Unlocking the Mystery of Meditation

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Meditation is a mystery to those who have not experienced it. Part of the trouble is that the language of meditation can seem esoteric; we’re talking about the mind and our experiences in the mind, which can be difficult to articulate. The best way to demystify this enigma is through practice and experience.

It is only through the experiential level that one can truly understand the power and simplicity of meditation. It’s an interconnected phenomenon that can radically change one’s outlook on life. Below are some key milestones of the development of the mind:

  • First, one begins to meditate on a daily basis.
  • Then, one’s perspective on life completely changes.
  • Lastly, one’s life does change based on new attitude, different decision making, less reaction & more action, and positive energy

Everyday situations that initially seem overly complex can begin to unravel one by one, like the layers of an onion. Perhaps we’ve been stuck in the same job, or our partner doesn’t love us how we want them to, or life just isn’t fair—”others are always getting better opportunities than we are”. We blame these things on the fact that we [are just] unlucky and there is nothing to do about it. Meditation can help us reduce our attachment to the way things are so we can better understand why things are. Just simply reality for what it is.

Meditation helps us understand that changing our external circumstances begins with changing our mental attitude. We can attend a zillion yoga classes, read self help books, talk to therapists and complain to others. But until we stop the runaway train of our minds and simply sit with the reality as it truly is, we won’t find the kind of clarity that leads to happiness, contentment and joy.

Meditation doesn’t make our problems disappear; meditation helps us see our problems clearly, and makes mental space for solutions to arise.

That is the beauty of meditation.

  • The beauty of taking control of one’s outlook.
  • The beauty of understanding our motives.
  • Understanding our mistakes.
  • The beauty of moving past the clutter in the mind and towards inner peace.

Three easy steps to commit to the practice of meditation:

1. Make a commitment to sit. Join a class. Attend an online course. Read a book about meditation—there are so many to choose from! Take baby steps at first. Once you learn the basics, start small. Five minutes a day will lead to 10 minutes, then 15…

**2. Ask for support from your friends and family. ** Let them know about your commitment to meditate. A sangha of like-minded friends is the best framework for support.

**3. Do not waver! ** Times will get tough and your mind will wander like a monkey leaping from tree to tree in the jungle. You are not alone in this—in fact, this state of mental unrest is known as “monkey mind”! Keep coming back to your practice again and again, and eventually the monkey will get comfortable and take a nap.

By learning the technique and practice of meditation, you will begin to develop wisdom derived from deep within the subtle body. From that, you will begin to know yourself. When we know ourselves, we can begin the slow process of knowing others and developing compassion and equanimity for all sentient beings.

“The physical world, including our bodies, is a response of the observer. We create our bodies as we create the experience of our world.” ~Deepak Chopra

10 Fun Facts About Breathing & the Respiratory System

Woman taking a deep breath overlooking a rocky beach

Our ability to breathe is fascinating, as it’s one of the only systems in our body that can be controlled both voluntarily, through the central nervous system, and more often involuntarily, through the autonomic nervous system. This overlap between the two systems is the reason why focused, intentional breathing methods through yoga and meditation are able to affect other involuntary muscles like the heart.

Our breath is what gives us life and without it, the human body cannot exist. But is it possible to better your life by paying more attention to how you breathe?

While breathing is so commonplace to our existence, proper breathing techniques and awareness of breath can have dramatic implications on our health. Having knowledge of specific breathing techniques can lower stress, help you sleep, help your mind function more acutely, and even curb food cravings.

When we breathe, the average adult draws in about 13 pints of air into the lungs every minute. From the lungs, that oxygen is then transferred from the air sacs in our lungs throughout the body via red blood cells to the blood vessels that distribute it to nearly every system. Meanwhile, waste gases, like CO2, are exchanged and filtered out. 

For the average person with good lung health, the amount of oxygen in the blood, or the arterial blood gas (ABG) oxygen level, should be somewhere between 95-100 percent oxygen.

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