As Within So Without

Meditation, it’s not as crunchy granola as some make it out to be. Twenty minutes a day could provide a catharsis for those seeking an escape from the daily grind. These days most people hurry through life by cramming countless tasks into a 24-hour day. The effects of living in such a hurried, and filled to the brim manner, makes many things that ought to be savored, quite blurry. The beauty of the sky, trees, birds, people, and countless other treasures, increasingly just pass by. Although it cannot add hours to the day, meditation can slow a person down. An individual that meditates possesses an intrinsic awareness that has the capability to recognize, acknowledge and appreciate details that non-meditators are unable to see. For individuals who practice meditation regularly, the trees and flowers appear more vibrant, the perception of others expressions are more defined, reactions are more controlled, and patience is gained. These are just a few of the perks of meditation.
The practice of meditation sounds agonizing for some people; sitting for twenty minutes doing and thinking nothing. Here’s a secret, even the most experienced meditators have thoughts during their meditation. It is in the space between thoughts, that meditation occurs. Those spaces get longer and longer, with practice. Using a mantra, a word or phrase that is calming to the meditator, can help. Some examples are “be still”, “serenity”, “peace”, “thy will be done”, or “love”. Whenever a thought arises during meditation, a mantra is silently or verbally said, bringing the meditator back to awareness. For most people, nothing extraordinary actually happens during meditation. Most likely fireworks will not occur, the Virgin Mary will not appear and give a personal message, nor will a psychedelic experience be reported. It can be compared to the daily practice of brushing one’s teeth; it is something that has to be done, the experience itself is not one that yields excitement, yet the benefits are substantial over time. In other words, it is the time after meditation, that the benefits are reaped.

The top 10 rewards of meditation are:

  • Less Stress
  • Physical benefits (lower blood pressure, more energy)
  • Decreased anxiety (Anxiety can be defined as waiting for something to happen)
  • Living with more intention and purpose
  • Keener sensory details (such as colors, smells, sounds etc.)
  • Becoming more empathetic
  • Increased intuition
  • Awareness of synchronicities
  • Inner calm that radiates
  • Emotions are balanced and controlled

It doesn’t take a life overhaul to start practicing meditation; it takes undisturbed twenty minutes a day, a pillow to sit on and soft instrumental music (if desired). The best time to meditate is first thing in the morning, this allows the benefits of meditation to orchestrate the unfolding day. As Confucius said “As within, so without”, the state of our being that is inside, mirrors the life that we have on the outside. So if we are calm and centered on the inside, our life and the circumstances surrounding us, reflect that. If we are anxious, hurried and unsettled, our life will also reflect that. For spiritual seekers, it is said that prayer is talking to God (or whatever higher power an individual believes in), which would make prayer a one way conversation. Meditation is the preparation to listen to God/ higher power. The awareness cultivated from meditation, allows spiritual seekers to “hear, see, feel etc.” messages from God/ or higher power that most likely would be missed without meditation.

It is said that if everyone on earth meditated for 5 minutes, we would have world peace. World peace begins with individuals, not with the whole population. Having peace within from meditation is as powerful as having world peace, just on a smaller scale.
Guest Author:   Pamela Fowler is a student of the Mind, Body, Wellness practitioner program at SWIHA as well as a seasoned registered nurse, working primarily with patients diagnosed with cancer. She is from Germany originally, but calls Phoenix home, where she lives with her 2 children and fiancé. Pamela experienced a major catharsis about seven years ago; while searching for meaning and understanding of a turn of events that blindsided her to her rock bottom, meditation was introduced to her by her mentor. As she remained dedicated to meditation, synchronicity pummeled her everywhere she turned. She has made it her mission to teach others how to tune into their own synchronicities, and it is through SWIHA’s curriculum that her mission will be accomplished.