Ben Fuchs: Meditation Is The Best Medication – Critical Health News Broadcast 04/21/2019



then I'm gonna tell you I'm feeling really relaxed because before you called I was sitting here doing this five minute meditation um I loved it meditation is medication mmm meditation fact you know meditation is the best medication you know we talked about chemistry all the time right we talked about nutrition we talked about medicine and drugs and we talked about in the physical body we talked about a lot of stuff that has to do with what we can see with our eyes what shows up but meditation to me which is sort of abstract and airy-fairy is the most powerful health health tool you could ever employ way more powerful than drugs way more powerful than anything the medical model could give you even more powerful than nutrition to me my personal belief is working with meditation understanding meditation is the single most important thing you could do to stay healthy or to reverse yourself to health if you're sick now that's not to say diets not important it is that's not to say a nutrition and supplementation and exercise and respiration and oxygenation are not important because they are but because of the negative the fact that our physical bodies are secondary in many cases to our mental bodies if you will or a mental nature understanding how to leverage or to hack into our our ability to cognate to cognate or to think it is incredibly important and that's what meditation does meditation is basically harnessing or marshalling or disciplining the mental process you know you have a you have a mental biochemistry that neuroanatomists neurophysiologists call the default mode network never heard of this term the default mode network so the default mode network is exactly what sounds it's it's a network of biochemical processes and biochemical reactions in the brain that we default to when we're not concentrating on something when we're just kind of hanging out you ever notice how I don't know if you have a spot why people can't sleep at night because their thoughts are Ray right you don't have the problem during the day but at night all these things come up that's the classic act a manifestation of the default mode network when the mine does have anything to do you're just laying there you know it's not watching something it's not writing something it's eating something it's just laying there the default mode Network becomes comes front and center right and if you want to know what the default mode Network does think about when you're laying at bed at night I can't sleep now that's going on all the time it becomes clear you know at night when you're laying there doing nothing which is the clue which is the clue to understanding how important meditations medicines giving your mind something to do so the default and the mode Network quiets down into default mode you're going into conscious mode active mode you know I have that exact issue and that's also exactly why I have an interest in meditation it happened to me a few nights ago my wife and I were watching a show I was I was falling asleep by the end of the show and I said we just got a you know I got to go to bed or something I get in I've actually get into bed and I cannot fall asleep because the voice turns on I have this voice network it's the autobiographical self they call it there's all kinds of that's for it but it's a little voice in your head that everybody has that's the default mode Network now here's the thing there are ways to get the default mode Network to quiet down because the mine does best for the brain and there's an interesting distinction between the brain and the mind but and we'll say the brain the brain does best when it's focusing on something and this is what all meditative techniques have in common is they give the mind something to focus on to the brain something to focus on they caught mindfulness and he johns hopkins university or Johns Hopkins Medical School Yale Medical School Harvard Medical School UCLA Medical School Duke Medical School all the great medical schools in fact probably all medical schools now study this idea of mindfulness because there's a relationship between the physical body and this default mode network or how we think how the brain works and so the body will show up yeah secondary in many ways to a primary fact vd of the brain and so by controlling the brain you can control the secondary manifestation which is the body and this is all accomplished through the parasympathetic nervous system which we talk about all the time or the vagus nerve which activates the parasympathetic nervous system so it's not spiritual this is the thing about meditation people in its spiritual and it can be spiritual but it's not necessarily spiritual you can use meditation for shaping the physical body for shaping the brain epigenetically you change your genetics you can change your genetics your very the way your genes are are turning on and off by meditative techniques you can shape your neurology neuroplasticity by meditative techniques the Oakland A's the Seattle Seahawks Phil Jackson who was the coach of the Chicago Bulls great athletes use meditation to improve what they call flow or focus CEOs and high performers use Transcendental Meditation which is a type of meditation where all of these meditative techniques have in common whether it's spiritual meditation the meditation for athletic performance meditations for Health meditations for performing in the business world what all of these have in common is they give the mind something to focus on or the brain then you got it something to focus on so the default mode Network quiets down there's a phenomena that occurs in athletic performance where the crowd goes totally silent even though you're even though there's 50,000 or 60,000 hundred thousand people with stadium and screaming to the athlete who's in the flow state because this is where what's called the flow state everything silent because the default mode Network has quieted down it's like they're in this state by themselves athletes always talk about this okay there's nothing there they can just see the ball or they can just see the hoop or they can just see whatever they're up to at in present moment and this is a very powerful tool not just for men to your mental nature not even just for your physical nature but for having a great life hmm how's this to be in the flow state in this state Oh at peak athletic performance every minute of every day and that's really important to understand because we talk about meditation practice where that turn right meditation practice meditation practices when you spend a half an hour meditating we'll talk about how you do this here in a minute is when you spent half an hour twenty minutes ten minutes five minutes whatever it is every day I'm the daily basis practicing practicing for your practicing for life right cuz you supposed to take the meditation skills that you learn in practice and practice and apply it to when your work or apply it to when the IRS is about to audit you reply credit-card bill comes right your screaming or when your wife is yelling at you till you have cancer to apply with all of the bumps and bruises and ups and downs and isset ooze and craziness and chaos of life yet you want to be able to apply these meditative techniques to that experience so yes it's important to have a practice but you want to keep it in context right you want to be leverage that practice for when you need it in real life right you're strengthening a muscle essentially exactly and what you're doing is you're everything that you rewire your brain you're at your accessing or make me easier to access certain brainwave states you know we talked of brain waves in the past you have your brain is emanating energy in waves like everything that's emanating energy waves all living things all things are emanating energy waves and your brain has some specific waves wave frequencies beta ways alpha waves theta waves gamma waves Delta ways the most important ones are your beta waves this is where the default my network the default mode network kicks in that's the voice in the head that's for problem solving that's for surviving most of us spend our entire days in beta States and even though it's in beta states alpha state and theta state or slower brainwave States and this is where the power of meditation comes in learning to go from beta into alpha into theta so there are neurological correlates that can be measured in terms of meditation there are physiological correlates that are attached to these neurological court correlates via the vagus nerve and these involve vasodilation one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure is to meditate meditation will will reduce inflammation it's got Nitori profits I was just reading an article here about research study that's being done on multiple sclerosis symptoms using Tai Chi Tai Chi moves and meditation Tai Chi is a type of movement meditation when you meditate you quiet down the immune system when you meditate you improve the digestive system fact all of the things that we talk about the parasympathetic nervous system are leverage or accessed via meditative techniques so this is the classic mind-body link or the classic example of the mind-body link is by using your mind and using your brain you control what's showing up in your body and it is a powerful powerful powerful tool if you're dealing with physiologic health issues and of course it's especially powerful if you deal with mental health issues depression bipolar disorder PTSD anxiety insomnia I mean it's like to not take advantage of this tool to take your address all of these health needs it's so tragic to me that's what we you know we're all about nutrition because it's such a simple you can do or exercise or how you eat these are simple things you could do to stay healthy now I have an interface with the medical model meditation is an iconic example of that I've heard people say that every fifth grader should be taught meditation absolutely kindergarten elementary school and the word meditation is kind of you know it's got some baggage associated so we got to come up with a different term that's why medicine called mindfulness right basically it's the same idea it's giving the mind one thing to focus on and the easiest thing to gift to give you a couple ideas here on how to get into it the easiest thing to give to give your mind to focus on is something that's attached to us that's endless in this endless metronome inside our body called the breath right this is why all meditate beginning meditative techniques or most beginning meditative techniques will tell you to focus on the breath because it's right there with you and then when you focus on the breath of course you breathe you're paying attention to oxygenation and detoxification so you get that benefit as well but just paying attention to the breath in and the app but you can do it to any body part you can pay attention your hand or pay attention your foot you'll get into a meditative state you can pay attention to ambient noise the ambient sounds you'll get into a meditative state pay attention to your thoughts and get into a meditative state you can pay attention to awareness and get into a meditative state you can pay attention to God or whatever you you know spiritual sense of spirituality that you have you can get into meditative state you can pay attention to nature the trees when you're out in the woods and you can get into a meditative state it involves paying attention to one thing the breath is the most you know non-denominational thing it's the most non spiritual thing for people who are intimidated or freaked out by the idea but by the Association meditation has with spirituality just focusing on the breath that's the simple to get yourself to activate the vagus nerve to get into all the parasympathetic modes of functioning and to go into from an from a beta state into an alpha state or alpha or theta state when you do that your immune system gets stronger inflammation is reduced anxiety is suppressed you just feel better it's an amazing thing to have for your quality of life and as I say you can do all these things once a day twice a day for practice but the real benefits accrue or the real benefits show up when you're driving in rush hour but when your weight lying at the bank right your boss is harping at you or whatever you know the inevitable ups and downs of life can't combine if you're sick it's an amazing strategy for not only getting better but for feeling better and that's really important if you're if you I don't care if you've been diagnosed with like the worst kind of cancer and your terminal you have three months to live if you meditate you may not live you may not you know add years to your life or add months to your life but you're gonna feel better and that's the goal here I should always be the goal of healing or or of a health care before a health care professional is to help the patient feel better and I'm not just talking about healthcare professionals who work in in a clinic I'm talking about us as individuals we're healthcare professionals for our own life and our no matter how sick we are our goal should be to figure out how to feel better and along with nutrition and diet and exercise an oxygenation there's no better way than activating the relaxation the rest and digest nervous system that with meditation I had a friend many years ago who had had a lot of trauma in her life and I remember her saying but please don't turn off the music there has to be music playing there has to be something on or I'm going to go into a spiral of my own thoughts that's exactly right a real impression on me that she her own her own psychology was her enemy she was in a constant conflict with her she had to have something else to do why do you think we like movies so much are you in television when you're watching movies your and your television your disassociating you're not thinking that voice in your head is very is usually pretty quiet that default mode network depending on how good the movie is it's crappy movie if it's a boring movie the default mode Network will kick in but it's a really really good movie yeah if we have the experience that default mode Network shutting down and watching the movie will say that's the best movie I ever saw it's the most right think about the best movie you ever saw didn't engage you so much that default know mode network was not that's right how about if we looked at our life like a movie you this is couldn't this be the greatest movie ever right right a three-dimensional immersion movie a total version movie experience something let's call me time T IME total immersion movie experience that's the time is the problem with time is that it has consequences your decisions have consequences and watch the ending meditation comes in watching so you know there's an element of doing but there's also an element of watching and the trick is to be able to do and watch at the same time in Eastern mysticism they call it doing and not doing doing not doing and it's kind of this paradox seeming paradox if you're doing but you're not doing and that's what you're doing but you're watching yourself do the doing and that's classic way of applying meditation to your day-to-day life and these are great ideas these are very powerful ideas for those who want to use them but even if you don't want to go that far just watching your breath for five minutes in the morning in five minutes at night and then using that skill to deal with your life can help lower your blood pressure can help you feel better in your life better quality of life it can help you in your relationship so you job and your business it's just a powerful powerful tool that we can do by ourselves and that we can use on our own to have a great life well it's a I see this sort of like creating a baseline there's a nominal consciousness and then all of our other experiences are a player that if you don't know what the baseline is it's very difficult to sort of have a sense of the measure and meaning of all of your other terms or awareness awareness just you know we're always aware of something but that applies there's this thing called awareness when you say we're of up and to separate those two out to see that there's this thing that's just called awareness that's a skill set but once you start to see that and tease that out and make a distinction between awareness and awareness of something now you have some control you can just use what you're aware of instead of going to the default you can start to choose things pick and choose most of us just go into default which of course is on conditioning it's based on our histories it's based on our parents it's based on the culture in our societies based on advertising and marketing and other subtle nefarious subtle manipulations right meditation in the ways like taking control your mind back yeah that is the ball you know driving by McDonald's a lot of us good drive out of a thousand we automatically go in and get the french fries because we saw ersal yesterday are we business seeing commercials are awful why so mediately good or most of the some you know a lot of us will take antibiotics just because we've been told to do that he says in back and seeing what's going on why we're why we're doing the making the decisions we're making and what our motivations are or whether they're conscious motivations or not that's that's a powerful stuff yeah absolutely absolutely the revolutionary in many ways our existence in in our contemporary world much of our existence is reactive our decision-making process is is as you say it's based on who we've been sculpted by culture and society to be but there is this actual conscious spark that has the ability to differentiate to make a decision for ourselves and and to be able to get to the point at which we can insert ourselves into the argument we always have with our spouse or or the knee-jerk reaction that we have to our kid spilling a drink or something like that you insert ourselves and say hold on I'm not writing just do the follow the path of anger or whatever is elicited I'm gonna take a step back and I'm gonna say who do I really want to be in this situation that's great you said something really interesting you said insert yourself right hmm I can like insert yourself in the middle right there's an insertion no what does the word meditation me middle mmm it means to come in the middle right mmm so that's exactly what's happening you're kind of inserting yourself between you whatever your normal automatic you you robot itself the the automaton if you will right and the experience you're inserting your conscious self between it so said just breathing now you're watching your breath you're inserting yourself between the automaton that's doing the breathing and the breathing itself or the experience and the the Auton automatron that's gonna react to their children and the experience you're inserting yourself between and that's where the word meditation comes from let's say somebody's wanting to get started with meditation do you have any advice yeah that's great question first of all don't worry about your posture you know yeah you don't have to sit cross-legged you could lay down on the couch Pramod laying down is if you really get into a meditative state you may find yourself falling asleep and that's not good Thomas Edison you know what he used to do he used to meditate by the way Thomas Edison he would meditate with uh with marbles in his hand he loved marbles hand like this and he went when he if you fell asleep the marbles would drop so that would train him be able to meditate without falling asleep that's downside to meditation is we tend to fall asleep when it happens that's what laying down is can be a problem but it's not like you have to sit cross-legged or or sit with your back straight you know a lot of people say sit with your back straight that energy will be conducted a certain way knows if meditating simply for what we're talking about here to activate the parasympathetic nervous system the vagus nerve to allow the relaxation response to kick in to go into alpha state or theta brainwave state we're more creative and more relaxed you do it laying down you've got to worry about falling asleep secondly it's as simple as watching or listening or activating the senses on one thing and it can be a thought it can be a sound it could be your breath it could be a body part it is as simple as that and third of all it is normal it is completely natural for you to lose your attention and and start thinking about stuff because it's the default mode Network you default into it you've defaulted into it if you've just started a meditation practice you've defaulted into it your whole life maybe 40 50 60 years to pay him on how old you are so it's totally normal to lose that one pointed focus and don't beat yourself up about it really the meditation part is the returning the meditation part is when you go back so there's nothing wrong with going back because that's what you're meditating when you I don't know if you've ever experienced this you're you sitting there meditating and you're trying to do focus on your breath or focus on your heartbeat or one thought and then all of a sudden you notice oh my god I didn't take it for the last five minutes about my laundry about the beat yourself up no because the return you go okay I'm going back that's the meditation it's going back the returning so the more you return in a way the better off it is so going off into a tangent going off into the to the ethers of thought is actually not necessarily a bad thing because it allows you to really activate the meditative process which is going back to the breath so don't beat yourself up it's not necess a spiritual thing it's as simple as focusing on one thing and worry about your posture do it regularly even if it's for 10 seconds and remember that meditation practice is practice for life when life shows up that's when you want to use your meditation skills that you learnt by practice yeah I think people have a sort of extreme view of what meditation is they imagine this Buddhist monk sitting out in the snow completely oblivious to all existence and yes I was actually a little bit adverse to meditation when I first started learning about it because I I thought you know why should I not think why would I one right waste time when I always want to be thinking I want to be making use of the right that I have it but you know like we say it's like an exercise you develop a more focused ability to think as a result of jostling your mind taking control it's it's not not thinking you know it was that I can't close I can't shut off my mind no don't worry about that it's not about shutting off your mind is about watching your mind or it's about watching something it's not about shutting off your mind when you're watching something your mind will naturally quiet down you want to focus on shutting down your mind I can't stop thinking focus on one thing your brain will take care of the stopping thinking you focus on one thing there's beep there's a positive side to which you're focusing on one thing there's a negative side to it I want my brain to quiet down forget the negative side focus on the positive side which is actually doing something focusing on the breath focusing on a thought but whatever it is just place your attention on one thing that's what all meditative techniques have in common well I hope some of fans are critical health news we'll give it a shot who haven't tried it before and you know hopefully let us know what it's new John vacation for your mind you ever hear say I had a big I I had to take a vacation from my vacation you know what vacation it's mind with you a vacation you can have a vacation a true vacation vacation my sitting on the couch or laying down in your bed right right absolutely well you see the guitar hanging up in the that's my normal form of meditation it's a great one sound music physical discipline that's definitely a great fact back Yogi Berra famously said how can i think and hit the ball at the same time hitting a baseball this is a great meditation yeah guitar hitting a baseball sports these are all meditative techniques or meditative pastimes it don't really get counted as meditation but in since that's really from a literal mental brain perspective that's exactly what hitting a baseball or hitting the tens bar or getting in the zone with your guitar it really is well I look forward to hearing from our audience about their experiences with meditation I hope some folks who haven't tried it before give it a shot and put some comments in there I'd like to know what people think about meditation I'd like to know if you think it's really weird and like out there and something you don't want to do or is it is it too spiritual for you or is it just something that you can let you think you can leverage from a practical standpoint if you're dealing with a health challenge well I'll tell you what when I turn that voice off at night I am asleep like this it works like Mac exactly

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