This is a hard one for me to write about. I would venture to guess that most people who have met me or known me for a while know that it is hard for me to sit still. My mind is always on the move as is my body. It is essential however for me to take a step back and do my best to slow my mind. When most people think of meditation they think of monks who sit for hours in one place repeating ohhmmmmsss. Although this is where meditation likely originated there are other means to get into that state of focus. The goal of which is always to return to presence. I want to talk about how I achieve it. occasionally I sit cross-legged on the floor, focus on my breath, and strive to calm my mind. I usually listen to a guided meditation on youtube when I do this cause it seems to help expedite the process of settling into meditation. This, however, is not how I most often meditate, we will talk about the benefits of this type of meditation shortly but first, let’s talk about some hobbies that also put me in that meditative state.
Meditation is more than sitting.
Many activities lead the individuals participating, into a meditative state. For me there are two activities, currently, that drive me to a meditative state the first is free diving. Probably my favorite hobby. I have struggled with getting in the water consistently here but when I do I can feel my heart rate slow, my mind slow, my struggles are left on the beach and I become 100% focused. The only thing I think about is my breath. It’s all I hear. It’s all I feel. And I become acutely aware of the fact that what is held within my lungs is the only thing keeping me alive. I am captivated by this sport, largely because of the presence it forces me into. The next hobby that has begun to captivate me similarly has been running. I have nearly always utilized running as a cruel form of punishment for overeating. When I was asked why I was running I would stick out my gut and say I’m running from this! Now I have found that running clears my mind in an astounding way. I believe it always has but now that clarity of mind is the goal, not the side effect. Similar to diving, running becomes something that draws my focus to the present moment. Especially trail running, when all my attention needs to be directed at the upcoming root system or rock pile that I will have to basically fall over with some haphazard control whilst maintaining my feet under me and my head above (I am still very much a novice at trail running). These two activities bring me to that meditative state much quicker and more effectively than sitting on a mat with my legs crossed.
Meditate, it’s good for your health.
The above type of focus-driven or activity-driven meditation is great. There’s no question that these types of activities can bring clarity to the mind. They are different for everyone, I doubt that a person who struggles with swimming would be able to relax enough to get to a meditative state while in the water, at least at first. It is up to you to figure out what types of activities put you into the muse. On the other hand, Everyone can take a moment to go through a self-guided or even a guided meditation. Sitting on a comfy chair, on the floor, or lying down and going through the action of allowing yourself to return to focus on the present moment consciously. This type of meditation has been shown to improve, most notably, mental clarity, improve memory, and decrease stress and anxiety among other items Check out this study for more info on the benefits of meditation. I believe that this type of meditation is more difficult and therefore has the potential to lead to more benefits.
Be patient it is called a meditation practice.
As you begin your journey remember it’s considered a practice. You likely will struggle at first as you learn how to calm your mind and simply exist. In my opinion, the end goal of meditation is not being able to sit still for an extended period instead it is to strengthen your ability to return to the present. Let me explain. Our minds are incredibly capable of learning from the past as well as planning for the future. We are so good at it that sometimes we can do it to a fault. When we try to learn so much from the past that it causes guilt and shame in excess archives the name of depression. Then when we consider the future and all the things that could go wrong in such a way that it causes us to freeze up in our progression that is known as anxiety. Last I checked there’s no medical diagnosis for living too much in the moment. Unless of course, it affects the responsibilities you have for others, we have to plan for the future and learn from the past to improve the present moment. The ability to return to that present moment is what is trained with meditation. Remember that when you feel like you’re failing in that journey through meditation practice. You are not supposed to be un distractable, if you were un-distractable you likely would have been hit by a car or involved in some accident that you avoided thanks to your ability to become distracted. Being present is a great place to be most of the time. Just be patient with your practice, it will take time to build.
Chiropractic and meditation are related
You may be wondering why a chiropractor in Juneau is talking about meditation. First off we talk about all things wellness. I try to keep up to date with the research regarding natural ways of creating wellness and meditation has been on my mind. The other reason is because of the effect chiropractic has on the nervous system. There is a study that talks about how chiropractic increases the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. This is also activated by meditation. In short, your parasympathetic nervous system deals with the rest and digest processes of the body. It is the opposite of the fight or flight system. Tapping into this parasympathetic nervous system activity is essential for your well-being, you cannot run simply on fight or flight, the body will eventually shut down.
Live in the moment
The idea of living in the exact moment in which your heart is currently beating is a good place to live. You likely know people who are function this way, They are the type of people who, when you speak with them, you feel like you are the most important person in the world because for them you are, they are focused 100% on you at that moment, they are present. They are also the people who squeeze every last drop of happiness out of an experience. They are the people who hug you, and the hug lasts longer than the average hug, but it’s not awkward it feels right. These types of people have made it a priority to be present with the people and experiences they surround themselves with. And that presence is powerful, it’s a gift, and that’s why it’s called the present.