Why Meditate?

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“Do everything with a mind that lets go. Don’t accept praise or gain or anything else. If you let go a little you a will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace. ”

-Ajahn Chah, a revered teacher in Thai Forest tradition

More Mindfulness, Less Stress

Today, it’s unusual to meet anyone who does not suffer in some way from stress. The demands pressures of our lives and of the world we live in often leads to a stress reaction. Our minds and heart race, our churn or, as stress becomes more chronic, we develop headaches, disturbed sleep or physical pain.

Some people relieve stress through exercise, some through prescriptions or self-medication. Hower, more people are turning to meditation to cultivate a sense of connection, calm and well-being so that their daily lives can have more meaning and and ease.

Controlled clinical studies carried out by the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness have documented lasting symptom reductions ranging between 29 and 46 percent for conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, physical pain and anxiety.

“Moments of mindfulness are moments of peace and stillness, even in the midst of activity,” says Jon Kabat-Zinn in his popular book, “Full Catastrophe Living.” Actions as seemingly simple as learning to breather more fully and paying attention to our own experience as we make our way through the day can have profound effects. How often do we slow down enough to really appreciate the moment? What percentage of our time is spent experiencing the past or the future, rather than the present?

Much of the stress we experience daily comes by our own making, as we worry about the prepare for things that might not happen and chastise ourselves for things we cannot change, all the while missing the moment that really exists, the present. A mindfulness practice invites us to experience life, every moment, every situation, in more peaceful and more joyous ways.

-Maggie Norton