Meditation helped me drastically change my life in many ways. At the age of 21 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, that had a major impact on my life. I spiraled into some seriously dark phases of depression due to feeling the loss of control over my life, and total lack of hope. Going from being a healthy, fit athlete, captain of my football team, playing basketball and netball all the way through to university. I studied sports science and had optimal levels of fitness that was tested throughout. And to go from that to struggling with pain and fatigue, debilitated in bed for weeks sometimes, with no offer of hope from medical professionals. I struggled to see how I could ever enjoy life again.
It was through a hospital pain management program that I learnt about mindfulness, and I never forget the first time I felt the pain I had shift whilst doing this meditation. And over time, noticing moments of being pain free which was like a miracle. And so that sparked my interest in the power of the mind. I had hypnotherapy for the pain, and that helped too. And so, along with a regular Hatha yoga practise, I was able to overcome the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. But a few years later, I experienced another flare up along with a third back in 2012. It was then I decided to search for some answers. Knowing what I had touched upon with the meditation and yoga I wanted to study it more and find a way to heal myself. Against all advise, I was actually warned that if i continued to be so active, I could end up in a wheelchair. I chose to ignore this and went on a mission to find a way to feel better again.
The biggest turning point in my life was discovering the benefits of meditation, and then the most profound, life changing experience was discovering in 2012, the use of Cacao to facilitate even deeper levels of meditation. To then explore the inner workings of the mind and body, to consciously communicate with the sub-conscious in ways that allow for instant breakthroughs and shifts in perception and levels of consciousness to allow healing to occur that was just mindblowing! That, I will share in my next blog, but for now I want to highlight the sheer power of meditation when practised on a daily basis. For not only improved health and wellbeing, but for pure life enhancement in all ways. Included exciting research being conducted right now to prove its effect on slowing down the aging process!
Meditation is so powerful in creating and achieving calmness and balance within the mind and then the body. There are huge amounts of research happening proving the mind body connection now. This meaning the direct effect that the mind has over the body. We think a thought, it creates a hormonal and then emotional response along with a direct physical reaction too. A stressful thought triggers an automatic nervous system response for defense. Stress is an indicator of attack to our body's nervous system. Many of us operate in a constant state of some level of stress, in varying degrees throughout the day. Which over time has a negative and somewhat toxic effect on the body. Which is what is leading to such high levels of stress-related illnesses and increasing mental health issues. All of which, I believe can be not just only improved upon, but totally overcome and eradicated by various forms of meditation.
This is activating the 'fight or flight' response - the nervous system's acute stress response - which is responsible for reacting to threats of danger and thus keeping us safe. But most of the time, we allow this to activate unnecessarily. And this not only accumulates over time, it forms the root of physical issues or dis-ease in the body, but also lures us into wanting to keep safe as we allow ourselves to be bombarded with stressful stimuli. So we sink back into the desire to just be 'free from stress' and live from our comfort zone. Not wanting to take 'risks' or challenge ourselves with things that make us feel uncomfortable.
An anxious, over-active mind, if left undetected can have a hugely negative impact physically as well as mentally. And will leave us operating with a restrictive outlook on life, which is not our natural way of functioning. And so we will over time feel that lack within, and a state of depression can form with overwhelm, anxiety and the lack of fulfillment and happiness.
Meditation is the practise of creating stillness of the mind. And overtime allows us to harness control over our mind in powerful ways.
1- Meditation reduces stress
This is now widely known, and accepted.
Meditation allows people to take charge of their own nervous system and emotions. Studies have shown improved ability to [permanently] regulate emotions in the brain.
2- Meditation improves concentration
Through our meditation retreat program - you will leave feeling more centred and focused in everything that you do.
Meditation has been linked to a number of things that lead to increased ability to focus, memory … Studies have shown this at the level of the brain." Greater concentration is related to the increased energy meditation provides. "It connects you with your real source of energy.
3- It increases self awareness
Particularly in our Cacao ceremony meditations. You will gain deeper levels of self awareness and realisation. Learning why certain behaviours, habits, emotions, beliefs or thoughts keep coming up for you is key to recognising them, understanding them and letting them go.
"When you take more time to dive inside yourself, you are more comfortable showing who you are."
This is the state of being and heightened level of consciousness that the Buddhists refer to as the sixth sense. When you let go of what your other five senses are telling you, because they are restricted by interpretation and can be misleading. Experienced through our filter of how we see the world, based on our (potentially limited) beliefs we live by, others opinions around us and our specific upbringing. By connecting through meditation to our sixth sense, we connect to our deeper sense of self, and inner being that is limitless in nature.
4- Meditation increases happiness
Studies have shown that through meditation, brain signaling increases in the left side of the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for positive emotions, while activity decreases in the right side, responsible for negative emotions.
Again, through harnessing the control of our mind, we are then in control of our emotional and mental state of being. We can slow our reactive state down to choose how we want to feel, want to react, how we want to think about certain things. We then move to a state of being where we can access the thoughts we know will make us feel good and serve us in the best way. Which then positively enhances our state of being - physically, mentally and emotionally.
5- It increases acceptance
Through meditation, you move out of the mind (with all its attempts to problem solve, find fault, limitations and filters of perception based on upbringing, belief systems and restricted experiences) and it brings you into your body and the present moment. Where the past is no more and the future doesn't exist - so all there is is the now. And this removes anxieties, as they are linked to past events or fears or pre-empting for the future.
You are just left floating in the now, and enjoying not being your thoughts, not being your fears, and even not being your body. But just feeling the space between all of that - which is free of everything. Free of thoughts, free of emotions, free of fears, free of pain. To really be free.
Freedom to just be still in the moment.
Which when you reach that level of meditative ability - is pure bliss! And that changes how you feel life.
6- It slows ageing
Studies show that meditation changes brain physiology to slow aging. And research conducted at Harvard university is showing that meditators also have longer telomeres, the caps on chromosomes indicative of biological age (rather than chronological). Which is leading to believe it therefore has an effect on our bodies aging process as well as it reducing stress and its effects on the body.
7- It promotes health. Especially effecting cardiovascular and immune health.
Meditation induces relaxation, which increases the compound nitric oxide that causes blood vessels to open up and subsequently, blood pressure to drop. Studies have shown hypertensive patients blood pressures improving and normalising after meditating over time. Along with studies showing improved immunity.
Meditation changed my life and I now live a life of infinite possibilities! I wake each day not only pain free, but full of motivation to take inspired action to continually improve my life to live an extraordinary life way beyond I was diagnosed could be possible!
If I can do it, so can you!
I now guide and teach meditation through my coaching programs, Cacao visioning workshops and Transformational Cacao retreats all around the world.
If you'd like to know more about how to work with Cacao meditation or for more information on joining one of our workshops or retreats email me at; firstname.lastname@example.org
For info on Cacao meditation - https://www.lisafearoncoaching.com/chocolate-coach
For more about our retreats - https://www.lisafearoncoaching.com/future-retreats