Tuesday, September 27, 2011


by Dawn Pisturino

Meditation has been used for thousands of years to calm the mind and body and to achieve a greater sense of well-being. Researchers who have studied its effects on people with high blood pressure report that meditation reduces oxygen consumption, respiration and heart rates, and blood pressure.

There are many forms of meditation with varying goals. The simplest to practice is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness means being fully aware of the present moment. It means being completely focused on the task at hand, without any thought about the future or past. This may sound simple, but try it! You will soon discover that your mind is full of "monkey chatter!"

Sit erect with your legs crossed in a comfortable position and your hands on your knees or lying in your lap. Support yourself with pillows, if necessary, or lie down flat with your legs hip-width apart and your arms at your sides with the palms of your hands facing upward.

Close your eyes. Remain quiet for a few moments, relaxing your whole body, and listen to the sounds around you. Gradually focus your attention on your breathing. In-out. In-out. Breathe naturally in-out. In-out.

As you breathe in, allow your abdomen to expand, forcing the air to the bottom of your lungs. As you breathe out, pull your abdomen in, forcing the air to empty completely from your lungs. Stay focused on breathing, and gradually allow your breathing to become slower and longer.

Notice the pause between breaths. Notice the silence. Feel the peace.

It is normal for thoughts to come into your head and distract you. As soon as you realize this is happening, return your attention to your breathing. 

Practice this simple meditation for at least fifteen minutes. Then lie quietly for a few minutes. Get up and reward yourself with a hot cup of herbal tea such as chamomile or kava kava. Over time, your meditation practice will naturally become longer.

February 6, 2007
Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, March 13, 2007.
Copyright 2011 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


by Dawn Pisturino

When you look in a mirror, what do you see? Two eyes, a mouth, two shoulders, hands, legs, and feet. But you also have a mind for thinking, planning, creating, remembering, and dreaming. You own emotions such as love, hate, anger, despair; and a spirit which searches for meaning and validation.

Even though you can't see it, you know that your mind exists and is functioning on a day-to-day basis. You are keenly aware of your shifting emotions, even though you can't touch them. In the face of obstacles, you call upon your inner spirit to face those obstacles and overcome them.

If you were just a body, you would function like a robot performing tasks in a mechanical fashion without deviating from the routine. If you were all mind, you wouldn't need a body. If you were all spirit, you wouldn't need this world at all.

Once you recognize that you are made of body, mind, and spirit, you can see yourself as a whole person. You can appreciate the beauty and wonder of yourself. Science has dissected the physical body for centuries and still has not discovered all of its secrets. Psychiatrists have tried to analyze and understand the mind, to no avail. The imagination continues to amaze and delight all of us. The world of the spirit is an infinite frontier yet to be explored. 

When you are living in balance, you are addressing the needs of body, mind, and spirit. You nourish the body with food, the mind with knowledge, and the spirit with faith and hope.

You know when you are feeling out of balance. You know when you are experiencing too much stress. You know when you are not eating right or getting enough sleep. You know when you are feeling lost and empty inside. You know when you are consumed with love or rage. You know when your body craves exercise, your mind seeks quiet, and your spirit needs comfort.

Stop for a moment. Listen to yourself. Your body, mind, and spirit are speaking to you. They are asking to be recognized and nourished. You know already what to do. If in doubt, seek help.

January 22, 2007
Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, March 6, 2007
Copyright 2011 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.