)
  • Lowered blood pressure (an important role in the treatment or prevention of cardiovascular disease)

“Those who meditate can choose among a wide range of practices, both religious and secular,” said Dr. Charles L. Raison, clinical director of the Mind-Body Program at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, who participated in a study on the healing effects of meditation on both body and mind. “What they have in common is a narrowing of focus that shuts out the external world, which usually [also] stills the body.”

Effortless Meditation does not require any particular education and does not conflict with lifestyle, philosophy or beliefs. It’s a straight forward technique that is easily learned and effortless to practice.  Everyone can do it.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay, has been teaching meditation programs for 35+ years and has trained with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program.  He taught TM® for 17 years and worked with best-selling author, Deepak Chopra, M.D.  For the past 20 years, Greg has been teaching his brand of meditation known as Effortless Meditation™.  

For more information on Effortless Meditation, please call 610-395-3355.

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Joy to the World

 

Would you like to have more joy in your life? Who wouldn’t?   The expansion of happiness is a major goal of life, if not “the” goal of life.

So why is it elusive for so many even in this holiday season?  Answer – we’re looking for joy in the wrong places.  We’re looking for it outside of ourselves.  Is your joy dependent upon your relationships, the money that you make, or the place that you live.  If you are dependent upon these externals of life for happiness, there will always be huge swings in your state of mind.  If however, your mind is grounded in peace and joy, you’ll find joy everywhere.

Happiness is an inside job.  Start the work by dissolving the stress in your nervous system.

How do you do that?  It’s not rocket science, you could try this.  Eat healthier food to bring more nourishment to all the cells of your body including your brain.  Get regular exercise.  Surround yourself with positive people who inspire you.  Quiet your mind and deepen your spiritual connection with Effortless Meditation.

A recent meditation client said that he was more patient, more often after just two weeks of meditation practice.  There’s more happiness in our lives when we “practice” sitting in silence with our eyes closed in meditation.  Well-being becomes our baseline experience with repeated exposure to it during our meditation.  There will be more balance in your life.

Whatever appeals to you, a key word is practice.  Wayne Muller, in his very important book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal and Delight in our Busy Lives, said that we need a “rhythm of rest” in our busy lives.  I encourage my meditation clients to do it daily, ideally twice a day.  Just 10-15-20 minutes at a sitting will strengthen your nervous system by reducing stress and recharge your batteries for the day ahead.  This will bring greater balance and joy to your life.

Philosopher William Campbell had it right when he encouraged us to follow our bliss.  The good news is that bliss and peace is inside you, and it’s waiting to be unlocked and lived. 

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, a teacher of Effortless Meditation™, stress reduction and wellness, and a professional speaker for more than 35 years.



How to Get Better Sleep…

Many experts are now recognizing that sleep is as important to a healthy life, if not more so, than exercise or the food that we eat. And yet we live in a world where many squeeze more and more into their day while minimizing the value of a good night’s rest.

Discounting the importance of sleep is one aspect of the problem, denial is sweet.  Another equally disturbing trend is that many find it difficult to get good quality sleep even though they make the time for it.  Lying in bed with your eyes open feeling anxious about not sleeping is stressful, to say the least.

The good news is that there are many lifestyle factors that can be addressed to turn this around.  And the solutions differ based upon the habits of the person suffering with the problem.  For some, excess stimulation (e.g. violent TV shows) before going to bed is an issue.  For others, irregular sleep hours are a contributor. Food and/or beverage consumption may be a problem for others.  Stress reduction, however, plays a key role for almost everyone.

Stress and worry excite our mind. Despite the fatigue in the body, our mind and brain under stress does not fall asleep easily or stay asleep.  You’d have to be living under a rock to not recognize that the world is in a state of chronic stress.  Releasing the pressure of a stress filled day is key to better sleep.

A particularly valuable tool to quiet the mind and reduce stress and worry is meditation.  With the practice of Effortless Meditation™, we directly experience and know calm and mental stillness.  When we establish the platform of deep relaxation and stillness in our lives, we can more effectively address other actions that will further promote a healthy night’s rest.

Many possibilities open up for us when our mind is still.  Bring your brain and mind to stillness every day and better sleep will come more effortlessly.

Greg Schweitzer, a meditation teacher for more than 35 years, teaches at Twin Ponds Center Integrative Health Center in Breinigsville, PA.

 

One Day at a Time with Meditation

By Greg Schweitzer, MBA

As I approach the anniversary of the day in 1974 that I embarked on this journey of meditation practice, I am gratified that I have stuck with it. What’s kept me going for these 39 years?

A big part of my perseverance was that I felt happier, more joyful and purposeful from the very beginning. There were still contrasts, some days were better than others, but there was a definite trend toward progress.

And there were, still are, times when I didn’t feel like sitting down to meditate because I had so much that I wanted to do. I realize that I’m not alone. Having taught meditation for the past 36 years, it seems the biggest challenge people face is making the time to sit down to do it.

Here’s a tip. When you are in a mood that says “I don’t want to do this now.” Do it anyway. My first teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, told us that we need to learn to ignore or go beyond our moods and circumstances in order to maximize our success with meditation.

A mood will pass while the benefits of meditation last.

Last evening, a new client commented that she’s noticed that if she ignores her desire to skip a meditation and does it anyway, she’s always grateful that she meditated. In his classic, Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill said that successful people do what unsuccessful people will not do!

Here’s another tip. Take it one day at a time. You may be traveling or you may feel irritable and have no desire to do anything positive. Try to find a way to spend 5 – 10 minutes in meditation rather than blowing it off. Then later that day or the next day, do it again whether you want to or not.

Putting one foot in front of the other, in this simple way, the days turn into weeks, months and years. Before you know it, you’ll have a life built upon the foundation of a stable nervous system and a quiet, resilient mind. All are the natural outcomes of meditating, one day at a time.

The number of research studies on the positive effects of meditation practice is becoming increasingly abundant as reported in the mainstream media.

Here are a few of the benefits reported by our meditation clients:
• Deep healing and rejuvenating zest
• Release of stress and fatigue, more energy
• Lower blood pressure
• Relief from anxiety and depression
• Improved memory, creativity and focus
• Relief from headaches and pain
• Stronger immune system, less illness and better sleep
• Better moods and increased happiness
• Mental clarity and peace of mind
• Enhanced self-esteem and emotional stability

Greg Schweitzer, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

 

Meditation, a Stress Relief Strategy to Ease Allergy Symptoms

Do daily pressures make your allergies spike?

 Anyone with allergy symptoms knows about chronic stress. Common allergy symptoms include: difficult breathing, poor sleep, fatigue, and problems concentrating. While medications may help, they may produce side effects such as: changes in appetite, low energy, or irritability.  All these symptoms are stressful in themselves.

There’s the catch-22, when you’re stressed out, your body releases the hormone cortisol and other chemicals including histamine, a powerful chemical that leads to allergy symptoms – a runny nose, sneezing, etc. So while stress doesn’t cause allergies, it makes an allergic reaction worse. 

Allergy symptoms are said to be an overreaction by the immune system to otherwise harmless substances. Under stress, our immune systems are compromised; they do not function as designed. Our immune systems are not responding appropriately.  A psychologist said that “stress makes us stupid.”  It seems that stress has the same effect on our immune system.

Stress, Allergies, & Meditation

Meditation can help bring our lives under control when we are under stress.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to deduce that the level of stress in the world is increasing.  Drive through a yellow light today, and there’s probably 4 cars following you.  Look to your left and right and you will see the driver next to you talking on their cell phone.  And yet, most of us have heard that multitasking while driving is fraught with risks.  Is our priority to live fast or live well?

Here’s some evidence of how we are doing.  In the 1960’s, an estimated 1 in 10 people reported some form of allergy and now up to 1 in 3 suffer from allergies of some kind.  To say something is amiss, is an understatement.  Clearly we need to do better in the way we handle stress if we want relief from allergies.

To reduce stress, making the following lifestyle adjustments will work wonders.  Getting plenty of sleep each night will help us restore balance and heal our allergic bodies.  Making time for some regular exercise is a key to reducing stress and building a strong immune system.  Even during a short walk, your body will release epinephrine which acts as a natural decongestant, helping you breathe easier.

Finally, neuroscientists on the forefront of healthy aging research are telling us that we need to create a healthy brain in order to enhance the quality of our life.  In that regard, the above lifestyle strategies are important.  However, nothing is more important for your healthy lifestyle than relaxation and bringing peace to our brains.  We need to restore ourselves from the frantic pace of modern life.  And, there’s good news.  For over 40 years, scientists having been researching the influence of meditation and the results are conclusive. 

A meditation practice doesn’t have to be connected to a religion or philosophy.  One physician described his meditation practice as a mini-vacation, and then happily declared that he now vacations every day!  This practice restores us and keeps us healthy.  Allergies and many other ailments often disappear for those that meditate regularly; and at the very least, they become much more manageable, less stressful.

Greg Schweitzer, a meditation teacher for more than 35 years, teaches at Twin Ponds Center Integrative Health Center in Breinigsville, PA.

The daily practice of meditation is shown to lift anxiety and depression, restore balance and strength to our immune system, increase energy, improve breathing, reduce stress and so much more.  The scientific evidence is undeniable, people who meditate regularly live longer and healthier lives.

Reducing Holiday Stress – by Greg Schweitzer

Reducing Holiday Stress

The holidays are here and for many of us it is a time of celebration and some sadness. For example, I have a great life, and I miss my deceased parents. They loved the holidays and provided me with my first tastes of Christmas magic. For me, the season accentuates their absence.

Many share bittersweet experiences at the holidays.  Perhaps your family is still intact, but your relationship with them is less that you would like.  At the holidays, we often remember the better times and regret the situation as it is today.  For others, holidays remind us of economic uncertainties.  Job security and unemployment are issues that haunt many.  For those trying to lose weight or battling an addiction, the holidays can present an especially challenging time.  For others, the winter climate in the Northeast can throw us off center.  As the daylight hours shorten, seasonal affective disorder brings on moods of sadness even depression.

Here are a few ideas to lighten our experiences at this time of year. 

  • First, take stock of the situation. What is in your control and what is not?  If you get depressed in the cold cloudy days of winter, you can’t change the weather however you could buy a “light box.”  Light therapy can help.
  • If you’re concerned about your weight or addictions ramping up over the holidays, find a support group or friend with whom you can discuss your concerns.  Enroll in a cooking class and learn how to make tasty healthy treats vs. high calorie low nutrient fare.
  • As for the family, having realistic expectations of their behavior always helps to keep us grounded during reunions.
  • Most importantly, practice self care.  If possible, spend time outdoors in nature – in the sunlight would be ideal.  Go for walks, exercise, meditate, eat nutrient dense food, and spend time with people who bring joy to your life.
  • Laughter is great medicine anytime of the year. And take a few conscious breaths when you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Finally, there is nothing more important for our health than regular periods of rest.  Do not short change sleep in order to do more. If you feel tempted to answer some email or watch another TV program at night when you’re exhausted, ask yourself, “how important is it?”  Get some rest, go to bed.  You’ll wake up with more energy and be happier because you listened to your body and gave it rest.

Staying on Track for Life

Mehmet Oz, M.D., in his talk at the 2013 Integrative Healthcare Symposium held in New York City, declared that health care in America will bankrupt our nation unless we make changes to our lifestyles.  We need to eat better food, move more and decrease stress, he said.

Many clients say it is difficult for them to stay on track.  The fast pace and pressures of daily life overwhelm them.  Over years, such a life negatively impacts us mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. How to stay on track? 

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Michael Pollan’s excellent book, gives a candid assessment of the complex web of scientific, economic and industrial forces shaping our unhealthy food choices.  Importantly, he also provides simple methods that will help us all choose better food.  One example, check labels; if it has more than five ingredients, it’s heavily processed and nutritionally suspect.  He discusses Sarah Lee’s “whole grain white bread.”  It has over 40 ingredients, many unrecognizable to anyone other than chemists and food scientists.  Is it really food?  In contrast, his grandmother’s bread had 4 ingredients – flour, water, yeast and salt.

And what about stress?  How do we make wise and healthy choices in the face of pressure to do what is expedient.

Three important stress relievers are exercise, meditation and sleep.  Stress wears us down while these strengthen us.  Meditation and sleep provide vital rest that restores us for the activity ahead.  Meditation also quiets the mind and enhances awareness.

Movement and exercise release pent up tension in the body.  At the same time, our body grows stronger so that the challenges of the day are less taxing.

A healthier life is achievable for everyone.  It does require change, developing new habits.   The rewards are well worth it.  What would you pay for extra years of quality life?  It’s all available for a minimal financial investment.

A good place to start is with meditation.  After 15 minutes of meditation, your mind will be quieter.  You will perceive your needs more clearly, make better choices, and be happier.  Quieting the mind is fundamental for staying on track in life.  Effortless Meditation is part of my personal daily hygiene.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

 

 

 

Play the Ball Where the Monkey Drops It

A good friend and business colleague, Wendy Kershner, just sent me this wonderful story that I’d like to paraphrase for you.  The story comes from a book with the above title written by Gregory Knox James (2001).

As the story goes, during the colonization of India, the British settled in Calcutta. They missed their game of golf tremendously so they decided to build a course.  Once it was ready for play, the monkeys moved in as this area of India was home to many of them.  They quickly disrupted the golfer’s pleasure by picking up the ball after it was hit and moving it.

Not to be undone the British built a high wall around the golf course to keep the mischievous monkeys out.  But, this was just a game for the monkeys – scaling the wall, was no problem!  The Brits then decided to trap the monkeys and transport them far away.  This was impractical as there were far too many monkeys, so they gave up.

Then came a creative thought.  They decided to change the game.  The new rules were that you would play the ball where the monkey dropped it. This turned out to be a “win” for both the golfers and the monkeys.

Maybe you have noticed that life does not always go as we plan.  Others do not want to follow our script or direction.  They seem to have a mind of their own.  How dare they?  Anyone with children, a spouse or significant other probably sees this playing out quite often.

So what do you do when the monkey drops the ball far from where you hit it?  Do you grumble, get angry, sulk or worry yourself sick?  Or do you make lemonade, when everything is turning up lemons?

I’ll suggest that you create some “space” in your brain so that creative solutions can come.  An excellent way to do that is with a meditation practice.  Relieve the pressure of daily life and you might just find that life is good.

Greg Schweitzer, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™
Instructor for more than 30 years

 

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired?

In the busyness of the day, it’s amazing that we can consistently ignore our highest good. Under chronic stress, life becomes very complex. In the state of overwhelm, our brain’s rational thinking gets short circuited. Stress makes us stupid!

And yet life does not have to be so difficult. To turn things around, pay attention to your most basic needs. And then take action on those needs. Corrective action, however, can only come if we are AWARE of our needs.

As an example, how many of us have found ourselves pressing to finish tasks when we are very hungry? This is not healthy, we are building stress. When I’m really hungry, I can’t focus on the task at hand because my hunger is shouting for attention.

And how many of you keep pushing on in the face of anger? Anger clouds perception and judgment. Rather than ignoring or denying its presence, why not take a break, get some exercise, relax, meditate, or just take some mindful breaths.

Arguably, our most serious limiting issue is fatigue. There seems to be little understanding of how seriously fatigue is affecting our performance, enjoyment, and health. Rest is an enzyme of life as necessary as air. We need it to keep going and to heal. If you’re tired, get more sleep. If you are not sleeping well, learn how to quiet your mind. Regular meditation practice will work wonders to reduce fatigue and enhance the quality of your life.

The bottom line is that we need to set healthy boundaries for ourselves. When you cross the boundary, take corrective action. If we don’t, life will catch up with us. Accidents and illness are two examples of ways that nature gets our attention. While unplanned and unpleasant, these interruptions can provide us with an opportunity to take stock of our life and create a better future.

Let’s take a proactive approach and create a healthy lifestyle. Pay attention to your needs and take action on them. Let me know if I can help.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay., Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

Meditation is Personal Hygiene

Who among us would start our day without making time for personal hygiene? At the minimum, we clean our teeth, wash our body, and brush our hair. Why do we take the time? We feel better, we’re healthier and we receive good feedback from those we personally contact!

Meditation is a personal hygiene practice.  It prepares us for the day in front of us.  The day goes more smoothly; it is more enjoyable and meaningful as a result of making the time to meditate.

A few weeks after Mary and John learned to meditate; Mary said that John had changed. He’s much happier when he comes home from work, she said. 

John has a stressful one-hour drive to get to work each day. Add to the stress of the drive a long pressure-filled workday and the same return drive home, and you realize what many of us face every day. We then carry the fatigue and pressure of our workday into the evening hours with our family. Now, since taking the Effortless Meditation™ course, John sits in his car to meditate in the garage for 15 – 20 minutes following the ride home. The deep rest of his meditation releases his tension and stress. He then walks into the house with more energy and he’s happier, he’s feeling lighter.

After 38 years of meditation practice, my most obvious benefit from meditation is the increased mental and physical energy and happiness that I feel. Fatigue and stress wear us down; they dull our nervous system and brain. I’ll never forget watching a busy friend, a small business owner, fall asleep as he was talking! When the brain is compromised by stress and fatigue, it’s impossible to be at the top of our game, and it’s hard to find much to enjoy and appreciate in life.

Effortless Meditation™ practice is an antidote. During the practice, we experience levels of rest that are deeper than sleep. The stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol decrease as we experience a deeply relaxed state of inner wakefulness. Similar to recharging the battery of your phone, this is a preparation for a higher degree of satisfaction and success in life.  

For maximum benefits, all it takes is fifteen to twenty minutes twice a day. For many, this is as essential as any daily personal hygiene practice.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years