For many of us, food as medicine is a confusing and intimidating idea. But it starts with just one meal. Baby steps - remember the journey is the reward, not the destination.
Nearly everyone has had the experience of an unpleasant or disturbing emotion that persists so long we wonder or even doubt it will ever change. We can forget what it was like to be without the feeling and believe it’s just the way it is, a part of us - like a body odor. We can try to cover it up like using deodorant but perhaps we would rather discover the cause and change it. This month we dive deeper into compassion meditation and how it can help us in our every day lives.
Qigong (pronounced che-gong) is a form of gentle exercise that is a fundamental component of self-care in traditional Chinese medicine. Less acrobatic than many yoga forms and more active than most meditation practices, this movement therapy gently strengthens, calms, and supports both body and mind. It involves meditation and repeated movements that improve circulation and increase qi (energy), encouraging an overall sense of well-being.
In one pointedness meditation we begin with focus on a selected meditation object, and develop strength of mind. As this grows we maintain the focus and observe thoughts as they arise and let them go, rather than beginning to think about them. We begin to appreciate and gain insight into attachment and impermanence and our own nature.
The benefits of meditation are as infinite as we are. Google it, and you'll discover so many ways meditation helps people physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. There are almost as many ways to meditate as there are benefits from it. Taking two minutes between clients to breathe deeply is as valid a meditation form as sitting with one pointedness for hours on end. Equally valid but different in the results.
In our modern lives it seems that stress is unavoidable. A friend recently called this internal chatter her “unwelcome roommate”. This unwelcome roommate decided to move right on in and take over your mental space without asking and without being considerate of how you’ve been living. This roommate makes judgments, thrives on emotions, makes demands and imposes opinion. Sound familiar?
Sources of stress can appear endless. Our new normal state of always being available and “on-call” is stressful, but leave your phone at home and the mind goes crazy with what it could be missing or that friends, family and even work can get worried that they can’t get in touch with you right away. The truth is, stress is unavoidable.
Three yogi hermits are doing a meditative vigil in a cave. One day there's a sound outside the cave. Six months later, one of the yogis says, "That was a goat." The cave is silent once again. About a year later, another yogi says, "That wasn't a goat, that was a mule." Again, the cave falls silent. About two years later the third yogi says, "If you two don't stop arguing, I'm leaving."