Ben Turshen taught me that these deceptively similar words manifest quite differently in our life experiences.
The word reaction generally has an unfavorable connotation. When my mom nags me (out of love, naturally) and I snap back at her, I call it an overreaction. When my student throws a chair and my heart starts racing, I call it a stress reaction. And if your skin develops a rash after your dermatologist prescribes new medication, she would call it an adverse reaction to the drug.
The word response, on the other hand, connotes an action that is both appropriate and in alignment with a given demand. When my mom nags me and I take a deep breath before thanking her for the reminder, I call this a positive response. When my student throws a chair and I calmly escort him out of the room, I call it a level-headed response. And if your skin clears up after your dermatologist prescribes new medication, she would say you're respondingwell to the drug.
Meditation allows us to react less and respond more by dissolving stress. When we react, it happens before we have a chance to decide how to best meet a given demand. This is because we're stressed and lack the clarity to respond optimally. Furthermore, we accumulate more stress in the body each day if we don't do something to combat it. Each time we meditate, we release stress and increase mental functioning, which allows us to make better choices in demanding situations. We are able to pause and respond elegantly to whatever comes our way. And when we meditate regularly, the stress we release doesn't come back. If you struggle with stress and knee-jerk reactions, you owe it to yourself (and the people in your life) to increase your responding capacity.
I want to share a personal story with you about my path of finding Vedic Meditation.
I had been battling anxiety, depression, and insomnia for most of my life. When I started my career as a corporate attorney at a large New York law firm, the burden became unbearable. That's when I found Vedic Meditation and it made the most immediate and profoundly positive impact on my physical, mental, and emotional health.
A few years later, I decided to do something that could help the people in my life -- and that’s why I became a teacher of Vedic Meditation.
For most of us, the holiday season is a joy-filled time of year, yet it can also be very challenging. We are faced with high levels of demands and expectations as the days continue to grow shorter and colder, our schedules fill up with holiday parties, even trips to visit family, or a vacation somewhere warm to escape the cold of winter. The choice is often to "power through" and we end up missing a very special time of year being over-stressed. Vedic Meditation gives us a way to find balance, inner peace and a profoundly deep level of rest that allows us to enjoy the holiday season and begin the new year grounded, with clarity and grace.
Many of us view the new year as a clean slate, a time to re-prioritize our choices and dedicate ourselves to improving our lives and our relationships with our best intentions at hand.
The challenge is not in the choosing itself--for the most part, we know what we should be doing. Spending time with family and friends, exercising regularly, eating healthy nutritious food, finding time to relax, being patient, kind and compassionate to others. The list goes on. The problem we face is that regardless of our intention, we are destined behave and act according to the baseline level of stress that we've accumulated in our minds and bodies...
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