Emotional awareness is a sign of growing maturity. We all need to learn to control impulses to act before we examine facts and issues. And, the earlier we learn how to control our thoughts rather than having them control us the better. Continue reading “Growing Wiser”
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. – Thích Nhất Hạnh, Stepping into Freedom: Rules of Monastic Practice for Novices
The benefits of becoming a mediator include better focus, less anxiety, more compassion, better memory, less stress, and more gray matter. And, one can learn how to meditate and benefit from doing so at any age. Continue reading “Benefiting from Meditation at Any Age”
It’s a year since the loss of my brother and my friend. When loving-kindness practice matures compassion deepens. This article contains some inspiring quotations and a very simple and beautiful loving kindness meditation focused on letting go of attachment through opening the heart.
Meditation 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”
I 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”
The Mool Mantra (also spelled Mul Mantra) is the most important composition contained within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikhs; it is the basis of Sikhism. The word “Mool” means “main”, “root” or “chief” and “Mantar” means “magic chant” or “magic portion”. It is a most brief composition encompassing the entire universally complex theology of the Sikh faith. Continue reading “MUL Mantra”
The Sanskrit word mantra- (m.; also n. mantram) consists of the root man- “to think” (also in manas “mind”) and the suffix -tra, designating tools or instruments, hence a literal translation would be “instrument of thought”.
I’m sharing three different versions of the Aad Guray Nameh mantra in this article, hoping you will give an ear to them and then share your responses to them with me. Continue reading “Aad Guray Nameh”
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”
Though I was raised to be a Christian, my understanding of God/Nature/Universe and how to live my life does not come from the Bible. When I reached the point in my life where I recognized I had no control over anything or anyone but myself, I came to understand that the God of my understanding was in everyone and everything. Continue reading “Finding My Path”
“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”
Humans are by nature perceptive and compassionate beings in tune with nature and with others but these qualities are usually lost in the deluded busyness of life. The more exposure we have to the stresses of life in a busy world the more important it is that we make the time to relieve the pressure and still our chattering monkey mind. Continue reading “Birdsong: Five Minute Nature Meditations”
This summer my friends who are also in their autumn years came to visit with their three girls. Though they thought they were finished with parenting years ago, due to unusual family circumstances they are parenting again. We had a marvelous time together and throughout the month they visited we taught the girls several simple meditation practices. In this post I’m going to share one of them. It’s a very simple meditation that anyone can use any place and any time to experience one minute of deep relaxation and peace. Continue reading “Learning One Minute Meditation”
The Greeks original paradise was called the Garden of the Hesperides, and they associated it with Zeus and Hera and with a serpent-entwined apple tree. Dryads were nymphs associated with trees and water. In Greek mythology, the three nymphs The “Hesperides” were daughters of either Nyx (Night) or the heaven-bearing Titan Atlas. Continue reading “Golden Apples Guided Meditation for Children”
People with fibromyalgia experience a range of symptoms of varying intensities that wax and wane. Those symptoms are usually invisible to others and many people with fibromyalgia push themselves too far until they trigger collapse. What’s key to well-being for people with fibromylagia is taking charge of their own health, employing effective therapies, learning how to cope, and maintaining a positive attitude. Continue reading “8 Fibromylagia Therapies”
Our memories, worries and fears exist in images and we can use images to manage our moods. It’s an age-old method of meditation. With practice, anyone can learn a guided imagery routine that will take then to a safe place of deep relaxation where they can heal and rest. Click images to view larger versions. Continue reading “day and night”
I love the summer months. It’s been wonderful to relax on the beach and enjoy some summertime easy living with friends. All the water, warmth, wet hair, sand and the splashing and laughing has lifted my spirits. I’m intending to extend the sunshine attitude I have now into the autumn.
Sea-change or seachange is a poetic or informal term meaning a gradual transformation in which the form is retained but the substance is replaced, as with petrification. … Source
In Are You Afraid of Stillness and Space? Part 1, Sandra Pawula suggests nourishing yourself with space. She explains how space is a vital element that brings balance into our lives, helping to keep stress, distress, and illness at bay.
In Are You Afraid of Stillness and Space? Part 2 Sandra’s advice is to slowly break free of our driving need to do and to accomplish and begin nurturing ourselves with small, less threatening doses of space. Continue reading “Exploring Spaciousness: Experiencing Peace”
Are you a doodler? Have you ever drawn mandalas ? I had a very busy week full of medical and laboratory appointments and I spent hours traveling between them. While sitting in waiting rooms I began to doodle and produced several mandalas. My girfriend who was visiting and chauferring me between appointments got into the act as well. Continue reading “Making Mandalas: A Magical Process”
I start my days in silence with nothing on my agenda other than just being. As I exhale I sigh a single audible sigh, and then begin to seek the silence, what is that I hear? It’s the incessant internal noise Buddhists refer to as the chatter of the monkey mind. Continue reading “Meditation Practice: Monkey Mind”
My friend Juliana is a remarkable woman in recovery from alcoholism. Juliana has been in recovery for many years and helps other women to get the life they truly deserve because there is only one life, ‘it ain’t no practice run’. In her blog she shares her spiritual journey, and in her most recent article she describes her construct of the God of her understanding.
I was told that I needed to find a power greater than myself, a God of my own understanding. Oh bother, I was stumbling at the first fence. As a cradle catholic, and years of subjugation and church attendance, I had no more idea of God than the man in the moon. … Nowadays, I choose to call my higher power, God; and I have developed a different understanding, one that works for me. – Finding God
Two of many constructs of God
A masculine construct of God calls one to adhere to God the Father’s laws. It includes the concept that God commands all to obey his laws, and at the end of time will ultimately punish unbelievers sending them to a living hell, but will forgive and reward believers with eternal life in heaven with him. This construct is embraced by those who say their understanding of God comes from reading the Bible.
A feminine construct of God calls one to be aware that for every thought and action there is a reaction, a consequence, an outcome regardless of the law. Those who embrace this construct of God say their understanding of God is comes from their experience that the universal laws of nature are impersonal. Reactions are outcomes flowing from natural law (karma) ie. the result of their own past actions and present doings and not punishment or reward from God.
My construct of God
My understanding of God does not come from scripture. I don’t think we humans can ever have a true understanding of the nature of God until we recognize we are in charge of our selves and nothing more. When I reached the point in my life where I recognized I had no control over anything or anyone but myself, I came to understand that God was in everyone and everything.
Once I freed my mind from grasping and following every transient thought I experienced in meditation, I awakened, became conscious and experienced bliss.
I started seeing nature and the world in the way I had seen nature as a child, stripped clean of the religious brainwashing I received. God was in the sunlight, the clouds, rainbows, the ocean, the forests, the meadows, flowers and snow topped mountains.
When bliss descends, the insecurity of the heart, the frustration of the mind, the depression of the vital and the limitation of the body disappear. A seeker, an aspiring soul, carries with him two divine weapons: God-love and world-embrace. When we love God from the very depths of our hearts, we feel that our inner existence is inundated with bliss. And when we embrace the world as a divine manifestation of God, again our inner being is inundated with bliss. — Scri Chinmoy
God was within me and the experience of homecoming; the experience of bliss that moved me beyond words. The God of my understanding is pure consciousness and my purpose in life was revealed to me.
To live consciously and courageously in the now moment, to resonate with love and compassion, and to leave this world in peace.
Below is my comment on Juliana’s article which contains a description of my seeking and finding the God of my own understanding.
I too love the ocean in all weather and in all seasons. I also love the forest just as much. I live on a small forested island so I’m continually witnessing and influenced by the ever-changing face of the ocean and the tides, and the changes within the forest too.
I think the construct of God refers to a person’s cognitive or theological understanding of God and that the God construct develops is two ways. The first way is through what an individual has been taught and told to believe about God. The second is by what the individual experiences and attributes to the God of their own understanding.
When what an individual is taught and told to believe about God and what they experience are not internally consistent they may become spiritual seekers. I became a spiritual seeker and I too found the God of my own understanding.
As I sought I began to draw even more distinctions based on what I was taught and told to believe about God, and what I learned about God through my own experiences. As a trod the spiritual path I came to realize that my mind was not the tool to analyze God. I came to believe more and more deeply with even greater conviction that I need to let go of constructs of God and simply experience all there was just as it was. So I did that. I learned how to just be and how to be okay with just being.
Over time I developed my own construct of God which is quite different from the God I was taught about and told to believe in as a child. Based on my own experience through meditation I found the God of my understanding deep within me. succinctly stated I believe God is LOVE and when I meditate I feel like I am coming home to God.
My construct of God is neither male nor female, neither good nor bad, neither light nor darkness but containing all there is and situate everywhere: the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all is God – LOVE. Hence, God is found in everyone and in everything; God just keeps on being LOVE.
I believe I have only one life in this body at this point in time, but it’s possible that the essence of me may be returned to live in a new body without a recollection of previous lives, until I stop clanging like a cymbal, and actually become one with God – one with the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all – one with LOVE.
That being said I find the most difficult part of my life is to be still within, at peace and one with God when I am in the company of others. However, when I am in nature and sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in, or when I am in the forest seated on a mossy stump I am still within, at peace, and one with my construct of God. In other words, what I struggle with is remaining in that loving and peaceful state once I leave meditation.
Have you found the God of your understanding?
Tolle is very much aware that it is in the nowhere that the everywhere exists, that it is in the nothing that everything is found. This is not an easy concept for most people to grasp.
The trick with Tolle’s work is to not think about it. Most people, the author says, are lost in thought. The idea is to be out of your mind and into your experience of exactly what is happening, right here, right now.
We think of death as being the opposite of birth. Life, in it’s essence has no opposite. The opposite of life is non-life, just living without consciousness is opposite to living life consciously. — Neale Donald Walsch, Author of Conversations with God
When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.
Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I Am that is deeper than name and form.
When each thought absorbs your attention completely, it means you identify with the voice in your head. Thought then becomes invested with a sense of self. This is the ego, a mind-made “me.” That mentally constructed self feels incomplete and precarious. That’s why fearing and wanting are its predominant emotions and motivating forces.
When you recognize that there is a voice in your head that pretends to be you and never stops speaking, you are awakening out of your unconscious identification with the stream of thinking. When you notice that voice, you realize that who you are is not the voice — the thinker — but the one who is aware of it.
Knowing yourself as the awareness behind the voice is freedom. True freedom and the end of suffering is living in such a way as if you had completely chosen whatever you feel or experience at this moment.
This inner alignment with Now is the end of suffering.
Is suffering really necessary? Yes and no.
If you had not suffered as you have, there would be no depth to you as a human being, no humility, no compassion. You would not be reading this now. Suffering cracks open the shell of ego, and then comes a point when it has served its purpose.
Suffering is necessary until you realize it is unnecessary.
If you haven’t read this collection of thoughts on stillness I highly recommend it to you.
My friend, Jonathan has published his informative and insightful “how-to” post Allow Gratitude to Transform Your Life:
We can actually train ourselves to search for, discover, and focus on legitimate reasons to feel grateful and appreciative.
Meditation is a method for synchronizing body and mind in the present moment. When the body and mind are in sync, we are naturally relaxed, alert, open, and aware, and we experience ourselves and the world in a direct, unmediated way, without conceptual filters. It is this direct experience of the fullness, vitality, and splendor of life that is the gift of meditation.
Today I was reading ScienceDaily and noticed a new entry that will be of interest to those who do suffer from chronic pain and depression. I found this report to be very interesting because I have been using Yogic breathing and Buddhist breathing and mindfulness exercises for over 20 years now to control my own pain and to cope with the depression that chronic pain leads to. In fact I have been sharing my practices in this blog. Continue reading “Yogic breathing exercises reduce pain and depression”
The focus of your meditation can be abstract and formless as in blue sky meditation. The focus of your meditation can also be a specific form such as a flower, a crystal, a flickering candle, or any other “virtuous” object. Continue reading “Meditation Practice: Candle Meditation for Beginners”
This is another article in a series for those who are beginning to meditate. It’s important to know what meditation is and what it isn’t, so please read the other articles first Buddhist Meditation: Mindful Breathing Practice and Meditation Practice: Preparation for Beginners. Continue reading “Meditation Practice: Mountain Meditation for Beginners”
Are you a seeker and questioner too? Or do you have all the answers?
No 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”
In this mad world filled with video, TV, cell phone mania, and music of all kinds at all times and in all places, how much do you desire and value silence?
Do you yearn for silence or view it as an uncomfortable experience?
Do you make time for silence or do you avoid it?
I choose to start my days in silence with nothing on my agenda other than just being and meditating. I rise early and sit bundled up on deck chair with my cup of cocoa between my hands. As I inhale the aroma my mouth watering in anticipation of the moment the first creamy swallow will glide over my tongue, I sigh a single audible sigh, and then begin to seek the silence.
Sitting alone in a quiet place can be a difficult experience. Without distractions, we can feel bombarded by unpleasant thoughts and emotions. All the ways we’re unhappy about ourselves and our lives come raging back into our awareness when there’s space for them to come up.– How Getting Used To Silence Can Help Your Productivity by Christopher R. Edgar on Productivity
Observing silence outwardly but allowing my mind to be noisy wouldn’t do so when I finish I rise from my chair, sit my cup on the table and position myself cross-legged on the cushion I place there for this purpose. Then I begin by simply following my breath in and out. Not striving to change it in anyway simply observing it. With eyes half closed I witness my monkey mind cavorting from topic to topic and yammering, yammering, yammering about the things I must accomplish today. I pay this no mind but neither do I push it away. I continue to follow my breath – Buddhist Meditation: Mindful Breathing Practice. In time my monkey mind will quietly come to rest as I make the shift into consciousness — into the meditative state.
Some time later I make the shift back into everyday awareness filled with the knowledge that all of us, all over the world, are living breathing cells in the body of humanity nurtured by the silence, a spacious place for growth.
Throughout the ages sages have emphasized the value of silence saying that talking expends energy and time, while silence insures we use our resources judiciously. An early defender of Quakerism, Robert Barclay, emphasized on how much more powerful silence is than any argument used to dissuade a person from the error of his ways. Indeed, self improvement coaches, counselors and writers exhort us to befriend silence for they have personal knowledge of its power.
For decades I have sought silence several times every day and cannot imagine what it would be like never to experience this peace and quiet and the benefits it brings me. Silence refreshes me and heals me of the exhaustion and angst caused by the noise of every day life. Silence provides the spaciousness in which my many scattered parts can come together and mend. Silence provides the canvas upon which my next painting will appear first on the back of my eyelids and then in reality.
What relationship do you have with silence?
I am constructing a new blog on tumblr thistimespace that contains music, videos, affirmations and quotations which are all focused on personal growth and development through meditation. For notice of updates please follow me on my thistimespace twitter account or subscribe to my blog’s feed http://thistimespace.tumblr.com/rss
The 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”
I have two near death experiences and many health crises in my life. I have sung this healing chant many many times.
Not surprisingly, this song has been a source of inspiration and healing for many around the world and Shaina Noll sings this song so beautifully. I hope you like it as much as I do. Continue reading “How Deeply You’re Connected To My Soul”
You Can Be Happy Even When…
- People have disappointed, betrayed or even defamed you
- Somebody else is having a bad day and gets upset when you don’t join in their misery
- Nobody seems genuinely supportive of your goals and dreams
- You are falling short of your high expectations or you didn’t complete your to-do list
- Nothing runs smoothly, on time or according to your plans
A video I found to be very empowering is a TED conference video and I’m going to share it with you.
Matthieu Ricard, French translator and right-hand man for the Dalai Lama, has been the subject of intensive clinical tests at the University of Wisconsin, as a result of which he is frequently described as the happiest man in the world. — Robert Chalmers, The Independent
After training in biochemistry at the Institute Pasteur, Matthieu Ricard left science behind to move to the Himalayas and become a Buddhist monk — and to pursue happiness, both at a basic human level and as a subject of inquiry. Achieving happiness, he has come to believe, requires the same kind of effort and mind training that any other serious pursuit involves.
His deep and scientifically tinged reflections on happiness and Buddhism have turned into several books, including The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet. At the same time, he also makes sensitive and jaw-droppingly gorgeous photographs of his beloved Tibet and the spiritual hermitage where he lives and works on humanitarian projects.
His latest book on happiness is Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill; his latest book of photographs is Tibet: An Inner Journey.
Matthieu Ricard on the habits of happiness
Happiness is something that everyone is searching for. When we’re happy, life just feels great. Everything feels…right. Now, as happiness is a goal for many of us, there is a lot of advice out there. I’ve even wrote a post myself about attaining instant happiness, but today I wanted to share some proven examples. –
5 Research-Proven Ways to Increase Happiness
The following is a partial excerpt of an interview with Eckhart Tolle from a book called Dialogues With Emerging Spiritual Teachers by John W. Parker.
I also started reading on Buddhism and immediately understood the essence of Buddhism. I saw the simplicity of the original teaching of the Buddha compared to the complexity of subsequent additions, philosophy, all the baggage that over the centuries accumulated around Buddhism, and saw the essence of the original teaching. I have a great love for the teaching of the Buddha, a teaching of such power and sublime simplicity. I even spent time in Buddhist monasteries. During my time in England there were already several Buddhist monasteries.
I met and listened to some teachers that helped me understand my own state. In the beginning there was a Buddhist monk, Achan Sumedo, abbot of two or three monasteries in England. He’s a Western-born Buddhist. — Eckhart Tolle
This post was inspired by and includes the words of my friend
Men have argued about the nature of God and life after death since the beginning of time. The next time someone asks you if you believe in life after death please consider this:
Perhaps we all have eternal life and most have no recollection of past lives and that’s the great cosmic joke.
The One becomes many to experience LOVE. It is nothing but a quest for LOVE, and throughout out time ( I use that term loosely) puts on the garb of billions of beings to experience this.
The journey from self to SELF, is the journey, where God gradually shakes off the ignorance and reclaims the Divinity, or basically is conscious of his/her/its Divine Reality – LOVE.
Thus, the smile on the Buddha’s face.
God is also a process. The mind is not the tool to analyze God, never was, never will be, it has limitations. God has to be experienced, not dissected by the limited human mind. So really, God hasn’t gone anywhere, done anything, but is still seated in the same spot and has dreamed him/her/itself as ignorance.
The ONE becomes many to experience LOVE. It is nothing but a quest for LOVE, throughout out time (I use that term loosely), the ONE puts on the garb of billions of beings to experience this.
I don’t cogitate, I meditate and when all the things associated with my “self” like greed, anger, hate, etc. dissolve there is no self; there is no distinct being that is separate from God – LOVE.
Neither male nor female, neither good nor bad, neither light nor darkness but containing all there is and situate everywhere: the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all is God – LOVE. Hence, God is found in everyone and in everything; God just keeps on experiencing LOVE.
We have only one life in this body at this point in time, but again and again, we return to live in a new body with no recollection of previous lives, until we stop clanging like cymbals, and actually become ONE – LOVE.
I have twice been declared dead but have come back to life. I no longer fear death and no longer question what my life purpose is. I know that I am meant to LIVE, LOVE and LEARN and that’s why I’m here.
I know in my heart of hearts — I am meant to teach as well as to learn.
Death is a transition; it’s a new beginning. After my life in this body is over, I will return again to this earthly plane, with no knowledge of any past lives, and I will be faced with more lessons to learn and more to teach. Until I have learned all my lessons perfectly and taught them all perfectly, and I have become ONE – LOVE, I will return again and again.
Perhaps we all have eternal life and most have no recollection of past lives and that’s the great cosmic joke.
Not everyone has loved me in my past lives. Not everyone will love me in this life or in my future lives either. I have I not loved nor will I love everyone either but that’s okay, because at our core we are all much more the same than we are different.
The Buddha, Siddhāttha Gotama civilized half the world with his teaching. These are a collection of his wise quotes. It doesn’t matter which faith you follow or if don’t particularly consider yourself a religious person, you will find truth in his words. The video is after the jump.
Continue reading “Wisdom of the Buddha”
Prayer involves cogitation (thinking). To pray is to entreat or implore and is often used as a means of introducing a question, a request, or plea addressed to a deity either, on the behalf of the person praying, or on behalf of of another person, institution or city, country, nation, etc. I do not pray as I do not believe that deities of any kind actually exist; I meditate.
Meditation does not involve cogitation at all. Meditation is the opposite — it’s non-thinking — it’s just being. Meditation does not seek for information or make inquiries. It does not ask that a wish or desire be granted; it does not seek intervention on the mediator’s behalf, or the behalf of another person, institution or city, country, nation, etc.
The meditative state is achieved by stilling of the mind and body, becoming aware of vital stillness, and hearing within that stillness. It is the stillness of being naturally present before you become attached to thoughts and things; before you identify with thought-feeling-reaction.
Here are some ways you can practice meditation every day on your own, whenever you choose. Take a few minutes or as much time as you like.
Blue sky mind
During meditation one turns the light of their consciousness inward instead of always running out after things. Practice means that everything you do, you act from Blue Sky Mind. You don’t run off with your delusions when they arise. You visualize a blue sky and view all thoughts, concerns, attachments and associated emotions as clouds floating through your blue sky and gradually your brain stops generating them.
When “clouds” enter again you remain still and detached returning to Blue Sky Mind, and as you spend more and more time there, eventually that becomes your place of residence. At this point it feels like a true turn-around has occurred, one with entirely different quality of being — just being.
This turn-around occurs when all the things associated with “self” (i.e. the ego) like desire, greed, anger, hate, etc. dissolve. Then the mediator experiences that there is no “self”; there is no distinct being that is separate from the universal stream of pure consciousness.
Often we feel the need to find some tranquility in the otherwise frenzied experience we define as life. We need to step away — find some peace so we can let go of our daily worries — cleanse them from our beings.
We use meditation to reach a state of peaceful and mindful thought. Like stepping into a forest, meditation will teach you that calmness can surround you and fill your senses. This serenity allows us to leave everything else behind and ease our minds and bodies so that we can take life on again with a fresh and more peaceful approach. — Patsy Grey
Benefits of Meditation
- reduces blood pressure
- relaxes the nervous system
- improves the immune system
- lowers oxygen consumption
- decreases the respiratory rate
- improves the blood circulation
- alleviates headaches and migraines
- reduces the pre-menstrual and menopausal symptoms
- resting in a conscious state of natural being assists generation of peaceful and positive thoughts throughout the day
My meditation practice
I sit to meditate everyday, usually more than once a day, and I also do a walking mediation once each day. In between these times I endeavor to be remain in a state of meditative mindfulness.
Related posts found in this blog:
Questions for Readers:
- Do you pray?
- Do you meditate?
- Do you do both?
It’s not always easy to slice into the center and uncover our core beliefs. When we do this we may find some very negative ones left over from childhood. Continue reading “What’s at your core?”
Who am I?
Are you your thoughts?
Are they yours because you observe them?
Can you be without thoughts?
I’m going to provide you with a link to a flash video that is unusual and interesting. You’ll need a Shockwave plugin (Flash player 5.0) to be able to view it. After you have viewed it please read on.
Two questions were asked on a general discussion forum that I want to share with readers and maybe even provoke a discussion about. Writing them here gives me an opportunity to introduce two new friends I have made as well.
There were other answers given to the first question below but the one that resonated for me was by Acousticguitarist
Who is God to you?
The essence that lives in all things and is beyond all things
that which has no beginning and no end
the thing that we sometimes give a name, but cannot truly be defined
can be experienced and felt but never really can put into words
nor cannot it be understood by the human mind because it is beyond the framework of thought
I can’t find a place where it isn’t but I’m sure beyond a doubt that it’s attribute is love.
Acousticguitarist, who gave the answer above, describes himself this way. I play guitar, and have done so for almost 40 years. This has led me through numerous styles and has given me some incredible opportunities to play with world class musicians, absolute beginners and every variation in between. I have four blogs. The major one is The Acoustic Guitar Blog
The second question was posed by Robin Easton an author, speaker, environmentalist, musician, nature photographer, adventurer and blogger. Naked in Eden Blog is a philosophical and social commentary blog with a touch of humor and a deep love of nature. Her posts are drawn from personal questions, insights and inspirations that arise in response to day-to-day life.
Who are you?
What if (for the moment) you took everything that defines who you are out of your life, out of the picture: your social standing, your work place/job, your income, your home, where you live, your age, your education, books you read, religious/spiritual training, psychological counseling, TV, internet, radio, and family and friends, etc? Now, with all that out of the picture can you tell me who you are?
Take everything that defines who you are out of your life and tell me who you are.
Meditainment Ltd. is the producer and developer of MediHeaven, a virtual world for meditation. In addition, it serves over one million downloads each year from its audio library.
This is a commercial site aimed at creating “affiliates”, however, there are some “freebies”, as well.
Upon arrival in MediHeaven, the MIND COACH asks you questions about the things you want and the way you feel. She then guides you on a uniquely suited meditation. You’ll need 20 minutes for this.
You will count yourself down through seven levels of relaxation and then feel like you’re in paradise. It just takes 4 to 6 minutes and it’s free.
FDA gives green light to milk and meat from cloned animals
The FDA has declared that milk and meat from cloned animals and their offspring are safe for human consumption. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture asked producers to continue the voluntary moratorium by not selling these products into the food supply.
Many consumers remain opposed to the controversial technology, citing ethical or humane objections. Clones are frequently born with severe defects and may possess subtle genetic damage that harms their health and may compromise the safety of their milk or meat.
A bill to label products from cloned animals has been introduced in Congress. Meanwhile, there is anecdotal evidence that despite the moratorium, cloned products have already entered the food supply. Read more from the Washington Post, an opinion from the New York Times, or UCS’ comments on cloning.
Smaller farms are more productive
Mid-sized and small farms are significantly more productive than large farms. But commodity payments go overwhelmingly to larger operations that are pushing them out of business. Read more…
Major biotech companies pull out of hunger assessment
Two biotechnology industry giants, Monsanto and Syngenta, have pulled out of an international project that aims to reduce hunger in developing countries. They withdrew from the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development, a four-year, $10-million undertaking, claiming that a draft report does not adequately reflect industry perspectives.
One such perspective is that biotechnology will be necessary to produce enough food for the growing world population. An editorial in the journal criticized the companies for walking out, noting that the view that “biotechnology cannot by itself reduce hunger and poverty is mainstream opinion among agricultural scientists and policy makers.” The assessment’s final report, an effort involving more than 4,000 scientists and experts, is expected to be released this spring. Read more.
Poultry workers 32 times more likely to carry resistant bacteria
Poultry workers are 32 times more likely than the average person to harbor E. coli bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotic gentamicin, according to a study by Johns Hopkins University researchers. The scientists compared stool samples from poultry workers with those from local community residents. The workers were also significantly more likely to harbor bacteria that were resistant to multiple drugs. The study concluded that occupational exposure to chickens may be “an important route of entry” for these dangerous bacteria into the community. Read the study (pdf), and send a letter to your members of Congress on legislation to address antibiotic resistance.
Gene escapes to weeds from engineered canola in Canada
A recent study found that canola plants in Quebec, Canada, that were genetically engineered for herbicide resistance have interbred with a weed called wild mustard, producing hybrid plants that are resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. The herbicide-resistance gene persisted over five generations and spread from the hybrids into the mustard weeds, in spite of the fact that no herbicide was applied to the area.
The event is significant for two reasons. One, it is the first known escape of a gene from a commercialized genetically engineered crop into a weed. Two, because canola is a major crop, covering an estimated two million acres across Canada, it is likely that gene escape has occurred at multiple sites in addition to the few that were monitored.
The event echoes the escape of a gene for glyphosate resistance from field trials of bentgrass into wild relatives (see previous story). Inadequate confinement of engineered crops may harm ecosystems in some circumstances and may hasten the development of herbicide-resistant weeds. Read the abstract describing the study in the scientific journal Molecular Ecology.
These files are very large, as much as 20 MB, high speed internet connection is recommended
Deepening The Silence
(CD 1, Meditation 2 from Meditation Skills course) 15 minutes
Following The Breath & Observing The Body
(CD 1, Meditation 3 from Meditation Skills course) 30 minutes
Related blog post: Ten Guided Relaxation Tapes
As I sat here at my computer terminal reflecting on recent events and the nature of consciousness I recalled an article I had read in 2007.
The Mystery of Consciousness – Research on consciousness is alternately exhilarating and disturbing. There is no other topic is like it. As René Descartes noted, our own consciousness is the most indubitable thing there is.
The major religions locate it in a soul that survives the body’s death to receive its just deserts or to meld into a global mind. For each of us, consciousness is life itself, the reason Woody Allen said, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying.” And the conviction that other people can suffer and flourish as each of us does is the essence of empathy and the foundation of morality.
To make scientific headway in a topic as tangled as consciousness, it helps to clear away some red herrings. Consciousness surely does not depend on language. Babies, many animals and patients robbed of speech by brain damage are not insensate robots; they have reactions like ours that indicate that someone’s home. Nor can consciousness be equated with self-awareness. At times we have all lost ourselves in music, exercise or sensual pleasure, but that is different from being knocked out cold.
Are You Conscious? Living consciously may seem like a no-brainer, but it is actually a lifestyle, a skill, and an art that few master. It’s not a one-time event or activity, but a way of life.
The concept is deceptively simple: Be conscious, and think about why you do what you do. But to make conscious choices rather than doing things “just because” can actually be quite challenging, and may require us to “rewire” the way we think.
It is easier to live life on autopilot, and to just keep doing what we always do, simply because that’s what we’re used to doing. Conscious living calls for breaking out of routines that aren’t productive so that we can begin to have the lives we really want.
One of the best ways to live consciously is to make reflecting on your life a regular routine through keeping a journal and/or meditating or reflecting on your day. The important thing is to give your life conscious consideration so that you really know and understand your life for what it is, and can make course corrections when needed.
“Often we feel the need to find some tranquility in the otherwise frenzied experience we define as life. We need to step away — find some peace so we can let go of our daily worries — cleanse them from our beings. Like stepping into a forest, this meditation will teach you that calmness can surround you and fill your senses. This serenity allows us to leave everything else behind and ease our minds and bodies so that we can take life on again with a fresh and more peaceful approach. Use this meditation to reach a state of peaceful and mindful thought. About the Author
To listen to these meditations, you will need a speaker hooked up to your computer and the RealNetwork’s RealPlayer(TM) application. It is easy to get. If you do not have the player, click here to download it now.
Click here to begin your meditation.
There isn’t a person on earth today that doesn’t want to be happy. But when we examine what happiness means to any individual, we discover that most of what people claim makes them feel happy falls into the category of “instant gratification” derived from “outer events”.
Some people are true believers that the quickest path to happiness is to buy it or to mold it by transforming their personal surroundings. They may have convinced themselves that if they buy a new Lexus SUV or move to a beach house on the coast, lasting happiness will follow. But these kinds of changes only for the short term, they eventually become part of your status quo and their power to deliver happiness fades away.
People are happy when they are “in control”, that is, when they feel competent to satisfy their needs and reach their goals — Happiness
These are characteristic of societies where people tend to be happy:
- wealth (measured by average purchasing power) -The correlation between purchasing power and happiness becomes less important for more wealthy societies, implying that once the basic material needs of nutrition and shelter are satisfied, further prosperity adds little to happiness.
- access to knowledge (measured by literacy, school enrolment and media attendance) – The component of cognitive competence.
- personal freedom – People are more satisfied in societies which minimally restrict their freedom of action, in other words, where they are in control rather than being controlled. This is again a form of material competence.
- equality – Social inequality implies less control for those who are in the weaker position, and more risks of losing their privileges for those in the stronger position.
On the individual level, the differences in happiness between people living in the same society depend on their situation and on their personal characteristics:
- health – Life-satisfaction tends to be larger among those that are in good physical and mental health. Inversely, happy people are much less likely to fall ill and die than unhappy people. This directly reflects the strong correlation between happiness and biological fitness.
- psychological characteristics – Happy people are characterized by the belief that they are able to control their situation, whereas unhappy people tend to believe that they are victims of fate. This reflects what we have called subjective competence. Happy people are also more psychologically resilient, assertive, empathetic and open to experience. These are all features which, according to our theory of self-actualization (Heylighen, 1992), accompany the perceived competence to satisfy needs.
- social position – Happiness is more common among those that have intimate ties (e.g. marriage) and that participate in various organizations. This reflects the degree to which people manage to satisfy their social needs, and get better control of their own situation by relying on the support of others. Occupationally, happiness tends to be more common among professionals and managers, that is, people who are in control of the work they do, rather than subservient to their bosses.
- life-events – Happiness is clearly correlated with the presence of favorable events (such as promotion, marriage, etc. ) and the absence of troubles or bad luck (such as accidents, being laid off, conflicts, etc.). These events on their own signal the success or failure to reach one’s goals, and therefore the control one has.
Paige Parvin, Emory Magazine: You’ve spoken a great deal about happiness on this visit. Do you believe that most people are happy, and why or why not?
Dalai Lama : Most people? I think human life is basically a mixture, so pain, pleasure. But then average, difficult to say. I think I prefer to say the majority of the human being are relatively happy. Otherwise, the majority of people would commit suicide. We usually see surprise for the high rate of suicide. We’re surprised. That means we don’t want that. So we see those people who did suicide, we see, quite foolish! Better alive.
So I think average person, I think is happy. But my point is, physical wellbeing, physical comfort, also important. However, it is wrong to look for happiness only in the terms of physical condition with material facility. That is wrong, I think. Material facility is very important, we need physical wellbeing, also important. But that’s not sufficient. We must take a more serious look at what our inner mental peace. There, our own mental attitude is very, very important factor. So, compassion, forgiveness, reconciliation. Now these mental factors are very, very important factors for peace of mind.
The physical world is always in a state of flux. At each moment a new thing is being created, sustained, changed, transformed and then destroyed. This is the normal state of affairs and no one can change it. If we attach ourselves to a certain state, we are bound to experience unhappiness sooner or later. No state remains as it is. These are the laws of nature. When circumstances change, and the changes are not to our liking, we experience unhappiness. On the other hand, if we exercise detachment, nothing can influence our moods. Then outer events have nothing to do with our inner joy and peace of mind. — Remez Sasson
The truth is that we do not need pleasurable circumstances and events to evoke happiness with us. Happiness is within us at all times. Just as soon as we make the decision to be happy, regardless of our circumstances, it manifests.
No person, thing or circumstance controls our response to that person, thing or circumstance. We choose our own responses. We have complete control over our state of mind and happiness is a decision that we make between our ears.
When I take a moment to observe myself having thoughts, I am no longer the thoughts. I get to be and observe at the same time. That’s why if I continue to come back to my breath which always occurs in the here and now, it draws me into the present. And from that vantage point I can observe as past and future attempts to draw me away from the moment.
This paying attention to the here and now, to the breath, to the observing one’s thoughts without being critical or judgmental is what many people call Mindfulness. But what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a word. Nothing more, nothing less. As a word it is a symbol or a sign. As a sign or symbol it points to a way of looking at life in general and one’s own life in particular. Mindfulness points one in the direction of being aware of the present moment.
Mindfulness points to: Being aware of and paying attention to the moment in which we find ourselves. Our past is gone, our future is not yet here. So what exists between them is the present moment.
If I can observe and not get caught up in my thoughts, it is all that I have. The here and now, the present is the link which holds what was and what will be.
My past was a series of present moments which brought me to this present moment. My future should it happen will be a series of present moments effected by only present moment in which I am now living, being, doing, observing, being aware or unaware, and attentive or inattentive.
While mindfulness is a generalization about paying attention and being aware in the present moment, it occurs only in the individual. That individual makes a choice to be in the moment and be aware of what is happening in the present moment. In that choice is a realization.
You are not your thoughts. Thoughts take us away from being here now. This paying attention to the here and now, to the breath, to the observing one’s thoughts, without being critical or judgmental as we go about our daily lives is what many people call Mindfulness Practice.
Related posts found in this blog:
Gabapentin Shown Effective For Fibromyalgia Pain (June 12, 2007) — New research shows that the anticonvulsant medication gabapentin, which is used for certain types of seizures, can be an effective treatment for the pain and other symptoms associated with the common, often hard-to-treat chronic pain disorder, fibromyalgia. > full story
FDA Approves First Drug For Treating Fibromyalgia (June 22, 2007) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Lyrica (pregabalin), the first drug to treat fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by pain, fatigue and sleep problems. Lyrica reduces pain and improves daily functions for some patients with fibromyalgia. > full story
Further Legitimization Of Fibromyalgia As A True Medical Condition (June 25, 2007) — Fibromyalgia, a chronic, widespread pain in muscles and soft tissues accompanied by fatigue, is a fairly common condition that does not manifest any structural damage in an organ. Fibromyalgia, affecting approximately 2% of the US population, is an example of a class of maladies called CSS. These diseases are based on neurochemical abnormalities and include irritable bowel syndrome, migraine and restless legs syndrome. > full story
Mindfulness Meditation: A New Treatment For Fibromyalgia? (August 6, 2007) — Fibromyalgia has emerged as a common, yet difficult to treat disorder. A group of investigators has proposed a new modality of treatment. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) proposes a systematic program for reduction of suffering associated with a wide range of medical conditions. > full story
Why Don’t Painkillers Work For People With Fibromyalgia? (October 3, 2007) — New research shows that people with fibromyalgia were found to have reduced binding ability of a type of receptor in the brain that is the target of opioid painkiller drugs such as morphine. > full story
Related fibromyalgia blog posts can be found on this page.
A revered contemplative practice for centuries, meditation has recently inspired research into its therapeutic value for everything from anxiety disorders to heart attack prevention. A painful, progressive autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis is associated with a high risk of depression — double the risk of the healthy population, by conservative estimates — and various forms of psychological distress. Increasingly, RA patients are turning to alternative therapies like meditation to ease the toll of their disease. Mindfulness-based stress reduction shows promise for easing psychological distress associated with disease symptoms.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a meditation training program developed by Dr. Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. MBSR teaches participants to relate differently to thoughts and emotions, and continually focus the mind on the present moment to increase clarity and calmness. The program has been shown to improve psychological symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia, cancer, and multiple sclerosis, among other conditions. -> full story
Related fibromylagia post links can be found on this page.
The ultimate Truth is so simple. It is nothing more than being in the pristine state. That is all that need be said.
Still, it is a wonder that to teach this simple Truth there should come into being so many religions, creeds, methods, and disputes among them and so on! Oh, the pity! Oh, the pity!
Because they want something elaborate and attractive and puzzling, so many religions have come into existence and each of them is so complex, and each creed in each religion has its own adherents and antagonists.
For example, an ordinary Christian will not be satisfied unless he is told that God is somewhere in the far-off Heavens not to be reached by us unaided. Christ alone knew Him and Christ alone can guide us. Therefore: Worship Christ and be saved. If told the simple truth — “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” — he is not satisfied and will read complex and far-fetched meanings into such statements. Mature minds alone can grasp the simple Truth in all its nakedness. — Ramana Maharshi