Monthly Archiv: April, 2016
As someone that is pretty centered, I found myself in quite the stressful dilemma, just like many people do in the situation that I was in. I was asked by a friend to help move not only him, but his sister, from two different locations in the same day. The day started at the crack of dawn and did not end until the sun was setting. I was actually surprised to find that I was more stressed than I had ever been in my life.
This would not do. Luckily, I have a friend, a worker for a local moving company (http://www.moveokc.com/) and asked him how he dealt with the rigors of moving not only on occasion, but every single day! What he had to offer was incredibly useful and allowed me to extend this form of stress relief to the rest of my life.
The secret to highly stressful situations
I’ve always been a fan of yoga and meditation. They serve as a way to remove you from the physical world and simply exist in sort of a peaceful void. The way in which this is done is by eliminating (as best you can) sensory input from the outside world and focus on something else. Of course, I do this in my home, which is usually free of outside distractions for the most part.
He told me that he was able to meditate while working, removing his physical self from the world, but still maintain the ability to pay attention and do his job. I was blown away by this! How can someone live in the real world while taking themselves out of it. What he did was teach me a meditation technique that focused on the world, but not as an environment of stress, but one of inner peace.
Meditation can come in a variety of ways, whether it be yoga, traditional meditation, or even by taking your mind off of the things that stress you out. Even when moving an entire household, it is possible to stay within the physical realm, while also viewing it through a slightly different lens.
Ever since the beginning of time, man has wrestled with identity, and more specifically, the struggle and divide between the mind and the body. Some may argue that the two are separate, that each side of the person is responsible for different feelings, functions, and desires. But the more that scientists look at the mind and body, the more they realize how closely related the two are. The mind-body problem if you will.
Another way to look at it is the divide between the heart and the brain. People often reference following their heart, as a way to define acting upon desires that are not necessarily logical. So what you get is people thinking that following either the heart or the brain precludes the other.
In reality, identity does involve the two parts of humanity, but they are very closely connected, and one does not preclude the other. Even when following your heart, there is some logical benefit for doing so. For example, loving somebody that you know is not right for you. Some might say that you are following your heart to your own detriment, but in reality, the mind plays a role too.
Somewhere, deep in the mind of the person having this thought, there is a logical reason for it. Perhaps they think by sticking with this person, they can find love, something that the mind would greatly appreciate. So by examining our humanity, we have come to learn that there is really no divide between the mind and the body, that they are all part of who we are.
For some it is a struggle, for others it is a way of living. How do we separate ourselves from humanity? Where do we draw the divide? If we give up our individuality for the sake of being part of a bigger thing, why are we ourselves? These are questions that all come with being a human, and what we need to learn is that everybody asks themselves these same questions. Some might call it the human condition.
What I have learned through my years of yoga and meditation is that we are not our physical vessel, but rather our mind. It is estimated that our body regenerates every seven or so years. This means that you are made up of different cells and you are essentially biologically speaking, not the same person.
Strange to think
That we are never the same person, literally, from time to time. There is an old adage about a boat. Someone gets a boat from their father and over the years replaces the deck, hull, motor, eventually everything that made the boat what it was. But people still think of it as the same boat. Why is that?
Well the reason is that while all of the parts have been replaced, we still identify it as the same physical vessel which was put on this earth. In essence, our bodies are nothing more than earthly vessels which we “borrow” during our life. What we can do to better humanity lies in our mind, our ability to share our ideas and understand that we might not always be us, but we can always be part of humanity.
In today’s day and age, it is almost impossible to find a good physical therapist. As someone with chronic pain, I understand that there is only so much that exercise and meditation can do. Some pain requires the work of a professional, doctors that can deal with deep-seeded pain in a professional and effective manner. In some ways, finding a good physical therapist is much like finding a good mechanic. Price is important, but what is more important is the work that gets done.
As someone that is active, pain is not an option. Having suffered a climbing-related injury as a teenager, I spent a great deal of time trying to find lower back pain therapy as an adult. Because I have been dealing with acute pain for most of my life, I became very focused on finding a cheap, effective way to deal with a wide variety of ailments.
What to look for
When searching for a physical therapist, it is important to find one that specializes not only on your pain areas, but has treatments that treat your pain effectively. Let’s be honest, pain is different for everyone, making it different to find a one-stop-shop for physical therapy. Take for example, seeking shoulder pain specialists.
Given the above example, it is important to find a specialist that not only understands shoulder pain, but also knows how to manage different types of shoulder pain. It is important to find someone that has had a lot of experience in managing pain and working toward a solution to the problem rather than simply masking pain. A good physical therapist can work wonders on painful areas, promoting healing in addition to dealing with pain.
There is no catch-all when it comes to finding the right physical therapist, but there are things to look for. Perhaps the most important thing to look for is specialists that focus on one area, or a collective of therapists, each specializing in specific areas of pain management. No pain is the same, and no person is the same, making it essential to search deep for the right physical therapist to fit your needs.
When people think about prayer, they likely do in such a manner that involves sitting with one”s hand folded, looking up, and speaking to God. At least this is the case where I grew up in the United States, in a mostly Catholic area of the country. But as I began to travel the world and open my eyes to other religions, I realized that prayer is not only much more complicated than I could ever imagine, but is an important part of every religion.
Take for instance Muslim prayer. Muslims pray multiple times a day in mandatory fashion, and it involves laying out linens and kneeling. As a Christian, I prayed while at church or when I found it necessary, but Muslim prayer is done every day multiple times. Conversely, Buddhists don’t really pray, but rather meditate and self reflect.
Prayer acts as a way to communicate with higher powers through reflection. By humbling ourselves and appealing to whichever God we believe in, we open our lives to their will and doing. It is this aspect of prayer that makes us feel closer to God and that our lives are not simply in our own hands.
Virtually every organized religion has some form of prayer, and even the word itself can mean different things. In order to fully understand prayer, we must understand why we do it and what we hope to gain from it. By understating that all religions are different, we start to get an idea of how prayer is the same, yet different for everyone.
For many people, the difference between religion and spirituality is quite small, but for others, there is quite a large distinction between the two. In general, religion refers to a specific set of doctrines, often accompanied by a religious text, while spirituality simply refers to a connection with the world that cannot be seen. Whether that means believing in ghosts or not, those that are spiritual believe in a force greater than that of humanity.
In many ways, being religious means being spiritual, but being spiritual does not necessarily make one religious Believing in one or many gods means believing in something greater than ourselves, but many spiritual individuals simply believe in this force and not an all powerful being.
There is no wrong answer
Being human means trying to explain the world around us, and many do so through religion or spirituality. No matter what a person chooses to believe, it is all a vehicle with which to quantify our existence on this big, floating rock. In addition to religion and spirituality leading to more fulfilling lives, studies have shown the physical benefits to self reflection and meditation.
What is beautiful about religion and spirituality is the ability to think beyond oneself and invite the possibility that there are forces beyond our understanding. Whether you are religious or spiritual, remember that both of these aspects of living should persuade one to be a better person. There may or may not be a governing force in the sky, but what is important is treating others with compassion and understanding.