"In today's world of fear and uncertainty, every child should have one class period a day to dive within himself and experience the field of silence bliss the enormous reservoir of energy and intelligence that is deep within all of us. This is the way to save the coming generation."
- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Scientists now confirm what Buddhist monks have known for thousands of years: meditation increases self-awareness and calmness, and builds inner strength and contact with subconscious feelings. Recently researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that a high percentage of people who meditate regularly have managed to alter the structure of their brains. Why is this important news? In these studies, brain regions associated with sensory processing and attention primarily located in the prefrontal cortex (responsible for planning complex cognitive behavior) and right anterior insula (associated with our emotions and bodily sensations) have been found to be thicker in those who meditate.
With a crucial election on the horizon and the possible collapse of the global financial system looming, many people are experiencing powerful feelings of anxiety. The practice of meditation is not just a nice idea in times like these it's essential as we begin to emotionally, physically and spiritually prepare ourselves for the days ahead. As we are called to action, shouldn't our action come from a place of centeredness and rational thinking? Shouldn't we begin to think pragmatically about what we must do to overcome adversity and to constructively participate in the coming changes whether they be for better, or for worse? Its time to consider the possibility that being emotionally stable is an asset that we cannot live without when push comes to shove. How else can we make the conscious, life-sustaining and often difficult decisions that will be required as we step up to the uncertain future that awaits us?
With that said, let us "make haste." If we accept the precept that we use our imaginations, at least in part, to co-create our reality, then why not imagine the very best? If we all put our intention toward a vision of the very best all at the same time what might happen? At the very least, we may find ourselves beginning the process of learning to act from a place of serenity and intelligence. In a best-case scenario, we might actually have some degree of psycho-spiritual impact on how circumstances play out. In either case, we benefit a win-win situation.
None of this is to suggest that we should hide away in our rooms meditating instead of going out into the world and taking responsibility for what happens to us collectively. We all need to be held accountable and should make strides to become more civically involved, to collectively build a better future. What I'm suggesting instead is that the place that we take action from should not be rooted in fear, but rather from the quiet calm of inner intelligence and perhaps even from the heart. Yes, our heart has an intelligence all of it's own. Science has confirmed this, too.
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Rather than imagine our problems away, we might imagine our reaction to crises as coming from a place of courage and intelligent action, of centeredness and compassion. Reality Sandwich would like to invite all who are interested to dare to imagine the very best, in spite of it all.
Beginning at 7:00 A.M. this coming Friday, October 17th, let us combine our intention in a collective meditation. (7:00 A.M. Eastern Standard Time will be the official start, but alternately you might begin at 7:00 in your local time zone. If this is not appropriate or practical, you might still participate by choosing another point during this day to engage in the exercise.) For as long as is possible, but with a goal of 20 to 30 minutes, why not begin to see yourself acting rather than reacting to the challenges that may come? Why not imagine yourself as strong and able, and your neighbors as caring, helpful, and serene? Why not picture what it might be like if our leaders had a shift in consciousness toward life-sustaining and creative goals?
So, where do we start? Find yourself in a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down, eyes slightly open, pupils looking upwards inside of your eyelids. As you start to relax, you might also begin to hear your own heartbeat and to notice that you are breathing. When you do, you're focusing your attention on your breath. Continue in that intention. You might begin to employ a favorite mantra or a special way of breathing. Perhaps try breathing deeply in then hold it for a few counts and let it out slowly, purposefully, easily. As you begin to ease yourself into a meditative place, why not take yourself on a journey of possibilities, to a vision of how you'd like to see things turn out or to a vision of your own courage and strength, should things become more challenging than youd hoped?
As Reality Sandwich reader Martin D. Anderson so eloquently wrote:
"In the midst of the current world financial crisis is an opportunity to affirm our connection to each other by meditating and/or praying together to be calm, present and lucid during this anxious time. A single person settling their mind has great effect on oneself. Doing so together we can reinforce our greatest asset: our ability to support each other."
Imagine a world in which we support one another; imagine a world where you are strong in the face of anything; where you are able to stay calm and rise to the occasion, taking conscious action from your intellect and heart rather than a place of indoctrination and fear.
After the session, we encourage all who participate to post their experiences in the comments section below. Did this exercise have an effect on your conscious mind as you engaged in the day's activities? What feelings and thoughts came up during the meditation, and what kinds of images arose in your mind? If this experiment is well received, we would like to make these group meditations a regularly occurring event.
Image by h.koppdelaney, used under Creative Commons license.