July 13, 2017

3 tiers of meditation benefits, 3 reasons to go on a retreat, 3+ herbs that facilitate your meditation practice

benefits of meditation, fresh from a meditation retreat and back to our acupuncture clinic in Washington DC
Hi all! Nadia and I just returned from our silent meditation retreat – see pics on facebook.
… and now, here’s your 3 bullet Thursday:

The 3 best reasons to go on a meditation retreat

1) Unplug from electronics for 5 days. 2) Don’t talk to anyone for 5 days. 3) Meditate like a boss.

Favorite herbs for meditation

We’ve all got our “meditation aids.” Nadia’s really been into this frankincense incense lately, and I’ve got to say that it is divine. We’ve even started burning it at the clinic to give a lift to the treatment spaces occasionally. Herbs for meditation – – at the retreat, I really liked taking HPA Axis Daytime Maintenance from Gaia Herbs. Rhodiola is great for concentration and focused energy, Holy Basil is good for “uplifting the mind” spiritually, while Ashwaganda is great for rejuvenating the body and mind after a more intense energy expenditure. You can find this formula at the clinic store. These herbs are also in Energy Tonic and Simmer Down Tonic from Urban Moonshine, the duo of formulas that address adrenal balance, which we also carry in the store.

Why meditate?

Culadasa, the meditation master with whom we spent the retreat in Colorado, cites 3 tiers of benefits to meditation in his book, The Mind Illuminated:

Tier 1 Benefits of Meditation

 “Meditation is a science, the systematic process of training the mind. It is the science of meditation that allows people from all walks of life to experience the same amazing benefits. A regular sitting practice has been shown to enhance concentration, lower blood pressure, and improve sleep. It is used to treat chronic pain, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Meditators develop valuable insights into their personality, behaviors, and relationships, making it easier to recognize and change past conditioning and counterproductive views which make life difficult. They have a greater awareness and sensitivity to others, which is enormously helpful at work and in personal relationships. The calming and relaxing effects of meditation also translate into increased emotional stability when confronting the inevitable stresses of life.”

Tier 2 Benefits of Meditation

“Fully developed meditation skills also give rise to unique and wonderful mental states characterized by physical comfort and pleasure, joy and happiness, deep satisfaction, and profound inner peace–states that can open the mind to an intuitive appreciation of our interconnectedness and dispel the illusion of separateness created by our egos. Furthermore, these fruits of meditation can be enjoyed all day long, for many days at a time, and we can renew them whenever we like just by sitting down and practicing… But even so, these peak experiences aren’t the ultimate benefit of meditation. While bliss, joy, tranquility, and equanimity are delightful, they are also transitory and easily disrupted by sickness, aging and difficult life circumstances. They also offer no protection from the corrupting influences of lust, greed, and aversion, nor their consequences. Therefore, these goals are not an end in themselves, but only a means to a higher goal.”

Tier 3 Benefits of Meditation

“That higher goal is Awakening. Other commonly used terms include Enlightenment, Liberation, or Self-Realization. Each of these refers to a complete and lasting freedom from suffering. Awakening isn’t some transient experience of unity and temporary dissolution of ego. It’s the attainment of genuine wisdom an enlightened understanding that comes from profound realization and awakening to ultimate truth. This is a cognitive event that dispels ignorance through direct experience. Direct knowledge of the true nature of reality and the permanent liberation from suffering describes the only genuinely satisfactory goal of the spiritual path. A mind with this type of Insight experiences life, and death, as a great adventure, with the clear purpose of manifesting love and compassion toward all beings.”
Coming soon: news on our forthcoming weekly meditation class and study group, based on Culadasa’s The Mind Illuminated.

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