Written by Athena Wilkinson, WLLC 2015-2016
During this quarter through my practices, all of the practices were focused on reflection in some way, from the 5-minute journal and jar of awesome to meditation and sleep cycles, and finally to the right brain rodeo, all had me reflect on my life in some way. To me, reflection is a form of meditation, and I noticed the benefits of such, especially in the practice that was specifically meditation.
One article that I read talked about two different groups studied, one that meditated and one that simply relaxed, and the article stated that “the study demonstrated a significant improvement in the meditation group compared with the relaxation control and wait-list groups. This and other research has shown that mental silence meditation…is a safe and effective strategy for dealing with work stress and depression.” I can see how meditation can be more helpful than simply relaxing, because it was helpful for me to relieve stress. I think that the aspect of letting yourself be completely quiet and in yourself made for more relaxation later and the ability to fully reflect. Reflection is also an aspect of mindfulness, as another article states: “a key attribute of the practice involving ‘mindfulness,’ commonly defined as the awareness which arises through ‘paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally’” This seems to be a perfect definition for mindfulness and reflection: in the “present moment”, “paying attention” and “nonjudgmentally.”
So, through my five practices, I was constantly reflecting on my life: how wonderful it is and my gratitude and appreciation for my opportunities and friends grew immensely. From our speaker just yesterday, she has very interesting points about openness and connection, and although she spoke more focused on acupuncture and massage therapy, I think her definitions of the five elements can apply to many aspects of life. For example, Reilly’s definition of Earth included: “Earth energy cannot be hurried. It is the lazy spaciousness we need to savor the fullness of pleasure. It is about enjoying oneself thoroughly; it is about deep satisfaction.” And her definition of Wood included: “The freedom of the wood element empowers us to move forward with vision, creativity and determination. Wood is the return, the renewal.” I believe these two elements most apply to meditation and reflection. The act of meditating and reflecting itself relates to Earth: it is relaxed, enjoyable, and has “deep satisfaction.” After such meditation and reflection is the Wood: the ability to feel refreshed and “move forward with vision.” Thanks to the weekly practices, I was able to relax and reflect, leading to less stress and more renewal.
“Complementary Medicine, Exercise, Meditation, Diet, and Lifestyle Modification for Anxiety Disorders: A Review of Current Evidence.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Hindawi, 2012. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.
Qureshi, Naseem Akhtar, and Abdullah Mohammed Al-Bedah. “Mood Disorders and Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Literature Review.” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. Dove Press, 14 May 2013. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.