Mindful meditation offers the opportunity to turn inward and tap into lessons learned from life experience. According to teacher and life coach Barrie Davenport (www.liveboldandbloom.com), the essence of mindfulness is that you are fully present, engaged in what you’re doing – no longer dwelling on the past or fretting about the future. It has the power to transport you from daily concerns to a deeper understanding of who you are. Yoga practioners are familiar with the quiet ease of Savasana at the end of yoga classes, but finding time for meditation can be more challenging. Perhaps it’s not that difficult. If you enjoy being outdoors, choose a familiar quiet path or space where you can completely relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. As you sit or walk, breathe deeply into this sacred time; nourish and rejuvenate the experienced human being you have become. Open your senses. Listen to the songs of the birds. What do you hear? Ram Dass, author of “Be Here, Now” tells us “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” What do you smell? Be at ease in your body. Feel the tips of your fingers and toes. If you’ve decided to do a walking meditation, pay close attention to each foot as it rolls forward and how your legs and torso are in sync with your feet. If you’ve chosen to sit in meditation, find a comfortable position that will allow you to breathe easily. When your mind wants to get busy with lists and reminders, gently allow those tasks to move into and out of consciousness just as clouds move through the sky on a breezy day. This is your time to just enjoy being you. Everyday stuff will take care of itself; it almost always does. Your focus can be on who you are on the inside. You and only you have access to all the love, pain, and joy that have made you the human being you are today. Being in touch with the person you’ve become and forgiving and loving yourself just as you are will help free you to be your most authentic self.
As if the peace and serenity to be gained by mindfulness were not enough, the medical community has some fascinating information to encourage it as well. A recent mind-body relaxation study led by Dr. James Stahl and his team of Harvard researchers taught volunteers a few mind-body methods, including meditation, yoga, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral skills, and positive psychology. Other studies have shown these practices to have multiple health benefits from improving heart health to helping relieve depression and anxiety. Dr. Stahl also wanted to find out how engaging in these practices might affect the participants’ use of medical services. Study volunteers in the 8-week program met with the researchers weekly and practiced at home. The results of the study were very encouraging. The researchers discovered the people in the program used 43 percent fewer medical services than they had in the previous year, saving an average of $2,360 per participant in emergency room visits alone. In addition, they found that programs like yoga and meditation could save each practitioner between $640 and $25,500 annually.
Deepak Chopra encourages us in our meditation journey by sharing that “mindful meditation leads us to make wise decisions for our own lives as well as become an insightful influence in the lives of others. Your inner wisdom is providing guidance; you just have to listen.”