What I Learned In The Himalayas
Every morning when I wake up, I make sure I’m super quiet to not wake my family up so that I can take about twenty minutes to meditate before I start my day. You know how you might go on with your day but you might feel so thrown off without breakfast or your morning cup-o-joe? Well in my life , that’s me and my meditation every morning. It becomes like a supercharge for me and it serves me so much, I make sure I do the same again around 4pm as well. Meditation is an essential part of my life both for me and my wife because of how valuable it is for our health, resilience to daily stressors and to up-level our spiritual wellness.
Meditation is widely studied, various types of meditation have been clinically proven to lower levels of inflammation, stress and aid people with conditions like high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and various ailments. The reason something like meditation is so helpful is because it gets to the root of disease. Most disease can be traced back to psychological or emotional origin. These emotions and psychological phenomena create physiological responses in the body leading it into an effort to maintain homeostasis. Health, wellness, medicine all get so complicated with naming diseases, looking at the microscopic causes of sickness like viruses, bacteria, and other pathogenic factors. However it can be simpler if we become mindful earlier.
Psychology & Karma
The food we eat, the way we recuperate, our emotional wellness and the ability to become more resilient in our day to day activities literally elevates our health because we take care of the root causes first rather than covering them up. The body is constantly in response to the stimulus we give it. Therefore many diseases in traditional medicine would actually get into the realm of being psychological imbalance or even karmic.
So why is there so much disease that is chronic? Well, we are a society that has so much at our fingertips, so much connection to the outside world, but we have lost one simple thing. The connection to ourselves. While I could go much deeper into this topic, perhaps it will just have to be a new book in the future due to the amount of detail I could add here. The big picture takeaway from this is simple, the more connected we are to ourselves, the less disease and physiological breakdown we have as a result.
“Ok, ok Dr. Matt, so you’re telling me if I meditate everyday my disease is going to go away?” In a sense, yes, but thats not the whole story so let me clarify. What I am telling you is, the more you dive into the connection with yourself, the more aware you will become of what imbalances are present within you and the more awareness you will have to finding avenues where you need to go next to reach a deeper level of wellness and balance. On the surface this may sound too simple and broad but truthfully I had to do this for chronic disease that I myself dealt with.
I Used To Be Chronically Ill
I used to be a chronic asthmatic, with the need for daily inhalers and a diagnosis that had me on steroid anti-inflammatory medication for the rest of my life. That was about sixteen years of my life and that is exactly what my life was going to be until I decided I needed to dive deeper into my own awareness of my body in order to heal, regardless of the diagnoses I was given. I won’t give you my life story here because yes, I will be writing that in a book to share my journey with you, but the point here is, through gaining greater levels of awareness, I found my own pathway to be completely free of medications in my life and ultimately free from a chronic diseased reality of living. I breathe freely and easily now, and it all started with this simple concept of diving within.
I remember back when I was part of a medical service team at the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, India I was surrounded by prayer, meditation, and yoga at the ashram we were staying at. Before my voyage back home to the states, I picked up several handmade mandalas from Buddhist monk apprentices while in Amritsar. It got me thinking about how mandalas are a physical representation of diving within, deeper, with clarity and focus. I only understand now why I chose the mandala I chose for my home.
The colors of the mandala were plentiful but during that time in my life I was craving grounding, clarity and needing to release myself from fear. Fears in life, fears of overwork, fears of burnout, and yea I was having a hard time breathing, fear of dying this way.
What I took away from that trip was a lesson. That prayer, meditation, yoga and art all play a role in our wellbeing. It is physical representation of our wellness both on the inside and outside of ourselves. That was a transformative life experience for me and it was the birthplace of where I began to see the power of mindfulness combined with art to ultimately become medicine.
Sure, I understand that it may sound like a far out concept for some, to think of art as medicine, but to tell you the truth, it was part of the puzzle that ultimately led to my life thriving mentally, physically and spiritually.
If you are curious to learn more about how I apply this in my life and my business through design principles. You can find it in my book, “How To Design For A Healthy Mind & Body” listed below.