We are told in the media that everyone wants to meditate. Everyone’s doing it apparently. It is the trend of the moment. The world keeps spinning faster driven by social media and tech. You can get caught up in the latest trends and find yourself going down paths best avoided. There are constant programmes on TV about the ills of social media and trying to fit into the madness.
Looking for Answers
The answer is to take yourself out of the madness and bring yourself back to the stillness of meditation and Tai Chi. Many of the people who come to our Tai Chi classes are looking for answers without even knowing they are.
How to keep calm among the chaos of modern life
Sleep better, when sleep is hard to come by
Overcome stress and learn to relax.
In bygone times these were all easily attainable by everyone, but not anymore. People find it hard to sleep well and constantly feel ill at ease in their everyday lives.
The Mind is a drunken monkey dancing on hot coals -The Buddha
Meditation is a very good technique to centre yourself which we teach in the classes, but it is hard. No one ever tells you that. It will make you feel uncomfortable as you are brought face to face with the monkey mind. The monkey mind never stops hopping from one thing to the next.
“This is boring”
“My nose is itchy”
“I wonder what’s for dinner”
Anything rather than simply focus on this very moment.
We think 50-60,000 thoughts a day and 90% of them are negative
Research says that we think 50-60,000 thoughts a day and 90% of them are negative and 95% we thought the day before. Is it any wonder that the world seems an unhappy place no matter how more affluent it becomes? Constantly thinking negatively will keep you stuck just where you are no matter how hard you try.
Two things I would like to say about meditation and Tai Chi
1 Meditation is a powerful technique, it is not a quick fix, you will have to commit to it no matter what.
2 Practise Tai Chi along with meditation it is the easiest way to learn Mindfulness.
When you practise Tai Chi you should forget everything else, at least for 20 minutes. It is that quiet time when the brain can be at rest as you focus only on the movements.
Leave your concerns outside the door -my advice to all of our students.
You will have plenty of time to worry about them when you have finished. Luckily much of the time any worries or concerns have subsided or in many ways gone completely by the time you finish. Your mind is very powerful you just need to give it a rest and answer quite often come in that quiet time.
The amygdala the culprit of much stress
The amygdala is the seat of the fight and flight response. It processes the emotions, survival instincts, and memory. It is especially associated with fear and Anger. Any stimulus can be construed as a threat by the amygdala which is a problem in this day and age. Today we are bombarded by many things which can seem threatening but really aren’t.
The amygdala was absolutely vital when we were being chased by Sabre Tooth Tigers who really would eat us. But today that is no longer the case. Even the mildest things can trigger a response from the amygdala of anger or fear which show up as stress.
By learning to detach for time to those emotions allows us to start to take control of them. The result is a quiet peaceful mind even in the midst of chaos.
The ways meditation and Tai Chi control stress.
How Meditation Controls Our Thoughts
Meditation allows you to strep back from your thoughts and become an observer rather than being involved. Once you learn to detach in that way, even for a short time can be profound. The things that used to trigger stress no longer affect you. The amygdala can keep on firing but you are no longer responding with fear or anger.
How Tai Chi Controls the Thought Process
Tai Chi requires you to run through a series of slow, smooth exercises. It sounds easy but requires that you fully involve with each movement. While your mind is fully engaged in doing each movement it cannot think about anything else. This is literally mindfulness in movement.
The normal seated mindfulness that is taught can be quite difficult initially. The mind resists and becomes bored or agitated to gain control of the situation, which it consistently does. But Tai Chi encourages you to absorb yourself in the exercise and all of a sudden you are doing mindfulness.
However, the really interesting thing is that quiet calmness while you are doing Tai Chi pervades the day. What in the beginning is half and hour of peace turns into a whole day, every day. But you have to do it every day. But for just an investment of 20 minutes each day is obviously an easy decision to make. When you start maintain your calm among the chaos it is a feeling you would not willingly let go of.