Tag Archives: meditation

A Cinematic Pause

Nothing is more valuable for the sanctity of your sanity like a thorough reset. Although we have been conditioned to believe that only those who blindly and defiantly sprint toward the finish line should be lauded, more health and happiness is bundled with balance than whatever rewards are gained from ceaseless target practice. The psychological and physical punishment from maniacal ambition is a detrimental recipe for reduced days and a diminished quality of life.

It’s vital we find the opportunity and willingness to hit that pause button when society’s waves start to throw a little too much water into the boat—and drowning is a metaphor easily rescued by the right kind of flotation device.

Meditation can wear countless masks. Sometimes people have no idea they are involved in a meditative practice because it’s simply something they enjoy doing. But wherever you can find opportunities to live in the present moment and release the worries of yesterday or tomorrow, you are involved in a kind of meditation.

There are only two diversions that allow me near-total absorption: tennis and film.

I’ve discussed my passion for tennis, so there’s no need to revisit my obsession in further detail. But I’ve never described the transformative benefits of sitting in a theater or on a couch and letting myself become thoroughly engrossed in a movie.

Although this has probably always been a part of my life—I can remember paragraphs of dialogue from a film I saw 20 years ago, but I can’t remember a conversation I had with someone last week—only in the past few years have I appreciated this cinematic pause from my endlessly spinning wheels and cripplingly compulsive thoughts.

I give myself the permission to unplug from the anxiety and stress of my daily existence. I’m not exactly sure why these are the only two activities that tell the engineer running my obsessive brain to take a coffee break, but I am beyond grateful to have discovered them.

If a respite from the pandemonium that lives between these ears can be found on a silver screen, I’m happy to take my seat and escape the static.

Adolescence Interrupted

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The Benefits of Resetting

Pots boiling over. Tea kettles screaming to be heard. Every line racing to red. Pressure valves begging for release.

We have all felt the strain of inescapable compression. Bands tighten around temples as blood vessels constrict. Faces flush and jaws clench. Shoulders tense as teeth shave enamel.

These desperate attempts to hide our particular brand of bats in our carefully decorated belfries are rarely successful and often dangerous.

When the gasket is finally blown, picking up the pieces is more complicated than reaching for the nearest dustbin. Damages are felt more than seen, and the gritty residue left behind has an odd habit of clinging to the cavities.

So what’s the plan of attack? How can we combat the feeling of impending doom before we’re pulled underwater by a false sense of limited oxygen?

Like every unresponsive phone or frozen computer screen…just reset.

Even though we’re made of cells and blood instead of slots and bytes, the fix takes a similar form.

Stop. Close your eyes. Inhale. Exhale.

It’s incredible to feel the cure. So many of us are walking through the world, unaware that we’ve forgotten to breathe. We unconsciously shorten our intake when we’re worried, working, and stressed. Sometimes even intense focus can produce the same effect. It’s not our fault. It’s our formula.

So the next time your nerves are knocked into overdrive or you feel a seed of rage starting to sprout. Take a beat, and take a breath.

Adolescence Interrupted

The Power of Peaceful Thought

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Methods for quieting the chaos raging inside our heads are everywhere, but removing chemical deterrents to find some sense of tranquility through natural means is often seen as ineffective or less useful. It’s easy to slap the label of “hippie” on anything that feels unfamiliar because it happens to be rooted in something more than giant ad campaigns and pharmaceutical propaganda. But channeling the energy that’s pulsing through us is a path of least resistance that the overmedicated masses would be wise to try.

The noise and static are deafening, and the hyperactive state of modern society is no muzzle. To cut through that fog of interference, it takes discipline and focus. Steadying the breath and clearing the mind to lighten the heft of doubt, frustration, or anxiety from our shoulders is faster and far less toxic than diving into an artificial concoction of side effect-inducing sludge.

The untapped potential of the mind is a mystery we’ve been slow to unravel, but studies are showing how crucial thought can be on influencing biological assignments. From cancer treatments to regenerative tissue growth after injury, focused concentration can do wonders for the healing process. The brain is the motherboard controlling our mental and physical functions. We simply need to learn how to be better programmers.

There are certainly situations and circumstances when medication is a necessity. A meditative practice does have its limits, and a good friend of mine often comments that I believe “any malady can be cured with garlic, lemon, and sea salt.” But a move toward openness about the power of peaceful thought might slow the speed in which a doctor reaches for the prescription pad.

Adolescence Interrupted