The secret is out: meditation is good for you. A few minutes of quiet contemplation every day can reduce stress levels, ease anxiety, increase your focus and concentration, and lower your heart rate and your blood pressure. If you’re looking for an oasis to learn meditation, Touching Earth is a great place to go and get your stillness on. Touching Earth is a mindfulness education center dedicated to meditation, contemplation, yoga, and self-discovery. Located in Highland Park, Touching Earth sits among a woodland where you can enjoy various plants and flowers, and where it’s common to witness deer, hawk and other animals enjoying nature. Meditation Teacher Elesa Commerce guides students through non-denominational, non-sectarian practices and classes; there is no dogma, only peace and stillness. If you’re looking for a day-drip escape or a class where you can power down, tune into yourself, and learn some meditation skills, try one of her workshops at Touching Earth.
Taking time away for a retreat is a great way to get started with meditation, but it also meets you where you are, right in the middle of messy, busy life.
Taking time away for a retreat is a great way to get started with meditation, but it also meets you where you are, right in the middle of messy, busy life. In a world where information travels at a dizzying speed, where we’re more connected to the information superhighway than we sometimes want to be, it can be difficult for us to know the difference between real human connection and the digital facsimile. “The ability to be compassionate, the ability to truly see another person, and to hear them, and to hold sacred space for them: all of those things are important. No computer, no iPhone, no nothing—no matter how smart and sophisticated it is—can make up for relating person to person,” Elesa says. “Because we’re being asked to do so much now, our nervous systems are terribly overwhelmed. Part of what happens when you meditate is you have the ability to enter into a different relationship with time. When you enter into a true place of meditation, things start to slow down and you begin to experience a concept of time in a totally different way.” In this way, meditation provides a rest for our weary and overstimulated minds, so that we can return refreshed to our daily lives, and connect more fully with our community.
Meditation provides a rest for our weary and overstimulated minds, so that we can return refreshed to our daily lives, and connect more fully with our community.
The truth is, we’re meditating all the time, and we don’t even know it. “If we take the definition of meditation as effortless concentration, we all can relate to those moments when we truly lose track of time,” Elesa says, whether it’s running along the lake, dancing, having a chat with your bestie, or even if it’s your weekly episode of Scandal or Homeland. At home, says Elesa, pick the same place to meditate every time. “If it’s the same place, we can build up the vibration in that place. You have the ability to build up a vibration in a place where you meditate if you do it regularly. Once you spend time there, meditating over and over again, then when you pass that place, when you enter that place, it will begin to lift you up, and help you access that neuronal pathway of peace that you’ve been cultivating.”
Elesa’s wisdom and patience are a soothing balm for a hectic life. At Touching Earth, she offers classes and workshops designed to help you get in touch with your own peace and stillness, to pursue a sweeter, easier and more balanced existence.