Many culture’s the world over, practice meditation. Studies have been performed to show how meditation actually affects the body and mind. In this world, where everything moves so fast, and we are inundated with tasks that we never knew we could juggle, let’s face it – we are headed easily for burn-out.
As Animal Massage Practitioners are especially sensitive to stress (both in humans and animals), how important is it then to practice meditation; and should it be practiced daily or just right before you work on your animal client? Animals have incredibly sharpened senses. Surely they know if their massage therapist is stressed out even before the therapist lays a hand on them!
It’s difficult for some individuals whom are changing their careers, and making dramatic exits to the way they once lived. Some people may be intimidated, or think it impossible to find a place of actual relaxation or a peaceful state of mind by ‘not allowing thoughts to control the blissful state you’re in’. But thoughts are what make reality happen, so how bad can thoughts be? They get you from A to B, and C, and so on. So, what’s wrong with thoughts? And why should they be banished from your mind? Is this what meditation claims? No.
Deliberation and meditative practice have been proven to allow people to change the way their minds work and to obtain different levels of consciousness; this being said, many physicians are now recommending meditation to patients especially those whom suffer from heart disease, or are prone to high levels of stress. Studies on Tibetan monks were done by the University of Wisconsin, and show that their brains point to little exertion in the prefrontal cortex (part of the brain that shapes thought process, problem-solving, decision-making; the ability to shape our behavior) of the brain. This happened through ‘rumination’ and ‘reflection’ during the meditative process. In a non-practicing meditative person, there may a lot of brain activity in this area through meditation – the difference? The Tibetan monks have been practicing meditation for several years, thus it takes little effort to reach a meditative state.
The good news is with time and with consistent practice, a person can develop the prefrontal cortex of the brain, leading to a more controlled facet of our personalities, that does not allow stress to rule us, but rather we control and eliminate or reduce stress.
So what about those thoughts? The two words mentioned earlier are rumination, and reflection. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines Rumination as 1: to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly. The same dictionary defines Reflection as: 6: a thought, idea, or opinion formed or a remark made as a result of meditation.
The act of banishing or preventing thoughts during meditation is not the issue. It’s watching them come and go as if they’re visitors from afar. The thoughts that determine a particular direction or decision during a meditative session are the ones that show significant assistance to alter or define a particular stressful situation, providing a worthy solution. The rest… Recycle bins exist on our computers, why not add an icon in our brains for the thoughts that are unhelpful! Mediation has been practiced for thousands of years; does this prove that meditating is not a new-age concept after all, but a necessity?
RMSAAM would love to hear about any meditative practices you have put into place, and how they affect your sessions whether you are an Animal Practitioner, or just a regular meditative practitioner!