Tobin Blake : Everyday Meditation Book Interview
Everyday Meditation Interview with Author Tobin Blake
"Unplugging from our hectic lives to sit quietly for a pre-determined amount of time sounds like it should be simple enough. So why do so many face such resistance when they decide to give meditation and try? Why is it so challenging to integrate a regular meditation practice into our daily lives and what can we do about it?" — New World Library
Q: Meditation seems like a mysterious, foreign practice to a lot of people. Can you tell us more about what meditation is and why it is attracting so much attention these days?
A: In order to understand meditation and how it is capable of producing such dramatic effects in people’s lives — both physically and emotionally — you only need to compare it to how most of us live each day. If you are like many people, from the moment your alarm goes off you are out the door and running. You probably spend the vast majority of your days racing through life, focused almost exclusively on the external world. The practice of meditation involves inverting your attention one-hundred and eighty degrees. During meditation, you close your eyes and shift your attention inward into a deeply restful, but highly alert, state that is aligned with your inner self, or what I call core self. As you join your awareness with your core self, you release a tremendous healing energy that is capable of producing extraordinary life-changes.
Q: You talk about “core self” quite a lot in the book. Can you tell us more about it?
A: Core self is the same thing most people call the soul or spirit. It is the essential life force that exists at the deepest core of all human beings. Core self is pure, creative energy. Think of an infant. In newborns and young children, ego is substantially undeveloped, meaning they still exist in a state of union with core self. This is why an infant’s eyes are so beautiful and clear. They are reflecting their core. As we develop, however, we begin forming individual personalities, likes and dislikes, judgments, grievances — or what psychologists and spiritualists call ego, which literally means false self. Essentially, ego is all this mental clutter that has been added onto core self. The problem is, as we develop into adults we become increasingly fixated on this clutter and by doing so we lose touch with core.
Q: Why is losing touch with core self a problem?
A: What many people don’t realize is that most of the depression and anxiety they experience is the result of losing conscious connection with their core. Everyone longs to reconnect with their core self, even if they don’t realize this need. In fact, the more deeply removed from core we feel, the more emptiness and dissatisfaction we experience. Without core self, life often feels dull, pointless, and at times hopeless. In contrast, the closer you come to aligning with your core, the more energized, balanced, and empowered you become because its energy, which is the same energy that brought the entire universe into existence, will automatically fill your life.
Q: When you say this is the same energy that brought the universe into existence, are you speaking of God?
A: I usually use the word Source instead of God for the same reason I prefer core self instead of soul. Traditional terms have many negative connotations attached to them. But yes, core self energy derives directly from Source energy. This is what makes meditation so powerful, and it is also why it is so good for us — not only for alleviating depression and anxiety, but also physically. Think about this: by aligning with your core self, you are opening a channel between your life and Source. Essentially, what you are doing is plugging into the same energy that brought you and everyone else into existence — along with every plant, animal, insect, planet and star in our universe and beyond it. Can we, as humans, even begin to imagine such a force? It is difficult. But if you want to get an inkling of the magnitude of this Force, just try looking up at the stars that light the sky tonight. Gaze up at the billions of points of light overhead and remind yourself that what you are seeing is just a tiny speck compared to what exists beyond your senses. And you are an intimate and irreplaceable part of that Force, directly connected to it through your core. Your core self is literally a sliver of God, and through meditation you learn to tap into that power. This is where meditation gets its healing energy from.
Q: There has been quite a lot research on the health benefits of meditation. Can you tell us what science has found?
A: The recent research has generated a lot of buzz. Two of the most profound effects scientists have observed are huge dips in the incidences of two major killers — heart disease and cancer. On average, regular practitioners of meditation experience a fifty percent decrease in overall cancer rates. Think about that number. Statistically speaking, fifty percent is huge! And when it comes to heart disease, the numbers are even more dramatic. Some studies have shown that meditators have an eighty percent less chance of developing heart disease than non-meditators, which is the number one killer of both sexes in America. Cancer, by the way, is the second leading cause of death in the States. Besides heart disease and cancer, meditation has been shown to positively affect many other illnesses too. It is the very best of natural medicine, and it has no negative side-effects and no cost.
Q: Have they discovered just how meditation is causing these dramatic health effects?
A: No, but they are getting there, and a recent groundbreaking bit of research lends a clue. In a well-designed study performed by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine, researchers discovered something remarkable: Meditation appears to affect us at the level of our genetic programming. They discovered differences in the expression of more than 2200 genes in meditators versus non-meditators, including critical genes involved in the handling of free radicals, inflammation, and programmed cell death — three of Father Time’s right-hand henchmen when it comes to aging and disease.