Key 10: Meditation

Week 33: Meditation-Relaxation Response

Hello, enchanted Zen Journeyers!
Have you paid some focused attention on meditation this week?
Even if you’ve just allowed yourself a few enchanted breaths, that is a start.

Dr. Herbert Benson is our go-to Journey Guide this week. He is an 80-year old, American born cardiologist and pioneer in the field of Mind-Body Medicine. He brought the element of spirituality to healing and focused on the “relaxation response,” a term he coined, as an antidote to the negative effects of stress.

His Relaxation Response technique (and book by the same name) outlines a four-step process:
1-a quiet environment
2-a mental device
3-a passive attitude
4-a comfortable position

A quiet environment removes distractions. The mental device takes the focus off chattering Dragons in the logical, thinking, anxiety-ridden mind which allows concentration on a repetitive sound or word, rhythmically repeated, either aloud or silently. The device can be visual, such as on a candle flame or the ebb and flow of the ocean. A passive attitude is believed to be the most important component. In it, one observes what is, without judgment. A comfortable position suggests one without muscle tension. The original postures of sitting crossed-legged, kneeling, or swaying were used to prevent people from falling asleep while meditating. No lying down for this reason.

Many people use cushions or yoga blocks to assist them in taking pressure off the bones, joints, and muscles of the body. Swaying also induces a trance state, as does gently twirling in a circle, like the Sufi dancers, who are often called “whirling dervishes.”

Benson has believed, for decades, in the restorative and healing power of meditation, and discovered that it is even more potent when combined with a personal vision.

Find a quiet spot, or one with sounds of nature, and a comfortable position. Calm your mind, thoughts and emotions. Imagine placing your problems in a locked vault or a Tupperware for the time being.

Consciously release tension from your muscles and nerves. Let your belly round with your breath. Then create a picture in your mind of an ideal image of yourself as a vital human being, in an optimum state of physical and mental health, and as emotionally free or joyful.

Observe, in your mind’s eye, where you are, what activities you are engaged in, and especially, how your soul feels in that sacred space you have envisioned. Revel in it and continue to reinforce this image of your ideal self and state.

I invite you to complete your meditation and take actions that move you in the direction of this ideal image of yourself and your environment.

Naturally, please share with us on the Enchanted Blog.
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