You can’t read too many health headlines anymore before you run across a story extolling meditation’s many health benefits: from calming anxiety to increasing resilience, from lowering blood pressure to building immunity. Meditation does it all! And is being embraced in practically every medical field.
But what is it?
I’m a bit of a slow learner, so even as I promised myself two years ago that I would start each day with 20 minutes of meditation, I am still thumbing through books trying to figure out how, exactly, you do it. I have learned much from Elisha Goldstein’s Psych Central blog, “Mindfulness and Psychotherapy.” Because I believe, on some level, that all forms of meditation are about creating space. And Elisha reminds his readers of that by continually repeating the meaningful quote by Viktor Frankl that says “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom”
Space is what makes meditation as well as laughter such powerful tools. Without space, we live from the reptilian part of our brains, the amygdala, or fear center of our brain. So everything is reaction, impulse, panic. Even a second’s amount of space allows us to breathe and grab our mental blankie, if you will, so that we can respond with a higher evolved part of the brain.