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Integral-Canna: Creating Inner Calm

Written by Rev Jeff Lanier

It feels like it is becoming more difficult to find a safe, calming, peaceful place in our world. Finding a space of peace in our extremely connected world, feels like we need to find a way to escape just to get a break. Do we need a day at the beach, a weekend in the forest, in the mountains, or maybe with the water of a lake or river? That peace is always within you; it is the open space that breaks us out of our normal thoughts, and allows us to reconnect to it. How can we recreate that connection without having to necessarily get away? Meditation can give us a road to inner peace, making space for a more calm interaction with our external world.

If you tell yourself, “I couldn’t sit down for that long” or “my mind is going too much for me to be good at meditating”, then you have the most to gain from a meditative practice. A few benefits of a regular meditation practice can include; natural calming of the sympathetic nervous system (our body’s physical response to stress, fear, etc.), thought patterns (self-worth, imposter syndrome, fears, etc.), and automatic response and reaction (less instant trigger to reaction). Meditation shouldn’t be painful or stressful. Meditation has many techniques, and all of them should be seen as a practice and not as an end goal. I have found that the more I try and force the result in meditative practice, the further away it becomes.

However, if I let go and focus on the practice, I feel like I receive more benefit with less effort.

Meditation, as I have said in previous Integral-Canna columns, is typically either a single-pointed focus or no focus. For our purposes, I find that having a single-pointed focus to anchor my attention on and return to helps a lot, and can also be applied to a lot of other activities. For single-pointed focus, the goal is not to constantly remain on the focus, but to return to it when our attention wanders. When we recognize we have become lost in the story of our thoughts about how peaceful we are, how we are sitting, how we are holding our hands, we simply let go of the thought without judgement and return to our anchor. It also does not need to be a long practice. I prefer a shorter sitting practice of around 10-15 minutes most days. However, I have done as little as 5 minutes and as long as an hour, depending on how I feel and what time permits. It’s a practice and training, and when done consistently, provides incredible benefits.

For the month of November, I suggest an extremely simple breath meditation. Find a comfortable place to sit or lay, where you will be comfortable, not fall asleep, or become distracted. Set a timer on your phone for however long you have decided to practice for. You can close your eyes or leave them open, whatever you find most comfortable. Once you have become comfortable in your position, take three full deep breaths, fully inhaling into and exhaling from the belly. As you exhale the third breath, allow your breathing to return to normal. You don’t need to control your breath. Find where you feel the breath the most, whether that is at the edge of the nostril, the back of the sinuses, or in the belly. Just continue to observe your breathing, without trying to change it. Every time our mind wanders, without judging ourselves, we return our focus back to the breath.



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