The Meditative Mind – “Don’t Worry It’s All in Your Head!”

In a previous article entitled, Always Practicing, I wrote about awareness and being in the moment. I also gave examples of all the things that are going on around us in any given moment. Were you able to see more since then?

A Waste of Energy
Someone asked me if I was spending too much energy with all this. Well, let’s think about it. How often do you walk around, drive around or whatever it is you are doing, and not have a thought on your mind? Do you remember any time you had no thoughts on your mind?

That’s the point of this. It is so highly unlikely for you to answer, “yes” that practicing awareness will help you to save energy. How? Because you must be focused in the moment—no past, no future. Therefore, no waste.

In a recent course I took, the key speaker, Jon Young, had an interesting thing to say about this. He said, “When I keep my mind in a state of quiet, everything goes along smoothly. It is when I think that I start having problems.” He also said that it is best to think only when necessary and that is actually a very small percentage of the time.

I couldn’t agree more!

Imagine, there would be no worries, no grief, no guilt, no fear. You deal with a situation as it arises.   A quiet mind can do just that.

Usually, we go through our daily activities with just enough focus to get by. Meanwhile, there are numerous other unrelated thoughts randomly bouncing around inside us. Sound familiar? Now that is how we waste energy! Somewhere around 75 to 80% of your energy for the day is spent between your ears! Imagine that. So just stop thinking and you’ll never be tired. Easy right?

The Wonders of a Relaxed Mind
Well, all over the world and for thousands of years countless methods have been developed to help us quiet our minds. So this is nothing new. However, today we have more to deal with on an intellectual level than at any other time in human history. Therefore, do you agree it may be more important now than ever to develop this ability?

This quiet and relaxed mind state has been shown through numerous studies to relieve headaches, backaches and chest pains. It has lowered blood pressure and cholesterol. Insomnia has been eliminated and anxiety decreased.

Sitting quietly and harmonizing yourself with the rhythms of nature is an excellent way to calm your mind and reach a state of deep relaxation.

Drug users, cigarette smokers and those heavier into alcohol have discovered a “natural high” leading them to eliminate their need or desire for any external device.

Even many stricken with cancer have experienced what doctors would call, “spontaneous remission” since they have no other explanation for it.

It has been used to help people learn up to ten times faster. People have relieved pain. Many have experienced increased creativity, intuition and even clairvoyance.

Prisoners of war have even survived their tortuous ordeals by reaching that quiet place in their minds and visualizing their families and loved-ones.

How To Meditate
So how does one go about obtaining this ability? Is there a well-protected secret that is yet to be shared?

In his book, “The Relaxation Response,” Herbert Benson, M.D. discusses what he considers the four necessary components to reach this relaxed state of mind based on his extensive research into the subject: 1) A quiet place; 2) A mental device; 3) A passive attitude; 4) A comfortable position.

Sounds familiar?

Now here is the secret: you must consistently practice what you have learned. Once per day is good. Twice per day is better. Three times per day is the best.

For how long? Five minutes is a great start, but really do your best to build up to a minimum of 20 minutes at a time to start reaping the most benefits. Make a schedule for yourself to get it in no matter what.

Too boring? That, my friend, is the challenge that is so imperative to overcome. Do you know why you get bored? It is because your mind doesn’t know how to slow down…yet. Your so busy, busy, busy that slowing down becomes a problem. And that is the hump that is well worth getting over. Once you get it, you’ll never be bored again.

No time? Let me first ask how much television do you watch? How much time on video games? Where are you wasting time? Only you can answer for yourself. We all have 24 hours in every day. The happiest and most successful people make the most of that time. Do you?

Everyday Application of Meditation
Here is another interesting concept that grows from a previous article on awareness: once you can reach that quiet state of mind (what is also known as the “Alpha” state), you will be able to learn how to access it at any time and in any place. In other words, you can walk around, drive around, practice, etc. and keep that relaxed state of mind. You don’t have to be sitting or lying down with your eyes closed and in a semi-comatose state in order to experience it. It is what it takes to be in the moment, fully aware of everything around you. Fully awake.

Conclusion
So by practicing awareness, by setting aside some time to quiet the mind and meditate, you will find yourself not only feeling more rested physically but on an even emotional level as well. Make time for the practice and the rest just takes care of itself.

Originally published November, 2000

Author:

Shifu Ahles
Shifu Raymond Ahles, the owner and Chief Instructor of the Blue Dragon School, is a certified instructor of Ba Gua Zhang Kung Fu & Chi Kung and a 7th Generation Lineage Disciple in the Ch’iang Shan Pa Kua Chang Association. In addition to his 30 years plus teaching experience in the martial arts, Shifu Ahles also holds a B.S. degree in Exercise Physiology, he’s a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has an extensive background in the healing arts of Oriental Medicine including certifications in Advanced Amma Therapy, Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture. He is a licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist in NJ.