Connect Within Every Day
Feeling disconnected, separate and alone is a
hidden epidemic in our electronically connected world.
Give yourself the gift each day to become still,
turn inward and connect with something larger
than your conscious mind.
A Regular Practice
Do you have a regular practice of meditation? Almost every morning I sit down first thing after I get up and get dressed. It’s become part of a ritual – a comforting, familiar and soothing practice and start to the day.
In our house, my wife and I have a meditation room. It’s an upstairs corner bedroom, a beautiful, natural light filled space which we have dedicated to spiritual practices. Except for when we need to use the iron and ironing board that lives in the closet of the room that is.
In one corner, we have matching cantilever-style chairs with cushy seat and back pads. The teak frames feature comfortably wide arms that gently slope down into the front legs which then curl underneath to provide support. The fact that there are no rear legs makes the chairs slightly bouncy and almost airy feeling like it’s floating.
Having used this same space regularly for so long, I’ve become conditioned to drop easily into a meditative state, just by sitting down. My body relaxes into the cushions, my breathing gets a little deeper and more rhythmic, my eyes seem to want to close on their own and my focus turns inward.
Excuses and Results
A common excuse for not connecting within, is ” I don’t have time.” But it really doesn’t take long to get much of the benefit. Ten t0 twenty minutes of meditation is what I typically do in the mornings. Enough to let my mind get quiet, to let go of anything stressful and to become acutely aware of a part of myself that’s beyond conscious thought. It’s also an opportunity to set an intention and to choose the moods and feelings I want to focus on and experience throughout the day.
When I do meditate I find that my days go more smoothly. I feel better, have more control over my mind and thoughts, am less prone to taking on stress and anxiety. I also seem to work with more focus and productivity.
When I don’t meditate, well, the opposite of what I just mentioned seems to be the case. I feel more stressed, scattered and am less effective in my work and activities. Meditation benefits me in multiple ways.
Spiritual, Religious or… ?
Meditation has long been viewed by many people as something of mystics, monks or sages. Some people associate meditation with Eastern religions, chakras or yoga – they think of it as strictly a spiritual practice – and therefore may reject it.
While it’s true that most religions and spiritual practices do incorporate meditation or quiet contemplation in some form or another, it can take many different forms for many different purposes.
For me there is a spiritual aspect of my daily time of contemplation. As I shared earlier, it’s a time of connecting with something larger than my conscious mind, and to me that idea has the implication of the existence of something beyond space and time.
But the same concept – connecting with something larger than one’s conscious mind – can be understood in other ways too. You can think of it as connecting with your intuition, or the deeper, unconscious part of your mind, or with a collective unconscious if you prefer that idea.
You can get the meditation benefits regardless of how you choose to interpret and understand what it is that you might be connecting to.
In recent years meditation has come out of the spiritual closet (so to speak). Rigorous scientific studies have been done showing the benefits of meditation. Researchers have scanned, measured and gathered piles of data about what happens in the brain during meditation.
Guess what? Totally irreligious, non-spiritual, non-deity believing scientists and medical professionals are now recommending a regular practice of mindfulness meditation!
I won’t try to list the research and results here, but you can follow some of the links to articles and resources below to see for yourself:
The point is, if you don’t currently set aside just a few minutes each day for mindful meditation of some sort, I’d highly recommend that you do. Then you too can experience the meditation benefits.
What You Can Do
If you don’t have a regular practice of meditation or mindfulness, just give it a try for two weeks. Take 10 – 15 minutes each morning to sit down, relax your body and simply focus on your breath. That’s all you need to do – focus on the act of breathing. If you find your mind wandering or getting distracted by thoughts, gently bring your attention back to your breath.
Test it out for yourself and see what happens when you do. If you don’t experience any benefits, then you’ve only invested about can go back to your old routine. If you do find benefit, then you’re on your way to a new daily practice bringing more focus, less stress and greater peace of mind!
Non-credited Photos from Fotolia