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December 4, 2012 at 1:02 am #605776
Peace among humankind has been the laudable and heartfelt goal of well wishers throughout history. So why does war and strife keep marching along? Is this Peace on Earth idea just some shtick?
Is doesn’t look like signing another peace treaty, holding another conference or limiting the amount of weapons work.
How about if we look at the genesis of any and all confrontation, disharmony or conflict? Looking at the most basic unit of society, lets look into the mind and body of the individual. Let’s take a look inside ourselves.
What causes those times when you want to reach for a pressure relief valve, e.g. a liquor bottle, the valium, the running shoes, or punching that guy in the nose?
War or any kind of conflict breaks out when the accumulation of stress or tension in the minds and bodies of individuals demands relief. At those times, we need to “blow off steam”. Every person periodically relieves his/her stress for the sake of his own happiness, health and well being. And the wiser man dispels it in a manner that and causes no damage to himself or to those in his world.
Can we eliminate stress from our lives? Not unless we can find a vacuum to hang out in.
Is there a way to reliably and harmlessly dissolve the accumulation of stress and fatigue in the psychology and physiology? Yes there is and you are already very familiar with it. It’s called rest and we all take rest in the form of sleep. It goes without saying how important this rest is. We know how vital it is to spend adequate time in the sleep and dreaming states of consciousness on a daily basis. The mind and body take advantage of these resting states to heal, remove fatigue and refresh.
However, in spite of its value, the rest we get at night is not enough to dissolve deep rooted stresses that accumulate in the nervous system over the course of an active life. As stress builds up in the mind and body, we become prone to stress related diseases and conditions. The medical profession says that up to 90 percent of disease is either caused or exacerbated by stress.
When stress is wreaking such havoc in our lives, it is little wonder that when you watch the daily news, tragedy and violence dominates and history continues to repeat itself. Only the dates, places and faces change.
So what would happen if the mind and body were subjected to deeper levels of rest? Could we break the cycle? Could stress and all its ill effects be brought under control? Would we dare think anew about peace on earth?
Enter the story of an innocent yogi wandering the south of India in 1955. He reluctantly started to lecture and teach a mental technique. The number of people who sought his secular message and simple practice grew and grew. He speculated that this knowledge had universal appeal and value and he began to travel the world. People of all nations, cultures and religions were benefitting from his meditation and he saw the possibility of spiritually regenerating the world. In the 6os, college students, looking anywhere and everywhere for mind altering experiences, found a natural and effective answer to their searching. They started claiming all kinds of surprising results, prompting scientists to conduct studies.
The scientists discovered that during meditation, the students exhibited an unprecedented style of mental and physical functioning. It was so unusual that the scientists identified it as a fourth major state of consciousness, objectively different from the waking, sleeping or dreaming states of consciousness. They called it a state of restful alertness, where the mind is awake and alert while the body is in state of rest deeper than deep sleep.
So returning to the possibility of deeper levels of rest, what did the scientific research conclude about the experience of meditators during and after meditation?
During meditation, the activity of thinking settles down and the mind experiences higher levels of synchrony and coherence. The body experiences very low levels oxygen consumption and breathing slows way down. They noted a reduction in the biochemical indicators of stress.
After meditation, the mind experiences improved functioning, e.g. higher intelligence, more creativity, improved academic performance and moral reasoning.
The body is revitalized, freed from stress while becoming more disease and stress resistant. The meditator feels happier, more self actualized and relationships become more harmonious and fruitful.
So it appears that we have something that, among other benefits, promises to disarm the harmful effects of stress, that which may be the culprit keeping our dream of world peace from ever taking root.
But not so fast, you say? So what if we get a smattering of meditators dotting the globe being cool and calm in their own little berg? There are more than 6 billion of us occupying this little planet, everyone with their own idea of how to achieve the good life.
It turns out that we don’t need everyone marching in step on this one. The scientists also discovered that meditators produce such a unifying, healthy and harmonious effect in their environment, that when only a small percentage of a population participates, the trends of life change in that area. They found that crime, accidents, and hospital admissions fell while positive indicators rose. It looks like anyone, from the comfort of their own home, can make a real contribution to a cause whose time may have finally arrived.
If you would like to become a participant or to learn more about what appears to be the most viable means of creating a world of lasting peace and prosperity, I’d be glad to hear from you.December 4, 2012 at 1:18 am #778954
are you promoting your part time business
or trying to engage in conversation?
if conversation is the aim..
may i introduce you to the relaxation response which is essentially any rhythmic sound or motion repeated with a non-judgmental mind…
praying, knitting, petting the dog or cat, crocheting, singing, dancing, walking, running, swimming, deep breathing, yoga, meditation, etc….. all work.
there is no one path to relaxationDecember 4, 2012 at 3:47 am #778955
Thanks for sharing all the things that have apparently made a difference for your life. I agree. There are many healthy ways to relax. I’ve tried nearly all of those activities including the relaxation response and found them relaxing but none compare to the meditation I practice.
I am a teacher of the meditation technique to which I was referring but intentionally did not name it. I believe that would violate the WSB rules. Interested people can do their own search and find which type is producing the best results for others.December 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm #778956
I hate to see anything with “Peace on Earth” in the subject line go begging. Even if it is just a little fuzzy-wuzzy.
realvalue, your analysis is good as far as it goes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go very far. Or at least, it doesn’t go as far as you’d like it to.
Yes, people do have stress in their personal lives, and yes, that stress often expresses itself in the larger sphere of public life. But to conflate that phenomenon with the underlying causes of war is simply wrong.
War or any kind of conflict breaks out when the accumulation of stress or tension in the minds and bodies of individuals demands relief. At those times, we need to “blow off steam”.
Can you really believe this? Can anyone?
So . . . you think the Roman emperors were just “stressed out” and that’s why they had their legions slaughter millions and enslave millions more in the drive to subjugate the known world?
I suppose you think Napolean was just “blowing off steam” by conquering Europe then, too, huh?
And George W. Bush?
And Genghis W. Khan?
(Oops! Sorry, Mr. Khan.)
Suppose I grant your premise in Bush’s case. Let’s say old Georgie Porgie was a stressed-out, petulant, little underachiever who thought he could solve all his personal problems by starting a couple wars.
Um . . . You might have noticed that both of those wars were still ongoing at the time of Bush’s departure and that one of those wars has even been escalated since then.
So how do you explain that?
There’s gotta be something more to it than personal stress, wouldn’t you say?December 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm #778957
if there was a one person fits all response to any system..
war would end…
it’s the my way folks that initiate and promote war…December 4, 2012 at 10:20 pm #778958
I like that “Fuzzy Wuzzy” characterization. It fits my perennial utopian attitude.
Yeah, I know it sounds naive to suggest that if we just de-stress a few people, heaven on earth will suddenly appear. However, the people whom I know we can become are not only freed from stress and tension, but their minds are clear and in tune with natural law and their behavior is a reflection of an inner fullness of love and satisfaction.
One other idea: in order for change to take place in the society, change must take place in the collective consciousness of that society. Historically, the “bad” guys are never more than a reflection of the collective consciousness of that society. I would suggest that power is always given, not taken. Hitler would have been no more than a harmless lunatic if no one chose to fall in line behind him. Until collective consciousness raises its standards, we’ll continue to struggle and be suckers for the next snake oil salesman.December 5, 2012 at 7:41 am #778959December 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm #778960
Meditation isn’t hooey. It works. How well it works, though, depends on why you’re doing it. If you’re doing it to relieve situational stress, you’ll get a quick benefit.
If you’re doing it ‘cuz you think it’s an easy way to bring about a change in your life, better think again. If you want a life change, meditation is just the proverbial first step in a 1000-mile journey.
If you want a life change, the first thing you’ve got to do is ask yourself whether your life is out of balance. (Which, if you’re an American, it most likely is.) In any case, if the answer is “yes,” then meditating can help you relax your mind and begin understanding the changes you need to make in order to restore balance in your life.*
But if you see a relaxed mind as an end in itself, you’re missing the point. If you don’t follow up that relaxed mind by getting your life in balance, you’ll be all stressed out again in no time. That is, unless you’re some kind of happy idiot.
I know folks who are way deep into Buddhist meditation. It works for them, but only because they’re so “tuned out” that nothing bothers them any more. They’re serene all right, but the price they pay for that serenity is to be completely disengaged from the world around them. They’re not part of the problem. They’re not part of the solution. They’re just there. Barely.
Not my idea of a good time.
*As I see it, a balanced person is someone whose actions demonstrate a balance of empathy, wisdom, and discipline – which is basically just a restatement of Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr’s “Serenity Prayer.” (You know, the one they use in AA.)
In my view, a balanced person is someone who:
► feels empathy for the suffering and joy of others
► has the discipline to work toward alleviating suffering and encouraging joy
► applies wisdom in understanding limitations, his own and others’December 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm #778961
Your understanding of meditation, how it is practiced, how it works and the benefits that can be derived from it is shared by many. But it does not apply to every method. The technique which I practice and teach is different in all regards. The most important difference is that it benefits the life of the meditator virtually immediately. It is common that within the first couple of days of meditation, the students experience an improvement in their mental functioning, their stress level, their energy, or their relationships. The changes begin to be enjoyed in days not in months or years of practice. It automatically results in the person becoming more balanced in the ways you’ve described.
The people who are attracted to this meditation live very active lives and want and quickly come to realize greater success in every part of their life.
The efficacy of the practice comes from its unique ability to take advantage of the natural tendency of the mind to go in the direction of more. We are always looking for more happiness, more power, more energy, and more creativity. This technique sets up the conditions where the mind is able to experience a state of consciousness that is most charming and satisfying and which is filled with the qualities for which we are always searching.
After every relaxing and refreshing meditation, more and more of one’s full potential is unfolded. The life of this meditator becomes more satisfying and fulfilled and they innnocently but significantly become an example of the best that life has to offer.
History has taught us that we shouldn’t expect much from life and that we should settle for small victories along the way. With this time-tested techology of consciousness ready to hit prime time, we could write a bright and brand new chapter for all to enjoy.
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