Meditation in the big city can sometimes be a daunting task! More and more cities are creating more spaces for relaxing, keeping you cool and de-stressing in a city setting. The practice of urban zen helps us temporarily let the physical world go so that we can begin to see ourselves as we truly are - spiritually enlightened beings.
Meditation can transform our lives. As we meditate and expand our consciousness we open ourselves up to love and light. We begin to see things from a more loving, spiritual view. We become more tolerant of others. We find more inner peace and joy...that inner peace touches everyone we come in contact with.
There are endless, boundless benefits to relaxation and meditation. Stress can often be a daily part of our lives. The fight or flight response can occur when an individual is subjected to severe stress such as a threatening situation or a resistant or hostile event. The response may be one of confrontation or one of avoidance such as running. The response involves all parts of the nervous system, as well as the endocrine system, and can be consciously or unconsciously mediated. The autonomic part of the fight-or-flight response results in a general increase in sympathetic activity, including heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, muscular strength, and can trigger an adrenaline surge that quickens your pulse, raises blood pressure, kick-starts anxiety and prepares you for "fight or flight."
The fight-or-flight response is adaptive because it enables the individual to resist or move away from a threatening situation. can trigger an adrenaline surge that quickens your pulse, raises blood pressure, kick-starts anxiety and prepares you for "fight or flight."
As meditation is practiced regularly, we find that we are able to handle everyday problems in a calmer and more relaxed manner. Our problems and difficulties are seen from a new perspective. Our coping skills are increased and we seem to find a new inner strength. Many studies have been done which show how our lives are enhanced by meditation. Both mental and physcial benefits have proven to be effective through relaxation and meditation techniques.
Mentally such benefits as:
Increased mental clarity
Improved emotional well-being
The physical benefits include:
Decrease in respiration
Decrease in heart rate
Decrease in blood pressure
Decrease in sympathetic nervous system
Decrease in body metabolism
Creating A Space To Meditate
First, find a space to use on a regular basis for your meditations. Doing this,conditions your mind to relax and to ascend. In time, just sitting in your meditation space will immediately relax you.
Your meditation space can be a small area in your home where you can sit with your eyes closed for at least a few minutes each day. Choose a clean, quiet place away from all distractions where you can sit on a chair or on the floor. If you use a chair, choose one that allows you to keep your back as straight as possible. If you sit on the floor, you may want to lean your back against something so that you can keep it straight.
For a few days just sit quietly in your space for five to ten minutes. This will help establish your energy. Before you sit, you may light a candle or some incense, if you like. Eventually, lighting the candle or incense will signal your brain that it's time for meditation.
The Map of Intention
When you break down the process of what true intention really is, you will find a process that unfolds before you. By applying this process, you create your intention. Here is how you map out your intentions:
1. Have purpose : Your reason behind your intention is purpose. Having a purpose infers a more determined path.
2. Design your intent : This suggests a more careful, laid out and calculated plan of action. What, when, why where, how.
3. Improve your aim : By improving your aim, you add to your implications or target effort directed toward attaining your intention.
4. Gain your objective : Create a clear objective by aiming for something tangible and immediately attainable.
5. Reach your goal : The goal is the result of your intention, put into action and attaining it by thought out effort and un-waiving focus.
You have now created your sacred space. Bring to it what you want. Use it for what it is and allow it to remain sacred.
The Best Ways To Meditate
There are many meditation methods. Some are passive -- such as observing the breath. Others are active -- in the sense that you actually do something like repeating a word or mantra. The meditations that you will find here will help you develop on many levels. No matter what style or form you follow, meditation should always be gentle. Do not force anything. Allow your efforts to flow naturally and effortlessly.
Letting Go. Fold your hands gently in your lap and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Then just sit. If you have never meditated before, you will probably feel as if your mind is full of thoughts. Don't try to stop the thoughts, just watch them. Imagine that you are on the bank of a river and that your thoughts are the river going by. Don't try to stop the river, just watch it. Within a week, you will see the river begin to slow down. You may become impatient, or even bored. That's okay. If you find yourself complaining, just watch the thoughts pass by. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes. You may find that you fall asleep because you are so relaxed. That's good because, in many ways, you have begun to let go. Continue at this pace and each day allow just a little more time for yourself to meditate. Doing this allows you to relax and forget about time.
Progressive Relaxation is just that. A slow transition from a tense, immobile state to a calmer more supple mind and body. This is a way of releasing tension in the muscles. There are many variations of Progressive Relaxation. Here is one of them:
Begin by laying on your back in a comfortable position.
Take a series of deep slow breaths and then focus your awareness on different parts of the body in turn, becoming aware of any muscular tension and releasing it.
One way to do this is to first tense a muscle deliberately and then relax it.
You can start with the top of the body, tensing and relaxing the muscles of the upper face, then moving on to the jaw, neck, chest, front of the arms, abdomen, thighs, lower legs, feet, and toes.
Then do the same down the back of the body. Finally, lie still with the eyes closed, concentrating on your breath. Allow the whole body to relax into the ground. Feel the floor underneath you, supporting you. Feel the earth supporting the floor. Feel yourself now deeply rooted and grounded into the earth beneath you.
Enjoying this deep feeling of peace and freedom from muscular tension.
Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit
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