Please join us for the Mind/Body Connection Series Talk:
Title: "Meditation, Calming the Brain for Optimal Health"
Date: Tuesday, October 22
Time: 6:30 – 7:45 pm
Place: National Integrated Health Associates (NIHA)
5225 Wisconsin Ave. NW, #402
Washington, D.C. 20015
Speaker: Kuno Bachbauer, LMFT
I invite you to come enjoy an evening of meditation!
Learn how meditation works as a powerful tool to balance the emotional brain and how you can develop the "Meditation Lifestyle."
I learned about meditation over 40 years ago. It has changed my life from the first day that I tried it. In fact, the principles of meditation have become my lifestyle. It has become my preferred way of life. A way of being fully present in the world - as often and as deeply as possible.
I must confess, this path is not easy or natural for me. I have never been an “ideal meditator.” Not even close! I can’t sit still. I fidget. I have a hard time with the routine. I often fall asleep, and when I am awake, my mind wanders all over the place.
So why bother with meditation? And why would I offer an evening of meditation?
The answer may be surprising, but, my experience is exactly what a lot of people experience when they begin to meditate! The struggle. The defeat. The failure at something that appears so simple.
I write this because I want you to understand that the “magic” and power of meditation lies in this struggle with one’s own resistance to be fully in the moment. Sticking with a practice of mediation teaches us resilience and persistence. And, once in a while, it may even offer wonderful moments of bliss, oneness and expansion!
Meditation is often an exact mirror of our human experience. It is a wrestling match between two opposing forces within us: one’s biological instincts and survival needs, and one’s faith in the safety, vulnerability and simplicity of the present moment.
Meditation is our very struggle to be fully present. No preferences for one's own experience. Pimples and all. Pain and pleasure. Boredom and ecstasy. Failure and victory. They call this "Choiceless Awareness." Being in the present. Here. Now. No future. No past.
Meditation is very often misunderstood. People think it is an exercise where you sit still in an uncomfortable pose and try not to think. Or, that you repeat some phrase in a foreign language over and over again. While this is true in some way, this describes only an outer format – it is NOT THE ESSENCE of meditation. It does not describe the essence of any of the many and varied forms, techniques and approaches that the word meditation represents.
In its essence, meditation is a journey towards one’s middle. One’s zero point.
Learning to Stay in the Middle – Your Center
The word “meditation” already gives its deeper meaning away. Meditation comes from the Latin root word, medi. It connotes something “in the middle.” The English words median, mediate, medium and even mediocre come from it.
Meditation is a process that brings you into “the middle of yourself.” It brings you into balance. Your center.
From the point of view of medicine and brain science, meditation balances your Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). That’s the nervous system that regulates our “inner”, non-conscious functions and our automatic bodily expressions. Looking at it from this point, meditation is a potent way of regulating our physiology, our internal organs and body functions. Muscles relax. Heart rate drops. Blood pressure normalizes. Internal organs come into balance. Therefore, it is a great tool to augment any healing process and ideally should be offered as part of a successful holistic medical approach to healing and prevention of illness.
Meditation is Both Active and Relaxed
Meditation comes right in the middle of the two essential aspects of a person: Action & Rest. These two aspects of the Autonomic Nervous system are having to do with the balance between our instinctive need for Self Defense & Decisive Action (Sympathetic survival instincts of flight & fight) and your need for Rest & Recovery (Parasympathetic nervous system instincts for nurturing, re-building, healing, relaxing/shutting down and sleep).
So, if meditation comes right in the middle of the two essential aspects of us, namely Action & Rest, then some of our cultural images of what it is are blown. Meditation is not a state of total rest. It is a state “in the middle between action and rest.”
It is a state that is both active and relaxed. A state of conscious awareness. Mindfulness. Consider the word “Mind-full-ness.” It means being aware, or mindful, or conscious. For me, all these words mean the same thing but with slightly different flavors.
Becoming a Witness to Your Thoughts
By slowing down and becoming present to the current moment, meditation is a way of becoming aware. Aware of one-self. And, interestingly, aware of one’s own awareness. That is how you learn to become a “witness”.
Meditation is a function of presence: you are not so busy with your outside problems that you can’t listen within, but you are also not so asleep that you can’t be aware and acutely present to this very moment in meditation.
Being a “witness,” an observer of the observer, an observer of your thoughts, is one of the greatest benefits of meditation! In that state of consciousness, you can be a true Master of Emotions. This is true because you will have learned to consciously and actively engage the pre-frontal lobe, the part of the brain that can override the urges and impulses of the emotional brain (the limbic system) and survival brain (the brain stem).
Meditation is so much more! Many books have been written and countless teachers have taught it. But ultimately, it can only be experienced by actually doing it.
So, Here is Your Invitation to Meditation!
A chance to start. Or, to go deeper. Or, just to be together in community, basking in the “field of consciousness” …. for a few precious moments in time.
Bring an open mind and the willingness to experience your own presence.
Kuno Bachbauer, LMFT, Dr. med. (Austria). As a body-centered psychotherapist, he has a life-long interest in personal growth, mind-body medicine, and understanding the neurobiology of emotion and spiritual transformation. He is a certified Core Energetics practitioner and teaches internationally. He practices at CoreConstellations Center in Rockville, Maryland, and offers mind-body counseling at NIHA as part of its Integrative Medicine approach to healing the whole person.