Karnegis, interim practice director at Milwaukee Zen Center, has
been practicing meditation for more than 18 years.
packed with appointments, activities and other distractions, itís
difficult to imagine finding time for peaceful meditation. But experts
say tuning out the outside world for even 10 minutes a day can lead to
interim practice director at Milwaukee Zen Center, follows the Soto
Zen Buddhist tradition Ė though he notes there are many different
styles of meditation and different traditions. Soto Zen Buddhists sit
quietly, do nothing and allow their minds to open and get in tune with
their physical selves. "For us it is a religious practice,"
Karnegis says. "It is a way for us to return to our true self.
When we sit we are watching our thoughts arise and give away,"
distractions, Karnegis sits facing a wall. "When we sit facing
the wall, we are truly facing ourselves. The wall becomes a
mirror," Karnegis says.
Buddhists meditate for 40 minutes. Karnegis takes it slow with her new
students and asks them to sit for 10 minutes. She says itís
important to establish consistency in your meditation routine ó same
time of day, same place and how long you sit. Sheíd rather people
practice meditating every day for 10 minutes than once a week for an
As New Agey as
it sounds, finding your "right now" may provide more health
benefits than you think.
Kotchen, professor of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin,
took part in a study of the benefits of meditation on controlling your
Pressure and Heart Rate
has had some moderate to significant effects on lowering blood
pressure, especially in African Americans," says Kotchen.
He explains that
decreasing nervous system activity can result in lowering your blood
pressure. Also, reducing the amount of stress hormones, such as
cortisol, can aid in dialing back the production of stress hormones in
your adrenal glands and help boost your immune system.
It can also slow
down your heart rate because nervous impulses sent to your heart and
blood vessels lessen, he adds.
that people should not expect immediate results from meditation and
agrees with Karnegis in practicing daily sessions over a period of
time out during the day may be very beneficial for folks. I think it
would be a great idea to add it to your daily routine," Kotchen
Our thoughts are
like pingpong balls in our brain, constantly bouncing from one idea to
the next and making it difficult to focus on one thing.
some individuals get clarity through meditation because they are
reducing the distractions surrounding them, and may aid in their
decision-making process. She goes on to say it can help to understand
what you are feeling, especially during times of crisis. "We donít
have to get hijacked by our feelings; itís something you learn to
respond to in a skillful way," she says. "I have to be able
to get off the pillow and take the insights of Zozen (Buddhist
meditation) into the world."
find they are much less quick to anger, annoyance, etc ... we tend to
spend a little less time in the aggravated state," she says.
sit, some joy comes up ó joy, compassion and patience," she
says. We begin to appreciate the little things in life.
When people give
up the need to defend, we find relaxation in the body, says Karnegis.
"If we let go of our need to constantly be doing things then we
start to relax more. In our tradition we donít sit with an objective
in mind. We sit to let go of our conditioned self. Through this
practice we gain insight, let go of stress and gain more knowledge
about relationships," she says.