Meditation has been around for centuries. Currently it is more popular and mainstream than ever before. Why is that? And what does meditation have to do with going green?
To begin with modern day living is not without its stressors. We are bombarded hourly with technology and social media. While these phenomenons have enhanced our lives, they are also beginning to take their toll. Soon, I believe, we’ll be promoting un-plugged restaurants and coffee bars much in the same way we now advertise “free wi-fi.”
People are tired. Distressed. And over stimulated. Plus, a vast majority of the population lives much of their day in fight, flight, freeze response mode. Our bodies and minds desperately need rest. And not just the rest of sleep. But deep relaxation that only the state of meditation offers. Science now proves what the ancient yogis have long known to be true.
Meditation calms the nervous system and allows the brain waves to slow down. Moving from a state of heightened vigilance to mindful awareness of the breath and one’s surroundings. Ultimately, meditation helps to access the parts of the brain that are associated with feelings of joy and kindness.
It is common knowledge today that our brain is like plastic, malleable, and filled with over 200, million neurons. There are more connections in our brain than stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Next time you are out stargazing look up in wonder at the night sky. And acknowledge the intelligence and workings of your brain.
Research also shows that our brain’s neurons actually talk to each other. Neuropsychologist, Donald Hebb, first coined the phrase, neurons that fire together, wire together, in 1949. It was his way of explaining how the brain’s pathways are formed through repetition. Neurons speak to one another whether they speak a language of fear, anger, discontent, or the language of love. It’s also important to point out that personal choice is a component and imperative in developing an inner dialogue of love. Thanks to the tireless hours of researchers, we have also learned that we can re-shape, retrain and like our technical devices, reboot our brains.
Duke University is presenting scientific results on the positive effects of meditation with people suffering from psychological and neurological issues. PTSD to depression.
These are exciting times. As a result of proven clinical studies on the benefits of meditation, a new field of science has emerged called, Social Neuro Science. Its purpose it to look at how we can create social transformation through the practice of meditation. Meditation affects the part of our brain, the limbic system, that governs our emotions such as fear, love, empathy, compassion and how we relate to one another. The amygdala receives feedback from other parts of the brain’s functions, like attention and memory.
The Dali Lama himself has been interested in science for many years. He is involved with an inter-disciplinary group of scientists to support research on the brain. It is important to note that the Dali Lama supports the on-going study to either help prove or disprove the benefits of meditation. He welcomes the data because he is a seeker of truth and evidence. This particular group’s research is also proving that we can change our brain through contemplative practices like meditation. The amazingly good news is that our adult brain is capable of change.
So, why meditate? Very simply, because the practice of meditation trains the mind to focus and gradually calms agitation. Meditation creates spaciousness and cultivates deeper levels of non-judgmental states of awareness. The cherry on the sundae for the meditator, they feel happier and more content.
Interestingly, science is also proving that achieving happiness, like any other pursuit, requires training. From Buddhist monks, to neuro scientists, the common thread is the scientific proof, that anyone can train their mind to generate greater states of well-being.
Now back to the question of, how does meditation help you to go green? Because meditation is a practice of presence. Sitting and observing your thoughts actually cultivates deeper states of mindful awareness.
When we are mindful we begin to make choices that reach beyond the personal to the greater good. Mindfulness and presence deepens our understanding of coexistence, collaboration and collective consciousness.
Through a dedicated practice of meditation, the individual begins to observe the impact, negatively or positively, she or he has on the environment. And from that place of self-awareness one can begin to make more skillful choices.
Going green isn’t only separating out our glass and plastic from our thrash. Learning to go green is also paying attention to how we interact with our environment and with one another. Eco-sustainable living is truly about finding happiness within, appreciating the world around us and syncing up our higher ideals with our everyday footprint.
Meditation is the inner laboratory for green living. First, we seek a deeper relationship with the self. Then we move outside of ourselves to our relationship with our families, communities, our global brothers and sisters and the planet itself.
Meditation is the ultimate in green living.
Note: Please be aware that there are many stages of meditation, and even more techniques. Find one that suits your nature. It might be creative visualization, breath awareness, chanting, walking, and so on.
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Paulette Bodeman, B.S. Transpersonal Psychology is a Certified Integrative Coach, Anusara® Yoga Educator, founder of the Breakaway Academy and an Amazon best-selling author.
Certified Integrative Empowerment Coach
Amazon best-selling author of, The Breakaway Girl: Secrets of a Tantric Yogi