Meditation: The First Step to Higher Consciousness

Meditation practice regularly helps you to be more calm and present. When you release your thoughts in meditation, your body relaxes and energy is freed for you to use in other activities or to rest and heal yourself. Letting go of thoughts, fear, anxieties, and distractions allow an emotional environment where fewer mistakes are made and you save time. When you are calmed by meditation, you are less likely to be “Triggered” and you can be more available for positive decision making and better choices.

This is nothing new. Yes, it does take time and practice to learn to meditate but it saves you time and energy in the long run. I have found that people require less sleep and can focus better during their work day. Meditation also allows connection with the divine source of wisdom and unconditional love. You may not know this and even may want to argue about this, but if you quiet yourself and become more fully “present” you will find these benefits.

Or, you can continue to be caught in your emotional drama and allow fear & anger to run your life. This is perfect also. Being open and positive will help you to find more joy and contentment in the challenges of life.

Blessings to you on your path. Just remember to breathe slowly and feel the warm breath that you exhale assist you in letting go of unwanted tension and troubling emotions.

More information at:
Stress Education Center and
Masters of the Journey

Books on Meditations include:
Curt Remington’s Simple Meditation at http://curtremington.com
and
Paula Forget’s, “Guided to a Higher Realm at http://paulaforget.com/inspired/

Commuter Stress Management – Celebrating Beauty

I had a brief visit with “Mr. Scruffy” as I rode in to work one day. It was good to see him. He was perched on his regular lamp post as he scanned his domain. I was blessed to live on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, northwest of Seattle, WA. The Northwest has many beautiful sights to behold. There are the Olympic Mountains, the Cascade Range, the San Juan Islands, the Puget Sound itself, and the many types of wildlife that grace our landscape. In my neighborhood, there are at least 30 Bald Eagles that live much of the year within about 5 miles of my home.

That day, I set a new eagle spotting record, for me, as I drove to work in Coupeville. I counted 7 eagles perched in various trees along my way. There were 5 white crowned mature eagles and 2 immature eagles. I was looking for them on my familiar drive into the office. With every sighting my heart felt joy and I felt that nature was allowing me a special moment. (FYI, I have become familiar with some of my special neighbors and my wife and I named “Scruffy” because he appears older and unkempt compared to some of the younger mature eagles we see. But know that “Mr. Scruffy” is beautiful when he flies. He reminds me of Peggy Fleming, the ice skater, because he is graceful, elegant and without wasted effort as he soars the winds over Whidbey Island.)

I am in my tenth year of living in the Northwest, having moved from Sonoma County in California’s “Wine Country.” Sonoma County is also a beautiful place to live, though traffic and increasing population has added challenges to that part of our world. There are no Bald Eagles in my old neighborhood, but there were many other magnificent features of nature. Sonoma County has grand Redwood trees, amazing coast line, rolling pasture lands, oak grass lands, and of course, the vineyards that are picturesque any time of the year. Though I am vigilant when I am driving, I celebrate the beauties of the natural world when I drive down all but the most congested of roads.

In my first book, I coached “commuters” to play a game as they drive to or from work. Within the common sense limits of safety, I ask them to look out into their world and notice something new on every commute. Or, I ask that they find an aesthetically pleasing natural, or even man made, object to celebrate. Perhaps a pleasing or unique cloud formation or a classically designed house or building. Maybe a special vehicle drives by. Or for me, the noticing of birds or wildlife makes me appreciate the present moment of time. And that is the lesson… release your thoughts of past or future events and bask in the present moment, in a “positive” way. Smile as you celebrate the sharing of a special and unexpected sighting. At the end of your commute, whether arriving at work or at home, you will feel less stressed and better focused to get on with the next activities of your day.

This technique may not work as well in speeding Los Angeles freeway driving or when gale force winds threaten to blow your car into another lane of traffic but in many other situations turning your focus to something positive and being in the “present” can create a better commuter experience. I challenge you to find, and then celebrate, the best sights that you might encounter upon your commute. Find beauty or find the most interesting things that you experience along your way. Try it. It works!

Drive carefully and DO NOT TEXT MESSAGE while driving, ‘cause that is dumb!

For more stress management suggestions which can assist you as a commuter, go the Stress Education Center’s website at www.dstress.com

Being Present: Key to Mindfulness

Have you ever suffered from anxiety, fear, or major stress? If so, then the chances are good that the fear or anxiety were born out of an experience from the past, as a learned response, or from fears of some future unknown or uncontrollable event. Throughout our lives we suffer great or small traumas and our body learns to respond to similar scenarios as if we were having PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) reactions. In deed, we may have mini-PTSD responses to fearful or difficult events even if these past events were not life threatening. Most importantly, if we ruminate on past events then we are not totally “present” in our bodies, in present time. Our bodies will then attempt to make us “present” by dragging us back into the present moment with an irritating, if not worse, symptom like an anxiety attack. This symptom is not necessarily the enemy, but it is a warning sign that we are not paying attention to our bodies, in the present moment.

Fear of the unknown or the uncertainty of what can happen in the future will also trigger a symptom of fear or anxiety. Since we can not predict the future with 100% accuracy, our flight-fight response can be triggered and physical or emotional symptoms can be exacerbated. When we lose track of the present moment, our body can force us to consider the present in rude ways.

Conversely, at the heart of every stress or anxiety management technique are simple activities designed to bring us back into our bodies in the present moment and in a “positive way.” One strong example is the request to take a deep slow breath and to feel the cool air as you inhale and the warm breath as you exhale. This simple, but powerful, request asks that you release thoughts regarding the past or expectations of the future and to feel the subtle difference of a slow inhale and exhale. This act of Mindfulness can back you away from your fear or anxiety especially when this has been rehearsed enough to become a habituated pattern.

Being Present or practicing Mindfulness is easier said than done, but the concept is not difficult to understand and with practice not too difficult to learn. Being prepared to “let go” of fear, anxiety, or traumatic thoughts can be very useful and can succeed when the skill of “Being Present” has become a positive habit.

Other techniques for mindfulness would include feeling: muscles relaxing, heart rate slowing, hands and feet warming, stomach tension releasing, and sensations of slowing down of distracting thoughts. Techniques which can lead to this state of mind and body, when practiced, include: Meditations, Autogenic Training, Progressive Relaxations, Visualizations/Imagery, forms of Self-Hypnosis, Breathing techniques, Yoga/Stretching, biofeedback training, and other types of focusing and observations. The secret is to find the one that works best for you, master it, and then use it preventively on a regular basis.

Information at the Stress Education Center’s website wwww.dstress.com may prove helpful to you.