The Power of Meditation
by Heather Kokx
My husband and I recently visited the Denver Museum’s "Expedition Health." If you haven’t been there, it is an exhibit of the human body with stations throughout. The stations allow you to test your body with experiments, while learning about your health. When you’ve completed all the stations, a printout of your numbers shows the status of your health – that is, if you can maneuver through the throngs to get to the more exciting stations.
One station in particular intrigued me, and I pulled my husband into the line as soon as I saw it. It is a stress test as well as a competition between you and your partner. Each person puts on a headband that reads brain waves. Each person sits on opposite ends of what looks like a shuffleboard table. Inside is a ping pong ball waiting in the center. After pushing the button to start, the ball is drawn toward the person with the most brain activity – hence the one who is most stressed. Thus, the person who is most relaxed, or who can relax on command, wins.
As we waited in line for our turn, my husband turned to me and said, "I am so screwed."
"I’m a stressed out business owner, and you teach meditation. You are absolutely going to win!"
I had my doubts on that. Yes, I teach meditation, but I hadn’t been regular with my practice in three years — since he opened his business and I became the sole bread winner of our family while his business got up and running. As far as I was concerned, I was just as stressed as he was, and worse, not using my well learned tools to help myself.
When our turn arrived, we sat at opposite ends of the table and put on the head bands. The ball waited in the center and on command, I pushed the button to start. I quieted my mind and became aware of my breathing. The ball hesitated for a second, then started moving steadily toward my husband.
"You’re meditating right now, aren’t you!" he accused.
"Do you want me to stop?" I asked, and the ball instantly stopped moving.
"That’s just creepy," he said. "Just finish this and let’s go."
I took a breath and stretched my neck from side to side. With just that simple gesture, the ball hurled itself toward my stressed out husband’s goal. It was over.
I was shocked at how well I did on the test. With all of my knowledge of cell memory through massage, as well as all of my knowledge of meditation, it never occurred to me to put the two together; in essence, the mind really does control the body (or some other conclusion for this revelation).
Though I hadn’t meditated regularly for years, at one point in my life I was meditating every day. During that time, I taught my mind and body how it felt to be relaxed. My cells retained the memory of what it felt like to be in a meditative state and, interestingly enough, I learned I had the ability to call up that feeling on command.
Meditation is an underrated tool that is unbelievably powerful, and I’m grateful I spent all those years practicing. I’ve used those skills many times, whether at the doctor’s office before a shot or before a big presentation. I wasn’t aware until the museum stress experiment just how much of an ongoing effect meditation was having on my body. I wondered "how much more stressed I would be at this time of financial crisis if I didn’t have these meditative memories and skills?" My poor husband, maybe he’ll begin practicing with me — if for no other reason than to win the museum stress experiment next time.
Heather Kokx is a meditation instructor, as well as a massage and energy therapist working in the Littleton area.