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MEDITATION CAN COMPENSATE or substitute for the deep peace one gets in a natural setting (like being in the woods, in the mountains, or on a deserted beach). The sounds and appearance of natural settings are soothing and comfortable. It is the environment the human organism is evolved to deal with. Change it to buildings and cars and strangers and time pressure and polyester and lots of extra mental and emotional stimulation from music and television, and the organism — your body and mind — is out of its element. And it reacts by gearing up. Cortisol and adrenaline start flowing and keep flowing without a break.

In a natural setting, it would not be all peace and harmony, of course. There would be times of great danger, of fear and anger. But in between, the body would have the opportunity to settle down again and rejuvenate in a natural setting.

That's what meditation provides for the city dweller. It is a way to compensate for the unnatural setting we live in. And it works.

If you don't get enough peace, you suffer. Stress has a thousand ways of showing up. And each one of those ways can be seen as a symptom of a "calmness deficiency." Like a vitamin C deficiency, the body can cope for awhile, but then the deficiency starts to show its negative impact.

If you can't take plenty of walks in the woods, or if you don't live near a quiet desert, or if you don't live out in the wilderness, you will need to compensate for your unnatural situation. Meditation is what you need. Meditate and you fulfill your requirement for calm. And what do you know? All kinds of healthy side-effects (reductions of the symptoms of stress) show that those symptoms were from a lack of moments of calmness and peace.

You don't have to be peaceful all the time to satisfy your need for calm. You just need enough of it. Daily meditation can provide that for you.

You also need a certain amount of motion variety, and again, almost all of us live in circumstances that don't provide enough variety in our physical movements, and another Eastern practice answers that need too: Hatha Yoga.

Without enough motion variety, your body will begin to suffer from more and more chronic pain. This can be eliminated by adding enough different movement. Yoga, although it is not the only one, is one way to get that variety, and a little extra suppleness and flexibility are an added bonus. It is also soothing in itself and can help give you some calmness too.

Author: Adam Khan
author of the books, Self-Help Stuff That Works and Antivirus For Your Mind
and creator of the blog:
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