Meditation and the mind-body connection
At the start of the year I spent 10 days at the Gawler Foundation. The most interesting part of their cancer program for me was all the mind-body stuff. On one of the days there, Dr Craig Hassad from Monash University came and gave a talk about the importance of treating the mind and the body as one. His message was very clear – what is happening on the physical level is a reflection of what’s happening on the emotional and spiritual level. I found it interesting to hear such a respected academic as Dr Hassad speak about how meditation and addressing issues of the mind will ultimately benefit any physical ailments you are experiencing. Speaking from my own experiences, I have found my healing progress accelerates notably when I commit to daily meditation. Even if I cannot see the changes, I can feel them. My mind settles, becomes clearer and I feel more able to tackle the challenges of the disease I’m fighting as well as everyday life.
This article from the Daily Om website, sums up the relationship of the mind and the body perfectly …
When our minds are cluttered with too many thoughts and information, our bodies respond by trying to take action.
Our minds and bodies are interconnected, and the condition of one affects the condition of the other. This is why meditation is such a powerful tool for healing the body, as powerful as physical therapies. When our minds are cluttered with thoughts, information, and plans, our bodies respond by trying to take action. When the body has a clear directive from the mind, it knows what to do, but a cluttered, unfocused mind creates a confused, tense body. Our muscles tighten up, our breath shortens, and we find ourselves feeling constricted without necessarily knowing why.
When we sit down to meditate, we let our bodies know that it is okay to be still and rest. This is a clear directive from the mind, and the body knows exactly how to respond. Thus, at the very beginning, we have created a sense of clarity for the body and the mind. As we move deeper into meditation, the state of our mind reveals itself, and we have the opportunity to consciously decide to settle it. A meditation teacher pointed out that if you put a cow in a small pen, she acts up and pushes against the boundaries, whereas if you provide her with a large, open space, she will peacefully graze in one spot. In the same way, our thoughts settle down peacefully if we provide them with enough space, and our bodies follow suit.
When we settle down to examine and experience our consciousness, we discover that there are no hard, definable edges. It is a vast, open space in which our thoughts can come and go without making waves, as long as we let them by neither attaching to them nor repressing them. As we see our thoughts come and go, we begin to breathe deeper and more easily, finding that our body is more open to the breath as it relaxes along with the mind. In this way, the space we recognize through meditation creates space in our bodies, allowing for a feeling of lightness and rightness with the world.
Positive affirmation for the day: I am discovering who I am with joy today.
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