Quick Meditation For Stress Reduction
(Posted on: May 1, 2015 by David McMillin)
[NOTE: While serving as mentor for an online version of “A Search For God” study group, a member of the group shared that he sometimes experiences irrtiation and anger when tired. This seems to interfere with his attunement and he wondered if being irritated is "just a nervous response, getting in the way of being attuned?" Here is my reply. – David McMillin]
… there is a definite physiological dimension to meditation as noted in the readings and also in the scientific literature on meditation. So your physical condition can be a factor. And you have shared previously some of your health issues, so I am assuming that you are also making that connection.
Have you ever monitored (been mindful of) your breathing when you are irritated and angry. Breath is the physiological connection between the two branches of the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic) typically associated with arousal (sympathetic – “fight or flight”) and relaxation (parasympathetic).
The autonomic system is usually unconscious, regulating the essential functions that keep us alive, but can become accessible to conscious regulation. For example, breathing is usually unconscious (it just happens without thinking about it), but can become conscious when we focus on it. So it gives us conscious access to the autonomic system which is usually unconscious.
That is probably why breathing techniques are prominent in many meditative traditions – it is a powerful means of accessing unconscious, autonomic functioning. And conscious breathwork is also utilized in various modern stress management models and therapeutic approaches.
So if you haven't already tried it, you might want to become mindful of your breathing when you find yourself becoming irritable or angry. Consciously breath while using an affirmation (prayer) to focus the mind, and see if that helps you to relax. The exhalation phase is more relaxing for me and I dwell on it (savor it) when I want to feel more relaxed.
It may sound silly, but this is essentially the same thing that we tell each other when we get upset – “just breath a couple of deep breaths and calm down” etc. But there is a sound physiological basis for it. And the physiology actually is part of the body/soul connection, if you understand the deeper associations of the systems involved (autonomic/sympathetic = the unconscious mind = the mind of the soul).
The following reading excerpt covers some of this and taps into the body/soul connection (i.e., the mysterious pineal, which is more than just a gland):
(Q) How can I overcome the nerve strain I'm under at times?
(A) By closing the eyes and meditating from within, so that there arises – through that of the nerve system – that necessary elements that makes along the PINEAL (Don't forget that this runs from the toes to the crown of the head!), that will quiet the whole nerve forces, making for that – as has been given – as the TRUE bread, the true strength of life itself. Quiet, meditation, for a half to a minute, will bring strength – will the body [if the body will] see PHYSICALLY this flowing out to quiet self, whether walking, standing still, or resting. Well, too, that OFT when alone MEDITATE in the silence – as the body HAS done. (311-4)
So, just a couple of ideas for you to consider. I pray that this is helpful in some manner. Blessings, Dave