Written by Dr. Patricia Pimentel Selassie
In the past, when someone mentioned that they were going on a hike, I thought it entailed heavy backpacks, special hiking boots, a walking stick, trail mix, and panting up a hill. Now I understand that “hike” is just another word for “walk.”
Likewise, I used to think that meditation was only for an old sage, preferably with a long white beard, in Thai pants, sitting cross-legged in a temple on a mountaintop. Now I understand that it can occur anywhere and be practiced by anyone. There are also multiple ways to meditate and it can be just four minutes of quiet time (or “time-out,” but I hesitate to use this word because any parent would know it can have negative connotations).
In any event, meditation can be for people like you and me.
There are many benefits to meditation. First, it’s an effective stress management tool. It can help lower blood pressure, and help people deal with anxiety or depression. But for healthy everyday people, it’s an effective way to maintain energy, focus, and cultivate a sense of well-being throughout our day.
There are different types of meditation. Here are a few simple suggestions for you to try out.
Focus Meditation. Pick a word! My favorites are: “focus,” “peace,” “tranquility,” “power,” “abundance,” and “health.” You could invent more interesting, unusual phrases like “rock steady” or “bird-in-hand” or “firelight.” Use this word or phrase as your anchor; what feelings does it evoke? What thoughts do you have about it? If it’s a negative thought, just acknowledge it and move on to the next thought. If you find yourself wandering away from the word, gently notice and pull yourself back to the meditation. You can also imagine a flame or a symbol or an animal or you can simply concentrate on your breath. See what you discover.
Mindfulness Meditation. This meditation is more expansive than the previous. Close your eyes and get in a comfortable seated position. Concentrate on everything happening around you. Notice the hum of the clock ticking, cars driving by, the wind through the trees, birds chirping, floors creaking, and if music is playing, notice all the instruments and notes. Use all of your senses, feel the heat of the room, notice what you smell, notice what you are sitting on, what textures are you feeling against your skin. This meditation is very grounding; it can help you relax and bring in a new perspective and balance. It’s a great one to do in nature.
Guided Meditation. This is what I like to call a lazy meditation. There are many CDs and downloads available today. These recordings use music and a person’s voice to take you on an imaginative journey. Most of these meditations come with a desired outcome. For example, you could buy a guided meditation to help you rest better at night. Other meditations can assist with dealing better with stress, manifesting more wealth into your life, or strengthening your confidence.
Chanting Meditation. This is using word and sound to reach a certain energetic vibration. One of the most well-known chanting meditations entails sitting comfortably and making the sound “Om” on a long exhalation. Om is a universal sound that places you in tune with the cosmos. In other words, the sound tunes and balances your body, mind, and sleep, as well as aligns you closer to your true, higher self.
Spiritual Meditation. Spiritual meditation is your connection with the Divine, in whatever way you see that, as religion is personal. Take the moment to connect with Spirit using prayer, thoughts, or the absence of thought. Explore and cultivate your relationship with your Higher Power. Make practicing your spirituality a daily habit.
What’s important is not the type of meditation you do, but that you include it in your daily routine. Consider that meditation is so powerful that we not only receive the benefits of health and well-being ourselves, but our new-found peace and tranquility ripples out to our close family members, which in turn makes a happier home, which moves into better relationships at work and in our communities. Meditation may even bring about world peace.
For more information about Dr. Selassie, visit her website at http://www.newflowermedicine.com. Dr. Selassie received her Naturopathic Doctorate (N.D.) degree from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington and her Bachelors degree from Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, Dr. Selassie is a Certified Nutrition Specialist (C.N.S.) accredited by the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists.
Having gained the reputation as “A Doctor You Can Talk To,” she has hosted over 350 live call-in radio shows for Invite Health Radio. You can hear Dr. Selassie’s radio shows on Monday at 9 a.m. in New York, New Jersey, Pittsburg, PA, Cleveland, OH and Florida.
Dr. Selassie’s practice focuses on chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and skin health. Her mission is to assist in healing the world by empowering individuals to live healthy, energetic, and inspired lives. She accomplishes this by listening, encouraging personal growth and development, and applying evidence-based Naturopathic Medicine.