Meditation & Health #4 – A Few Meditation and Health Basics
A Few Meditation and Health Basics
What Is the Potential Impact of Frequent Computer and Television Use?
Some people like to lie on the sofa after a meal and watch TV. Once this becomes a habit, our body weight increases and we become lazier and lazier. If we watch TV while lying on the sofa, time passes very quickly. We could lie there for two or three hours without realizing it. This is not good for our health.
TV gives us too much stimuli that we don’t need. Some people have allergic reactions after watching TV. They sneeze and have watery eyes. Some feel discomfort around the heart or cold all over. Others develop an ailment around their shoulders and along their spine.
People working with computers often develop similar symptoms. Even when we just use the internet for one or two hours continuously, we might feel uncomfortable. Some people may have trouble breathing smoothly or fully opening their eyes. They may have to keep rubbing their eyes as they constantly feel itchy. All these symptoms are caused by the negative influence brought on by the electrical energy. If we persist in watching TV, facing a computer screen or using electrical devices, especially those with the energy of light, we’ll notice that our health is being negatively influenced by these activities. If you have worked with computers for over a year, you may have started to develop some kind of physical ailment. If you’ve worked with computers for more than three years, things could be even worse.
However, nearly all professions and industries require computers nowadays, so what can we do to protect ourselves? We can’t change the outside world, but we can change ourselves. How? By improving our physical fitness, adopting a healthy diet and resting well. We know that we may have harmed our health through some very “normal” activities like watching TV, so it’s vital that we do physical exercises and keep fit. We have to move for our health.
What Role Do Clothing and Accessories Play in Our Health, and in Meditation Practice?
During meditation practice, it’s important to wear clothes made from natural fibers, such as cotton or linen. They’re better for us. Once I had a sweater that produced sparks when I took it off in the evening. Although it kept my body warm, it negatively influenced my body, too. Some people might feel nauseous or have a headache when wearing this type of clothing. Static electricity harms our health. I suggest we wear pure cotton or linen. Silk is too delicate for daily life. Static electricity could cause skin cancer. It’s worse than being exposed to strong sunshine. I think it also harms your overall health. Different materials have different energies. The energy carried by cotton is beneficial to the body, while some synthetic materials have harmful energy.
Don’t wear clothes that are too tight, and don’t tighten your belt too much. If one part of your body is constrained, blood circulation will be hindered and this will lead to physical problems. Therefore, we wear loose clothing when we meditate. You may have to wear professional clothes at work, but once you’re at home, please change into loose clothing and relax.
Please don’t wear perfume during group meditation. We all know that too much is no good. We practitioners can be very sensitive. I say if we overdo perfume and makeup, we could bring harm to other people.
Another thing is jewelry. Please don’t wear excessive jewelry when you come to meditate. Sometimes new students don’t know this rule and they wear diamond rings. Once the light is turned on after meditation, the reflected light from their rings dazzles our eyes. It’s actually not good for your meditation because the shine presents a kind of seduction for you. I don’t like diamonds, but if you give one to me, I’ll accept it and turn it into something more useful than finger decoration. Also, sharp accessories might even scratch your face. So don’t wear excessive jewelry during meditation. A plain ring, like a wedding band, is fine if you’re used to it. Just don’t put too much on – no big dangly earrings. When we meditate, we enter a very peaceful and natural state. Eat simple, wear simple, don’t over-complicate life.
What Requirements Should We Have of Our Meditation Space at Home?
First of all, it has to be a clean area. Secondly, don’t face the toilet or have your back against it. Try to avoid places with foul smells. When we meditate, we go deeply into our bodies and souls and we don’t want to give ourselves any kind of dirty or evil indications. We don’t decorate our homes with any ghostly images or pictures of skeletons. Displays containing words or images that send strong sexual messages or that evoke evil or horrifying thoughts will surely interfere with you. This is certain. If you want health, safety, happiness and harmony, you’ll want to decorate your house with things that send positive messages to you. Normally, these are things that promote feelings of health and harmony. If you want to be happy, then surround yourself with happy images, happy voices and happy messages. Get close to happy people.
Moreover, don’t leave anything with sharp edges at your meditation spot. Whether you stand or sit in your meditative state, you might move parts of your body. This is natural. If there are sharp edges close to you, like the edges of a table or nails, you might get hurt. Remove these hazardous elements from your meditation environment. But if, for instance, you can’t remove the whole table, you may wrap the sharp edges with something soft. We must pay attention to our safety.
Furthermore, we need to be aware of the air circulation in our meditation spot. If the spot is in a very small, enclosed space, the air in it will lack oxygen very quickly. You will continuously breathe in what you’ve just breathed out. If it’s possible, choose a space of comfortable size and with fresh air to meditate in. You may choose to keep the window open.
However, avoiding drafts during meditation is an important issue. Say you sit down to meditate and there is a door in front of you and a window behind you. Once they both are open, the air will start to blow from one opening to the other. The draft will be like a crawling snake and you’ll get sick. If you meditate or sleep with your back against a window, it’s harmful to your health. First it will hurt your head, then your spine. Your respiratory system will be weakened. Sometimes the draft hits you so that your whole body becomes weak and your eyes dim. And when you go to see a doctor, he won’t know what’s wrong with you. If you’re tired, especially after doing some physical work, and you fall asleep in a drafty place, you might feel pain in your lower back, shoulders or legs, or have a headache afterward. Now you see how important it is to choose an adequate place to meditate. A place with your back toward an inner wall would be good. Don’t have a window at your back. Drafts come through windows even if they are closed.
You shouldn’t sit next to an outside wall either, such as under the eaves of your house. When the wind blows toward your house, some of it will hit the eaves, then swirl down and hit you, if you happen to be sitting under them. Sometimes when you sit under a tree you can be hit by a draft, too. When wind blows at a tree, the tree blocks its way. The wind swirls down the tree and hits the person sitting there. To avoid drafts, we need to be mindful of where we sit and the temperature in our environment. And our clothes shouldn’t make us feel too hot or cold. If you feel too hot, you will want to cool off and you might get sick from a draft.
Next we must pay attention to the weather conditions. When there’s thunder or lightning, we don’t practice our meditation. You must stop practicing, even if you are indoors. You need to remember this rule.
What Should We Do Immediately Following Meditation?
After we meditate, we rub our hands, face, head and neck. We also jump up and down to balance the heat distribution in our bodies. After these exercises, if we go into fresh air, we’ll be fine. After two hours of meditation, we can’t suddenly get up to go to the toilet or wash our face. We must conclude our practice properly. You can also press lightly on the areas around your eyes and the sides of your nose and pat your legs and your whole body. You may also rub the soles of your feet. Even if you haven’t meditated, rub and pat your body like this and your health will benefit. But if you have meditated, do these exercises to finalize your practice. Because if we don’t care and walk off immediately after meditating and wash our hands and face with cold water, we’ll harm ourselves. If you’re not an advanced meditator, you can’t tolerate very cold water. If you suddenly use cold water, only to wash your hands, even just once, you might give yourself arthritis. After meditation some people feel hot and want to open the window immediately. Please don’t do so. Wait until you finish the finalizing exercises. Another rule is: Don’t drink anything very cold right after meditation. If you do, your respiratory tract, stomach and intestines will be hurt by the cold. Normally, it is fine to have contact with cold stuff half an hour after finishing the finalizing exercises. I’ve learned this from my own experience.
How Best to Start the Day?
You should give yourself some quiet time after waking up in the morning. You could put on your clothes and sit quietly for a while or you may lie in bed quietly for a few minutes. It doesn’t need to be long. If morning is a rush time for you, take five to ten minutes to be quiet. If you like, you can also play my meditation CDs or my mantra-chanting CDs. Listen to the serene voice and let your heart become one with the voice and allow your mind to enter a pure and clear state. Relax your whole body and mind. Upon finishing, think, “I’ll have another beautiful and peaceful day. I’ll be kinder today than yesterday.” By bringing your mind to a peaceful state in the morning, you create a happy day for yourself.
A Chinese saying tells us: “Plan the whole year in spring. Plan the whole day in the morning.” Your thoughts and intentions in the early morning are very important. Morning is also a good time to receive inspiration. Some experienced practitioners and longtime worshippers of certain deities often get inspirational messages indicating something good or bad is going to happen that day. We could also receive signals when we’re washing our face, brushing our teeth, walking downstairs or upstairs or opening the car door.
If you manage to create a peaceful state of mind in the morning, you’ll easily solve any problems that you encounter during the day because your mind is kept clear and relaxed or you remember to return to that clear state of mind. If you can do this every day, won’t you be happy for the whole year, then?
Last but not least, I’d like to remind everyone that meditation is a very good method for self-reflection, self-observation, self-analysis, self-knowing and self-cleansing. It’s a superb and precious method that transcends religion. Meditation is not monopolized by Buddhism. Buddhism came from India, but meditation has existed in traditional Chinese culture for a long time. In ancient India meditation was popular, and it is popular in the India of today. Meditation was not invented by Buddhism or by Sakyamuni Buddha. It may have been discovered by wise sages in China and India thousands of years ago. But Buddhism recognized that meditation could bring endless benefits to human beings. Therefore, it has kept meditation like a treasure in its hands.
Only through meditation may we get to know the Way of Nature and know ourselves. Some people overemphasize the format in Buddhism – for instance, conducting ceremonies for dead people. But a ceremony is just a surface activity. The fundamental belief of Buddhism is that each human being has inner wisdom. Let’s put aside the religious aspects of meditation. Let’s focus instead on the fact that the meditation process brings countless benefits to our bodies and minds.