Monday, January 26, 2009
Where is the connection between losing weight and getting in shape and meditation? Is there one? Well not necessarily, there can be and then again maybe not. We can certainly lose weight and get fit without applying meditation. And as I've found out, we can meditate and not get fit or lose weight. However, if we put the two together I believe we have the foundation for both successful weight loss and meditation.
When we meditate we are generally applying a "technique" which is an anchor or focus of our attention and then the actual meditation practice is to keep bringing the mind back to the focus. We do this over and over, because our minds just flitter about looking for distractions. It's like it's our mind's business is to do that- to be distracted. In meditation we are training this wild monkey of a mind by bringing it home again and again. Why do we want to do that? It takes a lot of time and sometimes we don't see the progress right away.
By training our mind to stay on the focus of attention we develop concentration, mental stability. We also slow down the distracting mind and this slowing down of distraction creates the space for the mind to settle, to become calm and peaceful. Sometimes this experience happens for just a second or two, but as we continue to apply the practice eventually, perhaps weeks, months or years the mind will become calm and peaceful.
When our mind is calm we have more presence, emotional stability, increased awareness and sense of open spaciousness. We can experience all this and still not be working out with our bodies. BUT, as our awareness increases with the care we apply to ourselves through meditation, there will come a day when we can no longer be unaware of the grosser aspects of our mind, body and speech. When this happens our sense of self-responsibility increases, both for our own actions, thoughts and speech and how we interact with the world around us and what kind of "foot print" we are creating.
So, meditation is not just about calming our own mind in our own little world, but through the awareness that is developed, we become more aware of our interconnection and interdependence with the world and all it's inhabitants around us.
For now, we start with just sitting, sitting practicing meditation each day for what ever period of time we can offer ourselves and slowly, slowly we develop awareness by relaxing and taming the mind. Isn't that wonderful!
It dawned on me one day that there are so many obese people, one out of 5 in the US and I am one of them. I have been eating more than my share of food. There are so many people who have little or no food at all. Perhaps by my taking responsibility for my overeating there will be someone else who has been lacking in sustenance who will find the food they need. I pray that will be so. Another thing I considered was how much money, time, energy, etc. is spent on treating diseases caused by just being over weight and how much of that could be easily prevented through proper weight loss and fitness and it was time I took responsibility for my condition before it impacted others.
Even though there may not necessarily be a connection between weight loss and meditation we can make one by building a bridge of awareness.
Next blog: Meditation tames the mind and builds awareness, but what does a fit body have to to with meditation?