Trapped upside down in his car after it flipped over on a slippery Hecker Pass Road in Gilroy in April, John Martinu did the only thing he could think to do under the circumstances: He practiced his Buddhist meditation exercises. When rescuers finally arrived and found Martinu to be remarkably calm, they said that in light of the injuries he had sustained, his composure helped save his life.
"The paramedic said that not panicking was the best thing I could have done," Martinu said.
"Meditating helped me keep my blood pressure and pulse from skyrocketing. I had internal injuries, and fighting to try to get out of the tangled seat belt would have made them worse under the circumstances," Martinu said. "I stayed perfectly still and calm, and they said it was amazing how little blood I lost.
The above passages are from an article called "Calming the Mind" by Kat Teraji. A very good instruction on meditation is included:
Begin meditation by finding a quiet place where you won't be disturbed for at least 20 minutes. Meditation does not mean spacing out or going blank. You are not switching off your mind or allowing it to just drift.
Meditation can be practiced while sitting, standing or walking. Lying down, however, is generally not recommended because the tendency is to become too relaxed. Your mind should not be too relaxed, but it should also not be too tight, which can make the body tense and uncomfortable.
It is best to find a natural balance between alertness and relaxation. Choose a position that's comfortable for you, whether cross-legged on a pillow on the floor or sitting in an ergonomic chair. Keep your spine relatively straight, so that breathing is easy. Focus on the way you breathe, and notice the subtle changes in sensation as you breathe in and out.
When your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to the rising and falling of your abdomen. Try to remain uninvolved with thoughts about other things as they come and go; just enjoy the simple experience of breathing in and breathing out. After 15 minutes, slowly move your body, stand up and resume your everyday activities.
Meditation is a lifesaver in more ways than one. John Martinu's experience can serve as an inspiration to us all.