I’m honored to host the Virtual Book Tour of Soul Journey to Love: 100 Days to Inner Peace by Irene A. Cohen, MD.
“Would you like to reach a state of inner peace, undisturbed by thoughts, feelings, or outside events? Soul Journey to Lovecontains 100 inspirational messages, prayers and processes for you to reflect upon and apply. The messages appeal to those who are interested in meditation and quieting the mind, and also to students of A Course in Miracles and non-dualistic philosophies. By reading these short, devotional entries you can be returned to your true self, to love and to God.” The book is endorsed by Larry Dossey & DavidPaul Doyle.
Enjoy this great article on Starting A Meditation Practice by Irene A. Cohen, MD
Research on meditation over the last 35 years has shown benefits to stress reduction, pain management, athletic performance, blood pressure reduction and so much more. In meditating, one learns to quiet the sympathetic nervous system (the “fight or flight response”) and increase the parasympathetic nervous system (the normal physiological functioning of the body of which we are usually not aware).
I am often asked what the benefits of meditation are and how to meditate. Many people feel they are too busy to take time out of their day or that they can’t quiet their minds enough to sit still. Yet they realize that they would like to achieve the effects of meditation, having been exposed to it at the end of a yoga class or by hearing about it in the media. In fact, a 2010 survey showed that more than 75% of Americans felt their stress level was high.
One should first set aside a regular practice time daily, either at the beginning or the end of the day. It is better to be seated and not lie down, because you do not want to fall asleep while meditating. The purpose is to have a focused, calm awareness and in sleep we lose awareness. You do not need to set aside a large portion of time to begin with, since you want to build up your practice to about 20-30 minutes. Try to sit for 1-2 minutes to start, then for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 15 minutes. Eventually you will be able to meditate for longer times. It is good to set a timer at the beginning in order to have a sense of how long a minute or two really is.
Secondly, in order to quiet the mind, most people need a focus of attention that is away from their thoughts. There is no need to obtain a mantra from a guru to focus one’s attention. Research done at the Benson-Henry Mind Body Medicine Institute at Harvard by Herbert Benson, M.D. showed that the “relaxation response” can be induced by thinking of a calming word like “peaceful” or “love.” Choose a word that resonates with you and say it to yourself silently over and over again with your eyes closed. Let thoughts come to you but pay them no attention. Just keep repeating your chosen word. Sometimes you will be lost in the thoughts, and that’s okay. Just return to your word again. Imagine a train passing by, and put the thoughts onto the train as it passes you, letting the thoughts go away. We will always have thoughts, but we need not pay so much attention to them.
There are many types of meditation, from using a mantra, to mindfulness, to just sitting in quietness. Try these simple exercises and then explore the style of meditation which will work best for you. Hopefully you will find that you can bring that calm and awareness you seek into your day.
Irene A. Cohen, MD is a psychiatrist, acupuncturist and interfaith minister who has maintained an integrative practice for almost 30 years. Hay House / Balboa Press just released her first book, Soul Journey to Love: 100 Days to Inner Peace . Visit Dr. Cohen on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and blog with her at www.drirenecohen.authorsxpress.com.
Mal Duane is a Best Selling Author and Personal Life and Recovery Coach who has overcome life challenges using the steps in the Alpha Chick Process. Her personal mission is to help women excel in all areas of their lives from business to personal relationships. Mal has been featured with Fox 25 Boston Morning Show, Aspire Magazine, Healthy Living and Metrowest Daily News. She has also been a featured guest on over thirty Blogtalk Radio shows discussing recovery and personal transformation.
Mal’s book, Alpha Chick, Five Steps for Moving from Pain to Power, is a best selling book and is available on Amazon.com.