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
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