How the Practice of Meditation Raises Your Stress Threshold

One of the things we know about binaural beats and the other technologies Eric Thompson has so brilliantly woven together in the Profound Meditation Program and iAwake’s other tracks is that with daily practice and prolonged use, in a very short time, we start becoming much more resilient and able to deal with stressThe stress threshold begins to raise and the things that used to freak us out and knock us off our game—in the case of depressives, knock us off to another bout of depression; or in the case of addicts, knock us into another bout of drinking and using—don’t do it anymore because they simply no longer faze us.

How the Practice of Meditation Raises Your Stress ThresholdI was just amazed to see this in my own case. It used to be that something would happen—the death of a loved one or a disaster that’s just part of being alive—and it would knock me off my feet for a very long time. It would knock me right into often life-threatening bouts of deep, clinical depression. But this doesn’t happen so much anymore. In other words, I still feel my feelings, I still feel the pain, and I still feel the sadness, anger, or whatever it might be; it’s not that I transcended, I don’t have emotions anymore, and walk around like some kind of autistic avatar. I actually feel my feelings even more deeply but don’t get stuck in them. They flow through me.

With a daily, ongoing brain entrainment meditation practice, we learn what emotions really are and what they are not. The first thing we learn is that they come and they go. Then it becomes clear that if we try to hold on to certain emotions, it causes all kinds of pathologies, addiction, and compulsive acting out. If we try to avoid certain emotions, such as feeling embarrassed, not feeling comfortable in our own skin, sadness, or depression, that also causes myriad problems. But if we just allow the emotions to absolutely express themselves as bodily sensations, and we note the mental constructs or the thoughts that go along with them but don’t get stuck in them, then the emotions can come and go. When we learn how to do this, the ability to cope with stress and unpleasant emotions shows up for us.

In my own work, I have developed the phrase “Welcome teacher” to greet the emotions as they come up, because I know that there is something that I need to learn from them. I have learned that these things are just paper dragons—they’re just bodily felt sensations. So much of the time, our lives are controlled by our reactions or trying to grasp on to things that are ephemeral.

We find, as we continue our practice, working at the inner depths that are facilitated by the Profound Meditation Program technology, that once an emotion is honored, accounted for, felt, and released, that underneath there is a deeper connection, a deeper awareness, a deeper inner place in our center that we can actually begin to live from. In spiritual terms, this connects us to our essential Self, to spirit, to God, to inner wisdom, or however you want to phrase that. As we begin to trust our own centers more, we find that we really do have a sense of guidance and direction inside of us.

I credit my ongoing meditation practice with the fact that now, when I need to show up for something, like talking on a teleseminar or working on my next book, that no matter what sort of mood I might be in to begin with, I have confidence that the juice will be there when I need it to be, and that I’ll be able to relax into the flow of things. Now that I have learned to deal with a lot of my trauma and my negative messages about myself, when this stuff comes up, I just don’t pay attention to it anymore; I just get down to it.

One of the greatest truisms that has developed in the work that I do with people suffering from the disease of addiction and alcoholism is “In times of stress, practice more, not less.” When I go home for the holidays, I make sure to ratchet up my meditation practice to at least an hour and a half a day and also to keep up with my rigorous physical exercise. This doesn’t completely save me, and I don’t walk around in radiant bliss, but it does save me from getting stuck in arguments, anger, resentment, and feelings of insecurity. Instead, it becomes a time of real growth and self-awareness, as in, “That’s why I developed that particular story about myself,” or, “That’s why I’m so reactive when anybody tries to control me…”

In times of elevated stress, when things get really rough, if you ratchet up your practice from an hour a day to an hour and a half a day, it is not time wasted. Often, we intuitively say, “I’m so busy. I don’t have time to just sit and meditate.” This may sound reasonable, however if you don’t take the time for your personal maintenance, just as if you were too busy to change your oil and put gas in your car, you’re going to have problems on your journey.

Time spent sharpening the sword, time spent in practice, time spent in regenerating your brain, and reconnecting yourself to your own spiritual essence is not time wasted. You will accomplish a lot more in less time, and it will be creative, good, productive time, not just punching in the clock and “doing time,” but actually getting things done. When that happens, work becomes yoga; it becomes a joy; and it becomes a way to join with our higher purpose, join with the universe, with our spiritual wisdom, and really get things going.


Adapted from iAwake Technologies’ free, weekly teleconference call on October 30, 2012.

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