Meditation is the quintessential technique to release, relax, and let go. We all would like to better cope with the daily problem of distress, an inappropriate, neither healthy nor useful stress response from the ever worsening overload so commonly experienced in our hectic culture. If stressors challenge us to either respond appropriately or face unhealthy psycho-physiological consequences (and they do), then meditation can bring us the evocation of eustress, the good stress calming baseline antidote. This wonderful feeling of beneficial arousal and stillness can be measured by healthy decreases in respiration, pulse, blood pressure, and other indicators. Rather than having to reach out externally for an “it,” a buffer such as a cigarette, more than one or two drinks a day, any drug of choice, or even an extra-large pizza with everything on it consumed alone when not at all hungry for food but nonetheless starving (!), we can learn to go in, and internally find the illusive comfort and readiness we seek.
The simple truth is, we chronically go in the wrong direction: forcefully out instead of elegantly in.
We all learn “how to think” as children. While we may learn many new things to think about as we grow older (and hopefully wiser), we predominantly do not learn to think that much differently than we did as children. Part of the trap is that we often unconsciously react both instantly and automatically to things instead of focusing our attention to choose a quality response.
Not only do we not choose, we often forget (if we ever learned at all) that we even have a choice. Many people live in a blur, a skimmed life where they firstly do not know that different choices are available and they can learn to make and benefit from them.
Habits can become so irresistible that they settle deep within us, like a glue or cement. Over time, they seem to feel as if they belong there, have substance or are solid. This is an illusion. Habits (as well as thoughts) are neither us nor substantial. We do have a choice and indeed, always have a choice, no matter what, no matter how seemingly small. To our very last breath, we always have the capacity to learn and develop new patterns so we can choose differently. In doing so, we can learn to do and feel better. To fully reside in our humanness, we always have that potential. Whether we know it, see it, or meaningfully exercise it, that is another matter.
The good news is, meditation paves the way for us to be awake and aware enough to at least begin the journey.
The antidote – meditation – is really empty hypnosis. It first began as Jewish Meditation in biblical times. During World War II, 30% to 40% of the Jewish people were killed. 80% to 90% of that traditional community was destroyed. No thanks to Hitler and those terrible atrocities, the tradition survives! Christian, Islamic, and (the most famous) Buddhist traditions also remain. Major differences exist within each with much ignorance and misconception clouding the issues along the way, but the basic premise is always the same.
Western meditation is not about religion or mysticism. It is about allowing our minds and bodies, to effortlessly relax, and just be.
In centuries past, people had the time to meditate for many hours every day, sometimes repeatedly throughout the day. Fortunately, modern techniques have been developed for busy people on the go. My experience is that well-motivated people are literally amazed at what they can learn to do (or rather, not do) in just a few minutes every day.
It is a true joy when one learns how to meditate correctly, allows and makes the quality time for it, and is serious about the continuing practice.
Meditation has the capacity to furnish us with an arena in which to be free instead of being a slave in a bondage relationship with a well-patterned doing or belief, an unconscious insistence, or some other mode of habitual response that we have outgrown and may not even be aware of. We can release physical and mental knots of all kinds, challenge thoughts, access paths to greater learning and wisdom, and even bridge other gaps beyond the scope of this brief introduction.
Meditation is so easy, a motivated child of 10 can learn to do it. Yet, it continues to be a wasted opportunity that our educational system does not teach meditation to our children in school. It could simply be called “quiet time,” where students can briefly just breathe, unwind, rest, or even pray silently (if they freely choose to). Instead, we falsely teach our children that stillness, calm, and temporary inactivity are somehow bad, a sign of laziness, a signal that something is missing, wrong, or even a punishment of some kind. Doing and endless busyness over names, dates, numbers, facts, and grades are often presented as all that matters. They are not!
Without question, quiet time could and should be a very beneficial educational adjunct. Consider the large amounts of unused energy and excitement that children naturally have. Yet many of us yell at, punish, and sometimes drug our kids because of it – needlessly. Perhaps our children should experience meditation before medication, as should everyone! Many will learn to benefit from it.
Is something missing if the adults and teachers in a child’s world don’t know about the benefits of meditation?
Is something missing when nothing of inner stillness, quiet, and calm is taught in the home?
Is something missing when a house of organized religion is often more interested in collective group “doing” than the tranquility and respect of a unique individual’s “being?”
Is something missing in many doctor’s offices where even a couple minutes of direct doctor/patient connection is no longer permitted to fit into a hurried visit?
Some doctors actually believe they are too busy to sit down, look a patient in the eyes, and talk with them directly, without an assistant acting as an interpreter and speaking for the patient who was already pre-screened.
Some doctors sorely lack the social skills or training to develop a quality therapeutic alliance with their patient.
Some doctors think patients can’t speak for themselves, aren’t worth an extra minute of intake and Q. & A., or that such bonds aren’t important? When this happens, the healing relationship fostered by a good therapeutic alliance may be seriously compromised.
There is a major problem these days when insurance company payments, procedures, and restrictions get more quality time and care than the patient. When it happens, this scenario is inauthentic, incomplete, and unacceptable. As just one example, every hypertensive patient should have the option of being referred to a hypnosis professional for, at the very least, basic instruction in meditation to serve as an adjunct to the medication, nutrition, and exercise information that comes from the doctor. What patient wouldn’t benefit from additional complimentary skills and mind/body benefits? Answer: none.
In our modern system, this very valuable medical and deeply human component is often missing. Despite the fact that it is so cost effective and usually without any negatives or contraindications for most people, it’s a cultural void that sorely deserves to be addressed by the unseen suits and decision-makers.
And so there you have it. All the way through life, from childhood to old age and almost every time in between, there probably is no formal training at all in a person’s life to cultivate the sanctity of inner calm and stillness. Even a basic awareness of “why” this is so important is probably missing. What a shame!
At Busch Hypnotherapy, virtually every client, regardless of presenting issue, learns a basic meditation. It’s a beautiful technique to know and rely on in one’s daily life. Time and care are given so all clients feel seen, heard, understood, and connected with. Usually, meditation is taught in the very first session. This is especially important with medical referrals for many issues like hypertension, and present and future issues that generate discomfort and worry like pain, testing, and hospital stays.
And best of all, it paves the way to the best hypnotic I know, my AIM Technique.