One of my favorite sayings is that in nature the cure is always within 3 feet of the poison. In 2012, when smartphones started to become more common, mindfulness[i] in education was also gaining ground. As a mindfulness educator I have been astounded over and over again to see children yearn for the calm of silence that mindfulness brings to the classroom. I have seen these same children in middle school with their smartphones in hand like the pack of cigarettes of my parent’s generation, and yes they are chain smoking – from one text to FaceTime to the next YouTube – and while there is obviously value in technology, too much is like any addiction, leading us to search for the next fix from an external source, weakening our ability to find peace and joy within. And yet, it is these middle school children asking me to bring mindfulness to their classrooms, still yearning for the silence where doing nothing is enough.
Now here we are in 2020, in the midst of a world-wide health crisis. It’s a profound time in history where the practice of meditation has become so widely available that there are numerous apps, YouTube videos and even studios that offer access to it. Once again, the cure is within reach.
People who do not really know what meditation is, or how it benefits us, will stop reading here.
Fortunately, most people believe in science. While meditation has been used in religions worldwide, there is a divisiveness among religions, whereas with science there are universal truths.
Thoughts and unconscious beliefs lead to emotions which trigger the release of hormones.
The hormones of chronic stress weaken your immunity.
Worry, fear, anxiety and hopelessness are some of the states of being that release the hormones of stress, thus making you more susceptible to illness. Through meditation, you can become aware of your unconscious programming, then prune the neural connections associated with beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, feelings, and actions that have a negative effect on your health. Next, you can reprogram your beliefs and train your mind to focus on thoughts that will create a state of homeostasis, instead of stress. In this state of being, you are less likely to get sick, and better able to recover if you do.
If you don’t take Yoda seriously, how about Viktor Frankl, a man who survived the Holocaust using the power of his own mind. I recall reading a story where he was served a bowl of dirty water with a fish head floating in it yet his fortitude didn’t falter. With gratitude he ate the soup. Some of Viktor’s famous quotes include:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
There are numerous other teachers, but my favorite modern-day Hero is Dr. Joe Dispenza, who is integrating meditation with neuroscience and most importantly, measuring the changes in people using biometrics as well as accumulating numerous testimonials. You can expect to see a published scientific journal article from him in the near future.
My original post was going to be about joining Dr. Joe’s team as a Neurochange Solutions Consultant this past February. I am proud to represent an organization that embodies love like the superpower it is. We are regularly witnessing people’s lives change as the result of his teachings, including healing from diseases including cancer, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
In the weeks and months that unfold before us if you find yourself being pulled to a belief, attitude, thought, feeling, or action based on fear, acknowledge your fear then choose love. It may take some awareness, some practice, maybe even some meditation, but it is worth it. Be well.
[i] Mindfulness is often the term used for meditation in schools due to the religious connotation of the word meditation. In general, however, meditation is a formal intentional practice of training the mind to be in the present moment, without judgement, while mindfulness is using that training throughout the day as we drive, shop, interact with others, etc.