17 June 2013

Ian Gawler Blog: Be still, and know that I am relaxed

Being on a yacht on an ocean means constant movement. Even when the sea is relatively calm, there is some rocking and rolling going on continually. Out of this experience comes another major meditation insight gathered courtesy of cruising recently on a yacht in the paradise that is Tahiti.

Also this week, advice that our next meditation retreat, Meditation in the Desert is nearly full; then eat well and receive a health insurance discount, plus what happens when an SAS veteran of Iraq stops long enough to consider his food chain, followed by an invitation to take part in a really cool experiment. But first

Thought for the day
In the practice of healing,
a kind heart is as valuable as medical training,
because it is the source of happiness for both oneself and others.
People respond to kindness even when medicine is ineffective,
and in turn,
cultivating a kind heart is a cause of our own good health.
                  His Holiness The Dalai Lama – who is in my home town of Melbourne this week!!!

Having recently returned from a couple of weeks with my elder sister and her husband on their yacht in Tahiti, I wrote a couple of week’s ago about the potential to be stressed or relaxed wherever you go.

In fact, Ruth and I had a deeply relaxing, wonderful time, but the mind’s capacity to make a hell out of heaven, or a heaven out of hell was very evident.

And then came another great insight to do with the importance of stillness.

When it came time to meditate on the boat, I noticed how challenging it was to feel into my physical body and to relax it deeply.

That continual rocking and rolling, whether when the sea was more turbulent or even more sedate, just offered a continual barrier to deeper relaxation.

It must have been a bit like many people new to meditation would find attempting to meditate amidst a lot of noise. The noise just gets in the way; takes the attention and becomes a real barrier to entering into that deeper silence that is meditation.

Of course, with practice and some training of the mind, an experienced meditator can find inner peace amidst noisy chaos, but it takes some doing, some practice.

So my insight came courtesy of this situation that was new to me – attempting to relax deeply and settle the mind with constant body motion. It was fun to be in such a new and different meditation environment, and it highlighted two things.

Firstly that it takes practice to get past potential distractions, whether constant motion, noises of any type, or our own inner thoughts and feelings.

But secondly, and even more importantly, I noticed in the first few days, as I was learning to adjust to the motion and to move past it, that when I could not do so the quality of my meditation was significantly lessened.

My sense is this reveals an issue that is particularly important for those using meditation therapeutically. A key to profound healing through meditation is that when we relax our bodies deeply, and accompany that with deep relaxation of the mind, we return to a state of deep, physiological rest. Deep physiological balance. And in that balance, the body is ideally poised to heal itself. Our biochemistry in balance, our physiology in balance, all our natural healing mechanisms in balance. Switched on, balanced, active and potent.

Natural healing arising out of deep physiological rest.

The point is, that to accomplish all this, we need to let go and to be still. Let go of any physical tension, let go of excessive thinking, let go of worry, anxiety, stress.

Let go and be still.

To do this as a beginner is helped greatly by a quiet environment and taking up a posture that enables us to remain physically still. Being on a boat highlighted this need. For many beginners, noisy neighbors highlight this need.

This is another reason why retreats are so potent in developing and deepening our experience and practice of meditation. Traditionally, meditators took to deserts and mountains for retreats. Places of solitude and silence where the outer environment supported the inner quest. Never heard of a meditation retreat on a yacht, but then again, maybe it would make for a powerful advanced practice!

Happy meditating, and do consider how you use your environment to support and challenge and develop your practice.

Tahiti's top 5 stress management lessons

Meditation in the Desert

Meditation in the Desert
This is a retreat Ruth and I only present every few years. We enter into the silence and the presence of the Central Australian Desert, spend 7 days meditating together, experience the outer environment and the inner peace, and then are joined for a few days hanging out with traditional Indigenous leaders of the area. Many find this retreat the experience of a lifetime. Be advised that there are only a few places left, so book soon if you plan to join us. For details, CLICK HERE

For anyone seeking to deepen their experience of physical and mental relaxation, the CD specifically designed for this is Relaxation for Everyone.

Be warned, the video link that follows could change your life but save the lives of others in the process.

Damien Mander spent his early years in the Australian Army SAS and then returned to Iraq as a mercenary. At 29 he stopped just long enough to consider where his life was going and what he was eating.

If you are game, watch what happened next as Damien gives one of the most powerful TED talks I have seen. Click here 

Vegetarians pay less for life insurance
Vegetarians are to be offered cheaper life insurance because, it is claimed, they are healthier and less likely to die early.

The Daily Mail in the UK reports that the Animal Friends Insurance (AFI) insurance agency has devised the Vegetarian Term Life policy to reward non meat-eaters with lower premiums. According to the Vegetarian Society, the risk of some cancers is reduced by up to 40 per cent and of heart disease by 30 per cent.

The new policy, offers a 25 per cent reduction on monthly premiums in the first year only but AFI is arguing for the entire industry to deliver long-term discounts to vegetarians. Epidemiological evidence indicates that vegetarians suffer less from chronic disease, but the insurance industry has not yet recognised this. Currently Insurance companies look at smoking, drinking habits and family medical history when deciding premiums. AFI believes that a vegetarian lifestyle should be given equal weight.

There are believed to be four million vegetarians in the UK, although some people who claim this status are not thought to be entirely faithful.

A spokesman for the Vegetarian Society said: 'This is an important first step. We hope insurance companies will take seriously the fact that vegetarians are less likely to die young from cancer and heart disease.'                        

Reference: Click here

RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY – what goes on in your head while you are being mindful?

For those within easy distance of Melbourne, here is advice of a very interesting research project any of you longer term meditators may like to take part in.

No comments:

Post a Comment