Accessibility View Close toolbar

Meditation and Me

For many of us, the practice of meditation seems like a totally foreign notion. In an era of full-time, morning-to-night distractions and distractibility, the concept of quietly sitting with nothing else to do seems impossibly ridiculous. Why would anyone do that, we ask, as we text message with one hand and channel surf with the other.

Of course, this lack of ability to pay attention and focus for more than 15 seconds at a time is at the core of many of our health issues. Learning how to meditate directly addresses this problem, providing training in developing concentration skills. But meditation offers an abundance of additional benefits, many of great significance to our overall health and well-being.

Years of research have documented the profound benefits of meditation, including reductions in elevated blood pressure levels, stress reduction, pain management,1 and even rewiring of neurologic connections in the brain.2,3 Thus, there are many reasons to begin meditation practice. The key question is how to get started.

Learning how to meditate is actually straightforward. There are many types of meditation practice. Some utilize a mantra, a silently repeated short, meaningless phrase. Others involve specific breathing methods. Others focus on the breath itself without utilizing specific instructions on how to breathe.

This latter method is that employed in Zen meditation. You sit comfortably in a quiet space, ideally facing a blank wall, situated approximately two feet from the wall. (Your specific situation may vary. The important point is to be in a quiet space without distractions of people or technology.) You focus on your breath, seeing your breath go up your spine in the back and then down your spine in the front. After observing one cycle of breathing, you silently count "one." Continue to observe your breathing cycle, adding to your count with each completed cycle. "Two." "Three." When you've completed ten cycles, go back to the numerical beginning and count "one" on the next cycle.

But if your mind wanders (as it inevitably will) and begins to think about whatever, when you eventually notice that you've lost your focus, go back to the beginning and count "one" again.

The "practice" part of meditation relates to practicing paying attention, paying attention to the breath. Your mind wanders, eventually you notice this, and you return to the breath. That's all there is. There is no requirement that you need to stay focused. A person is not a "bad meditator" when they find they are continually thinking of other things. The power is in the practice itself. By actually sitting down to meditate, by actually setting aside that time to be "still", you will derive unexpected benefits. And the more you practice, the more your practice becomes a habit, the more you will gain.

What is a recommended length for meditation sessions? There are no rules. The key is to begin, and then to continue. Starting with a five-minute session, twice a day, is a very good beginning. If you wish, you could build up to two 30-minute sessions per day. Again, your meditation practice is not a contest. What works for you will work for you.

1Marchand WR: Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and zen meditation for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological distress. J Psychiatr Pract 18(4):233-252, 2012

2Hasenkamp W, Barsalou LW: Effects of meditation experience on functional connectivity of distributed brain networks. Front Hum Neurosci 6:38, 2012 [Epub 2012 Mar 1]

3Brewer JA, et al: Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108(50):20254-20259, 2011

Signup or Call Now to Schedule Your Free Consultation at Either Location

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Both Office Schedule Hours

Monday:

9:00 AM-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 AM-6:00PM

Wednesday:

9:00 AM-6:00 PM

Thursday:

9:00 AM-6:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 AM-6:00 pm

Saturday:

9:00 am-6:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Locations

Find us on the map

Here’s what some of my patients have to say :

  • "I began chiropractic care with Dr. Sue a year ago because of an auto accident. After a few chiropractic adjustments, education, and proper exercise, I have noticed a huge difference in my attitude and how I feel. I have adopted chiropractic care into my wellness program."
    Maya
  • "I met Dr. Sue at a point in time when my 61-year old body needed immediate healthcare if I were to keep up with my daily 3 mile walk, 3 days of half-hour aerobics, and 3 dance clubs (Western, Ballroom, and Line). Her expertise at finding my many problems with the neck, shoulders, arms, and legs – and then physically nurturing these areas to ease my discomfort is phenomenal! God bless Dr. Sue for all the good she does for patients like me."
    Anne
  • "I have been going to LeBlanc Chiropractic for five years. Throughout my life I have had trouble with pain in my hip from early years of youth football. Since my adjustments with Dr. Sue, I have had no pain in my hip. Also, my treatments have increased my benchpress and my ability to jog. I am pleased to say I have been well taken care of."
    Emile
  • "Dr. Sue has helped me so much over the past year. Her Wellness Program is great, allowing me routine adjustments which keep me feeling strong and healthy. She is a super person and I look forward to seeing her each visit."
    Polly
  • A Center for Health

    Mindfulness programs and practices frequently describe a process of locating your "center." One's center may be conceived as a focus of energy, both spiritual and physical, by which all activities may be grounded and from which all activities flow. Similarly, ballet teachers and gymnastics instructors ...

    Read More
  • Wildfire Inside of You

    Comparisons between the inner world and the outer world have been frequently drawn by philosophers, nature writers, and visual artists. For example, "seeing the universe in a grain of sand" is a well-known aphorism. The number of neurons in your brain has been compared to the number of stars in the Milky ...

    Read More
  • Hitting for the Cycle

    In baseball, hitting for the cycle means that a batter hits a single, a double, a triple, and a home run during the same game. Hitting for the cycle is a rare baseball event, occurring about as often as a no-hitter by a pitcher. Certainly, a great deal of skill is involved in accomplishing such a feat. ...

    Read More
  • Find Inspiration in Walden

    In this 200th anniversary year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, each of us can increase our health and well-being by applying his guidance to our regular exercise activities. Thoreau, one of the United States' greatest writers, naturalists, and philosophers, not only walked the length and breadth ...

    Read More
  • Yoda and Yoga

    In the film classic "The Empire Strikes Back," the iconic Jedi master Yoda inscrutably refers to "the Force" during training sessions with his disciple, Luke Skywalker. Yoda informs Luke that he "must feel the Force around you." Yoda himself is frequently seen assuming what may only be described as intergalactic ...

    Read More
  • Hip and Knee Security

    Everyone knows someone who has undergone hip or knee replacement. These surgeries are no longer exclusively performed on older persons and are now not uncommon procedures for many patients with persistent, significant hip or knee pain. Problems that lead people to be willing to undergo joint replacement ...

    Read More
  • Making the Grade

    The recent school year has long been over, but the echoes of learning, striving, and achieving persist. We may, if we choose, apply these remembrances of ourselves when we were in school to the circumstances of our health and well-being. We all want good health for ourselves and the members of our families, ...

    Read More
  • The Sounds of Summer

    The variegated songs of the mockingbird. The crack of the bat on the baseball diamond. The screaming of little children at play in the community pool. Wherever we turn, the sounds of summer surround us in a joyful uplifting cacophony. Summertime may mean barbecue and it may mean the beach, but it also ...

    Read More
  • Double Indemnity

    In the classic 1944 film noir, "Double Indemnity", insurance salesman Walter Neff (played by Fred MacMurray), gets into some pretty hot water involving his client (Barbara Stanwyck) and his co-worker (Edward G. Robinson). Neff tries to misuse the concept of double indemnity and he pays a heavy price. ...

    Read More
  • Health Statistics and You

    We are awash in numbers, thanks in large part to the proliferation of personal mobile devices and the wrong-headed use of so-called big data.1 But applying statistical tools to the same set of data can support competing theories and lead to contradictory results. Such conflicting outcomes, known as antinomies ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign Up to Receive More Articles