Springing Forward

March came in like a Snow Lion but the snow and cold didn’t last for long. A few days after the power was restored we replaced our parkas and toques with raincoats and umbrellas. Today is Spring (Vernal) Equinox and the Sakura (cherry blossoms) are heralding the change of season.
Continue reading “Springing Forward”

Everyday Meditation: Blue Sky Mind

CloudsMeditation is becoming aware of the vital stillness and hearing within that stillness. It is the stillness that’s naturally present before you become attached to thoughts and things; before you identify with thought-feeling-reaction.

In this meditation you will be using the visualization of a blue sky with clouds passing through it as the “virtuous” object of your meditation.  Continue reading “Everyday Meditation: Blue Sky Mind”

Revisiting Atisha’s Wisdom

storm
Genius unrefined resembles a flash of lightning, but wisdom is like the sun. ~ Franz Grillparzer

While I’m still packing and sending off books to the free store there are two more I have decided to keep. I’d like to share what they are with you.

There are 21 Lamrim Buddhist meditations, which are usually practiced in a three-week cycle as a daily meditation practice.  These meditations, along with instructions and background material are in the New Meditation Handbook. An extensive presentation of Lamrim meditations are in the Joyful Path of Good Fortune.

Continue reading “Revisiting Atisha’s Wisdom”

Compassion Quotations and Mantras

heart-chakraCompassion may be defined as deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the desire to relieve it. Our own suffering gives rise to compassion and can result in doing something for another without the expectation of  return, often at a personal risk or cost.  Without compassion our species would not have survivedContinue reading “Compassion Quotations and Mantras”

Starting Over: Working Through Pain and Developing Inner Strength

start-overEven when the mere idea of walking around the block makes you want to  crawl back under the covers and never surface again, exercise is essential for people with arthritis and fibromyalgia. Working through stiffness and pain requires accepting responsibility to become your own healer and summoning the courage required to stay the course. When you have had an exercise program and  abandoned it, starting over again is a shame-filled, fear-filled and painful challenge to overcome.  Continue reading “Starting Over: Working Through Pain and Developing Inner Strength”

Ani Choying Drolma: A Singing Nun With a Mission

Ani Choying Drolma  SmileI am an admirer of Ani Choying Drolma, also known as Choying Drolma and Ani Choying.  She is a Buddhist nun and musician from the Nagi Gompa nunnery in Nepal. Throughout the world Ani Choying is known for her compassion, her lovely smile, and her beautiful voice.  Rather than just relying on prayer alone, she is using her voice to fund her school for Nepali orphans. Continue reading “Ani Choying Drolma: A Singing Nun With a Mission”

Om Mani Padme Hum

om mani padme hum Mantras can be orally chanted, intoned,  visualized and/or repeated mentally to oneself. Mantras can also be sung.  I love singing. Vocal improvisation and mantras are a part of my practice.  In this post I’m sharing two very different versions of the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra and I hoping you will give an ear to both. 
Continue reading “Om Mani Padme Hum”

15 Minute Forest Meditation

“Fear is just an illusion and if you believe in this illusion, you are creating your reality. What can you believe in that is not fear? Love. Love is your essence. If you move from fear deep into your heart, you will discover that there is a beautiful little light that you have forgotten. The more you look at this light, the more it will expand in you. Then you will not need to look at the fear because you will be too busy looking at the beauty inside of yourself.”  — Tony Samara Continue reading “15 Minute Forest Meditation”

1flowheader

Creativity in the Flow

flow imageMihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

The intensity of the flow experience is one we all recognize as a creative one that goes beyond everyday consciousness. One reference is being “in the zone”. Csikszentmihalyi lists conditions necessary for the occurrence and continuation of flow experience:

  1. clear goals and feedback;
  2. balance between challenges and skills;
  3. action and awareness merged;
  4. concentration on task;
  5. sense of potential control;
  6. loss of self-consciousness;
  7. altered sense of time;
  8. autotelic (self-rewarding) experience.

The Hustler – Being in the flow state

There’s a move circa 1961 with Paul Newman talking about being in the flow state.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in a TED talk explains his studies about the roots of happiness and the concept of flow for which he is famous.

‘What makes human beings happy?’ Is the question he was looking for an answer to. Flow is his answer to the question

In our normal experience he looked at where we feel really happy. “Ecstacy in Greek meant to stand to the side of something. A step into an alternative reality. Such an intense experience that it feels like you don’t exist.” When you are in a state of flow, you are able to face high challenges using a high level of skills.

The entire concept of flow is really intriguing, at least to me. What do you think?

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness

In Buddhism, there is a form of meditation called samatha bhavana, which can lead to blissful states, like flow. In ‘samatha’ the mind becomes like a still, clear pool completely free from disturbance and anger, and ready to mirror on its surface the nature of things as they really are, m which is hidden from ordinary knowledge by the restlessness of desire and craving. You meditate until you attain jhana. Jhana is a meditative state of profound stillness and concentration in which the mind becomes fully immersed and absorbed in the chosen object of attention. It is the cornerstone in the development of right concentration.

Csikszentmihalyi illustrates that creativity is the central source of meaning in our lives and for better or for worse the planet’s future is closely tied to human creativity. Our capacity for being in the flow and ability to face higher challenges and succeed in what we do will in large part directly affect the planet’s future.  —  Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.

No matter what walk of life we are in or what we may find ourselves completely absorbed in – we may be enjoying a flow experience.  What do you think about flow?

Meditation Practice: Preparation for Beginners

flowerbehindearNo one wants to feel: anxious, sad, angry or fearful. Yet, that is exactly what we have all experienced. So why not learn how to do something about it? Why not learn how to meditate?

Meditation involves focusing the mind in order to increase awareness of the present moment. It  promotes relaxation, reduces stress , and enhances personal growth. Continue reading “Meditation Practice: Preparation for Beginners”

Buddhist Meditation: Mindful Breathing Practice

rsz_wispycloudsThe traditional Buddhist meditation technique is Mindful Breathing Practice. The goal is to attain a state of deep peace in the present moment, characterized by total immersion of the mind in its object and progressive elimination of thoughts and emotions. The benefit of learning Mindful Breathing Practice is being able to use it to cope with  stress and improve relationships in our everyday lives. Continue reading “Buddhist Meditation: Mindful Breathing Practice”

Embrace Reality

When you deny the reality of life, you appreciate it less.
Meditate on the Buddha’s Five Remembrances and rediscover the magic of life just as it is.

I am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health.
There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love
are the nature to change.

There is no way to escape
being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.

My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

The Plum Village Chanting, by Thich Nhat Hanh