Just call me World-Traveler-Extraordinaire. Two days ago, I took a boat-ride alongside the highest dune in Europe – the Dune du Pyla in the south of France. Yesterday, I strolled the banks of the Charles River in Boston. Today – I walked barefoot on a beach in Jamaica.
Well, all that’s not entirely true. Although I feel like a globe-trotter – I’ve actually been visiting these amazing places from the comfort of my own home. Sound too good to be true? I know. I have some explaining to do.
Recently, a close friend of mine has faced some serious health complications. Although I knew I couldn’t take this illness away – I needed to do something to help. But what? I searched the Internet. I leafed through my sizable collection of inspirational books and medical memoirs. What could I possibly give this friend to help them through this difficult time? And then, I remembered The Hypnotic Voice.
Three years ago, a friend shared a CD of meditation/guided visualizations with me. At the time, I was over-anxious about law school and struggling to adjust to life with narcolepsy and the CD was designed to help with stress-relief. I copied the tracks onto my iPod but didn’t listen to it. No soundtrack was going to solve my problems or cure my narcolepsy, I thought.
A few weeks later, I was listening to my iPod on shuffle while studying in the library, when one of the meditation tracks came on. I reached forward to skip to the next song, but something about the woman’s voice caught my attention. She was soothing, friendly and hypnotic.
Always looking for an excuse to procrastinate – I decided to sit back, close my eyes and give the Hypnotic Voice a chance. In the exercise I listened to, she asked me to imagine a comfortable and safe place and insisted I spend some time really being there – looking at the scenery, feeling the air and touching my surroundings.
I thought this was slightly hocus-pocus, but after the track finished, I felt refreshed and focused. My mood drastically improved in 17 minutes. How odd.
Throughout law school, I listened to the CD often. It helped me tremendously to manage my stress. Since then, I changed computers and iPods and forgot about the Hypnotic Voice. Until last week, in thinking about what I could do to help my friend – I unpacked my old computer, found the tracks and pressed Play. As the familiar voice filled my room, I regretted having gone a day without her.
Although meditation may not take all pain and suffering away – it’s probably the closest thing to a cure-all. Various studies suggest that it has incredible stress-reducing and healing benefits. For me, the most fascinating and powerful aspect of the practice is the freedom it gives me to control my feelings. Meditation teaches that our outside circumstances mustn’t always control our inner-experience. As eloquently described here:
“Usually we find it difficult to control our mind. It seems as if our mind is like a balloon in the wind – blown here and there by external circumstances. If things go well, our mind is happy, but if they go badly, it immediately becomes unhappy…
Such fluctuations of mood arise because we are too closely involved in the external situation. We are like a child making a sandcastle who is excited when it is first made, but who becomes upset when it is destroyed by the incoming tide. By training in meditation, we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances.”(www.how-to-meditate.org)
I highly recommend Meditations to Relieve Stress by Belleruth Naparstek (a.k.a. The Hypnotic Voice) for everyone (listen FOR FREE here). My favorite is Track 2: “Peaceful Perspective.” It’s simple and affective and just think – you too can leave the snow and cold behind to travel to your favorite places in the world for 17 minutes a day!
Click here to read Adventures of the Sleepy Yogi Part I: Meeting the Double Pigeon
Click here to read Adventures of the Sleepy Yogi Part II: From Hallucinations to Inner Peace
Those are great CD's. Highly recommended.