How does a trip to the Himalayas sound? How about a trip to the beaches in Hawaii, safaris in Africa or strolling in the streets of Paris?
On the other hand, how many of us just crave sitting still and enjoying our morning coffee without thinking of rushing through the day?
A journey within can be far vaster than the universe we know outside of us. How about taking the time to explore and discover the absolute beauty and treasure within us?
Currently, we live in a fast-paced world. We have technology to help us, but we don’t know how to use this technology wisely. We have time-saving devices, but it feels like we have less and less time. We can easily make contact with people across the globe, but somehow we lose contact with ourselves. We feel the need to do things all the time, yet we forgot our natural state of “being.”
How can we get our balance back?
We do not need drastic measures; we only need a few minutes out of our day to sit still, to quiet the mind and to be able to receive the guidance from within. It is only on those moments of stillness that we discover, reset and re-evaluate our actions from our past and our future. We all understand the rules of the physical body and the need for a break every few hours. Why not do the same thing with our minds? We know that the pauses during a musical piece make the music more meaningful. Likewise, having a break during the day puts perspective into our lives.
The effects of meditation on the physical body are well-researched. Meditation can boost our immune system, lower our blood pressure, decrease the feeling of pain and decrease the markers of inflammation. It helps with the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, psoriasis and other diseases. The neuroscience of meditation is really compelling. The studies show that various brain regions have been reported to be anatomically different between meditators and control group. It shows that that meditation can increase the areas of gray matter associated with compassion and self-awareness (insula) and shrink the areas of anxiety and stress (amygdala).
In these studies, participants reported reduction in the stress which was correlated with the changes in their brains. These studies suggest that we can actually train our minds just the way we train our body in the gym. By the simple act of engaging in a daily meditation practice, we can train our minds in the habits of well-being and happiness to eventually generate a true sense of fulfillment.
Working in nearly any environment is very demanding. In any business, there are requirements for productivity and efficiency. We all have the demands of our personal lives and different roles we play as human beings. Therefore, we need some resources to help us stay balanced, to fulfill our job and family requirements and to have the most caring and compassionate attitude towards others.
In meditation, we regulate our mind. As the mind is scattered in many different directions, it becomes weak. In contrast, a regulated mind brings focus, promotes balance, brings peace and enhances overall well being. By quieting the mind, we can focus our attention on the heart and get the guidance we need from within.
If you have been thinking of doing meditation, this is the perfect opportunity to start. By doing a daily meditation practice, you can become better in all the other roles you play in life as a coworker, parent or partner. Start with 10 minutes meditation in the morning. You start the day with a finer inner condition, so you are more grateful and more at peace.
Take this as an experiment and analyze your own experience! You are the experiment, you are the experimenter and you are the result of the experiment. Simply try it and see for yourself.
If you or a loved one are feeling stressed regularly and meditation methods aren’t working, schedule an appointment with a primary care physician who will be able to help strategize solutions for stress relief and improved health.
If you’re in the Southern California area and are in search of a primary care physician, call (800)USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or visit www.keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment to schedule an appointment.
By Yasaman Barzi