We live in a world where every kind of technology and distraction is available. We can watch a rugby game in another country, talk on the phone, check emails, and balance the check book all at the same time and as we do this our attention is nowhere and everywhere and we are fragmented. Fragmentation leads to confusion and chaos. Struggle and anxiety result. Managing the mind is the answer. You have within you a vast space of peace and a heart of kindness and compassion.
Continuous focus on the outer world (watching the news, checking in with everyone, constant distraction) is a recipe for overwhelm. Devoting time to concentrate on inner stillness reverts the mind to natural calmness and inspiration. This can be accomplished through practiced concentration and focused breathing. Scientists and academics have documented many positive effects of utilizing Eastern techniques, such as meditation. For instance, meditation is known to improve attention.
Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar has shown that long-term meditators have thicker cortexes (the area of the brain that specializes in high-level decision making.) It has been well established that the cortex in general shrinks with age; however, Lazar found that the effects of regular meditation on the cortex was so profound that fifty-year-old meditators had a prefrontal cortex that looked like that of a twenty-five-year-old. Even an eight-week class on mindfulness had a significant impact on the brain and stress reduction. Subjects participating in a mindfulness program had smaller amygdalae—the aggressive part of the brain that reacts to stress. And a larger temporoparietal junctions (TPJs), the part of the brain associated with empathy and compassion. It has been well established that Meditation and/or the practice of Tai Chi lowers blood pressure and enhances cognitive function. Similar findings are evident with the practice of Yoga. Additional research indicates that meditation changes the brain and lowers inflammation and those individuals taking part in a mindfulness group had a reduced level of a biomarkers for inflammation linked to disease such as diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. This research points to the potential of cultivating inner calm and recognizes that it is the antidote to anxiety.
Just as you would train your body to run a marathon, you must train your mind to be peaceful. You can do it. It is important. By working with the principles and of relaxation you will develop a mental default system that can carry you through challenges, and you will develop the mental fortitude of a phoenix rising from the ashes of completed experiences. It is doable and within your reach.
We can live in such a way as to fixate so much on the outer world and the challenges therein that we lose connection to our inner sanctuary and that is a price too high to pay. In other words, sometimes things have to go away (dissolve, be destroyed) so that one can focus on important matters. This is evolution and we must embrace it. What are your values? People get stirred up over a bad monetary investment. Yet, if their child is facing a terminal illness they could care less about the investment because their preference has shifted to focusing on health for their child.
The ego loves making a big deal over inconsequential things—how much money you make, how large your house or bank account is, how many letters behind your name, your title or position, etceteras. Yet none of these matters are particularly important when facing a challenge of faith or values. It is then that outer concerns lose relevance and your attention is converted back to your highest concerns.
I have seen it happen many times. It amounts to a kind of spiritual balancing. You may have moved so far from your heart that life has to bring you back. The key is to stay centered in whatever is before you—this moment, location, event, interaction.
This mental training frees you to respond from a place of inner stillness—spiritual stability. Nature offers a wonderful example of rhythm and flow. Nothing rushes in nature, yet everything is in constant motion. Observe the swaying of the trees, trickling of the brook, scurrying of animals, gentle falling of leaves, the ocean tide flowing in and out. Can you sense the natural rhythm?
This grace and flow is your rhythm too. When you align with it, you begin to recognize an innate peacefulness. Moving into nature facilitates mental stillness and new, creative thoughts begin to emerge. Peace cannot be secured from an outside source. It must be experienced internally. Your Inner Source is ready to pour Its inspiration into your mind. Are you ready to receive it? (This is an excerpt from the book: The Journey from Anxiety to Peace: Practical steps to handle fear, embrace struggle, and eliminate worry to become happy and free)
Jean Walters is an International Best Selling Author. You can find her books on Amazon.com. Just put in her name: Jean Walters and they will pop up. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org