Meditation: How Can It Help Us Heal at the Cellular Level?
Addiction and mental illness can create chaos in every aspect of one’s life. They can create a constant negative noise that drowns out any sense of peace and well-being. Meditation can help us heal and silence that noise. The renowned Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti once said, “Meditation is to be aware of every thought and of every feeling, never to say it is right or wrong, but just to watch it and move with it. In that watching, you begin to understand the whole movement of thought and feeling. And out of this awareness comes silence.” This peaceful silence is a state worth attaining and is well within reach for those looking for recovery.
What Is Healing at the Cellular Level?
Healing at the cellular level means healing from the outside in and the inside out. It means healing spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Cellular level healing is essentially whole mind-body healing.
Healing at the cellular level also has to do with the concept of interconnectedness. One cannot fully heal if they do not heal all aspects of their being. For example, this means that if one is not healthy emotionally, they will literally suffer more physical maladies. Another example is if one does not heal mentally, they will not have the ability to access their emotions in an effective way. Healing at the cellular level also means that one must be able to connect to the root/core causes of their mental health and addiction issues.
What Does It Mean to Get to the Root/Core Causes of Our Issues?
There is a reason why many people in recovery say, “It is not about the drink or the drug; rather, it is about what causes one to use that drink or drug.” Recovery is not merely about the elimination of alcohol or substances (though, of course, that is a crucial component). No, recovery is about getting to the root/core causes of one’s mental illness and/or addiction.
One of the most prominent root/core causes of these issues is trauma, and trauma affects a lot more people than one might think. A peer-reviewed journal, Psychological Medicine, discusses a general population study regarding trauma that involved 24 countries. The study found that over “70% of respondents reported a traumatic event; 30.5% were exposed to four or more. Five types – witnessing death or serious injury, the unexpected death of a loved one, being mugged, being in a life-threatening automobile accident, and experiencing a life-threatening illness or injury – accounted for over half of all exposures.”
Of course, there are other types of root/core causes that can lead to mental health and addiction issues. These include familial issues, financial situations, occupational stress, and genetics (just to name a few). However, regardless of what exactly the root/core causes are, the best way to treat them is via individualized and comprehensive mental health and addiction care.
What Does Comprehensive Addiction and Mental Health Care Look Like?
The answer to what individualized and comprehensive care looks like is that it should hopefully always look different. No two people’s mental health and/or addiction journeys are the same, so why, then, should their recovery plans be?
The key to comprehensive care is that it should utilize any means possible to help someone recover. This includes trying things that don’t always pan out. That is also a benefit of having many options for recovery. When one modality does not work for an individual’s needs, there is always something else that one can try. Eventually, the right combination of modalities and methods will come into being.
It is also important that comprehensive mental health care pulls from all areas of the industry. This includes more traditional means like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), experiential therapies like nature immersion and horticulture therapy, and holistic methods like yoga and, specifically, mindfulness meditation.
What Exactly Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is believed by many to be one of the best practices a person can do to attain a sense of peace and well-being. The much-respected Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.” That is one of the beautiful aspects of meditation; it is wholly accessible. But that doesn’t mean that to see the results of mediation does not take work.
Many people have a misunderstanding of mediation. Some people feel that it is solely a religious or spiritual practice, while others find it to be unsubstantiated. Neither of these viewpoints is true. So then, what exactly is mindfulness meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a way for one to access one’s inner self by quieting the mind of outside distractions. While it may seem difficult, the idea is to let all thoughts float away so there can finally be a “stillness” within. This stillness eventually can unveil some truths about the individual. One way to think of it is that the outside world is constantly distracting us from getting in touch with ourselves. When those distractions go away, it becomes much more possible to access the root/core causes of our issues that were once hidden in the shadows of our day-to-day lives. On top of that newfound “inner-accessibility,” meditation also has many other benefits.
Meditation: How Can It Help Us Heal at the Cellular Level?
The benefits of meditation are hard to quantify as they vary based on the individual, and there can be so many. According to the Journal of Research in Ayurveda (AYU), “During the process of meditation, accumulated stresses are removed, energy is increased, and health is positively affected overall. Research has confirmed a myriad of health benefits associated with the practice of meditation. These include stress reduction, decreased anxiety, decreased depression, reduction in pain (both physical and psychological), improved memory, and increased efficiency,” and these are just a few of the benefits.
There are myriad more benefits that can come from the practice of mediation. These benefits include, but are not limited to:
- Reduced blood pressure and heart rate
- An increase in melatonin
- Better skin resistance
- An increase in oxygen utilization
- More blood flow to the brain
- Helps with aging
- Reduced cholesterol
- An increase in “exercise tolerance”
- Helps to regulate emotions
Meditation also helps individuals better engage with other aspects of their recovery plan. It is hard to find one modality that does not benefit from a supplemental practice of mediation. This includes experiential therapies.
How Meditation Can Help Us Heal Alongside Experiential Therapy
Experiential therapies can be exceptional ways for individuals to heal at the cellular level via their creative side or their experiences with the world around them. “Experience” is the keyword here. It is how one experiences change via one’s actions.
These actions may include creating some form of art and then discussing what that final product may represent, or the discussion may veer toward what influenced the choices made to create the final product. Another type of experiential therapy may be how one reacts to experiences they have while out in the world.
Mediation is beneficial for this as it opens one up to have those experiences. Once someone has cultivated a meditation practice that can help block out distractions, it becomes much easier to connect to the present moment and the task at hand. In experiential therapy, this would be whatever specific activity the therapy requires. Nature immersion therapy is about how one communes with the natural world around them.
How Meditation and Nature Immersion Therapy Can Help Us Heal
While it may seem counterintuitive, mediation can help us connect with our inner selves so we can better connect to the world outside of us. Meditation helps us to realize that we are connected to everything around us and that finding peace with the world around us means finding peace with ourselves.
Albert Einstein famously said, “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” This is a big aspect of nature immersion therapy. Nature helps people to get to know themselves on a much more cellular level.
There are also many other benefits to nature immersion therapy. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Besides physical health improvements, nature exposure can bring about positive influence upon psychological constructs such as boredom, friendliness, wellbeing, and liveliness.” Also, “Besides improvements to physical and psychological well-being, exposure to natural environments has been shown to bring about positive impacts on cognitive functioning. Finally, ”While cognitive restoration and physiological well-being are the prominent and renowned benefits of nature exposure, there is one important construct that is often overlooked in environmental psychology research studies – that is, the human-nature relationship; also known as connectedness to nature (CN).”
This connectedness to nature is similar to the connectedness of self offered by meditation. So, one can see how these benefits overlap. One can connect inward with meditation and connect outward via nature immersion. It’s a win-win. Another way to connect with nature and self is through experiential therapy, known as horticulture therapy.
How Mediation and Horticulture Therapy Can Help Us Heal
Thich Nhat Hanh also wrote, “If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy.” This is something Thich Nhat Hanh taught and practiced, known as “interbeing,” and it is what can be experienced via horticulture therapy.
When one walks onto the 30-acre luxury property at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, one will find an abundance of horticulture and opportunities to engage in horticulture. They will see rows of amazing citrus, coconut, and longan trees, pineapple patches, and bursting guava bushes. There are also ample vegetable boxes to fulfill anyone’s desire to cultivate the land.
The benefits of horticulture therapy are also ample. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Horticulture could have emotional benefits, such as reducing stress, reducing psychiatric symptoms, stabilizing mood, and increasing the sense of tranquility, spirituality, and enjoyment… It could help people to reduce fatigue and restore attention and cognitive ability.” Also, “it could increase self-efficacy, self-esteem, and quality of life.”
Horticulture therapy can also be similar to a “walking meditation” in that the way in which one engages with it can bring the sense of stillness that one desires from meditation. While some may have a hard time believing it, the same can be said for the experiential therapy known as surf therapy.
How Meditation and Surf Therapy Can Help Us Heal
Yes, surf therapy is a very active form of therapy. However, it also offers many opportunities for stillness and mediation. This comes from the stillness and quiet one can attain while out on their board, waiting for the next wave as the green sea turtles glide and swim below. Of course, there are also many other benefits to surf therapy.
According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Carefully planned water activities tailored to the needs of the individual can contribute to correct psychosocial and cognitive development. The International Surf Therapy Organization summarizes the benefits of adequately indicated surf therapy as follows: improved physical health and mobility; improved mental health, including reduction of specific symptoms, such as posttraumatic stress and depression; improved well-being (strengthening of trust and confidence, encouragement of independence, resilience and protective coping strategies) and improved social skills.” Now, the combination of physical activity from surf therapy and stillness from meditation form a beautiful bond for healing at the cellular level. The same is true of meditation and yoga.
How Mediation and Yoga Can Help Us Heal
Perhaps the most associated physical practice alongside meditation is yoga. The renowned yogi and author B.K.S. Iyengar once said, “Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.” This transformation is essential for growth, and growth is essential for mental health and addiction recovery.
The benefits of yoga are vast. According to the International Journal of Yoga, “Regular practice of yoga promotes strength, endurance, flexibility and facilitates characteristics of friendliness, compassion, and greater self-control, while cultivating a sense of calmness and well-being. Sustained practice also leads to important outcomes such as changes in life perspective, self-awareness, and an improved sense of energy to live life fully and with genuine enjoyment.” Also, “The practice of yoga produces a physiological state opposite to that of the flight-or-fight stress response and with that interruption in the stress response, a sense of balance and union between the mind and body can be achieved.”
This balance or “union” is also an essential part of mediation. In yoga, one can find a union of the mind and body, and in meditation, one can find a union of the mind and a sense of self. As with everything that has been discussed, mediation can be a perfect framework that makes any other type of treatment or wellness opportunity stronger.
Healing at the Cellular Level With Exclusive Hawaii Rehab
Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we don’t believe in “one-note,” “cookie cutter” treatment. This type of broad therapy rarely works, as it leaves the individual out of the equation. No, all of the recovery plans that we create are tailored specifically to each and every client. Yes, many of these plans include a practice of mindfulness meditation.
The Swiss Saint Francis de Sales once mused, “Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.” At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, the goal is to heal at the cellular level. Mediation can help us get there.
Alongside other methods, means, and modalities, meditation can be a crucial part of one’s recovery. Many people discover that it can be the cornerstone of their wellness and choose to make it a part of their everyday recovery practice. If you feel like you or someone you love is struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or both, we can help you get to the root/core causes of your issues and get on the right road to recovery. For more information on what the various types of meditation look like, what modalities they go with, and how they can help individuals heal at the cellular level, please reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab today at (808) 775-0200.