Here are our picks for the a few of the most timely and meaningful (and possibly) best meditation books, selected by our staff from the shelves of our Meditation Bookstore here at Samadhi Cushions:
Capturing words of advice from Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, Songs of Experience calls upon students to recognize the nature of mind by waking up to their own experience. In this short poetic text translated by the Nalanda Translation Committee, the young Trungpa Rinpoche tells us to avoid either blocking thoughts or indulging them. Since awareness is here now, we can simply relax and see our thoughts with naked awareness. In this way, habitual patterns of mind are self-liberated.
In Training in Tenderness we are asked to take a radical leap: to open our hearts and save the world. One of the most essential qualities of enlightenment is tsewa, a form of warm energy and openness of heart. In this book Dzigar Kongtrul shows how to open the door to this life-changing energy, transforming our attitude toward ourselves and those around us.
In our daily lives we constantly find ourselves confronted by the demands of technology and social media. We have the tools to connect with each other but often feel overwhelmed and alone. As an alternative, Sakyong Mipham calls upon us to return to basics. In The Lost Art of Good Conversationhe explains to readers how to listen and speak more mindfully and effectively. Good conversation, it turns out, is about engaging with a sense of kindness and compassion.
In complicated, demanding times we look for heroes to show us what to do when challenges threaten to overwhelm us. The Life and Visions of Yeshé Tsogyal is the story of one of the greatest heroes and teachers of Tibetan Buddhism. It tells us of her life and struggles in a traditional male-dominated society, her meetings with Padmasambhava, and her retreat at Chimpu and visionary journey to Oddiyana. It is a story to inspiring anyone seeking awakenment in the midst of suffering and chaos. Translated by the prolific and remarkable Padmakara Translation Group.
Every day we are confronted with the realities of social conflict, intolerance, and war. Achieving peace between peoples or even within our families or at work seems more and more out of reach. To help us make peace a reality, The Buddha’s Teachings on Social and Communal Harmonyoffers a collection of teachings on the quelling of anger, creating good friendship, realizing intentional communities, settling disputes, and the establishment of an equitable society. Even readers new to Buddhist thought will appreciate these ancient teachings, always clear, practical, undogmatic, and utterly up to date. Edited and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Faith is controversial. While some of us give ourselves to it without question, others regard it with suspicion. Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel urges us to take another look. In The Logic of Faith she explains that faith is really nothing but our natural proclivity to find certainty in a world where certainty is hard to come by. She believes faith and logic work together in a relationship that reveals a deeper more profound kind of truth—one beyond the limits of “is” and “is not.”
Our society is burdened by racial injustice and the ongoing legacy of white supremacy. Buddhist communities are not immune. Radical Dharmaurges a compassionate response to violence and oppression. It demonstrates how social transformation and personal spiritual liberation are inextricably linked. These talks and writings are by Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens and Jasmine Syedullah, PhD. Here you find a new dharma that serves to deconstruct rather than amplify systems of suffering, opening up the reader to the hidden ways oppression and violence may continue to play in us and our communities.
For More Reporting of the Best Meditation Books from Samadhi Store
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Pranayama means extension of the breath. Prana is energy or life force and ayama means to extend. Pranayama is used in Yoga practice as a means to calm the mind. Your energetic (or pranic) body connects your physical body to your emotional body via the Chakra’s.
Committing to a regular meditation practice is one of the key ways I care for myself. Research showing the benefits of meditation continue to confirm my commitment. Regular Meditators report being able to ease (& in some cases overcome) the symptoms associated with chronic or debilitating illness, through adopting a self-care regime which includes Meditation. Personally, I feel more positive, grounded, connected and Mindful on days that I make the time for Meditation. I also find Meditation to be efficient pain reduction technique.
Meditation is often cited as a method of calming the mind. Actually, it is quite the reverse – you need to be in a calm state of mind in order to generate the focus required to Meditate. Yoga provides a therapeutic pathway to Meditation by beginning at the gross level of the physical body and moving through the subtle energies of the breath (using exercises of Pranayama), to achieve calmness of mind. These practices improve concentration and focus, on their own a great benefit, but also a pre-requisite for Meditation.
Mindfulness techniques also form a compatible introduction to Meditation and are a great option for those who have other physical practices, or who simply prefer not to (or are unable to) engage in the physical component of Yoga (known as Asana). Asana is only one of the eight Yogic limbs, despite the focus it receives in Western culture. Mindfulness practices have much in common with Yogic practices, including;
Focusing on an object, often the breath,
Relaxation practices, including body scanning techniques,
Exploration with the senses such as Mindful eating.
If the above seems to much like hard work, you’ll love Yoga Nidra. Many of the benefits of meditation, no movement required, just get comfortable and listen to a calming voice guide you to a state of great calm.
By meditating you become more aware, more alert and more attentive to the things, people and incidents around you. Similarly, you can become more aware of your emotions, what triggers these different emotions inside you. As you become familiar with these emotions and their causes, you develop a strong tendency of witnessing them and become more present minded and thus positive.
One simple method to meditate is to close your eyes and focus on breathing. For instance, as you meditate, breathe in the calmness and peace of mind, and breathe out all your stress and worries from the day. As you do this you can gain greater emotional awareness by being more familiar with the different thoughts, feelings, and sensations associated with each emotion. Meditation makes you feel these emotions in your body and heart and learn to have a greater connection with the emotions you want.
As Sadhguru Mentions about meditation:
So what is meditation? The purpose of, if we have to look at the purpose, if you sit in meditation slowly it will become like this: your body is here, your mind is out there, what is you is somewhere else. Once these three things are happening separately, once there is a space between you and the body, between you and the mind – this is the end of suffering. Once the fear of suffering is taken away, only then you will keep your instinct of self-preservation down; otherwise you won’t keep it down. As long as the fear of suffering is there, you will not keep the instinct of self-preservation down.
1. Meditation Makes You Emotionally Strong:
A study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience suggests, practicing meditation changes the pattern how your mind deals with emotions in a positive way. But it needs a regular practice. With time you would learn controlling your emotions in a strong way. Many researches has proved this point.
Researchers from Boston University, the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies and many other institutes have found that meditation changes the way the amygdala (a part of the brain which helps in processing of emotions) responds to emotional stimuli. They also suggested that this happens not only when you are practicing meditation but other times too. Many people participated in the research. Participants underwent three eight-week courses:
First course was on alertness i.e. mindful attention meditation, where they practiced to be more alert, attentive and aware of their thoughts, emotions and of course breathing.
Second course was on kindness or compassion meditation, where they practiced to feel compassion and kindness to other human beings and themselves too.
The third and the final course was on general health information. Participants were provided with some sessions on general health information.
Then, they took 12 people from each group and they underwent MRI brain scans. Then participants were said to look at 216 images that were meant to provoke positive, neutral or negative emotions. The researchers found that the participants who attended either of the two meditation courses experienced that amygdala has become less active in response to images that were meant to provoke negative feelings. This is a sign of coping with negative emotions like stress, depression and anxiety. On the other hand, participants who attended only the health information class experienced an increase in the activity of the amygdala in response to the same images.
2. It Literally Changes Brain Structures:
As I mentioned earlier, meditation makes your amygdala less active, resulting more control over your emotions. A study conducted in Harvard in 2011 had shown that meditation practiced over at least 8 weeks was enough to make changes in the brain’s structure. This study is based on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This is the method that I recommend to each and every individual to practice.
The people involved in the study reported spending an average of 27 minutes each day for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction method. After a time of exact 8 weeks, their MR images were tested and the result was surprising. It was found that the density of their gray-matter in the hippocampus had increased significantly. It is a factor that improves your alertness, presence of mind, memory, learning abilities, self-awareness, compassion and introspection.
3. Makes Mind Your Slave:
Or should I say “Makes mind your slave again”. As Osho explains that mind is originally meant to be a slave. But because of the society and civilization, it has managed to become the mater. Your mind should work with you to make a better life not vice versa. If your life is according to your brain but not your heart then your are doing it wrong. Mindfulness meditation works well in the treatment of this disorder. You are the developer of your brain. Only you have made your brain the way it is. You have the power to build a better brain, a slave brain. All it takes is meditation.
4. Depression? What’s That?
In a study published in the journal Psychiatry Research, 70 participants with generalized anxiety disorder were randomly selected into two groups. One group were trained in mindfulness-based stress reduction method . The other group, acting as the control, did not receive any kind of meditation training.
The researchers found that participants who were given the training on mindfulness stress reduction method showed much lower levels of a specific bio-marker for stress in the body. This result shows that meditation changes the structure of mind and body in cellular level.
A study was conducted by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and Dominique Lippelt at Leiden University. 40 individuals took part in the study. There were all kind of people such as experienced, mediators and people who never practiced meditation before. The participants had to meditate for 25 minutes before doing their thinking tasks. The researchers found that the participants had much more improvement in their following abilities:
Divergent thinking (Ability to generate new ideas.)
Convergent thinking (process whereby one possible solution for a particular problem is generated.)
7. Reduces Pain:
Meditation teaches you how you can emotionally separate your way from your negative thoughts and physical sensations such as pain. By becoming a passive, impartial observer of your mind, suffering is no longer a function of pain. The pain is a simple sensation in the body, we label is “good” of “bad”. Meditation teaches you to become mindfully aware of just how much pain there truly is, and how much you aregenerating via your though processes. The difference is likely much bigger than you think.
8. Help You Get Rid of Addictions:
Be it coffee, tea or something as deadly as alcohol or drug, addiction to any of these could prove to be dangerous. It is indeed a situation that takes a toll over a person’s life. Though, initially it takes shape in the mind, it gradually takes over the body. However, if you wish to get rid of addiction, you would require challenging it head-on.
Meditation has proved to very effective, especially during drug withdrawal and detoxification when the mind undergoes mood swings and an eagerness to relapse. During this time, you have to recognize your true inner voice; you have to calm down the destructive voices that might prompt you to relapse. In fact, your chances of recovery increase significantly if you overcome these destructive voices.
One thing that needs to be borne in mind is that no one can force an addict into recovery. The addict has to be clear-headed. Though, medication has proved to be useful in regaining the health of an addict yet these so called wonder drugs used to treat addict leave a lot of side-effects, which may not just prove to be detrimental for the health of the patients in the long run but may also result in risk of relapse. Meditation is a very effective way to overcome the governing reactions that occur in your mind during detoxification and that too without any side effects.
When meditating, it is important to understand that one cannot get rid of addiction overnight. While meditation provides the inner strength and will power to get over addiction, support of friends and family provides the much-required motivation to fight away this evil.
9. Makes You Aware And Alert:
If you have read the every word of this article till now, you probably know that this is what meditation is all about. This is the fundamental consequence. At first we struggle as we are preoccupied by the thoughts of past and worried about what’s coming next. But then we take another breath and we are here, only here in this moment. Life is happening here and now. Everything else is just an imagination.
10. Improves Sleep Quality:
Practice meditation before bedtime. You can do it even after you lay down to sleep. Meditation will quiet the chit chats of your brain, vanish the thoughts in your mind. Lying down in your bed, breathing deep and focusing on your breath will clear your mind and lead you to the best sleep of your life. I practice meditation everyday, so very sleep is the best sleep of my life.
The simplest method that I recommend is given by Osho.You can focus on your deep breathing and start from one to ten every time you inhale. And then back to one from ten. Meanwhile you have to focus on every gap that takes place between inhalation and exhalation. Or you can also just focus on your breathing this will help your body and mind to relax and before you know it you will be sleeping. Your busy days are major cause for your inability to rest and go to sleep peacefully. You can take sleeping pill all you want but this is only temporary and what about the damage it will do to your body? For this, meditation is the best tool, nothing even comes closer.
11. Helps Maintain Blood Pressure:
It is a proven fact that, meditation tends to reduce the heart rate and the pace of our breathing. This becomes the reason for a number of positive effects, including lower blood pressure, increased stamina for sport and exercise, and a significant amount of reduction in the negative consequences of stress and anxiety.
When we meditate, our stress levels fall significantly causing less chances of depression and anxiety and all the organs within the body begin to normalize. This leads to a reduction in high blood pressure. This makes meditation the best natural way to help reduce high blood pressure.
Meditation makes you more sensible and present. I may encourage you to make a move towards a healthy lifestyle. Many people tend to adapt a healthy lifestyle, full of physical activities, yoga, adventure and fun. It is not true for everyone but this good thing might happen to you.
Robert Schneider, who is the Director of the Institute of Natural Medicine & Prevention, reported that people who have high blood pressure and have been meditating for more than three months, need 23% less medication blood pressure on average.
12. Helps You See The Things As They Are:
As we saw earlier that meditation makes you more aware of the moment. In other words, there is no other thought or perception floating in your mind. Meditation lets you see the true existence of life, it lets you see the things as they are in your experience. No perception, no theories, just your experience. You don’t have to act on what you think. The more you meditate, the more you take this mental freedom into your daily life.
What you do normally is preventing yourself from seeing the actual thing happening before you and from reacting to what is actually happening right now. It happens so quick that you don’t know the fact that you are wrong. It takes away your immediacy, vibrancy and effectiveness. To counteract it, we need to be present with open mind. This is where meditation comes to the picture. If you are a regular practitioner of meditation, your mind tends to be open, relaxed and alert or should I say you made your mind to behave like this.
“And Guided Meditations are NOT for Long-Term Use”
As of late, I’ve had many people come to me who have been listening to some very expensive guided meditation that they bought… and they have become very depressed. The truth of the matter is that all these guided meditations are not true meditation in any way, shape, or form… not even close.
My Brain Scan in Normal Waking State and in TM Meditation
What is True Meditation?
Meditation is about slowing down the mind to the point that there is nothing going on and the mind goes into a deep state of rest. That only happens with T M meditation and Vipassana meditation.
Brain Scans of My Brain
Here are two brain scan of my brain in a normal waking state and you can see lots of activity. And then a brain scan with true T M and Vipassana meditation which were both the same when we did the scans (So I Am Only Showing One)… and you can see that my brain goes into a deep state of rest… very little activity at all.
Guided Meditation Keeps Your Brain Active… No Rest
These guided meditation recordings with someone guiding you through the process and music keeps your brain active. It does not allow the brain to go into a deep state of rest and recoup. But true meditation like T M and Vipassana even makes your brain grow larger so you have more cognitive abilities.
IMPORTANT – Guided Meditations are Not for Long-Term Use
These recordings called guided meditations are OK… they can help a person relax and help with stress a little bit in the short run. But over the long run they can even create more stress and cause depression… and I have seen this with many people who have contacted me.
Go with the Original Way of Meditating
If you want to heal your mind, if you want to have true deep rest (even more rest than you would get while sleeping), if you want to find inner peace, find inner happiness, if you want your brain to grow bigger and have more cognitive abilities, if you want to attain deeper states of consciousness… then learn T M or Vipassana Meditation.
There is no substitute for the real thing… which helps you grow and become more of who you are deep down inside.
Many Blessings to Everyone!
Dr. Paul Haider
Feel Free to Share – This information is meant to get you started so you can do more research on your own… dig a little deeper and find what works for you. This article is for educational purposes only, I strongly recommend that you seek advice from your own GP, private doctor, or medical specialist for any ailment, illness, or medical condition.. this article not meant to be a scientific analysis in any way, shape, or form.
Dr. Paul Haider – Master Herbalist and Spiritual Teacher for over 30 years, helping people to recover and feel healthy. You can also find Dr. Haider on FB under Dr. Paul Haider, Healing Herbs, and at – feel free to connect with him anytime.
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Dr. Paul Haider, Master Herbalist, Spiritual Teacher, Having a Great Life, HH, USA, Dr. Paul Haider, Master Herbalist, HH, USA, Healing, Health, Guided Meditation is NOT Meditation,Guided Meditations are NOT for Long Term Use, I’ve had many people come to me, who have been listening to some very expensive guided meditation, and they have become very depressed, What is True Meditation?, T M or Vipassana are True Meditation, mind goes into a deep state of rest, My Brain Scans, Normal Waking State, T M or Vipassana Meditation Scans, True Meditation Scans Brain in a Deep State of Rest, Guided Meditation Keeps Your Brain Active, No Rest, Guided Meditations are Not for Long Term Use, Go with the Original Way of Meditating, Learn T M, Learn Vipassana, if you want to have true deep rest (even more rest than you would get while sleeping), if you want your brain to grow bigger and have more cognitive abilities, if you want attain deeper states of consciousness… then learn T M or Vipassana Meditation, if you want to find inner peace, find inner happiness, Photo,
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There seem to be experts everywhere on the subject of meditation these days, you can pay big money for a technique, get initiated, grab a white or ochre outfit, a string of 108 beads, picture of Guru, incense, prayer book, Ganesha or Hanuman statue, throw in a weekend intensive workshop and you’re all set to go. Some people are just running a business to support their dream lifestyle but other teachers are wonderful and a short encounter and simple introduction to a meditation practice with them may be life changing and help maintain quality of life.
The sound of David Byrne from Talking Heads singing, ‘We’re on the Road to Nowhere’ briefly passes through the playlist in my head, it popped up between the Mantras and the floating thoughts about multi-dimensional-beings and other worlds; my referencing the song lyrics here is not a negative statement in any way, quite the opposite, taken out of context that line is more potent than anyone would at first realise. NOWHERE is a place I like and am comfortable with.
: Entering the River
I had the greatest of meditation teachers in my early twenties; however I was 18 was when I had my first attempt at disintegrating the Universe (although there have been attempts to escape it the Universe is actually quite a nice place to wander in and as the days unfold it’s become clear that there are many other Multiverses). There I was, blissed out on a sunny Saturday sitting under a tree in a park trying to go inside myself, to leave the world behind. Not much happened on that fine day but I felt gooooood and it was a milestone in my life, I had taken a step into foreverness. My long hair, baggy clothes, Indian sandals, I fitted comfortably into the tail end of the hippy generation, Vietnam war had finished some years before, a lot of Peace signs around, an overuse of cheap patchouli odours orbiting people in the flea market, most teenagers I knew were smoking hash and what was at that time called dope but is now called weed. I’d heard about gurus at 14, seen the Hari’s dancing in the street, read the Gita and was well on my Vegetarian life path by then… during those times whenever you mentioned ‘no meat’ people would look at you strangely and make a joke, after about ten years I gave up being offended and dropped most of my reasons for being a veg-head. A Vegan was someone from a bright star out in the Milky Way past Arcturus. I’d heard Jesus had lived in and passed through India, studied in Tibet, he was my hero so it was only a matter of time before I went over to the supposed holy-land Bharat, the place where Gods, Sages and the Kumaras had incarnated, palak paneer, the Ganges, gulab jamun, beggars, dosas, temples, burfi, rickshaws, samosas and a certain amount of filth and chaos; the land of contradictions; hate it love it, it gets under your skin and changes your Being forever.
: Back to the Future
It’s 2017 almost Christmas, the word Yoga is oh so common now, ‘everybody‘ is a yoga teacher, no longer is it just for those overly arrogant people supposedly ‘in the know’ who remind us that one day karma will get people back for their misdeeds, Yoga is also for some of the wise and healthyor the many sincere seekers. Young women wander through Fitzroy (Melbourne) with mats rolled up under their arms, as they pass, the smell of aroma-therapy-oils wafts up my nose, a far cry from the smelly arm pits from years back; my peace is being disrupted, people making business calls doing work-stuff in cafes clearly define how much the world has changed ON the SURFACE. A passing reflection reminds me of the first time I saw a guy on skateboard in the early 90’s with a mobile phone, I considered it far more confusing than when I had sighted my first UFO.
: The Crazy Mixed Up World
We live in a time of great stress, the noise of the city rattles and there’s a continuous hum, the lights never go out; I get a little perplexed and reach for my phone regularly, I can’t tell the ringtones from the tunes floating out from the cafes; tension, road rage, violence on my street every second day, a lot of people on the edge, commercial and real beggars with their hands out asking for cash clearly showing us how corrupt the systems are, traumatised beings who haven’t recovered and take their pain out to the streets as a reminder that things aren’t okay in the land of milk and honey. Such is the pressure of this civilisation, even the wise seem to get anxious, Kali Yuga blues; endless lies in the media are spewed out to create fear and uncertainty, something is brewing. What to do? How to Be Here Now, filter out the nonsense and get away?
: Road to Nowhere
I remember the first time I went into Samadhi (loose translation = a far state deeper than every day waking consciousness) I realised something rather monumental had gone on, I had’t reached the goal but my toes had dipped into the Ocean of Consciousness; some Buddhists would more commonly define it as Emptiness; beyond all doubt I had drunk from the cup and tasted the Divine Elixir. The Deep Silence felt comfortable, very familiar, it seemed like I had never been away from it … it had moreish-ness about it like chocolate mint biscuits, you eat one then could gobble up the whole packet. Post Samadhi I still had my anxieties and everyday probs but I could tell it was the real thing.
: The Great Void
Being a natural born meditator (which is really no great feat) it had confused me what the fuss was all about, it was quite difficult for me to understand why others couldn’t go into deep states of consciousness, people always complained of head noise and the endless chattering of thought, eventually after many years it made a lot more sense why, (I won’t go there now). Samadhi is always present, in the same way that when we look at a painting we see the paint, we forget about the canvas, it has no meaning apart from creating the parameters/dimensions around the artwork, so we don’t notice its contribution to the art piece. Although it is difficult to describe the relationship, I will loosely say that all the Universes sit on top of Emptiness, it’s always closer than a breath or heartbeat away, it’s easy so to miss. Another example is we see the objects in a room we don’t give attention to the space, we feel it, we sense it, when we look carefully at the objects in a space we can see the importance of spatial relationships. I worked out early on that thoughts, our whole Being, EVERYTHING is dependant on Emptiness. Thoughts and civilisations rise and fall but the constant is Silence, Emptiness, Nothingness, the Great Void, call it what you like. The road that we take when we meditate is ‘to nowhere’. Samadhi is NOWHERE.
Satori is something very different to Samadhi. Satori experiences come in stages , at various intervals throughout life, at least they did for me. I will generally only discuss what I have experienced myself, at other times I cross reference the experiences of others who have had similar events happen or relate teachings because they make absolute sense and are relative to what I have seen, felt or experienced. Satori is an awakening to a clarity of mind or clear perception where all doubts about certain aspects regarding the nature of things, old limited conditioned thoughts no longer hold the individual COMPLETELY in prison when the newer awareness steps in. To some degree the underlying idea of separateness departs and at times the view is more like looking at a room with a number of slightly transparent partitions, it’s the same room and the divisions are there so there is no spillage and everyone goes about their own business with cloaked memories and awareness; there is always a choice of jumping from the individual to the totality.
: Degrees of Awakening
The RESPONSE to Satori/Awakenings are things that require caution to navigate, they USUALLY are NOT the END GOAL. Many problems arise from people who have had an Awakening and consider that they are THERE, there is an assumption that what was sought has been fully found. Often they have reached a TYPE of Enlightened Mind or transformation, an inner knowing has presented itself within their consciousness, unfortunately often when it settles they go out and gather followers. Due to the euphoria that permeates their thinking and subtle changes in body sensations and awareness there is a tendency to want to share this joy with others. This is not always the case, the great sage Ramana Maharshi had an early awakening and what unfolded for him was far greater than most of the others in the modern era that are on the world stage. Nisagadatta Maharaj, Neem Karoli Baba had a slower unfolding process, whereas the great Indian saint Shirdi Sai came into the world completely ‘open’, this is unusual and falls outside the area of what I would refer to as Satori, it was a similar situation with Kabir the great weaver poet; of interest Shirdi Sai stated he had been or more specifically ‘WAS Kabir’. As I am unfamiliar with the various contemporary teachers from Japan I will only reference the great teachers from India but still use the Japanese term, ‘Satori’ is often translated as ‘seeing into ones true nature’ or even Buddhahood. I am confident that the word is a variable and although the process can in some cases may be Earth shattering and a disintegration of the known, there are variations that depend on the individual experiencer.
The word Nirvana is a little more encompassing and generally deals with the bigger picture relating to transformation, some may call it Buddhist heaven, this description is a little vague and misleading. Heaven in a Western sense relates to an end goal beyond death and is future based whereas in the Eastern spiritual traditions there is generally an emphasis on freedom NOW, it is not something that is in the distance beyond the dropping of the body, the only real similarity is that both Nirvana and Heaven are semi –permanent states that are desired by the seeker, the religious faithful or spiritual aspirant. The idea that Nirvana is the final resting place is not quite correct although it would be very easy for someone to formulate an argument that it was. Considering the layers of multi-dimensional consciousness beyond the Empty state that is way outside the limited 3D form, it is impossible that what is referred to as Nirvana is the final resting place, there are many people who have gone into what is often referred to as the Nirvana state who are still at the elementary stages of consciousness and are unaware of what is beyond it. The only real constant is the Emptiness and all the points of Awareness that emerged out of it. In essence the polarities are like a binary situation, 1 or 0, true or false, is or not is.
Whereas Samadhi relates to a state that is accessed either through a meditative process or an unexpected interruption of normal consciousness into another state of ‘natural’ awareness, Nirvana is descriptive of a more permanent state. However in truth that state is always present, it is just that the thoughts that fill the mind-space are filtering out what is constant, and that is Emptiness. Nirvana is a term used in relation to liberation but a reminder that 3D human experience is at the bottom of of the food/consciousness chain and it is an accidental misconception for anyone to think that jumping out of the human state into Nirvana is the end of the road, it is more like the leaving platform at an airport.
: Chasing the Tail to Return to Oneself
The whole of humanity is seeking freedom from itself, whether it knows it or not there is an inbuilt longing to get out of the mental prison, to be more, find happiness and ride off into the sunset of foreverness and wake to greener or more stable desirable pastures. I think it is important to point out that often people use Spirituality to run from life.
We have a dilemma, how to get our toes wet, swim safely and not drown in the ocean of life. Life with its suffering, those giant ‘ouches’ that interrupt our intermittent peacefulness and sense of imaginary orderliness?
Becoming comfortable with the world and the interplay of life and learning to accept what emerges plus being able to let go of things without a fuss as natural as possible is a desirable place to be, without struggling too hard. And learning to be Empty and enter the Silence without worrying too much about the ACHIEVING. Experience takes care of itself, the skins of the onion naturally peel when they are ready, the flowers bloom when their time is ripe.
The $250 million mindfulness app company Headspace has big plans to turn meditation into medicine.
Headspace is starting clinical trials this summer and aims to get Food and Drug Administration approval for its first digital health product by 2020, Megan Jones Bell, the company’s chief science officer, told Business Insider.
Jones Bell did not specify what health condition the product would be for, but she said she believed it would “likely surprise a lot of people.”
Most of those people use meditation for general self-help benefits, however, and Headspace Health is taking a different tack. In order to create a product designed to treat a specific health condition, they’ll have to work closely with the FDA. The agency is currently in the process of formalizing its “Digital Health” initiative, which is geared at pulling a range of products from mobile health apps to exercise bands into a larger regulatory umbrella.
While there are several existing well-designed studies on the benefits of meditation in healthy people, far fewer studies exist that look specifically at using meditation to help treat a specific disease or condition.
Jones Bell said Headspace Health’s team of seven people is already working with a number of academic and federal institutions, including Britain’s National Health Service and the University of California, to publish studies with exactly that aim. So far, they are pursuing 12 mental and physical conditions that the app could help treat, she said, with one study that she’s particularly excited about.
“It’s going to be one of the most rigorous studies of a meditation app to date,” Jones Bell said.
How to be grateful? At the end of this post the question will be answered for me. But to begin at the beginning…
I’m writing from my seat on an airplane at the Burlington Vermont airport. This morning I drove from my home in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, on the other side of the state. The plane has been on the tarmac now for over half an hour, waiting for permission to take off. This will happen when air traffic control in New York says there is enough air space for us to land. Inside the small jet airspace is limited. It’s stuffy, the low ceiling making it more comfortable to sit in the tiny cramped seat than to stand. In any case, the flight attendant has asked us to remain seated. The double cappuccino I enjoyed before boarding is instructing me to do otherwise.
Where were we, ah yes, gratitude. Many have written about the power of giving thanks. Counting blessings yields improvements in mood, health, and efficacy. According to pundits and backed by scientific studies, once we figure out how to be grateful, there will be more to be grateful for.
But I’m Not Grateful
But what if, having thought it over, you realize that you’re not quite ready for gratitude. Take my parents. Both are alive and reasonably well. I love them, but if I was pushed to articulate appreciation for them, depending on my mood, it might start with “thanks for having me when you were so young”. (My Dad was 20, my mom 24). Then I might add: “thank you for splitting up when Tony (my brother) and I were still kids.” The split was just a few years later. And then, “thank you both for being so self-involved!” Probably enough said.
If we are honest with ourselves, exploring gratitude often reveals where we are less than grateful. In fact, reflecting on our past may arouse resentment rather than anything like a good feeling. Instead of gratitude, when I think of my childhood, I feel sad. While there is love and civility in my family relationships, reflecting on my childhood still arouses feelings of loneliness and youthful insecurity. Good grief! as my Dad would say.
Is this tender and sad feeling gratitude? It’s not something you’ll read in the preface of a new book or what you expect to hear at the Oscars. I am grateful, however, for the ability to be honest with myself and to accept the past as I understand it.
Learn to Say Thank You
As for childhood, the suggestion to be grateful may trigger memories of “thank you’s” required when we were children. As an entitled eight-year old, I begrudged thank you’s when claiming the comic book that was rightfully mine or while staring down an unsolicited serving of broccoli.
Older now but still resistant, I wonder: How is gratitude not a kind of social conditioning or spiritual bypassing? Sure, it feels good to be grateful. But when is the cultivation of gratitude simply another attempt to feel better about our world and ourselves, turning us away from real wrongs and real wounds? And when is our effort to appreciate driven, at least in part, by our own insecurity?
Guilt or Gratitude?
Gratitude can be tricky. If we have enjoyed privilege due to our race, wealth, social standing or country of origin, this afforded us opportunities that others didn’t have. What does it mean to be grateful for what we have received when others suffered to make that possible? This contemplation may be uncomfortable, rousing feelings of regret or even guilt.
My parents, by today’s reckoning, were children of privilege who made the best of their opportunities. Why wouldn’t they? And, in spite of their parental challenges, they raised my brother and me with an appreciation for beauty, reason, decency and justice. Have I ever thanked them for that? Now I think I should. At the same time, systems of oppression trap everyone, the oppressor and the oppressed. My parents inherited the benefits and burdens of privilege. These would have been passed along as well. How to be grateful?
Conventional gratitude arises from a context. If we’re in our car cruising south on an open highway and the northbound lane is clogged and crawling, are we not grateful? Finding ourselves on the top of the world, we have much to be thankful for. But the “top” of the world only makes sense when you consider the rest of the world at the “bottom.”
The Gift of Gratitude
Gratitude feels natural when appreciation is easy. Suppose we receive an unexpected and welcome gift. Maybe someone pays our bill, or take us on a trip we’ve always wanted to make. Wonderful! But what are we grateful for, exactly? There is the gift itself, the giver who gave it, the feeling behind it, the timing of the gift, the way it was given and our ability to receive it. Where should our gratitude go? When we try to focus on where and how to be grateful, the object of our gratitude dissolves into pieces. It’s elusive.
Instead of a gift, perhaps we get something we don’t want. Maybe we received harsh and negative feedback. The feedback compels us to self-reflect. Facing ourselves directly, nakedly, questioning our own actions and motivation, we grow. Can we feel grateful for the experience of growth, but not for how it happened? Is the gift of gratitude always a mixed emotion?
When to Say “Thank You”
Learning how to be grateful is in tension with a seductive pastime—complaining. Generally, we feel that something is missing. Something is not quite right. When we finally get the cocoa for our cappuccino, we say “thank you” with a certain tone and emphasis, reminding the waiter how long we’ve been waiting. We all know how to say thank you, but when we do, we often mean something else.
Perhaps this is learned behavior. As we saw, our childhood training in the obligatory ‘thank you’ emphasized the transactional. You got something. To honor what you received, a thank you was required. Thank you also meant you were worthy of the gift. This early conditioning may have solidified the idea that being grateful, and our own self-worth, is related to getting what we want. In this last case, gratitude ornaments a narrative that puts us at the center of our own universe.
A New Appreciation
Teachers of gratitude suggest an exercise: bring to mind a pet, a place in nature, a loving relationship. Begin with gratitude that is easy. Mull over our history, and find a highlight, a source of gratitude—a person, place, or favorite animal that has the power to engender appreciation.
Appreciation and what we appreciate are, however, fickle and hard to predict. Without warning, one day we appreciate the beauty in the color of the aging bricks in the building across the street. Or we might notice the nobility in a face of an old friend. Seeing as if for the first time, we are unexpectedly moved. When, after many years, my wife returned to her village in France, she was struck by the beauty of her birthplace. When she was young and eager to leave, she hadn’t been able to see it.
How to Be Grateful
Being sensitive to everyday momentary experience, we connect with our world. We see with fresh eyes, hear with fresh ears. This sense of connection reveals our vulnerability. If we are present (training in meditation helps), experiences, both positive and negative, are allowed to touch us. In this web of connection we may feel our heart, but can we find our heart? When we appreciate a flower, where does our appreciation end and the flower begin? Flowers bloom and die. They have seasons. Could the same be true for our gratitude?
I started this post feeling sad. Reflecting on my childhood, perhaps I was simply reminding myself that it was over. Gratitude happens in the moment, but each moment, like every childhood, is ending as soon as it begins. Perhaps that is the point: learning how to be grateful is not only about what we are grateful for. We can be grateful for the moment, saying “hello” to what each moment brings, but also, with gratitude, in each moment, we can learn how to say “goodbye”.
This post began in an airport and that’s where it ends. I started the post on my way out of Vermont for business meetings in New Jersey. Two days later, my meetings behind me, I was on my way home to Vermont. The post was completed waiting for my weather-delayed flight out of Newark International Airport. Newark airport has a reputation…
So, before we go further, I have some people to thank, people to whom I feel deeply grateful:
There are many more people I could thank. I don’t know their names or even their faces. But I am grateful for each interaction we shared.
I Don’t Mean to Complain
At the beginning of my journey home out of Newark, I was a self-satisfied blogger making the most of airport delays. By the end, jarred out of my comfort zone, 29 hours later, I was a shuffling zombie who needed something from everyone just to make it through the next moment: a smile from the person making coffee at the Dunkin Donuts in baggage claim, a helpful pointer from a United Associate about where to go for the better customer service (there was no better place, but still I appreciated the thought), the people next to me who were able stand quietly for hours as we pondered our fate in an endless line.
At each encounter, I felt gratitude.
For a while, early in the night, after the last flight left, I sat dejected, facing the fact that I had no plan, no way forward, and that my own stupidity was to blame for much of my situation. Often, complaints are aimed at ourselves, and I was angry with how spacey I had been.
Complaining, we could just as easily say blaming, is unsociable and unpleasant. But it’s impact is profound. Complaints separate us from our experience, the only thing we have. In the name of protecting us, they rob us, stealing our life out from under our nose. At the airport, I needed time to get over my frustration and unhappiness with my situation and myself. This took awhile. Once I let go of my complaint and forgave myself, I was better able to find the humor and beauty in each unhappy detail.
How to End a Blog Post
A key aspect of blogging, any self-respecting marketer will tell you, is to give the reader “News You Can Use.” By my own estimation, this is not my strong suit. Here, however, I want to tell you, from my own experience, how to be grateful.
First, very simply, let go of the crazy idea that we don’t all need each other. The notion that we can somehow do this thing called life on our own.
Get uncomfortable! Move yourself to a place beyond the privileged position that life has given you.
When you do, you will realize that, in each moment, we all need each other. This realization is how to be grateful.
Meditation is a broad term when it comes to uncovering the potential of our consciousness. Active and true meditation are examples of that — one leading into the other and both of them being unique on their own. But what do they consist of?
Your isolated state of consciousness is based upon what you identify with your illusionary self.
However, this state is not present in your life, which makes you unable to experience the free form of consciousness.
However, your Ego is what guides you on the way and make your efforts permanent.
Through meditation practitioners guide the ego to meet up with consciousness and, consequently, improving one’s life and spiritual experiences.
Today, we are reviewing the Active Mediation and the True Mediation techniques, both with their own viewpoint on many aspects.
Active Meditation — And What’s It All About
Active meditation is not vastly different from regular meditation, however, it has a multiple folded focus, making you reach a higher state of the Mind, which will result in satisfaction, fulfillment, happiness and enlightenment.
People practice meditation to tranquilize their minds, suppress their thoughts and emotions through willpower or reach a state of conscious peace. Active meditation is built around the exact same forces that make you distracted when meditating.
The purpose of active meditation is to make you active and make you visualize your actions and achievements.
And that is why it is also known as ‘the first step towards the true meditation’ and resembles our active state of mind during the process.
True Meditation – The ‘Step Ahead’
True meditation happens for a reason and that reason may not be something you already know.
The basis of true meditation is your attempt to do it. However, real meditation is, by all means, effortless.
It does not create an artificial quiet through a step-by-step process, and it does not make you calm, motivated and in-control of your actions as easy as 1, 2, 3.
What true meditation does, is trigger your Alertness to surface.
As you may know, your deep dimensions of alertness are something very precious that you hold, and true meditation triggers these dimensions to surface for long periods after meditation.
This is actually the root of the enlightenment, fulfillment, satisfaction or happiness, which are known as the benefits of meditation.
The truth is, once you learn to trigger your deeper dimensions and make them surface, they will stay with you for long periods of time.
This means that you may not even need meditation in the future as soon as you achieve this state and every moment of your life will be meditative.
We can easily conclude that true (or real) meditation is never a result of an activity — instead, it is a presence in the space of consciousness.
In the end, you should remember that there are many deeper dimensions of alertness, our awakened consciousness and the world of silence, as the ultimate states beyond the mind.
Most of the world’s population are NOT ready for this. Are you?
You might want to consider bookmarking this page for future reference!
For many, this will be an inspiration in finding your true self while exiting this matrix in which humanity has been trapped within since the beginning of “time”.
The video you are about to watch will completely change your views on life as well as who you truly are.
Here’s the rabbit hole… let’s jump in!
Scroll down for Parts 2, 3, and 4
The danger for you watching this film is that your mind will want to acquire Samadhi. Even more dangerous is that your mind might think it has acquired Samadhi.
When you are awake, you don’t become identified with your character. You don’t believe that you are the masks that you are wearing. But nor do you give up playing a role.
Twenty-four hundred years after Plato wrote the Republic, humanity is still making its way out of Plato’s cave. In fact we may be more transfixed by illusions than ever. Plato had Socrates describe a group of people who lived chained in a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall.
All they could see were shadows projected on the wall by the things passing in front of a fire which was behind them. This puppet show becomes their world. According to Socrates, the shadows were as close as the prisoners would ever get to reality. Even after being told about the outside world they continued to believe that the shadows were all that is. Even if they suspected there was something more they were unwilling to leave what was familiar.
Humanity today is like the people who have only seen the shadows on the cave wall. The shadows are analogous to our thoughts. The world of thinking is the only world that we know. But there is another world that is beyond thinking. Beyond the dualistic mind. Are you willing to leave the cave, to leave all that you have known to find out the truth of who you are?
In order to experience Samadhi it is necessary to turn attention away from the shadows, from the thoughts towards the light. When a person is only used to darkness then they must gradually become accustomed to the light. Like acclimatizing to any new paradigm it takes time and effort, and a willingness to explore the new, as well as shed the old. The mind can be likened to a trap for consciousness, a labyrinth or a prison.
It is not that you are in prison, you are the prison.
The prison is an illusion. If you are identified with an illusory self, then you are asleep. Once you are aware of the prison, if you fight to get out of the illusion, then you are the illusion as if it is real and you still remain asleep, except now the dream becomes a nightmare. You will be chasing and running from shadows forever.
Samadhi is awakening from the dream of the separate self or the egoic construct. Samadhi is awakening from identification with the prison that I call me. You can never actually be free, because wherever you go your prison is there. Awakening is not about get rid of the mind or the matrix, on the contrary; when you are not identified with it, then you can experience the play of life more fully, enjoying the show as it is, without craving or fear. In the ancient teachings this was called the divine game of Leila: the game of playing in duality.
Less suffering does not mean life is free from pain.
Samadhi is beyond the duality of pain and pleasure. What it means is that there is less mind, less self creating resistance to whatever unfolds and that resistance is what creates suffering. Realizing Samadhi even once allows you to see what is at the other end of the continuum.
To see that there is something other than the material world and self interest. When there is an actual cessation of the self structure in Samadhi there is no egoic, no self, no duality yet there is still the I am, annata or no self. In that emptiness is the dawn of prajna or wisdom- the understanding that the immanent self is far beyond the play of duality, beyond the entire continuum. The immanent self is timeless, unchanging, always now.
Enlightenment is the merging of the primordial spiral, the ever-changing manifested world or lotus in which time unfolds, with your timeless being. Your inner wiring grows like an ever-unfolding flower as you dis-identify with the self, a living bridge between the world of time and the timeless. Merely realizing the immanent self is only the beginning of one’s path. Most people will have to experience and lose Samadhi countless times in meditation before they are able to integrate it into other facets of life.
It is not unusual to have profound insights into the nature of your being during meditation or self inquiry, only to find yourself once again falling back into old patterns, forgetting the truth of who you are. To realize that stillness or emptiness in every facet of life, every facet of one’s self, is to become emptiness dancing as all things.
In the movie, humans lived out their lives in the matrix, while on another level they were merely batteries, feeding their life force to the machines which used their energy for their own agenda. People always want to blame something outside of themselves for the state of the world or others for their own unhappiness. Whether it is a person, a particular group or country, religion or some kind of controlling Illuminati like Descartes’ evil demon, or the sentient machines in the Matrix.
Ironically, the demon that Descartes envisioned was the very thing that he defined himself by. When you realize Samadhi, it becomes clear that there is a controller, there is a machine, and evil demon leaching your life day after day. The machine is you. Your self structure is made up of many little conditioned sub-programs or little bosses. One little boss that craves food, another craves money, another status, position, power, sex, intimacy.
Another wants consciousness or attention from others. The desires are literally endless and can never be satisfied. We spend a lot of our time and energy decorating our prisons, succumbing to pressures to improve our masks, and feeding the little bosses, making them more powerful. Like drug addicts, the more we try to satisfy the little bosses, the more we end up craving.
The path to freedom is not self improvement, or somehow satisfying the self’s agenda, but it’s a dropping of the self’s agenda altogether. Some people fear that awakening their true nature will mean that they lose their individuality and enjoyment of life.
Actually, the opposite is true; the unique individuation of the soul can only be expressed when the conditioned self is overcome. Because we remain asleep in the matrix most of us never find out what the soul actually wants to express.
If the mind only tries to change the outer world to conform with some idea of what you think the path should be, it is like trying to change the image in a mirror by manipulating the reflection.
We can never succeed in the outer struggle, because it is just a reflection of our inner world.
It’s important to note that when we accept reality as it is, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we stop taking action in the world, or we become meditating pacifists.
Fighting for peace is like shouting for silence; it just creates more of what you don’t want.
The inner world is where the revolution must first take place. Only when we can directly feel the spiral of life within will the outer world come into alignment with the Tao. Until then, anything we do will add to the chaos already created by the mind. War and peace arise together in an endless dance; they are one continuum.
One half cannot exist without the other. Just as light cannot exist without dark, and up cannot exist without down. The world seems to want light without darkness, fullness without emptiness, happiness without sadness. The more the mind gets involved, the more fragmented the world becomes.
We have gone deep into the material world, even finding the so-called God particle, but we have never been more limited, more ignorant of who we are, how to live, and we do not understand the mechanism by which we create suffering. Our thinking has created the world as it is now. Whenever we label something as good or bad, or create preference in our mind it is due to the coming into being of egoic structures or self interests.
The solution is not to fight for peace or conquer nature, but to simply recognize the truth; that the very existence of the ego structure creates duality, a split between self and other, mine and yours, man and nature, inner and outer. The ego is violence; it requires a barrier, a boundary from the other in order to be. Without ego there is no war against anything. There is no hubris, there is no overreaching nature to create profit.
These external crises in our world reflect a serious inner crises; we don’t know who we are. We are completely identified with our egoic identities, consumed by fears and are cut off from our true nature. Races, religions, countries, political affiliations, any group that we belong to, all reinforce our egoic identities.
So it’s not that thinking and the existence of the self is bad, thinking is a wonderful tool when the mind is in service to the heart.
Before it becomes possible to awaken, it is necessary to accept that you are asleep, living in the matrix. Examine your life honestly, without lying to yourself.
Are you able to stop your robotic, repetitive life patterns if you want to?
Can you stop seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, are you addicted to certain foods, activities, pastimes?
Are you constantly judging, blaming, criticizing yourself and others?
Does your mind incessantly seek out stimulus, or are you completely fulfilled just being in silence?
Do you react to how people think about you?
Are you seeking approval, positive reinforcement?
Do you somehow sabotage situations in your life?
Most people will experience their lives the same way today as they will tomorrow and a year from now, and ten years from now.
When you begin to observe your robot-like nature you become more awake. You begin to recognize the depth of the problem. You are completely and utterly asleep, lost in a dream. Like the inhabitants of Plato’s cave, most who hear this truth will not be willing or capable of changing their lives because they are attached to their familiar patterns.
We go to great lengths justifying our patterns, burying our heads in the sand rather than facing the truth. We want our saviors, but we are not willing to get up on the cross ourselves. What are you willing to pay to be free?
Realize that if you change your inner world, you must be prepared to change the outer life.
Your old structure and your old identity must become the dead soil out of which new growth comes. The first step to awakening is to realize that we are identified with the matrix of the human mind, with the mask. Something within us must hear this truth and be roused from its slumber.
There is a part of you, something timeless, that has always known the truth. The matrix of the mind distracts us, entertains us, keeps us endlessly doing, consuming, grasping, in a cycle of craving and aversion with constantly changing forms, keeping us from the flowering of our consciousness, from our evolutionary birthright which is Samadhi.
Pathological thinking is what passes for normal life.
Your divine essence has become enslaved, identified with the limited self structure. The great wisdom, the truth of who you are is buried deep within your being.
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