The holidays can definitely increase ones stress level and meditation is a great way to help one stay balanced. A very common statement I hear from my patients is “I can’t meditate, I’m just not good at that.” That insinuates that meditation is about doing something rather than just being. Consider that there is no end result and all that you’re trying to create is awareness of one’s self.
There are many different types of meditation…and mind you, you don’t need to be Buddhist to meditate either. I frequently attend other places of worship that lean towards Western religious ideals and they too meditate. There are different ways to meditate. Vipassana meditation, Buddhist contemplation, Hindu Yogas (Hatha, Bhakti, Japa), Christian Rosary practice or Taoist (Tai Chi or Qi Gong). It truly is about whatever works for you personally, whatever will get you closer to self realization, divine guidance, unconditional love, the Universe, God or your own Buddha nature.
Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) is a simple and gentle technique developed by an acupuncturist, Tapas Fleming some 13 years ago. It combines the practice of Chinese Medicine and a yogic practice of contemplating the opposites. Tapas discovered this technique while trying to shorten the time necessary to eliminate allergies while using a standard allergy elimination protocol. It works by focusing on a problem, and then the opposite of problem while holding acupuncture points around the face and head. By doing this, the neural pathways damaged by trauma or stressful events are repaired, and the stress response is permanently changed. The change is often felt immediately, and detailed recall of past trauma can be difficult after using this technique.
We will be doing the first two steps of a longer protocol, which is helpful in stopping stressful thoughts or emotions, feelings or body sensations on the spot. It’s so strong, that it has been known to help people come out of anaphylactic shock. If you do this technique at home, limit your time in the pose to no more than 20 minutes a day, as the points are powerful. Also, drink plenty of water before and after using TAT.
2. Breathing technique, Vipassana
Vipassana means to see things as they really are, it is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation and in some ways a dying breed. The definition is “This non-sectarian technique aims for the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation. Healing, not merely the curing of diseases, but the essential healing of human suffering, is its purpose.”
The practice is simply just following your breath and noting the inhale and the exhale. Being present to the sensations and feelings of the breath in your nose, Lungs, abdomen, etc. A great meditation to do eyes open in traffic or on line at the store.
3. Contemplation Meditation
In contemplation, one takes an object or principle, and one focuses upon it. Your concentration becomes immersed in the object of contemplation, until you become one with it. Images & trains of ideas & thoughts concerning what you are contemplating, come to your mind, revealing its true nature. Contemplation is a great tool for discovering truth.
For example, contemplating Equanimity, Dependant arising or the fact that we all woke up this morning, (a great one for morning meditation). Or at night, simply, what did you do well today? A great meditation in a quiet place when you have some extra time.
4. Mantras, Japa Yoga or Christian Rosary Practice
The practice of mantras is quite ancient and is widespread throughout many religions. A mantra could be anything and you don’t need a fancy rosary, mala or beads to do them. It can be a prayer like the Buddhist favorite “Om Mani Padme Hum” or something simple like ‘Love’. I told a patient this morning who was so worried about getting pregnant this month, she should repeat “Anything Can Happen”. This is especially helpful if sitting quietly and emptying your mind is difficult for you. This gives you something to focus on.