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Think – Day 2 – A prescription for health and well-being with no negative side-effects

Living a Truly Amazing Life has little to do with material possessions and everything to do with your heart and mind and the decisions you make.

This month we are focused on our thinking mind and its power…

…primarily through cultivating the practice of meditation.

Disclaimer – I am not a trained meditation instructor, I’m not a Yogi, I’m not a Zen master, or anything like that.

I’m on the path, like you, learning every day.

But I do have some relevant experiences with meditation, and mostly, I will be sharing with you direct teachings from people who are Yogi’s, Zen masters, trained instructors, and highly researched medical doctors.

The first of those who we will spend a lot of time with early on is named Dr. Herbert Benson.

He was a medical doctor and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

He wrote the book ‘The Relaxation Response’, in 1975, which was given to me as a prescription by my holistic medicine Doctor whom I credit most among mortals with getting me back to health after an extremely close call with Ulcerative Colitis.

My doctor basically mandated in no uncertain terms that I take that book and its suggested practice more seriously than even my diet, if I wanted to avoid future disease relapse.

He literally prescribed that book to me to heal my adrenal dysfunction among other things.

And what is the book about?

In a nutshell the book makes this case: We must meditate daily to off-set the negative affects the daily stresses of life cause by default.  Mediation elicits what is called ‘the Relaxation Response’ which is the opposite of the ‘fight-or-flight’ response and counteracts that negative stress in our life.

He goes far beyond that…

But because of that book the practice of meditation has become essential in my life and has enhanced my physical, emotional, and mental health.

It wasn’t until I read that book that Meditation finally clicked for me…for 2 major reasons:

FIRST:  Because I finally saw clearly just how beneficial meditation is to my physical health

…the scientific studies Herbert Benson conducted proved that convincingly.

SECOND: It made meditation simple and clear for me, in language and practices I could easily understand and easily do.

So now, even if I didn’t recognize any emotional, spiritual or mental benefits happening, I could trust that doing the daily meditation was ‘doing my body good’.

This helped me immensely because the mental/spiritual benefits can be hard to recognize sometimes.

So that’s the background, now here are the essential elements to effective meditation as explained by Dr. Benson based on all of his extensive research:

“Evoking the Relaxation Response is extremely simple if you follow a very short set of instructions which incorporate four essential elements:

1- a quiet environment;
2- a mental device such as a word or a phrase which should be repeated in a specific fashion over and over again;
3- the adoption of a passive attitude, which is perhaps the most important of the elements; and
4- a comfortable position

Your appropriate practice of these four elements for ten to twenty minutes once or twice daily should markedly enhance your well-being.

So that’s a simple reiteration of the basic elements of daily meditation.  He later said this:

“Later we discovered that only the mental device and the passive attitude were required.  A person could be jogging on a noisy street and still elicit the Relaxation Response. The jogger needed only to maintain a mental focus and be able to return to her focus when distracting thoughts interfered.”

The reason I share that is because it’s important not to allow ANY excuses to get in your way of a commitment to the practice of sitting and meditating this month….you don’t actually need to have a perfectly quiet environment.

That’s ideal, but not necessary.

But even though meditation is actually a practice that will extend out as a way of life (like when jogging even), it is important to take the time to actually sit and meditate daily in as quiet a place as possible…

For me, if it’s noisy at home because maybe I missed the quiet early morning hours, I like to put on soft Baroque classical music in my headphones and that allows a peaceful environment where I can focus on my breathing and on the one word I am repeating, releasing thoughts as they come.

Now, beyond the physical health benefits of meditation I will leave you with this today:

Only from a place of awareness can we live a Truly Amazing Life.

By practicing meditation we will consistently increase our skill at living in the peaceful and powerful state of awareness.

So…make the commitment to yourself that every single day this month you will meditate for at least ONE minute following the simple steps discussed.

The ideal meditation time is between 10-20 minutes, once or twice daily.

But by setting your minimum daily goal SUPER SMALL you set yourself up to win every day.

Every time you win you feel good.

A super small goal squashes potential overwhelm that could otherwise easily pop up and discourage you from even starting.

EVERYONE can find one minute to sit down, close their eyes and breathe.

Doing this daily will lead to habit…and this habit is extremely important.

Shoot for the ideal (10-20 min)…but set your daily absolute minimum at one minute.  Much more tomorrow!

Make Today Amazing!