Do you meditate?

According to Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

Meditation is a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, “thinking” mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness. Meditation often involves turning attention to a single point of reference. It is recognized as a component of almost all religions, and has been practiced for over 5,000 years.

So, for me, I’ve learned to use meditation as a chance to find what’s true within myself. I used to worry that what I’d come up with would be unworthy, so I’d just glom onto whatever truths were handed to me that sounded good, that resonated with me. That turned out to be pretty limiting, though, as I was heavily dependent on others to articulate my truths. As that became a habit, I ended up being completely dependent on others to provide my sense of self worth.

Thankfully, all of that time wasn’t lost, but rather inefficient towards my inevitable goal of self realization.

The reason I felt compelled to post about this is that there seem to be far too many issues or events where we, as humans, often react without attempting to “get beyond the conditioned, ‘thinking'” and we often dismiss or ignore the more thoughtful alternatives. I’ve have often found myself saying “I wish I had handled that differently” in the past. I’ve felt that with impulse buys, flashes of anger, and instances of following a crowd.

While there have been many cases where my gut reaction was appropriate and desirable, I’ve seen that I almost always could have afforded a few moments, or “sleeping on it”, before making the same decision. A friend responded to me, “well, what’s the point, then? Why spend the time to meditate?” My thinking is that I’ve hardly ever been in a life or death situation that demanded instant response, so what’s the harm in being even just a little more deliberate?

And then, what about those more difficult choices? Take Proposition 8 for example. In the past, I could have taken the thoughts of others (leaders, ministers, friends, etc…) and acted on those. In the past, I’ve often felt afraid of bucking the status quo, of disappointing friends and family, of standing out in a crowd. I’ve found that those fears have often cost me my sense of self and of my living an authentic life, one true to the depths of my soul. I find that meditation helps in this regard and, in turn, makes my life a whole lot easier to live.

Lessons from a “broken” back

Last week, I strained a muscle during a training session. I felt it happen and, while I slowed down and finished the session, I didn’t really address the problem for another two days.

If you know me, you know how much I love my car, yet I had reached the point of lusting for an SUV. At that point, I decided to get help and saw my standby body helper, Dr. Chad Wells at The League Chiropractic. He helped me during my marathon run in 2006 and he totally pulled through again.

Why am I telling you this? Because this taught me a lot and if I can pass something on to someone, I’m gonna do it.

Lesson #1: Trunk Strength — it’s important, and I hadn’t been paying any attention to it. So, my back gave out. With a broken back, a person once told me (when I broke my pelvis) that you’re basically broken in half. Well, I was close to 50% anyway. Bad news.

Lesson #2: Muscles “strain” and ligaments “sprain” — I’m grateful as heck that I didn’t get a sprain. AFAIK, soft, connective tissue takes way longer to heal than muscles do.

Lesson #3: Cold for two days, then heat and motion — Temperature therapy can help. Applying cold ≈controls inflammation and was recommended to me for the first two days after injury. Applying heat increases circulation which, while exercising gently, can help the muscles to repair quickly.

Lesson #4: Homeopathy works for me — I was given the suggestion to try Arnica 30c for pain and discomfort. This was my first time trying homeopathic remedies, but it worked for me! My skepticism of homeopathy has been present for some time but, after this experience, I can buy into it even based on the placebo effect. If that is truly the mechanism for these remedies to work, then it simply affirms the power of the mind. I’m cool with that.

Lesson #5: Isometrics can be done anytime — With as uncomfortable as it was moving around, I had to find some way to deal without injuring myself further. I found that simply tensing my abdominals took away most, if not all, the pressure and pain on my strained muscle. I started sitting straighter and I was more conscientious of how I maneuvered my body, all while tensing my stomach. I ended up tensing my abs more and more throughout the day and, in a couple days, I felt surprisingly tighter. This has also helped to ease into crunches. Cool.

That’s about it. More later, I’m sure. Time to put Sarah to bed.