Stressors occlude the path we call life. Stress is physical, as in excercise or disease; external, as noise or weather, and emotional, as in grief or loss. Stress can come in many forms: spiritual, social, etc. Stress is basically defined as: stimuli that provokes an engaging reaction in something. Stress affects everyone differently, as in runners and bodybuilding, it is a tool. In a tempermental individual it is an enemy.
”Meditation in the Buddhist tradition involves a process of intense concentration and attention to quiet the conscious mind” (Nataraja 2008:18). The methodology of meditation varies by culture (tai chi, prayer, dance), yet it is in Buddhism where mindfulness meditation~as opposed to trancendental~appeared, which sought to reduce stress via focusing attention. Mindfulness is being in the moment, and being non~judgemental to unfolding experience (20).
Another way to view this focus is as a distraction from physical/sensual stress.
In contemporary industrialized societies we are bombarded by stresses unique to our human evolutionary biology; we have hunter~gatherer bodies and systems reflective of those experiences. Our contempory morés do not always mesh well with our bodies: we may succomb to anxiety, obesity, diabetes, and socioeconomic pressures. These things sometimes cause us to question whether we are purposeful life forms, with divine predestination, or that life and all that exists is meaningless struggling and randomness.
Hmm..how will mindfulness combat physical or existential stress?
Develop these six (6) features:
1] Adopting the non~judmemental attitude to experiences by observing and not reacting to them as good or bad experiences;
2] Patience must be developed to reduce anxiety and slows perceptual time so we do not suffer disappointments;
3] Accept situations as they are to combat denial and struggle: trust the universe is operating as it should;
4] Trust yourself;
5] Sometimes do nothing, exist in an unforced manner to promote the above concepts and relieve modernity of its sway over your ancient self;
6] Release the excessive emotional value to negative imaginings and seductive worry, (198).
As Pavlov showed us, we can alter a response with the chosen conditioner. In fact, that is what ancient Buddhist practitioners have known all along. There are far greater benefits in seeking a calm, mature perspective to the world, because if one does not develop ones place and self in our vast universe, we become vulnerable and seem lost and overwhelmed.
Tell yourself it’s ok to relax and listen to the wind or to the stillness of your soul. This practice of seemingly doing nothing, will make you stronger than ever and insulate you so you can be the lighthouse for others.
Nataraja, S. THE BLISSFUL BRAIN: Neuroscience and Proof of the Power of Meditation. Octopus. N.Y. (2008).