The Sun & Your Mood, SUNGAZING
November 14, 2013 by Stephanie McCracken mindfulness, personal growth, psychology, psychotherapy, Uncategorized 0 comments
What if your eyes and your brain are very much like tiny solar panels connected to your brain? The seasons change and often along with the departure of summer, fall and winter can be hallmarked by a landslide of good moods and energy. Want to enhance your happiness? Enjoy calm and comfort floating through life like a midsummer’s day? Well then it may be a good idea for you to spend some time with your head in the clouds or at the very least with your gaze directed towards the sky. As the cold air descends upon our city most of us retreat into our warm and cozy dens with their associated darkness combatted by artificial light. Some sources are beginning to examine the reason why there is an even more pressing purpose to bundle up take a jaunt outdoors soaking up everything that the massive fiery orb millions of miles away has to offer!
In former times, Native American tribes held yearly sun dances as the year would approach the summer solstice. The native peoples worship the sun and as a part of the ritual, the sun gazers would dance, fast, and stare directly at the glowing orb in the day sky, this was intended to be an act of communion and rebirth with the earth’s rhythms. As a newly re-popularized trend, Sun gazing is enjoying its resurgence; many of us note that we must reconnect with the earth and her rhythms if we are going to enjoy the full capacity of our health and wellness. When I share with people that I make a point of staring directly into the sun for 30-60 seconds each morning they ask astonishingly, “but don’t your eyes get damaged from that?” I too recall my mother telling me as a small child, “Don’t stare into the sun, you will lose your vision!” After a bit of research, I haven’t been able to find any evidence that supports that claim. In fact, sun gazers note more acute vision and even ocular regeneration but the noted benefits are just beginning!
Have trouble staying energized during the day and or falling asleep during the night? Solar powered meditation may be something you should examine! The retina contains several kinds of photoreceptor cells; one of them is specifically responsible for regulating the circadian rhythms, which is the bio-chemical or hormonal process of sleeping and waking. When allowing the sun to contact the open eye, melatonin, one of the primary sleep chemicals is then commanded by your brain to decrease its production. Sleep comes in sync by increasing nighttime melatonin production which causes deeper, longer nighttime rest. Contact with the sun will simultaneously increase production of serotonin which is a “feel good” chemical, this neurochemical is targeted in many of the popular anti-depressants on the market today. Just a minute of the suns luminosity can help you sleep better which gives you heightened energy and you can even feel happier in your new found heightened mental and physical acuity! Let us not forget that vitamin d is also synthesized via sunshine and that supports bone health as well as mood!
There is still one more noted and interesting benefit to sun gazing, that it the purported enhanced function of the “Third Eye.” The pineal gland, commonly referred to as the “Third Eye” is a curious part of the brain, it is largely associated with mystical, spiritual, and even psychic purposes. In MRI images, many ordinary subjects show a Third Eye that is atrophied or calcified. On the other hand, many of those who are deemed very spiritual, for example the “Dalai Lama” types show something completely different in this sacred mental cavern. In MRI scans performed on monks while in deep mediation, the pineal gland pulsates an ethereal blue light. Simultaneously, shaman and others who participate in Ajauhausca ceremonies also are said to be decalcifying and developing their pineal gland. Sun gazing is yet another way that we can enhance the powers of our Third Eye thereby heightening spiritual energy.
Are you more than a little curious now? Well maybe you should give sun gazing a try! As recommended by some sources it is a good idea to sun gaze during the first hour or two after the sun has risen or right before it is setting, there are less harmful rays during those times. As you begin this practice, you can start with ten seconds during your first day and add an additional ten seconds each day until you work up to one minute which is the maximum suggested time to sun gaze. I find that by raising my hands and aligning my posture towards the sun I gain the maximum effects of sun gazing, even tilting my head back to expose my throat chakra, my seat of truth. I breathe deeply through my nose allowing the breath to expand inside of me as I hold it for a moment and allow it to fall slowly, evenly and gently from out of my nose. I focusing on the place directly above or below the sun and fix my sight upon it, I am almost immediately transported to a hypnotic space. I regularly note that the sun which formerly appeared to be motionless now pulsates and radiates many colors that I did formerly not perceive. There are blues, purples, yellows and this pale halo around the sun, I feel immense joy to receive this power from a grand life source. I continue filling myself with air and sun and I concentrate on how the rays feel upon my flesh, it is mildly warming and such a welcomed sensation. I keep my feet grounded upon the earth and I revel in connection, a sense of communing with the past and the present all at once, recalling that the rays warming my face and filling my eyes are millions of years old before even reaching earth. After 60 seconds I close my eyes and then allow the sun to fall upon my face for an addition 60 seconds. During this portion of the two minute sun mediation, I turn my inner gaze softly towards my nose where the third eye can be found. This specifically targets the pineal gland and helps in rejuvenating it, you may notice that after your eyes have been warmed you can see many colors and flashes of light while maintaining soft, steady, and abundant inhalation and exhalation. One of the keys is to maintain awareness, mindfulness, and gratitude for the abundant warmth and light.
Take notice of how energized that you feel after spending this 2 minutes connecting with the sun and the earth. Do your best to find the time to incorporate this small but powerful exercise into your life for the next 30 days just to see how much of an effect that it has upon your mood and energy. Remember that the body takes time to adjust so one month is plenty of time to really obtain the myriad of benefits. If you miss a day here or there that is ok, doing your best is more than enough. I personally incorporate sun gazing as a part of my morning walk. If you are plentiful on time and are able to do the evening meditation as well then even better for you, otherwise I find that once a day is more than enough. Remember if the sun is powerful enough to cause the trees and flowers to bloom, to cause the seasons to change, imagine what it can do for you! NAMASTE!
Wishes for brightness, wholeness, and health,
Stephanie McCracken MSPC
Reviving Minds Therapy
Offering Psychotherapy and Marriage Counseling
1010 Western Avenue Pittsburgh Pa 15233