The first 40-day journey focused on the body and setting goals for a healthier one. The second 40-day journey discussed a group of mental exercises to allow us to become aware of our defense mechanisms so we can control them in a healthier way, and to turn our thoughts away from fear and back toward love. This third journey is a combination of both. Below is a simple meditation. I’m going to repeat it daily for the next 40 days. I invite you to do the same. This exercise is one from the practice of Autogenics.
Autogenics began in 1932 in Germany and became popular in America in the 1960s. Autogenic Training is a technique that you use to teach your body to respond to verbal commands. These commands tell your body to relax, to control your breathing, blood pressure, heat beat, and even body temperature. The goal of this is to achieve deep relaxation and to reduce stress. Actual autogenic training takes about 3 months. This 40-day journey is just a taste. To quote one of the trainers,
Autogenics, while requiring considerable time and discipline to learn, has more far-reaching benefits than simple muscle relaxation. Autogenics training teaches you to self-produce a feeling of warmth and heaviness throughout your body, thereby experiencing a profound state of physical relaxation, bodily health, and mental peace. Once you become proficient at it, you can use autogenics to overcome addictions (such as smoking or gambling), change unwanted behaviors (such as nail biting), resolve phobias (such as fear of flying), and mitigate symptoms of physical ailments. If you tend to be a nervous or anxious person, autogenics can help you find an inner place of calmness and emotional peace. If you are a highly sensitive person, with autogenics you can learn to cope with environmental stimulation by dismissing it from your attention rather than feel overwhelmed by it. In fact, you can use autogenics to help overcome just about any psychological or physiological problem; the results will vary according to the severity of the problem and according to your own discipline and confidence. Be advised, however, that there is nothing “mystical” about this training. It’s pure physiology.”
- Get in a comfortable position, feet flat on the ground, no arms or legs crossed but placed comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Say the following:
- My arms are heavy. I am at peace. (Repeat 2 times)
- My legs are heavy. I am at peace. (Repeat 2 times)
- My heart is calm. I am at peace. (Repeat 2 times)
- My breathing is calm. I am at peace. (Repeat 2 times)
- My abdomen is calm. I am at peace. (Repeat 2 times)
- My forehead is cool, I am at peace. (Repeat 2 times)
- I feel my breathing.
- I feel my arms.
- I feel my smile.
- I open my eyes.
- I am at peace.
While I’m practicing this daily, I’m going to share some thoughts written by people in what I call my Lenten reads – books I’ve read during the 40 days between Fat Tuesday and Easter Sunday. I hope you enjoy them, but don’t forget to practice this daily. Feel free to check in with me by leaving a comment. I’d love to hear about at what day you began to see results and what your results were: More relaxed at work? More relaxed dealing with family issues? Less anxious and nervous? I’ll post my results at the end of the journey too and we can compare.