By Cynthia Lenz
Back in March, I fell down a large public staircase and smashed my face on the ground, breaking my nose, jaw and damaging several teeth, including the loss of my right front tooth. Many times since then, people have complimented me on how well I’ve been handling the situation; often exclaiming they would be a puddle in the corner; had it happened to them.
I have certainly had puddle moments since then. I cried over my nice straight teeth suddenly looking more like they belong on a jack o’ lantern several times. On the whole though, I kind have to agree with them; I am handling it pretty well! I am certain the reason is because I meditate and practice yoga nearly daily. I remember what I was like before I started these practices and I know how I feel on the days I skip. I am definitely a calmer, more peaceful person when I keep my practice up. The biggest difference is in the ability I now have to pause as a result of meditating. I can stop myself in an intense situation, whereas in prior years, I would wish I had stopped myself later.
While I have thrown a few pity parties for myself since I fell, I don’t get stuck in feeling sorry for myself. I can acknowledge my feelings, validate them and then move on. I don’t think this would be possible if I hadn’t discovered that still, quiet place inside myself that I can access through meditation. Everything is better when I do it!
It doesn’t surprise me that the words medication and meditation are nearly identical. Dr. Andrew Weil explains the healing advantages of meditation on his website:
“In meditation, you watch your thoughts from a different, more stabilized perspective. You’re training yourself to place your attention where and when you want. This is very powerful. It gives you the ability to direct your thoughts (and mood) in more productive and peaceful directions. And, as has been demonstrated in the last few years, this ability has profound self-healing implications for physical and mental health.”
I would whole-heartedly agree that meditation and yoga (once I was well enough to start practicing again) have aided significantly in healing my injuries, as well as, reducing the stress of having to deal with the trauma and recovery. A huff post article from earlier this year backs up my belief:
“Studies show that meditation is associated with improvement in a variety of psychological areas, including stress, anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders and cognitive function among others. There’s also research to suggest that meditation can reduce blood pressure, pain response, stress hormone levels and even cellular health.”
While I certainly wouldn’t suggest that anyone stop their pain or depression medication in favor of a meditation practice, I do believe everyone can benefit from meditating. I would definitely propose that someone who has suffered a trauma, as I have, or from the debilitating effects of a long-term physical or mental illness, try meditation as part of their recovery. I know I am glad that it is part of mine.