Meditation and Prayer • Part I
We mammals are blessed with a double chain of nerve ganglions descending on either side of our spine; the sympathetic nervous system. Ever since we were small hairy things, it has been easy to activate the sympathetic response. Good thing too, since this provides the get up and go for the body to get up and be gone. Adrenaline floods our system. We pump more blood to our large muscles, our palms get sweaty (for gripping trees), heart rate/ blood pressure climb, the blood vessels in our limbs close down (to minimize blood loss), etc.
You have probably noticed the lack of Saber Tooth Tigers in your neighborhood of late. However, traffic jams are just as capable of triggering the same response. A Bad Thing. You don't get to run away, and your body starts to eat itself up.
Although the triggering of the sympathetic response is fairly automatic, taming it is not. It is a learned skill like ballet or swimming. You can learn it trough meditation, prayer, active listening to music, or even exercise. The key is focus. You learn to follow your breath and let your thoughts pass on by.