By Keith Edwin Renninson
I hadn’t been home from Viet Nam very long in 1972, when I met a charismatic man in his mid-forties, with salt and pepper hair and a broad smile. He introduced me to meditation…acquiring that creative, sleepy state of mind also known as the alpha state. Thus, began a life long quest to learn more about and practice meditation.
Over the years, I have practiced meditating in the park, on hiking trips in lush forests, in front of a warm fireplace during the winter, in my office at work, when home with the flu, or while sitting in Starbuck’s; you can meditate anywhere for any reason and be better for it.
During the 1990’s, I traveled to Nepal twice; on the last trip, I was able to spend some quality time with Buddhist monks at a monastery deep among the jagged peaks of the towering Himalayas. There, I learned how meditation was used in their daily rituals and prayers, and how I could use it to improve clarity my life.
For me clarity is a goal, a destination, a place of intelligence and knowledge. Self-examination, concentration, discipline and understanding are all related to clarity. When one has clarity, life becomes easier; your goals achieved more quickly, and you attract an electrified energy, which enables you to be more creative in all you do.
Meditation is an ancient, elegant tradition, which has been practiced worldwide by people who wish to be more in control of their thoughts, their health and their lives, and to connect with higher powers for enlightenment. But, simply put, meditation allows you to calm and quiet your mind from the daily chaos, often revealing clarity to troubling issues.
Of the many uses of meditation are: to rest and re-energize your body, calm a tense situation, pray, solve a problem, control habits, plan, visualizing achievement of goals, or to be deliciously quiet.
Back in 1972, I learned a technique, which invites the meditative state by softly touching of the thumb, forefinger and middle finger on both hands together, while your arms rest at your side or in your lap.
The process goes like this:
1. Be seated comfortably in a quiet place, close your eyes, allow your mind to become quiet,
2. Take a deep breath and visualize the number three, three times in your minds eye (I use the numbers you see in elevators as my minds eye picture);
3. Take another deep breath and visualize the number two, three times;
4. Take another deep breath and visualize the number one, three times. At the conclusion of the third deep breath you will have acquired the alpha or meditative state of mind.
After only a few meditative sessions using this technique, the brain will make the connection, so from then forward, you can simply touch the three fingers together of each hand, take a couple of deep breaths and you will slide into alpha quickly and easily. When you are ready to become alert and active again, simply wiggle your fingers and toes slightly, take a deep breath, open your eyes, smile and be happy.
Meditation is one of life’s free pleasures and only requires slow, concentrated breathing, a quiet place to sit and about twenty minutes. Obviously, like the monks of Nepal, you may choose to burn a stick of fragrant incense and meditate for hours, but for most of us, twenty minutes is about all it takes to make our day significantly better.
Most everyday, I meditate either in the morning before I begin my day or around 3 pm when I feel my energy ebb and need to re-charge. Sometimes I have an agenda that I want to explore, trying to open new thoughts to a problem and reveal a solution. Closing your eyes and quieting the mind allows it to function more clearly, more efficiently, often with astounding results.
With this technique, meditation can be combined with other activities such as yoga. Yoga is as ancient as meditation and the two work well together. Enter the meditative state through the process described above, open your eyes and begin your poses, focus your mind on your body, individual muscles or joints, and concentrate on your breathing, moving slowly with intent. You will find your yoga sessions will take on a whole new value when performed this way.
Another place I find this technique helpful is in traffic. When traffic is heavy, moving slowly and I find myself impatient, I will invite an “eyes-open” functional alpha state, calm down, relax and look for the good in my day, appreciate the sunshine, the air conditioning, or my solitude, and look forward to something nice later in the day.
You can also apply this usage to a tough day at work, close the door to your office and take a few minutes to quiet your mind and relax before tackling a tough assignment or customer call.
I encourage you to make meditation part of your day, the uses and rewards are many. You will find yourself happier, healthier and more in control…what more can we ask for?
Keith Edwin Renninson is co-owner, along with Jeffrey Forman, of Golden Years Videos, LLC a production company dedicated to offering exercise videos for those over 50 or of any age who are rehabilitating from an accident or illness.
Renninson is an avid exercise and yoga enthusiast. Now in his late 50’s; he still races bicycles and regularly skis the black diamond runs in Colorado where he lives. For many years, a bona fide gym rat, Renninson still loves to lift free weights and use exercise machines.
You can contact Renninson or read more about his company and the videos they have available at: http://www.goldenyearsvideos.com