1. From Smitty at havingcouragetochange:
Meditation. What is in it for me?
Science tells me that by using some form of meditation each day, I can change my brain structure. Wow. Let ‘s get started now, then.
What is meditation? In program we each get to answer that in our own way.
It helps me to remember that every action can serve a spiritual purpose, when I designate it as so for me.
Our Serenity Prayer is an easy place for me to start. Between meetings I can use it. I can take myself to a quiet place, close my eyes, and repeat each words of the Serenity prayer to myself in a gentle voice. Serenity. Courage. Wisdom.
Because I am a thought-oriented person, I need to get beyond my thoughts. I see if I can make time each day to practice putting my thoughts aside. To do this, I take a few minutes to concentrate on my breathing, counting from one to ten over and over as I breathe in and out.
At this time of year I like to make sure I connect with nature, in some small way. I might focus on a landscape stripped bare of vegetation. Or the big sky above our backyard, now that we have removed more dead pines. At night, I might focus on a candle flame or the rain or snow falling outside. When my thoughts stray from my visual focus, I accept that my mind is just doing its job–thinking—and then gently return to my subject.
When I am really agitated that too can be a time to practice meditation. Using H.A.L.T. –Hungry, Agitated, Lonely, Tired– invites me to be still and meditate. When I halt, I might simply watch my thoughts, and detach from their story, as if I were watching someone else’s play.
Sometimes in my meditation, something comes to mind that I find myself powerfully grateful for. I find myself grateful for inner peace in my life, even as I have challenges with my borderline disordered mom and our potential move.
What about you. How do you motivate your meditation practice? How has your practice benefitted you?
The following is about combining exercise and meditation:
2. From Joshua Becker: Exercising Without Noise:
Benefits of Exercising Without Artificial Noise
1. I have learned to enjoy the gift of silence.
In a world that is constantly filled with noise and distraction, I have begun to crave precious windows of silence. Running without music/talk of any kind provides opportunity on a consistent basis to experience it.
2. I can better listen to my body.
Distraction-free, I am able to better focus on the messages coming from my body when I exercise. I can feel my legs loosen during my first mile, my breathing deepen on uphill climbs, or my arms begin to give way during a set of reps. This attentiveness helps me better assess my body and keep me from injury.
3. It provides opportunity for meditation and prayer.
I consider solitude, meditation, and prayer to be important disciplines in my spiritual journey. Joining these practices with physical exercise turns it into a spiritual exercise.
4. It stimulates creativity.
There are numerous studies that directly link aerobic exercise and cognitive creativity. With no outside influence directing my thoughts, my mind is free to wander and create as it desires. Some of my most creative thoughts came while exercising. In fact, this entire post was recently written during a 3-mile run.
5. It allows space to discern voices.
There are countless voices seeking to gain influence in our hearts and minds. Learning to discern the healthy from the harmful is an important, never-ending pursuit. I have found that extended periods of exercise provide heightened senses to evaluate these voices. As a result, I am able to more wisely determine which voices to follow.
6. I exercise with less baggage.
When I was training for my first marathon, I quickly learned the value of traveling light. Learning to run without the requirement of a music source allows me that opportunity.
7. It is safer.
I live in the suburbs. Most of my runs take place on streets alongside bicycles and automobiles. Practically speaking, I feel safer when my ears are tuned to the environment around me.
When I tell people I prefer to run/workout without music, most of them are genuinely surprised. They quickly respond with specific rationale of how music helps them stay physically fit. It helps keep them motivated, distracted, focused, or in rhythm. And I get it. I really do.
But for me, because of the reasons listed above, I’ll choose exercising without noise any day… and hopefully everyday.