There is a lot happening around us.
If you stop and take a quick scan of your surroundings, there is a lot to take in. In my current space (living room of my house) I notice the house, car and trees outside of our window. I notice the blinds on that window I see my dog on her bed, our chair, key hook, hanging plant, a painting, and that is all just from a quick glance to the right. All of the images we see are making their way through our brain, getting processed and compartmentalized.
Our minds are constantly working to process everything happening around us. Sights and sounds are all around, and at times, it may be hard to make sense of it all.
I remember coming back into work after taking lunch break outside a few months ago, and for just a moment, I closed my eyes. In that brief moment of closing my eyes, I realized how overwhelmed I had felt without even knowing I was overwhelmed. I stopped walking and took a deep breathe, and the feeling of angst that had been uncovered began to dissipate. I could have stayed in that moment for quite a while if I didn’t have to be back at work, but I was able to enter those doors with a mind full of peace.
That slight break in the middle of the day rejuvenated my mind. My eyes were closed for only about 5-10 seconds, but time seemed to fade away. The experience was sublime. That small experience reminded me of the importance of centering; the importance of checking in to see how we are doing.
There is a balance to life.
Our brain is the most powerful part of our body, so we should ensure that we are feeding it and exercising it as we would any other part of our body. Something as simple as closing our eyes taps into the practice of meditation. Meditation has been proven to strengthen and heighten our brain function, as well as reduce stress. It improves our life by improving our attitude, problem solving ability, self control, and an overall well being. The reason practices like reading and meditating benefit our mind, is because they are intentional; we must choose to make time.
I am currently reading The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Within the first 30 pages, there is a continuing theme of intentional thinking. To attain a more positive and resilient mindset, effort must be made to acknowledge and release anxious or fearful thoughts that hold us back from being who we need to be. When self doubt takes root, the scope of what we believe that we can accomplish or become shrinks.
The best way to describe the effect of meditation like practices is that they bring us back to where we are right now. At times, we will feel like we a spinning out of control or drifting aimlessly, and it is in those times that we need to bring our focus back to the present. This state of being here now is called mindfulness. I have been walked through mindfulness meditations in counseling, and I have been led through podcasts and books; and each time, it has been therapeutic. There is so much power in bringing ourselves fully into the present, in all of the joy or sorrow, pain or health.
So, closing your eyes; a small and simple act that can springboard into a world of healing and introspection. Here are a few resources that have helped me understand more fo what happens when we take a moment:
Book: How To Be Here by Rob Bell. This is a fun read, with lots of great insight.
Podcast: Meditation – The Liturgists Podcast This podcast really dives into the mental benefits of meditation.
Phone apps: I have used both One Giant Mind and Headspace, both have helped me in learning how to meditate in a natural and effective way.
Thank you for reading.