Thoughts & Memories:

Meditation

When we were young, we wanted to grow old but now that we are old, we wish to be young.  We must be realistic: feeling young, looking young and thinking young is possible. It depends on how you take care of yourself.

Let me share to you why some seniors act, look younger than their age and are still active at seventy.  Not with great vigor, but at least energetic. For me, it’s because of ‘meditation’, good food and regular exercise.

Researchers from Harvard University, who conducted a research about meditation in the 70s, wrote, “Meditation can give you a sense of balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health”.

Two years after being elected as Kagawad of Virac in 1980, I received an invitation from then Gov. Vicente M. Alberto to attend a training/seminar on meditation. Many attended the training but only a handful continued and graduated. There were respected people maligning meditation as bad those days. Whoever circulated it may have obtained wrong information from someone. I persisted up to completion of the training, for as a mature person, I know what is good and bad for me. Practice it when I feel good and stop when otherwise.

Two American Vietnam veterans were presented by Gov.Vicente M. Alberto to teach meditation. I got acquainted with one of them, though I have forgotten his name. I know a little of his background. He and his companion were on a furlough after serving years in the war zone in Vietnam. Arriving at Kent, Ohio, USA, there was a big rally at the Kent State University, near their home.  Both his parents were professors.

At home he experienced nightmares which his parents noticed. Maybe not as bad as my former student in management, an American Vietnam veteran married to a Barasnon, whose jaw locked when he was bothered by nightmares.

His parents gave him enough money to tour Europe believing that his nightmare or war shock would stop by taking a vacation. He invited his friend, his companion in Catanduanes, a fellow soldier, as tourist partner.

At the boundary between France and Spain on the Pyrenees Mountains, they met and were taught meditation by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Mr Yogi was the founder of Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement and founder of the organization. This meditation known as Transcendental Meditation technique is the one I have been practicing for the past 38 years.

Time came for the two American Vietnam veterans to leave Catanduanes after teaching us meditation for three weeks, ‘Gratis et Amore’. The one who taught me asked if I wanted to keep the illustration materials they brought to Catanduanes.The materials were quite numerous and hefty. I got some, brought it home to our apartment in Gogon, to remind me of lessons that I may have forgetten.

Years of meditation, twice a day, morning and afternoon interval at 6am/pm. for 20 minutes duration resulted to the following changes and improvements, I noticed to myself.

  1. Deeper sleep without dreams as if I laid at the bottomless depth of Tubaon River.
  2. Breathing becomes full and easy, while on running/jogging exercise at the Pilot oval, Luneta Park or Makati Triangle.
  3. Seldom feel hungry while preparing lessons and reading books.
  4. Confidence improves. I can look straight to the eyes of bosses and conversation is friendly. Stage perfomances do not make me very nervous.
  5. On happiness, quality of exuberance or state of liveliness, I cannot make distinction coz’ I am surrounded by wonderful friends. Like pading Roger Magtangob, Alfeo Socito, Antonio Pena, Mar Morales, Bo Rodulfo, Macario Jun Arcilla, Danilo Arcilla, ex-kagawad Renato Arcilla, ex-kag. David Tacorda, perennial kag. Vir Candelaria, the late Kayong Labor, the late Noli Arcilla, the late Victorio Mendoza, classmates at CNHS batch 68 and many more Catandunganons on my memories’ stockroom, I will name them when the opportune time comes. My apology for those whose names are in my heart but at the moment sleeping in my memory.

One unusual incident happened which terrified me on my third week of meditation (I was sitting on a chair at the center of our bedroom). Fifteen minutes to my meditation, I felt my head was expanding on a regular speed and I experienced fear. I tried my damnedest best to stop what was happening. I commanded mentally my eyes to open but it was not responding. I ordered my brain to stop the meditation but I was not obeyed. When I sensed that my head was about to touch the two walls of our bedroom, I forced myself to move my body and then it suddenly stopped. I rested for a while, went out to our sala and looked outside of the apartment. This incident never visited me again up to the present, thirty-eight years of practicing meditation, off and on. I continued doing meditation because the good outweighs the little inconveniences.

I said I practiced meditation on and off. When feeling happy and rich, no meditation. When stressed, troubled with problems, sick and can’t sleep, I seek meditation.

With Covid-19/B1.17 protocols, I have plenty of time to dive into my inner self through meditation. The following are my benefits:

  1. Long hours of writing/reading (2 to 5 hours with slight break for stretching), I find alright.
  2. Walking exercise for more than an hour at my age of 7 decades bring fatigue but meditation can remedy it with the help of food.
  3. My mind has settled to a certain peace or calmness. I prayed most of the time I am at Alpha brainwave and during writing of prose/story, I reach the Theta Waves. I learned only level one which is basic meditation. I was invited to study further, the next level in Manila- TM SEDHI, but I cannot leave my teaching job.
  4. Learning is easy and memory improves. Last year I found it hard to write an article as beginner. This year 2021, I am beginning to enjoy my new-found hobby, writing is better than gambling.

As time and stress are doing considerable toll or harm to our lives, let us study and learn meditation.  A scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Andrew Newberg opined that meditation “cancels out loneliness” which is detrimental to mental health by doing meditation.

Some advice from a group of researchers on meditation:  “Stop worrying about the future and thinking about the past. Practice meditation, stay calm and have peace of mind”.

May I add, keep yourself busy, work and work for it’s the secret of a long life.

Afterthought. Looking at my palm before touching the keys of my cellphone, an idea dawned on me that mysteries or destinies of our life are never known in advance. What will be next? Will I be OK next year? God knows and holds the answers.

Last night I prayed the Holy Rosary with intentions to request God’s healing fir four persons who are known and close to me. They have serious illnesses. Two friends, a man and a woman, have their cancer metastasized to other parts of the body. I, too, had been subjected to health challenges for five years, followed by a major operation and then recovery. It was ten years ago when it all started.

Now, writing an inspirational note, I feel as if God has given me a ‘second body’. Another Armando but touching my arms, it’s the same Armando. Only with a new hobby, writing and feeling like 50, not a 70-year old, old man. Could it be because of meditation, and I am sharing it to you.

Everything is possible with God. Nothing is impossible to HIM. Together let us pray and request from God to change our mental equilibrium of being dependent on each other and relying on one’s self. The answer is hard work. On bended knees, let us implore God to make us the breadwinner in the family, irrespective whether you are the father, the mother, son or daughter, to make your family powerful and heroic. Finally, we petition Lord Jesus Christ to give us a strong mind, body and soul to fulfill our mission on Earth. God bless us.

Amen.

INSHALLAH

THY WILL BE DONE.

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