For many of us, when we set our intention to practice, we have a sense that we’re on a journey to a far-off land of stillness, peace, and happiness, and that it’s a New World to be experienced by us for the first time. But what we’re really doing each time we practice is setting a course to return home. This place of stillness, peace, and happiness is where we all began. Before life and conditioning kicked in, we knew we were whole and good. We were already our “best selves”. Our happiness flowed from within us. Each time we practice, we’re actually just loosening the mummy straps that have bound us... that have hidden our true nature from us. We’re getting closer to ourselves, letting our light shine through and shine out.
We’re remembering our wellness.
The term “remembered wellness” refers to the placebo effect, and to the impact that our mental states can have on our health. Dr. Herbert Benson, the founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, was a pioneer in the movement to use our minds to heal our bodies. He studied the effects of meditation on health back in the 1960s and 1970s, long before the new fMRI technology fueled the recent boom in medical studies about the health benefits of meditation. He used the term “relaxation response” to essentially mean meditation and firmly believed that regularly practicing the Relaxation Response (what we would call Mindfulness of Breathing) could help to treat stress-related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, GI diseases, insomnia, and anxiety disorders. In his book, the Relaxation Response (1975) he outlined the following steps for practicing the Relaxation Response:
1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed.
4. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word "one"* silently to yourself. For example, breathe in, and then out, and say "one"*, in and out, and repeat "one."* Breathe easily and naturally.
5. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few minutes.
This week we invite you to come home to your birthplace of stillness, peace, and happiness as we practice Mindfulness of Breathing (or the Relaxation Response) together.
May all beings everywhere, without exception, come home to their own well-being.
Your friends at CMP
This Week's Session Schedule
All of our weekly sessions are free and open to the public. No special equipment or clothing is required. Please join us!
Monday 6:30 PM - Ridgefield Library 472 Main Street, Ridgefield
Monday 7:30 PM - Sama Yoga, 45 Grove Street, New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM - Ferguson Library*, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford
Wednesday 12:00 PM - New Canaan Library, 151 Main Street, New Canaan
Wednesday 7:30 pm - Trumbull Recovery Group, Grace Episcopal, 5958 Main St., Trumbull
*** Special this Week!
Saturday 9AM - 4PM - Full day meditation retreat @ St. Paul's on the Green 60 East Avenue, Norwalk. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to register.
Sunday 3PM-4:30PM - Mindful Speaking + Listening Workshop @ New Canaan Library. See here for details
* Made possible by a grant from Bankwell
CMP survives on donations. All of our weekly sessions are free and open to the public, but donations are essential to our sustainability. CMP is a licensed charity in the state of CT as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted and donations are tax deductible. Checks can be given to facilitators at our weekly sits or mailed to Community Mindfulness Project, P.O. Box 1713, New Canaan, CT 06840.