Contentment Comes to the Calm

Let me start by saying that I for sure don’t have all the answers!  By my very nature I am high-strung, anxiety ridden and driven – quite the opposite of calm!  However, I have also always been a student of the great wisdom teachers both ancient and contemporary.  All of the wisdom texts tell us to be still.

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There was a time not too many years ago when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  Imagine that!!! Hard to believe – I know – but its true.  For a couple of years I was on blood pressure medicine which corrected the symptoms and I didn’t think about it too much.  Then started all the TV ads for lawsuits against this medication and that medical procedure.  These were all medications and treatments that had been deemed safe by the powers that be.  Now we were finding out that they were not safe.  People were suffering long-term and even deadly effects from these “safe” medical practices.  It made me wonder – is this blood pressure medicine really safe?  It probably was but it made me wonder again – is it solving my blood pressure problem or just lowering my blood pressure?  I decided to do an experiment.  I had a routine appointment scheduled with my doctor to check my blood pressure in about 30 days.  I decided to see if I could solve the problem without medication.  (Please don’t do this on your own for any medical condition.  Always consult your doctor before changing any medical routine.).  Being who I am I obviously had to set goals.  I would spend the first 10 days researching ways to reduce blood pressure naturally while weaning myself off of the medication.  I would spend the next ten days putting into practice what I had learned from my research.  During the final 10 days I would take my blood pressure 3 times every day, record the results and record what I was doing at the time of the reading.  I would then present my data to the doctor and plead my case that I didn’t need the medication anymore.  If I couldn’t get the numbers down and if my plan didn’t work, I would gladly stay on the medication because I would have proved to myself that it was best for my health.

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During my research phase, it seemed like every single thing I read exalted the practice of meditation for reducing blood pressure.  Of course I thought meditation was so weird thing where I would be in some sort of trance and see visions of who knows what.  That seemed a little out there for me but, what the heck, lets give it a go!  So the first part of learning to meditate is learning to quiet the mind – kind of like resting a muscle after over exerting it for a long period of time.  With all the thoughts and activities going on in my brain, I was definitely over exerting it!  That part made sense.  I just needed to give my mind a few minutes of quiet rest every day.  That would, in turn, relax my whole being, reduce my stress and anxiety and lower my blood pressure.  Perfect!!!  That was the goal.  I would sit on a cushion in a quiet place and relax my mind.  Then my blood pressure would drop to normal and I would be good to go!  OK!  Let’s meditate!

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Well!  That was the first time that I realized that I had a three-ring circus on steroids going on in my head!!!  The books said to just watch the thoughts come and go in your mind and then release them into nothingness.  Just observe them passively instead of interacting with them.  So I did that!  I started to notice all the thoughts going on in there and observe them.  Let me tell you – that first day it looked like an L.A. freeway during rush hour with a wild-fire evacuation order in effect in my mind!!!  Good Heavens!  There were thoughts and feelings crashing around in there like a room full of toddlers with ADHD!  No wonder I was so stressed!  So this was my starting place.  It took a few weeks of trying to relax my mind every day to get to the point where I could let it all go for a few minutes each day.  And you know what!  It worked.  I started feeling calmer and more relaxed.  I did it for 20 days in a row before I started taking my blood pressure readings.  By the time I went to the doctor, I had a chart with normal readings most of the time.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was better.  I told her what I had been doing and she gave me her blessing to stay off the medication as long as I continued to monitor it at home.  I also had to promise that if it could no longer be managed I would need to reconsider the medication.

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That was a couple of years ago.  It seems to me that I have fallen off the relaxation wagon.  I haven’t taken my blood pressure in a very long time.  I will report on what my numbers are currently when I join you again on Friday.  I have a feeling I might have some work to do.  Maybe it is time to get back into a better place.   Maybe all this mountain climbing I have been doing and now the deep desire to get off the mountain are wake up calls to get back to a place of peace.  Maybe I need to relearn how to be peaceful and happy where I am while taking steps to get to where I want to be next.  Would you like to take this journey with me?  Hit the Subscribe button so we can do this together!

 

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