Shoun Genkei (Buddhist monk)

Shoun Genkei (Buddhist monk)

This afternoon, hubby and I explored, on foot, a part of Tokyo we have not visited previously – a cluster of temples in Meguro, including Gohyaku Rakan Ji (Temple of Five Hundred Rakan). A rakan is a disciple of Buddha who remained on earth to serve as a role model for ordinary people.  Shoun Genki  (pictured above) was a monk and a sculptor who carved 500 rakan figures.

After our afternoon walk and an early dinner afterwards, I checked my blog and found Shannon’s response to a previous post about some of my frustrations with diabetes. She said that meditation helps her with her own frustrations.

An afternoon of learning about an aspect of Japanese Buddhism and meditation – what a coincidence!

Meditation, as described by wikipedia, is “a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or as an end in itself.” From my  readings, I understand that different cultures, different times, and different religions (or even lack of religion) have their own way of meditating. My first introductions to meditation were by way of Buddhist chanting after my mother’s father’s death and praying the rosary as part of the Catholic tradition, although I don’t remember which one came first. While I prayed the rosary, and appreciated Buddhist chants as well as Gregorian chants, I came to appreciate them and the power of meditation only about a decade ago.

I’d like to thank Shannon for reminding me of this important tool in dealing with, not just diabetes, but stress in general. Being stressed once in a while is probably good for us, but going through chronic stress is not. The Mayo Clinic article on chronic stress discusses the general effects of stress and stressors on us and different aspects of our health. The short version is that chronic stress is not good for your health, especially when you are diabetic.

Meditation is one way of dealing with the stresses of diabetes. No matter how good our control is, there will be times when diabetes gets the better of us, or things do not work out according to plan, or we fall off the diet or exercise wagon. Meditation is a great way of calmly facing all these unexpected turns of event, resting our minds and recharging our batteries.

If you have not tried meditation, give it a chance. If you are of a particular religious persuasion or are not the religious kind, please do not fear that all forms of meditation are linked to some specific religious beliefs or systems. There are various approaches to meditation, and you should be able to find one that suits you and your personal beliefs. The Mayo Clinic gives a good general introduction to meditation.

I can attest to how vital meditation is in my life. I hope it becomes an integral part of your life, too.


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