Recently, it seems that more and more Americans are climbing higher and higher into debt, especially after last summer's subprime fallout. According to the AP, the value of credit cards 30 days late was $17.3 billion in October 2007, a 26 percent jump from what it had been earlier in the year.
Debt has a way of mounting, and those caught in it start to feel like they have no way out. It can be almost like drowning to some. We're told to invest wisely, or consolidate our debt, or seek other outside help in order to get our financial affairs in order. But what if that's the wrong approach? What if it's not outside, but inside that we need to be looking?
Could meditation help people solve their debt problems?
One of the most difficult problems people face is breaking out of the little box we put ourselves in, filled up with worries about work, family, and money, amongst many others. What do we do about these worries? We look outside for help. We look to financial planners when money becomes unmanageable. We look to Prozac or organizational seminars when work becomes unmanageable. That seems to be the Western way.
However, in those situations, we are treating the symptoms, not necessarily the problem itself. Even if you can get out of debt, a lack of understanding about your money habits could land you right back into hot water with your bill collectors.
Meditation is about bringing yourself out of the stresses of daily life and taking pleasure in the here and now. However, it's also about clarity and coming to a deeper understanding about yourself. Once you have a better understanding of yourself and why you do things, you can fix the source of the problem, rather than just focusing on the symptoms.
Making meditation a part of your daily life
Will you gain clear insight on the source of all your financial problems after your first 20-minute meditation session? It's doubtful. The Buddha himself meditated for 49 days straight before he achieved ultimate enlightenment. Although that's not in the cards for most of us, taking just 10 or 20 minutes each day to meditate can make quite a bit of difference, both in stress level and in self-awareness.
The first step is to find a 10-minute or 20-minute block each day that you can have complete solitude. It may be in the morning before you jump in the shower. It may be your afternoon break at work. It may be while your kids are at after-school activities. It doesn't matter. Just find yourself a time, and find yourself a place with good memories or good vibes.
Once you've got your time and place, the only thing that remains is to meditate. For some people, a simple breathing meditation is very simple and effective. Others, however, need some kind of meditation tool that helps to bridge the gap between Eastern philosophy and Western culture. One such meditation tool is the Zen Stick, a smooth, buffed tool that users toss and catch with their eyes closed.
The benefit of a tool like the Zen Stick is that it can help you reach a meditative state much more quickly. This means you need only spend about 5 minutes a day meditating, as opposed to 10 or 20 minutes.
Gain greater clarity today
Meditation is a small change that, like a pebble thrown into a pond, can have a positive ripple effect on every area of your life. You can gain any number of mental, spiritual, and physical benefits from meditation, as well as increased clarity and understanding about yourself. Make meditation a part of your daily routine and learn to break the harmful cycles in your life.
About the Author
Laurie Desjardins is a meditation expert and creator of the Zen Stick relaxation tool. Need some advice for getting started with meditation? Visit SleepingTiger.org for all the latest meditation techniques and tips.