Getting Into Harmony

Mandala symbol to illustrate harmony, focus and inner peaceEach individual’s path to personal harmony (i.e., balance, well-being) is unique. Thus, we encourage you to try different methods and activities for movement towards harmony. Some may want to focus on a single entity (e.g., mind, body, spirit, OR nature) to start. However, we encourage activities that focus on your whole person and your environment. Below are a few examples.

Meditation

Meditation refers to any form of a range of practices in which practitioners train their minds to become more aware, or alter consciousness to accomplish a particular goal.

Meditation is generally an inwardly oriented, personal practice, which individuals can do by themselves. Meditation in its simplest form and definition is concentration or focus on an activity or object, such as the movement or sound of the breath, a mental symbol or word, or an object in a room or in nature. Even reading a book with intense concentration is a form of meditation. Objects of focus may be used during meditation for specific goals or outcomes such as emotional steadiness, mental calm, physical relaxation or spiritual connection. Meditation may involve invoking or cultivating a feeling or internal state, such as compassion. This is at times called contemplation. Meditation can invlove focusing on a specific focal point related to the body, such as the heart center or mind center for particular achievements.

Meditation is also the practice of awareness, openness, and experiencing the here and now. It is about letting go and being in the present moment, and thus results in balance and connection.

There are many styles of meditation practice; the word meditation may carry different meanings in different cultures. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity in one form or another as a component of most religious traditions, and most spiritual traditions. It is used in martial arts, and in modern sports psychology. It can be used as a complimentary modality in various disorder interventions, including ADHD.

A 2007 study by the U.S. government found that nearly 9.4% of U.S. adults (over 20 million) had practiced meditation within the past 12 months, up from 7.6% (more than 15 million people) in 2002. (source: Wikipedia)

Stay tuned to find out when and where the In Harmony program will be offering group meditation session for Fall and Spring Semesters. If you prefer to practice on your own, there are many excellent books and videos that can help guide your personal practice. Please see our Resource page for additional information.

Yoga sitting posture in nature with hands folded raised above head to sky; red sun in background.

"Peace and Tranquility..."

Yoga

The literal translation of yoga is union or "harmony" of mind, body, and spirit through the practice of meditation, contemplation of postiive values, body poses and stretching, and breathing excercises.

In Sanskrit the word yoga has the literal meaning of "yoke", from a root yuj meaning to join, to unite, or to connect. The body postures and streching aspect of yoga, sychronized with the breath, is called hatha yoga.

The mental aspect of yoga is called raja yoga. There are numerous other aspects or practices of yoga, called by their respective names.

Raja yoga - yoga of the mind, character building and meditation - was formalized in ancient India into a system by Patanjali in the 2nd century BC. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy with a high level of commitment can be called a yogi or yogini, but in these modern times, many serious practioners of yoga continue their affiliation with their traditional chosen religion, and many churches offer classes or encourage the practice of yoga and medition as a health, wellness and spiritual practices.

There are a variety of Yoga traditions and styles. While hatha yoga originated in the Eastern Hemisphere, it has become increasingly popular in the West, also offered in fitness centers, wellness centers, and in complimentary health services of universities, clinics and hospitals.

UNCW Campus Recreation offers Hatha Yoga classes for students. There are also Yoga classes in the local community.

Breath

Focusing on the breath is a simple method of connecting mind, body, spirit, and nature. Focused breathing is an automatic mind-body connection as it links the mind’s intention and the body’s natural rhythm. Breathing is also a natural body-nature connection given the body’s need for oxygen from the environment. This simple task allows one to feel at peace and connect with her/his own sense of spirit.

The Counseling Center incorporates and teaches a number of breathing exercises and techniques for stress managment and meditation training in various presentations on campus and at times in counseling. It also uses breath stress-relief protocols developed by emWave with special portable and computer based biofeedback systems. See the Mind-Body Programs link on hte left menu for more information.

All things share the same breath - the beast, the tree, the man... the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. - Chief Seattle

Talk Therapy

Therapeutic services (e.g., individual counseling, group counseling, consultation) can provide you an opportunity to explore your balance and needs in regards to mind, body, spirit, and nature activities. You can talk to an experienced professional about the actions you can take to improve inner balance and overall well-being.

Music

Music has been used as a tool for centuries to promote relaxation, meditation and spiritual experiences. Different frequencies, tones and rythms can have various effects on the mind, body, emotions and spirit. Music can calm or excite. It can reduce pain and produce pleasure. Music often helps dissolve a sense of isolation and loneliness and realize our unity with humankind and all nature.

When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest. - Henry David Thoreaux

Dreams

Listening to one's dreams of night and dreams of day for the future can help guide one in studies, career, relationships and family matters. When one sleeps well and adequately, one dreams adequately. When there is disharmony in one's actions, thoughts or feelings to that which is true and right to oneself, one can either have disturbing dreams or dreams that correct the course of ones actions. Keeping a dream journal is a powerful tool for self-knowledge and personal growth. Great inventions, scientific breakthroughs, great works of art and great decisions by leaders of nations have come from dreams. They are at the core of staying healthy and even prospering in life.

Sleep

One must sleep well to be well. Sleep is physiologically related to light and being in harmony with darkness and light, sunrise and sunset. Ideally, most individuals need seven-and-a-half to eight-and-a-half hours of sleep a night to be in harmony with mind-body and spirit, to feel rejueventated and energized. Otherwise, one will feel out of focus, drained, unable to concentrate fully on work or studies, and fall behind in the great adventure of life.

Adequate sleep and good dreaming assists learning, recall of information and increased scholastic performance. See our resource page for more information.

To learn more about sleep, keep your eye open for one of In Harmony's Sleep and Dream Programs or presentations on campus. Email us for more information.

Nature

The proximity of rivers, marshes, and the ocean to UNCW is a major attraction for many students. This beautiful aspect of nature also offers opportunity for connection of mind, body, and spirit.

Each and every master, regardless of the era or the place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit - love. - Morihei Ueshiba


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