Here’s a common scenario: Jane, home from work, is busy getting dinner ready and can barely hear herself think. There’s so much chattering going on, she’s barely able to focus on chopping up the vegetables for her casserole. She thinks, “How nice it would be if I could just prepare dinner in peace and quiet rather than all the noise and chaos.” The irony is Jane is single and lives alone. The noise, chatter and chaos are coming from the incessant voice in her head. In essence, she is reliving her day at work, nonstop phone calls and the endless scenarios of the fight she had last night with her neighbor. We’re all too familiar with that voice that insinuates its opinion on every thought.
So many of the conversations going on in our head are meaningless. Author Michael Singer, in his book The Untethered Soul, asks the question: “If so much of what the voice says is meaningless and unnecessary, then why does it even exist? In some cases the mental voice talks for the same reason that a teakettle whistles.” There’s bottled up energy inside of us, and when it gets to a tipping point, we become nervous, anxious and fearful, and the energy really becomes active. Singer uses the example when you are angry with someone, rather than confronting him or her, you walk away. Even though you’ve removed yourself, your inner voice will have told them off countless times for the rest of the afternoon.
At some point, we have to be proactive and find a solution. According to tm.org, meditation has been proven to have a wide range of wellness benefits such as: “greater inner calm throughout the day; reduced cortisol (the “stress hormone”), normalized blood pressure; reduced insomnia; lower risk of heart attack and stroke; reduced anxiety and depression.” That’s pretty significant results coming from learning to quiet your mind, and just breathe. Meditation is a part of yoga that addresses the restless mind. I’ll admit I’m a novice when it comes to meditation but in the last three months I made a commitment to give it another try. The results have been surprising. Putting aside fifteen minutes a day, in the morning and the evening, isn’t much to ask. Sitting in a crossed leg position, (if you’re unable to sit in this position, instructors suggest sitting in a straight back chair), close your eyes and focus on your breath. Focusing your attention on your breath interrupts your restless mind and allows you to relax and decompress. Your restless mind will continue to be intrusive, but when it happens, you simply go back to watching your breath. There are a variety of meditation methods to choose from. The book recommended to me was How to Meditate, A Practical Guide, by Kathleen McDonald. In the course of any given day, when I’m feeling stressed, I take a five minute break, close my eyes and take several deep breaths. Clarity returns!
Serenity Matagorda Isle will host a workshop in July on the benefits of yoga and meditation given by Dr. Deepak Kotecha, a Optometric Glaucoma Specialist from Houston, who’s held a long interest in overall patient wellness and in alternative and integrative medicine, yoga and stress management. In addition, Yoga classes will be offered in July and August by our local certified yoga instructor, Nichole Renee, who happened to receive her training with Dr. Kotecha. There’s no excuse now, just breathe!
Originally published in the Bay City Tribune on June 19, 2016.