It is another rainy October day here in Charleston. I am watching the tide rise over the bank of the marsh onto the grass in our backyard. With the moon, the tides recently have been unusually high and the excessive rains we have been experiencing this October have created so many problems here not only for homeowners but for traffic and road issues too. Our moods on these rainy days can be a bit somber too. There are conflicting studies on the effect of weather and our mood. Most believe they are linked and the research suggesting otherwise is outdated. People can suffer from such disorders as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the clinical name for winter depression or the winter blues, occurs due to the temperature drop and the short days during the winter months. Symptoms include depression and excessive eating and sleeping. Some people with SAD gain weight due to over-eating and inactivity. Women suffer from SAD up to three times more than men.
If you are among them there are things you can do to help like using a sun lamp and seeking therapy. Those of us who do not experience these blues should be mindful that others may not do so well on days like today or during the winter months when there is less light.
The video I have attached I find personally very peaceful and calming. I use it sometimes as background noise or when I am sitting in quiet meditation. With the hectic pace and demands of modern life, many people feel stressed and over-worked. It often feels like there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. Our stress and tiredness make us unhappy, impatient and frustrated. It can even affect our health. We are often so busy we feel there is no time to stop and meditate! But meditation actually gives you more time by making your mind calmer and more focused. A simple ten or fifteen minute breathing meditation can help you to overcome your stress and find some inner peace and balance.
Meditation can also help us to understand our own mind. We can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy. Overcoming negative minds and cultivating constructive thoughts is the purpose of the transforming meditations found in the Buddhist tradition. This is a profound spiritual practice you can enjoy throughout the day, not just while seated in meditation.
How to meditate: Simple meditation for beginners
This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction.
1. Sit or lie comfortably.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage and belly. Make no effort to control your breath; simply focus your attention. If your mind wanders, simply return your focus back to your breath. Maintain this meditation practice for 2–3 minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.