Thoughts are Energy

Thoughts are energy. I’ve noticed my thoughts a lot more lately. As a spiritual being, I know that my thoughts shape my life. Thoughts create my reality, and affect people too; especially my family, friends, co-workers, and patients.

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During my work as a hospice massage therapist, I am aware of my thoughts when I work with my patients. I try to stay in the present moment and keep my thoughts positive. If my mind wanders too much, then I silently repeat the universal sound, Om. In my blog post, “The Magic of Om,” explains the importance of Om. It mentions that chanting Om increases synchronicity of particular biorhythms in the brain. My mind doesn’t wander when I chant Om, and I feel connected to the divine. Also, Om opens the third eye chakra to increase intuition and wisdom.

I work with the dying, so my thoughts are important. My patients have limited time in their body, and I am present to offer comfort and sacred space. It’s not the time to think about my schedule for the day or what I’m going to do in the evening. Also, I need to be aware of agitation or negative thoughts.

Sometimes my mind gets anxious, and I want to leave a patient’s room. It is challenging to work with people who are dying. There are a lot of emotions, and the energy in the room can be like pea soup. My most challenging times are when my patient has a lot of visitors. Many times I am the only professional in the room, so they look to me for support and comfort, and this can be stressful. Sometimes I say a short prayer before I enter my patient’s room. Silently repeating Om helps too.

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So, if I am going to be the best person that I can be, I need to watch my thoughts. No one is perfect. We are human beings gifted with a full spectrum of thoughts and emotions. The rainbow doesn’t have just one color. As humans, we are colorful too. And we can use our colors to promote positive, loving, and beneficial thoughts towards ourselves and others.

Namaste, world.

 

 

 

The Magic of “Om”

Om Wallpaper

Om or Aum is a sacred sound and symbol. Om is the universal sound; the first sound of creation. In the yoga sutras by B.K.S Iyengar (1993), “Aum is called Pranava, which stands for the praise of the divine and fulfillment of divinity.” Iyengar continues to say, “Sound is vibration, which as modern science tells us, is the source of all creation. God is beyond vibration, but vibration, being the subtlest of His creation, is the nearest we can get to Him in the physical world. So we take it as His symbol.”

I have been using Om in my pranayama practice. Yogic breathing is called pranayama in Sanskrit. Brown et al., (2005) defines pranayama as “meaning both control of energy and expansion of energy” (p. 189). In other words, Brown says that the breath is energy, and we have control over it. Brown (2005) states, prana is defined as breath or life force. According to Iyengar (1996), “pranayama by nature has three components: inhalation, exhalation, and retention. They are carefully learned by elongating the breath and prolonging the time of retention according to the elasticity of the torso, the length and depth of breath and the precision of movements” (p. 33). Iyengar’s point is to learn to hold the breath for longer periods of time to increase the volume oxygen in the body.

Breath links the body and mind. Yogic breathing techniques can be used to balance the autonomic nervous system and have a positive effect on stress-related disorders. When individuals are under stress, they restrict their breathing and decrease the amount of oxygen coming into their bodies (Wilkinson, 2002). Yogic breathing techniques increase the volume of oxygen in the lungs and help the body to relax and the mind to focus.

When I chant Om, I repeat it three times with a long expiration. Chanting Om has complex effects on the brain; especially in the Wernicke’s area and the thalamus (Brown, 2005). According to Brown et al., (2005), “Even just mentally chanting Om showed decreased metabolism, decreased heart rate, and increased peripheral vascular resistance in seven experienced yogic meditators” (p. 195). Chanting Om also increases synchronicity of particular biorhythms in the brain (Zope, 2013). D’Antoni et al.(1995) state that “mantra production frequently employs the phonemes, m, and n, which are thought to evoke pleasant association and a feeling of release” (p. 309). The chant Om has the phoneme m in it.

Om is magical. I have experienced its effects on my mind and body. I am an emotional person and sometimes I have a difficult time controlling my emotions. According to The Art of Living Foundation (http://www.artofliving.org), “rather than allowing the emotions to alter the breath (and cause physiological changes which may prove unhealthy), one can skillfully use the breath to transform one’s emotional state.” When someone is angry, the breath is short and quick. And when someone is sad or upset, the breath is long and deep. Om can be used to control the breath and balance the emotions.

I had a little health scare this past month. I found a few pink, scaly spots on my face. I was worried that I might have skin cancer. So last week I went to the dermatologist. I made a plan that I would silently use the Om chant while I sat in the office, and during the consultation and treatment. I was surprised how chanting Om helped me to be calm and feel centered. I did not get upset, and my heart rhythm was strong.

I found out that I do not have skin cancer. I have Actinic Keratoses. It’s a common skin disorder from years of sun exposure. Actinic Keratoses is considered precancerous. If left untreated, Actinic Keratoses may turn into squamous cell carcinoma. I am treating my spots (with liquid nitrogen), so hopefully I will not get skin cancer.

I can count on the magic of Om to balance the biorhythms in my brain and in my heart. I have to admit; I was scared that I was going to die from skin cancer. Deep breathing and prayer helped me connect with God and the universe. Life can be scary, so we need to learn to breathe through it.

Namaste, world.

breathe in peace

References

Brown, R.P., & Gerbarg, P.L., (2005). Sudarshan kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of  stress, anxiety, and depression: Part I – Neurophysiologic model. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(1), 189-201.

Brown, R.P., & Gerbarg, P.L., (2005). Sudarshan kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression: Part II – Clinical applications and guidelines. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 11(4), 711-717.

D’Antoni, M., Harvey, P., & Fried, M. (1995). Alternative medicine: Does it play a role in the management of voice disorders. Journal of Voice, 9(3), 308-311.

Iyengar, B.K.S. (1966). Light on yoga. New York, NY: Schocken Books, Inc.

Iyengar, B.K.S. (1993). Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Hammersmith, London: HarperCollins Publishers.

Wilkinson, L., Buboltz, W. C., & Young, T. (2002). Breathing techniques to promote client relaxation and tension reduction. Journal of Clinical Activities, Assignments & Handouts in Psychotherapy Practice, 2(1), 1-14.

Zope, S.A., & Zope, R.A., (2013). Sudarshan kriya yoga: Breathing for health. International Journal of Yoga, 6(1), 4-10.