Why Meditation Can Be Easy- Even Instinctual!
Written by Berni Kozlowski
We are wired to meditate. Don’t believe me? Here’s how.
Have you ever felt “stressed out” to the extreme? If you’re like most people today, you’re not alone. Opportunities to feel stress from a variety of situations abound. That feeling is called the “stress response”. When triggered, everything happens in a flash — your heart rate goes up, your breathing increases, your pupils dilate, and you release a cascade of the stress chemicals adrenaline and cortisol into your blood stream. That’s what’s happening when you feel that feeling we call stress.
Did you know that your body also has a “relaxation response”?
It’s part of your body’s natural, innate design and it’s there to balance the stress response. The stress (sympathetic) and the relax (parasympathetic) arms of your nervous systems continually shift back and forth to move us back into a healthful balance.
Everything in our body works in balance, a play of opposites. We inhale. We exhale. Our blood pressure goes up and our body automatically makes adjustments to lower it. Our pH shifts and our bodies adjust to get it back to 7.35. We get a little dehydrated and we adjust our water levels by conserving water in our body or by drinking more.
Your body’s stress response, when triggered is fast and automatic. Your body’s relaxation response is just as fast and just as automatic. However, in this modern, hectic world, we consistently override our relaxation response with our personal bias against rest.
If you doubt how powerful your thoughts are and how they can trigger physiological responses in your body, try this. Think about your favorite food or dessert for about 10 seconds.
Doing so starts a cascade of responses within your body firing up enzymes in your saliva, stomach and small intestines preparing you to receive the anticipated food.
So, your thoughts can cause immediate physiological responses. What a brilliant and efficient body you have.
When you move through this world with a sense of urgency and always doing, doing, doing, your body responds. When you give yourself permission to rest deeply, your body also responds.
Instinctive meditation means it’s natural and our bodies are wired do it easily and efficiently. All we need to do, according to Lorin Roche, PhD, who developed instinctive meditation, is to set up the right conditions and our bodies will eagerly cooperate. Sounds a lot better than engaging in hard work and discipline, right?
As a meditation coach and teacher, I help you and your body remember how to access this natural, already-existing state by simply helping you to remove self-imposed and culturally-imposed blocks to deep rest.
Try this exercise:
Call up within your imagination one or two of your natural meditative states. When/where have you felt totally at home in yourself and glad to be experiencing life? When have you felt at great ease? In the right setting, being at ease is… well, easy. And nearly automatic.
Let these memories of your natural meditative states remind you of how easy and rejuvenating deep rest can be. When you approach meditation with the same attitude that you took in natural states, the process is natural and accessible.
You don’t need to travel to an ashram in India or sit cross-legged on cushions and work hard to meditate.
Contact Berni for more information on learning the process of developing an instinctive meditation practice. Private and small group trainings are available, in-person or remotely.