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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey

Be Here Now

Recently on 60 Minutes, there was a segment about mindfulness. Although the practice has been around centuries, the short presentation was so well done that it made me feel like it had just been discovered. It wasn’t too deep yet it provided a very clear picture of how the simple act of slowing down, letting go, and just being present delivers countless benefits. Nowadays, being present, in the now and staying in the moment is not a simple task. Cell phones ring everywhere. Everyone seems to be talking to someone, and it doesn’t matter where we are it looks like we have to be somewhere else to be. We’re in such a rush that everything we are trying to accomplish has to be done at light speed. We’re on the phone while driving, texting at each stop—we can’t even take time to go to the bathroom without our phones. There’s always someone annoying somebody with their loud chatter while dining out. As busy and busier become the new norm, it’s more important than ever to take the time to slow down. Meditation and mindfulness have unbelievable benefits. It reduces blood pressure, helps with anxiety, takes away stress, and delivers clarity, calm and peacefulness. Wow! How powerful, and much needed in today’s society.

About 12 years ago, I took a Mind Body Spirit course outlined by Harvard University and presented by Morristown Memorial Hospital. The majority of the syllabus was dedicated to the benefits of meditation. One of the remarks I’ve always remembered (although I might be off a percent or two) was that 76% of all doctors’ visits might be avoided if meditation was a standard practice for all. The power of our thoughts, the discipline of the mind to run the body was the catalyst for improved overall health. So what exactly does “being in the now” mean? This sample from a book of Zen writings is a good example. “When you walk, you walk; when you eat, you eat; and when you listen, you simply listen.” Staying in the now slows down our brain, and as it turns out, that is a good thing. As a matter of fact everything about sitting still, quiet and calming our thought is of great benefit.

So why has my practice of taking time out for meditation slipped over the last 10 years? I know it works, I have experienced it. Not to the degree of a Buddhist monk on a ten year quest of quiet and isolation, but as an everyday practice of meditation, mindfulness works, not only for me but for the people around me. When I de-stress my patience is better and not as much bothers me. I am reminded to pay attention, and my peaceful sense of order prevails.

Last year my resolution was to see the good in everything, everybody and every situation. This year I will dedicate myself the practice of mindfulness. All it takes is dedication, discipline and a desire to achieve. I hope you will join me.

In gratitude, peace, love and laughter,

Joe Dunne, Publisher

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