April is Stress Awareness month, and Buddhism has a lot to teach about stress, anger and fear management. Meditation in particular has attracted much attention as a stress-reduction technique.
Josh Sims writes about meditation and stress in today's Scotsman. Sims discusses meditation's proven stress-reduction abilities and suggests a regular practice of "counting the breath," a foundational meditation technique. Just five minutes a day of breath counting can, in time, enhance your coping abilities and re-set your "boiling" point.
Meditation is a discipline, however, not a form of relaxation. Ancient meditation forms such as Vipassana and Zazen are practiced to cut through conventional thinking and enable the realization of enlightenment. The meditation itself, practiced for longer periods of time, is sometimes relaxing and sometimes anything but relaxing. As Josh Sims writes, "being calmed is really just a side-effect." It's a real side-effect, however.