meditation

We’ve Lost our Way – Here’s Hope: Meditation

For years we have seen statistics saying, despite our wealth and material abundance, Americans are far from the healthiest people on the planet. If you need evidence, look at the devastating influence of COVID-19 on our nation.

Check out the news today and it’s obvious something is wrong. While this is a big health topic, I will address just one foundational concern. If we address just this issue, we will see a transformation in the quality of our lives.

Rest and Balance, the Missing Ingredients

The critical need I am referring to is BALANCE, and the place to start is: get more rest! Without adequate rest, we place our lives in danger.

In his classic, SABBATH: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives, author Wayne Muller analyzes this problem superbly. In our culture, we prize activity and accomplishment above all else. “Don’t just sit there, do something. Go, go, hurry, hurry. Doing something, anything is better than doing nothing.” We’ve all heard it.

Yet, all life is dependent upon a rhythm of rest for its survival. The importance of this most essential rhythm – rest and activity – is lost on us today. Take a look around. How many times have you seen a group of friends, sitting at a table in a restaurant, glued to their phone’s display.

In our world, “I am so busy” is a common refrain. Meanwhile, our blood pressure and anxiety level is rising, and sleepless nights are commonplace.  These are all classic signs of the stress response. The bad news is that stress accumulates over time, and this is a driver of our poor health mentioned above.

Life hasn’t always been this way. When I was a child, life was very different. Personal computers and smartphones didn’t exist. Life was slower and simpler. Sure, there was stress as there will always be, however there was more balance in our lives. Sunday’s were a day of rest, a time to gather with family. Shopping was minimal due to the laws that required most stores to be closed on Sunday.

The Way Back Home

So what can we do to create balance and more satisfaction in our lives? The pace of life is most likely not going to slow down. Fortunately, the solutions are right before our eyes. All we need to do is look to nature for clues as how to live in balance.

For starters, there are cycles or rhythms in nature. All life requires a rhythm of rest. The bustling activity of each day turns into the stillness and rest of the night. The growth in spring and summer turns into the nourishing decay of leaves in the fall and the rest/dormancy of winter. Each beat of our heart and inhalation of breath is followed by a brief pause, a period of rest.

To restore balance, a good place to start is to set up a daily routine that includes adequate sleep. Most experts tell us getting to bed at a consistent hour and waking at a routine hour in the morning are very helpful. Our bodies adjust well to routines especially ones in alignment with nature.

A practice that ties all this together is meditation. Effortless Meditation, in particular, is a simple mental technique that when practiced regularly for 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes, restores nature’s rhythm of rest to our lives.

The restorative power of deep rest is truly transformative. New meditation clients have said they feel like they are coming home during the practice. Rest heals and revitalizes our mind, body, and spirit. That’s why many meditate early in the morning before work and then after work. After a short meditation, we are good to go!

Everyone is happier, healthier, and at their best when their energy level is high. Meditation anyone?

Greg Schweitzer, Director, Stress Reduction Resources

Staying Well in Unsettling Times

Fear is raging in our world like we’ve never seen before. These are uncharted waters for almost everyone. So, what can we do to stay healthy and sane in this most challenging time? Self-care has never been more important. Here are some tips:

  • Sleep! It is a vital, often neglected, component of every person’s overall health and well-being. It enables our body to repair and be fit and ready for another day. Statistics show that most adults need 7 or 8 hours to be at the top of their game. A good night’s sleep should leave you revitalized and ready to go in the morning without the need for stimulants to kick start your day.
  • Avoid foods that weaken the immune system. There’s a delicate balance between our state of mind and the functioning of our natural defenses. This is an especially important time to eat “high octane fuels” to maximize our health. Lean toward the purchase of nutrient dense foods – fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, and mostly plants vs. fatty and highly processed packaged foods laced with sugar, preservatives, and artificial ingredients.
  • Stay hydrated. We want to flush toxins including bacteria and viruses into our digestive tract. For that water, not soda or alcohol, is vitally important. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells and are crucial to staying healthy and maintaining every system of the body including digestion and elimination. Sipping water throughout the day is more beneficial than drinking large amounts periodically.
  • While what we eat and drink makes a difference. According the oldest known health science, Ayurveda, what’s equally important is how we eat and when we eat. A positive development coming from this scary time of isolation and social distancing is that more people are eating home-cooked meals with their families. Eating in a settled environment aids digestion and health. Consider the difference between eating a leisurely lunch or dinner with the family vs. gobbling down a burger or candy bars as you drive to your next appointment.
  • Try your best to get adequate exercise, movement – especially if you can get outdoors in nature. I walk for at least 20 minutes each day, and on most days do 15 – 20 minutes of yoga. You don’t have to pump iron in order to benefit from exercise. If you enjoy exercising, you are more likely to do it! In the last few weeks, I’m enjoying watching parents playing outdoors with their children.
  • And finally, a catalyst or complement for all these wellness approaches is the practice of Effortless Meditation. It is an antidote for health enemy #1, stress. During this time, we can all benefit from more peace in our life. I know of no better way to do that than with a regular meditation practice.

In this most unsettling time, we need to be gentle and treat ourselves well. Millions watch and read COVID-19 news on their TV, computer or on your cell phone way too much. During this our heart and respiration rates rise, our muscles tighten, stress hormones spike, and our immune systems take a hit. We become the news!

Relax. A meditation client said his meditation is a mini vacation that he takes every day. To be healthy, we need balance in our lives so meditate to enliven the peace and joy of your core self. We suggest 15 – 20 minutes twice a day for maximum benefits, however 5 minutes is much better than nothing.

We will get through this, and when we do, we will have hopefully learned some big lessons – one of those is the importance of self-care, and how to effectively do it. Be well.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay

Wellness Coach, Meditation Teacher, Speaker

Learn more about Effortless Meditation™ 

“Here Comes the Sun” – in local Business News

The Business Weekly supplement of the Reading Eagle just gave us some great coverage about our meditation teaching. You can check it out here. Notice the photo of Beatle, George Harrison.

So why are business leaders and readers interested in meditation? Some might ask why wouldn’t they? This is not rocket science.

Essential Need for Personal Hygiene, Self-Care

Consider this. At a minimum, most of us go to the dentist at least twice a year to have our teeth cleaned and examined. If all goes well, we leave not needing any additional work. However, it doesn’t stop there, does it? We need to brush our teeth every day for maximum oral health – ideally twice a day says our dentist. The same is true for daily meditation. This is self-care, and the results of doing it are magical.

Those who practice Effortless Meditation regularly notice that they are more alert, less tired, happier, calmer, and more resilient to the stressful encounters of the day. An executive of a large corporate client said, this is a life-long tool we’ve given people. It helps you think more clearly. You can isolate a problem and then, it’s gone. The HR Director said this is good for the company – you’re more alert, more productive. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

One employee said her sinus headaches decreased by an estimated 70%, and it has helped her sleep more restfully. It’s common to see significant drops in blood pressure, cholesterol, anxiety, and depression.  Others commented that the meditation training was building trust between management and staff while improving communication and relationships.

Effortless Meditation™: an Antidote for Stress

It’s no wonder that meditation training is routinely provided as a wellness offering. It is an antidote for stress and so much more as briefly mentioned here. If you know someone with an interest in enhancing the well-being of their staff, I’d love to talk with them and discuss how we can help them. We’d all benefit from having a healthier, happier and engaged workforce and world. I welcome your feedback.

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The seat to your success is found in your daily routine.” – JOHN C. MAXWELL, author, leadership expert, and pastor.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay

Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center

Effortless Meditation Teacher

Wellness Coach

Be Your Best Self

Business-Clients-e1465417507182by Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay

We’re all born geniuses, life degeniuses us.
– Buckminster Fuller

For most of her life, Mary said she felt like a “human doing.” She was constantly striving for greater satisfaction by doing more. The pace of her life was rapid fire and relentless. Now, recognizing that stress was taking its toll, she was looking for relief.

Most everyone wants more in life – more happiness, satisfaction, love, and success. But is it possible to have success without being overwhelmed? The answer is YES, however to avoid burnout, we must be at our best.

How to Become Your Best Self

I recall a provocative statement made by a teacher in 1974. He said that there’s something missing in most people’s lives. The good news was that the missing element is inside us. Explore and nurture it, and everything will get better, he promised.

He was right on. My life significantly improved when I acted on his proclamation. He said that we didn’t have to change our behaviors or beliefs, we just needed to develop our potential for success. The approach that he promoted was meditation.

Although I knew little about meditation, it made sense. If our nervous system is depleted by overwhelm and stress, our ability to perform will be compromised. Also, everything that we achieve will be colored by the tension that we’re experiencing. This should not be the price that we pay for success.

While the stress response hijacks the brain, the teacher explained that the deep rest experienced during meditation heals it. The practice of Effortless Meditation allows our mind to settle down, becoming quieter and quieter, and bringing a level of healing rest to the central nervous system and its control tower – the brain.

People routinely report after beginning an Effortless Meditation practice that they are happier, sleeping better, and thinking more clearly. They’re less anxious and all aspects of their health improve – mental, physical, and emotional. One man said that since starting a daily meditation practice, he was falling in love with life again. A woman was delighted because her brain fog was lifting and her memory improving after just a two weeks.

A Key

A key to being our best self is to bring balance into our lives. Adding two short periods of Effortless Meditation™ each day is a formula to do just that. The practice restores energy, vitality, and well-being.

This is an inside job. Start by healing your nervous system and brain. It can be an effortless and enjoyable process. A daily meditation practice is one simple step that will set in motion a cascade of positive changes. In short order, subtle and powerful benefits will be showing up in your life.

How to Find Greater Happiness

FAQby Greg Schweitzer, MBA, DAy

Most everyone would like more happiness. As a young man, I like most others looked for happiness through achievement, and was I disappointed! For starters, graduating from college and getting married brought no lasting satisfaction.

Fortunately, in my mid-twenties, I met a wise teacher who told me that there’s a deeper truth to finding joy. His teachings changed the direction of my life.

It’s all inside – be quiet.

He said the nature or essence of life is bliss. (Bliss is unbounded joy or happiness, i.e. big joy.) And, by cleansing our nervous systems of stress through meditation, we could reclaim the reservoir of well-being and joy that exists inside us.

This bold declaration motivated me to take his meditation course, and ultimately become a meditation teacher. That was over 40 years ago. After just my first meditation, I was calmer, more at ease. I continued to meditate every day, growing in happiness and inner peace. This good feeling was not due to anything changing in my world other than my daily meditation practice. I hadn’t won the lottery or gotten a fabulous raise in salary. Now, I was just happy. To my surprise, smiling and laughter was coming easily.

Similar experiences come for everyone through Effortless Meditation™ practice. Recently, a couple who expressed concerns about the tension in their marriage, noticed after only a few days of meditation practice that they were more patient with each other. They also realized that they were sleeping better and happier for no apparent reason.

THAT’S IT! Happiness doesn’t need a reason to exist in your life. Happiness is a state of being. It’s our birthright.

Isn’t this obvious in our children? My four-year old granddaughter is delight personified. She doesn’t need anything to make her joyful, her happiness just is. She’s excited by life – a silly expression, a new idea, a song, jumping up and down, almost anything brings a twinkle to her eye, laughter, and enthusiasm. She exudes joy; she can’t contain it. It bubbles out of her. Wouldn’t you like to have more of that in your life?

It’s not only possible; you deserve it. In Guardians of Being: Spiritual Teachings from Our Dogs and Cats, author Eckhart Tolle states that “true happiness is found in simple, seemingly unremarkable things.”   Such as your dog running playfully through a meadow, or your child wiggling with excitement. “But to be aware of these little quiet things, (says Tolle), we need to be quiet inside. A high degree of alertness is required. Be still. Look. Listen. Be present.”

 Cultivating happiness and inner peace

How do you achieve this inner alertness and quietness? It’s really easier that you think. To cultivate it, learn to meditate, or do some yoga, stop talking and just listen, or walk mindfully through a forest.  Another exercise: observe your surroundings as you stroll silently without trying to get anywhere. Each of these will all quiet your chattering conscious thinking mind.

The deep truth is that beyond the sounds and stirrings of nature and beyond your thoughts, there is something greater, a sacredness that cannot be understood through thought. This is a reservoir of energy, joy, and inner peace. It is available to you. Just learn to quiet your mind and be still.

If you make one or more of these suggestions a regular practice, inner stillness and peace will begin to show up in your daily experience. It won’t be long till you find a level of serenity and happiness in your daily life that you never imagined.

You can get started today.

Click here for Introduction Class Information.

Do You Yearn for Peace?

Anxious-WomanThe world community was shattered again, in a big way, by tragic acts of violence in Europe and around the globe. Fear and sadness abounds and the voice inside us wants to understand.  We yearn for peace. 

Yesterday, I listened to analysts talking about terrorist groups and some of the ways in which they become radicalized. There’s a lot of understanding about the making of a terrorist.  What’s missing is creative solutions to grow peace.

Being the Solution

Did you know that there’s a statement in the UN Charter that says war begins in the mind?

Under chronic pressure and stress, and who isn’t, the fight or flight response rules.  Fuzzy thinking and overwhelm dominate the lives of far too many.  As a coping strategy, we start labeling people familiar to us as US and others as THEM. We divide ourselves.  This divisive thinking is based in the ego’s quest for safety and the desire to be known. It’s the breeding ground of mistrust and hostility.

Without corrective action, we grow in frustration, anger, and resentment. Are we helping the cause of peace when we are holding these emotions and stress inside?  I think not. If you’re not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. Is this what you want for your life, for your world?

The good news is there is wisdom from ancient cultures that can help us. They’ve told us how to create peace and live a healthy life. The key is to quiet the mind.  A quiet or still mind does not see differences, it just sees what is. It doesn’t judge itself or others.

Us vs. Them thinking drops away when the mind is still, quiet. There is nothing to fear.  Fortunately today, there’s a growing understanding of the need for bringing peace to our turbulent minds.

The other day I was reading about one such initiative, the work of the David Lynch Foundation.  They have funded the teaching of children in at-risk schools the practice of Transcendental Meditation®. The daily meditation periods are referred to as “quiet time.” Over a couple years, the schools implementing the quiet time programs are transformed. Kids excel and the school environment blossoms.  Both parents and administrators are thrilled with the impact of quiet time in the school day.

Make a practice of quieting your mind and you’ll experience your relationships becoming more harmonious. The practice of quieting the mind cultures more tender qualities of the heart. With a quiet mind, we become better listeners, more attentive and receptive. And a quiet mind brings peace to the body, manifesting as better physical health. Bring enough minds to silence and over time, our outer environments transform as is happening in schools, prisons and other environments implementing meditation quiet time programs. There is an antidote for hostility and stress and it’s easy to implement.

Steps to take now

Peace also begins in the mind, and it starts with each one of us. Here’s several things you can do to create a peaceful world.

  • Spend some time each day quieting your mind. Use meditation, prayer, yoga, painting, just do something to quiet the mind. Try it; you have nothing to lose and much to gain.
  • During your day, look for similarities among people. We are far more similar than different.
  • Reach out and smile. It’s contagious.
  • At the end of each day, list four things that you were grateful for that day.

These may seem like small things but they are big.

Greg Schweitzer 

Director, Stress Reduction Resources

Stress, Allergies, & Meditation

By Greg Schweitzer

Meditation can help bring our lives under control when we are under stress. Under chronic stress and relentless pressure, the fight or flight response is activated. You can see it everywhere. Drive thru a yellow light today and probably 3 cars are following behind.  Look to your right or left, drivers are on cell phones.  Most of us know that studies have proven that multi-tasking while driving at high speeds is fraught with unnecessary risk and danger.  Why do we live this way?  Is our priority to live fast or to live well? We need to heal our brains if we want a better quality of life.  A healthy brain creates a solid foundation for life.  So, how do we create a healthy brain?

The ancient traditions say the way to heal the brain is with:

  • Stillness
  • Daily experience of a quiet mind, if only for minutes

A meditation practice doesn’t have to be connected to a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle, but the restful alertness it produces can reduce stress, anxiety, and develop inner peace.  This restful alertness means that while the body is gaining deep rest and inner peace, the mind experiences quieter and quieter levels of thought. This can lead to a strong immune system that in turn will lower not only the risk of allergy suffering, but many other unwanted conditions.

Daily meditation practice benefits include:

  • 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

The message of well−being through training to heal the brain and mind with meditation, is resonating with people everywhere.

Join our Effortless Meditation™ class that is offered 4 times each month at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center in Breinigsville, PA.. Call 610-3953355 for more information.

Greg has been teaching Effortless Meditation for more than 30 years.

 

20 Simple Ways to Be More Mindful Right Now

  1. Pause right where you are and take two deep breaths.
  2. Look directly into your loved one’s eyes as you talk.
  3. Eat a snack with your full awareness – no reading, no screens, no conversation.
  4. Gaze out the window and take in the sights.
  5. Step outside and take a few deep breaths of fresh air.
  6. Pause and notice the sounds around you, both near and far.
  7. Move just the slightest bit more slowly and with more awareness.
  8. Imagine a time machine has transported you from 1915 to 2015 — notice what you typically take for granted.
  9. Consider what you appreciate about someone and tell him.
  10. Imagine you live in an underdeveloped country where having your basic human needs met is not a given.
  11. Name five things you are grateful for right now.
  12. If any of these are people, let them know you are grateful for them.
  13. Drop your shoulders.
  14. Sit up straight.
  15. Stretch.
  16. Hug someone and allow him to be the first to let go.
  17. Perform one simple random act of kindness.
  18. While waiting in line, resist checking your phone and look around.
  19. Smile. Make it genuine. What changes in your body, thoughts and mood?
  20. Smile at someone else. Notice the same.

Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued- when they can give and receive without judgment.” ~ Brene Brown

In my last post, I wrote about balance and connection as my guiding words of 2015.  Crafting a flexible plan to bring me closer to my intentions, I divided up the areas of connection into categories where I had been lacking: self, husband, and friends.

Connection with self.

If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. I would add — when Mama’s been meditating, the peace is increased.  Mood is infectious and the benefits of meditation are as well.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, it is vital to start here — with the need to get quiet in order to foster wisdom and clarity.  Call it prayer, meditation, or simply sitting in silence for a few minutes. Without it, awareness of our inner thoughts and experience is much more difficult to assess.

Although I currently meditate daily, I recommitted to 5-30 minutes of practice a day.  This also means offering myself compassion and honoring my need for sleep, rest, fun, and balance.

Shonda Moralis, MSW, LCSW, Psychotherapist

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.