I had a routine physical examination recently and the doctor was impressed with my blood pressure. Why? Because it was not too high like it is in many of the other people she sees every day. When she learned that I was a vegetarian, she became interested, making a connection between vegetarianism and controlled blood pressure.
But the real secret for my good showing on the blood pressure examination has as much to do with meditation, as it does with my vegetarian diet. Meditation is the best remedy, the best “medicine” for high blood pressure and heart disease, and I haven’t missed a day in the last 37 years.
Why is meditation so effective against one of the biggest health problems of today? Meditation de-stresses a person. Stress is one of the biggest causes of hypertension, and it is a part of everyday life that everyone has to face.
Our ancestors, the proto-human beings who lived thousands of years ago, mainly had physical challenges to deal with. If they saw a large predator, then danger messages were sent to their brains, and then more messages went to the rest of their bodies. Their bodies were made ready to either fight or flee.
Scientists call this a “fight or flight” reflex. The heart starts beating faster, the blood pressure increases, hormones are secreted. It is a useful reaction when you have to deal with a saber-tooth tiger, but what about when you face your boss at work?
When we are upset by someone at work or in society, danger signals are also sent to our brain and our heart starts beating faster and our blood pressure rises. However, we don’t usually run away and we usually don’t start fighting physically. We hold it all in, perhaps showing a smile on the outside. If this is kept up all day, the stress builds and if it continues over a long time it can damage our heart.
If you were to withdraw yourself completely from society you might be able to escape the stress, but this is not an option for most of us. However, it is possible to “withdraw” yourself two times a day and sit in meditation.
In fact, one of the important aspects of meditation is that it is a form of sense withdrawal. You sit quietly and follow instructions that will help you to forget the world around you and focus on an inner peace that is inside of you. When you become adept at this technique it relieves stress and is just as effective as going away to the top of a forested mountain or sitting alone on a sandy beach.
Meditation also helps you to slow down your breathing. Our mind is directly related to our breathing. When we are agitated or in distress we will take short quick breaths. When we are relaxed or concentrated then our breathing slows down and becomes deeper as well. Proper meditation helps to calm the mind and slow down the breathing. This combination of sense withdrawal and slow, deep breathing works wonders. Try and it one day you too will impress your physician with a healthy blood pressure reading.
Now that I work from home and I have a lot of personal time, I am that much more aware of how much stress there is in the outer world. I can go out and feel it. If I am not careful, I will suck other people's negative energies in and then reflect them back outward. It has made me aware of how sensitive I am to these energies and part of what I do to protect myself from them is to meditate regularly.