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Tom Von Deck, Author at B.Positive Magazine

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Author: Tom Von Deck

Tom Von Deck is a workplace meditation trainer, stress management speaker and author of Oceanic Mind - The Deeper Meditation Training Course and The Deeper Meditation Audio Course.
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Meditation and Yoga Warm Up Exercises

In the previous article (Easy Ways to Relieve Stress and Tension: Interweaving, 11/15/2010), we discussed the interweaving of meditative physical, mental and religious/spiritual exercises into your day to create a momentum of peace. Such activities make both meditation and stress relief much easier in the long run. Now, we’ll learn some meditation and yoga warm up exercises for the purpose of “tuning” and preparing the mind and body for a formal meditation session.

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Easy Ways to Relieve Stress and Tension: Interweaving

Image Courtesy of Stephanie Berghaeuser

One of the best and easiest ways to let go of stress and tension is meditation. As mentioned in the previous article (Meditation is for Everyone, November 4th, 2010), meditation is your natural state of mind when you’re not resisting experience. When you are calmly detached and present with moment to moment experience as it arises into consciousness, you are in a very restful and rejuvenating state. Events do not have the opportunity to create tension within you because you are processing these events as they occur. In such a state, you may also be processing events that occurred a long time ago. Mindful awareness relieves build ups of past stress and tension and prevents the accumulation of stress in the present .

Meditation is quite a discipline that many people find difficult. Some say they are too busy. Others just can’t find the self discipline for it. Many people adopt a meditation practice because they have heard and read about the many benefits and that it is a simple way to relieve stress. However, for the reasons above, so many of these people abandon their practices within a few months.

The good news is that there are many ways to make meditation easier – even for busy people. One of these is through “interweaving”.

You probably remember some ways that you personally relieve stress and tension. For some people, reading the Bible has a rejuvenating effect. Yoga practitioners find that, when they stretch throughout the day, they feel much more grounded and centered. Mindful breathing and just stopping to check in with yourself, your breath, your emotions and your thoughts is quite rejuvenating if you do it frequently. Muslims pray toward Mecca five times daily. Bakhti yogis find peace while praying through song. Everyone has at least one serene memory from childhood, such as a favorite nature spot. All these things can become interweaves.

In an elevator, you have 20 seconds to do something that goes a little way toward relieving stress and tension or something which generates feeling in the body. It’s the same with grocery store lines, doctors’ waiting rooms and waiting for the bathroom to open. You can either use these moments to follow your usual habits which cause stress and tension to accumulate, or you can use your “Elevator Time” wisely by taking moments to interweave new habits which cause peace to accumulate.

I call this an “integration strategy”. Most mind body disciplines and spiritual paths have one built in. It’s called an integration strategy because it integrates peace and mindfulness into your daily life.

You don’t have to accept a one size fits all strategy. What you do need to do is find the activities that you are most compatible with so that you enjoy the whole ride. Mindful absorption in such activities becomes much easier that way.

Let’s assume that you’re a Christian riding an elevator. You can visualize Jesus showering you with light while blessing your family, friends, coworkers and enemies with the light of true happiness. Imagine broad smiles on everyone’s faces during this blessing.

Perhaps 20 seconds wasn’t enough. The elevator opens and you don’t feel a whole lot more peaceful. Maybe it even stirred you up a little bit. That’s OK. At least 90% of the positive effects of your action occurred below the level of consciousness. Most of the work occurs behind the scenes. When you’re back at your desk, wait an hour and take 30 seconds to one minute to do it again.  Take another minute and do the same an hour later. The effects are cumulative. This means that they will creep up on you in time and culminate into a powerful momentum of peace. It will become very easy to relieve stress and tension in any given moment if you keep up this momentum.

If you’ve been keeping a regular meditation practice and interweave peaceful activities into your day, you will notice that meditation becomes less and less of a struggle. With the proper strategies, it becomes much easier to relieve stress and tension.

In future articles, we’ll discuss more ways to make meditation easier for busy people and everyone else.

Tom Von Deck is an international corporate meditation trainer, stress management speaker and author of Oceanic Mind – The Deeper Meditation Training Course. You can sneak preview the first half of the book and get free guided meditation mp3s at Tom’s website, www.DeeperMeditation.net

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Meditation is for Everyone

Meditation is for everyone. It is the universal state of mind when you are not resisting moment to moment experience and when you are in a state of deep loving absorption. Even most nonmeditators have “accidentally” slipped into a meditative state at one time or another.

Have you ever been so absorbed in a task that you lost all track of time? This can be prayer, sewing, singing, gardening or many other things. If so, you may have discovered meditation.

The ego resists uncomfortable experience and clings to pleasant experience, often by restricting the breath. This process is what causes stress in our lives. The resulting stress and tension wreaks havoc on the body and the mind. It also distorts our clear perception of the world and ruins relationships. We must gradually train the mind to be present with reality if we are to have any chance at realizing wholeness.

Taking time to train yourself to enter a state of relaxed, nonattached awareness is extremely rejuvenating and has too many health benefits to mention here. Regular meditation practitioners say that it is as essential for you as stopping for gas is for your car.

There are two components to meditation. They are concentration and equanimity.

Concentration means just what you think it means. In meditation, you concentrate on an object of focus. You relax into it and become increasingly absorbed in it.

Imagine two people in a room with you. One of them you are absolutely in love with and hope to marry some day. The other is some schmuck from your high school days who was never very interesting. Who are you concentrating on more? You are connected with the former on a much deeper level. The two of you “touch” on finer levels. This is what you are aiming for in an object of focus. Therefore, when choosing one, think of one that you can fall in love with. Maybe it’s the word “Jesus” or a visualization of a waterfall. Maybe it’s just your own breath or a body sensation.

Equanimity is a detached awareness of whatever is occurring in the moment. When we resist experience of senses, thoughts and emotions, clarity of mind becomes distorted. Equanimity occurs when we are present with experience and detached from the poles of attraction and repulsion.

You will be distracted with internal chatter during your concentration practice. Thoughts will tempt you, and so will emotions and body sensations. However, these are all happening in the present moment. When they come up, take note by saying “thinking” or “angry”. Let the thoughts move through you like clouds through the sky. Just watch. Then, bring your attention back to the object of focus. This process trains the mind to achieve equanimity.

Now that you know the theory, let’s try it for real.

Sit down in a chair with your ankles crossed or with your feet flat on the floor. Let your hands rest on your lap. Plant your tailbone and “stack” your vertebrae one on top of the next, starting with the tailbone. When you get to the head, your chin will want to tuck in a little bit.

Take a few deep breaths through the nose. Then, just breathe normally. Watch your breath without trying to control it. Is it shallow? Is it deep? Does it start in the chest? How does it sound? Relax and observe.

Your object of focus is the cool feeling in the nostrils as the breath enters your nose and the warm feeling as the breath leaves your nose. From here onward, pay no attention to where the breath goes. Just feel it where it enters and leaves the nostrils.

This is all that exists. Become deeply absorbed in the breath. Soon, the breath will deepen naturally and the brainwaves will slow down.

When a thought comes up, silently say “thinking” to take note of what is happening in the present moment. The thought will start to lose power over you. Go back to the breath without judgment.

Don’t worry about how “deep” you’re going. Your state of absorption will vary according to the fluctuations of your mind. Do this at the same time each day, even if you only have five minutes. You will become much better at it over time.

Now you know the basic nuts and bolts of meditation. In future articles, we will learn how you can fit meditation into the busiest schedules and how to create a strategy that makes meditation much easier to do. After a while, you will realize that meditation is for everyone, and not just people who are fascinated with “eastern” religions.

Tom Von Deck is an international corporate meditation trainer, stress management speaker and author of Oceanic Mind – The Deeper Meditation Training Course. You can sneak preview the first half of the book and get free guided meditation mp3s at Tom’s website, www.DeeperMeditation.net

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