“Some people think that in order to meditate, you have to go into an ashram or a lotus position. They think there is something mysterious about it, and it is simply relaxation, accessing higher intelligence, clearing your mind, and letting your mind be still.”
So said Chris Jensen, Newtown, who is currently a business coach for CEOs. Jensen taught the Silva method of meditation to 20,000 people in the 1970s. According to Jensen, the practice is used by individuals and businesses who want to see a higher degree of focus and intuition in the decision making of their employees.
“All kinds of people meditate,” said Jeanne Dziewulski, whose yoga classes are offered in Oxford. “Clear your mind of chitter chatter. It helps you create more equanimity in your life.”
Dziewulski explained that the word equanimity is often used by meditators and is defined by Websters as mental calmness, composure and evenness of temper. “Equanimity doesn't allow the grand illusion to draw me in. Life is about hardship. The best way to make life easier is learning how to cope,” she said.
“People are so stressed out,” Jacqueline Flynn, chiropractor, Naugatuck, said. “A lot of our physical problems are due to stress. We need the element of taking the time to listen to our body and our mind, especially guys. Exercise can even be a stress. If you are in pain and busting through pain, you are not listening to your body. When you don't compliment exercise with stretching and relaxation, it's mental, physical, chemical stress.”
Flynn said that she cannot go more than a week without doing yoga, but there are many different ways to meditate. Linda Dohanos, Monroe, teaches Tai Chi in the converted barn and artist studio in her back yard. Surrounded by angelic images and landscapes done by her father in the 1970s, the well lit and bright space is the perfect spot for this kind of concentration, Dohanos explained.
“Tai Chi is a moving meditation. It takes so much concentration to create the movements. You have to be present, you can't be thinking about going to the Big Y,” she said.
Describing the feeling one gets from doing the movements, Dohanos said, “It feels like a spring, all charged up. Like after a thunderstorm when the air is cleared and charged, that's how it feels to do Tai Chi.”
The health benefits of meditation are widely believed to lower blood pressure and an article in Science Daily, Meditation Can Lower Blood Pressure, explores a study by University of Kentucky College of Medicine's Dr. James Anderson. The article said that meditating is the equivalent to adding treatment but without any of the possible side effects.
Additionally, a New York Times article, How Meditation May Change the Brain By Sindya N. Bhanoo noted a study that proved that those who meditate heavily are more intuitive and are visually more sensitive, sometimes seeing things missed by those who do not.
Ravinda Mehta, Brookfield, whose daughter Nalishha attended Brookfield High School now works in Washington DC with the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization, said that people need to encourage younger children to meditate because they have more pressure on them than grown ups do. “We had less pressure as children. There were no cell phones or TV. There were more positivities in their lives and now, with being online with the internet, it has created a lot of negativities. At 65, I have seen a lot of things, but children don't know how to tell what is positive and what is negative.”
The Mehtas host many spiritual events at their home and offer free meditation classes. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
High school teacher Wisdom Jarvis agrees. “Meditation is essentially training your mind and cultivating those qualities that are beneficial for yourself and for others and getting rid of the qualities that are not beneficial for yourself and others.”
Teaching from a Danbury Yoga studio called No Place Like Om, Jarvis said, “Meditation reconditions the mind. Long term research system shows that it controls the flight or flight response that people have to stress. It quiets that response in the brain so it doesn't respond as much.”
“We are really talking about the mind,” said business coach Jensen. “We really need to know the mind is the servant and the heart is the master, and here in the West we reverse that. Follow your intuition. What does your heart say? That is why we have to still the mind. It questions, 'Who do you think you are? Why are you doing that?' If you can be still for 10-15 minutes a day, you will have better focus, relaxation, and intuition. If I don't do it every day, I feel that.”
Teacher Jarvis elaborated, “Lets say I am running late. Whether you are late or not, worrying about being late will make you miserable. You can condition your brain to being aware of what is happening in the moment and not worrying about is going to happen and what has happened. Being aware of what's going on, not being pushed around by your thoughts and feelings.”
For all of the health benefits that meditation is said to provide, there still are many people who are interested in the spiritual aspect.
Jean Ramnauth, Global Harmony House, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization of Great Neck, NY and other locations including Brookfield, CT, explained, “Meditation is connecting to the inner self, which is the spiritual being of who I am, my own truth, the awakening of the inner being.”
“Meditation is a universal practice,” she continued. “Everyone has a mind and when we are constantly bombarded, it brings a sense of calm and peace. It is the art of remaining stable, positive in the face of negativity. Through meditation we are able to rise above the state of low energy; to rise above being tired, worry and fear,” Ramnauth explained.
“Message for the world: Relax and breathe. People give too much importance to things that are not important. Take care of yourself and take care of your family,” Dziewulski advised.