rest

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

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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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

How Could This Pain Have Anything to do With Stress?

Sarah took the Effortless Meditation™ course because she was intrigued by what she heard in the introduction session; however, her primary motivation was to support her sister who enrolled in the course. She knew her sister was in distress and she felt that her sister would be more comfortable taking the course if she participated with her.

The first four classes proceeded smoothly, and when they returned in two weeks for their fifth session, Sarah remarked that she hadn’t had any stomach pain in two weeks.  Since she hadn’t mentioned stomach pain as a concern, I inquired about it.  She explained that during the preceding two years, “I’ve had every test in the book to determine why I have pain every time I eat. It’s gotten so bad, I hardly eat at all.”  None of the tests have found anything abnormal and just last week, her doctor explained that he thought stress could be the culprit.

How could this pain be due to stress, she asked.  Sarah said she thought her doctor was crazy, but now she’s seeing that he was correct.  Her pain is real, it’s not in her mind.  Stress causes tension and muscle contraction.  Hold a tight fist for a couple hours and tell me it doesn’t hurt!  Under chronic stress, muscle tension cause headaches or pain may show up in our jaw, arms, abdominal area, anywhere in the body.

The deep rest and relaxation of Effortless Meditation was relieving the tension in Sarah’s muscles.  Deep rest is an antidote for stress, it relieves the stress response.  The proof, Sarah was without pain that had been plaguing her for years, and she was able to eat again incomfort!

Deepak Chopra, M.D. would explain that this wasn’t magic, it’s based in science.  Sarah was meditating every day as prescribed.  Her smile said she couldn’t be happier.

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