mindfulness

Effortless Meditation™ Soothes the Soul, Reduces Anxiety

Everyone is challenged by the unsettling influences of the global pandemic. Our senses, which are our windows to the world, are continually bombarded with chaos everywhere we turn – news apps, newspapers, social media… It can easily overwhelm us.

If we are not grounded, it doesn’t take much in our outer environment to disturb any remnants of inner peace and calm. Yet, we can’t seem to put down the unsettling news and images in the media. Why do we torture ourselves in this way?

Meanwhile scientific research tells us under chronic stress our heart rate and blood pressure increase, our muscles tighten, and our immune system weakens – and that is just a few of the negative influences of debilitating stress.

Metabolizing Our Experiences

Deepak Chopra, M.D., a pioneer in the field of mind body medicine said it well, “we metabolize our experiences.” The good news is that we are not victims. We can take proactive action to minimize, even neutralize the impact of stress. The solution lies in balance. It is the key to a healthier, better life.

Here’s where meditation comes in. Every day we have the ability to transcend the chaos in our lives, and experience peace, delight. These are found at the Source of Thought – the most silent mind. A proven vehicle to accomplish this is the practice of Effortless Meditation™ (EM).

When I introduced EM at a local corporation, one of the directors said this is a tool that we can use for the rest of our lives. We don’t have to drive across town to get to a gym to use it, and we can do this almost anywhere. It’s ideal for our needs.

Within a few weeks employees who took the EM training, offered as an employee benefit, were reporting a myriad of benefits. These included less stress, greater mental clarity, improved memory, better relationships at work and home, restful sleep, less fatigue, reduced anxiety, and greater happiness.

A Quiet Room

The company was so pleased that they created a “quiet room” for team members to use whenever they wished to meditate. I taught EM in this company practically every day for six consecutive months. Corporate leaders recognized a need and took corrective action.

Prior to the meditation training, the company had reorganized five times in the preceding seven years. Rapid, relentless change is chronic stress; it wears us down. Adapting to it is exhausting, maybe you’ve noticed! To make matters worse, over time the influence of stress accumulates.

Restful Sleep and Energy

Fortunately, the mind is powerful. A clear mind allows us to accomplish great things, and yet it needs deep rest to repair and heal in order to function at its best. This is one reason that sleep is so important. Rest is preventive maintenance for our mind and body. Without good rest, we cannot sustain the energy needed to have a successful and fulfilling life.

By calming the mind and releasing stress, Effortless Meditation practice helps us sleep better. In addition, every meditation provides us with deep supplemental rest and energy. They are both vital to provide balance, reduce anxiety, and to lighten our day. This is especially true in the turbulent times of today.

Deep rest nourishes us in a way that nothing else can. It is nature’s medicine.

Effortless Meditation courses are regularly offered both in-person and with on-line video conferencing.

Greg Schweitzer, BA, D.Ay

610.670.6700

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

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