Blog Archive

Meditation for Everyone

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Does the thought of sitting still for an hour terrify you? Do you consider meditation a bunch of new age nonsense that involves the recitation of unfamiliar mantras, pictures of gurus on the wall, or holding uncomfortable yoga poses for long periods of time? Meditation, simply put is, the practice of focusing your attention and awareness. This focus helps you to see thinking in a new light. The average person will experience 70,000 thoughts per day, or nearly 50 thoughts per minute.  Much of this thinking just happens and is not directed by “you”, nor is it questioned. We live our lives believing everything we think and what we think defines our experience. The act of focusing our awareness, helps us to become conscious of our thoughts and ultimately take control of what we think. 

It is important to note that meditation is not about stopping the internal chatter. Most of those 70,000 thoughts are not stoppable. Meditation is about making conscious choices with your thinking. You can choose to follow your thoughts and believe what you think. You can also question your thoughts in order to determine their validity. This gives you the power to believe only the thoughts you consider true. The other option is to allow the chatter to continue.  The more you meditate, and the more you are able to maintain your focus, the easier it is to co-exist in the quiet with the chatter. Over time you begin to notice what Deepak Chopra refers to as “the gap between the thoughts” and instead of focusing on the chatter, you focus on the gap. This is the place where there is no thought, only quiet.

Once you are the master of your thinking, you have control of your response to life. This has an enormous impact on your emotional wellbeing and your ability to manage stress. Flexing your focusing muscle, also has a positive affect on your attention span and productivity. Dr. Erika Kneeland, a local Naturopathic Physician, regularly recommends meditation to her patients.  She notes improvement in cognitive processing, stress management, energy and libido, beneficial cardiovascular effects and an overall improvement in quality of life with a meditation practice.

There are a variety of meditation classes and retreats readily available to support the new and experienced meditator.  You can also start by taking as little as 10 minutes every day to simply watch your thoughts. Don’t worry about stopping the thinking. Just notice what you think about. Eventually, shift your focus to one thought or better yet to your breath or the rhythm of your heart. Maintain that focus and when and if you shift back to your thinking – simply recognize it and bring yourself back to the breath. You may find it is easier to do this when moving, so go for a walk. The most important thing is to be gentle on yourself. Accept whatever your 10-minute meditation looks like. It is also important to stay committed to your practice. Over time your practice will naturally become longer. Then one day, when you least expect it, you will be in the gap and totally hooked. You will be a meditation junkie! I know I am!

At 7PM, every Tuesday evening Lucas Stiefvater offers drop - in meditation at Ocean Resort. For more information go to Ongoing local events.