I don’t deny that one could say I became a Buddhist almost by accident. I hadn’t even HEARD of Buddhism when I started martial arts in the late 80’s, yet here I am. Decades later, constant study and trying to follow the right path. A good portion of my story is a prime example of cause and effect. As I progressed in the martial arts, I was introduced to concepts such as Budo, Bushido’s code and my first introductions to Buddhism.
Despite the accidental introductions (or not so accidental, if one believes that all things happen for a reason) there have been a number of measurable benefits to my years of Buddhist study and martial arts. I originally got into martial arts for the purposes of improving my health, and it has turned out to provide more benefit than that scrawny kid ever could have imagined when he set out on the journey…
There’s no denying that the martial arts has provided me with a number of significant advantages. The physical requirements and exercise has helped to improve my insulin sensitivity and fight off insulin resistance. The intense training has provided me with better blood circulation, which as most of you likely know, is VERY important to someone with Diabetes. Measurable improvements in body mass and appetite followed, allowing me to survive well past the window of expectation that most of my doctors had for me in the late 80’s, early 90’s.
When I started studying Buddhism, some of the most important aspects that I began to work on were mindfulness, meditation and control of my inner thoughts and emotions. This is not to say that I don’t display emotions (my wife can attest to that), but my practice has allowed me to control how I externalize my reactions and emotions. Over the years, this has allowed me to deal with problems and face issues in my personal and professional life in an almost detached manner that allows for logic to step in and for the emotion to come out at a later time.
Something I need to point out is that most people automatically associate Buddhism with meditation, but the truth is that you can reap the benefits of meditation on its own. Not only from a Diabetes standpoint but for people in general, meditation can do a world of good. This is becoming a well-known fact, and plenty of people are getting on board. Meditation is offered/taught in some places of work, schools and a variety of classes where different varieties of meditation are taught.
And yes, there are different types of meditation. Some of the most popular ones are transcendental meditation, focused meditation, mantra meditation and relaxation meditation are but a few, and it all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with the meditation that you do. Just like there are a variety of types of yoga and types of martial arts.
But some of the benefits of meditation can include lowering one’s blood pressure, controlling pain within the body, improving one’s sleep, helps one to focus and increase self-awareness and helps with stress and anxiety. All of these things can be helpful with the control of blood sugars and overall Diabetic health. You can find introductory classes on guided meditation in most major cities, and there are plenty of books on the subject as well. Be sure to keep an open mind, and if it doesn’t feel right to you, don’t be afraid to seek out different classes as every instructor or teacher may have a different method of imparting the knowledge.
I may have fallen into some of what I do by accident or coincidence, but I’ll never look back. One of the beautiful aspects of meditation is that you can basically do it anywhere. All you need is a comfortable place to sit/lie down, whatever your preference may be. ☯