Meditation is not for everybody, but it may help to relieve stress. Maryalicia Post reports
At a party recently the question of ‘stress’ came up.. who had it, what they do about it. When I was asked if I suffered from stress – my first reaction was to say ‘no’.. After all I’m not an air traffic controller – or an eye surgeon! The most stressful thing I would normally face is a long queue at airport security or a cancelled flight.
So for a moment I thought I might just say ‘no’.. but somehow that seemed pretentious.. as if I were implying I was too well organised to experience stress. Or perhaps it would suggest I was a lady of leisure, which I’m not.. So I said ‘yes.. and then the young man who’d asked the stress question had the chance to ask another.
“Have you thought about meditation?’
Now I could say ‘no’ without a second thought..
‘I’m not sure what religion it’s based on,’I explained, ‘but it’s not mine’.
‘Okay…said he…’you don’t need any specific spiritual belief. I don’t practice a religion and meditation works for me.’
’Well,’ I confessed.. ‘I can’t imagine sitting still – trying not to think about anything – for any length of time. It would drive me crazy.’
Turns out that’s a common misconception. He assured me it’s not about stopping your thoughts… Its about becoming more aware of them but not dwelling on them. You focus on your breath and on your sense perceptions. You let your thoughts pass by like clouds. Label them and let them go.
‘It’s a gentle procedure.. ,’ he added..”not sombre at all.’
I asked him what he’d gotten out if it.
‘In my case- it varies with the individual -after about a month I noticed my mind was clearer and I had developed a heightened sense perception. Ultimately, I experienced a feeling of relaxation, of being uplifted.’
‘Sounds great,’ I stonewalled, ‘but I wouldn’t have the time…’
‘Ten or 15 minutes a day…’
Since that evening I’ve been noticing the posters – taped to trees along the footpath, pinned up in my local supermarket and in the Post Office – offering ‘meditation’ sessions in my locality. And, at www.goodreads.com, I came upon a book called Teach Yourself To Meditate by Eric Harrison which got great reviews.
What have I got to lose? A few Euro for a book – or a course, and 15 minutes a day. I’m thinking about it……