Tag Archives: ambient

Inner Peace

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Solace. Peace. The calm that counterpoints the crazy. Sometimes respite can be better than sex! Especially when sex is easier to come by.  I deal with crazy people everyday. I’m sure you do too. They’re everywhere. They aggravate the hell out of me. Maybe I aggravate them too. Sometimes I even aggravate myself.  Stress might be a great motivator for meeting deadlines and getting things accomplished in our busy lives but its an unhealthy state of mind with deleterious physical consequences, so I can’t wait to get rid of it. A hot bath or shower goes a long way to relax me. So does sex. But the best way humans have found to alleviate stress and tension is meditation. A lot of people know about meditation but think its something elusive and difficult to achieve. Others believe they need to master the lotus position or harness some kind of arduous physical or mental discipline before they can reap the benefits meditation purportedly brings. I say purportedly because some even dismiss the efficacy of meditation as a legitimate path to tranquility.

I was introduced to transcendental meditation in my freshman year of college as part of a program of therapy after a particularly traumatic event in my life left me crippled with panic-attacks and anxiety disorder. Although it was a minor component of my recovery it has stayed a part of my life and I’m a strong advocate of its benefits. Its not as hard as you might think. Like any other learned skill, once you accustom yourself to finding what works for you it will become easy. Not everyone meditates the same way and the combination of habits which work for others may not be right for you but here are a few common elements which constitute the basics: Quiet and solitude. Eliminate any distractions in your environment which may claim your attention. Your attention needs to be focused inwards. Although some can meditate in the presence of soft background music, it should probably only be used as a mask when other more distracting sounds can’t be completely eliminated. I find the ambient music of Steve Roach to be particularly well suited for this purpose if neighborhood sounds intrude upon your solitude. Native American flute is also well-suited to meditation.

Once you have eliminated distractions, get comfortable. I meditate in the nude but only because I’m more comfortable without any clothes on and have little or no modesty.

I have even meditated out of doors in the nude, but the risk involved is a distraction so unless you’re in a completely private spot I don’t recommend it. But outdoor meditation can be a more satisfying experience as you are a part of the natural world and that atavistic, primitive connection to nature yields an intense feeling of oneness with the world. Wear loose, comfortable clothing if you remain dressed and get into a balanced position where you can relax every muscle in your body. Although the lotus position is preferred by purists it is only because it is a position of physical balance where the backbone can be aligned easily and slow, deep breathing is more readily achieved. You are focusing inward so attend to your breathing first. If you feel any tenseness in your muscles, consciously relax them and attune yourself to your physical responses. If you find yourself tensing a muscle anywhere, even the small muscles in your face, continually find these locations and relax them until you are completely aware of your body and free to focus upon a single thought without distraction.

Traditionally your concentration must be isolated and your attention devoted to a mantra, a single idea, the simpler the better… a word, a part of your body, or a concept that is kept in the center of your mind. If you find yourself drifting or distracted from this single point of focus, draw it back to the center of your attention again and again until it doesn’t waver. This is the point where you approach balance and inner peace, the true essence of meditation. Your body will experience utter tranquility when you are singularly-focused and simultaneously your mind will stay in this un-distracted place when your body is totally relaxed. Your perception of time will change as will your connection to the world around you, but maintaining this balance is the restorative nature of meditation. The world will call you back at some point, but staying in the zone for a half an hour at a time is enough to bring you a lasting sense of peace. Some people set a timer to bring them back but if the anticipation of the timer going off distracts you from your meditation then it is counter-productive and shouldn’t be used. It is possible to meditate in the presence of others but since others around you can be a distraction, until you learn to achieve this point of focus and balance readily, I suggest you learn to meditate alone.

Meditation is a cleansing experience for the inner self. There are many forms of meditation which can be studied for the purpose of connecting yourself spiritually to a sacred thought. This is the path of Buddhist contemplative meditation. Generally any practice of meditation will bring positive results to both your mind and your body, and this is why I practice it, but deeper purposes can be achieved with meditation whereby you can learn to change and control your autonomic physical responses, but this requires much self-discipline and training combined with devoted study under masters. Many find this challenge very rewarding, but the level of difficulty can be daunting. Just don’t be afraid to learn meditation in its simplest forms however because most find the results to be life-changing. In a crazy world meditation can keep you sane.

(c) The Ides of March, 2013 – Bethany Ariel Frasier

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