When you here of someone meditating you might think of a buddhist monk, a japanese elder, an Arizona dude in a pyramid, or a Yogi with legs crossed index finger and thumb pressed together going ohm. Though the idea of meditation gets labeled as a “New Age” thing, the practice of meditation has been around for thousands of years. You can go all the way back to ancient Greece. Socrates, Aristotle, Plato the most known philosophers of the ancient period all believed in meditation for improving the inner being and soul. The Bible has many passages designated to meditational practices. Jesus meditated unto God the Father for forty days and nights.
Meditation is not a weird or mysterious concept. In fact, we should all practice meditation to help control and improve our own physiological systems and psychological well being. In today’s world we are disassociated with our inner self. It seems that the majority of folks are fixated to the external world and have lost the inner connection. When we have high blood pressure we go to the doctor to get medicated. How often do you hear of someone practicing meditation to control their blood pressure– very seldom. Anxiety and depression are two problems that effect many Americans. And two of the biggest drugs prescribed by doctors are anti-anxiety drugs and anti-depressant drugs– interesting. Do you ever hear of drug companies telling people to learn how to meditate not to medicate, that would be a big NO!
I started meditation around twenty years ago to help overcome some anxiety issues that I had developed during that time of my life. My friends would resort to alcohol to bury their reality. I realized that at a young age you never can escape from conflict we must learn and process everything we go through or else we continue to repeat the issues again and again until resolution occurs. I knew that alcohol is just a way to escape and numb the situation. So, I never resorted to drugs or alcohol to run from my conflicts.
When growing up I would have anxiety attacks. My breathing would become fast and shallow. I would get dizzy and lightheaded. The lack of oxygen to my brain would cause me to get hyper and hysterical. Sometimes I would suffer an anxiety attack when I would take tests in school. The thought of failing the test would send complete anxiety through my body. I never received help from my anxiety. Doctors wanted to give me drugs but I refused. Then I went to one of my professors and he taught me how to breath correctly. I figured breathing was a common thing and that I was breathing correctly– I was wrong. He analyzed my breathing patterns and noticed that I was a thoracic breather. I didn’t get a complete exchange of oxygen deep into the diaphragm. When I would start to develop anxiety the blood vessels vascoconstricted reducing oxygen uptake. This forced a shallow breathing pattern. When I started breathing deeply I noticed that I was much more focused and more oxygen was able to get to my brain to recall the information.
Breathing techniques is what meditation is all about. There is nothing new age about it. Meditation is having the ability of controlling your own physiological processes. As I continued to learn more about meditation I started making A’s in all my classes through college. And all I did was learned how to control my breathing.
Now I use meditation throughout the day as a way to energize my body and brain. If you ever see me working out you will notice that I have my eyes closed most of the time. I do this as a way of meditating. I can see the muscles better when I have my eyes closed and can concentrate deeper into the pain without distractions. It takes a little practice to master but once you get the hang of it you can achieve deeper relaxation, manage anxiety and depression, train harder, and enter the higher levels of consciousness with the use of meditation. So, sit back make yourself comfortable, close your eyes and practice taking deep breaths. Put your hands on your umbilicus (belly button) breath deep forcing the air down deep into the lungs to cause the lowest part of your diaphragm to fill up with air. Your hands will raise on your body if you breath deep enough. Now exhale through pursed lips getting all the air out. Take about 15-20 breaths and you will slowly drift into a relaxed state. Give it a try you will be amazed at how relaxed you can get.
Daryl Conant, M.Ed