Healthy Living News

Robert Piper: Why Every CEO in America Should Be Encouraging Meditation in the Work Place

Ingrained into the fabric of America is the idea that we have to be the best. There’s nothing wrong with that idea; this is a country that gave birth to Google, Facebook, Twitter, and even put a man on the moon.

However, stress is beating us up really badly. It’s just destroying us. The World Health Organization estimates that stress is costing America businesses up to $300 billion a year. Benjamin Franklin once said, “A small leak can sink a great ship.”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to suggest that meditation is needed in the workplace. We have the stats; we have decades of research from some of the brightest minds in America behind it. If you’re a CEO of a company you need to, “Make it happen.”

Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that there are over 3,000 studies on the positive benefits of meditation. Meditation is legitimately America’s next push-up; it builds emotional resilience, happiness, and a positive outlook on life. Why isn’t every CEO in America encouraging this in the work place?

I think some of the road blocks to the wide-spread acceptance of meditation in America has to do with some of the myths attached to it. There are a lot of myths — like you need a meditation space, a meditation pillow, certain beliefs, etc. You might have read about Buddhist monks that have done over 10,000 hours of meditation; well I’ve also done well over 10,000 hours of meditation.

I do several hours of meditation a day; I consider it a positive marathon exercise for the mind. I do it because I think it’s a great tool for happiness and a resilient mind. And I can tell you that you don’t need to purchase a fancy meditation cushion to reap the benefits of meditation.

I’m a former frat boy who used a pillow as a meditation cushion for years; I purchased it for a few dollars at a convenient store during my college days. I still go out on the weekends, watch sports on TV, and listen to Bloomberg radio. My meditation space is my family room and consists of a 47 inch flat screen TV (I wanted to get a 57 inch put it wouldn’t fit), two couches and a picture of John F. Kennedy on the wall. I have never burned incense in my meditation space.

From my own experience, I can tell you that meditation has actually made me want to engage in positive conversations with as many people as possible. I actually try to seek out conversations with different types of people because it makes me happier. It also makes you totally resilient because you’re able to separate from your emotions.

Physical exercise has been a major staple of American culture, and it has been shown to reduce stress. I do cardio several times a week, but I can sometimes understand we don’t have the time. Meditation is something that can easily fit into our busy schedules.

Most importantly, meditation can be done right in your office chair. Here’s a simple meditation:

1. Sit in your office chair and bring your attention inward to your breathing.
2. Trying to focus your attention on your heartbeat.
3. Take a deep inhale.
4. Exhale out.
5. Repeat the steps above and try to keep this calm mind with you for the rest of the day.
6. You can come back to this practice at any time throughout the day.

America is one of the greatest countries in the world because we take what works the best and disregard the rest. I think we should take a few minutes a day to pause, reflect and do some meditation in our office chair.

For more by Robert Piper, click here.

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Robert Piper: Why Every CEO in America Should Be Encouraging Meditation in the Work Place.

 

Robert Piper: Meditation: America’s New Pushup

The pushup has been a standard part of being American. If you grow up in America and go to school, one of the first things you’re taught in gym class is how to do a pushup. Millions of Americans do pushups before work, during their lunch break, and at the gym. Because of pushups, we’ve mastered getting ripped pectorals, deltoids, and triceps.

However, we’ve done horrible at managing stress.

Stress costs American businesses around $300 billion a year. Stress is one of the most common long-term absences in the workplace. NBC’s chief medical editor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, recently said: “Stress is a huge factor when we look at medical problems such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiac disease.”

Millions of people in America are paying for an overstressed lifestyle: More than 25 million American suffer from diabetes, and some 74 million have high blood pressure. Stress shrinks our brains, may cause depression, and people who are stressed have higher risk for a stroke.

Several of my friends are driven business-savvy men and women with Type A personalities; they like to tease me about how I do meditation. Until one day, on a Friday night one of them pulled me aside and said, “Hey, I have really bad stress problems. Can you tell me about meditation?” He wasn’t the first of my friends to do this; I’ve heard the same line from a few of them. I stopped over at one of my friend’s house, who lives in an expensive high rise in Chicago and works 100 hours week. When he opened the door, he was grinding his teeth, and looked like he hadn’t slept in a week. My first words were, “Stressed out?” He responded, “Yeah, terribly stressed.”

This seems to be the culture of America; everything is go, go, go! No wonder the majority of heart attacks in America is on Monday morning. Another guy I know had band aids on his thumbs, from typing so many emails on his BlackBerry keyboard. He types more than 100 emails a day on the thing — the skin on his thumbs were actually peeling off. He was so stressed; it was difficult just to have a conversation with him.

It seems like this fable of The Lion and Gazelle is installed into the psyche of American culture, “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle — when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

We don’t have to live like this; we can still be successful and relaxed at the same time if we incorporate meditation into our culture. There’s nothing wrong with a culture full of ambitious men and women; I just want to see more people relax.

I teach meditation to a lot of very wealthy Type A personalities, and one of the things I see with Type As is a lot of them have forgotten how to breathe. The first thing I teach them is to breathe naturally.

Simple mindful breaks throughout the day will do wonders to the culture as a whole. If we all looked at our breathing and checked in with ourselves throughout the day, we would feel a lot better.

Here’s a simple meditation that anyone can do.

1. Find a comfortable place to sit in a chair, close your eyes, bring your awareness to your breathing.

2. Take a deep inhale.

3. Exhale out.

4. Again inhale, bring your attention to all the feelings in your body in a non-judgmental way.

5. Exhale out, focusing on all the feelings in your body in a non-judgmental way.

6. Repeat those steps above. As you progress, work on bringing your breathing to its natural state.

7. Then, open your eyes and carry that feeling with you for the rest of your day.

America is a culture that loves to win. If Americans want to continue to win, they better figure out a way to incorporate meditation into their schedule. Because as the statistics show, stress is cleaning house. To continue winning we have to incorporate meditation into our culture. Meditation is the new pushup.

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via Robert Piper: Meditation: America’s New Pushup.

Mindfulness Meditation: How It Works In The Brain

Mindfulness may be so successful in helping with a range of conditions, from depression to pain, by working as a sort of “volume knob” for sensations, according to a new review of studies from Brown University researchers.

 

In their paper, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the researchers proposed that mindfulness meditation works by enabling a person to have better control over brain processing of pain and emotions.

 

Specifically, the researchers postulate that mindfulness meditation plays a role in the controlling of cortical alpha rhythms, which have been shown in brain imaging studies to play a role in what senses our bodies and minds pay attention to.

 

“We think we’re the first group to propose an underlying neurophysiological mechanism that directly links the actual practice of mindful awareness of breath and body sensations to the kinds of cognitive and emotional benefits that mindfulness confers,” study researcher Catherine Kerr, an assistant professor of family medicine and director of translational neuroscience for the Contemplative Studies Initiative at Brown University, said in a statement.

 

Previous research has shown that mindfulness meditation could have a positive effect on the brain by increasing the density of the grey matter in the brain’s amygdala, which is a brain region known for its role in stress. That study was conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers and published in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging in 2011.

 

And in another study, University of Oregon researchers found that mindfulness meditation — particularly a kind called integrative body-mind training — is linked with an increase in the brain’s signaling connections (called axonal density), as well as the protective tissue that surrounds the brain’s axons.

 

Also on HuffPost:

 

How Yoga And Meditation Help…


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Mindfulness meditation could help doctors provide better care to their patients, University of Rochester Medical Center researchers found.

When doctors underwent mindfulness meditation training, they listened better and were less judgmental at home and at work, according to the

Mindfulness Meditation: How It Works In The Brain.

Sura: Video: Start Your Meditation Practice With 60 Seconds

Learning how to center yourself and slow down the mind is an invaluable aspect of health. Meditation is an excellent tool for learning how to be present. There are many benefits to learning how to meditate: It helps to decrease tension, lower blood pressure and improve emotional balance. It is also known to change the brain, by improving parts of the brain associated to memory and learning and decreasing matter of the brain associated to stress and anxiety.

If you’re interested in meditation and how to get started, watch this three-minute video introduction. It also includes a six-minute guided video link.

Take a deep breath, relax your body and fully receive this moment, as if it is the first moment you’ve ever experienced.

Please enjoy.

Click here for a guided meditation video.

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For more on meditation, click here.

via Sura: Video: Start Your Meditation Practice With 60 Seconds.

Sadhguru: Meditation: The End of Suffering from Huff Post

Meditation is not something that you do; meditation is something that you become. Meditation is not an act; it is a certain quality that you grow into. Why is there a need to become meditative, first of all?

When you were born, you were so small. And now, you have grown your body. Obviously, the body is something that you gathered; it is an accumulation. Similarly, the mind is also an accumulation. The body is an accumulation of food; the mind is an accumulation of impressions. Whatever you accumulate can be yours, but it can never be you, because the very fact that you accumulate means you gather something from somewhere else. Let us say you gathered a 150-pound body; if you are determined, in a few days, you could make it 140 pounds. Where did these 10 pounds of body go? You would not go looking for them, because they are an accumulation.

Once you get identified with things that you have gathered from the outside, your perception has completely gone haywire; you cannot perceive life the way it is. The moment you experience the body as “myself,” and the moment you experience the impressions that you have in your mind as “myself,” you cannot perceive life the way it is. You can only perceive life the way it is necessary for your survival. For a human being, survival is very important, but it is not enough. For any other creature on this planet, when the stomach is full, life is settled. But for a human being, life does not end with the survival process. Actually, for a human being, life begins only after survival is fulfilled.

Meditation means giving you an experience, an inner state, where what is you and what is yours is separate. It brings an absolute clarity of perception; you see life just the way it is. Right now, your ability to go through this world is only to the extent that you clearly see it. For example, for thousands of years, people went on arguing about whether the planet is round or flat. Leave all the textbooks that you have read aside, take a walk and see — in your experience, is this planet round or flat? In your experience, it is still flat. This argument could have continued forever, but man started flying. We went up and looked down and it was very clear that the planet was round. We even went to the moon and looked down, and it was 100 percent clear. Only when we removed ourselves from this earth and looked down was there no more argument about it. Otherwise, we would still be arguing.

The same is true for your own body and mind; unless there is a little distance, you don’t see it the way it is, because you are in it. Meditation is a simple process that gives you a little distance from your own mind and your own body. You have probably heard of the word “Buddha.” Bu means “buddhi,” or the intellect. Dha means “dada,” or one who is above. One who is above his intellect is a Buddha. A Buddha has clear perception of the nature of his mind. One who is in the intellect is a nonstop suffering human being.

Look at this sincerely. Whatever you experience as moments of happiness and peacefulness are just those moments where you are able to leave anxiety, tension and stress behind. But if you turn back, they will be sitting right there, because once you are in your intellect, stress, anxiety and tension are very normal. But if you are above the intellect, it is the end of suffering. Being a Buddha means there is no question of suffering, because suffering has either come through your body or through your mind. Do you know any other kind of suffering other than physical and mental suffering? Once there is a distance from your physical body and your mental structure, that is the end of suffering.

Meditation is the first and the last freedom, because it gives you a gallery view of your own body and your own mind. There can be no suffering once this distance is established.

Article from Huffington Post: Sadhguru: Meditation: The End of Suffering.

Sadhguru will teach programs in London Feb. 9-10, 2013 and Atlanta April 19-21, 2013.

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HuffPost: The Best Friend You Will Ever Have: Meditation

Ed and Deb Shapiro: The Best Friend You Will Ever Have: Meditation.

Honestly speaking, we cannot imagine how our lives would be without meditation. As soon as we become still and quiet we enter a calm spaciousness within which our questions are answered while difference and dramas dissolve. Such stillness always comes as a great relief from the madness each day can contain.

Some years ago we were attending a silent meditation retreat. Each day we were asked if we were feeling happier than we were the day before. The inquiring monk had a contagious smile, knowing that we were each confronting numerous obstacles to our happiness, primarily the ones in our own heads.

Yet despite his humor, the monk’s question was sincere. If we were not beginning to feel happier from practicing meditation, then what was the point of doing it?

We were asked the same question each day. To begin with this emphasized how preoccupied we were with inner confusion, doubts, conflicts, and discomfort, even how difficulties could actually feel more familiar than joy. Yet, why be there if we were struggling so much that we weren’t enjoying it?

Our smiley monk was teaching us that it is vital to make friends with meditation, that it is not your adversary. Rather, meditation is a companion to have throughout life, like a best friend we turn to when things get hard to deal with and we are in need of inspiration, clarity, and even inner happiness.

Admittedly, meditation can sometimes appear insurmountable, but it is our own mind that contains the obstacles, not the practice of sitting quietly, as the chattering mind can create endless dramas. Practicing meditation means slowly and gently training the mind to do something it may not have done before: be quiet and still.

One way to overcome resistance and make meditation your friend is to start by just sitting for a few minutes at a time, instead of feeling you have to meditate and then feeling guilty if you miss the allotted time or only do 10 minutes when you had said you would do 30. It’s far more important to practice for just a few minutes and to enjoy what you are doing than to sit there, teeth gritted, because you have been told that only 30 minutes will have any affect.

If your purpose is to try to achieve a quiet mind then the trying itself will create tension and failure. Instead, you are just with whatever is happening in the moment, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. No judgment, no right or wrong. Watching whatever arises and letting it go is all that is required. It is more of an undoing than a doing.

During meditation we gently let go of distractions so we can genuinely be present. Like a child watching an ant walking down the sidewalk carrying a crumb, that is all that exists in their world at that moment. They are not thinking about what they had for breakfast, or what they will do with their best friend at their next play date. They are only watching the ant.

Meditation enables us to stop trying, to let go of the story, the dramas, our stressed mind, and to discover an inner easefulness. Some people describe this as a sense of coming home, as if they had been away or out of touch with themselves without even realizing it; others experience it as a huge relief as there is a release of anxiety and self-centeredness and they enter into a more peaceful state of being. And many feel as if they are simply hanging out with a good old friend, always there when needed.

Can you see meditation as your BFF (best friend forever)? Do comment below. You can receive notice of our blogs every Thursday by checking Become a Fan at the top.

If you would like to experience how meditation is your friend, join us for a four-week webinar starting July 9.

Jeff Cannon: Meditation and Your 40,000-Year-Old Brain

Jeff Cannon: Meditation and Your 40,000-Year-Old Brain.

The last time we observed an evolutionary shift in humans was roughly 40,000 years ago. That was the point when our ancestors started to do more than just fight for survival. They started to create art and search for a higher purpose. Items like musical instruments and cave painting started to appear. They began making jewelry and idols. For the first time they recognized the spiritual nature of the world and of themselves. It’s as if something spread throughout all of humanity and transformed Homo sapiens into what we now call modern humans.

It was a wonderful change in our evolutionary biology. But we haven’t really evolved since then. Yes, humans have grown taller and certain organs are no longer as necessary as they once may have been, but we still have the same wiring we had 40,000 years ago, and that is a problem. Because our old wiring simply doesn’t work that well in the 21st Century world we now live in.

Don’t get me wrong. Our old wiring worked great for survival. It kept us alive and brought us to the top of the food chain. It enabled us to create the world we now live in. But the world we created is vastly different from the world our brain was designed for……