Meditation Can Change Your Life

Psychologists and therapists have discovered en masse “mindfulness” during the last few years.

There is a reason. It is good for your mental, spiritual, and physical health.

It literally rewires your brain. It helps grow new neurons, divert others, and add to the fatty layers between the neurons.

People will notice the change in you. Warning–not after one day. Or one week. Maybe a little after a month. It does take time. It is a spiritual discipline.

The change–you will calm down and gain perspective.

Meditation practiced daily for at least 15 minutes (best is twice per day) reduces stress. This helps reduce inflammation in the body which is a cause or contributor of many diseases.

I’m thinking about this after listening to a podcast interview with a guy who has written a book. I scanned the book–don’t recommend it. Just not helpful. But in his conversation, he talked about being meditation teacher to all manner of celebrities. I thought, heck, I know at least as much as what he’s talking about as a 40+ year practitioner. I could teach celebrities.

Then I realized where I live. The last time a celebrity came through town was probably when Rob Lowe visited his grandfather. Well, unless it was someone on tour and their custom motor home traveled on I-75. <sigh>

Americans associate meditation and mindfulness with either New Age or Buddhism. And those people do meditate. But there is a Christian tradition of meditation for enlightenment and experience of God that stretches back to the very beginnings of the faith. I have a shelf in my bookcase devoted to the writings of the Desert Fathers and many other “mystics”. I can testify that you can experience God if you devote yourself to that sort of meditation.

But the practice is not esoteric. You can sit, stand, walk, lie. You can close your eyes or leave them open (especially if you’re walking). You can repeat a word (mantra), or not. (I use “God”, the Hindu tradition is “Om” plus a bunch of other sounds, you can try “Love”.) You can imagine a scene in your mind. Perhaps walking through a meadow in a woods and finding a secret garden where you sit and bask in the warm sun. Or just sit quietly and breathe.

Try it. It’ll change your life.

2 Responses to “Meditation Can Change Your Life”

  1. Dick Frenz Says:

    Good morning Sir

    I am finally ready to start this new journey of meditation/mindfulness and would appreciate if you could direct me to a good read on this subject (kind of a how to for a beginner) and any apps that might assist me in this new journey.

    Thank you very much. I also wanted to tell you that I really enjoy your blog, read it daily and really appreciate you, your wisdom. experience and perspective.

    Dick

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • Gary Mintchell Says:

      Hi Dick, Thanks for writing.

      I didn’t learn from a ton of books. The best book I ever read for a deep dive was The Other Side of Silence by Morton Kelsey. Way back when Beatniks were the counterculture, Zen was popular. I read about Zen. Alan Watts and Eugen Herrigel.
      Probably others.

      There were a few teachers who did TM and primordial sound meditation. You can read a few things in Carl Jung. And once I had a cassette tape called Secret Garden (not the musical duo) that took you on a journey inward through going through a gate in the country. You unlocked it and entered a quiet garden.

      I don’t do apps, but my daughter is a therapist and recommends Smiling Mind and Happify.

      Mostly what everything points to are a few simple starting points with the “object” being stillness.

      1. Sit comfortably—if in a chair, a harder, straight-back chair where your feet can be on the floor. If on a cushion cross legged, then sit with pelvis higher than legs. When at home, have a favorite spot. When traveling, you can meditate anywhere—even in a busy airport. You can even lie in “corpse pose” on your back or even meditate while walking (please keep eyes open).
      2. Begin by regulating breathing. Bring it into a quiet, regular pattern.
      3. Quiet the mind: a) focus on breath, b) say a word or sound such as God or love or Om or whatever, c) most traditions discourage imagery, but for many people who are visual imagine that secret garden or a quiet beach with the surf or a quiet meadow in the mountains, d) when thoughts or sounds come, do not fight them, just observe and then let them float away.
      4) Do not become frustrated. Some days, you just can’t make it. Maybe write down things that interfere—to dos and the like, then try when your mind is clear.
      5) Make it a daily habit. Or maybe three times a day (I’ve always been influenced by Daniel in the Hebrew Scriptures who, even as administrator of a vast empire, paused three times a day to meditate.
      6) Ten minutes is fine. Longer is OK. Many times I’ve gone longer than an hour, but it is not a contest. It’s all about your own awareness.

      You will think about what you’ve read. If you’ve been puzzling out a passage from the Bible or some other book or song, or even a problem with family or work, without even trying (especially without trying), solutions and insights will come into awareness. Not every time, but often enough to be interesting.

      Best.

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