stress reduction

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.

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.



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.

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