In previous blogs and newsletters I discussed the different reasons one might want to calm the brain and body. I’ll continue to write about this in future newsletters and blogs, but the WHY and the HOW are very different. You can’t learn to meditate or pray or use self hypnosis or muscle relaxation and deep breathing from a 3 paragraph blog. Books and classes and seminars and workshops are the best way to learn one of these calming techniques.
Boulder Colorado is home to the Shambala Center which teaches Buddhist meditation and thought and provides weekly meditation support and practice (to augment your daily practice).
There is a secularized meditation practice descended from this Buddhist tradition called “Mindfulness” that is practiced and taught by many psychotherapists in this area, including me. Here is a link to one such psychotherapist with meditation podcasts.
Colorado was blessed to have Father Thomas Keating, one of the Catholic monks who developed and taught “Centering Prayer”, a meditative prayer practice that is taught and supported all over Colorado and the world (his monastery is in Snowmass!)
Centering prayer is a nondenominational meditative prayer practice that is supported by many Christian groups including the Wesley Chapel at CU Boulder.
But one thing you’ll find with all of these practices…they all involve practice. It’s not that different from working out or physical conditioning. Some people go out for a run or to the gym joyfully and with great anticipation. Some drag themselves out the door to exercise because they know it’s good for them. Most are somewhere between these 2 extremes. All tell themselves how good they’ll feel LATER, even if they don’t feel good NOW. They will be healthier, more energized, more agile and more attractive in the long run. And bonus! Every time you need to turn on the afterburners, lift a heavy object, climb the stairs, prevent a fall, you’ll have the strength to do it.
You meditate or pray daily for the same reasons. Your daily conditioning of your brain probably will feel wonderful when you do it. But more importantly, over time it will calm your mind, calm your body, help you focus better, help your memory and generally decrease impulsivity. And bonus! Every time you get frustrated, overwhelmed or anxious you have a well learned procedure for calming yourself, one which gets easier and easier to implement after days, weeks, years of practice.