CONCENTRATION ON SPACE

It’s no secret that our modern way of navigating through everyday life is often indeed very tricky, exhausting, if not straight unnatural as compared to how our body and mind were gradually designed by eons of evolution. Therefore one need not wonder why our overall health reacts the way it does, flooding our mind with worry and tenseness.

    METHOD

Although it may be used almost whenever you need/want, every process has its stages and not surprisingly, the initial ones bear the utmost importance.
Thus, at first, sit down somewhere comfortable, with straight back, align your ears and shoulders, nose and navel, and a little bit pull your chin towards the neck, so your head doesn’t tilt forward too much. Take a few deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Now, slowly turn just your head to the left and right and take a look at your surroundings. When done, look forward again and leave your eyes looking straight, though not actually observing one specific point. Instead, without moving your eyes, try to observe and concentrate on your whole peripheral vision - all the space around you. It is very hard at first, because we are so used to looking at everything in a detailed and discriminating way (this is this; that is not), yet you will be surprised how easily your body and mind will get used to it once you endure the difficult beginning. Main point: DO NOT push it. The key lies in doing it with discipline, but gently, later even effortlessly, which applies to every “meditation” technique ever. The technique usually starts working after 30s to one minute of uninterrupted focus as described above, (perhaps to your surprise) by very effectively easing your muscle tension, relaxing your mind, relieve you of stress. Moreover, the more often you practice this “spacial awareness”, the greater both short and long time effect it will have. To support the effect even further, you might try reducing your intake of sweets - you will be surprised how much it will help.

    ELABORATION

It might even feel like magic, but it’s plain old physics. The effective mechanism can be explained in two ways. Simple and complex - both explanations being equally true.

The main cause of our stress-induced muscle tension and exhaustion is the constant and loud stream of thoughts in our ever distracted mind, which we are so used to, we very often don’t even realize it’s there. By practicing this type of awareness, we effectively silence those thoughts and worries and force our mind to be aware in the present, whereas depressions are caused by it being in the past and anxiety with being in the future. Henceforth, relaxation is imminent.

We have a so called “Autonomic nervous system” which consists of two main parts - Sympathetic and Parasympathetic. Long story short, Sympathetic governs the so called “fight or flight” bodily response to danger, either to run away, or go fight it. Therefore, it basically pumps us up with adrenaline, increase our blood pressure and heart rate, hence prepare us for one of these activities. Which is very useful when running from a tiger in a pleistocene savannah, or from some Jack (/Jill) the ripper, but not quite useful when dealing with our modern office work dangers. This system is also the reason why we tend to drop everything when scared by surprise, and even a swift bowel movement is far from being unheard of, in some cases. It is very simply because any unnecessary load would only slow us down when running from the tiger and since our conceptual mind tends to be rather indecisive, the autonomic system steps in and takes over. Unfortunately it still thinks we live in that old savannah and doesn’t realize how ineffective its way of protecting us really is, especially when dealing with i.e. paperwork, paychecks and wearing pants. So, because it isn’t build to deal with our modern kinds of ‘danger’, our physiological reactions make us stressed and confused, paradoxically rendering it much much worse for us and everything around.

To keep the sympathetic in check, we have a so called Parasympathetic system, which influences sleep, relaxation, digestion, reproductive processes, etc; and always steps in when the first one gets too excited, pulling it down. The technique described above activates the parasympathetic and thus calms down our tension - both physical and mental. Though it does need repetition and discipline to make its effect really long-term and stable.

慧淨



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