The mind/body connection is not just a concept for hippies, New Agers, and yoga masters. It is a reality that we must embrace if we want three-dimensional fitness. There’s no point in sculpting a beautiful body if your mind and emotions destroy everything you try to build. Meditation is the most beneficial method I have found for training the mind.
Meditation has been described in many ways. I describe it in terms of its results – training your mind and emotions to obey you, instead of the opposite. The untrained mind is hounded by stress, anxiety, comparisons, jealousy, rage, resentment, laziness, sloth, self-centered thinking, and general sadness. These thoughts turn into actions – screaming, yelling, name-calling, self-medicating, isolation, depression, manipulation, chronic career and financial problems, and damaged relationships. The trained mind recognizes these intruders before they make themselves at home. And, if some negative emotion does slip past the trained mind, it has several tools at its disposal to bring itself back into equilibrium without damaging people or property.
Looking at the results of meditation first is important so that you can judge for yourself whether or not your practice is working. Many people claim to have meditated for years. However, if their minds and emotions are still out of control, and causing damage to others, something’s wrong. If someone says they have been exercising for years, but still can’t climb a flight of stairs, it’s the same situation. What they doin’ ain’t working!
And that’s okay. It just means that a change of tactics is necessary. There are many different ways to meditate. What each practice has in common is that it develops your ability to train your attention on the present moment. The mind will still wander; that’s what it does. But the skilled meditator lets thoughts pass through without following them. The space between thoughts gets longer and longer. The ability for the mind to snap back to serenity with ease gets stronger and stronger.
This peace transcends the meditation time. In daily life, as things around us clamor for negative attention, the trained mind can focus on what it wants to, while letting other thoughts go. The trained mind can make decisions without waffling. It can tolerate the untrained minds around it because its coping skills are solid. The trained mind is at peace with the present moment, not caught up in fantasies about the past or the future.
This doesn’t mean that meditation will remove all of life’s difficulties. On the contrary. Meditation will provide a clarity that will, at first, make the world look crazier and more chaotic than it probably does now. But, with time, perspective comes. Serenity comes. The crazy ups and downs of life will evolve into a peaceful, strong, consistent composure. This is called Equanimity. You will then be strong enough to support others, rather than constantly craving outside assistance. .
And you won’t take your own flaws and problems so seriously. You will know that you have exactly what it takes to make a difference in the world right where you are. You won’t be perfect, but you will be Light.
If you’d like tips on meditation, please contact me at Raven@grownfolksfitness.com. Training can be one-on-one, or discounted, if you get a small group together.
Peace and love,