Moby Has Just Released Four Hours Worth Of Free Music Designed For Yoga And Meditation

 

Moby Has Just Released Four Hours Worth Of Free Music Designed For Yoga And Meditation

 

Moby (Richard Melville Hall), is an American DJ, singer, songwriter, musician, photographer and animal rights activist. He is well known for his electronic music, veganism, and support of animal rights.

Recently on his website he released a series of ambient recording designed to help people feel a great calmness. This is what he said on his website ;

”Over the last couple of years i’ve been making really really really quiet music to listen to when i do yoga or sleep or meditate or panic. i ended up with 4 hours of music and have decided to give it away.

you can download it for free below or stream it on spotify, soundcloud, apple music, deezer, youtube & tidal.

it’s really quiet: no drums, no vocals, just very slow calm pretty chords and sounds and things for sleeping and yoga and etc. and feel free to share it or give it away or whatever, it’s not protected or anything, or at least it shouldn’t be.

 

If you would prefer to download the music for yourself just click on the image below and you will be taken to his website where you can stream or download.

I am a big Moby fan myself and am I hope you enjoy his epic sounds as much as I am.

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A Meditation on Anxious Emotions

This practice involves deep investigation into the causes of anxious feelings. Through this practice, you can discover the story lines that tend to trigger and drive your emotions. Although it may sometimes feel as though your anxiety comes out of nowhere, it usually has a source—typically some combination of conditioning, self-stories, memories, thoughts, and buried emotions.

That said, when you practice this meditation, don’t try to force yourself to find the source or meaning of your anxiety. The crucial aspect of this meditation is forwarding your journey of discovery into yourself. Whatever you may find inside, simply acknowledging it will help you live with more ease. Then, rather than putting so much energy into fighting your anxiety, you can begin to change your relationship to it.

Because this practice involves intentionally exploring the experience of anxiety, it can be challenging. Before you do this practice, please take a little time to consider whether you’re feeling up to it, listening to your inner voice to determine whether it feels right for you at this time. Consider doing your first practice when you feel safe and curious and have the energy and time to explore your anxiety more deeply. If now is not the time, be sure to return to this practice later, when you feel willing to take it on.

Consider doing your first practice when you feel safe and curious and have the energy and time to explore your anxiety more deeply.

To allow you to fully experience this meditation, we recommend that you listen to the audio version. However, you can also simply read the text below. If you choose to do so, read through the entire script first to familiarize yourself with the practice, then do the practice, referring back to the text as needed and pausing briefly after each paragraph. Take about twenty minutes for the practice. You can do this practice in a seated position, standing, or even lying down. Choose a position in which you can be comfortable and alert.

A Meditation on Anxious Emotions

 

A Meditation on Anxious Emotions

 

The practice is simply to acknowledge whatever is in your direct experience and let it be. Whatever comes up in the practice is the practice.

  1. Now gently shift your attention to the breath, becoming mindful of breathing in and out. Bring awareness to wherever you feel the breath most prominently and distinctly, perhaps at your nose, in your chest, or in your belly, or perhaps somewhere else. There’s no other place you need to go… nothing else you need to do…just being mindful of your breath flowing in and out. If your mind wanders away from the breath, just acknowledge wherever it went, then return to being mindful of breathing in and out.
  2. Now reflect on a specific experience of anxiety, perhaps something recent so you can remember it more clearly. It doesn’t have to be an extreme experience of anxiety, perhaps something that you’d rate at 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. Recall the experience in detail, as vividly as you can, invoking some of that anxiety now, in the present moment
  3. As you imagine the experience and sense into it, be mindful of how the anxiety feels in your body and stay present with the sensations. Your only job right now is to feel and acknowledge whatever physical sensations you’re experiencing in your body and let them be. There’s no need to change them. Let the sensations run their course, just like a ripple on a lake is gradually assimilated into the entirety of the body of water.
  4. Now feel into any emotions that emerge…anxiety, fear, sadness, anger, confusion…whatever you may feel. As with physical sensations, just acknowledge how these emotions feel and let them be. There’s no need to analyze them or figure them out
  5. If strong emotions don’t arise, this doesn’t mean you aren’t doing this meditation correctly. The practice is simply to acknowledge whatever is in your direct experience and let it be. Whatever comes up in the practice is the practice.
  6. Bringing awareness to your anxiety may sometimes amplify your anxious feelings. This is normal, and the intensity will subside as you open to and acknowledge what you’re experiencing and give it space to simply be.
  7. Continue feeling into the anxiety, just allowing any feelings in the body and mind and letting them be, cultivating balance and the fortitude to be with things as they are. The very fact that you’re acknowledging anxiety rather than turning away from it is healing.
  8. As you continue to acknowledge your physical sensations and emotions, they may begin to reveal a host of memories, thoughts, feelings, and physical experiences that may have created limiting definitions of who you think you are. You may begin to see more clearly into how these old patterns of conditioning have driven your anxiety. This understanding can set you free—freer than you ever felt possible.
  9. Now gradually transition back to the breath, breathing mindfully in and out… Next, slowly shift your awareness from your breath to sensing into your heart. Take some time to open into your heart with self-compassion, acknowledging your courage in engaging with your anxiety. In this way, your anxiety can become your teacher, helping you open your heart to greater wisdom, compassion, and ease within your being.
  10. As you’re ready to end this meditation, congratulate yourself for taking this time to meditate and heal yourself. Then gradually open your eyes and return to being present in the environment around you. May we all find the gateways into our hearts and be free.

Mindful Journaling

Right after your first practice of this meditation, take a few moments to write about your experience. How did it go for you? How did you work with what came up within your body, thoughts, and emotions? And how are you feeling right now?

READ MORE

A Meditation on Working with Anxiety 

This meditation combines breath awareness, the body scan, and mindfulness of thoughts to explore sources of stress and anxiety.

  • Bob Stahl
  • March 28, 2018

10 Mindful Attitudes That Decrease Anxiety 

By exerting more conscious control over our behaviors and attitudes, we learn to work with our intention, wise effort, and capacity to be kind to ourselves.

  • Bob Stahl
  • July 27, 2016

Phoenix Meditation

The phoenix is a mythical bird with flame-colored wings that symbolizes regeneration and rebirth.  In my previous post, I mentioned that I had the opportunity to lead a Yoga Nidra and guided meditation session at the Evergreen Yoga Phoenix Women’s Retreat in August.

In writing the meditation, which was centered around an empowering encounter with a phoenix, I was inspired to draw and paint this creature to get to know it better.  This picture is a little askew, but it was the best one I got before sending it off to a dear friend who needed a little phoenix magic.

Phoenix by Shannon

Many of the retreat attendees had asked me to share a recording of the meditation I led, so, I have recorded it and am sharing it here for anyone to enjoy.

The meditation begins with a guided Yoga Nidra practice. Yoga Nidra is a deeply relaxing, meditative process that guides you into a state where theta and delta brainwaves are produced. This creates deep rest, healing and physical regeneration.

The Yoga Nidra session is followed by a guided meditation where we meet the phoenix, for a profound process of renewal and empowerment.

In yoga wisdom teachings, Yoga Nidra is a method of purifying the “samskaras.” Samskaras are patterns of thought and behavior that are repeated, and thus create grooves that become our well-worn pathways for acting and reacting.  Imagine tracing a line through the sand with your finger, then re-tracing that same line over and over again. The line becomes deeper as that pathway becomes more and more ingrained. It can be difficult to create a new groove when the current ones are so established.

Yoga Nidra gives us access to the subconscious mind, where we can know our Self as separate from our thoughts and patterns of behavior, and where we can access intuition and information beyond our normal conscious awareness.

(Note — some exciting news… the talented Rebecca Clever (who composed the original music for my “Zoom out/ Imaginal Cell Meditation” will be creating special music for this Yoga Nidra/Phoenix meditation as well!! I will post the new version later this year, when it’s done.  But for now, enjoy, and if you’re inclined, check out the other meditations on the Presence and Prose YouTube Channel.)

Namaste,
Shannon

The post Phoenix Meditation appeared first on Presence and Prose.

Meditation and Anxiety – About Meditation

It is becoming more widely known that a meditation practice can be helpful in curbing anxiety.

Anxiety generally comes in two forms – a fear-based resistance to some deeper feelings that are arising, and projecting past pain onto the unknown of the future.

With practice, meditation can be a powerful practice to help inhibit the life and growth of both these forms of anxiety.

One popular approach to meditation is about being fully present with whatever arises, moving with the steady stream of life as it flows. This means being aware of thought, sound, physical sensation, and whatever else you’re aware of in the moment.

Mindfulness meditation trains us to have a balanced, unattached approach to all stimuli as they arise, regardless of their source, their volume, or their comfort.

A Full Body Experience

Anxiety exists entirely in one’s head. While there are undoubtedly many physical symptoms which can and do arise in conjunction with anxiety, the source of anxiety is one’s mind.

As anxiety is a condition of the mind, it feeds off of our attention. When we argue with it, resist it, question it, or let it run the show like an untrained puppy, we are inadvertently fueling it, making it stronger. We are also cutting off our awareness of our physical body, of the space we’re in, and of all our other senses.

When we are practicing mindfulness, we are allowing ourselves to experience whatever sensations arise. In this way, our awareness extends beyond just our minds, so we begin deprive our minds of the fuel they need to stoke the fire of anxiety. We are present in the full physical reality of our life, so anxiety has less say in our awareness.

Being Present

Anxiety is not at all about the present moment.

If we are anxious because we are resisting some deeper emotion that is arising naturally in us, we are fighting what exists. We are trying to deny what is actually here, waging an un-winnable argument with reality.

If we are anxious because we are projecting some past pain onto the unknown of the future, we are also not at all present.

Meditation helps us ground in what is going on right around us. It helps us build a connection with life as it exists, where anxiety cannot survive. When we are open to and aware of what is happening right here, right now, there is no past with its pain, and there is no future with its unknowns. Everything is present.

Practice, Practice, Practice

It is a common experience to feel calmer after meditating. Whether you are counting breaths, or listening to some guidance, or being still and letting everything go, it is natural to experience some greater calm and ease after a meditation session.

However, it is often very challenging to meditate when anxious. Sitting still and being gently present with all that is can be a Herculean task when one’s mind is racing and heart is pounding.

What I am presenting here is not a quick-fix. I am not suggesting that you meditate to relieve anxiety when it is loud and dominating your experience.

Instead, what I am offering is that this is what happens over time as we build our practice. The more we meditate, the more we train our awareness to rest in the fullness of our bodily experience, and the more we are used to grounding in the present.

Over time, mediation practice creates a new default in ourselves where we are more inclined to be grounded and fully present, creating an environment where it is a lot harder for anxiety to survive and thrive. It may or may not completely eliminate every anxious thought or trigger, but it creates and then widens the exit ramp out of the cycles of repetitive and destructive thoughts.

300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training | Samadhi Yoga Denver

Ripen Your Teaching, Refine Your Skills

Are you ready to join the next level of yoga teachers? Become a 500-RYT through Samadhi’s 300-hour Advanced Teacher Training, Embody Samadhi. We have crafted this professional development program in order for you to have greater expertise into the science of yoga. You will be mentored by Denver’s top instructors including Cheryl Deer, Jeremy Wolf, Hansa Knox, Kristine Whittle, Santosh Powell Brittany Belisle and Alejandro Morin.

This yoga teacher training is advanced not because you dive deeper into asana, but because you go deeper into your path as a teacher. You’ll develop advanced understanding of teaching techniques beyond guiding asana.

For a free consultation to discover if this program is your next step, email the YTT Coordinator, or begin your journey today by filling out our application.

Program Highlights | Program Details


Why Choose Samadhi’s Advanced Program?

Don’t just memorize concepts, tricks, and techniques—Embody Samadhi.

Mentorship

Samadhi Yoga Denver is honored to have top teachers designing, leading, and refining our 300 hour program. Additionally, we humbly host national teachers each year so that our 300 hour students can experience the highest level of instruction.

Experiential Learning

Our yoga teacher training focuses on teaching practice and development. You will lead community classes, receive one on one feedback from your teachers, and focus on the development of your personal practice and relationship to yoga.

Lineage

Lead teachers of our Advanced Teacher Training are deeply rooted in lineage. Samadhi brings in teachings from Rod Stryker, krishnamacharya, Thich Nhat Hanh, Anna Forrest, Bihar School, B.K.S. Iyengar, and Tias Little along with more.

Flexibility

Our advanced teacher training i is meant to be a program that fits your path as an individual. You can finish the program in as little as one year, or take up to three years. You are able to craft the concentration of the program through the electives you choose to take, this allows you to get the most value out of the program for where you want to take your teaching.

Authenticity

The core strength of the advanced teacher training program is that our students are supported to deeply inhabit the fundamental values and teachings of yoga as a time-tested way of life. While our content is rich and varied, we feel that the most powerful way to affect the world is to transmit the energy of the practice.

What we will not do is consume yoga as just another commodity. We know that yoga is sacred and we aspire to keep it that way.


Program Details

Advanced teacher training consists of a total of 300 hours to be combined with a previous 200 hour certification for your 500-RYT. Embody Samadhi is composed of 5 Core Modules to equal 150 contact hours plus 150 hours of Electives so that you can tailor the program to support your own path. Students enrolled have up to three years to complete all hours, but can graduate in one year.

Samadhi’s advanced teacher training is a Yoga Alliance (YA) Certified School. Upon completion, graduates can register as a 500-RYT.

Investment:

  • Each core module a la carte: $479 (x5= $2395)
  • All 5 Core Modules – paid in full: $2270 ($125 discount)
  •  Complete 300 hour tuition including electives begins at $4475. (price varies depending on which electives students choose)
  • $479 Non-refundable deposit, paid within one week of acceptance, saves your space;
  • Teacher Trainees receive 20% off events, books and merchandise, and free yoga classes with Jeremy, Cheryl, Brittany and Santosh while enrolled.
  • Completion of 200 Hour Teacher Training
  • Documented Teaching Experience and References
  • Dedicated personal practice
To apply, Email our Yoga Teacher Training Coordinator or fill out the inquiry form on this page to request an application.

You may apply and start at any time throughout the year, there is no specific start date for this program.

Core modules comprise 150 hours of the overall program. These weekend long intensives are each crafted to deliver the heart of the training. These are crafted and taught by our lead instructors.

Core Module Content: The following material will be covered throughout the course of the 5 Core Modules. Each module has a specific concentration.

With mentors you will workshop your cueing and practice leading asana, meditation, and pranayama. You will study asana techniques including alignment, energetics, modifications, sequencing, hands on assists, and leading advanced asana classes.

You will learn sequencing from anatomical, energetic, seasonal, and ayurvedic focuses. Additionally instructors will discuss seasonal sequences, and how to apply subtle body anatomy in group classes.

Anatomy will be in depth and comprehensive with a therapeutic focus. Anatomy most relevant to yoga practitioners such as the psoas, shoulder, foot, respiratory system, and much more will be covered. Subtle body anatomy will be a major focus of the program, covering extensively the nadis, chakras, koshas, vayus, doshas and gunas as they relate to teaching yoga.

We cover seminal yogic texts and how to practically incorporate them in group classes including Vedic Upanishads, Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, The Siva Samhita, Yoga Yajnavalkya, Bagavad Gita and more. We bring in experts in ancient text to make this part of the training applicable and authoritative.

Another major aspect of our advanced teacher training. We cover personal practice, Ayurveda, the importance of community and the essential aspects of deep sharing and contemplation.

You will learn how and when to demonstrate, how to observe students in group classes to understand and better support them with cueing, props, and modifications. Mentors will advise on the business aspects of yoga including resumes, class building, and career development.

Our advanced teacher training’s true value is the balance in the curriculum between practical applications to bring to your teaching and classes and the never ending study of the science of yoga. You will do as much self study as you do anything else in our program, this study will be guided and facilitated by your mentors.

Core Modules can be taken in any order. This allows you to be able to join the program at any given time throughout the year. All five modules are hosted once a year.

Core Modules are held approximately every two months depending on the availability of instructors, for the current schedule see our Events page. The class times of each modules varies, depending on the schedule of the particular module enrolling in.

Students who pay in full, in advance, for all 5 modules receive discounted tuition of $2270; regular price is $479 per module.
Students pre-register one month before the start date of each module.

Elective hours make up the remaining 150 hours of the training. You will choose from Samadhi’s offerings of year round workshops and trainings to fulfill these hours. This allows you to concentrate your training on your specific areas of interest.

Workshops at Samadhi change from year to year, an idea of workshop you can expect to see are:

  • Yoga Nidra Immersion and Teacher Training
  • Yin Teacher Training
  • Restorative Teacher Training
  • Adaptive Yoga Teacher Training
  • Advanced asana workshops
  • Yoga Therapeutics Immersion
  • Hands on Assists workshops
  • How to teach Privates
  • Reiki Training
  • Advanced Ayurveda
  • Therapeutics
  • Tantra and much more
  • Student’s pay for elective hours as they register for workshops.
  • Cost for a workshop at Samadhi ranges from $10-$20 per hour.  Prime Electives may be additional.
  • Bonus: Embody Samadhi students receive 20% off early bird prices of all events.
  • Hansa Knox

Samadhi also brings in national teachers annually to offer elective hours. Examples of teachers brought in to lead elective hour workshops are:

  • Nicolai Bachman

NEW! Yoga Therapist Training with Hansa Knox

Starting Fall 2018

In this 1370-hour training you will not only deepen your own personal yoga practice, but gain the tools to be able to apply yoga therapeutically in many different applications to help people transform.

You must have a minimum RYT 500 or equivalent training. An exemption of RYT 500 is considered for graduates of the PranaYoga CYTT program.

Details and Application HERE
.

For specific questions on Yoga Therapist Training, please email Hansa.


5 Common Mistakes to Avoid During Yoga | Samadhi Yoga in Denver

We do yoga to improve our posture, become fitter, and find inner peace. But, what happens when the poses that are meant to benefit us actually start harming us? This is exactly what happens when we perform yoga poses without being mindful of what we’re doing and how we’re doing them.

Yoga poses and common mistakes

Here is a list of 5 common poses, with the mistakes we routinely commit and how to correct them:

Crescent Lunge pose

Mistake: Faulty feet alignment, sunken lower back, forward-tilting pelvis, and widely spread legs.

If you’re not careful, you may risk stretching your legs and arms too much and may strain your muscles in the process. Additionally, a wrong crescent lunge won’t work the areas of the body it’s meant to.

Correction: Place the heel over the ball of the foot and tightly squeeze your thighs. Round the back knee of the backward-stretched leg, to ensure you aren’t overextending your leg. Lift the pelvic muscles and keep maintain a neutral spine pose (where the skull and the rib cage are aligned). Legs should only be hip-width apart.

Chaturanga pose

Mistake: Hands placed too far out, collapsed shoulder, dropped elbows, pinched wrists, and pushed-out buttocks.

A wrong chaturanga can impact your lower back, shoulders, and chest muscles. Severe pain and muscle cramps may occur.

Correction: Align your wrists with your elbows and don’t drop the shoulders when lowering. Engage the pelvis, legs, hips, and buttocks while in the pose and maintain the flat alignment of the body.

Dancer pose

Mistake: Open hips, weirdly-pulled leg, locked knee, and twisted grip.

These mistakes can damage your knee muscles and result in severe knee pain. The funky grip you use may also lead to shoulder injuries and chronic pain.

Correction: Soften your standing leg by bending the knee, square your hips, roll back your shoulders and relax. Lift your leg slowly and hold it with your palm facing out.

Eagle pose

Mistake: Crunching your neck, rounding your spine, collapsing your upper body forward, and stooping your shoulders.

When you make a mistake in this pose, you add a lot of pressure on the sensitive areas of the body, such as the spinal cord and the neck. This can lead to severe back and neck pain.

Correction: Straighten your middle and upper back and don’t bend forward. Don’t rest your elbows on your chest, roll your shoulders back and stand up straighter.

Crow pose

Mistake: Splayed elbows, hyper-extending neck, rounded back, and low-to-the-floor body.

The crow pose is extremely risky (as body control is restricted to the wrists and shoulders) and can lead to severe accidents and injuries if you’re not careful.

Correction: Keep feet together, angle the hips high, hug your elbows close to the body and align wrists with elbows. Engage your core when lifting and elongate your neck.

Tips to maintain the perfect posture and alignment in Yogasana

Healing Meditation: Guided Meditation for Body Healing

Healing Meditation: Guided Meditation for Body Healing

Wellbeing is the basis of this whole universe, the Truth of who we all are. And this beautiful healing meditation is meant to help us reconnect with this Truth by bringing healing to our body so that we can live a life filled with joy, health, peace, and happiness.

Before you begin, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for the next 75 minutes. Second, find a comfortable position to sit – it can be in a chair, crossed legged or on your knees, or lay down and when you’re ready to press play. Once the healing meditation session is over, you can share your experience with all of us by commenting below.

Healing Meditation

 

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Prajna or Samadhi? – Osho – Sat Sangha Salon – Enlightenment Meditation

Beloved Osho,

Once, when Obaku was sitting in Nansen’s reception room, Nansen asked him, “It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Obaku answered, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.”

Nansen then asked, “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own. “

Of course not!” said Obaku.

Nansen then said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water for the moment, let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to?”

To this question, Obaku made no reply.

Maneesha, although this anecdote seems to be very simple, it is not so. In these few words a tremendously important question has been raised. And unfortunately nobody has discussed that question up to now. I would like to go in detail into what I mean. Once, when Obaku was sitting in Nansen’s reception room, Nansen asked him, “It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Before we go into the answer of Obaku, you have to understand the meaning of samadhi and prajna.

It is a very intricate and complex question. Samadhi can be understood watching Ramakrishna. That will give you the basic symptoms which can be observed from the outside.

Ramakrishna used to go into samadhi for hours. Once for six days he was in samadhi. And samadhi to him and to his followers – and there is a great tradition from Patanjali, five thousand years old, which believes in samadhi – means to become perfectly unconscious. To every outsider he was almost in a coma; to the psychologist he had gone deeper into the unconscious layers of the mind.

And there was no way to bring him back.

Automatically, whenever his consciousness surfaced again, he would become aware. And whenever he came out of this samadhi, this deep coma-like unconsciousness, he would weep and cry, “Why have you taken away that great beauty, that great bliss, that great silence that I was experiencing. Time had stopped, the world was forgotten, I was alone and everything was at its perfection. So why have you taken it away?” He was asking the question to existence. “Why don’t you let me continue it?”

Now, Buddha himself would not consider it a samadhi. His samadhi means prajna, and prajna means awareness. You have to become more and more conscious, not unconscious; just two polarities, samadhi and prajna. Prajna is perfect awareness of your being. And samadhi in

Ramakrishna’s case means absolute oblivion. Nobody has gone into the deeper search for what exactly is the difference deep inside.

Both talk about great blissfulness, both talk about eternity, truth, beauty, goodness as their ultimate experience. But one is completely unconscious – you can cut his hand and he will not know – that much unconsciousness; and Buddha is so conscious that before sitting on the floor, first he will look to see if there is any ant or anything that may be killed by his sitting there. In his every act he showed immense awareness.

I have told you the story that one day passing through a street in Vaishali, a fly came and sat on his head. He was talking to Ananda about something. So just automatically the way you do it, he simply waved his hand. Then he suddenly stopped talking to Ananda and again waved his hand. Now there was no fly.

Ananda said, “What are you doing? The fly has gone.”

He said, “The fly has gone, but I acted unconsciously. I waved my hand automatically like a robot. Now I am moving as I should have moved, with full consciousness, awareness.”

So these seem to be two polarities. Both have become a point of great debate as to who is right, because the experience they talk about is the same. My own experience is that mind can be crossed from both ends. One tenth of the mind is conscious, nine tenths of the mind is unconscious. Just think of mind: the upper layer is conscious and nine layers are unconscious. Now mind can be passed from both the ends. You cannot pass from the middle; you will have to travel to the end.

Ramakrishna passed the mind by going deeper and deeper into the unconscious layers. And when the final unconscious layer came, he jumped out of the mind. To the world outside he looked as if he was in a coma. But he reached to the same clear sky although he chose a path which is dark, dismal; he chose the night part of consciousness. But he reached to the same experience.

Buddha never became unconscious in this way. Even walking he was stepping every step fully conscious and gracefully, every gesture fully conscious, gracefully. He transformed his consciousness to such a point that unconscious layers started becoming conscious. The final enlightenment is when all unconscious layers of the mind have become conscious. He also jumps out of the mind.

Both samadhi and prajna are no-mind states, going outside the mind. So the experience is the same but the path is different, very different. One is the white path of light that Buddha followed; one is the path of darkness that Ramakrishna followed. And it is obvious that the people who cannot understand both, who have not followed both the paths and come to the same experience, are going to debate and discuss to no end.

One will say that Ramakrishna’s samadhi is a coma, that he has lost consciousness. Another will say that because Buddha never goes into Ramakrishna-like samadhi, he does not know anything about samadhi. But my experience is, both know the samadhi, both know the prajna.

Ramakrishna first knows samadhi and out of samadhi prajna is born. Buddha knows first prajna and then out of prajna samadhi is born. It is only a question of understanding that existence is always contradictory, made of opposites – night and day, life and death.

Ramakrishna’s path is of unconsciousness. Nobody has deliberately considered the point. And

Buddha’s path is of pure light, of continuous awareness. Even in sleep Buddha sleeps consciously.

So Nansen has raised a very meaningful question.

It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Obaku answered, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.”

Obaku was not a master, Obaku was a scholar. And this question cannot be decided by any scholarship; no intelligence will do, only experience. So what he answers is absolutely irrelevant.

He says, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.” Can you see any relevance to the question? It has nothing to do with samadhi, nothing to do with prajna. He is not only a teacher, but a blind teacher. The question has gone above his head.

Nansen then asked – immediately, which shows what I am saying – “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own.” Anybody could have seen that this is so stupid, it has nothing to do with the question. He could have said, “I don’t know,

I have not experienced either samadhi or prajna. I don’t know whether they end up into the same experience or they lead to different experiences. It is not my own experience, so I can’t say anything.”

That would have been more honest. But looking at his answer, Nansen immediately asked, “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own.”

Even this absurd opinion that you have expressed, I think even this one is not your own. “Of course not!” said Obaku.

Seeing the situation he must have felt it is better to say that this is not my opinion. Nansen then said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water for the moment... Nansen lived on top of a high mountain for thirty years. To bring water to that height, he had to go miles down to bring water up. To us it may look a little strange that he was asking a price for water. He says, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water, for the moment, let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to?”

Zen monks use straw sandals, the same shape as my sandals, but they are made of straw, very beautiful, very aesthetic and very cheap. Nansen is saying, Who has paid for your straw sandals? They look so new. You don’t deserve these straw sandals; they are specially meant for Zen masters. And as for giving you water, I will not ask anything for it, but it has been wasted on a man who does not even know what samadhi is, what is prajna, and still has the guts and the nerve to give an absolutely irrelevant answer; an answer, too, that is not his own. Such a borrowed state is all of scholars, pundits, rabbis.

Nansen exposed Obaku completely to the very innermost core of his being just by asking a small question. But the question is not small, and it is a question which nobody has explained the way I am telling you, that the experiences are not two. Just, the paths leading to the experiences are very different, contrary paths.

One follows the darkness, goes deeper and deeper into the darkness of the mind and the unconscious, reaches to the very end of the mind and jumps out of it. And another tries every possible way to make the unconscious also conscious. And when everything becomes conscious in him, he also takes a jump.

Perhaps Buddha’s method is more scientific. There is no question of right and wrong. Both lead to the same space, but Buddha’s method of prajna is more scientific in the way that you cannot miss because you are aware. Ramakrishna’s path is groping in the dark. He may reach to the dawn, he may not reach. And once he has gone into unconsciousness, all is darkness, he cannot see where he is going. It is just by chance that he finds the door out of the mind, just by chance.

Science does not believe in chance, it has to be a certainty. That’s why you will not find more Ramakrishnas in the world, because it is just a coincidence that groping in the dark you find the door and get out of the mind. It happened to Ramakrishna but you will not find another parallel in the whole history of mankind.

Thousands of mystics have reached to the same point. But they have all followed the path of prajna, because when you have a light with you, you need not grope. When you have a light with you, a consciousness, like a torch showing the path, your reaching to the goal has more certainty.

And once you have known the path, then it is very easy. Only the first time are you going into the unknown. But the unknown is not dark; you keep a torch in your hand. Ramakrishna is going into the unknown without a torch. Ramakrishna’s samadhi in a way is special. He is alone of that kind. He is a rare specimen who went into his depths without taking a single candle. It is more than probable that you will not find the door.

When Buddha was asked about it, he said, “There was a palace with one thousand doors; only one door was real, the remaining were fake; they appeared like doors, but when you went close to them, they were just painted doors, there was a flat wall with no opening.

“A blind man got lost in the palace. He went around groping and groping. He touched many painted doors, but they were not really doors and the time he reached the real door, the only one, a fly came to sit on his head. So he became engaged in waving it away and passed the door.”

Nine hundred and ninety-nine doors, and a chance comes; that chance is very fragile, it can be missed by anything: your head starts itching or you become so tired of groping and touching that you say, “Take a chance, leave this one, go ahead.”

So Buddha said, “My path is not of such groping. In my palace all the doors are real. And there is no need to grope because I give you eyes of meditation and a light that burns like a fire within you, which is your very life. With that light and silence of meditation you can find the door. There are a thousand doors, every door is capable of taking you out.”

I am absolutely certain that Buddha is right; but that does not mean that Ramakrishna is wrong. But Ramakrishna cannot be the rule, he can only be the exception. Buddha is providing for everybody, not for exceptions. A rule has to be for everybody. You cannot make a rule on a single exception. Of the followers of Ramakrishna not even a single one has attained samadhi. But Buddha’s followers even today, continuing as a chain, master to disciple in different countries, are attaining prajna.

Whether you call it samadhi or you call it prajna, it is the same; the meaning of both is ultimate wisdom.

Buddhists don’t believe Ramakrishna to be enlightened. One very old Buddhist monk… he was an Englishman, and when he was just a child, his father was appointed to some post in Kalimpong where the child came in contact with Buddhist masters. He became a Buddhist at the age of eighteen. His whole family resisted; they were Christians and said, “What are you doing listening to the Buddhist masters?”

He could see that Christianity is very childish. It has nothing much to give to you. What can you do even if Jesus did walk on water? Even if you learn to walk on water, what spirituality can you attain through it? Even if you can turn water into alcohol, which is a crime, it does not help anyone to be spiritual. What are the teachings of Christians which can be compared to Gautam the Buddha? None comes close to him. He certainly is the Everest of the Himalayas.

So a Buddhist won’t accept Ramakrishna as enlightened. But talking to Buddhist monks and particularly this English monk, I asked him, “Have you ever tried forgetting Buddha’s method and giving some time to using Ramakrishna’s method?”

He said, “No, I have never tried it.”

I said, “Then saying that Ramakrishna never achieved samadhi is going beyond the limits of your experience.”

I have tried both ways, going on the path of light and going on the path of absolute darkness. Nobody does that because once you have reached the path, then why should you bother about other paths?

You have reached the station in a rickshaw, now are you going to come back and try a taxi? People will think you are mad. You have reached, now there is no need to try whether a taxi also reaches the station or not.

But I am a little crazy. Seeing the argument going on for centuries, I decided that the only way to come to a conclusion is, follow both the paths: one time the path of light and another time the path of darkness. When I was following the path of darkness, almost all my friends, my professors thought that I had gone mad. “What is the need if you have reached to the light in the day, what is the need to continue traveling in the night after reaching?”

I said, “There is a need because there is no other way to conclude whether Ramakrishna was also in the same state of consciousness as Buddha.”

But neither has any Buddhist tried nor have any of Ramakrishna’s disciples tried. And I am nobody’s disciple, I am just an outsider; I don’t belong to any religion or any organization. But to come to a conclusion, seeing that for centuries people have been discussing it, I could not conceive any way that it could be decided by argument; the only way to decide it was to follow both the paths.

And now the meditation that I have been teaching to you is a combination of both the paths. It is neither a meditation dependent only on prajna, just being aware; nor is it a meditation just to forget all and drown yourself in deep rest and darkness. I am using both. I am telling you to forget the world, I am telling you forget the body, forget the mind, you are not these things, but keep your light alive as a witness. So you are going on both the paths together.

There is no problem. In fact it is more significant, because you will be achieving the space that

Ramakrishna achieved and that Buddha achieved. And you will have a good laugh that for centuries scholars have been unnecessarily wasting their time. It is always good to experiment because this is not a philosophical question. It is a question of inner experimentation; it is as scientific as any science.

But in a very nice way Nansen said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water, because I have to carry the drinking water for miles, Let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to? Who has paid the money for your straw sandals? Return the money. You are just a teacher; don’t pretend to be a master. To this question, Obaku made no reply.

-Osho

From Nansen: The Point of Departure, Chapter Seven

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Meditation with Arden Martin of The Spring Meditation

Meditation with Arden Martin of The Spring Meditation

Reducing stress and depression, increasing self awareness and happiness are just some of the amazing benefits of mediation.

In this episode of Yoga | Birth |Babies, I speak with Vedic Meditation teacher and founder of The Spring Meditation, Arden Martin.  Our deep and lively talk reveals what brought Arden to her meditation practice and how it has shaped her life and pregnancy.  Her calm and assuring manner will inspire you to remove any hesitation and venture into your own mediation practice!

In this episode:

  • Arden’s journey into meditation.
  • How meditation has impacted Arden’s life.
  • Common resistances to meditation.
  • Recommendations for someone who says they have tried meditating but couldn’t sit still or quiet their mind?
  • An explanation of different meditation methods?
  • How mediation has impacted Arden’s pregnancy.
  • Planning meditation with baby.
  • Suggestions for starting a daily practice.
  • Self care during pregnancy.
  • Where you can find Arden’s work.

About Arden:

Arden learned to meditate while working as an elementary school teacher in Harlem. Her days were long, demanding, and turbulent, and the practice allowed her to stay calm in the chaos. Since learning to meditate, Arden has experienced more self-love, confidence, and happiness than she ever thought possible. After decades of sinus issues, hormonal imbalances, and trouble sleeping, Arden’s physical health is also better than ever. Although her life always seemed great on the outside, meditation has empowered her to finally feel good on the inside. Arden teaches Vedic Meditation to help others uncover their best selves. In addition to teaching, she currently manages content and programming at her new studio in Soho, The Spring Meditation.

Connect with Arden: 

Social media: @thespringmeditation @ardenmartin

If you enjoyed today’s podcast please join us on iTunes or Stitcher where you can subscribe, rate, and review us!

Morning Meditation with Headspace Meditation App

It’s not coffee, exercise, or going to bed earlier.

Try as I may, I am not a morning person. I’ve read countless articles on calming nighttime rituals, tried bedtime yoga, and even guzzled Som Sleep, a beverage intended to help you hit the hay.

Turns out, I had my become-a-morning-person MO focused on the wrong part of the day: Nighttime. Then, about a year ago, I discovered Headspace, a meditation app started by a former Buddhist monk. A few mornings in to the Basics collection, three, five, or 10-minute sessions (your choice) of meditation fundamentals, I was hooked. Starting my day with a Headspace session also inspired me to do something else I’ve never done in the mornings — take a walk around my block. The simple act of getting fresh air for a few minutes, sans phone (I repeat, without my cell phone), put me in an even better state of mind before I started my meditation routine. Even on — especially on — cold, rainy, or personally difficult mornings, my five-minute walk, coupled with a few minutes of meditation empowered me to take on whatever the day threw at me, or at least, approach things with a better outlook.

Dr. Megan Jones Bell, a consulting assistant professor at Stanford and Chief Science Officer for Headspace, agrees: “A meditation practice can help you wake up to a blue sky every day, and I’m not talking about the weather. Imagine waking up every day and facing your day with a new perspective,” she says. “Research shows meditation, and Headspace in particular, can decrease stress and increase positivity, two factors that can change your whole outlook. If tossing and turning all night leads you waking up on the wrong side of the bed, meditation can help with this, too.”

If you’re feeling fancy, the app also has specific meditation practices geared towards the AM like Early Mornings and Waking Up. A year and change later, no, I’m still not up for meeting you for a 6:30 AM pilates class, but I sure hit the snooze button a lot less.

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Best Meditation Books New and Recommended from Samadhi Store – Enlightenment Meditation

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 Conversation he 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 Harmony offers 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 Dharma urges 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

Meditation

Penelope Prana

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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;

  • Visualisation exercises,
  • 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.

 

Source

Meditation

Benefits of Meditation: How Meditation Helps You

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:

1. Meditation Makes You Emotionally Strong:

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.

Source

https://getwellforever.com/benefits-of-meditation-how-meditation-helps-you/

“Guided Meditation is NOT Meditation”

“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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Check out my website at — I have over 5,000 articles for you to enjoy – see my blog on my website.

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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Possibility Guided Meditation: A Guided Meditation

Possibility guided meditation

Find a comfortable position and take a deep, slow breath

Take another breath as you relax your feet and legs

Relax your hips and abdominals

Relax your chest, back and shoulders

Relax your hands, arms and neck

Then relax every muscle in your face

Close your eyes

Imagine yourself walking through a fragrant forest

You detect the scents of pine and damp soil, and you breathe them in, taking in the healing aromas of the earth

Water droplets are gleaming on thetrees standing around you, making every leaf and flower petal swirl with rich color

A trail opens before you, and you step onto it, your feet welcoming this new, more even surface

You take a few steps and the trail transforms into many different pathways, all going through this same beautiful forest, all twisting and winding in many directions out of sight

You feel this desire to step forward, and as soon as you do, you see that all the paths are open to you – you can go down whichever one you choose

Upon closer inspection, you see more detail

You see that each path has light and each path has shadows, but all paths are about learning, growing and experiencing all life has to offer

You stand there and feel a certain emotion

Don’t squelch this emotion – let it flow no matter what it is

If you are feeling fear or doubt or some other negative emotion, that’s okay – that’s just your mind using its past experiences to keep you safe

Know though, that you are safe no matter what

You are loved no matter what

You are supported no matter what

You are a spiritual being – you always have been and you always will be

You are on a human journey right now, and that journey is a gift, no matter which path you take

There are no wrong decisions, no accidents and no coincidences

Everything that has happened to you so far in life has also happened FOR you

It has happened to show you who you really are

You are a co-creator with the highest power in the universe

You are made of love and light and stardust

You are here to experience all life has to offer, so if you’ve experienced pain and suffering, know it’s equal in joy and happiness must come to you as well

That is the law – that is Universal Law

Take a deep breath and open your arms wide

You are welcoming that wonderful future to you

Love and a divine sense of trust and faith fills you now

You smile, seeing all the possibilities before you

You know once you start down any path, you can change paths whenever you want because you are the one in control of your own destiny

You have been empowered to make whatever decision feels right to you in the moment

Use that “right and good feeling” as your compass, as your indicator of which way to go

You put your arms out in front of you and close your eyes

Each path you turn towards gives you a certain feeling, a certain sense

You pick the path that feels the best to you and bravely step forward

You begin to come back to your body now

You can feel your fingers and toes

You can feel your body pressed against your seat

You take a deep breath, breathing in all those fabulous possibilities, and release it, letting go of any negative emotion that’s been holding you back

You continue taking these breaths for as long as you wish, then when you are ready, you open your eyes

Want more meditations:

*Trust Guided Meditation

* Permanent Weight Loss Guided Meditation

* BetsyPake.com

Samadhi, Satori & Nirvana – Future Yogis

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.
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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.
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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.
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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 healthy or 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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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Awakening
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.
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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.
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Nirvana
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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.

I’m on the road to nowhere
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Tilopa 2.0

Meditation app Headspace making the first ‘prescription meditation’

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.

 

meditation Cindy Ord/Getty Images

 

Source

http://www.businessinsider.com/headspace-meditation-app-health-prescription-fda-2018-6?utm_source=feedburner&amp%3Butm_medium=referral&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+businessinsider+%28Business+Insider%29

Samadhi Cushions Blog

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”.

Blog Post-Script

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.

Second,

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.

Active Meditation Versus True Meditation

 

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.

Learn the path from active to true meditation and start living a meaningful life.

 

Prajna or Samadhi? – Osho – Sat Sangha Salon

Beloved Osho,

Once, when Obaku was sitting in Nansen’s reception room, Nansen asked him, “It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Obaku answered, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.”

Nansen then asked, “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own. “

Of course not!” said Obaku.

Nansen then said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water for the moment, let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to?”

To this question, Obaku made no reply.

Maneesha, although this anecdote seems to be very simple, it is not so. In these few words a tremendously important question has been raised. And unfortunately nobody has discussed that question up to now. I would like to go in detail into what I mean. Once, when Obaku was sitting in Nansen’s reception room, Nansen asked him, “It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Before we go into the answer of Obaku, you have to understand the meaning of samadhi and prajna.

It is a very intricate and complex question. Samadhi can be understood watching Ramakrishna. That will give you the basic symptoms which can be observed from the outside.

Ramakrishna used to go into samadhi for hours. Once for six days he was in samadhi. And samadhi to him and to his followers – and there is a great tradition from Patanjali, five thousand years old, which believes in samadhi – means to become perfectly unconscious. To every outsider he was almost in a coma; to the psychologist he had gone deeper into the unconscious layers of the mind.

And there was no way to bring him back.

Automatically, whenever his consciousness surfaced again, he would become aware. And whenever he came out of this samadhi, this deep coma-like unconsciousness, he would weep and cry, “Why have you taken away that great beauty, that great bliss, that great silence that I was experiencing. Time had stopped, the world was forgotten, I was alone and everything was at its perfection. So why have you taken it away?” He was asking the question to existence. “Why don’t you let me continue it?”

Now, Buddha himself would not consider it a samadhi. His samadhi means prajna, and prajna means awareness. You have to become more and more conscious, not unconscious; just two polarities, samadhi and prajna. Prajna is perfect awareness of your being. And samadhi in

Ramakrishna’s case means absolute oblivion. Nobody has gone into the deeper search for what exactly is the difference deep inside.

Both talk about great blissfulness, both talk about eternity, truth, beauty, goodness as their ultimate experience. But one is completely unconscious – you can cut his hand and he will not know – that much unconsciousness; and Buddha is so conscious that before sitting on the floor, first he will look to see if there is any ant or anything that may be killed by his sitting there. In his every act he showed immense awareness.

I have told you the story that one day passing through a street in Vaishali, a fly came and sat on his head. He was talking to Ananda about something. So just automatically the way you do it, he simply waved his hand. Then he suddenly stopped talking to Ananda and again waved his hand. Now there was no fly.

Ananda said, “What are you doing? The fly has gone.”

He said, “The fly has gone, but I acted unconsciously. I waved my hand automatically like a robot. Now I am moving as I should have moved, with full consciousness, awareness.”

So these seem to be two polarities. Both have become a point of great debate as to who is right, because the experience they talk about is the same. My own experience is that mind can be crossed from both ends. One tenth of the mind is conscious, nine tenths of the mind is unconscious. Just think of mind: the upper layer is conscious and nine layers are unconscious. Now mind can be passed from both the ends. You cannot pass from the middle; you will have to travel to the end.

Ramakrishna passed the mind by going deeper and deeper into the unconscious layers. And when the final unconscious layer came, he jumped out of the mind. To the world outside he looked as if he was in a coma. But he reached to the same clear sky although he chose a path which is dark, dismal; he chose the night part of consciousness. But he reached to the same experience.

Buddha never became unconscious in this way. Even walking he was stepping every step fully conscious and gracefully, every gesture fully conscious, gracefully. He transformed his consciousness to such a point that unconscious layers started becoming conscious. The final enlightenment is when all unconscious layers of the mind have become conscious. He also jumps out of the mind.

Both samadhi and prajna are no-mind states, going outside the mind. So the experience is the same but the path is different, very different. One is the white path of light that Buddha followed; one is the path of darkness that Ramakrishna followed. And it is obvious that the people who cannot understand both, who have not followed both the paths and come to the same experience, are going to debate and discuss to no end.

One will say that Ramakrishna’s samadhi is a coma, that he has lost consciousness. Another will say that because Buddha never goes into Ramakrishna-like samadhi, he does not know anything about samadhi. But my experience is, both know the samadhi, both know the prajna.

Ramakrishna first knows samadhi and out of samadhi prajna is born. Buddha knows first prajna and then out of prajna samadhi is born. It is only a question of understanding that existence is always contradictory, made of opposites – night and day, life and death.

Ramakrishna’s path is of unconsciousness. Nobody has deliberately considered the point. And

Buddha’s path is of pure light, of continuous awareness. Even in sleep Buddha sleeps consciously.

So Nansen has raised a very meaningful question.

It is said that the Buddha Nature can be clearly seen by those who study both samadhi and prajna equally. What does this mean?”

Obaku answered, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.”

Obaku was not a master, Obaku was a scholar. And this question cannot be decided by any scholarship; no intelligence will do, only experience. So what he answers is absolutely irrelevant.

He says, “It means that we should not depend on anything at any time.” Can you see any relevance to the question? It has nothing to do with samadhi, nothing to do with prajna. He is not only a teacher, but a blind teacher. The question has gone above his head.

Nansen then asked – immediately, which shows what I am saying – “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own.” Anybody could have seen that this is so stupid, it has nothing to do with the question. He could have said, “I don’t know,

I have not experienced either samadhi or prajna. I don’t know whether they end up into the same experience or they lead to different experiences. It is not my own experience, so I can’t say anything.”

That would have been more honest. But looking at his answer, Nansen immediately asked, “I wonder whether the opinion you have just expressed is really your own.”

Even this absurd opinion that you have expressed, I think even this one is not your own. “Of course not!” said Obaku.

Seeing the situation he must have felt it is better to say that this is not my opinion. Nansen then said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water for the moment... Nansen lived on top of a high mountain for thirty years. To bring water to that height, he had to go miles down to bring water up. To us it may look a little strange that he was asking a price for water. He says, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water, for the moment, let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to?”

Zen monks use straw sandals, the same shape as my sandals, but they are made of straw, very beautiful, very aesthetic and very cheap. Nansen is saying, Who has paid for your straw sandals? They look so new. You don’t deserve these straw sandals; they are specially meant for Zen masters. And as for giving you water, I will not ask anything for it, but it has been wasted on a man who does not even know what samadhi is, what is prajna, and still has the guts and the nerve to give an absolutely irrelevant answer; an answer, too, that is not his own. Such a borrowed state is all of scholars, pundits, rabbis.

Nansen exposed Obaku completely to the very innermost core of his being just by asking a small question. But the question is not small, and it is a question which nobody has explained the way I am telling you, that the experiences are not two. Just, the paths leading to the experiences are very different, contrary paths.

One follows the darkness, goes deeper and deeper into the darkness of the mind and the unconscious, reaches to the very end of the mind and jumps out of it. And another tries every possible way to make the unconscious also conscious. And when everything becomes conscious in him, he also takes a jump.

Perhaps Buddha’s method is more scientific. There is no question of right and wrong. Both lead to the same space, but Buddha’s method of prajna is more scientific in the way that you cannot miss because you are aware. Ramakrishna’s path is groping in the dark. He may reach to the dawn, he may not reach. And once he has gone into unconsciousness, all is darkness, he cannot see where he is going. It is just by chance that he finds the door out of the mind, just by chance.

Science does not believe in chance, it has to be a certainty. That’s why you will not find more Ramakrishnas in the world, because it is just a coincidence that groping in the dark you find the door and get out of the mind. It happened to Ramakrishna but you will not find another parallel in the whole history of mankind.

Thousands of mystics have reached to the same point. But they have all followed the path of prajna, because when you have a light with you, you need not grope. When you have a light with you, a consciousness, like a torch showing the path, your reaching to the goal has more certainty.

And once you have known the path, then it is very easy. Only the first time are you going into the unknown. But the unknown is not dark; you keep a torch in your hand. Ramakrishna is going into the unknown without a torch. Ramakrishna’s samadhi in a way is special. He is alone of that kind. He is a rare specimen who went into his depths without taking a single candle. It is more than probable that you will not find the door.

When Buddha was asked about it, he said, “There was a palace with one thousand doors; only one door was real, the remaining were fake; they appeared like doors, but when you went close to them, they were just painted doors, there was a flat wall with no opening.

“A blind man got lost in the palace. He went around groping and groping. He touched many painted doors, but they were not really doors and the time he reached the real door, the only one, a fly came to sit on his head. So he became engaged in waving it away and passed the door.”

Nine hundred and ninety-nine doors, and a chance comes; that chance is very fragile, it can be missed by anything: your head starts itching or you become so tired of groping and touching that you say, “Take a chance, leave this one, go ahead.”

So Buddha said, “My path is not of such groping. In my palace all the doors are real. And there is no need to grope because I give you eyes of meditation and a light that burns like a fire within you, which is your very life. With that light and silence of meditation you can find the door. There are a thousand doors, every door is capable of taking you out.”

I am absolutely certain that Buddha is right; but that does not mean that Ramakrishna is wrong. But Ramakrishna cannot be the rule, he can only be the exception. Buddha is providing for everybody, not for exceptions. A rule has to be for everybody. You cannot make a rule on a single exception. Of the followers of Ramakrishna not even a single one has attained samadhi. But Buddha’s followers even today, continuing as a chain, master to disciple in different countries, are attaining prajna.

Whether you call it samadhi or you call it prajna, it is the same; the meaning of both is ultimate wisdom.

Buddhists don’t believe Ramakrishna to be enlightened. One very old Buddhist monk… he was an Englishman, and when he was just a child, his father was appointed to some post in Kalimpong where the child came in contact with Buddhist masters. He became a Buddhist at the age of eighteen. His whole family resisted; they were Christians and said, “What are you doing listening to the Buddhist masters?”

He could see that Christianity is very childish. It has nothing much to give to you. What can you do even if Jesus did walk on water? Even if you learn to walk on water, what spirituality can you attain through it? Even if you can turn water into alcohol, which is a crime, it does not help anyone to be spiritual. What are the teachings of Christians which can be compared to Gautam the Buddha? None comes close to him. He certainly is the Everest of the Himalayas.

So a Buddhist won’t accept Ramakrishna as enlightened. But talking to Buddhist monks and particularly this English monk, I asked him, “Have you ever tried forgetting Buddha’s method and giving some time to using Ramakrishna’s method?”

He said, “No, I have never tried it.”

I said, “Then saying that Ramakrishna never achieved samadhi is going beyond the limits of your experience.”

I have tried both ways, going on the path of light and going on the path of absolute darkness. Nobody does that because once you have reached the path, then why should you bother about other paths?

You have reached the station in a rickshaw, now are you going to come back and try a taxi? People will think you are mad. You have reached, now there is no need to try whether a taxi also reaches the station or not.

But I am a little crazy. Seeing the argument going on for centuries, I decided that the only way to come to a conclusion is, follow both the paths: one time the path of light and another time the path of darkness. When I was following the path of darkness, almost all my friends, my professors thought that I had gone mad. “What is the need if you have reached to the light in the day, what is the need to continue traveling in the night after reaching?”

I said, “There is a need because there is no other way to conclude whether Ramakrishna was also in the same state of consciousness as Buddha.”

But neither has any Buddhist tried nor have any of Ramakrishna’s disciples tried. And I am nobody’s disciple, I am just an outsider; I don’t belong to any religion or any organization. But to come to a conclusion, seeing that for centuries people have been discussing it, I could not conceive any way that it could be decided by argument; the only way to decide it was to follow both the paths.

And now the meditation that I have been teaching to you is a combination of both the paths. It is neither a meditation dependent only on prajna, just being aware; nor is it a meditation just to forget all and drown yourself in deep rest and darkness. I am using both. I am telling you to forget the world, I am telling you forget the body, forget the mind, you are not these things, but keep your light alive as a witness. So you are going on both the paths together.

There is no problem. In fact it is more significant, because you will be achieving the space that

Ramakrishna achieved and that Buddha achieved. And you will have a good laugh that for centuries scholars have been unnecessarily wasting their time. It is always good to experiment because this is not a philosophical question. It is a question of inner experimentation; it is as scientific as any science.

But in a very nice way Nansen said, “Setting aside the question of payment for the drinking water, because I have to carry the drinking water for miles, Let me ask whom you intend to have the money for the straw sandals returned to? Who has paid the money for your straw sandals? Return the money. You are just a teacher; don’t pretend to be a master. To this question, Obaku made no reply.

-Osho

From Nansen: The Point of Departure, Chapter Seven

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

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Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, and Meditation – Enlightenment Meditation

This is a very technical article, but a careful reading will be of very real benefit to the person who intends for yoga to be his life’s central endeavor.

Dharana, dhyana, and samadhi

According to Taimni, author of The Science of Yoga, yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and pratyahara should be thought of as bahiranga yoga, external yoga, and dharana, dhyana, and samadhi should be considered antaranga yoga, or internal yoga. So when we come to dharana, dhyana, and samadhi we are entering a new yogic realm.

Patanjali says in Yoga Sutras 3:4, 5: “These three [dharana, dhyana, samadhi] together constitute samyama [unity or mastery], and from mastery of that [samyama], prajna [pure consciousness] is attained [as a permanent state].” Vyasa: “This triad of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi is the direct means to samprajñata samadhi.” Shankara: “Yoga can be effected even without going through the five limbs of yoga–by the mere accomplishment of the triad of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. But without that triad yoga is not possible for anyone, because yoga is essentially associated with the operation of dharana and the other two. For the nature of yoga is perfection of the chitta.” And: “Mastery of asana or other instructions of yoga are not, in the case of distracted [i.e., restless or mentally uncontrolled] people, productive of [the state of] yoga. But getting rid of the [mental] defects and samadhi–these two will certainly produce it [yoga], and nothing else will.”

Of the eight “limbs” of Yoga, yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and pratyahara are discussed in the second division of the Yoga Sutras called Sadhana Pada that deals with sadhana–the search for reality–mostly in the form of outer practice. But the last three, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, are included in the third part called Vibhuti Pada. Vibhuti means both manifestation and divine glories. By this arrangement Patanjali is indicating that dharana, dhyana, and samadhi produce the actualization of spiritual realities and automatically manifest the divine glories of the spirit. Shankara says: “even though the previous five limbs of yoga may not have been perfected, effort should be made at these three.” All three of these are directly related to the practice of meditation–are meditation, in fact.

Yoga Sutra 3:1 says: “Dharana is the confining (or fixing) of the chitta in a single area [desha].” The practice of meditation right away puts the chitta into the stream of the subtle sound of Om. It is interesting that Patanjali does not say that dharana is fixing the mind in a single spot (bindu), but rather says desha, area. This is because though the Chidakasha is indeed a single thing, it extends through the entire range of existence as the inner thread or sutra on which all is strung or fixed like beads in a necklace or rosary. “It [dharana] is binding the chitta as a purely mental process,” says Vyasa. “The focussing [vritti] of the chitta, held in that place without being dispersed, is called dharana, as a purely mental process. It functions simply as the awareness of that area without any disturbance,” adds Shankara. This is meditation.

“Dhyana [meditation] is the unbroken flow of awareness [ekatanata] of that [desha or object].” Ekatanata can also mean the unbroken extension or movement along something–in this case the subtle stream of Om. Meditation is the unbroken experience-awareness-movement within the subtle sound-mutations of Om. “Meditation is continuity of the experience of the meditation-object in that area–a stream of identical vrittis [waves, modifications] untouched by any other vritti,” says Vyasa. To induce meditation we produce a stream of identical waves in the chitta by the mental intonations of Om until that stream becomes a continuous unitary flow of increasingly rarefied sound, a single object or wave that is “untouched” by any other thought or impression. Meditation (dhyana) is “a stream of identical vrittis as a unity, a continuity of vrittis not disturbed by intrusion of differing or opposing vrittis. This is dhyana.” So says Shankara. And He contrasts the beginning stage of meditation, dharana, with dhyana, saying: “Whereas in dharana there may be other impressions of peripheral thoughts even though the chitta has been settled on the object of meditation alone–for the chitta is functioning on the location [desha] as a pure mental process–it is not so with dhyana, for there it [the object of meditation] is only the stream of a single vritti untouched by any other vritti of a different kind.”

“The same [i.e. dhyana] when there is consciousness only of the object of meditation and not of itself [the chitta] is samadhi.” This sutra is extremely difficult to translate. It can also be put: “When that object of meditation alone appears therein in its true or essential form [swarupa] as shunyam [empty or void of all else, as a single thing alone], that is samadhi.” Vyasa comments on it in this way: “Dhyana, when it comes to shine forth in the form of the meditation object alone, apparently empty of [or beyond] its own nature as a vritti, and [the meditator] having entered the being of the meditation object and become it–that is samadhi.” Shankara’s expansion on this statement of Vyasa makes it clear that meditation is being spoken of: “Meditation, consisting of the idea-stream, having apparently given up being a stream of one idea [vritti], is radiant as the form of the object, just as a clear crystal shines out as the material on which it has been placed, and is apparently empty of its own nature, and when, ‘having entered the being of the meditation object,’ that being the cause of the thought [vritti], ‘becomes it,’ that very dhyana is samadhi.” That is, when the idea-stream of the repetitions of Om ceases to be a stream or movement and becomes the shining of the pure consciousness of the self (spirit), seemingly having become “empty of its own nature”–but only apparently so, for consciousness is the essential nature of all being–including God. And when the meditator has “entered the being of” Brahman and become It…that is samadhi. Shankara then concludes that meditation is “the method whereby what was a stream of ideas becomes, from entering the being of the meditation object, the very form of that object.”

To sum up: When all other possible objects of awareness are excluded and the object of meditation is perceived in its essential form absolutely devoid of any connotations or even its nature as an object to be perceived–when it has become a “no thing” through absolute oneness with the meditator–that is samadhi, the culmination of meditation. Samadhi means oneness or sameness, the state when the meditator, object of meditation, and meditation have become ONE.

Samadhi is an intriguing mystery to the aspiring yogi who usually mistakes it for a psychic state productive of such physical phenomena as loss of outer consciousness, being without breath or heartbeat, and suchlike. Consequently many practice drastic and strenuous methods, especially breath control, attempting to stop their breath and heartbeat. And they are usually frustrated in their attempts and feel that they are not really making progress. One of the first saints I met was truly an earthly angel who by a single look could awaken the spiritual consciousness of others. He spontaneously healed souls and bodies. Yet, because of the influence of a guru he had studied with in his early years of spiritual quest, he often lamented to others: “I have not really gotten anywhere. In all these years I have not experienced the breathless state even once. So I have not even begun to progress.” He was mistaking a physical condition for a spiritual one, as is common in both India and the West. So it is very important for us to understand what samadhi really is.

First of all, samadhi is our natural spiritual state. “The self is actionless and always in samadhi,” says Shankara in his comments on the first Yoga Sutra. And: “As we have said, steadiness is samadhi. Rightly has the commentator [Vyasa] said that it is a quality of the mind in all the states.”

Samadhi is the state of consciousness in which oneness with the object of concentration or meditation is experienced. In meditation it is the experience of oneness with the individual spirit (purusha) or the Supreme Spirit (Param Purusha). Swami Sivananda, in the Yoga Vedanta Dictionary, says: “Here the mind becomes identified with the object of meditation; the meditator and the meditated, thinker and thought become one in perfect absorption of the mind.” From this we can see that samadhi is exclusively a state of awareness. Physical phenomena simply do not come into it, although certain conditions of the body may result as a side effect–especially in the case of beginners or those whose body and nervous system are not fully purified (refined) or controlled and so become overwhelmed and manifest various abnormal conditions. Because they are so dramatic, the states of breathlessness, absence of heartbeat, immobility or levitation are usually thought of in the West as being samadhi. As just stated, such states may accompany samadhi, but they are neither samadhi nor requisites or proofs of samadhi. “The fact of a person being in real samadhi is determined solely by the condition of his mind and not at all by the inertness of the physical body,” asserts I.K. Taimni.

Patanjali discusses two forms of samadhi: samprajñata and asamprajñata. Sivananda defines them in this way: “Samprajñata samadhi: State of superconsciousness, with the triad of meditator, meditation and the meditated. Savikalpa samadhi.” “Asamprajñata samadhi: Highest superconscious state where the mind and the ego-sense are completely annihilated.” Both are produced by the practice of meditation–first samprajñata samadhi and then asamprajñata samadhi.

Samprajñata samadhi

“Samprajñata samadhi is that which is accompanied by reasoning [vitarka], reflection [vichara], bliss [ananda] and sense of pure being [asmita]” (Sutra 1:17).

Although it leads to chittanirodhavritti, the inhibition of the waves in the chitta, samprajñata samadhi is not that state–at least not fully. For it even to occur a great deal of the mind-waves must have gone into abeyance; still, it is not asamprajñata samadhi which is the full inhibition of all vrittis. It is, however, a genuine state of samadhi and a prerequisite for asamprajñata samadhi. For this reason we should analyze its characteristics.

Although, as previously mentioned, many of the vrittis are inhibited, in samprajñata samadhi the vrittis of vitarka, vichara, ananda, and asmita may occur or be found underlying the consciousness of the yogi. We will consider each in turn.

Vitarka literally means reasoning or discussion–even argument. Within samprajñata samadhi it means the capacity for rational concepts to arise in a reflective or illuminating stream. I say “concepts” because words in the sense of internal silent speaking do not occur in samprajñata samadhi. Ordinary thinking is suppressed (actually superseded) in samprajñata samadhi, and the yogi’s intelligence functions much further down the “thought chain” in simple, direct concepts. That is, in samprajñata samadhi there is non-verbal reasoning, but not thinking in the ordinary meaning of silent internal verbalization or “talking to oneself.” This is important to know, because if inner verbalization occurs it is a sign that our diving consciousness has begun to float up toward ordinary consciousness and that meditation needs to be induced again. What does all this mean practically? It means, for example, that if the light goes on in the room we will conceptualize that it has come on, further conceptualize that it cannot go on of its own accord, and conceptualize that someone may have entered the room. Then we will open our eyes to see who is there. Or, if we are meditating and the whole room begins to shake, the concepts of earthquake and the need to go to a safer place will arise. But in both instances only the concepts–not words–will arise if samprajñata samadhi is still being retained. The practical value of this is that what we might call root-reason continues in samprajñata samadhi. And this can be to our benefit, obviously. When the doorbell or the telephone rings we are aware of it and also aware as to whether we need bother to answer or not. A momentary “discussion” in the form of a chain of conceptualizations may occur, but still the primary meditation-samadhi state is retained. This then leads us to realize that in time, with practice and progress, the state of samprajñata samadhi may be maintained even outside meditation–virtually all the time. This possibility was referred to by Ramana Maharshi: “Better than spells of meditation is one continuous current, steady as a stream, or downward flow of oil” (Verse seven of Upadesha Saram–The Essence of Instruction). Meditation opens the door to this possibility.

Vichara means deliberation or reflection. Whereas vitarka is the power of conceptualization related to outer phenomena, vichara relates to inner happenings during meditation such as inner distractions, the involuntary out-turning of the mind, or movement of the mind in a wrong direction such as outlined by Ramana Maharshi in section 2:16 of Spiritual Instruction: “It is important for one who is established in his Self (atma nishta) to see that he does not swerve in the least from this absorption. By swerving from his true nature he may see before him bright effulgences, etc., or hear (unusual) sounds or regard as real the visions of gods appearing within or outside himself. He should not be deceived by these and forget himself.” When any of these things occur in samprajñata samadhi, the concept-reflection or non-verbal comprehension of their nature arises and we consciously stop, turn away, or reverse them. For example, when a memory of something arises we realize that it is a distraction and refuse to ruminate over it; when we find our mind floating up and out of meditation we consciously induce meditation again. And if experiences of the kind mentioned by Ramana Maharshi occur we ignore them or stop them. Vichara is not only conceptualization of a subtle sort, it is also a subtle form of will which can manifest as a deliberate in-turning of the mind for the continuance of meditation. Vichara also develops our capacity for objectivity of mind, even outside meditation. This greatly contributes to our inner peace and the ability to intelligently respond to the situations of daily outer life.

Ananda is internal bliss, or joy. Meditation produces profound peace and relief from the internal effects or ravages of the outer storms of life. When this great peace and ease of heart are experienced in meditation, the experience of bliss–the “hem of the garment” of the Self–is not far away. Although there is indeed a state beyond bliss as an experience–asamprajñata samadhi–still ananda is a legitimate component of samprajñata samadhi.

Asmita is I-am-ness, the sense of individuality, of pure being, the feeling of “I exist.” In meditation the yogi comes to be absorbed in this awareness of simple being, of I-am-ness. Yogic texts utilize the term asmita samadhi to denote what Sivananda says is the “superconscious state immediately below asamprajñata [samadhi] with the only or sole feeling of aham asmi: ‘I am’ or ‘I exist.’” Vyasa comments: “Having discovered the self which is subtle as an atom, he should be conscious of ‘I-am’ alone.” “This is meditation on its most refined cause, with everything else gone,” adds Shankara. That is, there is no thought involving a defining or descriptive-adjectival condition, such as “I am sitting,” “I am young,” “I am serious,” or “I am enlightened.” Nothing whatsoever of the yogi’s makeup or experience impinges on the pure “I am” awareness–not even “I am aware.” Just the pure consciousness of consciousness itself in the form of the true self, or spirit, prevails in samprajñata samadhi. This is made possible by meditation.

Vitarka, vichara, ananda, and asmita may also be looked upon as the steps of samprajñata samadhi leading to asamprajñata samadhi. They are legitimate stages of deep yogic experience, both vital and valid and not to be scorned. So it is important that the yogi not become impatient and try to “go beyond them,” for they alone are what leads us beyond. “There is no reason why the samadhi should not be in the form of ‘I-am,’ because this is meditation on its most refined cause, with everything else gone” (Shankara). “Of these, the first samadhi–with vitarka–is associated with all four. The second–with vichara–is without the verbal associations of the first. The third–with ananda–is without the subtle associations of the second. The fourth, being pure ‘I-am,’ is without the association of ananda. All these samadhis rest on an object” (Vyasa). That is: “In this sequence of four [stages], an earlier one is associated with the qualities of all the later ones, and a later one is without the qualities of any earlier one.…Lest from the expression ‘I am’ it might be supposed that among these samadhis there is one without an object, he says, ‘All these rest on an object.’ It might be thought that ‘I-am’ is something without any idea in it. But it is not so,…. And so he will say later, ‘“I-am” is a feeling [bhava]’” (Shankara).

Lest we think that samprajñata samadhi and its most refined state of pure “I am”-ness is utter blankness or experience of nothing, Vyasa states that all the four stages of samprajñata samadhi, including the final one, “rest on an object.” This highest (or deepest) stage of samprajñata samadhi is not the experience of void, but of one’s own true self in the form of consciousness. The stages of vitarka, vichara, and ananda “rest” upon the most subtle components of our relative existence, the causal levels that are so rarefied that they are naturally mistaken for the consciousness of the self. But when they are transcended, the “sense of pure being”–asmita–alone remains as the spirit rests (is centered) within its own self/nature, experiencing itself alone. So Vyasa later comments that “asmita is a sense,” the most subtle sense or awareness of pure being.

Stating the practical value or effect of samprajñata samadhi, Vyasa says: “The samadhi in the one-pointed mind makes clear the object as it is, destroys the taints, loosens the karma-bonds, and brings the state of inhibition [chittavrittinirodhah] into view; it is called samprajñata [cognitive].” Shankara comments that Vyasa is speaking of a “one-pointedness where there is no subjection to a state.”

Since we are so egoically obsessed with the need to be or have the “highest” and the “best,” we are in danger of putting little value on our experience of samprajñata samadhi during our practice of meditation and trying to force or push ourselves “higher” or “deeper” into asamprajñata samadhi. Not only is such an attempt futile, we are indulging in foolish disregard of something that is supremely valuable and worthy of all respect. Vyasa warns us from this error by assuring us that “the omission of the word ‘all’ [in speaking of the suppression of vrittis in the Yoga Sutra 1:2] shows that samprajñata samadhi also is yoga.” Shankara, commenting on this statement, says that yoga “is well known to include meditation on objects.” Although the highest yoga (asamprajñata samadhi) is without objects, the lesser yoga (samprajñata samadhi) does include awareness of the subtle inner functions already listed. Therefore he continues, commenting on Vyasa: “He has not said that cognitive samadhi is putting down the mental process entirely.…Cognitive samadhi is still accompanied by certain mental objects.”

The stages of meditation leading to transcendence (asamprajñata samadhi) are also yoga. Furthermore, they are of great practical value. Vyasa assures us in the previously-cited comment that meditation in the form of samprajñata samadhi:

As we say in our American slang, this is nothing to be sneezed at! These four effects of samprajñata samadhi are directly linked to its four stages or qualities: vitarka, vichara, ananda, and asmita. Moreover, these effects are not confined to the time of meditation practice, but extend into the daily life of the yogi as well. So the practicer of meditation must greatly value even the “lesser” stages of meditation which produce these marvelous results so effortlessly.

The vitarka–subtle reasoning power–which is produced and developed by meditation practice “makes clear the object as it is.” That is, it enables the yogi, both in and out of meditation, to see clearly whatever comes into the purview of his mind-consciousness. He sees the truth of a thing–both its subtle behind-the-scenes nature and purpose as well as its ultimate truth as a manifestation of Pure Consciousness: God.

The vichara (reflection) capacity which is produced and developed by meditation practice “destroys the taints” known as kleshas in the Yoga Sutras 2:2,3: “The samadhi produced by meditation is for the removal of the kleshas. The kleshas are: ignorance, egoism, attraction and repulsion for objects, and fear of death.” These kleshas are the root causes of all the afflictions and misery encountered in human life. And meditation dissolves them all.

The ananda–bliss–which is produced and developed by meditation practice “loosens the karma-bonds.” This is because desire for happiness or joy is the root motivation of all actions producing karma. But when that ananda is gained through the practice of meditation, the compulsion toward material, external actions for egoic attainment ceases, for fulfillment is found.

The asmita–awareness of pure being–which is produced and developed by meditation practice “brings the state of inhibition [chittavrittinirodhah] into view.” That is, it gives a touch of the ultimate state of asamprajñata samadhi (“brings it into view”) and impels the consciousness onward to that higher state.

All these effects come from a great deal of meditation–not just after a few days’ practice. But the results are assured to the faithful yogi.

Asamprajñata samadhi

“Asampajñata samadhi was defined in the words, ‘Yoga is the cessation (nirodha) of modifications (vritti) in the mind-substance (chitta),’” says Shankara. And Vyasa: “Asamprajñata samadhi is when there is inhibition of all mental processes.” Asamprajñata samadhi is yoga in the most absolute sense. It is both the end of yoga and yoga itself. This of course must become our permanent state. Therefore practice is still needed even after its attainment.

In contrasting the two types of samadhi, samprajñata and asamprajñata, Shankara avers: “The definition as inhibition [of vrittis] applies exactly to asamprajñata samadhi, but only loosely to samprajñata samadhi” since in samprajñata samadhi, though there is a great–almost total–inhibition of the vrittis, still some do occur as contrasted with asamprajñata samadhi in which absolutely no vrittis arise. And further: “Asamprajñata samadhi cannot be defined by anything else except inhibition. Inhibition alone is its definition because nothing else is there, whereas samprajñata samadhi is definable in terms of special characteristics like verbal [i.e., conceptual] associations.…It is settled that asamprajñata samadhi is defined by the bare word ‘inhibition.’…The commentator will sum up later in these words: ‘It is asamprajñata in the sense that in it no thing is cognized [samprajñayate]: this yoga is inhibition of the mental process.’” He also has written in his Yoga Sutra commentary: “The one-pointed [ekagra] state of the mind is a stream of similar thoughts.…The inhibited [niruddha] state is a mind empty of thoughts.” And: “In inhibition [nirodh] the mind is not restricted to a particular object, for there is no subject for an object.”

In Yoga Sutra 1:18 Patanjali speaks of asamprajñata samadhi in a most interesting manner: “The other is when by practice [of samprajñata samadhi] the last vestiges of the contents [the vrittis] of the mind cease [or are dropped].” “The other” is asamprajñata samadhi, but it is significant that he neither names it nor speaks of it as being produced or even occurring by the cessation of all vrittis in the chitta. This is because it is not an entity, thing, or even–speaking precisely–a state, but a result of the cessation of all such things and their experience and effect. Vyasa puts it this way: “In this state [of asamprajñata samadhi] what remains is samskaras, and it is the seedless [nirbija] samadhi. There is no cognition of anything in it, so it is asamprajñata. This yoga is inhibition of the mental processes.” Shankara, commenting on this says: “The meaning is, that here the seed is gone; in this all the seeds of taint and so on are gone.” Also, by using the expression “the other” for asamprajñata samadhi Patanjali is following the lead of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy in which Reality is not designated as One, but rather only as Not Two [Advaita]. This is because asamprajñata samadhi is the eternal, ineradicable state of the spirit–of consciousness itself. Having always been, it can neither be attained nor produced. It always IS, for it is the state of I AM.

Samprajñata samadhi is savikalpa samadhi, and asamprajñata samadhi is nirvikalpa samadhi. Savikalpa means “with content” and nirvikalpa means “without content.” By “content” is meant impressions in the mind that will manifest subsequently in the form of positive states of consciousness and positive karmas, and the experiences of objects, however subtle. Savikalpa samadhi produces something, whereas nirvikalpa samadhi is the cessation and prevention of all “somethings.”

The following valuable simple exposition of the various yogic states is given by A. W. Chadwick in A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi: “Savikalpa Samadhi is the state of deep meditation when one is sunk in peace but still retains the consciousness of one’s identity. One knows that one is meditating and can still consciously continue one’s Sadhana. In Nirvikalpa Samadhi one has attained to a state where the identity has been lost and sunk entirely in the highest Self. However long it may last it is only temporary, one must return eventually to one’s normal state of consciousness. One is unable to function in this state and so long as it lasts one is in a state of trance. It is usually preliminary to the final state [of Sahaja Samadhi]. Sahaja Samadhi is the final and most blessed state, the goal of all Yogis. In this state the individual has become completely merged in the Supreme Self. His identity which became lost in Nirvikalpa Samadhi has become enlarged and is now the Supreme Self and knows itself as such. Trances are no longer necessary, a person can still carry on with the ordinary day to day business but he no longer identifies himself with the activities, but watches them like a dreamer watching a dream. There is no more to do, and no more to be attained. This is the Supreme State of Absolute Bliss.”

In samprajñata samadhi we experience the self only, and in asamprajñata samadhi we experience God, the Self of our self. Saint Paul speaks of it in this way: “For now we see [in samprajñata samadhi as though] through a glass, darkly; but then [in asamprajñata samadhi] face to face: now [in samprajñata samadhi] I know in part; but then [in asamprajñata samadhi] shall I know even as also I am known” (I Corinthians 13:12). In the matter of asamprajñata samadhi we are not talking about an attainment, but a rediscovery, a remembering–literally a realization. Not being the result of an action it is therefore permanent and ineradicable.

A further word

In Philosophy of Gorakhnath, Banerjea makes some observations that seem a fitting conclusion to this entire subject:

“The difference between the nature and the degree of the spiritual enjoyment of one plane and those of another can not of course be understood by any person living and moving and having his being in the normal physical and sensuous plane of experience by means of any amount of subtle intellectual reasoning or any stretch of imagination. Yogis who attain experiences of those higher planes can not also make them intelligible to the men of the lower planes by means of verbal descriptions. Nevertheless, many yogi-teachers have, with the help of various kinds of similes and metaphors and poetic imageries, made some attempts to give vague and inadequate ideas about their inner experiences for the benefit of earnest truth-seekers, who might in the light of these descriptions feel the urge to advance in this path and subject themselves to the necessary discipline under proper guidance with the purpose of being blessed with similar experiences.”

And: “It may be noted in this connection that Samadhi, which is the most concentrated state of the empirical consciousness, a state in which ail differences apparently vanish, may be attained in every plane of the consciousness, specially in each of the chakras mentioned by the enlightened yogis. But the results of the Samadhi in the different planes, in the different chakras, are not the same. The samadhi-state of the consciousness may superficially appear to be similar in every case; but the realizations depend upon the nature of the planes and the nature of the objects or ideals upon which the mind is concentrated. Samadhi in every plane and upon every object of meditation does not lead to spiritual illumination. The psycho-vital energy has to be purified and refined and raised to higher and higher planes for higher and higher orders of spiritual experience; perfect illumination is attainable in the highest plane–in the highest chakra.”

About asamprajñata samadhi: “In the Yoga-Shastras the transcendent experience in the state of nirvikalpa or asamprajnata samadhi is found to be described in terms of shunya (void or vacancy or negation of everything) as well as purna (fullness or perfection or unification of all). It is a state of ‘void within and void without, like an empty vessel in the sky; fulness within and fulness without, like a vessel full of water immersed in the ocean’ (antah-shunyo vahih-shunyah shunya-kumbha ivamvare antah-purno bahih-purnah purna-kumbha ivarnave).

“Since in that experience there is nothing which is experienced as its object, there is no subject-object relation and no process of experience, there is no consciousness of any inside and outside or any before and after, it may quite appropriately be spoken of as a state of absolute Void, (shunya), absolute negation of existence and consciousness in the empirical sense. On the other hand, as it is the state of the perfect fulfillment of all earnest and systematic endeavors for liberation from all limitations and realization of the Absolute Truth, as it gives the sense of complete satisfaction to the human consciousness seeking for Truth and Freedom and thus results in perfect calmness and tranquility and bliss, as after the attainment of this blessed state nothing else appears to remain to be known and enjoyed, it is rightly described as the state of absolute fulness and perfection, the state of the realization of Perfect Existence, in which all orders of phenomenal existences are not simply negated, but realized as resolved into Absolute Unity. What appears to be Shunya or Asat (negation of all existences) from the empirical viewpoint is really the Purna-Sat (Perfect Existence), in which the ultimate character of all orders of existences is unveiled as One Self-luminous Differenceless Non-dual Spiritual Existence. This Perfect Existence is immanent in all empirical realities, which are only partial imperfect conditioned self-manifestations of It in the spatio-temporal order.”

Further Reading:

Samadhi Meditation with Tony The Healing Medium

 “Samadhi Sundays” Group Meditation with Tony The Healing Medium   

Come join us! Meet like people that enjoy samadhi meditation.  Psychics, Mediums, and Energy Healers etc. This is a free event!  Increase you intuition!  Go beyond! Just meditation.   Go thru the portal into an altered state of mind with Samadhi  Meditation  and transmission.  It is closed to the general public.  You must be a current or former student to attend.

Samadhi (Sanskrit: समाधि, Hindi pronunciation: [səˈmaːd̪ʱi]), also called samāpatti, in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools refers to a state of meditative consciousness. It is a meditative absorption or trance, attained by the practice of dhyāna.  In samādhi the mind becomes still. It is a state of being totally aware of the present moment; a one-pointedness of mind.

Samadhi  meditation clears the way to see all aspects of your life!  Clearly! without Ego.  Samadhi Meditation and Transmissions opens you up to the cosmos to your creator!  Samadhi meditation with Tony The Healing Medium leads you to discover yourself!  Self Realization is the journey

Where is your Life Going? Tired of struggling through life? Find out how to remove the struggles rapidly and manifest your life’s true desires. Want to have an awakened life. See the truth about everything around you people places and things.

I used to ask myself this question, as I’m sure we all do.
So what is the answer?
I will start by saying, we have eight very important major areas in our lives.
They all need to have balance in order for our lives to operate correctly.
But first we need to get rid of the “junk” that is in the way.
If you were going to paint a room, you would have to clean everything out, right?
Well, our internal lives need the same thing.
Most of us have no idea where to start, Right?
Well, we have an energy system in our body. It gives us access to the divine energy that connects us all.
We can unlock our energy centers, and purge all the “junk” from our minds, body and soul.
Once this is done, it will enhance your health, relationships and personal development.

When we choose consciously to embark upon this journey, the companions to our soul will begin to reveal themselves and share the critical wisdom they hold for us. From soulmate contracts with human friends (or foes) to contracts with angels, realized beings, the natural world, and more, Tony the healing medium, will unveil the surprising pairings that may be waiting to spark your spiritual development and personal evolution.

What are you waiting for? Let Tony the healing medium, help you on this journey.

Remember, we all need to take that first step…
by Melody LeMesurier Artist/Psychic

When Tony lays hands on people it invokes a mystical spiritual experience. See Last video above

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Is Your Meditation Effortless, Enjoyable and Effective?

Samadhi Meditation: with Tony The Healing Medium

The Importance of Samadhi

Most people, when they think of meditation, think of someone sitting in a loincloth concentrating on nothing but pointless woowoo.  Perhaps, people  believe, it gives some kind of mental benefit but that’s all Really?

Samadhi, which literally means “to direct together,” is the state in which the yogi perceive the identity of his soul as spirit. In other words, samadhi is a state of consciousness where the practitioner becomes one with the experienced meaning they tune in to a different frequency.  A higher dimension. more info schoolofuniversalcorehealing.com

This means that the practitioner is really not aware of their external surroundings; they are fully absorbed within. A bomb could go off and they wouldn’t hear it.  So what exactly are they experiencing? Well, that depends…on what type of Samadhi you benefit from.  While it’s true that many practitioners do use mantras, visualizations, or breathing techniques, that does improve concentration, it’s not correct to believe that this is the entire point of meditation. These are only stepping stones to something to deeper.

This “something deeper” is a state of awareness known as samadhi- the precursor to enlightenment. Both Buddhism and Hinduism place a lot of importance on this state of awareness, and often cite it in many religious texts. Samadhi A State of Higher Consciousness.  There are many different types of samadhi, but the two most well known types are savikalpa and nirvikalpa.

Savikalpa Samadhi-This type of samadhi is the preliminary phase to the deeper nirvikalpa, but it’s powerful nonetheless. This is the process of fully bringing the prana-current up the spine and into the brain. This means that the senses are fully closed off, and the practitioner is completely absorbed in an experience of bliss. The meditator is still slightly aware of the process of experiencing to some degree, however, and therefore is not completely devoid of ego.

Nirvikalpa Samadhi- This is the highest expression of samadhi. In this state, the practitioner can consciously completely leave the body at will and merge with the cosmic stream that makes up the universe. The meditator has no pulse, no breath; this is why it’s commonly referred to as the breathless state.

Paramahansa Yogananda, a Hindu mystic that lived in America, had this to say about nirvikalpa samadhi:

“The next state is called nirvikalpa samadhi. In this state of consciousness you maintain your divine realization even while working or speaking or moving about in this world. Nirvikalpa is the highest realization. Once attaining that, there is no further possibility of falling back into delusion.” Parammahansa Yogananda was a Disciple the Great Mystic BaBai.  BaBJi is the Avatar that Tony The Healing Medium Channels.  Tony’s students can see the Great Master BaBaji with Tony .  They can see him with their bare naked eyes open in front of them when Tony is Channelling his Energy!

This is the Samadhi we practice here

So How do You Attain Samadhi?

Samadhi isn’t easy to achieve.

It takes lots of dedicated effort and constant practice. But the point is that it can be attained, and as long as you keep meditating, it will be attained.

Rsvp a must to Attend or you will not get in!

Meditation Explained (Meditation Series)

This post is also available in: Dutch,French,German,

Meditation Explained

Since I reconnected with my meditation practice, I started talking with my friends about it and realized that there is often misconception about why we meditate.

Misconceptions about Meditation

The top misconception I heard about mediation is that “it should relax me”. Relaxation is a mean to an end in meditation and is definitely an outcome sometimes but if you want to relax do some sophrology or something else like that because meditation can be very intense and relaxation is definitely not the most common outcome of a sitting session.

I also heard often “oh so you want to become enlightened!”. Well, first of all I don’t think many people practicing mindfulness ever get there and if it’s becoming a goal then it can easily become a new identification to a kind of “spiritual ego”. So nope, I don’t care much about becoming enlightened.

Then there is a long list of New Age inspired goals that are assumed to be my goals like “Meeting your Twin Flame”, “Conversing with your Angel”, “Asking the Universe to help you”, … well I never got any of this out of my practice so I will simply stay open and see what comes my way.

What Meditation does Achieve

So why do I meditate? Basically because I want to live the way of the Buddha and apply his means to move out of suffering into peace. How does meditation do that?

Training the Puppy to stay seated

This is an image stolen A Path with Heart from Jack Kornfield my favorite Buddhist author so far. He tells us that the mind is like a puppy. The mind is turbulent, undisciplined, easily running wild and jumping in all directions. Like with a puppy the relationship your practice needs to have with the running mind is a kind and caring but disciplined training to teach him to stay in place. What is the place the puppy mind needs to stay in? The Present Moment. The Present Moment is not some place filled with calm and peace but it’s The Now, it’s what happens now stripped from all forward and backward looking stories built on top of it. The reason why insight meditation asks the practitioner to focus and label his breath is because we breath continuously, it’s always an integral part of the moment that is passing now. Labeling our breath as “breath in”, “breath out” ensures that what we are experiencing is a part of the current reality. Labeling the sensations, feelings and thoughts that interrupt the awareness of our breath is a way to ensure that we are conscious of what happens in our brain which is also something of the present moment. Just now as I write this post, the interruptions are “remembering”, “formulating”, … because I’m writing and use my brain for it. I’m sitting on a terrace and it’s raining so “raindrop sound”, “bird singing” and so on is also part of my present moment.

Especially at the beginning of my practice but also when strong emotions arise during the labeling I get lost in the story for some time. I stop labeling my breath, stop labeling my thoughts and just get carried away by the internal movie unfolding. But practicing that discipline every day trains the mind to realize that something is off and that the labeling discipline stopped. That’s when we bring the puppy gently home. When we realize we were lost in thoughts we label what they were “day dreaming about my holidays” and then start labeling our breath again. The Puppy is then back home.

Understanding our inner Patterns

After some weeks or months of practice, the puppy is a bit more reasonable and we start seeing not only what we label but recurring patterns like “Back Pain” -> “Thoughts about Work” -> “Bowel Tension” -> “Fear” -> …

These patterns are very often automatic reactions we have learned in the past to handle situations. Since we rarely spend the time thinking about their validity, we believe them as being true. These automatic reactions and patterns start driving our day to day life on autopilot and we become slaves of our conditioning.

When these patterns are seen day after day after day in practice, they lose their controlling power on us. As Eckhart Tolle poetically says “they dissolve in the light of our presence”.
By working on all these patterns and gently and consciously exploring what they are we build a sense of self that becomes more realistic, less automatic and more healthy. Especially in the case of childhood traumas, see my article about Grown Up Wounded Children, the light we shine on ourselves frees us from our pain.

Dissolution of the Self

With our stronger and healthier sense of self we are ready to start facing the next step, the dissolution of the self. It still scares me when I feel it popping up and this is where I am with my practice. Under this cryptic image what is meant is that while watching how sounds create emotions that create thoughts that create reactions that create results or thinking about how we are constructed out of material that originated from the stars and that potentially each and every atom we are made off could very well become an integral part of our best friend or our worse enemy, we lose this strong identification to the “I”. Sometimes I feel that I’m just a wave of something that temporarily took shape on the amazing sea of life. This is when fear strikes in because this also means that I am nothing at all just a ripple on this sea and my sense of self is afraid of dissolving.

But this dissolution of the self is not something that prevents us from caring, being kind, having dreams or goals. This dissolution allows us to face the struggles of life with less attachment and more humour. Oh well it didn’t work out but I had fun. Let’s see what comes next! It allows to grieve and let go faster and suffer only the bare minimum we need to. This is for me the real teaching and spiritual dimension of Buddhism. We are just a ripple on the sea and this ripple will dissolve inevitably in the final recycling of our physical form. Since its impermanent and transitory it’s also not that damn serious. I work to become a surfer of life. I keep my goals in mind and strive to achieve them, I care for my loved ones and strive towards their happiness but I prepare myself to take the next wave that comes my way without resenting it or complaining that it’s a wave I didn’t plan. It’s life, let’s be Agile with it! In this trust that whatever comes our way will be ok – including death – because we lived with our heart open and doing our very best in every moment, lies true Happiness.

May you be filled with lovingkindness.

May you be safe from inner and outer dangers.

May you be well in body and mind.

May you be at ease and happy.

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Walter

Founder at

Spent years in the business world, now looking a bit more at myself and why I’m here and where I want to go. This blog shares my experience.

Best Meditation Books New and Recommended from Samadhi Store

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 Conversation he 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 Harmony offers 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 Dharma urges 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

Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi, and Meditation

This is a very technical article, but a careful reading will be of very real benefit to the person who intends for yoga to be his life’s central endeavor.

Dharana, dhyana, and samadhi

According to Taimni, author of The Science of Yoga, yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and pratyahara should be thought of as bahiranga yoga, external yoga, and dharana, dhyana, and samadhi should be considered antaranga yoga, or internal yoga. So when we come to dharana, dhyana, and samadhi we are entering a new yogic realm.

Patanjali says in Yoga Sutras 3:4, 5: “These three [dharana, dhyana, samadhi] together constitute samyama [unity or mastery], and from mastery of that [samyama], prajna [pure consciousness] is attained [as a permanent state].” Vyasa: “This triad of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi is the direct means to samprajñata samadhi.” Shankara: “Yoga can be effected even without going through the five limbs of yoga–by the mere accomplishment of the triad of dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. But without that triad yoga is not possible for anyone, because yoga is essentially associated with the operation of dharana and the other two. For the nature of yoga is perfection of the chitta.” And: “Mastery of asana or other instructions of yoga are not, in the case of distracted [i.e., restless or mentally uncontrolled] people, productive of [the state of] yoga. But getting rid of the [mental] defects and samadhi–these two will certainly produce it [yoga], and nothing else will.”

Of the eight “limbs” of Yoga, yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, and pratyahara are discussed in the second division of the Yoga Sutras called Sadhana Pada that deals with sadhana–the search for reality–mostly in the form of outer practice. But the last three, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, are included in the third part called Vibhuti Pada. Vibhuti means both manifestation and divine glories. By this arrangement Patanjali is indicating that dharana, dhyana, and samadhi produce the actualization of spiritual realities and automatically manifest the divine glories of the spirit. Shankara says: “even though the previous five limbs of yoga may not have been perfected, effort should be made at these three.” All three of these are directly related to the practice of meditation–are meditation, in fact.

Yoga Sutra 3:1 says: “Dharana is the confining (or fixing) of the chitta in a single area [desha].” The practice of meditation right away puts the chitta into the stream of the subtle sound of Om. It is interesting that Patanjali does not say that dharana is fixing the mind in a single spot (bindu), but rather says desha, area. This is because though the Chidakasha is indeed a single thing, it extends through the entire range of existence as the inner thread or sutra on which all is strung or fixed like beads in a necklace or rosary. “It [dharana] is binding the chitta as a purely mental process,” says Vyasa. “The focussing [vritti] of the chitta, held in that place without being dispersed, is called dharana, as a purely mental process. It functions simply as the awareness of that area without any disturbance,” adds Shankara. This is meditation.

“Dhyana [meditation] is the unbroken flow of awareness [ekatanata] of that [desha or object].” Ekatanata can also mean the unbroken extension or movement along something–in this case the subtle stream of Om. Meditation is the unbroken experience-awareness-movement within the subtle sound-mutations of Om. “Meditation is continuity of the experience of the meditation-object in that area–a stream of identical vrittis [waves, modifications] untouched by any other vritti,” says Vyasa. To induce meditation we produce a stream of identical waves in the chitta by the mental intonations of Om until that stream becomes a continuous unitary flow of increasingly rarefied sound, a single object or wave that is “untouched” by any other thought or impression. Meditation (dhyana) is “a stream of identical vrittis as a unity, a continuity of vrittis not disturbed by intrusion of differing or opposing vrittis. This is dhyana.” So says Shankara. And He contrasts the beginning stage of meditation, dharana, with dhyana, saying: “Whereas in dharana there may be other impressions of peripheral thoughts even though the chitta has been settled on the object of meditation alone–for the chitta is functioning on the location [desha] as a pure mental process–it is not so with dhyana, for there it [the object of meditation] is only the stream of a single vritti untouched by any other vritti of a different kind.”

“The same [i.e. dhyana] when there is consciousness only of the object of meditation and not of itself [the chitta] is samadhi.” This sutra is extremely difficult to translate. It can also be put: “When that object of meditation alone appears therein in its true or essential form [swarupa] as shunyam [empty or void of all else, as a single thing alone], that is samadhi.” Vyasa comments on it in this way: “Dhyana, when it comes to shine forth in the form of the meditation object alone, apparently empty of [or beyond] its own nature as a vritti, and [the meditator] having entered the being of the meditation object and become it–that is samadhi.” Shankara’s expansion on this statement of Vyasa makes it clear that meditation is being spoken of: “Meditation, consisting of the idea-stream, having apparently given up being a stream of one idea [vritti], is radiant as the form of the object, just as a clear crystal shines out as the material on which it has been placed, and is apparently empty of its own nature, and when, ‘having entered the being of the meditation object,’ that being the cause of the thought [vritti], ‘becomes it,’ that very dhyana is samadhi.” That is, when the idea-stream of the repetitions of Om ceases to be a stream or movement and becomes the shining of the pure consciousness of the self (spirit), seemingly having become “empty of its own nature”–but only apparently so, for consciousness is the essential nature of all being–including God. And when the meditator has “entered the being of” Brahman and become It…that is samadhi. Shankara then concludes that meditation is “the method whereby what was a stream of ideas becomes, from entering the being of the meditation object, the very form of that object.”

To sum up: When all other possible objects of awareness are excluded and the object of meditation is perceived in its essential form absolutely devoid of any connotations or even its nature as an object to be perceived–when it has become a “no thing” through absolute oneness with the meditator–that is samadhi, the culmination of meditation. Samadhi means oneness or sameness, the state when the meditator, object of meditation, and meditation have become ONE.

Samadhi

Samadhi is an intriguing mystery to the aspiring yogi who usually mistakes it for a psychic state productive of such physical phenomena as loss of outer consciousness, being without breath or heartbeat, and suchlike. Consequently many practice drastic and strenuous methods, especially breath control, attempting to stop their breath and heartbeat. And they are usually frustrated in their attempts and feel that they are not really making progress. One of the first saints I met was truly an earthly angel who by a single look could awaken the spiritual consciousness of others. He spontaneously healed souls and bodies. Yet, because of the influence of a guru he had studied with in his early years of spiritual quest, he often lamented to others: “I have not really gotten anywhere. In all these years I have not experienced the breathless state even once. So I have not even begun to progress.” He was mistaking a physical condition for a spiritual one, as is common in both India and the West. So it is very important for us to understand what samadhi really is.

First of all, samadhi is our natural spiritual state. “The self is actionless and always in samadhi,” says Shankara in his comments on the first Yoga Sutra. And: “As we have said, steadiness is samadhi. Rightly has the commentator [Vyasa] said that it is a quality of the mind in all the states.”

Samadhi is the state of consciousness in which oneness with the object of concentration or meditation is experienced. In meditation it is the experience of oneness with the individual spirit (purusha) or the Supreme Spirit (Param Purusha). Swami Sivananda, in the Yoga Vedanta Dictionary, says: “Here the mind becomes identified with the object of meditation; the meditator and the meditated, thinker and thought become one in perfect absorption of the mind.” From this we can see that samadhi is exclusively a state of awareness. Physical phenomena simply do not come into it, although certain conditions of the body may result as a side effect–especially in the case of beginners or those whose body and nervous system are not fully purified (refined) or controlled and so become overwhelmed and manifest various abnormal conditions. Because they are so dramatic, the states of breathlessness, absence of heartbeat, immobility or levitation are usually thought of in the West as being samadhi. As just stated, such states may accompany samadhi, but they are neither samadhi nor requisites or proofs of samadhi. “The fact of a person being in real samadhi is determined solely by the condition of his mind and not at all by the inertness of the physical body,” asserts I.K. Taimni.

Patanjali discusses two forms of samadhi: samprajñata and asamprajñata. Sivananda defines them in this way: “Samprajñata samadhi: State of superconsciousness, with the triad of meditator, meditation and the meditated. Savikalpa samadhi.” “Asamprajñata samadhi: Highest superconscious state where the mind and the ego-sense are completely annihilated.” Both are produced by the practice of meditation–first samprajñata samadhi and then asamprajñata samadhi.

Samprajñata samadhi

“Samprajñata samadhi is that which is accompanied by reasoning [vitarka], reflection [vichara], bliss [ananda] and sense of pure being [asmita]” (Sutra 1:17).

Although it leads to chittanirodhavritti, the inhibition of the waves in the chitta, samprajñata samadhi is not that state–at least not fully. For it even to occur a great deal of the mind-waves must have gone into abeyance; still, it is not asamprajñata samadhi which is the full inhibition of all vrittis. It is, however, a genuine state of samadhi and a prerequisite for asamprajñata samadhi. For this reason we should analyze its characteristics.

Although, as previously mentioned, many of the vrittis are inhibited, in samprajñata samadhi the vrittis of vitarka, vichara, ananda, and asmita may occur or be found underlying the consciousness of the yogi. We will consider each in turn.

Vitarka literally means reasoning or discussion–even argument. Within samprajñata samadhi it means the capacity for rational concepts to arise in a reflective or illuminating stream. I say “concepts” because words in the sense of internal silent speaking do not occur in samprajñata samadhi. Ordinary thinking is suppressed (actually superseded) in samprajñata samadhi, and the yogi’s intelligence functions much further down the “thought chain” in simple, direct concepts. That is, in samprajñata samadhi there is non-verbal reasoning, but not thinking in the ordinary meaning of silent internal verbalization or “talking to oneself.” This is important to know, because if inner verbalization occurs it is a sign that our diving consciousness has begun to float up toward ordinary consciousness and that meditation needs to be induced again. What does all this mean practically? It means, for example, that if the light goes on in the room we will conceptualize that it has come on, further conceptualize that it cannot go on of its own accord, and conceptualize that someone may have entered the room. Then we will open our eyes to see who is there. Or, if we are meditating and the whole room begins to shake, the concepts of earthquake and the need to go to a safer place will arise. But in both instances only the concepts–not words–will arise if samprajñata samadhi is still being retained. The practical value of this is that what we might call root-reason continues in samprajñata samadhi. And this can be to our benefit, obviously. When the doorbell or the telephone rings we are aware of it and also aware as to whether we need bother to answer or not. A momentary “discussion” in the form of a chain of conceptualizations may occur, but still the primary meditation-samadhi state is retained. This then leads us to realize that in time, with practice and progress, the state of samprajñata samadhi may be maintained even outside meditation–virtually all the time. This possibility was referred to by Ramana Maharshi: “Better than spells of meditation is one continuous current, steady as a stream, or downward flow of oil” (Verse seven of Upadesha Saram–The Essence of Instruction). Meditation opens the door to this possibility.

Vichara means deliberation or reflection. Whereas vitarka is the power of conceptualization related to outer phenomena, vichara relates to inner happenings during meditation such as inner distractions, the involuntary out-turning of the mind, or movement of the mind in a wrong direction such as outlined by Ramana Maharshi in section 2:16 of Spiritual Instruction: “It is important for one who is established in his Self (atma nishta) to see that he does not swerve in the least from this absorption. By swerving from his true nature he may see before him bright effulgences, etc., or hear (unusual) sounds or regard as real the visions of gods appearing within or outside himself. He should not be deceived by these and forget himself.” When any of these things occur in samprajñata samadhi, the concept-reflection or non-verbal comprehension of their nature arises and we consciously stop, turn away, or reverse them. For example, when a memory of something arises we realize that it is a distraction and refuse to ruminate over it; when we find our mind floating up and out of meditation we consciously induce meditation again. And if experiences of the kind mentioned by Ramana Maharshi occur we ignore them or stop them. Vichara is not only conceptualization of a subtle sort, it is also a subtle form of will which can manifest as a deliberate in-turning of the mind for the continuance of meditation. Vichara also develops our capacity for objectivity of mind, even outside meditation. This greatly contributes to our inner peace and the ability to intelligently respond to the situations of daily outer life.

Ananda is internal bliss, or joy. Meditation produces profound peace and relief from the internal effects or ravages of the outer storms of life. When this great peace and ease of heart are experienced in meditation, the experience of bliss–the “hem of the garment” of the Self–is not far away. Although there is indeed a state beyond bliss as an experience–asamprajñata samadhi–still ananda is a legitimate component of samprajñata samadhi.

Asmita is I-am-ness, the sense of individuality, of pure being, the feeling of “I exist.” In meditation the yogi comes to be absorbed in this awareness of simple being, of I-am-ness. Yogic texts utilize the term asmita samadhi to denote what Sivananda says is the “superconscious state immediately below asamprajñata [samadhi] with the only or sole feeling of aham asmi: ‘I am’ or ‘I exist.’” Vyasa comments: “Having discovered the self which is subtle as an atom, he should be conscious of ‘I-am’ alone.” “This is meditation on its most refined cause, with everything else gone,” adds Shankara. That is, there is no thought involving a defining or descriptive-adjectival condition, such as “I am sitting,” “I am young,” “I am serious,” or “I am enlightened.” Nothing whatsoever of the yogi’s makeup or experience impinges on the pure “I am” awareness–not even “I am aware.” Just the pure consciousness of consciousness itself in the form of the true self, or spirit, prevails in samprajñata samadhi. This is made possible by meditation.

Vitarka, vichara, ananda, and asmita may also be looked upon as the steps of samprajñata samadhi leading to asamprajñata samadhi. They are legitimate stages of deep yogic experience, both vital and valid and not to be scorned. So it is important that the yogi not become impatient and try to “go beyond them,” for they alone are what leads us beyond. “There is no reason why the samadhi should not be in the form of ‘I-am,’ because this is meditation on its most refined cause, with everything else gone” (Shankara). “Of these, the first samadhi–with vitarka–is associated with all four. The second–with vichara–is without the verbal associations of the first. The third–with ananda–is without the subtle associations of the second. The fourth, being pure ‘I-am,’ is without the association of ananda. All these samadhis rest on an object” (Vyasa). That is: “In this sequence of four [stages], an earlier one is associated with the qualities of all the later ones, and a later one is without the qualities of any earlier one.…Lest from the expression ‘I am’ it might be supposed that among these samadhis there is one without an object, he says, ‘All these rest on an object.’ It might be thought that ‘I-am’ is something without any idea in it. But it is not so,…. And so he will say later, ‘“I-am” is a feeling [bhava]’” (Shankara).

Lest we think that samprajñata samadhi and its most refined state of pure “I am”-ness is utter blankness or experience of nothing, Vyasa states that all the four stages of samprajñata samadhi, including the final one, “rest on an object.” This highest (or deepest) stage of samprajñata samadhi is not the experience of void, but of one’s own true self in the form of consciousness. The stages of vitarka, vichara, and ananda “rest” upon the most subtle components of our relative existence, the causal levels that are so rarefied that they are naturally mistaken for the consciousness of the self. But when they are transcended, the “sense of pure being”–asmita–alone remains as the spirit rests (is centered) within its own self/nature, experiencing itself alone. So Vyasa later comments that “asmita is a sense,” the most subtle sense or awareness of pure being.

Stating the practical value or effect of samprajñata samadhi, Vyasa says: “The samadhi in the one-pointed mind makes clear the object as it is, destroys the taints, loosens the karma-bonds, and brings the state of inhibition [chittavrittinirodhah] into view; it is called samprajñata [cognitive].” Shankara comments that Vyasa is speaking of a “one-pointedness where there is no subjection to a state.”

Since we are so egoically obsessed with the need to be or have the “highest” and the “best,” we are in danger of putting little value on our experience of samprajñata samadhi during our practice of meditation and trying to force or push ourselves “higher” or “deeper” into asamprajñata samadhi. Not only is such an attempt futile, we are indulging in foolish disregard of something that is supremely valuable and worthy of all respect. Vyasa warns us from this error by assuring us that “the omission of the word ‘all’ [in speaking of the suppression of vrittis in the Yoga Sutra 1:2] shows that samprajñata samadhi also is yoga.” Shankara, commenting on this statement, says that yoga “is well known to include meditation on objects.” Although the highest yoga (asamprajñata samadhi) is without objects, the lesser yoga (samprajñata samadhi) does include awareness of the subtle inner functions already listed. Therefore he continues, commenting on Vyasa: “He has not said that cognitive samadhi is putting down the mental process entirely.…Cognitive samadhi is still accompanied by certain mental objects.”

The stages of meditation leading to transcendence (asamprajñata samadhi) are also yoga. Furthermore, they are of great practical value. Vyasa assures us in the previously-cited comment that meditation in the form of samprajñata samadhi:

  1. Makes clear the object as it is;
  2. Destroys the taints [kleshas];
  3. Loosens the karma-bonds;
  4. Brings the state of inhibition [chittavrittinirodhah] into view.

As we say in our American slang, this is nothing to be sneezed at! These four effects of samprajñata samadhi are directly linked to its four stages or qualities: vitarka, vichara, ananda, and asmita. Moreover, these effects are not confined to the time of meditation practice, but extend into the daily life of the yogi as well. So the practicer of meditation must greatly value even the “lesser” stages of meditation which produce these marvelous results so effortlessly.

The vitarka–subtle reasoning power–which is produced and developed by meditation practice “makes clear the object as it is.” That is, it enables the yogi, both in and out of meditation, to see clearly whatever comes into the purview of his mind-consciousness. He sees the truth of a thing–both its subtle behind-the-scenes nature and purpose as well as its ultimate truth as a manifestation of Pure Consciousness: God.

The vichara (reflection) capacity which is produced and developed by meditation practice “destroys the taints” known as kleshas in the Yoga Sutras 2:2,3: “The samadhi produced by meditation is for the removal of the kleshas. The kleshas are: ignorance, egoism, attraction and repulsion for objects, and fear of death.” These kleshas are the root causes of all the afflictions and misery encountered in human life. And meditation dissolves them all.

The ananda–bliss–which is produced and developed by meditation practice “loosens the karma-bonds.” This is because desire for happiness or joy is the root motivation of all actions producing karma. But when that ananda is gained through the practice of meditation, the compulsion toward material, external actions for egoic attainment ceases, for fulfillment is found.

The asmita–awareness of pure being–which is produced and developed by meditation practice “brings the state of inhibition [chittavrittinirodhah] into view.” That is, it gives a touch of the ultimate state of asamprajñata samadhi (“brings it into view”) and impels the consciousness onward to that higher state.

All these effects come from a great deal of meditation–not just after a few days’ practice. But the results are assured to the faithful yogi.

Asamprajñata samadhi

“Asampajñata samadhi was defined in the words, ‘Yoga is the cessation (nirodha) of modifications (vritti) in the mind-substance (chitta),’” says Shankara. And Vyasa: “Asamprajñata samadhi is when there is inhibition of all mental processes.” Asamprajñata samadhi is yoga in the most absolute sense. It is both the end of yoga and yoga itself. This of course must become our permanent state. Therefore practice is still needed even after its attainment.

In contrasting the two types of samadhi, samprajñata and asamprajñata, Shankara avers: “The definition as inhibition [of vrittis] applies exactly to asamprajñata samadhi, but only loosely to samprajñata samadhi” since in samprajñata samadhi, though there is a great–almost total–inhibition of the vrittis, still some do occur as contrasted with asamprajñata samadhi in which absolutely no vrittis arise. And further: “Asamprajñata samadhi cannot be defined by anything else except inhibition. Inhibition alone is its definition because nothing else is there, whereas samprajñata samadhi is definable in terms of special characteristics like verbal [i.e., conceptual] associations.…It is settled that asamprajñata samadhi is defined by the bare word ‘inhibition.’…The commentator will sum up later in these words: ‘It is asamprajñata in the sense that in it no thing is cognized [samprajñayate]: this yoga is inhibition of the mental process.’” He also has written in his Yoga Sutra commentary: “The one-pointed [ekagra] state of the mind is a stream of similar thoughts.…The inhibited [niruddha] state is a mind empty of thoughts.” And: “In inhibition [nirodh] the mind is not restricted to a particular object, for there is no subject for an object.”

In Yoga Sutra 1:18 Patanjali speaks of asamprajñata samadhi in a most interesting manner: “The other is when by practice [of samprajñata samadhi] the last vestiges of the contents [the vrittis] of the mind cease [or are dropped].” “The other” is asamprajñata samadhi, but it is significant that he neither names it nor speaks of it as being produced or even occurring by the cessation of all vrittis in the chitta. This is because it is not an entity, thing, or even–speaking precisely–a state, but a result of the cessation of all such things and their experience and effect. Vyasa puts it this way: “In this state [of asamprajñata samadhi] what remains is samskaras, and it is the seedless [nirbija] samadhi. There is no cognition of anything in it, so it is asamprajñata. This yoga is inhibition of the mental processes.” Shankara, commenting on this says: “The meaning is, that here the seed is gone; in this all the seeds of taint and so on are gone.” Also, by using the expression “the other” for asamprajñata samadhi Patanjali is following the lead of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy in which Reality is not designated as One, but rather only as Not Two [Advaita]. This is because asamprajñata samadhi is the eternal, ineradicable state of the spirit–of consciousness itself. Having always been, it can neither be attained nor produced. It always IS, for it is the state of I AM.

Samprajñata samadhi is savikalpa samadhi, and asamprajñata samadhi is nirvikalpa samadhi. Savikalpa means “with content” and nirvikalpa means “without content.” By “content” is meant impressions in the mind that will manifest subsequently in the form of positive states of consciousness and positive karmas, and the experiences of objects, however subtle. Savikalpa samadhi produces something, whereas nirvikalpa samadhi is the cessation and prevention of all “somethings.”

The following valuable simple exposition of the various yogic states is given by A. W. Chadwick in A Sadhu’s Reminiscences of Ramana Maharshi: “Savikalpa Samadhi is the state of deep meditation when one is sunk in peace but still retains the consciousness of one’s identity. One knows that one is meditating and can still consciously continue one’s Sadhana. In Nirvikalpa Samadhi one has attained to a state where the identity has been lost and sunk entirely in the highest Self. However long it may last it is only temporary, one must return eventually to one’s normal state of consciousness. One is unable to function in this state and so long as it lasts one is in a state of trance. It is usually preliminary to the final state [of Sahaja Samadhi]. Sahaja Samadhi is the final and most blessed state, the goal of all Yogis. In this state the individual has become completely merged in the Supreme Self. His identity which became lost in Nirvikalpa Samadhi has become enlarged and is now the Supreme Self and knows itself as such. Trances are no longer necessary, a person can still carry on with the ordinary day to day business but he no longer identifies himself with the activities, but watches them like a dreamer watching a dream. There is no more to do, and no more to be attained. This is the Supreme State of Absolute Bliss.”

In samprajñata samadhi we experience the self only, and in asamprajñata samadhi we experience God, the Self of our self. Saint Paul speaks of it in this way: “For now we see [in samprajñata samadhi as though] through a glass, darkly; but then [in asamprajñata samadhi] face to face: now [in samprajñata samadhi] I know in part; but then [in asamprajñata samadhi] shall I know even as also I am known” (I Corinthians 13:12). In the matter of asamprajñata samadhi we are not talking about an attainment, but a rediscovery, a remembering–literally a realization. Not being the result of an action it is therefore permanent and ineradicable.

A further word

In Philosophy of Gorakhnath, Banerjea makes some observations that seem a fitting conclusion to this entire subject:

“The difference between the nature and the degree of the spiritual enjoyment of one plane and those of another can not of course be understood by any person living and moving and having his being in the normal physical and sensuous plane of experience by means of any amount of subtle intellectual reasoning or any stretch of imagination. Yogis who attain experiences of those higher planes can not also make them intelligible to the men of the lower planes by means of verbal descriptions. Nevertheless, many yogi-teachers have, with the help of various kinds of similes and metaphors and poetic imageries, made some attempts to give vague and inadequate ideas about their inner experiences for the benefit of earnest truth-seekers, who might in the light of these descriptions feel the urge to advance in this path and subject themselves to the necessary discipline under proper guidance with the purpose of being blessed with similar experiences.”

And: “It may be noted in this connection that Samadhi, which is the most concentrated state of the empirical consciousness, a state in which ail differences apparently vanish, may be attained in every plane of the consciousness, specially in each of the chakras mentioned by the enlightened yogis. But the results of the Samadhi in the different planes, in the different chakras, are not the same. The samadhi-state of the consciousness may superficially appear to be similar in every case; but the realizations depend upon the nature of the planes and the nature of the objects or ideals upon which the mind is concentrated. Samadhi in every plane and upon every object of meditation does not lead to spiritual illumination. The psycho-vital energy has to be purified and refined and raised to higher and higher planes for higher and higher orders of spiritual experience; perfect illumination is attainable in the highest plane–in the highest chakra.”

About asamprajñata samadhi: “In the Yoga-Shastras the transcendent experience in the state of nirvikalpa or asamprajnata samadhi is found to be described in terms of shunya (void or vacancy or negation of everything) as well as purna (fullness or perfection or unification of all). It is a state of ‘void within and void without, like an empty vessel in the sky; fulness within and fulness without, like a vessel full of water immersed in the ocean’ (antah-shunyo vahih-shunyah shunya-kumbha ivamvare antah-purno bahih-purnah purna-kumbha ivarnave).

“Since in that experience there is nothing which is experienced as its object, there is no subject-object relation and no process of experience, there is no consciousness of any inside and outside or any before and after, it may quite appropriately be spoken of as a state of absolute Void, (shunya), absolute negation of existence and consciousness in the empirical sense. On the other hand, as it is the state of the perfect fulfillment of all earnest and systematic endeavors for liberation from all limitations and realization of the Absolute Truth, as it gives the sense of complete satisfaction to the human consciousness seeking for Truth and Freedom and thus results in perfect calmness and tranquility and bliss, as after the attainment of this blessed state nothing else appears to remain to be known and enjoyed, it is rightly described as the state of absolute fulness and perfection, the state of the realization of Perfect Existence, in which all orders of phenomenal existences are not simply negated, but realized as resolved into Absolute Unity. What appears to be Shunya or Asat (negation of all existences) from the empirical viewpoint is really the Purna-Sat (Perfect Existence), in which the ultimate character of all orders of existences is unveiled as One Self-luminous Differenceless Non-dual Spiritual Existence. This Perfect Existence is immanent in all empirical realities, which are only partial imperfect conditioned self-manifestations of It in the spatio-temporal order.”

Further Reading:

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5 Tips For Starting A Meditation Practice

At the beginning of 2018, I somehow managed to meditate for 76 days straight. I’m not sure I’ve ever done anything as consistently in my life before, so this felt like a mega win for me. Not to mention meditation makes me feel calmer and less overwhelmed, so I felt pretty good about life for 76 days in a row.

I’ve talked to a few people who say they want to meditate more, but they just can’t seem to make it a habit. After all, we’ve heard that meditation can help with our emotional, physical, and mental well-being. We want to reap the benefits, but meditation doesn’t come naturally to those of us who overthink and overanalyze.

Though I’m not as consistent with it as I was before, meditation is still something I try to do on weekday mornings for 5-10 minutes when I first wake up. If you’re someone who wants to get into a meditation habit but you aren’t being consistent with it, I want to share a few tips that helped make meditation easier for me.

Two Key Meditation Reminders

I’m not sure how my first meditation session went or what I did, but I do know that it inspired me to make meditation part of my daily routine. If you’ve never meditated before or you’re simply trying to meditate more, there are two key things to know:

1. The goal of meditation is not to stop thinking altogether. If you’ve tried meditation before and felt like you failed because you couldn’t quiet your mind, you didn’t fail. The goal of meditation is to help you stop reacting to all of the thoughts that enter your mind. Meditation is there to gently remind you that not all of your thoughts need to be dealt with immediately.

2. Meditation doesn’t have to take forever. If you try meditating for the first time with a twenty-minute session, it will feel overwhelming because you’ve never done it before. Meditation is a practice, and it’s something that you get better at every time you do it. The key is to start slowly and build upon your practice.

Related Post: 5 Things You Should Know About Meditation

How To Make Meditation A Practice

Sometimes we make meditation more complicated than it needs to be. Instead of overthinking it (the opposite of meditation, right?), follow the steps below to set yourself up for success:

1. Find Your Motivation

As with any new habit, it’s important to understand your motivation for getting started. I meditate because I feel like it makes me a calmer person during the day, and I have to constantly remind myself that life is better when I meditate. Perhaps you want to meditate to reduce anxiety or be a kinder person. Whatever your motivation is, get clear on it and come back to it often.

2. Choose Your Tools

When you have the right tools, meditation can feel a lot less daunting. I find guided meditations a lot easier to follow than trying to meditate in silence, but everyone has their own preferences. If you’re looking for a good meditation app, I recommend Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer. There are also plenty of free meditation videos you can search for on YouTube (like these ones from Deepak Chopra and The Journey Junkie).

3. Set a Time

If you want to start making meditation part of your routine, it’s important to carve out time for it. I’ve found that the only way I can get myself to do it every day is to open up my Calm app right after I wake up. When meditation is the first thing I do, I start my day feeling less anxious. If you truly want to make meditation a practice, you have to decide when you’re going to do it each day and make it so you can’t talk yourself out of it.

4. Create a Meditation Space

Although you can practice meditation anywhere, I find it helpful to have a designated meditation space that feels familiar to you. You don’t have to create a fancy meditation area in your home, but you do want to find a comfortable place where you can sit with your back upright. I choose to meditate upright in bed. You might prefer to lay out a yoga mat in your living room or sit on some pillows in a quiet corner. Find what works for you!

Related Post: 7 Ways To Create A Peaceful Space Around You

5. Track Your Progress

One of the reasons I was able to meditate for 76 days straight was because I kept track of my progress. Both Calm and Headspace have built-in trackers that show you how many days you’ve meditated in a row, and I find this incredibly motivating because I never want to break my streak. If you’re not using either of these apps, you could simply keep track of it in your planner or daily to-do list.

Take the Free 7-Day Mindfulness Challenge! Click here to learn more and sign up for the challenge.

How Did You Get Started With Meditation?

Do you have any favorite meditation tools or tips for getting started? Leave a comment below!

The post 5 Tips For Starting A Meditation Practice appeared first on The Blissful Mind.

Slacklining as a Moving Meditation

Walk the Line: Slacklining

Slacklining as a Moving Meditation

Karen Henry walking the line at Santa Monica Beach.

If you’ve ever thought about running off to join the circus to enjoy the thrill of walking a tightrope like a Wallenda, you might be intrigued by the outdoor sport of slacklining. It is a challenging practice accessible to beginners that offers a method for connecting mental focus, breath, and embodied practice.

Slacklining is a moving meditation that strengthens your ability to concentrate and cultivates your ability to balance. Even without practicing fancy poses on the line, slacklining is an embodied practice of yoga.

What is Slacklining

A slackline is a sturdy synthetic webbed strap, one or two inches thick, that is hung between two trees or poles at various tensions, heights, and distances. The concept is similar to tightrope walking, but there is give (slack) in the line, so no balance pole is required. West Coast-based rock climbers originally co-opted the sport from the circus in the 1980s. Slacklining has grown into a worldwide sport, with tricks and extreme feats. Yet, the basic practice is a hobby that can be great cross-training as well as an integrated yoga practice.

Slacklining on Muscle Beach in Santa Monica

I first tried slacklining at the impressive and creative Original Muscle Beach on the Santa Monica boardwalk, where people seem to recreate circus acts on the sand for their own enjoyment. A community of work-out enthusiasts gather here to challenge themselves in various unique ways (progressive rings, rope climbing, acroyoga) and have fun.

At the south end of Muscle Beach, the City of Santa Monica created a slackline park simply by installing some dozen solid tall posts. Slackliners bring their own lines and set them up at various heights and lengths. Advanced slackers will often set up an easier slackline nearby for beginners who approach and want to give it a try.

Balancing on a Slackline

Whenever someone steps on a slackline for the first time, their leg bent up on the line will shake and shake and shake, as will the slackline — sometimes tremendously. Even with one foot still on the ground. Once they stand up and hold on to the shoulder of a friend, they feel the sense of balance and the wonderful potential experience of slacklining. But when they try to stay up on their own, the first-timer inevitably asks, “When will the shaking ever end?” After all, people are balancing on a swaying surface!

Looking back, I don’t remember exactly when my shaking subsided, but I do remember I was determined to become steady and take some steps. After repetition, I was able to balance and walk the length of the line. Now that I’ve been at it for some time, if I go even a week without slacklining, I start yearning for the release I feel when I am up on the line. My feet love the pressure-point tension, and my body craves the relaxation when I am balanced and walking above the ground.

Balance and Meditation on a Slackline

I’ve always been attracted to balance activities such as roller skating, rollerblading, skateboarding, figure skating, snowboarding, and stand up paddle boarding. While I have not necessarily excelled at these activities, I have always found them appealing and satisfying.

As I learned to slackline, I experienced the additional benefit of the meditative experience. Slacklining is a moving meditation. You must be present when you walk on a slackline. In order to balance, you first need to stop looking down (what?!) then find an eye-level focal point in the near distance (drishti) and loosely keep your attention there. Then, lower your center of gravity and breathe. The calmer you are and less distracted you are, the longer you will stay on the line.

Take it One Step at a Time

Of course, there is a learning curve, and it’s often steep! Improvements in skill, even micro-improvements, come from conquering your nerves. As a beginner, take it one step at a time (pun intended). To walk, first balance on two feet for a few seconds, then balance with just one foot on the slackline, then try to put one foot in front of the other. For more stability, choose shorter slacklines that are closer to the ground.

While walking on the line requires skill, balance, and concentration, there are other dramatic slacklining practices that are popular throughout the world. These include yoga poses, tricklining, longlining, highlining (over elevations like a canyon), and waterlining ( over a body of water including a pool). a The maneuvers in tricklining resemble snowboarding halfpipe tricks: extreme air flips, twists and rotations. Both tricklining and longlining are performed at the Muscle Beach Santa Monica.

Equipment and Finding Community

As a novice, I started out on a two-inch basic Gibbon line (the most common brand) and eventually switched to a one-inch “yoga” line after trying it out at a festival. For me personally, the one-inch slackline gives me greater stability. I can wrap my feet on the sides of it and it even feels like foot reflexology.

At first, I practiced on other people’s lines, then I invested in my own equipment. You can buy a basic beginner slackline for about $35 from retailers specializing in outdoor equipment. YogaSlackers sells gear (I purchased their $90 eline), as does REI, as well as online outlets. You can set up a line (with towels as tree protectors) between two trees.

If you stop by the slackline park at Muscle Beach Santa Monica, you may find dozens of slacklines set up at various heights, lengths, and tensions between the sets of poles. Ask to try one of the shorter, lower lines already set up. I find that slackers are, by and large, kind and generous teachers.

Advice from Slackliners

Repeat a mantra: ‘Breathe, step,’ and say it out loud as you move.

Be sure to smile — it relaxes the face.

Public parks, festivals, and classes are only a few of the places where people share tips and techniques. Of course, you can find plenty of info online.

YogaSlackers Beginner Class

YogaSlackers has a beginner class on YouTube.

Read more about YogaSlackers, including advice from YogaSlackers teacher Raquel Hernandez-Cruz.

From Balance to Steadiness while Slacklining

The character we build by practicing our ability to find balance on a flexible line, strung above the earth, can help us experience greater steadiness when it comes time to standing on solid ground. And after all, that’s what we need most – balance and calm in our lives.

Karen Henry

Karen Henry is an Associate Editor at LA YOGA who volunteers in a variety of capacities for nonprofit organizations and artists around Los Angeles. She practices yoga as a counterbalance to her daily impact sports and is a mother of four grown children who also practice yoga (well, the two in California at least).

How meditation changes your brain waves

Superhumans: The remarkable brain waves of high-level meditators

People who have meditated for thousands of hours exhibit a remarkable difference in their brainwaves. Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman says we can actually see what happens in the heads of those who have achieved “enlightenment” and the results are unprecedented in science.

  • Transcript
    • September 13, 2018

TRANSCRIPT

Daniel Goleman: My co-author of the book Altered Traits is a neuroscientist, Richard Davidson. He has a lab at the University of Wisconsin. It’s a very large lab, he has dedicated scanners, he has about 100 people working there, and he was able to do some remarkable research where he flew Olympic level meditators—who live in Nepal or India typically, some in France—he flew them over to the lab and put them through a protocol in his brain scanners and did state-of-the-art tests and the results were just astounding. We found, for example, or he found that their brain waves are really different.

Perhaps the most remarkable findings in the Olympic level meditators has to do with what’s called a gamma wave. All of us get gamma for a very short period when we solve a problem we’ve been grappling with, even if it’s something that’s vexed us for months. We get about half second of gamma; it’s the strongest wave in the EEG spectrum. We get it when we bite into an apple or imagine biting into an apple, and for a brief period, a split-second, inputs from taste, sound, smell, vision, all of that come together in that imagined bite into the apple. But that lasts very short period in an ordinary EEG.

What was stunning was that the Olympic level meditators, these are people who have done up to 62,000 lifetime hours of meditation, their brainwave shows gamma very strong all the time as a lasting trait just no matter what they’re doing. It’s not a state effect, it’s not during their meditation alone, but it’s just their every day state of mind. We actually have no idea what that means experientially. Science has never seen it before.

We also find that in these Olympic level meditators when we asked them, for example, to do a meditation on compassion their level of gamma jumps 700 to 800 percent in a few seconds. This has also never been seen by science. So we have to assume that the special state of consciousness that you see in the highest level meditators is a lot like something described in the classical meditation literatures centuries ago, which is that there is a state of being which is not like our ordinary state. Sometimes it’s called liberation, enlightenment, awake, whatever the word may be we suspect there’s really no vocabulary that captures what that might be. The people that we’ve talked to in this Olympic level group say it’s very spacious and you’re wide open, you’re prepared for whatever may come, we just don’t know. But we do know it’s quite remarkable.

Source

http://bigthink.com/videos/daniel-goleman-superhumans-the-remarkable-brain-waves-of-high-level-meditators

Using Gemstones and Crystals in Meditation

Meditation has been making the news a lot for its benefits to health by stress relief and self-awareness, and thousands of people are trying it out.  Many people also try meditation and it does not meet their expectations, but often this is because they didn’t find the best practice. There are many ways to meditate, but the most important aspect of meditation is for each person to find the practice that fits him or her. The only wrong answer is if it doesn’t feel right.

Using gemstones as a meditation aid is one way people have found success in meditation, even if previous practice was lackluster. The energies of different gemstones can help bring focus to your meditation practice so you can get what you want from it. Even if you have had success with other types of meditation, using gemstones can enhance your practice in fulfilling ways. Here’s how to incorporate them into your meditation.

Meeting the Stones

Introducing the stones to yourself is a matter of researching their meanings. Each stone has a different meaning ascribed to it or inherent energy that has been noticed about it. For example, black stones, such as obsidian, jet, or onyx, are associated with the earth, grounding, and absorbing negative energy, while rose quartz is used for focusing on love. Knowing the meanings of each stone can help you figure out which stones will aid you best in meditation. With that being said, all the stones can have one use or another, so being informed on their meanings can help outside your immediate meditation practice, too.

Getting to Know the Stones

The next thing you want to do to optimize your use of gemstones in meditation is get to know them. Sit with them, carry them, wear them, or keep them under your pillow for a few ways to familiarize yourself with their energies. Since so many people before you probably handled them at the store, cleaning your stones and attuning them to you is an important step in preparing your stones – and yourself – for meditation for meditation with them.

Meditating With Your Stones

Methods of actual meditation sessions with stones are as varied as the stones themselves. Comfortable positions include any combination of being seated upright on a chair or with legs crossed on the floor,  or not, or even laying down on your back. You can hold the stones in your palms, wear them, lay them on your chest or stomach if you are laying down, or clasped in front of you if you choose to sit up. Stones that form a crystalline shape, are cut into wand shapes, or pointed necklaces should be aimed toward you. Breathing deeply and evenly, open yourself to receiving their energy. Treat it like a conversation of energy with your gemstones, and begin and end it gradually and with respect.

Chakra Meditations

A specific technique used by many is to meditate on the seven major chakras of Hinduism. The chakras are nexus points of energy that run in a line through the center of your body, starting at your groin and extending just above your head. Each is also associated with colors – red or black, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet – so corresponding stones should be used in a chakra meditation. Keeping your chakras balanced and flowing properly can help you avoid a lot of everyday stress and health issues.

Using Specific Stones

Some stones are very suited to specific purposes. Quartz, for example, is great for focus and clarity, while hematite can aid those looking to build strength and security and carnelian can help with romance or relationships. Another factor to consider is what stone you feel most attuned to. Maybe you resonate with moonstone or amber, regardless of their meaning, or find something even more specific, such as stones from a specific location. Use the stones that feel most comfortable to you to enhance your practice.

Using gemstones during meditation can bring their energy to assist you. Once you get to know them, you can invite them in to help enhance your meditation techniques. Try using stones in your next meditation and see what they can do for you!

Top Mom Friendly Meditation Tips

It’s so easy to advise your friends to “live in the moment.” I think we all aspire to be parents that are truly present with our families. I’ll be the first to admit I am a work in progress when it comes to mindful parenting. I want to make the time with my girls count, that’s why I’m investing time with the Headspace app. This week my team and I hosted the Headspace crew for a day of mom friendly meditation tips here in NYC and I want to share what we came up with.

Start your Mindfulness Now

Momtrends Parenting With Headspace

Why Meditation? Let’s Talk Stress

Prior to the event, we conducted a parenting survey. We reached 300 moms and found out what is stressing them out. At our influencer event in NYC, we shared the results of this survey to shine a light on how tough it is to be a mama these day.

Summer Is the Season of Stress 

Would you be surprised to find out 40% of us are stressed out most by the summer months? The next two most stressful times were back to school and the holidays. While we may be all smiles at this influencer event, back at home we are all dealing with the same situation – three months of no school!

The moms we surveyed said the biggest summer stressor is change in routine (40%). Next up was too many activities (this stresses 19% of us) and then the fear of brain drain (15%).

When it comes to what stresses the kids out, 46% of us say our kids are stressed by the change of routine and 34% by boredom (that sounds about right!).

Parents also shared their hopes for the summer. What we most want is quality time together (37%) and I loved that we also want to start a new family tradition (17%). 

Top Mom Friendly Meditation Tips

While our blogging friends mulled over these stats, we sat down to a lovely lunch and started to talk about ways to improve life. Here at Momtrends, we are all about solutions.

We called in an expert to help us out: Andy Puddicombe the Co-Founder of Headspace. Andy’s story is pretty cool. He’s a Brit who became a Buddhist monk. He took his personal practice and decided to share it with the world. Headspace started with retreats and small events and has grown to now reach 30 million people a year on the app.

Back in 2012 Headspace was the first meditation app on the market. In the past six years, they’ve listened to users and those of us who are stressed out, and are constantly tweaking and improving the app. The end goal: “to improve health and happiness around the world.”

We were lucky enough to have Andy (the voice of Headspace) lead us in a bit of meditation and share his tips to navigate summer with a bit less stress.

Five Mindful Parenting Tips for Summer

Daily Meditation: This practice only takes 3-10 minutes a day using the Headspace app. Studies show meditation reduces stress, anxiety and anger while increasing compassion and happiness. Momtrends Tip: I find setting up a standard time (at the end or beginning of the day) really helps. If you just think, “oh, I will do it later” you won’t. Trust me. Set an appointment with yourself. Consider it a bit of self care.

Device-Free Dinner: Have the whole family commit to turning all the screens off. You’ll find the conversation and the food a lot more enjoyable. It’s a chance to slow down and check in with your family.

Journal: Start a gratitude journal about your family. Before you go to bed, write down one thing your child (or spouse) did that was fabulous. Or add a character trait that you admire. Start this at the beginning of summer and give it to your child right before school starts. Studies show gratitude journals have been shown to aid sleep and even help you feel more rested and relaxed.

Breathe: Taking 30 seconds to stop and focus on your breath can de-stress the entire family. Simply take 10 deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. In 30 seconds you can defuse a situation that might have ended up in yelling or tears. 

Start Your Own Meditation Practice

Momtrends readers will receive 40% off code for a 1 year subscription.

Instructions to upload the code:

2. Once you log into the app on your phone, it will automatically connect to the subscription you just activated. 

Why you need the code: It’s free to download the basic pack session from Headspace, but the paid app gives you so much more.

What You Get From a Paid Headspace Subscription 

  1. Access to the full Headspace Library, which has hundreds of meditations, mindfulness exercises and animations to help you build the practice
  2. Over 30 packs of themed meditations on specific topics like stress and sleep
  3. Dozens of one-off exercises designed to add more mindfulness to your day. Super-short mini meditations you can do anytime. Great for busy schedules
  4. Sleep Sounds that help ease the mind into a truly restful night’s sleep
  5. Animations that guide you through essential meditation techniques and bring to life traditional stories like the Very Impatient Yogi
  6. Continued guidance from former monk, and Headspace co-founder, Andy Puddicombe

Parenting with Headspace Momtrends Event Photos

This Top Mom Friendly Meditation Tips feature is a sponsored post.

Source

http://www.momtrends.com/living/top-mom-friendly-meditation-tips

4 Unique Health Benefits of Mindful Meditation for Women – Meditation with Peggy Gaines, R.N.

The reasons why many people turn to mindful meditation are somewhat universal.

People want a safe and effective way to reduce stress, relieve pain and promote a better overall health.

But amidst the world of health benefits that researchers directly link to mindful meditation, there are a number related, specifically, to women.

Thanks to several studies on how meditation affects the female gender, researchers have released a wealth of new information.

This information traces these health benefits from the teenage years to middle-age, and the many years afterward.

1. Mindful Meditation Can Alleviate Painful Cramps

A surprisingly large percentage of women have painful menstrual cramps for at least one day during their monthly cycle.

Regularly practicing mindful meditation can help alleviate these routine and regular pains.

Cramps can often increase anxiety and stress. These symptoms make the pain more exacerbated, creating a perpetual cycle of discomfort.

By reducing the stress that’s connected with the increase in pain, and increasing the body’s level of endorphins, the overall effect of mindful meditation can be both soothing and wonderfully long-term.

2.Mindful Meditation Offer a World of Pregnancy Benefits

New studies have shown that incorporating mindful meditation has a long list of positive health benefits for pregnant women and their babies.

These health benefits include a higher birth weight, reduced chances of a premature birth and fewer overall medical complications for newborns.

Also, researchers are finding pregnant women often pass the hormone DHEA on to a child in the womb.

DHEA is a super powerful hormone that increases with mindful meditation and improves the immune system, reduces stress, and benefits vision, hearing, muscles and bones.

This means that expecting mothers who meditate often share the benefits with their baby long before they arrive.

3. Mindful Meditation Helps Balance Hormone Levels During Perimenopause

More than half of all women, experience unpleasant physical side effects or mood swings years before they reach menopause. This stage is called perimenopause, and it can occur between the ages 45-55.

However, studies have shown that women who engage in mindful meditation are much less likely to report noticeable or drastic symptoms from perimenopause.

These symptoms include irritability, insomnia, fatigue, depression, mood swings and memory lapses.

4. Mindful Meditation Helps With Hot Flashes and Other Menopause Symptoms

As any woman who has experienced a hot flash will tell you, it’s certainly not just the heat that’s causing excessive discomfort.

It’s also the racing pulse, the increased anxiety and the accompanying symptoms that cause the problem.

But because mindful meditation reduces anxiety, women can decrease the number and overall power of menopausal symptoms through regular practice.

When tension decreases, the strength of hot flashes is noticeably reduced.

Researchers are continuing to find powerful new benefits of mindful meditation. They are turning their attention toward how it affects women, especially after noticing a dramatic range of results.

From healthy pregnancies to hot flash relief, mindful meditation is truly a remedy that can help women throughout her entire life.

Getting Started

Contact me and let’s chat about incorporating mindful meditation into your world!

Having a professional teacher on your side will go a long way in getting you started. Once you’re on the path, you’ll be amazed at how far meditation will take you.

I offer both classes in my office and an online program you can complete at your convenience.

Summary

Article Name

4 Unique Health Benefits of Mindful Meditation for Women

Description

Amidst the world of health benefits that researchers directly link to mindful meditation, there are a number related, specifically, to common health struggles for women.

Author

How Meditation Helped Me Heal My Depression

(Contributing Author: Milica Vladova)

I know that depression is probably the last thing one can expect to have in their mid-twenties. Young people are supposed to have it easier. Right?

Unfortunately, that was the case for me as well. I was a twenty-something girl who, instead of enjoying that were supposed to be my best years in life, was feeling miserable and completely incapable to tackle the daily tasks.

And just a quick clarification what depression really felt like. Spoiler alert: it’s not just being moody or cranky. Clinical depression is a serious mental health issue that affects all parts of your being – your emotions, your mind, and… your body. It comes so suddenly that one day you just have a mental breakdown and your body stops functioning the way it used to. The negative sensations can vary from extreme fatigue (I was dragging myself back from work and went straight to bed), the feeling of utter hopelessness, tremors, nausea, and loss of appetite. Yeah, the picture was not pretty!

But my point is – do not underestimate this condition because it is not a joke and it could lead to even more serious consequences!

Now let’s get to the bright side! I love focusing on the solutions rather than the problems.  I believe this is one of the main characteristics of a person who is willing to take their health into their own hands and heal.

How did I get out of this mess?

The traditional methods of healing clinical depression usually consist of taking anti-depressants (like Xanax). And they do their job for a while – they stimulate the “happy” hormones secretion and can make you feel normal again. But at what cost? The risks of developing a life-long addiction are quite high!

So, I decided to follow another approach – the holistic self-healing path of meditation.

I have been hearing time and time again that meditation is the key to achieving inner peace, happiness, and overall well-being.  Here is what the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital found about practicing mindfulness on a regular basis: “Many studies have shown that mind/body interventions like the relaxation response can reduce stress and enhance wellness in healthy individuals and counteract the adverse clinical effects of stress in conditions like hypertension, anxiety, diabetes, and aging,” [https://hms.harvard.edu/news/genetics/mind-body-genomics-5-1-13]

In other words, meditation has proven itself extremely effective for preventing and healing not just the mental issues (like depression), but also some serious physical ailments like heart disease and high blood sugar levels.

That was enough proof for me to start implementing this practice in my daily routines and improve the quality of my own life in a very short period of time!

Here is what I did to eradicate my depression and bring back my zest for life!

At first, meditation may seem a bit hard. Most people think that their ultimate goal is to stop the mental chatter altogether to reap the wonderful benefits of meditation. And that’s far from the truth!

All you need to do is to sit or lie down in a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed for about 15-20 minutes. Close your eyes and start breathing slowly and consciously. This is your best opportunity to start practicing belly breathing as it is one of the best forms of pranayama (yoga breathing) that soothes the nervous system and promotes relaxation. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455070/] Simply expand the belly as you breathe in while the chest remains steady. Next, focus your mind on your breath – imagine how the air goes in and out of your body. Every time you notice your mind wandering, just bring your focus back to the breath.

Do this meditation at least once a day whenever you have some free time, but remember to make this a priority! For best and faster results, you can meditate first thing in the morning and right before going to bed. This will be your key to starting the day on the right foot and releasing the daily pressure before sleep.

It sounds extremely easy and it is! But the cumulative effects of repeating this meditation on a regular basis are enormous!

You will start experiencing more peace and serenity throughout the day. You will become happier, more patient and forgiving. Your brain will work much better and your natural immunity will become stronger!

Meditation is your ultimate holistic practice that will boost your health and wellness on every level!

Author bio:

Milica Vladova dedicated her work to spreading the valuable knowledge of the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. She is determined to make the world healthier, happier, and more successful!

She has been published on Dr. Axe,The Huffington Post, The Elephant Journal,Thrive Global, and more.

She is also the author of “The Detox and Strong Immunity Series” and “DIY Homemade Beauty Products Series“.

Source

https://inspiyr.com/how-meditation-helped-me-heal-my-depression/

Qi Gong Meditation & Week 6

Use the next guided meditation for clearing out dangerous relationships. If you end up complete, clear your self by utilizing the golden rays of the sun to enter your body from the crown, moving into your solar plexus, and all the best way down your body, clearing out your total auric field. Clear the energy discipline round you by focusing on your solar plexus and releasing attachments to people in your life who drain your vitality. Give thanks in your willingness to clear your self throughout this guided meditation. Now, one after the other, launch any adverse cords you might have with one other throughout this guided meditation. In that case, discover the interior energy to launch them by using this guided meditation. Take a number of moments to settle into your body through the use of your breath. If the reply is no, www.Meditatewithfernando.Comthen take some time apart, at the least during this guided meditation. You could wish to have somebody read it to you, or you possibly can read it ahead of time and then undergo the guided meditation by yourself. If your answer is yes, then you will want to continue spending time with this individual.

You don’t must take on their issues; deal with what you need to create in your day. As you close this guided meditation, take a couple of moments of silence and listen to your breath. Breathe for a number of moments reflecting back on your expertise. Each time you employ this guided meditation, remember to send each of these relationships off with love; as you don’t want to have any repercussions come again at you. Ask that these cords of vitality be dissolved and call back any items of your self that you’ve got given to another. Use your breath constantly all through the guided meditation that can assist you chill out whereas releasing any attachments that will have been throwing you off center. If this feels difficult for you, ask for assistance from your guides or angels to help you release these cords. It is a process that works best over time, in an effort to continue to release the people with whom there will not be a mutual trade. Maybe you let somebody have power over you, or you probably did one thing for another and brief changed your self. Send these energetic cords off with love, by visualizing them going away from you, one by time.

Visualize the warmth of the sun coming into your body and permit it to nurture you, as you’re feeling it penetrate your physique. Now, see your self as a brilliant sun with none connections to your loved ones, mates, teachers, or anybody in your life. Visualize the folks in your life and one by one, ask yourself, “Does this person support my highest good?” Listen to your physique and without judgment have the courage to listen to the truth. If potential, identify the sample of those energetic attachments (caretaker, martyr, controller, and so on.) so that you just recognize them and don’t must repeat them. Use this guided meditation to let go of outdated scripts; releasing these attachments will clear the trail to a more fulfilled life. You may want to use this guided meditation several occasions until you’ll be able to clear the individuals out of your life, who have hooked up to you energetically.

When you feel full, go about your day, and remember to keep your self clear of different folks’s agendas. Be with yourself and feel the lightness of your being, without other folks around you. This can be executed in individual with a group of individuals where one person facilitates the meditation or one can use a recorded guided meditation. Typically I let a factor written within the moment stand for publication-but solely when i can view it objectively as an editor, even when it doesn’t read objectively. If I’m writing about a personal downside, dilemma, weakness, mishap, or silly factor I did or thought-I all the time wait to publish till the second has past, I’ve figured myself out, and all the emotions associated with the issue have dissipated. A few of them might have very strong energy cords. What was meant to be a novel appears to have developed into three volumes. May all of your relationships be blessed. We use Scrivener as a writing program, but I severely underutilize all its many high-quality features because they aren’t conducive to the best way I plot and characterize a narrative.

Guided meditation is a method of practicing meditation with the help of another person. Allow us to start this guided meditation. Now that I’ve posted an installment of Stillwater — solely four months after the previous one! Since I started writing fiction as a part of NaNoWriMo, my writing course of relies around several hours of procrastinating while gathering thoughts followed by a couple of early AM hours of movement. There are fairly few couple-written blogs that I am aware of, so I suppose that is a bit of a distinction. Additionally, I feel that some contentious topics (religion, politics, and so forth.) are simpler to discuss by way of the formalism and distance of the written word quite than in person. Possibly this person will leave your life and maybe not, but altering your perception, will change the character of your relationship. That is a pleasant way to loosen up the physique, thoughts and spirit, and is often used by novices.

Patriji Meditation Techniques

Brahmarshi Patriji spread the power of meditation to people from his early life. His aim was to promote spirituality and meditation to all and for that he has done a lot of research and hard work. His approach has been scientific and secular and he has written over 70 books and travelled all around the world, exploring and teaching. Patriji establish over 15000 pyramid meditation center all around the globe with 100 large pyramids, largest of which is in Bangalore and can seat 5000 people in it at one time.

Here are The best Patriji Meditation Techniques:

1. Anapanasati Meditation:

Patriji’s core practice has been Anapanasati Pyramid Meditation.’ Ana’ means ‘inhaling’, ‘Apana’ means ‘exhaling’ and ‘Sati’ means ‘to be one with’. Thus the word Anapanasati means to concentrate on one’s breathing and be aware. You don’t need a mantra to chant, a deity to worship or any form of yoga practice.

2. How to Practice Anapanasati Meditation?

  1. Anytime is suitable for meditation. You just need to be regular
  2. Your posture should be comfortable and spine should be relaxed but straight. Hands should be clasped, legs crossed and eye closed.
  3. You need to focus and not let thoughts take over
  4. Inhale and exhale softly.  You need to constantly observe your breath to do so; this will help you to stay focused.
  5. Your mind needs to follow your breath.
  6. You should meditate daily and you should meditate according to your age. If you are 30 year old you should practice for 30 minutes, 40 year olds should practice for 40 minutes.

Benefits:

3. Diseases Are Healed:

Meditation infuses fresh oxygen into our blood stream and makes our heart pump fresh blood. With a regular practice of Anapanasati meditation you can get healed from a lot of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, hypertension, etc. Most of these diseases are caused due to our lifestyles when we have wrong eating habits, addictions, stress, etc.

4. Happiness:

As you practice this meditation, with the inhale of oxygen you will release serotonin which gives us a sense of happiness and well being. As you start meditating regularly you will see that you are a happier person, with the ability to work things out in a better way.

5. Improvement of Emotional Bonds:

Meditation helps you to improve the inter-personal relationships with the people who you are attached to and you constantly interact with. Be it your parents, children, spouse, colleagues, friends, you will see them receive a positive vibe from you which will help you strengthen your bond and work things out for the better.

6. Quitting Bad Habits:

There are a few bad habits and addictions that people get indulged into. Habits like smoking, excess eating, drinking and excess sleep, could cause a lot of harm to your health. These habits are cut down once you start meditating in a regular manner. Meditation helps you to get over your weaknesses and lets us focus to be more productive.

7. Quick Decision Making:

As you meditate your thinking is much clearer and you focus much more. You have the ability to take better and quicker decisions. You mind is much more aware and you receive different perspectives to deal with different circumstances. This again is one more reason how you save yourself from complications and build up better relationships.

Regular meditation helps you to become more efficient in everything you do in your daily lives. You can take up more responsibilities and fulfill your commitments. You feel energetic rather than lethargic and you like to be occupied with work rather than just wasting time. You get focus and concentration in life. You are able to manage circumstances better as your brain functions more efficiently than usual.

Images Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8.

Simple Meditation Techniques To Boost Your Concentration

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Simple Meditation Techniques To Boost Your Concentration

Finding yourself often easily distracted? Wondering how you can increase your concentration levels and achieve success in your work and life? Meditation is the answer!

Being more productive in any task you’re undertaking will be done when there is an increase in your concentration. You can be responsible for your success by using some simple techniques of meditation. And such success is not only confined to your workplace, but also to your social and personal life.

Let us first define Concentration.

Concentration is the process of focusing your mind on a singular object, either within or outside your body, and keeping this attention steady for a period of time.

Learn to understand that is is natural for your mind to wander at first and this should not throiw off your balance.

Meditation and Concentration:

Meditation and Concentration are perfect together. Only true concentration will lead to meditation. You will see all other aspects of your life to be steady and balanced if you have a steady mind.

For internal aspects – counting numbers in your mind, breathing and heartbeat. However, for external aspects – ticking of the clock, point on the wall and flame of the candle.

In order to be successful with concentration, you will be required to practice first. Clear your mind from distractions and begin the process again.

Here are a few techniques to improve your focus and concentration.

1. Focus on your breathing

Allow your mind to be cleared of all thoughts. All you need to do is to find a comfortable spot or place where you can focus on yourself. Just focus on your breathing as you inhale and exhale. You can count your breaths.

2. Eat healthy and avoid restless mind

You are what you eat, as what the saying says. It’s so tempting to eat sweets, chocolates, ice cream, etc. that makes your mind restless and your body lethargic. So choose carefully what you eat. Avoid food with too much spice or sugar and reduce the intake of fried and junk food. Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Our brain needs sleep and seven to eight hours to function well. Meditate when you have too much in your plate. A good 20 minutes of meditation every day, preferably in the morning or before lunch time, sharpens the brain cells. So meditate!

Once you are comfortable, find a mantra of your choice.

Concentration is important on an overall basis. Eliminating distractions and improper thoughts is the beginning to make logical decisions. Use these simple methods of concentration meditation and watch how it benefits you.

Meditation App Development: Top 5 Features to Include When Making Best Meditation App

5 Notable Features to Keep in Mind When Developing a Guided Meditation App like Calm

5 Notable Features to Keep in Mind When Developing a Guided Meditation App like Calm

(100%) votes

“This blog is for those startups and entrepreneurs, who want to develop a meditation app like Calm. Here, we have mentioned top 5 features that you need to keep in mind when developing a guided meditation app. Let’s give a look!”

To get some peace and relaxation, people prefer to meditate whenever they get time. They wanted to take a break from their hectic schedule and office chores to feel an inner calm. Whether they prefer deep breathing or guided imagery to get relax their mind, mediation can have a significant impact on their mental and physical health.

Today, millions of people practice meditation every day using some of the top meditation apps like Calm, Headspace, Simple Habit, Pacifica, Shine, 10% Happier and The Mindfulness. In the recent time, mindfulness and meditation apps have gained a huge popularity that Apple editors named this category asone of four breakout trends in app culture in 2017.

Talking about the most popular mindful meditation app, Calm (Apple’s best iPhone app of 2017) hasraised $27 million in a new financing round that values the company at a $250 million. The pre-money round led by Insight Venture Partners along with Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures also participating. Earlier, the company raised approximately $1.5 million in seed funding.

Success Story of Calm: The Best Guided Meditation App

  • Calm was founded in 2014 by British entrepreneurs named Michael Acton Smith and Alex Tew with the aim to make the world happier and healthier.
  • In 2013, the company began developing its library of guided meditations and soothing nature sounds and scenes.
  • Then, in 2014, Tamara Levitt joined the company as Head of Mindfulness with its 20+ years of meditation expertise. She has been Calm’s meditation instructor ever since.
  • Today, Calm is the #1 app for mindfulness and meditation with more than 26 million downloads and over 225,000 5-star reviews.
  • Recently, the app named the world’s happiest app by the Center for Humane Technology.
  • Last year, Calm app was selected by Apple App Store editors as the best meditation app on the App Store in 2017.

A few years ago, it was quite challenging to convince investors that a mindfulness app can end-up as a successful business, but the increasing focus on mental health from startups and big companies, entrepreneurs and companies like Calm are grabbing the attention of investors.

Being a startup, if you have made-up your mind to develop one of the best guided meditation apps like Calm, don’t forget to include these 4 features to make your app successful:

1. Guided Meditation for Everyone

It is must that you allow all the people to mediate with your application by providing them with a complete guide about it. You can include a guide on mediation for everyone in the app, helping users to learn how to meditate and practice breathing exercise.

In addition, make your application in such way that it can be easily accessed by all age group of people like children, youngsters, and adults. Beginners can practice meditation whenever and wherever possible following guidance.

Along with beginners, you can include programs for intermediate and advanced meditators and gurus. Whether beginners or trained meditators, they must train their mind in just a few minutes a day and should not face any problem with your app. In a nutshell, guided meditation will teach beginners and experienced meditators the life-changing skill of mediation.

2. Mindfulness and Meditation Exercises

Through mindfulness and meditation exercises, you can allow your app users to learn meditation techniques that will help them in getting relax, manage their stress and fight insomnia and other depression problems.

Let’s take an example of Calm application that provides its users with breathing exercise feature, enabling them to get relax and feel peaceful. The selection ranges from 3-minute to 25-minute sessions, it also includes a feature called Daily Calm, a minute program to practice before the beginning or end of the day.

When developing your own app for mediation, you can provide your users with different techniques like relaxation breathing, mindful breathing, and mindful breathing meditation. Apart from this, provide users with different exercises to practice meditation.

3. Sessions on Everything from Stress to Happiness

An essential feature that you can consider while developing a mindfulness app is a session on different topics like stress, stress management, insomnia, depression, happiness, peace, relaxation, body scan, forgiveness, walk mediation, and more.

By covering all these sessions, you can allow your users to listen and practice meditation. Such sessions will help people to fight depression and feel happiness by getting relax. You can provide these sessions in different lengths like 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 60 minutes, allowing users to choose the right length that fits in their schedule.

4. Allow Users to Track Daily Progress and Meditation Time

Tracking the daily progress and mediation time is much important for users to keep going and improving. If you will include a tracking feature, it will help users to know their daily time that they spend on mediation, listening to music, reading stories or listening sessions. They can even track their progress and compare it to know whether they have improved or not.

By tracking daily habits of meditating, reading, and listening to soothing music, users can get help in accomplishing their target easily. Once they achieve their target of meditating or reading, they can share it with their friends through social media. Make sure that you allow your app users to directly share their progress from the app and can invite friends and family members.

5. Push Notification to Keep Users Engaged

Push notification plays an important role when it comes to keep users engaged and connected with your application. It is considered as a retargeting tool, helping you to keep your users near to your app.

Whether there is any new feature in the app, introducing new music, a session on any topic or any offer for people, you can directly let your users know through notification without asking them to open the app.

Apart from this, push notification will help you to send a reminder to visit your app and experience another meditation session. Moreover, don’t forget about the gamification element. And, keep reminding your users to keep their score high, use the app every day, and give beginner tips on how to mediate.

Some of the Recommended Features to Consider

  • Stories: Meditation and mindfulness stories of the people, who fought depression and other problem and happily doing meditation. By including this feature, you can encourage and motivate beginners to meditate and experience peace.
  • Thousands of Tracks and Soothing Music: Along with the above-given features, you can consider including thousands of tracks and soothing music, allowing people to listen whenever they get time. Include sounds and music of water, trees, birds chirping and more that help people to improve focus, sleep and give them peace.
  • One-to-one chat support: Allow your app users to have a one-to-one chat with experts, meditators and gurus to talk about their problems and discuss their queries related to meditation. They can discuss and get a solution from the experts.

Conclusion

With the increasing demand for meditation app, meditation app development seems a good idea for startups and entrepreneurs. Developing a meditation app like Calm or Headspace is not difficult if you consider the pain points of users and provide a solution through the app. Include requisite features and functionalities in the app, helping beginners and experienced meditators to get relax and feel peace.

If you think that your meditation app for Android can change the lives of millions of people and help them fight depression or stress, then discuss your idea with as we are a leading Android apps development company. With the experience of developing over 3500 mobile apps of different categories, we can be a perfect partner todevelop Android applications under mental health and mindfulness category.  

Still, if you have any query related to mediation app development, just fill-up the below-given form and one of our sales representatives will get back to you within 48 hours.

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10 Day Samadhi (Concentration) Retreat at Spirit Rock

So you should view this fleeting world —
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.

— The Buddha

I recently got back from another 10 days of silent meditation at Spirit Rock. One of the retreat teachers said, in the closing session, “You may want to talk a lot to people about your experience here these past days. I’d encourage you to gauge accurately other people’s level of interest in hearing the details. You may find that ‘It went pretty well’ is a perfectly adequate summary for most people.”

The retreat went pretty well! You want more than that? Okay, well you asked for it. Here are 6,000 words of detail.

First, a quick outline of the last 14 years of practice for me, as it’s been quite a journey, with links to some of my many posts about the topic in the past:

Phase 1 (2002-2012): I felt stressed in high school, read a book about stress relief, and learned about meditation. I knew nothing about Buddhism. I meditated sporadically on my own. I wandered by the SF Zen Center in 2006. Many years later, in 2012, I signed up for a 10 day meditation retreat with the simple goal of survival. Just getting through it. I did indeed endure the physical endurance test of a 10 day retreat, even though I continued to know precious little about Buddhism and meditation.

Phase 2 (2012-2014): I maintained a near daily Goenka style Vipassana meditation practice, I did a follow up 3 day Goenka meditation retreat, and began to dig deeper into the Buddhist psychology.

Phase 3 (2014-2016): Independent explorations, more intensive reading, day long retreats, community, spend time with friends interested in the topic, weekly sitting groups in SF and Berkeley.

Phase 4 (2016-2018): I completed a Steve Armstrong 10 day silent retreat on open, choice-less awareness. I wrote my most extensive post to date about my practice afterwards as that retreat helped me understand the core Buddhist argument. I became friends with Bob Wright, who recently published Why Buddhism Is True.  I published my notes from Sam Harris’s Waking Up, one of the best books on secular spirituality. And in general, I broadened and deepened my intellectual engagement through books, online courses (such as Bob’s Coursera class on Buddhism and Modern Psychology and a couple Spirit Rock online courses), and sought out conversations with smart people on the topic.

Phase 5 (Present): I completed a 10 Day Concentration retreat, the subject of this post.

The TL/DR on This Retreat Experience (August, 2018)

  1. I’m as compelled as ever by the Buddha’s core argument about the nature of the human mind and the nature of reality, the delusion that causes suffering, and the keys to happiness.
  2. If you want to improve your mind and better understand reality, you have to train your mind. If you want to be happy with a human brain and heart not wired to prioritize happiness, you have to train your heart and mind. Train. It’s like going to the gym to exercise: you have to work at it. It doesn’t happen automatically. Meditation is one way to do this.
  3. Silent retreats remain fantastic experiences for me and I continue to recommend them to others even if someone isn’t interested in meditation or Buddhism, because 5-10 days off the grid and in silence is profound on its own.
  4. I’m not sure how far along I am on the path of liberation. But I’m newly energized that this is a path I should be on and want to be on.
  5. Samadhi (concentration) practice, which I just did, is a worthwhile focus area if you want to establish a more stable mental foundation for Vipassana practice. It is a means to an end. If you want really want are jhanic experiences, psychedelics are probably a faster route than concentration meditation.

Recap of the Buddha’s Argument

The Buddha taught that there is suffering in the world, and he taught a way to liberate yourself from that suffering. I’ve written elsewhere about the full scope of the argument. I will repeat the core logic tree here for my own refreshment. Feel free to skip if you’re already familiar.

1. 2,500 years ago, the historical Buddha, in reflecting upon his own life of worldly success, said that life naturally involves “suffering” –or unsatisfactoriness. “I’ll finally be happy if I…” Get a boyfriend? Have a kid? Make a million dollars? No matter. We will constantly seek greater and greater pleasures, and obtaining those things will not bring lasting happiness or peace. (Robert Wright argues that natural selection “designed” our brain, for good evolutionary reasons, to keep us on this treadmill of dissatisfaction.) All of us must live with a brain that was never designed to produce happiness. What’s more, old age, sickness, and death are inevitable. Those account for the ultimate suffering.

2. Day to day suffering is caused by “visitors to the mind” — defilements — that cause us anger, jealousy, resentment, anxiety, etc. These seeds of discontent — say, a feeling of anger — take up residence in our mind usually in response to specific causes and conditions.

3. An untrained mind reacts endlessly to these experiences with craving and aversion. When something good happens, we crave more of it — we want that good feeling to stay and intensify. “I’m happy I made a million dollars…and now I need 10 million dollars.” When something bad happens, perhaps we get laid off or someone close to us dies, we do whatever we can do to avoid the feeling and wish it to go away. No one wants to experience sadness, but feeling sadness and desiring that the sadness goes away is worse than simply experiencing sadness in the present moment. The Buddha called our reaction to experiences the “second arrow” that hurts us. The first arrow is the experience itself; the second arrow is our unwise reaction to it that magnifies the effect.

4. Mental restlessness enables these defilements and our thoughtless reactions to them. The wandering mind chatters on and on and on almost sub-vocally, shaping your beliefs, emotions, and identity. As a result, you are not really aware of how these defilements affect you. You might have an experience (for example, someone cuts you in line at the supermarket) that causes you some mental discontent. Because you aren’t aware of that experience and the feeling it brought about in that moment, the feeling of annoyance implants. And triggers a whole cycle of negative thinking. You are deluded because you are unaware of the causes of your thoughts.

5. With mindfulness practice you are remembering to recognize the present moment’s experience. You recognize what’s happening in your mind on a moment to moment level, enabling you to short circuit — and ultimately uproot — the aforementioned unwholesome habits of mind: you recognize when the craving of more pleasant things or the aversion to bad things enters your consciousness as the thought is still in formation and before it can take root. When you feel joy you can just feel joy in that moment. If you begin to crave more joy in that moment, as many of us do to our detriment, a mindful mind will notice it in that moment and curtail the craving. If you feel anger, with mindfulness you can notice that anger depends on thinking anger related thoughts in that moment and you can choose to return to the present moment’s experience instead.

6. A stable mind is required if you wish to observe your experiences in such a way to understand their true nature. The practice of meditation helps you develop a mind that is concentrated, balanced, pliable, equanimous, alert, collected. A collected mind (“samadhi”) can recognize the present moment’s experience, receive/sit with/observe the defilements and the unwholesome patterns of mind that inevitably arise, and ultimately not let those defilements take residence in your mind.

7. With Vipassana or Insight practice, you are taking your stable mind and observing your experiences moment to moment — the lessons you glean from this process are the “insights” of Vipassana/Insight meditation. There are plenty of ordinary insights to be gained through meditation regarding your mental obsessions and habits of mind — e.g., “Gosh, I think about my relationship with my mother a lot.” There are also deeper truths to had.

8. The first of these deeper truths is that unsatisfactoriness pervades all of our experiences, per the previous point about craving and aversion toward good and bad phenomena.

9. The second deep truth is that everything changes, everything is impermanent. The unpleasant sensation of annoyance or envy eventually passes away. The pleasant sensation you get after enjoying a nice piece of pizza or a job promotion or whatever — it too passes away. Thus, craving and aversion is pointless: it all passes away. Vipassana is the practice of “learning to grieve the loss of every moment effectively.”

10. The final deep truth is that, because all phenomena are ultimately impermanent, it’s mistake to consider them personal to you in any way. “You” are not annoyed; you have the thought or sensation of annoyance. “My pizza” is not delicious; a sensation of deliciousness was felt. The feeling you’re feeling is not yours; it’s not who you are. Ultimately, nothing is substantially you because you are just a constitution of millions of atoms that are always changing. Practically speaking, you “thin out the self” when you’re in flow, when you’re totally present with experience here and now.

11. These three characteristics — unsatisfactoriness, impermanence, and not-self — are referred to as the 3 Characteristics of all phenomena. In modern terms: Nothing in life is Permanent, Perfect, or Personal. Or: Life is hard, it will change, but don’t take it personally.

12. Want to understand the 3 Characteristics at a profound level? You can only do so through direct observation of your mind and body. Intellectual “knowing” is not enough. You must observe the reality, moment to moment. Hence the practice of meditation. You can read about these ideas in books but it comes to you as knowledge, not wisdom. Wisdom is experientially knowing it for yourself. The Buddha said not to take his word for it.

13. There are a set of ethical beliefs that the Buddha said should accompany the practice of meditation. For example, don’t steal, use harsh speech, etc. He argued you need to train your heart to have the right intentions. And then be mindful about each thought, speech, and action so as to harmonize your inner values with your outer actions. Wisdom and compassion are the two wings of a bird: You need them both.

14. If you can liberate yourself from craving and clinging, you can achieve the highest form of happiness, which is inner peace. Peace is not permanent (nothing is) but can be always accessible. Peace is not a grey, neutral, muted life. It’s the inner contentment and serenity that comes from the knowledge that no matter what happens in nature, you can always access happiness. You are free from suffering. You are free from being involuntarily triggered by stimuli. You are free from identity. You are free from delusion. You see reality clearly. You are happy.

The sequence of these steps and how one goes about realizing them practically is best described in the phenomenal book The Mind Illuminated, which I will write about in a separate post.

The Samadhi Retreat @ Spirit Rock

This was a “Concentration” retreat. To use the Pali words, the instructions focused on using samata techniques to cultivate samadhi — a concentrated, unified, collected mind.

The practical meditation instructions in a concentration retreat differ considerably from a traditional Vipassana retreat. In standard Vipassana practice, you pay attention to hindrances, observe them, watch them pass away. You’re mindful of bodily sensations. In some teachings, you’re told to be mindful of a broad range of stimuli and just notice them in the present moment. Pure, in-the-moment awareness of whatever you’re experiencing, thinking, feeling.

With concentration practice, you focus on a specific object of concentration — in our case, the breath — and you stay steady on that single fixed object. Don’t heed thoughts or noises or body sensations. Stay with the breath.

By staying on one object, your mind can become very concentrated. Why is a concentrated mind helpful? For practitioners of insight meditation, a steady, unified mind is a necessary foundation for developing insight. If your mind is all over the place, you won’t be able to pay attention closely enough to what’s going on in your reality. Concentration increases inner stability; it makes you less disturbed by disturbances. So, in this framing, concentration practice is a means to an end: the end being the insight that comes from mindfulness. Mindfulness requires a concentrated mind.

Alternatively, deep concentration practice that collapses the distinction between subject (the meditator) and object (the breath) — i.e. very deep absorption into present moment awareness — can result in a bag of temporary spiritual goodies that may not contribute to your liberation but can deliver extreme bliss in their own right (in what are called jhanas). Some practitioners spend years of their life pursuing jhanas.

Prior to this retreat, I never thought I could spend so many hours over so many days focused on so many nuances related to the breath. But that’s what we did. We were told to aim for the breath with our attention, then “connect” with it, and then sustain attention with every successive breath. We were told to examine the first half of the inhale and compare it to the second half of the exhale. We were advised to notice “pauses” in between breaths and to rest our attention somewhere (perhaps on our lips) during such a pause. We were told to feel the breath more than to verbally note (in our mind) our awareness.

We were told to love the breath, to see it as a life force, as a friend. If you find the breath boring, you won’t be able to rest attention on it productively, we were told. Because I do not intuitively “love” my breath in the way it seemed I needed to, I tried thinking about some about my breathing techniques in scuba diving and how the breath serves as lifeline underwater. (Above water too, of course, but you’re more consciously aware of it with each breath under water.) That worked okay.

Counting breathes is a common technique to stay focused. To give you a sense of how concentrated you get amid the physical seclusion: At home, I often struggle to count to 10 on breaths without my mind wandering. (Try it sometime — count each inhale/exhale as “1” and see if you can do it 10 times without your mind going elsewhere.) On this retreat, I counted easily to 70 with complete focus and then just stopped and sunk back into more spacious awareness.

Staying with the breath, in one sense, is “easier” than traditional Vipassana practice. There’s only one thing to do. And we were told to do whatever we need to do to accommodate this one task. For example, if we felt pain in our posture, we were encouraged to stand up in the meditation hall. Or change postures. Whatever relaxation supports your focus on the breath. Just keeping coming back to the breath, over and over again.

In a different sense, samata practice struck me as “harder” than the Vipassana instructions on past retreats. Steve Armstrong’s teaching of Sayadaw U Tejaniya’s awareness framework meant that we could never be “doing it wrong” so long as we were aware. If someone coughed loudly in the meditation hall, and I was aware that I was hearing, I was doing the practice properly — I was aware. In a concentration retreat, if a cough distracts you from the chosen object of concentration — e.g. the breath — you can become agitated.

Beyond the breath, we tried one other concentration technique for an hour each day: metta practice. It’s effectively a mantra technique except the mantras are loving-kindness phrases like “May you be happy” or “May you be free from inner and outer harm.” You repeat these phrases over and over again, directing them to different people (yourself, loved ones, neutral people, enemies, all beings) and through the repetition, your mind becomes more concentrated. While metta may have benefit in terms of inclining your heart towards compassion, it didn’t work as well for me as a concentration method. That said, I did direct the well-wishing phrase to different people as I walked by them on retreat — i.e. as I passed someone, I glanced at them and thought, “May you be happy” — and that generated warmth.

On this retreat, I didn’t approach true jhanic states of absorption, where the teachers and many others report psychedelic effects. I did, however, achieve very, very deep levels of calm. In my late night sits, my heart beat was so small and soft, I could hardly feel it. I likely wandered into “access concentration” states which is the level before the first jhana. A couple nights, when I returned to my room and brushed my teeth, I looked at the mirror watching myself brush my teeth and noticed my mind incredibly still, like a pond of perfectly still water at dawn.

I’m not sure how much I care about accessing jhanas through meditation, given the weeks and weeks of silent retreat experience that apparently are necessary to enter those states. It seems like psychedelics is a much faster way of inducing similar states of mind. In general, that would be a main counterargument against extensive meditation practice: not its effectiveness, but its efficiency relative to other methods.

Expecting Progress But Not Measuring Progress Too Often, and Keeping the Faith in the Interim

When I work on projects, I tend to have an end in mind and, along the way, I like to routinely check in on whether I’m making progress.

It’s rather easy to do this with simple, short meditation sessions. If you want to relax a bit, you can sit down for 5-10 mins, focus on your breath, and if you check in how you’re feeling at the end, you’ll probably feel calmer.

For longer meditation sessions, or during a long retreat, or in the context of a long term habit of meditation, teachers advise against an attitude that measures progress too much. They say to set “intentions” but to not “expect” specific, measurable payoffs. Expect results over time, they say, but don’t track those results moment-to-moment, week-to-week, month-t0-month.

In this retreat, we were exhorted to notice our concentrated mind but not to “measure the quality of the concentration.” Instead, we should just keep practicing and if we lose our focus on the breath, to keep starting over. Occasionally, the teachers would dangle tantalizing personal examples of jhanic absorption experiences, but those examples would be quickly followed up by reminders to not expect those same experiences ourselves. “The development of samadhi practice is mysterious,” one teacher said in the nightly dharma talk, “Be careful not to develop any narratives, explanations, or expectations around what is happening.”

In the private 15 minute teacher meetings that occur every other day on retreat, I asked one of them about how I should balance this instruction to not measure progress with my natural instinct measure and iterate based on progress. Sally relayed the Dalai Lama anecdote of someone asking him if Buddhism has helped him over the past year. His reply was: Probably not, but it’s definitely helped me over the past five years. Point being: Do check in on whether you’re making progress but do so at the right, long term intervals.

Okay. That makes sense. But it’s one thing to relinquish metrics and goals for 10 days. It’s another thing altogether if you’re going to spend hundreds of hours meditating or studying Buddhist psychology — what if you aren’t seeing a step function increase in benefit as the hours pile up? Can you maintain the motivation to stick with it? Myself, I have experienced a lot of progress and I’m happy about it, but I can still wrestle sometimes with doubt.

This is where faith comes in. You need faith to stick with projects that deliver progress in “mysterious” ways over long periods of time. By “faith” I’m not referring to belief in God; I mean having faith that time you spend in contemplative practice is time well spent. The religious infrastructure of Buddhism supports the faith individual practitioners need to pursue Buddhist meditation. This infrastructure takes the form of cultural and physical artifacts that have accumulated over the past 2,600 years in the way of stories, traditions, rituals, words, and beautiful meditation centers and temples. Most importantly, the infrastructure facilitates a worldwide community of people drawn toward the same goal and interested in learning practice for achieving that goal: freeing themselves from suffering.

The packaging of ideas matters. I’m pretty sure that if a new secular spiritual movement presented identical ideas to Buddhism in an office building in downtown San Francisco led by a pair of 40-something wise professionals, I’d have a harder time sustaining the habits and internalizing the truths.

It’s not too dissimilar from startups and entrepreneurship in some sense. Starting a company can be an irrational affair. To muster the faith that you can beat the odds, you need to tap into a broader support community that tells stories of those who came before you, gives you advice and involves you in various rituals, and encourages you to stick with it even during darker moments. The religion of entrepreneurship. This is why your chances of success go up if you start a company in a startup hub.

Proactive, Focused Effort vs. Relaxed, Receptive Effort

Applying the right amount of effort in meditation proved to be one of the trickiest instructions in the samata practice. The teachers would distinguish between focused, almost aggressive, effort — which would involve strong conscious attention on the breath, really zooming in on microscopic details — and a more relaxed effort, in which you let the attention “come” to you.

In one of my interviews with the teacher, he asked me if I was “close” to the breath. I nodded. He encouraged me to “back off a bit, don’t be so close, but more spacious in your awareness of the breath. You’re overexerting.” I think I understood what he was talking about.

Here’s an interactive example he offered. Take one hand and hold it out face up. Take the other hand and hover it directly over the other hand, not quite touching. How much sensation do you feel in the two hands? Not much. Now take the top hand and squeeze the bottom hand tightly. Clench it. How much sensation do you feel in the two hands? Some, but it’s muddied and overly tight. Now gently rest one hand on top of the other. You feel all sorts of pulsing and heat sensations. Gently resting one hand on top of the other is what we aim to do with our attention on the breath — gently rest attention on the breath.

In sum, you want to exert effort in meditation practice but not more than necessary. A bird flaps its wings and then soars on momentum, and doesn’t flap again until it needs to.

This struck me as a relevant life theme. There are situations that call for gritty effort; there are situations that call for more “receptive” effort; and there’s a skill to knowing which type of effort to employ and when.

Experts Understand Simple Things Deeply

I love the notion that experts at a craft understand the simple things about their craft very, very deeply. They continually master the basics. NBA players practice how to dribble — a skill they’ve mastered for years but in the additional understanding, they arrive at a new and subtler understanding. Professional concert pianists practice the basic scales with a nuance a novice doesn’t understand.

On this concentration retreat, each day we did metta/loving-kindness practice for an hour. On the first day of these instructions, the teacher asked us all to raise our hands if we had attended a dedicated metta meditation retreat before. More than half the hands went up. That meant more than half of the 90 people hadn’t just practiced metta but actually attended a retreat specifically devoted to metta practice. After seeing the hands go up, the teacher said, “Okay, that’s helpful.” I expected the teacher to deliver some newly advanced instructions to accommodate with the years of experience in the room. Instead, he proceeded to deliver the standard, simple instructions all of us novice and experienced meditators alike have heard before. Metta experts understand simple things about the practice very deeply.

Another example from retreat: We heard dozens of hours of instructions and dharma talks on the topic of the breath. Attending to your breath is often the most basic meditation instruction given. And yet here we were, at an advanced retreat, returning to that most basic meditation, with great depth and wonder.

Surrendering and Trusting the Process

Days on retreat are fairly well structured: There are scheduled sitting and walking meditation times, scheduled meal times, scheduled dharma talks, scheduled wake up bells, scheduled quiet hours in the dorm rooms.

After five days, my entrepreneurial self took over and, as is my tendency once I understand parameters of flexibility, I began to think about ways to optimize my experience — in this case, optimize my meditation schedule to suit my own idiosyncrasies and body rhythm. I figured that if I customized my day to involve exercise, good rest, good meal times, and very late night sits — I would have more success. Specifically, I was questing after a particular type of experience I enjoyed on my first retreat some year ago — a specific pleasurable mental state and physical sensations that are hard to describe.

So I crafted the perfect day: I would nap during the lunch break, do wind sprints and pushups and squats in the meadow during one of the scheduled sits, stretch out my back in the yoga room (to aid in my sitting posture), take a shower just before dinner, meditate in my room, eat a light meal at dinner so that I wasn’t too full for the scheduled evening sits, eat peanut butter from the kitchen after the Dharma talk in place of the final scheduled session to address my hunger needs, and then sit by myself in the meditation hall — after everyone else had gone to bed — until midnight. I even noticed a beautiful morning sky and I made a plan to stargaze at night while sitting on one of the outdoor benches in the middle of the night. Planning mind, expecting mind, comparing mind…

The day fell apart starting at 4:30pm. I had exercised, napped, showered, and skipped some scheduled sits. All was going to plan. I was ready to pursue my newly backloaded schedule! When I went to sit in my room, some light whining noise coming from the ceiling distracted me. I gave up. I ate a fine dinner and the dharma talk was stimulating. But afterwards, when I made my way to the kitchen, I discovered the peanut butter container was empty for the first time on the retreat — the one time I felt like I needed it. I went back to the meditation hall with some hunger and frustration, and planted myself on the lower level to sit privately. But unlike in past nights, a couple other people had discovered “my” spot, so I didn’t have the privacy I expected. My mind was jumpy during the sits, unable to get comfortable. At around 10pm, I wandered outside, frustrated with my lack of concentration. I looked up at the sky: cloud cover had totally obstructed all the stars. I went back into the empty meditation hall and stayed until midnight, with varying levels of peace as I alternated between my bench on the floor and the chair. As the clock struck midnight, I felt some good sensation of breath but then also had a dream-like sensation — it felt like some dreams were passing through my mind, as if I were half-asleep, even as all the while I was observing every in breath and every outbreath. I took that as a sign that it was time to go to bed. I went back into my room, lay in bed, and reflected on how my “perfect” day had been anything but. I dreamed some crazy and intense dreams. It’s common to experience vivid dreams when you’re on silent retreat but these were crazier than prior nights.

When I awoke the next morning to the 5:15 AM bell, a bit spent from my exertion the prior day and my somewhat restless night of dreams, I declared to myself: Fuck it. I’m going to surrender to the schedule. I’m just going to go through the day, do the sits, eat when I’m supposed to eat, go to bed when I’m supposed to go to bed. I’m going to assume nothing will work out as I planned.

What happened? Naturally, I had my best day of the retreat. My sits were productive, I had a good interview with a teacher, I went on a beautiful hike. When I made a plan to hike up a short hill and sit on one of my favorite outdoor benches on the retreat grounds, I joked with myself that the bench would likely be occupied and my plan would be foiled. Sure enough, the bench was occupied, but I took it in stride.

11 years ago I blogged about my favorite Toni Morrison line from Song of Solomon: “If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.” There’s a lot of power in the idea of surrender. Many of us exert agency in so many facets of our life that it can be easy to forget when surrender — or “trusting the process” — is a wiser way of being. I re-learned this truth on day 6 of the retreat.

Everything Is Impermanent…”And Yet”

In one of the dharma talks, Donald relayed a story about the Taliban destroying a bunch of Buddha statues after 9/11. Someone wrote in to a Buddhist scholar Gary Synder and asked why Buddhists would care about the statues if everything is impermanent. If nothing will last forever, who cares if the statues got destroyed? In a larger sense, if life itself is impermanent, who cares about compassion?

Synder replies, and in his reply, quotes haiku master Issa:

“Dewdrop world” refers to Diamond Sutra quoted at the top of my blog post — the famous Buddhist phrasing that life is as fleeting as a drop of dew, a flicker of light, a bubble in the stream. So yes, this is a dewdrop world…and yet. Compassion matters. Life matters. Living matters. Even though none of it matters.

I find Snyder’s answer, and the haiku he quotes, a perfect encapsulation of a paradox — maybe contradiction — in Buddhist thinking. But it’s a paradox fit for understanding a contradictory world. Zen Koans and zen haiku exist to speak to complexity that normal “wisdom” cannot encapsulate.

Preparing for the Worst Day of My Life (Which Hasn’t Happened Yet)

I am fortunate to not have experienced trauma in my life. I am fortunate to not have yet experienced searing grief over the death of someone close to me. I am fortunate to not have suffered physical or mental ailments. In the questionnaire I filled out when registering for the retreat, I checked the “No” box when asked questions about whether I was taking medicine for anything, about whether I was in therapy for anything, about when I was struggling with particular emotional problems. My life isn’t perfect, but I’ve been luckier than most so far.

In Vipassana practice, where one of the more ambitious aims is to “uproot” negative defilements of mind, it can be very disturbing to bear witness to these memories or thought patterns as they surface and you observe them and make sense of them. Put differently, for a lot of people unresolved inner material surfaces to conscious attention during meditation and it can be painful to work through this material.

I’m not one of those people, most of the time. I don’t have a lot of unresolved inner material (so far as I’m aware) and I’m apparently not enough of a master meditator such that I’ve found myself wrestling with dark personal questions. I do have dark inner material but it’s not “unresolved” in the sense that it’s repressed and haunting me.

I say I’m “fortunate” about these facts and about my general well adjusted mind and body, and of course I am, but the flip side of this good fortune is a lingering curiosity or anxiety (depending on the day) about whether I will be able to endure serious hardship when it occurs. I know it’s just a matter of time before something goes seriously wrong in my life. I actually imagine what could wrong wrong a lot. I often imagine people I care about dying in car accidents and me delivering eulogies at funerals.

Sam Harris, in his excellent conversation with Dan Harris, said that spiritual and contemplate practice is in part about preparing for the worst day of your life. This totally resonated. My spiritual practice is not about “solving” some terrible problem in my life right now. It’s about training my heart and mind to be stronger and more adept here and now. And stronger still when put to the ultimate test.

Random Nuggets About This Retreat Experience Itself

– Philip Moffit, Sally Armstrong, Donald Rothberg, and Susie Harrington taught this 10 day retreat. All have been teaching Buddhist meditation for 20-30 years. All are extraordinary. Philip’s background particularly intrigued me. He was a successful publishing entrepreneur who, at age 40, quit his job as Editor-in-Chief & CEO of Esquire magazine to seek spiritual truths that would provide his life more meaning.

– This retreat had a prerequisite: Participants must have attended at least two residential meditation retreats of at least 5 days in length. So everyone was experienced. My comparing mind got a workout in the first couple hours after arriving at Spirit Rock, before Noble Silence took effect, as I overheard people discussing prior retreats and it became clear to me that for many people, this was their 10th+ meditation retreat. For me, it was my fourth residential retreat. I didn’t feel inadequate though.

– Three things were striking about the demographics of the ~90 participants. First, everyone was white or Indian. Second, it was generationally diverse, and I’m always inspired to see people in their 70’s and 80’s — some in wheelchairs — taking notes and diligently practicing. Third, there were as many well to do white collar professionals as classic spiritual hippies — e.g. software people, private equity professionals, math professors, sales reps, etc.

– The first afternoon, after unpacking my stuff in my small, simple dorm room, I lay on bed and I noted to myself that I was quite lucky to be at a point in my life where I am able to physically seclude myself for several days, be totally disconnected and silent, and travel within. I dropped into the “noble silence” that night easily and naturally. During my first retreat the silence was part of the challenge; in my fourth retreat I relished it. As Steve Armstrong says, it’s easier to learn how to drive in a parking lot than in the middle of a freeway. It’s easier to learn how to meditate in an atmosphere of silence.

– All yogis/retreatants have to do a “job” each day. Mine was cleaning toilets and bathroom floors. It may not sound like fun, but like many yogis on retreat, I enjoyed having something to do other than meditate, and I took pleasure in keeping the bathroom clean for everyone else. A couple years ago, I washed pots and pans in the kitchen, which had its own delights. (Again – only on retreat!)

– Posture is especially important on retreat. When you sit for 20 mins at home, you can maintain virtually any position. When you’re meditating for close to 8-10 hours a day, every muscle will ache unless you’ve nailed a position that’s comfortable. 3/4 of the way through the retreat a teacher told me I needed to add pillows to my chair setup, to raise my butt above my knees and to support my arms hanging down off my shoulders. Tall people problems. It made a big difference. If you’re headed to a meditation retreat, make sure you have a strategy for your posture.

– Throughout the days I had numerous inappropriate thoughts about pranks one could run on meditators on retreat. The whole environment is so serious, so focused, so…silent, that it was hard for me not to conjure jokes that would have, shall we say, awakened the silence.

– Several times I thought about how I was going to describe an experience I was having in this very blog post or in a conversation with someone. I have a hard time turning off the journalist inside my head…even on a meditation retreat.

What’s Next

There is so much more to explore. On the academic side, I would like to understand the concept of not-self more thoroughly. It’s such a slippery concept.

On the practice side, I will continue to practice Vipassana meditation, integrating the samata techniques I learned on this retreat. I also will re-visit some of the Goenka body scan techniques that I learned on my first retreat, as I have a newfound appreciation for some of his approaches.

Overall, I am grateful to have the practice in my life and this body of work to guide my spiritual pursuits. We should all be so grateful to the people who brought the Buddha’s teachings to the west and made them accessible to laypeople, especially Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzberg, who brought this particular tradition to our shores.

5 Myths About Meditation

To meditate effectively, it’s important to develop a practice that works for you. Unlike physical yoga poses, there is no right or wrong way to meditate. The highly personal practice can be practiced in any way that you feel comfortable. Once you’ve developed your skills, you can use meditation to reduce your stress levels, balance your mind, and become more present and aware in day-to-day life. To help focus your mind, it’s a good idea to create a relaxing space to meditate. If you’ve got the room, consider filling a spare room with a comfortable yoga mat, a cozy blanket, and some scented candles.

Like most holistic therapies, there are a few misconceptions surrounding meditation. If taken to heart, these may prevent you from progressing as smoothly as you’d like. In this article, we explore 5 myths about meditation.

There is Only One Way to Meditate

Some people believe that there is only one way to meditate. If this was true, every practitioner would need to use the same position – even if it didn’t work for them. Thankfully, this isn’t the case at all. There are a number of different styles and techniques to choose from. Below, we discuss a few of the most popular.

Breathing Meditation

The first style is Breathing Meditation. Perfect for beginners, this technique is simple to practice. To use Breathing Meditation, all you need to do is watch your breath and give your mind something to focus on.

To practice Breathing Meditation, find a quiet space and sit comfortably. Next, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Take a deep breath in through your nose and release the air through your mouth. Notice how each breath feels as you draw fresh air into your lungs and how it feels when it leaves the body. Don’t try to control your breathing, simply observe it in its natural state. If your mind begins to stray, don’t panic! Mind wandering is completely normal for beginners. When it does, gently bring your focus back to your breathing.

Mindfulness Meditation

Another popular style is mindfulness meditation. Focussing on the sensations within your body, this tech-nique allows you to concentrate on the present.

To practice Mindfulness Mediation, start by listening to your breathing. After a few minutes, notice other sensations within the body; for instance, observe any tension and tingling within the muscles. When using this technique, it’s important not to analyze the sensations. Instead, try to be a neutral observer. Allow the sensations to pass through your mind without becoming hung up on them.

Mantra Meditation

Mantra Meditation is another popular style. Commonly, the Sanskrit word ‘Om’ is used as a mantra. How-ever, any meaningful word or phrase can be used in this technique. By repeating a certain word or phrase you can focus the mind.

To practice Mantra Meditation, find a quiet space and sit comfortably. Slowly repeat your chosen word or phrase aloud or silently. Try to focus solely on the Mantra instead of the world around you.

Walking Meditation

Perfect for those who hate sitting still, Walking Meditation is another popular style. While this can be practiced anywhere, a garden or local park is ideal.

To practice Walking Meditation, stroll through an aesthetically pleasing environment. As you walk, focus on how your body moves. Take note of how your arms swing as you walk and how your legs lift and extend. As with all types of meditation, beginners may find their mind wandering. If this is the case, gently bring your focus back to the movement.

2. You Have to Empty Your Mind

If you’re a beginner, meditation can seem daunting. Many newbies believe that you have to empty your mind to meditate; however, this isn’t the case at all! Instead, meditation can help to empty your mind when used correctly. If you sit down with the intention of clearing your mind, you will probably struggle. This is because our minds are rarely at rest, especially when we are trying to learn a new process. Instead of trying to clear our mind when meditating, we should allow each thought to come and go naturally.

3. Meditation Takes Hours

Some practitioners choose to meditate for hours on end. While this is admirable, most of us are too busy to fit this into our daily routine. The misconception that meditation must last for hours leads many people to believe they can’t fit it into their life. Thankfully, though, this isn’t the case. Meditating for as little as 5 minutes per day can still benefit our physical and emotional health.

With a variety of different styles to choose from, pick one that fits into your daily routine and try to stick to it. The key to meditation is consistency. If you usually have 5 minutes to spare before bed, use that time to sit and reflect on your day. If you find yourself with more or less time than usual, adjust the duration accordingly.

4. You Can Expect Quick results

Some people believe that meditation can provide quick results. While it’s true that meditation can reduce your stress levels, don’t expect immediate results. It takes time, patience, and dedication to learn how to meditate effectively. This means that it may take a few weeks for you to notice the benefits of your prac-tice.

For best results, think of meditation as a skill you are building. Although some of the steps may seem un-necessary, you need to master the basics before moving onto the more complex parts. If you build up your skills gradually, the end result will be worth the wait.

5. Meditation is a Religious Practice

Some people believe that meditation is a religious practice. While meditation is present in a number of religions including Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, it doesn’t have to be used in a spiritual way. Though some practitioners use the craft to connect with their higher self, others meditate to reduce their stress levels and clear their mind.

In Summary

Before using meditation, it’s important to be clear on the myths surrounding the topic. Knowing what advice to follow is important if you want to develop your practice. For best results, pick up some comfortable clothing to wear whilst you meditate. While the weather is warm, a loose-fitting yoga top a pair of sweatpants will be ideal.

Creating a Meditation Space

Happy Monday, friends! How was your weekend? Mine was pretty great and low-key.

On Friday I got home and was wiped. I spent the hour I had with Ben before he went to do doughnuts (sorry, boo) complaining about some stuff that happened at work. Once he left, I decided to truly CHILL. I put on a podcast, ate some yummy food and had a glass of wine. I didn’t do any work – just let myself truly shut off.

Saturday ended up being an entire day of packing for our move on Friday! It was kinda stressful and we had plans to go get dinner, but ended up instead ordering in some Thai and I had a couple of glasses of wine. This bottle of wine I bought on Friday has been a lifesaver – haha! Sunday I worked on and off with packing and getting a social media plan put together for a client meeting I have Monday night.

As you can see, moving is top-of-mind for us right now. We get our Uhaul on Friday morning, have to pack that up and then go to the new apartment and unload everything. Our living room set should also be coming during that time. With that, we need to have everything ready to go by Friday morning. The space Ben and I are most excited to create is our meditation space – or “Meditation Station” as I like to call it. ?

This little space will be in an all-windowed corner of our new apartment. Since Ben and I both meditate every day (sometimes more than once!) we figured this would be a fun little space to set-up a meditation station for our daily sessions + just a fun little nook to read a book or relax in.

Here’s what we’re thinking we’ll need:

  • 1-2 floor pillows
  • Small table
  • Crystals
  • Candle
  • Buddha
  • Little bowl/thing for our fake coy fish Ben bought (LOL)
  • Incense and/or oil diffusor

So far, I picked up a bunch of crystals in Denver + my sister said she got me a few as well. I’ve always loved crystals (well, to be frank, when I was little I just thought they were cool rocks) so I’m excited Ben’s going with the flow and doesn’t mind me picking some up. He really wants a Buddha statue (we found a fun one at World Market that we might pick up) and possibly incense. I’m more into candles or figuring out the whole oil diffuser thing, so that’ll be a game-time decision! We also found this great little table at Target that might work out.

Here are a few inspirations: 

Creating a Meditation SpaceCreating a Meditation SpaceCreating a Meditation SpaceI found these on Pinterest, but the direct links are (in order) here, here and here!

We’re so excited for this space, so it’ll probably one of the first spaces we go out and get everything we need to fill it. I’ll make sure to put up a post with how we created our own Meditation Station once we’ve got it finished!

What do you think we should include in our new meditation space?

So friends! Make sure to follow me on Instagram – I think I’ll be doing an Instagram live to show you an empty house tour on Friday!

Aura: for meditation, stress relief and relaxation

For many, practicing mindfulness is a quick and powerful relaxation technique. Although there are many ways to handle everyday stress and anxiety, you may just be surprised by how effective Aura, the stress relief and meditation app is.

The ancient practice is considered a way for clear and peaceful thinking in one’s day-to-day life. Its known benefits are listed as higher self-awareness, reduction of negative emotions and an increase in creativity, among others. Some who suffer from medical conditions that may be worsened by stress, such as anxiety or asthma, have found it useful in managing their condition.

Thankfully, those who are new to the practice of mindfulness would not need to travel long distances to meet a guru; due to the abundance of meditation or stress relief and relaxation apps out there that allow you to simply turn to your smartphones for top-notch guided sessions.

Our favorite among the bunch is a revolutionary stress relief and relaxation app called Aura. Created by meditation therapists and teachers, it gives short mindfulness and relaxation technique exercises for users to practice every day.

Another perk is that this intelligent mindfulness app, Aura, uses machine learning to understand your needs better as you progress, thereby helping to personalize your mental awareness journey to your needs and goals.

There are categories of exercises to choose from, ranging from three-minute, seven-minute or 10-minute meditation exercises. The app’s ability to enable you track your mood daily allows it to better understand your mood patterns and to see how you’re improving with more meditation. Also, its daily reminders of breathing techniques for you will help you stabilize your aura and reach peak Zen, no matter where you are at any given moment. What’s better than that?

With a near perfect rating (4.9 out of 5 stars) on the App Store from over 3,300 customers, the CNN Store is offering a promotion for a lifetime subscription to Aura for just $79.99 — a price that’s way lower than the cost of a regular one year of membership. This is more than enough of an incentive for many of us to start practicing meditation and mindfulness more seriously in our lives.

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“#Meditation Instead of #Medication” – Karmic Reaction Blog

Jonni Pollard: Bringing Meditation to the Mainstream

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What is your life’s purpose?
To remind humanity of our innate power to serve the greater good and realize this to the gateway to our highest level of fulfillment.

How are you living your purpose?
I am a meditation teacher and Co-Founder of 1 Giant Mind, an organization that teaches people from all around the world how to meditate. We also train passionate meditators through our academy to become teachers and bring meditation into their local communities, schools and workplaces. I’m an author, speaker and personal consultant to high performing individuals. I also travel the world facilitating mass meditation experiences at summits, festivals and conferences.

How did you find your purpose?
In my late teens after spending most of my adolescents rejecting the world, I felt incredibly despondent about having conform to social expectations and norms. It led me to India to study ancient knowledge about human nature and how we can unfold our full creative potential. It occurred to me at this early stage how disconnected we are to our incredible creative power due to our social and cultural conditioning. Upon realizing my own power to live life on my terms, I was overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility to share this perspective with as many people as possible. It is my view that the solutions to all the world’s problems find their foundation in humanity embracing being of service to the greater good as a social responsibility and of the highest priority.

What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
The quickest way to know what your purpose, is to know what fulfills you. I always make a case that the thing that fulfills us most as human beings is being of service to the greater good. The question to lead with is, how can I be of service in this moment? This is where purpose is. Specifically, how can I serve to create deeper connections in our relationships, shared experiences that enable us to continually grow into better versions of ourselves and feeling like we belong to something that has shared values. If any of these are missing in your life, then create something enables these 3 aspects to be nurtured and notice how fulfilled you become. Purpose is truly discovered through fulfillment.

What resources do you recommend?
Firstly, if you don’t meditate then, I strongly recommend you do. Meditation creates the space to connect with what fulfils us and leads us to purpose. I have created a free learn meditation program that you can download for free on your phone. It’s called 1 Giant Mind. It will teach you simple yet very powerful technique over 12 steps and then help you make it daily habit by challenging you to 30 days of meditation.

To accompany this, check out the 1 Giant Mind Podcast This is a great resource to remind you of what is truly important when seeking to live on purpose everyday.

I have also written a book called The Golden Sequence: A Manual for Reclaiming Our Humanity. This book brings together over 20 years of study in ancient traditions and my own personal development to teach simple and powerful techniques to move past the involuntary defensiveness towards life and lead with the wisdom of love.

If you are someone who already meditates and is ready to things to the next level then I recommend you consider becoming a meditation teacher. 1 Giant Mind is a world leader in Meditation teacher Training. We use the best online learning technology to certify teachers is as little 12 weeks. Teaching others to meditate is one of the most fulfilling things I know of.

Show people how to discover the deeper truer self and overcoming stress, fear and anxiety is so incredibly rewarding.

Connect with Jonni Pollard
Contact form: http://www.jonnipollard.com/contact-1/
Website: http://www.jonnipollard.com
Book: The Golden Sequence: A Manual for Reclaiming Our Humanity
Social media links:
https://www.instagram.com/jonnipollard/
https://www.facebook.com/jonnipollard

Jonni Pollard is the author of The Golden Sequence: A Manual for Reclaiming Our Humanity (BenBella Books; November 2018). He is best known for bringing meditation to the mainstream through his organization, 1 Giant Mind and its Learn to Meditate smartphone app. As one of the top rated meditation apps, 1 Giant Mind has taught hundreds of thousands of people worldwide how to meditate for free. He is also recognized for leading mass meditations at some of the world’s biggest lifestyle events and festivals (Wanderlust, Lightning in a Bottle, The Big Quiet). Jonni also teaches private meditation and personal development for entrepreneurs, CEOs, celebrities, political leaders and wellness experts across yoga and meditation. Born and raised in Australia, Jonni also has lived in Los Angeles and India, and now currently resides in New York City.

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Meditation Hack: 7 Ways to Help (Re)Start Your Meditation Practice

You say: “I can’t meditate”, but that’s not the whole story. You can meditate. How do I know? Because you are already. Herein follows a meditation hack (from my own experience) to help you (re)start your meditation practice:

  1. Don’t. Meditation wasn’t working, right? Or was it? By the way, is the person who decided if it was working the same one who is going to decide this time around? Are they the same person who tried before? How do you know? Please don’t REstart your meditation practice. It’s not going to be where you left it and you aren’t either. To practice meditation is to start again. Take a breath. Start fresh, every day.
  2. You Are Already. Meditation is the mind holding to something. That’s what the mind does. You may not be paying attention to the breath, but you are paying attention to something. Paying attention is meditation. Meditation is what we do. So it’s not a question of if you’re in meditation, it’s a question of how. Your mind is keeping itself company. It may be HBO, or the perils of privilege, but mindfulness only leads to insight when there’s a light touch, a willingness to let go. Without that, it becomes fixation.
  3. Cultural Roots. Meditation happens in a context. When you are looking for inspiration, read from a meditation teacher. Whether or not you remember what they said, you will be left with a feeling. We expect teachers to address ersatz students with an admonition, as in: “WTF, you haven’t practiced mindfulness in how many months? And you think of yourself as spiritual. What a joke!” But real teachers set a tone of warmth, inquisitiveness and humor, not critique or condemnation. Once you settle into practice, traditionally, the first obstacle is trying too hard. Without the heavy vibe, meditation is experienced as organic and natural—free range, even. This soft sense of curiosity is where meditation takes root.
  4. Start at the Beginning. Meditation is about a deepening relationship with yourself. Before you practice, take stock. Where are you? What is working well? Where is there struggle? What makes you smile? What makes your teeth grind and your heart rate jump? Where do you long to go? While mindfulness is training the mind, it is also a gesture of friendship. If you have lost touch with yourself, meditation will reflect this alienation. Before meditating, start with yourself and a cup of tea. Find a seat. Look out the window. Now breathe.
  5. Intention. You can read about a meditation hack, but to wake up is to change. Are you willing to do that? Or is your meditation more about being comfortable? Sitting practice requires engagement. Sakyong Mipham suggests that when you sit down, you could experiment with your intention and your focus. For example, one day, pay attention to your heartbeat and the rhythms of your body. Another day, if the mind is restless, let it wander and practice simply being in the room. Before you begin your meditation session, articulate a simple but precise intention. “Today, with a sense of friendliness, and without judgment, I will work with my mind.”

First a Meditation Hack, Now a Life Hack

It’s important to acknowledge that behind the Buddhist practice of Smriti there is a point of view: most notably, that our mind is workable, and in a fundamental way, free. You can have really reprehensible thoughts in your meditation session, but when a fly lands on your nose, just for a moment, they are gone. Our hang-ups aren’t forever. They are here one day, or one year, and then gone the next.

Life is a ritual. And even if this meditation hack doesn’t help you restart your practice, it’s important to treat yourself as fundamentally good. Take care of your body, mind and environment. Maintain a sense of balance. Leave time for rest. Let entertainment relax into spaciousness, conversation into silence. If you are sad, be sad. If you are cheerful, be cheerful.  When you are inspired, make the aspiration to find time in the future for self-reflection, however it manifests.

The point is, don’t make your erstwhile meditation practice another way to feel bad about yourself. This is a familiar trap. Avoid it! Sometimes, if we are honest with ourselves, we realize that sitting down and being quiet isn’t what we need to do, or isn’t possible just this moment. That’s OK! Meditation doesn’t make you a good person. Why? Because you already are. The question is one of confidence or even faith. But faith doesn’t have to be blind. It can arise out of experience and understanding. Let your life lead you down that path.

Another Meditation Hack: Blogs that have come Before

The Best Time to Meditate

Meditation Gone Wrong

George Harrison Meditation

The post Meditation Hack: 7 Ways to Help (Re)Start Your Meditation Practice appeared first on Samadhi Cushions Blog.

Muse 2 meditation assistant headband: Review

Interaxon, a Canadian venture-backed start-up, set out with a goal to make devices for users to move objects with their minds.

called Muse, that measures the brain’s electrical rhythms and provides real-time feedback to help users’ meditate. The company refers to the system as a “personal meditation assistant.”

On Tuesday, the Muse got an upgrade. The device now tracks a wider range of health signals, including heart rate and body movement, and has more educational content and a dashboard for users to track progress. It calls that new product “Muse 2” (available for $249).

The company’s original device, which took more than a decade to produce, was released in 2014. Since then, Interaxon says it has sold more of these brain-sensing devices than “any other system in history,” and it has “hundreds of thousands” of users.

A few weeks before the launch, we invited the Muse founders to pop by CNBC office this month. As a lapsed meditator, I was curious to give the new device a try.

Trying out the Muse

Once I got a demo from the founders, I found it fairly easy to fit it around my head on my own. The trick was to tuck any loose strands of hair behind my ears. I didn’t find it uncomfortable, although I wore the device for long enough to leave a faint line around my forehead that stayed put for about 20 minutes. So I wouldn’t recommend wearing it right before a date night or job interview.

Once I got set up with the device, I downloaded the accompanying Muse app for the iPhone. A calming female voice asked me to find a comfortable position, close my eyes and take a deep breath. “Muse is now listening to your brain signals,” the voice told me. So of course, I tried to banish any negative thoughts before realizing it couldn’t literally read my mind.

At that point, we were ready to start a two-minute meditation. I had a few options for sounds to listen to while meditating. The Muse team selected the one with birds and rain. It sounded a bit like the middle of a rainforest.

CNBC's Christina Farr meditates with the help of Muse 2.

CNBC’s Christina Farr meditates with the help of Muse 2.

I don’t regularly meditate these days, but I was reminded why I should. I felt a lot calmer after a few deep breaths. I heard the sound of rain in the background, which got louder when my mind jumped to an errand I needed to run after work (the louder the rain, Muse told me, the busier the mind). I pushed those thoughts away, concentrated on my breath, and after a few seconds, I was rewarded with the sound of a chirping bird (that meant, apparently, that I’d sufficiently calmed down).

After we wrapped up, I examined a graph on the Muse app that showed me how I did. I did see a few birds, which meant I’d reached a less anxious state a few times during the meditation. And I thought I noticed a correlation between the moments I felt calmer and the data I saw in the app, but it might have been coincidental.

My takeaway? The Muse 2 got me to meditate, and I found the feedback useful. I’d love to try out the guided meditation feature. I could see that being particularly helpful for people like me who are intimidated by meditation.

My only complaint: I personally found the sounds distracting, and I tended to fixate on them at times rather than on my breath.

Taking it to the next level

The team behind Muse also created a feature with the new Muse for users to “out-meditate” their friends and co-workers.

So I challenged Indre Viskontas, a neuroscientist who keeps a close eye on the latest technologies in the brain-technology space. I was curious to hear her thoughts on the Muse — she’s not affiliated with the company.

It was a cool experience, and I wondered whether it might help competitive people learn to meditate. But we tended to trigger each other in our more stressful moments, as the cacophony of sounds was distracting.

In the end, Viskontas gave the Muse, and other devices in the category, a mixed review. She noted that it measures brain waves, which only tells one part of the story about how the brain works.

“We’re sort of seduced by the idea that we can look inside our brains and that will tell us something new,” she told me. “We forget that our behavior is a reflection of our brains and something as simple as you know, how you feel.”

But Viskontas still thinks these technologies hold a lot of promise, especially for those who have trouble with meditation. For some people, it’s a nonstarter to rely on thoughts alone.

Source

http://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/29/muse-2-meditation-assistant-headband-review.html

Inhere Launches Meditation Pods for London Workspaces

In an effort to help stressed out Londoners address their work-life balance, drop-in meditation studio Inhere has debuted its innovative meditation pods in a London workspace

Work-related stress has climbed to its highest rate in 16 years, with a 7% rise in stress related reports in the last year alone. For this reason, Inhere has partnered with luxury co-working space, Uncommon, to unveil its first workspace meditation pod at Uncommon Borough on 16 October.

The pod will offer a quiet place to step out of the daily grind and into a calming space to unwind, relax and reflect. With a selection of 10, 15, 20 and 30-minute guided meditations, you can choose from over 20 original tracks, ranging from mindfulness-based meditations to a variety of calming sounds like ocean waves and forest rain.

Created from natural materials, in collaboration with Design and That³, the pod allows natural light to flood in to create a bright and airy space while affording you the privacy to relax. You can sit, lounge or lay fully horizontal, place the headset on and, with the easy-to-follow guidance, ease your mind from thoughts of stress or anxiety.

Inside the mediation pod

Inhere founders Adiba Osmani and Ghazal Abrishamchi

Uncommon co-working spaces aim to create a healthy work-life balance

Inhere – meaning ‘to exist within’ – provides the space and tools for busy, anxious urbanites to incorporate highly-beneficial meditation practices into their daily lives in a convenient and practical way.

The benefits of meditation are well documented. Research shows that meditating, even just for a few minutes at a time, can help us manage stress, think more clearly, sleep deeper, work more effectively and live in a calmer, more considered way.

Similar to Inhere, these values also resonate throughout Uncommon’s workspaces, currently located in Borough, Fulham, Highbury & Islington and soon to open in Liverpool Street. Health and wellbeing, design and technology are at the heart of the workspaces to create an environment for productive working and strike a healthy work-life balance. And now, at the Borough venue, you can use the pods as a meditation tool, or simply somewhere to escape to and reset the mind.

Inhere, which launched in May 2017 as London’s first drop-in meditation studio, will also opening the capital’s most advanced drop-in meditation studio in Fitzrovia in December. Founders and meditation experts, Adiba Osmani and Ghazal Abrishamchi, will offer a range of specialist group and individual classes and workshops for novices and experts alike.


Read more


Working through illness and grief with meditation

In hindsight, this was almost 20 years ago, so for a neurologist in Dallas, Texas to give a 15-year-old a meditation tape is pretty progressive if you think about it. I would use it often — I would go into our TV room, close the door, and meditate. That time period opened my eyes to the benefits of meditation, because it really helped with some of the negative health side effects I was experiencing from the concussion. That’s how I initially started meditating.

It’s been a tool in my back pocket, off and on, for years. It was one of those situations where I probably didn’t do it as much as I should have for awhile. But by the time I was coming out of college, with the rise of cellphones, and apps, and everything, I came across buddhify. With the short sessions and the on-the-go component, it helped modernize mindfulness in a way that worked for me in my current life. It really put meditation back on the map for me and made it much more accessible to do routinely.

Meditating with my mom during her battle with cancer

My mom got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2014. She was 60. None of us saw it coming at all. I was living in San Francisco at the time, but I came back home to Dallas to work remotely and help out as much as I could. It was a very aggressive diagnosis and she only had four months. I was extremely close with her and was one of her main caregivers when she got sick. Throughout that time, I was there almost 24/7 with her.

During her battle with cancer, meditation was huge for her. As soon as she got diagnosed, we spent some time talking about meditation and I would do the meditations with her. We would meditate every night together before going to bed. My mom would be in her bed and I would lie on the floor in my parent’s bedroom and play a couple of different meditations. When you’re facing illness, your days are typically so stressful and exhausting — meditation was a way to wind down the day and relax.

What was helpful was starting early with my mom. She was still feeling pretty good so there was some ownership. Even though she’d seen how beneficial mindful meditation had been for me for 10-plus years, I think it truly landed when she felt like it was becoming a tool of her own. I remember overhearing my mom tell my brother, “Zach has been meditating with me. At first, I didn’t personally know the benefits. I just thought it was a little weird, but actually it’s really calming.” When I heard her say that, I was like “we’re in!” Because of me knowing the value of mindfulness already and working with her early, it was then able to become a tool for her throughout her whole illness.

Later on, as she got more tired from the treatment, she would fall asleep during the meditation. When facing a disease like cancer, rest is always good. It was that calming and relaxing for her that it would help her fall asleep. She had no trouble sleeping throughout most of her fight, which I definitely would attribute to meditation.

Aside from her bedtime routine, there were other situations where meditation served an important role in my mom’s care. Multiple times when we were out and about she’d ask me to play meditations on my phone. We did it at one of her first chemotherapy appointments, when she was feeling a little anxious. It’s obviously calming, but it’s also a nice distraction too. It’s a place you can go to inside yourself, to close off what else is going on around you.

How mindfulness helped me work through grief and adapt to the new normal

A lot of people will tell you that when you’re caring for somebody, you need to take care of yourself too. That was a consistent message I heard, but I kind of ignored it. Like, no, I can’t. I don’t have time. That four to six month window was stressful and taxing on everyone. Sometimes these situations are so exhausting that it’s hard to remember to make self-care a priority. As I stood by her during her fight with cancer, I also needed an outlet to relax and de-stress. The truth is that when we were meditating at night, it was for her, but it was also just as much for me at that time.

After losing my mom, mindfulness continued to be essential on the grief side of things. It helped me with my grief and the anxiety and everything that followed, which included having recurring panic attacks over the course of that year after she passed away.

When everything finally settled in, it was like my body started to say “we’re tired,” and I almost felt it shutting down in certain ways. That’s when I had an anxiety attack for the first time ever. I honestly thought I was having a heart attack and dying. My legs were shaking, my heart was racing; I was convulsing. I couldn’t control it. Again, I’m a big guy and an athlete. I was always taught you can control your body, so to go through something like that was very scary.

Meditation became a channel to calm that and to try to deal with it. My wife often would say “okay, let’s put on a meditation and try to relax and calm down.” We’d lay in the bed and listen to buddhify together. It became a centering thing and a way to de-stress.

My meditation practice was both reactive and proactive. I would do it when I was feeling really stressed and also to manage the general anxiety that was stemming from the grief overall. I found that metaphor about being the sky and recognizing that feelings were like passing clouds helpful for reframing my mindset. These are feelings, good feelings and bad feelings pass, they come and go — they’re not you. Part of it, too, is you put pressure on yourself to not feel bad. You’re like, I’m having an anxiety attack or I don’t feel good, and then I’m mad at myself for not feeling good, too. That helped remove that piece and say these are just feelings; they’re emotions. This is stress and it’s difficult emotion; it will pass. It helped take a lot of that pressure off.

What my current practice looks like

Today, I still try to meditate a couple times a week. The most important thing is that I always know meditation is a tool in my tool belt. That’s the best way that I can describe it.

Going back to my early experiences with practice after the concussion, meditation showed me that there’s a connection between the mind and body that’s a lot deeper than I realized. It taught me at a young age that I run a little hot, so to speak. I’m the type that the stress and anxiety will backfire if I don’t address it. For me and my journey, the physical side effects on my body always caught up after a stressful time. I’d feel it physically manifested in different ways — whether it was an anxiety attack or a headache.

Now when I feel myself getting a little anxious or stressed, I’m better about acknowledging it in the moment and not waiting until the body catches up. Meditation has been an instrument to keep that at bay and to keep the balance.

The key lesson I’ve learned is you can be proactive with meditation. Don’t wait until it’s a negative situation, because then you don’t necessarily have the same ownership. You can do it when you still feel good. Over the years, I’ve seen that the more I stay proactive with my mindfulness and meditation practice, the better off I am going to be.

Zach W. is based in Dallas, Texas, where he is the founder of CancerQ and of MAG, an Impact Collective. He initially shared his story with our team during the research phase for Kara, buddhify’s sister project for people affected by cancer. The categories he and his mom listened to most frequently were Going to Sleep 1 and Meditation 101. His current favorite track is Fade (Going to Sleep 1), which he and his wife often listen to together before bed.

How meditation helps reduce your stress

For a thousand years, people have reported feeling better by meditating but there has never been a systematic study that quantified stress and how much stress changes as a direct result of meditation until now.

U.S. Army Research Laboratory researchers spent a year collaborating with a team of scientists from the University of North Texas to develop a new data processing technique that uses heart rate variability as a sensor to monitor the state of the brain.

Their findings are reported in a paper published in the June edition of Frontiers in Physiology.

 

Healthy heartbeats have irregularities built into them with a slight random variation occurring in the time interval between successive beats.

The sinus node, or the heart’s natural pacemaker, receives signals from the autonomic or involuntary portion of the nervous system, which has two major branches:

the parasympathetic, whose stimulation decreases the firing rate of the sinus node, and the sympathetic, whose stimulation increases the firing rate.

These two branches produce a continual tug-of-war that generates fluctuations in the heart rate of healthy individuals.

Heart rate variability provides a window through which we can observe the heart’s ability to respond to external disturbances, such as stress, said Dr. Bruce West, the Army’s senior research scientist for mathematics.

He said it turns out that the HRV time series is very sensitive to changes in the physiological state of the brain and the new data processing system, called dynamic subordination technique, can quantify the changes in HRV and relate these directly to brain activity, such as produced by meditation.

Thus, the DST has quantified the level of stress reduction produced by meditation and offers the potential to quantify such things as the inability to concentrate and sustain focus, impatience, impulsiveness and other dysfunctional properties that severely limit a soldier’s ability to do his job.

Stress modulates the autonomic nervous system signals, which in turn disrupts normal HRV and therefore the stress level can be detected by processing HRV time series.

Through a new method of processing HRV time series data, the researchers developed a way to measure the change in the level of stress provided by meditation.

This measure assigns a number to the level of variability of heartbeat interval time series before and during meditation.

This number indicates precisely how much stress is alleviated by control of the heart-brain coupling through meditation.

In the article, Rohisha Tuladhar, Gyanendra Bohara, and Paolo Grigolini, all from the University of North Texas and Bruce J. West, Army Research Office, propose and successfully test a new model for the coupling between the heart and brain, along with a measure of the influence of meditation on this network.

Traditional models of biofeedback focus on the coherent behavior, assuming a kind of resonance, however the new approach includes both periodicity and complexity.

The research team compared two schools of meditation and determined that Yoga, over Chi meditation, is more effective in reducing stress and can show by how much.

They also found that the long-term practice of meditation has the effect of making permanent the meditation-induced physiologic changes.

Moreover that meditators show a stronger executive control, that is, the ability to carry out goal-oriented behavior, using complex mental processes and cognitive abilities.

Many military historians believe battles, even wars, have been won or lost in the warrior’s mind, long before any physical conflict is initiated.

Learning how to circumvent the debilitating psychological influence of stress requires that we have in hand a way to quantify its influence, in order to gauge the effectiveness of any given procedure to counteract its effects, explained West, who’s a Fellow with the American Physical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science and ARL.

Historically, one purpose of meditation has been to reduce stress, however, the Army’s long-term goal is to use it to mitigate the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

West said the potential for this to succeed has been dramatically increased with the new ability to quantify the degree of effectiveness in stress reduction using different meditation techniques.

From a physiological perspective, meditation constitutes a coupling of the functionalities of the heart and brain.

We are only now beginning to understand how to take advantage of the coupling of the two to measure stress reduction by applying the methods of science and data analysis to HRV time series.

Our research focus is on changes in physiologic processes, such as stress level.

It is the most direct measure of the effectiveness of meditation in reducing stress to date and compliments an existing ARL program on determining the efficacy of mindfulness meditation stress reduction, which quantifies the influence on different task performance measures, such as changes in PTSD symptoms, West said.

This early research could guide the design and testing of new interventions for improving warrior readiness and resilience, as well as reducing symptoms of PTSD.

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News source: U.S. Army Research Laboratory. The content is edited for length and style purposes.
Figure legend: This Knowridge.com image is for illustrative purposes only.

 

Journey meditation – Wolf Of Antimony Occultism

Journey meditation, or shamanic journeying is a form of meditation that is originally brought to us through the understandings of new age neoshamanic practices. In this post I will also be expanding upon it using my own understandings, and experiences. In this form of meditation you journey in your mind, and explore the inner places of your subconscious, and your connection with the spiritual world. In these journeys you are able to explore your own personal intentions, and you are able to interact with spirit guides, guardian angels, ancestors, ascended masters, and deities, along with other entities. This practice uses your skills of entering a trance, visualization, and psychic senses in order for you to move throughout your mindscape. Journey meditation is a form of meditation that greatly allows you to walk in between the worlds, and exist within the liminal space, so that you will be able to interact with the spirit world for guidance, and help.

Journeying is a very diverse tool, and there are many different ways that you can use it. Everyone has the ability to journey, all you have to do is take the time to learn, and to practice it. Just like meditating in general this can take a few times for you to get right. Journey meditation can be used for spiritual growth, healing, and obtaining information. When you are journeying you raise your vibration up into the etheric plane of existence, and because of that you will be more connected to the spiritual world, and higher spiritual beings. The journey environment provides an area in which you can experience, and express emotions, and pieces of yourself, while also learning things. Inside this place you can go through the process of casting magick, living through experiences you wish to put yourself in, and learning from your guides, and guardian entities. You are also able to set an intention for the reason that you are doing a specific Journey. This will help you to focus on what you would like to do, and get out of the journey. These journeys are usually more a free exploration to find understanding through more improvised means. But, when these Journeys are planned out it is usually in order to find specific things, or answers to questions in your life through free exploration. It is important to allow your journey to unfold naturally, so that you would be able to flow through the mindscape in a natural manor, while opening yourself up to experiences.

When you first enter a journey meditation you always begin in what is known as your sacred space. This is a familiar space where you usually begin your journeys, and where you can come for sweet, and simple communication between you, and your guardian, or guiding entities. This place is open to you at any time you would like to use it, and you are simply able to access it by entering a meditative state. I found that this place can be very dynamic, and personal, and can change based on your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Your Sacred Space is usually a more natural space usually taking the place of somewhere in nature, though it can take the form of anything. This place also seems to be very protected to the point where only specific entities that you are close to, or you have invited in, are able to find a way into, and interact with it. You can manually modify your sacred space, in whatever way you would like, and because of this it is truly a part of you, that acts as your entrance to interacting with the spirit world.

The places where you can Journey are completely varied, and can be any place that you can think of. Some will be places that are like the physical world, and other places will be places of fantasy, and more abstract constructs. Some places will be absolutely beautiful, and will consist of worlds you never believed you would be able to see. Journey meditation is much like entering a dreamlike state while completely awake. You are able to see, hear, feel, taste, and smell things when you are journeying just like you’re able to experience in your dreams, or even like in your waking life. Sometimes in journeys your senses will vary depending upon different factors. Allowing you to have stronger, or weaker senses in different Journeys, and different Journey environments. These Journey environments are influenced by your mind, the influence of spirits, and other connections to the spiritual world.

Journey meditation is usually also done with shamanic drumming, or rattling in order to bring upon the trance-like state. These instruments help bring your focus to a certain rhythm allowing you to enter a trance-like state in a much more easy way. In shamanic drumming, or rattling the rhythm will start off nice, and even, and will change rhythm, or get faster at closer to the end of the drumming or rattling in order to call your consciousness back to your body.

You should keep track of all the entities and things that stand out upon your journey, because these maybe messages that can help you in your life, and practice. It is important when you return from your journey to keep track of all the things that you experience, so that you would be able to learn from all that you have experienced in your journey.

Step-by-step guide on how to Journey:

1) First you need to find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed. This place should be completely free from distractions. It also helps if you are in some place in nature, or a place that has spiritual significance to you. It just needs to be a place where you feel you will be able to interact with the spirit world, while being safe, comfortable, and focused. You will also want to make sure that the space is cleanse properly, so that there is no negative energies that have built up already in the space. You should put on some comfortable clothing, and take off any jewelry, or other forms of accessories. During this time you may also want to put on recordings of shamanic drumming, or rattling, so that it will be able to play during your journey.

During these preparation moments you will also want to think of what you would like your intention for this journey to be, whether that be communicating with a specific spirit, or simply exploring, this would be the time to set that intention, so that you will be able to focus upon it while going into your meditative state. After that you should call upon your guardian, and guiding entities, and ask them to help you in your journey, or to at least be present. Next choose to sit, lay, or stand in any way that you would be comfortable to meditate in for a while. Now be in that position, close your eyes, and try to relax into a meditative state.

2) Now take time in this relaxed state to begin to energetically ground, and center yourself. This will allow you to become more relaxed, and will also go through the act of calling your energy back to yourself. At this time you should use a spiritual protection technique. This technique can be casting a circle, the psychic protective ball of light, or any other technique, or method you are familiar with that will be able to protect you. All you need is a way to be protected from outside negative influences that could disturb your meditation. Once this is done you should begin through the process of opening your energy centers, starting from the lower ones to the upper ones. This will open you up spiritually to begin feeling, and interacting with the spiritual world. Take time after you have completed this to focus upon yourself with your third eye, so that you will be able to bring your awareness to yourself in order to begin this journey.

3) Now we are ready to begin our journey, and we will start by opening your spiritual sight. This is done through visualization and the opening of your third eye by doing this you will be able to more easily interact with the journey, and the worlds that you will be exploring. One way that you would be able to do this is by focusing on your third eye between your eyes in the center of your head a ball of energy glowing brightly, and steadily getting brighter. This will help to will your third eye into opening, so that you will be able to begin to move into the journey. Once you feel that you have made progress opening your third eye visualize yourself sitting in a specific environment like a forest, a city, a jungle, a mountain, or any place that you feel safe, and comfortable. Your mind will usually already have a place in your subconscious in which it finds peaceful, protective, and harmonious, and this place will usually be taken on as your sacred space. Allow this place to form around you and to become real, and see it as if you are looking through your waking eyes, from a first-person perspective. Allow yourself to see, allow yourself to hear, allow yourself to smell, and allow yourself to feel. Everything that is going on in this environment feel into it, and give it life. Your intention, and your will are how you interact with the world, by intending for something to happen, and putting your will towards it will allow you to interact with your surroundings, and move your body throughout the journey. Through your intent, and your will you will make it real, and be able to feel, and sense things in this world.

4) Once you have control in this world you will then be able to explore it. Allowing yourself to move past your sacred space, and move out into the outer world. Take time to look for doorways, pathways, and other ways that you will be able to explore the world around you, and expand out past your sacred space. The trick to this is not allowing yourself to influence the land with your intent, and will, and go through it with an open mind allowing you to interact with things outside your normal perception. This will allow the world to be influenced by your subconscious mind, your unconscious mind, your guiding entities, and the spiritual world. Where these pathways take you allow you to experience different parts of yourself, and different forms of interactions with the spiritual world and will allow you to learn things from your journey. Certain pathways may call out to you by simply opening up, or by drawing attention your attention to it, and all of these ways will be able to teach you something, or allow you to experience new aspects of the world. Your guiding entities may also take you on journeys of their own in order to teach you a certain lesson you need to learn in your life. Journeying is all about the experience usually not about the destination, because most of the time there is no destination just places you perceive, and learn from on the way there. Take your time to experience the spiritual world, and your mind, and to take in information.

5) When you feel like you have completed your journey, or your shamanic drumming calls you back, You can do so simply by thanking all your guiding entities for coming with you on your journey, and can simply begin easing out of the meditation. once you open your eyes you should go to the process of centering and grounding, dropping any forms of protection that you used and allowing yourself to readjust to the physical world. Once you have done this you will be able to go on your way with the knowledge that you’ve gained in your journey. This would be a good time to record what you have experienced so that you do not forget it, and use it later in your practice.

How Not To Suck at Meditation

We’ve all heard the benefits of meditation. It reduces stress, encourages a healthy lifestyle, increases happiness and self-awareness, and can help our bodies heal faster. But how do you meditate when you mind is loud AF? Is it possible to not suck at meditation?

I asked these same questions over a decade ago. After a few years of infertility treatment, I decided to try and meditation to help me get over my fear of needles. There were several injections multiple times a day during IVF, and I wasn’t happy about it. The fear was in my head, which meant I couldn’t get out of my head and I needed some help. 

So I saw a wonderful acupuncturist and spiritual teacher who worked at the fertility clinic. The first time I tried to disconnect from my mind it was hard. All I was thinking about was that one of the needles was stinging, and I had to pee, and how many more minutes? And man this music is awful. I couldn’t de-stress or relax. How was this supposed to work?

The next time I met her she guided me a little more and taught me to just breathe. She showed me what being present meant and I was able to release. I went into my heart and felt this amazing light seep into my body. It was so calming and relaxing and for the first time, I felt myself connect to a source bigger than all of us. It was incredible and euphoric, and I wanted more. So I bought some meditation CD’s and got to work. 

Fast forward to today and there are so many tools I wish I had back then. Can you believe I cultivated a meditation practice without a smartphone? (mind boggling) I, of course, lost my meditation ways after having kids. There was always something to do, not to mention postpartum anxiety disorder plus more IVF and surgeries. But when my anxiety reared it’s ugly head again last year, I picked back up my practice.  So I thought I’d share some tips that helped me totally not suck at meditation. 

5 tips to help you not suck at meditation 

Make Time – If you really want to make a change, you have to set aside time every day. It’s a called a practice for a reason people, you have to practice! (Cue Allen Iverson, “You talking about practice?!”) You probably won’t get it the first time, or maybe the first 10 times but don’t give up! It’s worth it, I promise. 

Pick a Place That Inspires You – So here’s the deal, you don’t have to go to a Buddhist monastery or get a special beaded cushion to meditate. Find a place that inspires you. It could be the beach, the mountains, your backyard, or your favorite room in the house. Just pick a place where you’re comfortable. 

Find a Guided Meditation – There are so many apps and YouTube channels now specifically for meditation,  so start there. Insight Timer is free, and Simple Habits is my favorite. You can get a FREE two-week free trial here and 30% off using code Kristen.

This is what Simple Habits app looks like!

Breathe – The crux of meditation comes from focusing on your breath, it’s so important to just breathe. Where do you feel it? Your belly or chest? What does it feel like in your nose? These are the things I think about. You can also say a mantra if you like to stay focused while breathing. Breathe in the light and feel your worries melt away.

Stay Present – The awesome thing about meditation is it helps you to relax and stay present. And staying present is a great way to stay mindful and connected. So what does that mean? While you’re tying your shoes think about tying your shoes. While you’re making a cup of tea think about the warm cup, the stirring of the liquid, and how the tea feels in your mouth. If you are playing a game with the kids think about Candyland, not the laundry and the 8,000 emails waiting for you. If we continue to focus on the now we won’t get lost in the future or tangled in the past. 

Remember you can do this, you just have to give yourself some time. And remember there are courses out there as well. Some of my favorites are Andy Hobson, Conscious Feminine Medicine, and Sara Avant Stover. 

This is also the topic of my new podcast BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE. I interviewed my favorite meditation teacher from the app Simple Habits, Andy Hobson! We chat all about learning to meditate, overcoming anxiety, his favorite inspirational books, and how to teach our kids to be mindful. I hope you’ll give it a listen – his soothing voice lures my daughter and I to sleep each night and I hope it can help you too!

Tune in here and please SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss a single episode! 

You can also listen here if you don’t have an Apple device or here!

And I would be so grateful if you could leave a five-star review on iTunes. Thanks so much for your support!

The post How Not To Suck at Meditation appeared first on Kristen Hewitt.

Source

https://kristenhewitt.me/how-not-to-suck-at-meditation-2/

How Does Meditation Reduce Stress?

Mindfulness Meditation for Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety result when we experience daily pressures or adverse situations that feel greater than our resources allow us to cope with or satisfy. It’s as simple as supply and demand of emotional resources. 

It’s not about whether the perceived stressor is valid or not—we feel a responsibility to respond to all these pressures and demands. When we are stressed, the question we need to ask is whether or not we truly need to respond.

Stress Management: Supply & Demand of Emotional Resources

Do we have the space in our minds to figure out which tasks are actually essential and which are not so important? This is where mindfulness meditation for stress and anxiety, the feeling that continues after the stressors are gone, can provide relief.

How does meditation relieve stress? It gives us the space to sort out what are valid demands and what are not. Just think—if we have the capability to distinguish between the two, our experience of stress and anxiety would be much different. The problem is that we don’t have this space in our minds or in our lives. We experience relief because meditation gives us the space and clarity we need to discriminate. This is the demand side element of stress management.

The other key element is increasing our resources, the supply side. Science has shown that brain plasticity, the brain’s ability to change throughout life is extraordinary; therefore by training our minds through meditation techniques we can increase our mental resources and become more capable.

We have become very conscious about how important it is to have a healthy body—the gyms are full. It is just as critical that we have a fit, healthy mind. Through mindfulness meditation practice our minds can become more capable, more focused and clear, enabling us to better handle stressful and demanding situations. This is how meditation for stress reduction enables us to experience a calmer life.


 

 


 

Stress Prevention

Mindfulness meditation is also a good baseline practice for stress prevention so that when adverse situations occur we don’t let them get out of control.

We all experience stressful situations in life such as the loss of a loved one, divorce or moving—all of which are rated as high stress events. Any of these situations demand a lot from us, so it would be wise to learn basic ways to respond to stressful situations that cannot be avoided. At those crucial points in our lives meditation can also help provide relief because we will have more space to respond and will be more aware of how to work with situations. For example, when we grieve for someone, the more mindful we can be of all that is going on in our minds, the better we will be able to process our emotions. This is very important—through meditation we become more aware of our emotions. When we’re not aware, our emotions tend to color our perception and judgment and thus inflate the sense of demand beyond what we think we can provide. This is the insidious cycle of stress.

In summary, this is how meditation reduces stress. We begin by creating the space in our minds to reduce demands by discriminating what is essential and by training our minds to increase our mental resources. When stressful situations arise, because of this training we have developed the skills to work with our emotions to deal with stress in a more peaceful way. Mindfulness meditation practice is the ideal stress management training.

Mindworks Guided Meditation App

Download Our Free Meditation App

My Silent Meditation Retreat: What I Learned

Warning: This post will probably be full of contradictions… You’re getting my raw feedback to last’s weeks retreat and I’m still processing a lot of what I heard, what I learned about myself, and what difference it will have on my life.

I realize that this post is going to bring up a bunch of questions for you. Well, lovely snickerdoodle, let me tell you in advance, I do not have the answers. When you comment, I’ll do my best to give you my opinion or take on the whole shebang, but this is my own exploration as well.

I’m soaking in new ways of thinking about life and pondering integration with my current reality and mission for this company. I definitely don’t have the answers!

Also, I’m making absolutely no claim to expertise about Buddhism, practicing the dharma path, or Vipassana meditation. I’m was just a girl, sitting and walking and trying not to slurp my soup, in silence for 7 days at this retreat with these amazing teachers: and Heather.

The actual physical experience of being on retreat was interesting. Interesting and hard and insightful and sometimes downright boring. Over and over, I sat for 45 minutes and then walked for 45 minutes, all the while meditating.  Meditating basically meant I was trying to concentrate my “puppy mind” (Come back little unruly puppy! Stay! Sit! Where have you gone puppy mind?! COME I say!) on my breathe.  In Vipassana meditation, the awareness of your present reality is allowed to rest on your breath, the manifestation of pain/discomfort in your body, or in noticing your physical senses (hearing, smell, etc) but that is all. Each time that awareness wonders, you acknowledge that you were thinking or fantasizing or remembering or planning and then bring it back to the breath.

So I sat on my mat for 45, walked for 45, sat for 45 and so on from 5:45 am to 9:45 pm. We listened to Dharma talks from Heather and Rodney each night. We had two personal 15 minute interviews over the course of the week (I could talk!) to ask questions about the retreat itself, Buddhism in general, and the crazy ass saga dreams I was having about saving the world (common theme of mine), having twin baby girls, and skiing/kicking some ninja ass at Starbucks with Ev’Yan and Jonathan.

(Apparently, really vivid dreams are common… And no, I’m not preggo. And kicking ninja butt was ridiculously fun with fabulous people! Seriously, you guys, my dreams were a-mah-zing…)

What else? I keep getting emails asking me how the retreat went, so although I wasn’t sure I wanted to share, I’m braving this very muddled post and just diving in.   There was delicious vegetarian meals, shower houses, gorgeous rain forests to stroll, peaceful raccoons chasing the kid carrying the compost buckets, sleeping on the top bunk, sneaking a few journal entries, and lots and lots of silence. And tea.  It was freezing and I swear I drank 10 cups of tea a day.  Sometimes my walking meditation turned into tea-drinking meditation…

So what did I learn? Well, briefly, lots. The following points are in no particular order, but they are what keep running through my mind. Most ideas are from either Rodney or Heather during their dharma talks, and a few are thoughts that came up while I was there.  And at this point, it’s all woven together so I probably can’t tell you what I heard versus what popped into my head. That was the most confusing paragraph ever.

Deep breath.   Here goes!

It’s okay to start something new, whatever your age, whether you know a little or a lot about it. Sometimes a calling or a hunch or a spark is all you have and all you need to start. Don’t be afraid or let your previous opinions hold you back from exploring something new. Newness is what keeps us alive and curious and passionate about life.

Being, not doing, is what life is all about. Part of living a life examined, a life on purpose, a life free of struggle, is to STOP doing and just be. Practice being.

I have a real issue about getting/doing things right. This is one of those things I’ve learned about myself and it keeps coming up and holding me back. How the hell do you get “a meditation retreat” right? How does one get a new business “right”? What does that even mean? What am I judging myself so harshly upon?

Give up trying to control your life.We give our happiness away on external circumstances. We invest everything in our circumstances and spent our lives pursuing the pleasant and avoiding the unpleasant. The catch is that we’re fooled into believing we can manipulate it all, when in fact, we can’t. We are at the mercy of our circumstances and when things don’t go as planned (which, face it, happens all the time, even with the best of intentions!) we get frustrated, depressed, and blame ourselves. The freedom we seek is in the experience of life, of simply being with everything that comes up, and not tying our happiness to controlling our external circumstances.

We each possess the full range of human emotions. What do you do when painful feelings come up? Rage, lust, envy, self doubt, fear, or sadness? You stay with them, holding them lovingly in your heart, with an open curiosity and wonder.  Just because they arise does not mean you have to act on them or give them importance.

Freedom. It’s a state of BEING, not doing. It’s being content. Being peaceful. Being compassionate. Being interconnected, both with yourself and with others.

A lot of the time, ambition and creativity are exclusive of each other. It doesn’t mean we have to give up making plans, going after dreams, moving forward– but we may have to examine HOW we’re taking action.  Is it full of internal struggles? Doubt? Can we alleviate some of that suffering by being present to each moment, without giving it a label of bad or good?  Can we be creative for the sake of being creative and not let ambition mix up the process?

Everyone has their own story, but life is bigger than all our stories. Compassion stems from knowing, deep in your heart, that everyone is exactly like you.  They dream, cry, have children, get frustrated, make love, crave peace, are born, and will die.   When we hold tight to our particular story, our way of doing things, our insistence that our opinions are right, we are disconnecting from the bigger picture, from life itself.  Recognize that you can live life beyond the limits of your story.

Umm.   Well.   Do you have enough to think about?  I sure as hell know I do!

I went to the retreat hoping for a little peace, but also intrigued by the spiritual beliefs behind the meditation I practice. What draws me to practicing the dharma is that there’s no worship involved. Yes, there’s bowing and Buddha statues and respect, but when it gets down to it– it’s a practice, a way of experiencing things for yourself in your quest for connection, for peace.

Opening the floor for questions and comments…

photo credit:h-k-d

5 Steps to Improve Your Meditation

There are many ways to meditate.

There are many ways to meditate.

I try to work out a lot. I usually know what exercises should I do, how to be motivated, how to read my body and when to slow down a bit, when I push too hard. But there was always one thing that I had problems with – meditation. With those five steps, it just clicked for me. Maybe it will also be helpful for you.

1. Accept changes

Remember, that you are not stuck with single meditation type, and if you don’t like one, you can always try another. There are a lot of different types of meditation like the one called “metta” (or “loving kindness”) or mindfulness ones. If you don’t know where to start, try to find some guided meditation courses. If you feel impatient, you can also try the meditation called “walking meditation”. Always explore new things and find the better ideas. Always grow.

Remember, that even a different music or a small candle fire can change your meditation quality.

2. A brain is the most important part of your body, train it.

Remember, that training your brain is like with training your muscles. If you do it regularly, you will get effects. Otherwise, you can not see any changes or just a small ones. Try to meditate regularly to train your brain.

To do this, it’s a good idea to choose the same place and meditate on the same time. Of course, there shouldn’t be loud, the atmosphere is very important. For example, even a single thing like your notebook can distract you, because you can think about something related to your work or school. Remember, that the morning is the best time for meditating because your mind is less cluttered with thought.

When we do this every day, we start to make a habit inside our head. You will see, that your brain will start to calm down even before that time as it will know that you will soon start your daily routine meditation.

Tea lights can help you with meditation.

Tea lights can help you with meditation.

3. Finding your own way

If you are a beginner in meditation you probably try to focus on your breathing during exercises. In most cases that is correct, but it doesn’t mean that it works for you. All I want to say that you must find your own niche, not only do what you will read on the internet or other meditation guides.

There are many techniques that can be used, like object focus (for example candle with light), sound (some relaxing music to hear), counting, breathing, visualization or even walking. All you have to do is to discover your best way to stay relaxed and your meditation will start to be better and better.

4. Be patience

Nothing comes easy and nothing comes without training. Be patience and do your meditation regularly. After some time, you will see improvement, trust me.

Lazy Koala Bear

Sometimes laziness is coming for you – fight with it.

5. It just happens

Well, there are some days when you just don’t want to do your meditation. If that day will come, try to get your self-discipline and do it, you will be happy after that. You will need some inner determination, but it’s even not that hard that to make the early workout.

Conclusion

Meditation is a perfect way to stay relaxed and positive, but it also needs some everyday practice. I hope this 5 steps to improve your meditation will help you with that, as they helped me. If you have any questions related to meditation or you enjoyed those article, do not hesitate to leave me a comment in the section below.

Source

https://fshoq.com/a/improve-your-meditation-steps

Seclusion and Meditation

photo showing a mountain peek and valley

Secluded meditation guides him who meditates.

In order to maximize the benefits of meditation, one must minimize external distractions by practicing in a secluded place. Once a practitioner advances and has achieved a higher level of meditation, there is no need to practice in a secluded place because the power of external distractions has dissipated. However, until one achieves that level of practice, seclusion is a good support for beginning meditators.

To illustrate, imagine the beginner’s mind as a battlefield disturbed by afflictive emotions and assailed by inner and outer distractions. Practicing in secluded habitats provides great benefit for the meditator because external distractions are minimized. Without these distractions, the meditator can experience the physical serenity of the secluded environment, which assists in calming the mind while bringing about peace and harmony.

When ordinary people are out in the world with all of its distractions, it is difficult at best for them to make decisions that are good and sound, decisions that are guided by what is truly most beneficial for all concerned. Decisions made in the world of distractions are frequently based on the distractions themselves.

However, when we spend some time in meditation, away from these distractions, and experience moments of peace and harmony, we come closer to the basic goodness that is the actual core of our being. Slowly, the more time we spend in this calm abiding state, the more our connection with this basic goodness strengthens. Then, when we are beset by the myriad distractions of the mundane world, we can be guided by our core, this basic goodness. It is then that we become able to make decisions and act in ways that are aimed in the direction of always benefiting beings in the best possible way, in every circumstance.

From Stillness, Insight, and Emptiness by Lama Dudjom Dorjee, © 2013 by Lama Dudjom Dorjee. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. 

[This article was first published in 2016.]

The post Seclusion and Meditation appeared first on Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.

the grace of samadhi

In the Heart of the sacred centre, the harmonic core of all Beings, lies the Light of the Soul, the power centre of life force. This life force is the magnetic realm for all creation, the Radiant Heart of Divine White Fire.

In this place all creation lies in waiting. All thoughts, visions, desires and wishes exist in the resonance of their creation. In this space of possibility, all things exist in their infinite beingness.

Through the grace of Samadhi we bring these creations to life. We grant them presence through our participation in blending desire and form. Through the magnetics of the life force sustaining all creation, we co-create the union that creates life.

Samadhi is Pure Consciousness. The blending of form and presence, the dissolving of limitation and the opening of the infinite.

Samadhi is the space of beingness where something doesn’t need to be anything other than what it is because it already is everything it could be just by being as it is. Just by being in existence it creates its own value. It is all. It is perfection. It is complete.

In experiencing Samadhi, we experience completeness. We are all things in fullness and richness. In radiance, we are the magic as much as we are the form. For Samadhi is the blissful blend of all things, of being the creation and the creator, of transcending the incomplete and rising into completeness.

In the Grace of Samadhi we unite in the expansion of the infinite.

In the Grace of Samadhi we unite in the expression of the infinite.

In the Grace of Samadhi we unite in the creation of the infinite.

In the Grace of Samadhi we witness transformation through our Higher Sight, we experience transformation through our Inner Fire, We create transformation through our Heart’s Desires.

Samadhi is perfection in action. All is recognized, all is possible.

In Samadhi the Light of the Soul is following the thread of resonance for the desire of creation. Through the thread of resonance the spark of life is granted to the pure form of the heart’s desire. Through that spark of life physical presence is granted to that desire and alchemical transformation is initiated.

Samadhi is the flow of Light over the path of Resonance.

Samadhi is Divine Flow.

Samadhi is Union with that flow.

When we choose Samadhi, we weave through our experience towards the true message. When we find the true message, the energy flow is corrected. When the energy flow is corrected, we return to Samadhi.

Let the blissful rippling effects of Samadhi be the natural setting for all life experience.

Let the Grace of Samadhi be the life experience.

 

Tools for meditation – Meditation accessories that are recommended for beginners

If you can create an association between peaceful meditation and a particular space or objects you’ll be able to attain that inner silence much faster. As a beginner, you need to know that it can be hard to master in our daily hectic lives the core principles of meditation. But if you can find a few minutes a day it is all that you need to get started. Having said that here are meditation tools, techniques, and strategies for beginners that can help accompany your practices.

Meditation stones, crystals or rocks

Not long ago, various stones had different healing properties and energies. Meditation stones that can add an attractive addition to your meditation space include meditation balls, healing crystal wands and the seven chakra palm stone. Also becoming comfortable in a quiet place is the best meditation technique you can have as a beginner. Here you’ll need to find a place that is quite where you won’t be disturbed. To get started it won’t matter whether you choose to sit or lay down as long as you’ll be comfortable. You can decide to sit on the floor or chair the stones can be placed near by to create the feeling of nature and peace.

Meditation beads

Many meditation practitioners especially the Buddhist use prayer beads when praying or meditating because it helps to keep there attention in the present and that it usually represents the 108 lives we have as a human being before moving to the next stage of life if we dont attain enlightenment. And as a beginner being totally aware of your current surroundings is the best meditation strategy to have. This will require finding out what you hear or feel in your surroundings.

Meditation bowls and gongs

Bowls and Gongs provide a sound that resonates to different parts of the body. Each bowl or gong is made to create a sound to a particular center in the body that strikes with the chakras. The bowls create a soothing and relaxing sound and helps with attuning our body to certain sounds. Focusing on the sounds is similar to chanting mantras which is a formidable way to bring internal changes. The bowls can be stricken or the wooden stick can be moved around the edge of the bowl creating a resonating effect.

Meditation statues

Meditation spaces are for you to practice your meditations in peace and decoration customized to you is beneficial and can help your practice or belief. Creating a space that has spiritual items like statues can help to give you inspiration and help you to remember the importance of your spiritual work. Statues that represent some higher power or significance is greatly beneficial to our meditation practices and by looking at them before practice can help to bring your mind to attention.

Conclusion

Benefits of meditation include reduction of stress, concentration sharpening, and improvement of blood circulation. Thus as a beginner, once you begin practicing while using some of the above items you’ll soon experience an inner sense of freedom, quiet mind, and more open heart.

Try Tattva Meditation Supplies for your meditation items and guides and information.

The post Tools for meditation – Meditation accessories that are recommended for beginners appeared first on What i Learnd.

Source

http://whatilearnd.com/tools-for-meditation-meditation-accessories-that-are-recommended-for-beginners/

Mantras for Meditation: August 4 – 10

The Power of Mantras

Have you ever wondered what created some of the repetitions in your life? Do you see patterns or habits that you’d like to alter? If the answer is “yes” then these mantras for meditation are for you! During this upcoming week, you’ll have the opportunity to change some old habits in order to continue with your personal and spiritual evolution.

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Science has shown us that the synaptic responses in the brain become stronger and more pronounced the more we recall an event or action. When we add a physical action to the thought, it becomes even more ingrained in our psyche. Soon the action is such a knee-jerk reaction that we aren’t even aware of how much it becomes a part of our personalities.

Breaking Habits is a Choice

For instance, when someone is a smoker they have certain characteristics that come about as the result of their smoking habit. They buy a certain brand of cigarettes. They have a specific lighter they use or they must excuse themselves from the dinner table to take a smoke break after every meal. All of these actions are the result of a dopamine uptick in the brain that happened the first time they smoked a cigarette. In other words, it felt good. However, breaking such a habit is not easily done, but it certainly CAN be if you so choose.

The goal is to find something that replaces that habit or addiction. Whether you find yourself doing something completely different to offset whatever habit you may be breaking or whether it’s fairly obvious, such as putting candy in your mouth instead of a cigarette, another dopamine uptick can be created, and a very healthy habit can replacer a bad one.

As you move along your week. Please feel free to utilize these mantras for meditation to help you rise above whatever difficulty you may be facing. The answers to your problems are already within your mind. The quantum field has already responded to your needs, too. You simply need to open your eyes and pay attention to the changes you want to create in your life.

“Wonderful opportunities are here for me. My needs have been met even though the visible world may not have fully produced them yet.”

The long dog days of August are here. The reason these days are known as “dog days” is that Sirius (the dog star) is the constellation above our heads in the night sky. Sirius is by far the brightest star in the summer night sky. As a result, it’s a great day to make plans to sit outside and behold the beginnings of the Perseid meteor shower. Many amazing things may be hidden in the dark just waiting for you to find them.

“My efforts bring me joy. My work can be as much fun as my play.”

Being childlike does not necessarily mean being childish, according to your mantras for meditation. As adults, we often forget how to have fun. If you need to have an altered mind or body in order to have fun, you are trying too hard and pushing yourself in the wrong direction. Instead, follow the bubbles you just blew. Let your dog take YOU for a walk too. Such carefree actions are the beginning of all adventures. Change your perspective and you will change your life.

“Today I will release false truths and I will speak my truth clearly and with intention.”

Sometimes we find ourselves having difficulty discerning what is fact and what is fiction. However, the more you examine your heart and your intentions, the more you’ll understand your truth. There is great wisdom in your truth. Don’t ever forget that!

“What is genuinely mine can never be taken from me.”

Have you ever had a lover or friend leave you and you spent all of your days and nights waiting for their return? Your mantras for meditation remind you that the anxiety you have been experiencing doesn’t have to be there. This is a habit (perhaps an obsession) that you can remove from your psyche and replace with something better. When (or if) that romance/relationship returns, you will have developed other interests in your life that are fulfilling and make you more interesting and content.

“Today I am reminded of all the treasures that the Infinite offers me every day. I walk in gratitude.”

Nothing is more affirming or life-altering than gratitude. It’s in this spirit of appreciation that all good things begin. Every heartwarming story ever written has this element as its guide. Remember, you are rich in blessings! Therefore, embrace and cherish each one.

“Today I will accept people for who they are—light and shadow combined. I rejoice in the camaraderie of the human experience.”

Friends and family enrich your life in far more ways than you usually recognize, according to your mantras for meditation. For all the dramatics and uncomfortable situations they can create, the feelings of continuity and acceptance are certainly priceless. Therefore, take a moment today and let your friends and family (or your “framily” if your friends are your family) know how wonderful it is to share this journey with them.

“I have an unstoppable spirit, and have created all that I desire most.”

Whatever you have sent out into the Infinite is already coming into your field of consciousness. If you study the quantum field of realities and dimensions, you’ll see that an infinite number of possibilities exist in an infinite number of dimensions and realities. Therefore, the action or event you desire already exists on some string of reality. And, your answers are already written. Patience is certainly the key for fulfillment.

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Benefits of Meditation for Women

One of our values at AdventureWomen is the strong belief in our own power as women to achieve our life goals, whatever they may be. Our trips around the world offer opportunities to build confidence, validate our core strengths, build knowledge through exploration, and expand our perspectives. We find meditation to be a powerful way to add focus and clarity to our personal journeys.

Here are our best 5 tips for using meditation as a powerful tool to give you more insights about yourself and help you build a more positive perspective about life’s challenges.

#1 | Choose your own path to meditation, one that works for you.

Meditation is the most accessible and easiest tool for mindfulness. There is no right or wrong way to do it and there are no prerequisites, everybody can do it! Can’t sit cross legged? Sit on a chair. Don’t want to sit? Do it while you are walking. Don’t have time? Simply allow yourself a few intentional deep inhales and exhales while you are sitting at a red light or in front of your computer at your desk. You have everything you need to meditate successfully, wherever you go.

Photo Credit: Meagan O Photography

#2 | When you start off, only meditate for 2-5 minutes.

Try meditating in short periods of time, once a day for a week and see how it feels. Once you feel confident you can build up, maybe try 10 minutes, then 15 and soon you may be able to meditate for a half hour or more! If you start off trying to meditate for too long of a period right away, it isn’t going to work well. Meditation is an exercise for your mind, you need to train it, like you might your quadriceps or biceps.

#3 | Don’t judge your meditation skills too harshly.

Meditating can be challenging! If you fall out of it or miss a day, simply start again. It is not about tracking progress, being in the perfect position, or achieving anything, it is just about being good to yourself and whenever you can fit it in is just fine. Breathe. Relax. Focus.

Photo credit: Meagan O Photography

#4 | Understand all the benefits of meditation.

Meditation can very much be a spiritual practice for some women, but it doesn’t need to be. There are numerous benefits to meditation and the medical world has been studying the effects of it for years.

Here are a few interesting pieces of research on the benefits of meditation:

#5 | Use guided meditation.

There are a lot of apps out there offering guided meditation. We love the meditation app, HeadSpace. You can get it for iPhone or Android and it starts you off at the basics of meditation, just perfect for beginners.

Need a little nudge to get started?

Here is a fun little video that helps you to understand the relationship between your mind and your thoughts:

What is Insight (Vipassana) Meditation?

To practice Vipassana is to learn the principles applied to the process, and then plant your butt on a cushion and focus on the breath. No language allowed. Bear in mind that there is garbage in your head to deal with, and that sitting still and quietly is the way to clear it all out.

Vipassana Meditation, or Insight Meditation, is Buddhism’s oldest form of meditation, practiced before the time of Buddha by the more ancient inhabitants of the Ganges Valley.

Most other forms of meditation are Samatha meditation aimed at developing concentration and promoting tranquility. Vipassana’s goal is insight in the form of systematically dismantling ones own delusions until you get perfect clarity of truth.

Focus, as in most other forms of meditation, is of great importance in the process of Vipassana, which is why it, as well as other forms of meditation, are so focused on the “breath.” That’s Buddhist shorthand for attending to everything that is going on in your body, from your itchy athlete’s foot to your world view, as the dhamma (Dharma) more and more greatly exercises its influence on your way of life.

I liken it to parenthood: who were you before the bundle of joy arrived, and who are you after?

You may need to trade in the Firebird for an SUV. Through your own understanding of the wisdom of Buddha, you can examine your whole life in fresh, new ways, eventually achieving perfect understanding, up to and including “the Void,” if you can practice this to its logical conclusion.

Instruction in Vipassana Meditation should be free (and if it isn’t I’d like to hear about it). It’s not necessary to take the 10-day intensive course in Vipassana. Find a Theravada temple in your community (Sri Lankan, Thai, Burmese, Cambodian) if you want a more leisurely pace. The best English speakers are frequently Sri Lankan.

I think that the goal of any meditation regimen is to seek insight, but along the way you have to learn Samatha before you can delve into the inner workings of what you perceive to be true, or not true. I can attest to the necessity to maintain a practice of this kind, because it assists people to cope with change. It is used a lot in prisons all over the world.

There should very little jibber-jabber going on in your head during this primarily non-language phenomenon.

People can read books and assume erroneously that Vipassana has concentrative components that has practitioners walking around like zombies saying the words in their heads, “I am picking up my right foot…I am moving my right foot forward…” I have read this myself, in published books.

It is nonsense on the face of it.

To practice Vipassana is to learn the principles applied to the process, and then plant your butt on a cushion and focus on the breath. No language allowed. Bear in mind that there is garbage in your head to deal with, and that sitting still and quietly is the way to clear it all out.

It’s the phenomenon of paradigm shift. In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, David Dwyer describes a circumstance that I think is a good example of paradigm shift through challenging what you believe is immutably true.

He recalls being visited by a man who was despondent that he didn’t love his wife anymore. David’s advice was to love her.

“But that’s the point,” he said, “I do not love her.”

“Then pretend you love her. Act like you love her.” And in a year, the man was in love with his wife again.

There is no reason why this intellectual overlay cannot go hand in hand with other forms of meditation, which may point the way to Vipassana to begin with. But there are distractions to some forms of meditation, such as chanting or koans or mantras, that can detract from the Insight experience.

Losing your delusions is painful; most people cling to them their whole lives.

Once your mind is open enough to question why you believe things are the way they are, the pain fades quickly enough, and that space is occupied by unvarnished reality. Destroying delusion is the way to see reality. If you don’t like what you see, well, the process isn’t reversible.

Any way you look at it, you’ve got to gut it out. The Noble Eightfold Path shows us how to do this.

 

Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

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Meditation Can Boost Brain Long-Term

A new study looking at the long-term effects of meditation has found that those who follow the practice can benefit from improvements in their attention for up to seven years.

Led by researchers at the University of California, Davis, Center for Mind and Brain, the study is based on the Shamatha Project, the most comprehensive longitudinal study of intensive meditation to be carried out so far.

The project followed 60 experienced meditators who attended an intensive three-month meditation retreat, attending group meditation sessions twice a day and practicing individually for about six hours a day.

The researchers found that immediately after the study, all participants showed improvements in their attention, general well-being, and ability to cope with stress.

During the most recent follow-up, held seven years after the retreat, the researchers also found that the 40 attendees who had continued to participate in the study and meditate for around one hour a day still showed improvements in their attention.

This effect was particularly pronounced in the older participants, who had maintained a stricter practice over the seven years and did not show typical patterns of decline in attention usually associated with aging.

However, first author Anthony Zanesco did note that the benefits appeared to plateau after the retreat, even in those who meditated the most, suggesting that there may be limits to how much meditation can influence cognition.

 As with the current study, most research looking at health benefits of meditation has tended to only include small sample sizes, and until now focused more on the short-term effects.

However, the body of evidence that meditation has benefits both our physical and mental health is growing.

One of the biggest benefits appears to be a reduction in stress levels. A 2016 study found that 35 stressed out adults benefited more from meditation than they did from relaxation techniques, while a study published last year found that just ten minutes a day of meditation could help reduce anxiety.

 Meditation could also be used as a tool to tackle obesity, with teenagers who were taught meditation techniques as part of a 2016 study showing improvements in both diet and exercise months later.

It could even be effective in reducing some cases of physical pain; with a study looking at 342 adults suffering from lower back pain finding that those treated with meditation-based stress reduction and yoga showed larger improvements than those treated with conventional pain medication.

 Even the American Heart Association has voiced its support for meditation, as long as it is used to complement and not replace a heart-healthy diet and exercise regime. A review of 57 current studies published by the association last year reported that meditation may be associated with decreased levels of stress, anxiety and depression, and improved quality of sleep and overall well-being. It also raised the idea that the practice may be linked with decreased risk of heart attack, although with only a few studies on this, more research is needed before conclusions can be made.

The current research was published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement.

CONTINUE READING –>

Effects of Acem Meditation on working professionals

a new study shows improved stress management

Research paper authors Bjørn Lau, Anne Grete Hersoug and Morten Wærsted

Positive effects of Acem Meditation – a nondirective technique – was found in a recently published study. This type of relaxation technique can be a positive supplement to other tools for the prevention of negative health reactions due to stress.

«Less worry and nervousness were among the most striking findings,» says Bjørn Lau, Ph.D., one of the authors of a scientific article recently published in the journal Nordic Psychology.* Dr. Lau is a psychologist at Lovisenberg Hospital and an adjunct professor at the University of Oslo. «Stress associated with uncomfortable emotions remains in the body and mind until meditation enables us to deal with it and let go,» he continues. «More emotional stability is the benefit. Instead of excessive worries, one gets increased capacity for other things in life.»

Healthy working professionals

The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of meditation on stress reactions and stress management. The hypothesis was that practicing such a technique would yield better effects than merely listening to talks about stress and stress management. The study tested this hypothesis with a sample of adult participants who had not practiced meditation before — 73 active working professionals in six companies. At the outset, before the meditation course, the participants attended a lecture on stress reactions and stress management. The control group (43 persons) attended the same lecture but did not learn any relaxation technique.

«The participants were healthy working professionals. They were not seeking treatment for any particular ailment but still obtained significant effects. Previous studies have often examined various groups of patients with specific symptoms, making it easier to demonstrate some degree of change. As more and more studies of healthy, working professionals are becoming available, there is a growing body of documentation of significant, positive effects of meditation for nontreatment-seeking persons,» says another author, Anne Grete Hersoug, Dr. Philos., a psychologist associated with the Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oslo.

The participants in both groups completed the same questionnaires, which were standardized, widely used international scales that measure various stress reactions. The questionnaires were completed at the outset, and again after two months, three months and six months. The study explored effects of Acem Meditation on musculoskeletal pain, quality of sleep, worries, nervousness, and the perception of mental distress. Based on experience, these are areas in which meditation often has positive effects. The project was carried out in order to study whether there would be systematic differences regarding these variables between the group who learned meditation and the control group.

Less pain, fewer worries, improved sleep

«The magnitude of the difference meditation made was surprising,» says Dr. Hersoug. «The study yielded surprisingly consistent findings across all six companies.»

Learning Acem Meditation gave significant positive bodily effects and psychological benefits: less pain, fewer sleep problems, and a personal style characterized by less nervousness and worrying. Such effects improve the capacity to cope with stress at work and in daily life. In the control group, there were no such findings.

Long-term personal style

A third author, Morten Wærsted, Dr. Med., from the Department of Work Psychology and Physiology, National Institute of Occupational Health in Oslo, says: «The results indicated that the effects of meditation during the courseeight weeks – remained stable throughout the study period. Meditation made a difference even when the participants were irregular in their practice. This suggests that stress reactions in the body and mind had been reduced.»

Dr. Lau agrees and adds: «The results indicate that participants’ personal style began to change during the six months that the study lasted. A more relaxed person tends to behave in slightly different ways, with a positive impact on the surroundings.»

The new study of Acem Meditation has contributed to the documentation of the positive effects of Acem Meditation. There was a significant difference between practicing Acem Meditation and only receiving information about stress reactions and stress management, without practicing a relaxation technique. Thus, nondirective meditation, such as Acem Meditation, can be a good and effective technique to cope with stress.

The three authors agree that it has been inspiring to take part in the research project and that the positive findings are both interesting and promising. «Although experience has long shown that Acem Meditation has good effects and is suitable for anybody, this study has provided scientific documentation,» they say.

Copy editor: Ann Kunish

* Anne Grete Hersoug, Morten Wærsted & Bjørn Lau (2018): Nondirective meditation used in stress management, Nordic Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/19012276.2018.1443278

Here’s why you fall asleep during meditation

One second your eyes are closed, you’re breathing deeply, and you’re listening to the soothing voice of an instructor on your go-to meditation app—and 30 minutes later, you’re waking up with a puddle of drool on your yoga mat. If your sessions always tend to lead to an accidental power-nap, you’re not alone—but why exactly does it keep on happening?

First thing’s first: Falling asleep during meditation is an incredibly common occurrence. And according to Headspace, one of the main reasons behind the phenomenon is simple: It can be really hard to find the perfect balance between focus and relaxation, especially when you’re first starting out in your practice. Because of that, it’s easy to veer too far to the relaxation side every now and then, resulting in the only logical end result: peacefully passing out. The same goes for the opposite end of the spectrum: If you veer too far to the focus side of meditation, you’ll typically feel a little tense.

Aside from learning how to find the proper balance between focus and relaxation—which can take a lot of time and practice, by the way!—another reason you could be falling asleep is an obvious one. According to the Melbourne Meditation Centre (MMC), conking out could simply mean your body is trying to get what it’s lacking. If you’re not sleeping enough hours every night—which the Mayo Clinic says is 7 to 9 hours—it’s only natural that you’d drift off the second you get comfortable, relax, and close your eyes. And if you’re meditating during times of the day when you have low energy anyway—like after lunch, after work, right away in the morning, or before bed—your mind is probably just trying to get the rest it needs.

Whatever the issue is, the best thing you can do to make sure you’re not falling asleep while meditating is setting yourself up for success however you can. Sometimes your meditation habits make it all too easy to drift right off into that nap you’re trying so desperately to avoid, and there are some easy tips and tricks you can keep in mind before your next Zen sesh.

Try these 8 ways to avoid falling asleep while meditating.

1. Separate your sleep and wake time

Anyone who likes meditating first-thing should try to avoid doing so minutes after waking up. If you don’t give your body some time to adjust, it’ll be far too easy to fall right back asleep again. “If you do it first thing in the morning, make sure you clearly break up the time you’ve been asleep and your waking hour,” said Andy Puddicombe, the co-founder of Headspace, in a video. That way your brain won’t be confused once you close your eyes again.

2. Breathe in some fresh air

If you’re trying not to fall asleep during meditation, the MMC says you have to create an environment “conductive to wakefulness.” And one easy way to do that? Just open a window and let in some fresh air. Once you feel that invigorating breeze, you’ll definitely perk up.

3. Don’t meditate in bed

It seems obvious, but meditating in your bed is just asking to fall asleep—that’s what it’s there for, after all. “Get out of bed, go to the bathroom, and do what you need to do to feel properly awake,” said Andy Puddicombe, the co-founder of Headspace, in a video. In fact, the app recommends steering clear of your bed altogether: Don’t meditate in it, on it, or even around it because it’ll instantly make you tired.

4. Drink some water beforehand

Drinking water invigorates your body and gets your energy levels up, so why not have some pre-pillow sesh? According to Project Meditation, it’s a great way to beat drowsiness. Just don’t drink too much—otherwise you’ll have another problem: having to go to the bathroom halfway through.

5. Splash cold water on your face

There’s no better way to perk yourself up before meditating than utilizing the power of cold water. “Splash a little bit on your face,” says Puddicombe. It’ll instantly wake you up—especially if you’re planning on having a session right away in the a.m.

6. Don’t lie down when you meditate

Lying down and for a meditation always sounds so nice, but that position is the easiest way to go from Zen to zzz’s. Instead, find a comfortable spot to sit. “Take a cushion or a rolled-up towel and place it under your backside so you lift your posture a little bit,” Puddicombe says. “Also, focusing above the top of the head at the start of your meditation can help lift the energy a little bit so you don’t feel quite so sleepy.”

7. Don’t meditate after eating a big meal

Eating big meals instantly make you sleepy: Your body needs that energy to digest the food, after all. According to the MMC, it’s only going to make you more tired and easier for you to pass out the second you close your eyes. Maybe try meditating before you munch instead.

8. Do a walking meditation

You don’t have to sit with your eyes closed to reap the benefits of meditation. Unless you can fall asleep while you’re moving—which is unlikely!—try switching to a walking meditation. Or, just find a nice place outside to hunker down, whether it’s lying in the grass or sitting on a park bench. You’ll get all those feel-good vibes and some vitamin D at the same time.

Can’t stop obsessing over your ex? There’s a meditation for that. Or check out the cheap—or free!—ways to go on a meditation retreat.

Therapeutic meditation: a protective aura

 

Keerti writes about the increasing suicide rates globally and the obvious need for meditation. Published in Businessworld on July 11, 2018.

 

Enlightened masters in the past used very simple methods of meditation to help millions of people to transform themselves. And the people did get transformed and self-realization happened to them. But if we look at the world situation today, we come to know that for most of the people it has become impossible to enter into the meditative space easily. They have become very complicated, even though they have more comforts than the previous generations. They are more depressed and the suicide rate in the world has been increasing steadily. According to the World Health Organisation: Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Many more attempt suicide. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds globally.  It is reported that a person dies by suicide about every 11.7 minutes in the United States. 25 million Americans suffer from depression each year. Over 50 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent.

This is very scary that people are committing suicide at such an age between 15 to 29 years when they have a tremendous amount of energy to create a solid foundation for their life. Such youthful people are supposed to enjoy and celebrate their life. Why is this happening? There can be reasons but one thing is clear that such people do need therapy urgently to become normal and when they have become normal, they need meditation to be able to celebrate their life.

Osho understood this 50 years ago when people started coming to him from around the world. His ashram in Pune was the first spiritual center of the world where various kinds of psychotherapies were introduced and developed alongside hundreds of methods of meditation. Most of the top therapists of the world became his disciples and they offered therapy sessions under the guidance of an enlightened master, Osho.

In ‘The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha (Vol-7, Ch-6)’ Osho says: “I must be the first enlightened person who is using therapeutic groups as a help to meditation, for the simple reason that in the past man was so simple there was no need for him to pass through therapies first. He was healthy in a way, saner in a way, authentic, truer, sincere and honest. Modern man is cunning, very cunning, and very repressed, so much so that he himself is not aware of what he has repressed in his being. And modern man is very clever, he is not simple. He is so clever that he can go on deceiving even himself. By deceiving others continuously he has become skillful in deceiving. The skill has become so ingrained that now no conscious, deliberate effort is needed for him to be cunning. He can simply be cunning without any effort on his own. This changed situation demands new methods, new approaches, new windows, so new that your mind is at a loss what to do. If your mind knows what to do, the device cannot be of any help. The mind, when it is unable to find a way out, is at a loss – that is the great, precious moment when something of the beyond can happen.”

Meditation is beyond psychology and psychotherapy. Osho adds in the ‘Light on the Path (Ch-16)’: “…my therapists are the best in the world, for the simple reason that other therapists are only therapists, they are not meditators. My therapists are meditators too. Therapy is a superficial thing. It can help to clean the ground, but just to have a clean ground is not to have a garden. You will need something more.”

That something more is meditation – which is really therapeutic. Meditation gives us joy and does not allow any depression to overpower us. Meditation surrounds us as a protective aura.

Chaitanya Keerti travels around the world to facilitate Osho meditation retreats. He is an editor of Osho World and the author of ‘Osho Fragrance’ and ‘The Alchemy of Zen’. facebook.com – More articles by the same author on Osho News.

Meditation to optimize your life and performance

Around the globe, in every religion, spiritual tradition, and culture, we find some form of meditation. Breathing practices, purposeful reflection, chanting, mantras, singing, and prayer are some of the oldest forms of improving mindset, wellness, and performance through meditation.

Whether your goal is to achieve calm, a sense of gratitude, or feeling connected to people and nature, these disciplines can help us live a more centered life. In the world of human performance, when someone is really “in the zone,” we like to call it a “flow state.” When we are there, we perceive things differently actually process information in a different way.

In order to avail yourself of the many benefits of meditation, we believe it’s important not to remain intellectually and emotionally open to the wide variety of meditative practices found throughout our world’s cultures, religions, and philosophies. What is important is that the methods you choose work for you.

Whether or not you consider yourself spiritual or religious, improving your meditative skills teaches you how to control your brain and mindset to reach a state of higher performance.

How does one begin?

This is a beginner’s guide to practical steps for accessing a better state of mind and will highlight some of the benefits they offer..

Your analytical vs. intuitive mind

Once people become adults, they spend a lot of the time walking around with their brain in an analytical mode: making choices, solving problems, working, thinking about the future, and analyzing the past.

This is an incredible gift that has helped our species thrive and discover amazing things, but it is not the entire picture of ourselves. Our mind is also capable of incredible creativity, empathy, and connection to purpose and other people. This is also a skill we need to build and use daily.

Analytical thinking blocks emotion and empathy and vice versa, according to some recent studies [1,2]. You can think of your brain as having two modes: the rational, analytical mind, and the creative, intuitive one. When we function optimally, we are able to switch back and forth between them.

Rational thinking is necessary. We accomplish a lot of things in our lives through it. However, we can lose balance when it’s the only mode we are using.

In modern society, we subject ourselves to an increasing level of information input. News, social media, texts, streaming shows, and the web provide a constant stream of input for our analytical mind to process.

Because this endless stream of stimuli is always available for our mind to analyze, it’s essential to actively practice turning off our analytical processes. Quieting your analytical mind opens you up to a performance-enhancing mindset. Here are a few ways to do that.

Reset Switch

Being able to alter your state of mind is an immensely powerful skill. As an athlete, performing artist, executive, or anyone who has to perform under pressure, you need to be able to reset occasionally. When the stress builds, when the conditions change, or when things go wrong, being able to step back and out of the chaos is critical for good decision making. Retaining a sense of calm allows you to tap into your strengths, instincts, and training.

It’s also a valuable switch when the game is over, when you’re done with work, or after practice. We all need to go into recovery mode. Just as you don’t want the engine on your high-performance sports car revving at 5,000 rpm when you put it in the garage at night, you don’t want your brain stuck in analytical mode or your emotions on high when it’s time to relax and rest.

Meditation

Meditation may be the most well-known way to silence the mind. It doesn’t require a special place or any equipment other than your own time and mind. It doesn’t even have in any particular manner.

Meditation allows you to tap into a state of calm. Turning off (or just down) the thoughts running through your head increases creativity [3], reduces stress and anxiety, and increases one’s sense of happiness [4].

These effects are magnified with practice, and you can practice any time, anywhere, for free.

Here are two simple ways to meditate:

Breath

Sit, close your eyes, and inhale deeply into your belly for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, slowly exhale for a count of 4, hold for a count of four. Repeat. Focus on the sensation of your breath filling your body and then emptying out.
Observation. Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, take a step back from your mind, and watch your thoughts. Don’t judge them or pursue them; simply let them come and go as you watch. There are two distinct entities here: you, the calm watcher, and your mind, the source of your thoughts.

Try these, or do whatever gives you that inner sense of calm. When you notice your mind wandering, simply return to your mind to the meditation. You might do just 2-5 minutes to start. You might build to longer stretches. Most importantly, do it consistently and you’ll strengthen your meditation muscles.

You must resist the temptation to do it the “right way.” This idea deters many beginners because they aren’t sure of they a doing it “right.” Meditation is challenging in that sense because it’s not the type of activity that provides immediate, concrete feedback. Getting guidance from a coach or in performing a specific form of the practice can help. So can some modern technologies.

Muse

If you go a traditional route to master meditation, you might spend hour after hour, month after month, year after year, sitting at a monastery meditating. You can take a long, meandering path, meditating daily for 20 to 40 years, finally becoming a Zen master. It’s a long, slow process that demands extraordinary dedication.

Whether this would be beneficial is beyond the point; it is neither feasible or desirable for most of us. Still, many people are looking for a way to incorporate meditation into their lives and want to get feedback along the way.

This is where modern technology like Muse can come in. The system measures your brainwaves while you meditate and provides feedback in real time through the sounds you hear. This feedback teaches you to rewire your brain faster because you are learning when your brain is actually in the right state.

It also “gamifies” the process. At the end of each session, you get scores on how well you did and points for having a calm mind. You get credit for “recoveries” when your mind started to wander and think but you brought it back to calm.

It also can help you keep on track session to session. Goals, recommendations to increase time, rewards for consistency and daily streaks, and the tracking functions all can help you state motivated to practice.

Heart Rate Variability training

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a method of measuring and analyzing beat-to-beat changes in your heart rate that gives us insight into the state of your autonomic nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system is important to understand because it is one of the bridges between body and mind. It has two parts: the parasympathetic and sympathetic branches, which are essentially opposites.

The sympathetic nervous system is often described as the “fight or flight” system. It activates our body, mind, and the resources to act quickly when needed. The parasympathetic nervous system handles the opposite functions of rest, digest, and recovery: the functions that help restore and sustain our bodies.

HRV feedback teaches you to consciously synchronize your brainwaves and heartbeat, which puts you into a parasympathetic (recovery) dominant state. This is a state of calm focus. It’s the same benefit you get from meditation, but HRV training gives you real-time feedback, so you know when you’re improving.

You can train your heart rate variability and track your results with an HRV sensor like the Inner Balance or Em Wave2 from HeartMath. This feedback helps you to recognize that feeling of inner calm and achieve that state of mind more quickly than you would with normal meditation.

Sensory deprivation

Sensory deprivation tanks, also called float tanks, eliminate nearly all sensory input to your brain. Suspended in water with more than 1000 lbs. of dissolved magnesium salt, you float without any pressure on your body. You’re in a light- and sound-proof chamber. The water and air are both maintained at your body temperature.

When you lay still you don’t see, hear, or feel anything. You lose sense of time. Deprived of any sensory input, one is presented with an opportunity to be one with one’s mind that is difficult to find elsewhere.

A typical float session is 60 – 90 minutes long. For many people that sounds like an eternity to just lay there, floating in the dark. It typically takes three sessions to really get “good” at floating, but the results are usually enjoyed immediately the first time.

This doesn’t mean it is always easy. Often your mind wanders at first. You may have thoughts like: This is boring. This is stupid. Get out. You feel claustrophobic. But if you stick it out, eventually your mind lets go.

This let us experience a state of calm, of relaxation. For some people they experience a state of creativity or hover somewhere between wake and sleep. Not only will you reap the rewards after the float, most people find that they sleep better afterward and the state of calmness is easier to reach in the following days.

Next to time you want to accelerate your mindfulness practice, or need to reduce stress and anxiety, try a float. In most major cities you can find a float center near you.

Try something and practice it

Whether you’re meditating, praying, chanting, getting feedback or floating in salt water, it’s worth it to learn how to quiet your mind. It only takes a few minutes a day and the benefits to your health, wellness, and performance are huge.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811912010646?np=y
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121030161416.htm
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10400410902858691
http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1809754
https://www.heartmath.org/research/research-library/energetics/electricity-of-touch/

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Rajghat, the Gandhi Samadhi at the banks of Yamuna, to get a facelift

 

The proposed revamp plan for Rajghat , the Gandhi Samadhi near Daryaganj, aims to use technology to make the youth know more about Mahatma Gandhi’s life, times and philosophy.

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Raj Ghat

Former US President Barack Obama at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat, during his India visit in 2015. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

One of the Capital’s landmarks, Rajghat, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated on January 31, 1948, is set to undergo a revamp, as approved by the Urban Development Ministry.

The hi-tech project, costing Rs 3 crore, includes setting up of digital screens at Gandhi Samadhi and a centre for interactive learning about Bapu’s life and works. Today, the spot has a black marble platform where almost every diplomat or politician visiting India goes to pay homage to the man who was the harbinger of non-violence in the Indian freedom struggle.

“What Jawahar Lal Nehru had done for the place was beautiful. I haven’t been there for the last two years and would like to know what the government is planning to do,” says Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, granddaughter of Gandhi. Remembering the day when he was cremated, she says, “I have all the memories of that [time]. I was nearly 14 years old, when Bapu was cremated. For a long time, every Friday we used to go there to pray. I liked the place.”

(Above) A view of Mahatma Gandhi ‘s funeral procession near the Delhi Gate (Below): Lord Mountbatten, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Baldev Singh at the Rajghat.

Cut to the present, the upliftment plan is to install three 46-inch LED, around the Samadhi, to display visuals depicting Mahatma’s life, his quotes and the national movement for freedom. There will also be screens for interactive learning through a quiz on the life and work of Gandhi and his speeches.

Funeral of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat as captured by the famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson.

“We have provided whatever digital material was required. Now it’s the decision of the government to take a call on what all will be used,” says A Annamalai, director, National Gandhi Museum and Library. He informs, “Besides the footage of video films on Gandhi, ranging from half-an-hour to one hour, there’s also, Richard Attenborough’s film Gandhi (1982) and Shyam Benegal’s The Making of the Mahatma (1996), which we have provided. The first documentary on Gandhi by Chettiar, in Hindi and English, is also in the list of films provided.” Annamalai adds that the technology can be used to teach the youth about the life of Mahatma Gandhi.

A still from the movie Gandhi (1982), directed by Richard Attenborough, which might be screened at the Rajghat post its revamp.

Bhattacharjee is happy that the proposal includes building of ramps to enable easy access for differently-abled persons and toilets accessible to all. “There are fundamental and good that the place will have all these. In brief, a memorial should be very well kept, neat and tidy, and in the original state. At Rajghat, everything should be in harmony with the refinement of Gandhi and the era (in which) the building was built,” she says.

Annamalai says, “We have to spread Mahatma’s message to all. People can use technology to teach his thoughts. But technology shouldn’t overshadow the Gandhian philosophy.”

Recently, there was also news of setting up a Swachh Bharat Mission monitoring centre, at Rajghat, to monitor the progress of the cleanliness project. Will that add more meaning to the memorial?

 
 
 
 

Source

http://www.hindustantimes.com/more-lifestyle/rajghat-the-gandhi-samadhi-at-the-banks-of-yamuna-to-get-a-makeover/story-eYYG4P6lUecRuqQb2H4DkN.html

Ending Struggle through Meditation

In 2012, I first set out to deepen my connection to the Divine. The religious traditions of my youth had not resonated for years, and I knew I was ready for something different. In short order, I discovered Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and tuned in one day to hear (for the first time!) Deepak Chopra sharing his wisdom.

I was quite taken by Deepak. Such a deep understanding of consciousness. Common sense explanations for his ideas. And, best of all, disarming unpretentiousness punctuated, as I recall, by red tennis shoes.

As an added bonus, Deepak offered an online 21-Day Meditation Challenge on Abundance completely free! What a fantastic windfall! I was ready! I wanted to give this whole meditation thing a try.

Testing the Waters of Meditation

With no real experience, I waded into the waters of meditation. Each day’s recording was roughly 15 minutes long. Deepak talked for five minutes or so, then the last portion featured soothing music. A soft bell signaled the meditation’s end.

For the first several days, I thought that soft bell would NEVER ring. My monkey mind, as Deepak described it, was unrelenting. Yakity yak. Blah blah blah. My mind assembled an endless stream of petty and trifling details.

Over time, however, both my mind and I softened. It wasn’t too many more days before that gentle bell startled me out of deep contemplation.

When the series ended, I purchased the download and listened to it over and again. It became a beloved and familiar entryway into a calm and peaceful place of my mind.

A New 21-Day Meditation Challenge

This spring, I became aware of a new 21-day meditation challenge being offered by Oprah and Deepak. Shedding the Weight: Mind, Body and Spirit. Feeling a wave of nostalgia, I signed up for the emails.

This series reminded me of all the reasons I feel such gratitude for both Oprah and Deepak. They so willingly and candidly share from their own experiences. They are committed to helping others find a meditation practice as a way of healing. And they connect the dots in such practical ways. Teaching me how the burdens I carry in my mind become the burdens playing out in my life. Showing me ways to rewrite my life story to open to new possibilities.

This time around, right off the bat on Day 1, Deepak gave me my golden nugget:

No struggle is involved. If struggling worked, the battle to be who you want to be would have ended long ago. Why do we keep fighting with ourselves when this tactic never worked in the first place?

I felt the truth the minute I heard these words. He reinforced the idea with this Centering Thought: My struggle has ended. I am in harmony with myself.

I got a LOT of mileage out of that Centering Thought. The minute my mind would start to say How am I expected to…. I would remind myself My struggle has ended.

Now, simply saying my struggle has ended does not make it so. Making it so involves choosing to let go of struggle every time I make a move to pick up another burden. Listening to this meditation series strengthened my resolve to truly let go of what does not serve and bask in the lightness of being that is drawn into my life.

Try It Yourself!

Here’s your chance to experience one of Oprah and Deepak free meditation challenges for yourself. Registration has opened for The Energy of Attraction: Manifesting Your Best Life. It begins Monday, July 23, 2018. Sign up to get daily emails with instructions for participating in this mind-shifting experience. I’ve already sent in my registration!

Catch Deepak Chopra on New Thought Channel

Here’s another windfall for you! Deepak appears as a guest on Season 2 of the NTC-TV original series One Simple Idea, hosted by Mitch Horowitz. Deepak is thoroughly in his element, masterfully explaining consciousness and quantum theory – and in a way that makes perfect sense. A must-watch episode if you’re a spiritual seeker.

The post Ending Struggle through Meditation appeared first on New Thought Channel Blog.

Source

http://ntc-tv.com/ending-struggle-through-meditation/

Fab Finds Friday #15: On Meditation

Welcome to Fab Finds Friday!

A chance to reflect, not on the things you did, but on the things that did something to you!

Whether it’s something you heard, a sentence you read, a quote that spoke to you, or even something you wrote yourself, if it inspired you and you want to share it with others, we want to know about it!

Make sure you have a hyperlink in your post to both Laughing My Abs Off and My Little Tablespoon. Then drop your link below and discover what inspired others. You never know when you’ll stumble upon the next life-changing nugget of wisdom. Happy Friday!

I’ve been practicing yoga for I’d say nine years now. I’ve been practicing meditation outside of yoga for a much shorter amount of time, but still around 2-3 years, as my best guess. It is only this year, however, that I feel I’ve began to receive the true benefits from either practice. 

I don’t think I saw yoga as a meditation practice 3 or more years ago. I probably saw it solely as physical exercise with an added bout of relaxation at the end. And meditation? Hmm. I don’t think I ever “got” anywhere other than a vacation to my back with eyes closed. Which, hey don’t get me wrong, is awesome and great. I just don’t think I understood where else it could take me. 

Over these last few months especially, I’ve discovered something in my meditation practice – whether that be on its own in my room or at the end of a yoga class – that has significantly changed my, well… a lot. 

I’ve discovered a smile. I’ve discovered this deep seated happiness in a place where I like who I am, where I love my body and feel deep joy in wanting to take care of it. I’ve discovered this place – away from the usual brain-cassettes of to do lists and planning and future-dreading and guilt – where I realize I can actually be the one watching myself have these thoughts. That I am a different person than that, and therefore, that I don’t actually have to follow along with these thoughts. 

Don’t get me wrong, it often doesn’t take long from the time I leave my mat and exit the yoga studio before those tapes start rolling and that “other person” has gone the other way. It sucks. But, for even that brief moment, I’ve been able to be with this person who is still, caring, and divinely happy. 

I’m working at bringing this person out to play throughout my day; to stay much longer than the eyes-closed vinyasa. It’s a work in progress, but she is definitely present much more than in my past. 

I’ve continued to read “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth and the other week I read a chapter she wrote on meditation. It wasn’t until I read her words that I actually understood what it was I had been getting from my meditation practice; what that happiness and care was that I was feeling. 

Meditation has taught me that I do not always have to go to my mind. That those thoughts I am having don’t have to be mine and don’t have to be listened to. Meditation has, in a sense, introduced me to that other person I have in me, and that I can go to this person when I am struggling with thoughts. I have somewhere else to go now, other than those cassette tapes. 

Like she says, I’ve fallen in love with that person – that stillness – that notices the hysteria in my mind. I’ve fallen in love with that person who loves me; who wants to care for me. I’ve fallen in love with visiting her and feeling her presence each time I meditate and allow her to come out. 

So for today’s Fab Finds Friday, I’d like to share with you words from Geneen Roth. Words that struck me and made me realize what it is that meditation does for me.

From ‘Women, Food and God’
by Geneen Roth 

Minds are useful when we need to conceptualize, plan, theorize. But when we depend on them to guide our inner lives, we’re lost. Minds are excellent at presenting a thousand different variations of the past and conjuring them into a future. And then scaring us with most of them.Most of the time we don’t question our minds. We believe in their lunacy. We have a thought – “my contractor is never going to call me back” – that evokes a corresponding emotion (anger, anxiety, blame) and we are suddenly on the phone with our lawyer.

Meditation develops the capacity to question your mind. Without it, you are at the mercy of every thought, every desire, every wave of emotion. You become unhinged, dependent on whether things are going well that day or not. Whether anyone has rejected you that day or not.

If nothing kicks up the “They did me wrong” mix or the “…I am unloved and will always be this way” mix you might have a good day. But if you pass the mirror and don’t like what you see, if you have a fight with a friend, a partner, a boss… there is nowhere to go but your mind, which usually means listening to one of the familiar whipped-up melodies. And believing every word of it.

When you spend time watching the mind, you notice the familiar medleys and you notice what is noticing the medleysthe stillness that is apart from them. After a while, the stillness feels more like you than the top ten medleys. You begin to love that which is not caught up in the hysteria. Love the sillness. Love the spaciousness. Love the peace. Meditation helps you discover what you love that you didn’t know you loved because you were so caught up in your mind that you didn’t realize there was anything else there. The value of meditation is that it helps you first discover – and then bring yourself back to – what you love.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement”
-Mary Oliver
“When Death Comes”

Now go see Nicole if you haven’t already and link up with something that has inspired you recently! Remember it can be anything! You play the rules. 

What has inspired you recently? A quote? Something you read? Something someone said?

Do you meditate? What do you get out of it? 

Om Meditation Techniques and Benefits

Om meditation focuses on the Om mantra which has been ongoing among different religions and cultures from generation to generation. Om mantra is a deep realization of realities which exist in each one of our lives but we fail to understand them most of them times as we do not pay attention to our inner self. The world was once just one person and the thought was to make it many, that is when a vibration was heard. A vibration eventually led to a sound ‘Om’.  The sound of Om is known as Pranava which means that it sustains life through breathing. It represents the four states of ‘supreme being’ and the three sounds A-U-M (om) stands for waking, dreaming in deep sleep and silence which is around. This is why the symbol of ‘Om’ is considered to be holy.

Om Meditation Techniques:

Meditation on Om:

1. Select a quiet place.

 

2. Where comfortable closes and feel completely relaxed.

3. Close your eyes and let your muscles and nerves relax.

4. Focus on the space between your eyebrows and keep calm.

5. Let your conscious mind be silent and don’t think about anything, just concentrate.

6. Start chanting ‘Om’ mentally as you think about ideas of eternity, immortality, infinity, happiness. Think abstract. You should make yourself feel that you are infinite and all pervading.

7. You should remember the meaning of Om, just repeating it won’t give you the desired results.

8. You will soon feel pure and perfect. You would feel like you know everything and you have been set free as a bird.

9. Every part of your body should be shaken up with these ideas, so that not only your mind but also your body, your senses get the feeling.

10. Keep regularity in practice and go slow and steady with belief, sincerity, enthusiasm and perseverance. Best time to practice would be early morning, sunsets and evenings.

Benefits:

1. Om meditation is known to cure illnesses. As your entire body vibrates makes you feel positive and you take life much more seriously.

2. It brings out a spiritual side in you where you draw closer to God.

3. Chanting Om takes away all worldly thoughts and doesn’t let you get distracted.

4. If you are depressed you should take a quick time out for meditation. Chant Om 50 times and you will feel better. It is a stress buster and makes your brain calm down.

5. Om mediation does wonders to people who need to boost up their self esteem.

6. You would have a powerful and sweet voice when you keep chanting Om. You will figure that out within a few weeks. The rhythmic repetition of the word would keep your mind focused.

7. You feel that you get a different power in you. You have the ability to fight your problems and you are ready to take on the world. It will reflect from your eyes and face.

8. The word Om has a cosmic energy which gives us positive vibes and makes us feel pure. The most important thing that you get from meditation is to let the thoughts pass by and improve concentration.

 

Points to Remember:

1. Choose a proper environment where you are completely secluded to concentrated and mediate better.
2. You can pronounce the word as Om or Aum.
3. You need to stress on the pronunciation of M more than O, while you chant it.
4. Chanting of this mantra gives a positive energy in your surround. You would feel the vibrations it creates every time you chant it and you will feel the difference.

Images Source: 1, 2, 3, 4.

 

Source

http://stylesatlife.com/articles/om-meditation/

Vajrayana Meditation Techniques Can Enhance Brain Performance

It is important to merge our minds with the Buddha’s mind. Start by letting go of saying Dharma is hard. Dharma seen as hard is a concept we hold onto in order to excuse ourselves to improve our minds. Dharma is not hard, but samsara is hard. See the truth in this before time runs out. Tsem Rinpoche

This Flying Vajra Yogini artwork is framed and over the doorway of a Vajra Yogini chapel in Nepal. The Chapel is dedicated towards the Flying Vajra Yogini. Beautiful.

Environment is stronger because when you are in a spiritual environment with other spiritual brothers and sisters, the chance to learn and transform is much higher. If we rely on our own willpower and go at it alone to practice spirituality, very small chance we can succeed. Because most of the time we don’t have the willpower and our willpower does not sustain us. That is why we have monasteries where clusers of people live together spiritually to enhance each other and the whole for thousands of years. That is why we have spiritual communities like Findhorn and Kechara Forest Retreat so that we are in a spiritual environment and being in this type of environment encourages us to grow inwardly. It gives us strength and support and in turn we give others strength and support. Tsem Rinpoche

I like this White Tara image. It is very basic but has an appeal in this style of art.

He was so excited to bring this sacred statue home to install in his family shrine…….

Daily do your prayers/mantra to Lord Manjushri as it’s a powerful blessing on a daily basis. It is so important to have sharp mind, good memory and quick wisdom and Manjushri can bestow this. I have heard many tell me that Manjushri’s practice is very effective. We must also do Manjushri’s intensive retreats at least twice a year. It would be very beneficial. Sacred mantra of Manjushri: Om Ah-Ra Ba-za Na-Dhi

It is nice to see a friend in Nepal receiving a beautiful Bhagwan Dorje Shugden gift from myself. I wish him well always. Tsem Rinpoche

A beautiful painting of the enlightened protector Dorje Shugden in the very rich tradition of Aztec art of South America. I wanted to commission something in this rich tradition which is filled with spiritual journeys into other worlds, magic, purification, the supernatural, astral visitations, gods and other dimensions and it has manifested. I have successfully combined the divinity of Tibet with the rich artistic tradition of the Aztecs. The artist we had is amazing. We have many more beautiful art pieces here for you to enjoy and download: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=144924 Remember those wonderful Carlos Castaneda books? I use to read them many years back in my room back in New Jersey as a kid. His learning journey with Don Juan was amazing! Those books inspired my commissioning of this beautiful Aztec Dorje Shugden. May you be blessed. Tsem Rinpoche

H.H. the Dalai Lama’s sudden change of mind about China-backed Panchen Lama is incredible and stunning. His Holiness’s new stance will bring more harmony, peace and understanding. I thank His Holiness the Dalai Lama very much for this. Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche (Please read here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=159261)

Sculpture demigoddesses Singhini (lioness goddess) on the upper terrace in front of Nyatapola temple in Bhaktapur, Nepal.

How fortunate I am to be sitting in my room, with a rosary in my hand reciting the mantra given to me by my compassionate guru and to meditate in developing a compassionate heart and purifying my karmas. How fortunate I am to be able to spend my time in such a meaningful manner. Tsem Rinpoche

Comic drawn by Tendor, a prominent Free Tibet activist-Every Tibetan knows that although His Holiness the Dalai Lama says he is retired from politics, he is in full control of the Tibetan government in exile. No member of the government will dare carry out any decisions without His Holiness’ approval. He is retired for the sake of the west so he does not look like a dictator.~Tenzin Damchoe

It would be wonderful if everyone can recite these two mantras 100k each focusing on Shakyamuni Buddha and His powerful healing energies. Not collectively but each person 100k each of each mantra. Praise to Shakyamuni the Sage who showed us a permanent way to bliss.

In Tibet Shannan area Riwoche Ling Monastery, devotees are putting Tsem Rinpoche’s photo inside the cabinet together with the Buddha he loves – Dorje Shugden 在西藏山南日乌曲林寺,信徒们把詹杜固仁波切的法照和他最敬爱的多杰雄登护法像摆在一起

Please read this..thank you.

Here, His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche (left), one of the tutors of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, confers one of the many countless tantric initiations on the Dalai Lama (right). You can see a young Dalai Lama bowing in this picture with Trijang Rinpoche blessing him. Trijang Rinpoche is therefore undoubtedly the Dalai Lama’s tantric master. A great master at that. Tsem Rinpoche

This is a very sacred statue of Buddha Chenresig (Avalokitesvara/Kuan Yin) that manifested many miracles in North India. Read and see more pictures and understand the background here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=153802

Wonderful updated version of The Promise book is out! Please get your copy. Much more new information included.

“Bhagavani, source of all wonders, Vasudhara, Goddess of splendour and fortune, bestower of auspicious mental desires; homage to the Goddess Wish-fulfilling Wheel.” (Sakya liturgical verse).

Beautiful and sacred Vajra Yogini in Pharping, Nepal. The caretaker said it was owned by the Great Marpa the translator who was the guru of Milarepa. Wow.

In the Lankavatara Sutra, Lord Buddha says: “For innumerable reasons, the Bodhisattva, whose nature is compassion, is not to any meat. Thus Mahamati, whenever there is the evolution of living beings, let people cherish the thought of kinship with them, and thinking that all beings are [to be loved as if they were] and only child, let them refrain from eating meat. Mahamati, meat is not eaten by anybody for any reason, there will be no destroyer of life. Thus, Mahamati, meat-eating I have not permitted to anyone, I do not permit, I will not permit.”

At times I have to be a trendsetter in spirituality as opposed to just being a follower and that is why I take chances and try. I may not be liked always for it, but I have to do it. In this way I have been introducing Dorje Shugden to the world. I know Shugden is good and will help so many and that is why I do it.

Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it’s right and will benefit people at the cost of your own reputation. That’s how I feel when I share Dorje Shugden’s practice with the world.

Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it’s right and you are true to yourself.

At times I have to be a trendsetter in spirituality as opposed to just being a follower and that is why I take chances and try. I may not be liked always for it, but I have to do it. In this way I have been introducing Dorje Shugden to the world. I know Shugden is good and will help so many and that is why I do it.

Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it’s right and you are true to yourself.

Courage is doing something you know the majority will not agree with and perhaps even some will scorn you for it, but you do it anyway because you know it’s right and will benefit people at the cost of your own reputation. That’s how I feel when I share Dorje Shugden’s practice with the world.

Beautiful Buddha built in Sarnath, India. Sarnath was the place where Lord Buddha first starting teaching the sacred Dharma. Tsem Rinpoche

This is so good. I need to remember this and not allow people to do this to me anymore. Being kind is one thing, but when they are doing it and it harms, it is not a matter of kindness anymore but taking advantage.

Please read what Kyabje Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche says about people’s religion.

A gorgeous Dorje Shugden painted in traditional art style of China. Chinese art has flourished for over 5,000 years and highly sought after. This form of Dorje Shugden is sitting on a seat as you see painted in his chapel (Trode Khangsar) in Lhasa, Tibet. Dorje Shugden can be on a seat or Lion. More downloads here. http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html

Dear friends, The Dorje Shugden oracle of Gaden Shartse Monastery was authorized and blessed by both Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. He was a favorite among high lamas for his smooth trances and clear prophecies. This video is a one-of-a-kind where you see the Choyang Dulzin Kuten oracle take trance of the peaceful form of Dorje Shugden wearing the robes of a high lama giving teachings, blessings and transmissions. Very sacred and rare video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pawS1TMOe8k

The Huffington Post extensively covers the Dorje Shugden issue. I had no idea that this article was being written. I was not contacted, not asked for an interview or asked for any comments, and then it was published and my students alerted me to it. So it was a very, very pleasant and encouraging surprise to read such balanced coverage from such a reputable news website. You can read it here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=149806

(Drepung) Dear friends, In the effort to be creative about something as holy and beneficial as Dorje Shugden, we’ve come out with these new and realistic depictions. One is Dorje Shugden visiting the Potala Palace and the other is Dorje Shugden arising from Drepung Monastery where he lived in Zimkhang Gangma Ladrang as a high lama. Please enjoy and be blessed. Sincerely, Tsem Rinpoche (High resolution downloads: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html )

Dear friends, In the effort to be creative about something as holy and beneficial as Dorje Shugden, we’ve come out with these new and realistic depictions. One is Dorje Shugden visiting the Potala Palace and the other is Dorje Shugden arising from Drepung Monastery where he lived in Zimkhang Gangma Ladrang as a high lama. Please enjoy and be blessed. Sincerely, Tsem Rinpoche (High resolution downloads: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html )

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on “View All Photos” to view more images.

Source

http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/vajrayana-meditation-techniques-can-enhance-brain-performance.html

Creative Guidance – Meditation & Creativity – Inspirational Educative Articles

Meditation & Creativity:

There is a deep connection between meditation and creativity, as meditation creates the zone of silence necessary for creativity to flourish. Meditation is the process of tilling the soil and adding the manure. Creativity is the seed that you plant in the fertile ground. Without fertile ground creativity cannot flourish; without fertile ground imagination cannot happen, because you will just be reflecting on what has happened.

Let us take an example. Imagine you are angry for some reason; there is immense anger in you and you are overcome by this emotion. If I tell you to be creative and solve a problem, will you be able to do it? Of course not, because your whole body, mind, and energy will be invested in the process of anger. Everything will be completely taken over by that anger, so how will you be able to creatively express yourself?

This is the biggest challenge people face when they want to be creative, when they want to come up with something new.  They could be a painter, a dancer, a singer, or a musician. Just ask them what their problem is with creativity. They will tell you that their problem is not to come up with something new, their problem is how to get rid of the old.  You can ask any musician and she will tell you that her problem is not composing a new song. Her problem is how to stop hearing the same old song that she already composed; her problem is that every time she tries to compose a new song, there is an existing song that interferes in her creative process.

Meditation clears the thought process and opens up a zone of emptiness. This emptiness is not negative; rather, this emptiness is filled with aliveness. It is tremendously positive, and when you touch this zone of emptiness, creativity becomes a natural consequence.

“This article is a part of the creative endeavor of The Ahamo Movement and IASBABA.”

LSD: A Shortcut to False Samadhi – Osho – Sat Sangha Salon

An interview with Acharya Rajneesh by Ma Ananda Prem Instructor, Sivananda Ashram, New York, U. S. A. on 25th, October 1970, Bombay (India)

Ma Ananda Prem: Acharayaji, before asking a question I would like to tell you my experience in meditation with special reference to controlled LSD-experimentation I underwent.

In New York I used to study psycho-analysis. As a result of that, I became a subject in a Government sponsored experiment to study the effects of LSD. In this experiment, I was given seven small doses of LSD, over a period of two years, in a controlled situation. I had learned how to use it to awaken the Kundalini and bring meditation.

Three times I had a certain experience, which I am sure was Samadhi – of the variety with seed, in the sixth body, where I became the whole existence. I would like to describe the experience to you to get your opinion on whether or not what I experienced was true cosmic consciousness.

I sat in a meditative asana, after taking the drug, and meditated. Shortly, thereafter, the Kundalini began coming up the Sushumna from the Muladhara. I concentrated on Agna Chakra, and all the energy flowed there. From Agna, some flowed down to Anahat, releasing various tension knots there. All was very blissful.

I was aware of four colours: the colour saffron, like my clothes, was the main one, and I seemed to be enveloped in it. This was mixed with a yellow colour. Under the yellow was white, still more subtle. And beyond the saffron, without, was a deep blue. Everything seemed to be mainly saffron though.

Suddenly, the Kundalini shot up the spine, very fast and powerful, and there was an explosion in the Agna Chakra. As a result of this, I felt that I became the whole existence, and was one with everything. Or rather, that I had dissolved completely, and the universe, was all there was. This I experienced with complete awareness and clarity such as I never had before.

This state was completely desireless, as all the cravings and desires had melted away. The feeling was one of perfect harmony. There was nothing to be desired, as everything was therein one vast present. It was as if a fog had lifted, and that the curtain of subjectivity called ego, that usually coloured my view of the outer reality, (thus separating me from it), was no longer there. All barriers and separateness between the inner and the outer were gone.

At that point, I stopped meditating because it felt as if I had reached the end of meditation and of bliss. It was thus no longer possible to meditate. My spine seemed melted down to zero tension level. Everything was perfect love, so there was no longer any craving for love. For the first time, love was not the result of any ego need, as I had no desires or needs any longer. All creation seemed to be a joyous, blissful lighthearted prank. It seemed as if the creation wanted to have fun with itself through its multitudes of energy atoms.

I then got up and walked about, but though my body was walking, it was very clear that I was not the body but the universe. The body seemed to move in front of me and all identity with it was gone.

I remained this way some twelve hours during each of the three experiences. Then the body tensions returned, drawing me back to my former way. However, I had a lot of Kundalini and very blissful meditation for two months after each experiment, such as I have never gotten with any yoga practice. When I do yoga and the usual meditation, it feels as if these practices are taking me in the same direction as these LSD experiences. I see no difference. Also, these experiences seem to match all descriptions of Samadhi with seed, or the Jivanmukta state, that I have ever read.

My questions then are:

1. In your opinion was the experience genuine Samadhi, as I feel it was? If not, how does genuine Samadhi at the sixth body level differ, other than it being permanent?

2. Is there any harm in occasionally using LSD only for spiritual purposes, in a controlled situation, to help meditation?

3. Is permanent self-realization possible with the help of a chemical like LSD?

4. What do the colours mean?

Acharya Rajneesh: It was not genuine. It was not Samadhi, but a chemical change. The mind can project anything it likes to project – even an unconscious desire of Samadhi! So whatsoever you have known about Samadhi and have read about it, will be projected through the chemical help of LSD. LSD or any other chemical drug is nothing but a help to make the mind more projective. All the hindrances, all the ordinary hindrances are withdrawn. The ordinary reason and conscious mind are withdrawn. You are completely in the hold of the unconscious. But the unconscious itself will not bring Samadhi through LSD. It can only be possible, if the unconscious has been fed with conceptions, colours and vital experiences. Everything that has been put into it can be projected.

If you have not known anything about Kundalini, it is impossible to feel it through LSD. A person who is suffering from any Phobia will project his phobia. A person who is under some suppressed fear will feel the actual phenomenon to take place. So LSD will bring different experiences to different persons.

LSD can only be a help to project whatsoever is in the seed form of your unconscious mind. If it is love, then love will be projected – if it is hatred, then hatred will be projected. LSD is an expanding drug; whatsoever is in the seed form will be expanded into a tree. You could feel Kundalini, you could feel Chakras, and you could feel harmony or the totality, only because these are the seeds already in your unconscious mind. If they are not there, then LSD will not project these.

The projection is because of LSD, but this is not Samadhi. Samadhi comes from your unconscious longing. If you have longed for it then LSD will help you. LSD can be a help to anything unconscious, to be psychically realised, but it is not a spiritual revelation. What you have seen is something which you wanted to realize, projected on the psychic canvas, so it is not Samadhi and it is not genuine. It is neither; and it is nothing else than dreaming. It is just a dreaming phenomenon.

In the night you dream because the conscious barriers are withdrawn. So whatever in your mind is suppressed, desired, longed for, begins to take shape and form and begins to be imagined. But when you are in a dream, you never know that it is a dream. It is so lifelike, it is so real. It seems so authentically real, that you can never conceive within a dream that you are dreaming. LSD is a chemical way of dreaming. It is not a natural way of dreaming, but a chemical way of dreaming.

So you can see things which you have never seen, know things that you have not known, realise things that you have never realised. But all these realisations are only apparent realisations. They are not real. They are beautiful; they have their own charm, just like nice dreams. But LSD can project a nightmare also. It depends on you, not on LSD. If your mind is hallucinating and is suffering from some untoward images, these will be projected. So there are persons who have seen hell in their LSD trip, and there are persons who have seen demons. It depends on persons. All that chemical drugs can do is to project whatsoever is there to be projected.

So do not mistake it for samadhi and do not cling to such experiences, otherwise they will be obstructions in meditation. You have felt so much in LSD dreams that, when you go in real meditation it is faint. It is not so vital that the feeling is not of such a great upsurge. Compared to your dream experiences meditation will look faint. This will create a depressive mood. You will feel something is being lost. You have known something and this something is not coming through meditation. Then the mind will say, “LSD is better”. And if you go on taking LSD your mind will become less and less meditative. And meditation and its experiences will go on becoming fainter and fainter. So don’t take LSD again.

Ma A. P.: It was just an experiment.

Acharya Rajneesh: Yes it was, but it has made an impact on your mind. And the impact is dangerous because you will always be comparing. The comparison will always be there.

The real meditation will seem unreal because unreal has appeared to you as authentic.

Ma A. P.: I can’t find the real difference?

Acharya Rajneesh: There are so many things. First, the comparison can never be accurate. It can never be right; because what you have seen in your LSD trip you cannot remember exactly when you are awakened. You cannot remember a dream exactly when you are out of your dream. The dream is again imagined. You add much to it. It is not the same; because when you are out of LSD, you cannot remember it exactly as it was. Only a faint feeling of blissfulness will be there. And now you will imagine the whole experience again. This is not exactly the experience that it was. It can never be. You have a feeling that you have known something. That feeling is illusory and you will again imagine what you have seen, what you have known in the experience itself. But there will be a blissfulness, because of revelation through the chemical drugs.

You are totally relaxed. Your tensions at that moment are withdrawn. They are not  nonexistential; they are awaiting you to come back. But they are not in focus, so you are relaxed totally. The revelation is so great; you will have a blissful feeling afterwards. You will feel it. The hangover bliss will be there. In this bliss you will imagine again what you have seen, what you have known.

Now this is all imaginary – 90% of it will be imagination and the greater the distance between the experience and the remembrance, the more beautiful, the more blissful, it will look to you. It will become a cherished memory. Now each time in meditation you will compare it. Meditation will be a faint thing in comparison because it is real. It is not a dreamland. The progress is step by step. It is not so sudden. It will never overtake you. You will always be prepared in-between, and the progress is very slow. It will seem slow because now in the real world, there is time; but in LSD experiences or in ordinary dreams, there is no such time, as it exists in our waking hours. So you can dream in a single moment, a dream that will take years together in reality to pass. So in LSD, the thing is sudden. It is so sudden that it overwhelms you. It shatters your total memory. All the tensions are non-existential for the moment. You are relaxed and the cosmic harmony is felt. The barriers are not there. You do not exist as an I; and the world and you have become one. This is so sudden and blissful that you will have a cherished memory of it afterwards. And you will go on adding to it each time you compare it with reality. It will become more and more beautiful, and the reality will become fainter. So don’t compare it.

Firstly, you cannot compare it, because you are in two states of mind and the memory cannot be brought from one state to another. It cannot be brought. Only faint remembrances are there. Secondly, when you compare retro-spectively, it is the same mind which has projected these experiences of LSD, the same unconscious mind, the same medium. You have taken LSD and you are meditating. All the time the unconscious seeds are there which you can project in your meditation. The second thing to be remembered is, don’t conceive any pre-formulated, readymade conceptions. What is to be the result? Don’t think about it. To go in meditation is to go in an uncharted sea. You can’t know beforehand what is going to happen, and if you know already what is going to happen, it will begin to happen; and it will still be a projection.

You can project in LSD. You can project in meditation also, because the unconscious is the projector. So all the knowledge about Kundalini, all the knowledge of Chakras, all the knowledge that you have of knowing must be thrown out; because your ordinary mind can also project it.

When you are meditating, you can project the same thing. The process will be slow because there is no chemical help. It will take longer time but the phenomena is the same. I am not saying that kundalini is not. I am not saying that chakras are not. I am not saying that there are no experiences. There are, but you must not know beforehand, otherwise you will project them.

You must be completely unknowing. You must be ignorant. There’s a basic condition to proceed further, you must not know beforehand. Each thing must be known directly, must be experienced, not taken for granted. Information should not be made knowledge. So throw away all information. Cease to know things and proceed as a vacuum. Proceed in ignorance – you don’t know. So everything will be a surprise, everything must be a surprise. If it is not a surprise then you say, “Yes, I have known it, this has happened before.”

There is a great possibility of self-delusion, for the mind is deceptive. And the unconscious goes on playing tricks! It is not only in LSD that the deception is possible, even in ordinary meditation, the deception is possible. The unconscious is the same. You must change it. You must make it vacant. It must not be a knowing unconscious. It must be openly vulnerable, ready to face the unknown. Meditation is going into the unknown. So you need a purge, you need a cleansing, you need a complete overhaul.

The unconscious must be cleaned. It must not be pre-burdened – it must not have seeds.

Sabeej Samadhi is a Samadhi with seeds. A Samadhi with seeds means a Samadhi with your projections. It is not a Samadhi at all. It is just a name-sake. There is another term – Nirbeej Samadhi, a Samadhi which is seedless. Only a seedless Samadhi is Samadhi, which is authentic because there is nothing to be projected. It is not that you are projecting – something has come to you. You have encountered something. You have known something new, completely fresh, absolutely unknown before, not even imagined; because whatsoever you can imagine you can project.

So knowledge is a hindrance in Samadhi and a person who is a ‘knowing-person’, can never reach Samadhi. You must not go burdened with knowledge. You must reach the door of Samadhi completely empty handed, naked, vacant, only then the authentic thing happens. Otherwise, you are meditating with the projections. You have been projecting in meditation, and you have been projecting in your LSD experiences. Both are projections.

You must unburden yourself. You must understand this. Forget all that you have known.

Don’t conceive Samadhi in any way. Do not conceive, do not conceptualize, just go like a child in an unknown country. The language is not known, there is no one acquainted, everything is new and you have no guide book with you. Only in this way things will begin to happen, which are authentic. Otherwise this will take a long time, and you will go on, encircling yourself and the projection will go on. In this way LSD will be more forceful. LSD will be more vital. LSD will be an experience and meditation will be something faint compared to it. But if you unburden your knowledge, forget all these names – ‘Kundalini’, ‘Chakras’, etc., everything, put it aside and proceed just like a child, only then meditation will happen. Otherwise meditation too will be imaginary and a dream.

The difference is very subtle. It is really difficult to know what the difference is, although there is a difference. But one thing could be understood correctly and that is, if things are happening according to your knowledge, then you must not take them seriously; because they can never happen according to your knowledge. They happen to each individual so differently, that no scripture, no ‘Guru’, can exactly say what will happen. Everything that is being said is just a generalization. To no one it happens exactly like that. The seven Chakras or the ‘Kundalini’ or the passage, are so different, that they are bound to be different in each individual. So, if things are happening according to a pattern, you must not take them seriously. You are imagining. Things will be different for you. They will never be the same to anyone else. The happening is individual and there are no generalizations.

Everybody’s experiences are different and incomparable, and all these things which are being said are generalizations. Generalizations never happen. We are twenty persons here. We can calculate the average age of all here, but no one will be exactly of that age. Average is a myth.

It is a generalization. We can have the average height; but no one will correspond exactly with it. We can have average knowledge, but no one may possess it. All the generalizations are myths. They help to formulate things but they don’t help to be life-springs. They help to make systems, they help to make scriptures, and they help to make maps. But you can never take a map as a country. You must not. You must have seen the map of India; but nowhere in India will you find it. The map is there, with its formulation. When you enter India, you will never encounter it. It is just a generalization – it helps formulation, but it never helps experience. Rather, it becomes obstructive. So knowledge can be gathered without knowing that knowledge is dangerous. If it is concerned with outward information, it is all right, it makes no difference; but if it is inner experience, it makes a lot of difference. Because the mind projects. It makes a lot of difference.

So you begin your meditation as if you have never heard anything about ‘kundalini’, ‘Chakras’ – just be without this information. Make it a point – a first condition to enter meditation – that you are not supposing anything, that you do not know anything, that you are ready and open to anything that happens. You have nothing to compare. First, your information (your preconceived ideas) must go. You must not cling to them. If you do not cling to them they will go – die. The seed will die. It will burn. But if you cling to it, it will seem like knowledge, it will seem as a help, it will seem as a guide. So don’t cling to them and they will become redundant. Then it will not be a living seed. It will not project itself.

Secondly, forget your LSD experiences as dreams, otherwise they will be coming between you and your meditation and comparison will go on. That comparison will be suicidal. It must not be compared, otherwise meditation will cease; and you will lean over to LSD. Any chemical help can only create psychic phenomena. It can never be an authentic realization. Realisation is something to which you have happened. Realisation is not something which has happened to you. Realisation is something in which you have jumped. It is not that something has penetrated into you.

In LSD you go nowhere; you are just where you were. Something happens to you because of chemical changes; because your ordinary mind is not functioning. It has been de-functioned.

The ordinary reasoning, the ordinary checks are numbed. They are put off and the unconscious is put on. This has been done through a chemical agent. You are not the controller but the chemical agent is the controller. You are under its influence. You are not a free agent – now LSD is free in you and LSD will work something in you. It is not that you are working, but you are being worked upon and something will happen to you – not that you have happened to something. Realisation means you have happened to something – you have jumped, you have encountered, you have gone! You are not where you were. You have changed. This change is a conscious change, with full awareness; and the change is your effort. Because you have done it, you have traveled, you have gone to some peak, you can be on the Everest. There are two ways:

1. That you are on the Everest but you will be in your bed. You have gone nowhere; and

2. You can go and the very going is the change.

The very struggle to go upward will change you and the peak will not only be a peak of

Everest; but will also be a peak of your efforts. When you have reached the Everest, you have reached the Everest of your will power. In your dreams you have gone nowhere, you exist in the same state, in the same time, only something has happened to you. A dream has come to you. This dream can come in two ways – you can create it through LSD. That is why they look similar. Both ways you are creating it. The unconscious must not be a burden – the unconscious with seeds, with projections, with longings. Only then meditation is possible.

Another difference: when you have taken LSD, your conscious mind has gone to sleep and your unconscious mind begins to work over you. But in meditation, your unconscious is not asleep; rather your conscious is expanding and making your unconscious also conscious. The light of the conscious is going into the unconscious, and a time comes when your whole mind is one. Then meditation has happened. But in LSD the conscious goes to sleep and your unconscious takes charge of you.

Ma A.P.: What do the colours and their sequence mean?

Acharya Rajneesh: They have some meaning but the order is always different for each individual. The order is never the same. But they do have meaning. Colours, perfumes, sounds – everything has a meaning. The first thing that is to be noticed is, the moment you go deep inwards, your each sense has got a corresponding inner organ. We have got an outer sense just like eyes. They see what is without; but when we close our eyes they can see what is within. Every outward experience is stored inward also. The essence of it is stored.

So all your senses have reservoirs of experience in your mind. When you travel inwards, these reservoirs will be met. When you come to the reservoir of colours, you will see beautiful colours which you have never seen with your eyes. But these are essences of all the past experiences – just like a painter painting a beautiful woman. This is not any particular woman. He has seen so many women. This is the essence of them all. All that he has seen, all that he has known, is being depicted in this one figure. Something is from somewhere and something is from somewhere else. This particular figure is nowhere to be met. It is not imaginary and yet, it is nowhere to be found. It is authentic because it has been taken from experiences and yet, it is just an image. It is real and unreal both.

Our senses have stored all the experiences, not only of this life, but of all the lives that have been lived. These are certain essences in us. The eyes have stored colours, light, etc. Ears have stored sounds, harmonies, silences, etc. All the essences have their store-rooms. Now even Science confirms this. They say that if you can touch a particular brain cell with an electrode, then that particular brain cell will explode. A person falling down may see stars. The shock may create stars, if particular brain cells which store light-experiences are being touched. With an electrode, your memories can be touched. If with an electrode I touch a cell which conserves your memory of childhood, you will again become a child and everything will be replayed on the canvas of the mind.

So when you go inwards, these essential essences will explode; and you will know many things which are unknown in such sure form in the outward world. Outward world is always impure with substances, but the inward experiences are pure essences. There is no impurity of matter. They are just electrical phenomena. As phenomenon is just energy, it is pure, and nothing obstructs it. It is transparent. Don’t take these experiences seriously. They are only meaningful as indications that you are going deep down. But it is only the way, it is not the destination.

When you really reach deep down, and in, there will be no experiences – neither of light, nor of sound, nor of anything. Unless all these experiences cease, you cannot transcend the mind. It is the psyche which is displaying its experiences, conserved through endless lives. So first, each person will feel different things because each one is differently oriented, as far as his senses are concerned.

Just two days back someone came, who had no sense of taste; had never known what taste means, so he cannot feel in his inner experiences any feeling of taste. There are persons who are blind, or colour-blind. One person in twelve is colour-blind. A colour-blind person means he cannot see a particular colour. He sees everything else but only a particular colour is not seen by him. Bernard Shaw could not see yellow. He could not make any difference between yellow and green. So he was colour blind as far as yellow was concerned. He could never see yellow in his inner experiences. There was no reservoir of yellow colour. There was no essence of yellow. He had never seen it.

To him it was non-existential. We do not see all the colours. These seven colours are not all the colours. We see only up to these seven colours. Beyond them, we are colour-blind. Below these seven and beyond these seven, there are infinite ranges of colours. We have not seen them, so we will not feel them in our inward journey; because all that is felt in the store-room, is of the without. So, if a musician goes in meditation, he will know sounds which we can ever know. A painter will know colours, which we can never know. If Van Gogh goes into meditation, we cannot conceive what colours he will see, what new combinations he will know! So this too will differ from individual to individual. There can be no order. One thing is certain, when you go deep down in your inner path, things will begin to happen. You will have experiences of colours, sound, perfumes, smells. These are all stored experiences. The whole mind is a storehouse. Every cell is a bundle of experiences ready to explode. Go on, touch it and it will explode! This is meaningful as far as it indicates inwardness. But it will become a hindrance if you cling to it. As the feeling is lovely, the mind will long to cling to it, to repeat it. Then it will be a hindrance to further progress.

A state of mind is to be reached where there is no experience. Rather you say – state of mind with no experience; or you can say – a state of mind with experience of nothingness. Experience itself is the last barrier. One must come to the point where one IS, and there is no experience. Experience has ceased. Only when experience has ceased, duality ceases. When you are experiencing something, duality is there. You are there, so the experience is there. Something without is there. Even if you experience oneness with the world, this experience is duality.

So in meditation, there will be no experiences. When meditation takes its full flowering, there will be no experience at all. YOU WILL BE – and just being is the experience. Nothing is, except just your being – your existence only. And when the experience is not, the experiencer explodes; because it can exist only as a second polarity to experience. When the object is not, the subject explodes itself. There is no subject, no object. Only then the existential is achieved – only then you can say

God IS. You are not, and the World is not – GOD IS. The very ISNESS is God. So these experiences will come, they will come.

-Osho

Taken from the booklet LSD: A Shortcut to False Samadhi

You can read the entire book at: http://www.osho.com/library/

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Spiritual Mysteries of Life, The Mystic’s Heart, and Chakra Sessions 04/25 by Star Nations Radio Network

April 25, 2017 This week enjoy the replays for Spiritual Mysteries of Life, The Mystic’s Heart, and Chakra Sessions Spiritual Mysteries of Life @ 9:30 AM EST Replay: I AM Presence Mini Series – Join Constance Scherer-Vawter as she continues the I AM Presence monthly mini series on the Spiritual Mysteries of Life. Connie continues to share insightful and practical wisdom as we move through times of change with grace and gratitude with our I AM presence. Be sure to tune in by phone or online. The Mystic’s Heart with Denise Iwaniw @ 10:00 AM EST Replay: Join Denise Iwaniw, author of The Mystic Angels and The Mysteries of Ancient Egypt Empower Deck for another edition of The Mystic’s Heart Show. This 60 minute show is dedicated to the mystery teachings of the Ancients and the Angelics alike. Denise will spend a portion pulling Empowerment cards for listeners, the broader audience and chat room chatters. Chakra Sessions with Polly Jo Labbe @ 11 AM EST Replay: “Releasing Fear” – This week Polly Jo will discuss the energy that freezes us from moving forward in life. Each week Polly Jo will focus on the healing energy of the Chakra system. She will focus on the impact the chakras have on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Polly Jo will have a specific chakra each week that will be of emphasis and some weeks where we focus on the energy system as a whole. Polly Jo will take callers who would like an Essential Energy Evaluations. She will offer tips on how to remove those blockages and ways to support energy health.

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The city of jewels – Manipura

Manipura what is it?

Manipura is the sanskirt word for the Solar Plexus which is the third chakra represented by the colour yellow.  Yellow is the symbol of the mind, intellect and wisdom. It is a positive magnetic vibration that acts as a counterbalance for irritable conditions of the nervous system.

In earlier post’s I have written about The root (Survival), The Sacral (Creativity/passion) and after the aspects of understanding survival and feeling passion, come’s growth and nourishment which begins right from our Solar Plexus. Located in our midsection above our navel the solar plexus is the centre of willpower, the core of our personality and our identity. While the (2nd) Sacral chakra seeks pleasure and enjoyment, the third chakra is all about the belief of who you are.

The solar plexus chakra is associated with the fire element because fire provides warmth and comfort. The main function of this energy centre is to give real strength to move forward and realise personal desires and intentions in the world. This chakra spans a wide emotional area while it provides warmth and comfort it can also cause fear and terror. However, it plays a fundamental role in the development of personal power and it also feeds your direction in life and the actions you need to take to reach your goals.

The life lesson of the Solar Plexus is to develop your inner power by being honest and at peace with yourself . 

A Balanced Solar Plexus

A Strong third chakra reflects the ability to move forward in life with confidence and power. It reflects the ability to make conscious choices to choose and to act. The Solar Plexus chakra attributes to our diet and digestion, meaning if you have an unhealthy diet your bound to have an unbalanced Solar Plexus.

A balanced Solar Plexus is very beneficial for many reason’s some of my favourite are that you will notice progress within your personal and spiritual growth and development, you will feel the need to transform into the best version of yourself, your decision-making skills improve and you will feel more independent.

An unbalanced Solar Plexus on the other hand is not so nice with symptoms such as stubbornness, an overwhelming ego, poor health due to a poor diet, poor judgement, lack of confidence, Denial, fear of rejection, fears about physical appearance. In my opinion a Narcissist has an extremely closed, unbalanced Solar Plexus among other chakras.

On one side, a balanced solar plexus chakra makes it easy to find balance between your personal power and harmonious relationships with others; on the other side, an imbalanced third chakra could undermine your self-esteem and social life.

When your Solar Plexus becomes balanced you will show assertiveness, Exert your will in a way that leads to the expected results somewhat effortlessly and have harmonious relationships with whoever you are around.
A balanced Manipura also awakens your conscious mind into learning how to relate to your whole self mentally, physically and spiritually and makes you more conscious of your personal power and how to use your personal power in a balanced way.

Balancing your Solar Plexus

  • Meditate and take part in mindfulness activities: There are many meditations and mindfulness exercises for the solar plexus chakra, one in fact is listed below.
  • Pranayama: Pranayama is control of Breath. “Prana” is Breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and “ayama” means control. So Pranayama is “Control of Breath”. Another easy method to balance your solar plexus is by just breathing! Make each breath mindful focusing on breathing life into your solar plexus and any toxins out of your body.
  • Nutrition: Have a healthy balanced diet and you will have a health balance Solar Plexus Chakra. 
  • Wear yellow and eat naturally yellow foods: I have posted it many times when talking about how to balance your chakras because it is one of the most obvious, easiest and quickest way to give your chakra a quick energy boost.
  • Meditate after you eat: Because of the Manipura being attributed to the digestive system it helps clear blockages and balance your third chakra if you do a quick meditation after you eat focusing on your solar plexus.

Powerful Solar Plexus affirmations

  • I am great in my way.
  • I am positively empowered.
  • I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents.
  • Today, I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones
  • My self-esteem is healthy
  • I respect my body and lead a nutritious life.
  • I starve my ego and feed my soul with wisdom and integrity.
  • I am empowered
  • I am centred
  • I attract success
  • I have power bubbling within me.
  • I am successful in all my ventures.

Powerful Solar Plexus Chakra meditation

The post The city of jewels – Manipura appeared first on PowerThoughts Meditation Club.

The 7 Chakras for Beginners – Coven Life®

The 7 Chakras for Beginners

by mindbodygreen 

7 Chakras for Beginners: Healing, Balancing, Opening Chakras: Exercises, Foods, Colors

The seven chakras are the centers in our bodies in which energy flows through.

Blocked energy in our seven chakras can often lead to illness, so it’s important to understand what each chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely. Here’s our quick summary:

For the rest of this article click on this link:

THE PHILOSOPHY OF BYUNG-CHUL HAN: Relax. Do nothing. Become no one.


The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze once said: “There is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons.” ‘Weapons’ may give us the wrong associations, but what he refers to are concepts that, like a brick, can be used to destroy what is hindering the growth of our lives, and at […]

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FINDING ASYLUM: Welcoming the Shadow to guide us home


In the minute it takes to read the first few lines of this article, 20 people from across the planet will be newly displaced from their homes as a result of human rights violations, conflict or violence. In fact, we are experiencing the highest levels of displacement on record, where 1 out of every 113 […]

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STOP JUDGING: 3 reasons to recognize and release judgments


Judging others is part and parcel of what it means to be a human being. We all do it. Most often, we do it subconsciously. But, as all human behaviour has a reason and a function, what is the function of judging others? Why do we judge people, things and situations, and why should we […]

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LIFEJACKET IN AN OCEAN: Mindfulness is like … not drowning but waving


The door finally shut. I walked away, my throat numb and eyes firmly to the ground. It was that time again. My role of ‘Daddy’ had come to an abrupt end. Against the wish to scream and shout, I turned my ignition towards the other life. Noticing my mind wandering into gloom, I gently escorted […]

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BREAKING THE SILENCE: Overcoming fear and doubt in the creative life


The life of a creative can be plagued by uncertainty and fear. These feelings permeate all stages of the creative process, including that time when you first see the final product. My first blog article was published a week ago. It was almost an out-of-body experience to see such an intimate part of my life […]

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How To Use Meditation For Cravings And Addictions


Good news: You can use meditation for cravings and addictions. And I should know: I quit every addiction at the same time (you wont believe what happened next). What cravings and addictions do you have in your life? Maybe you’re addicted to sugar. Do you keep craving sugary treat? Or […]

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How To Stop Knee And Back Pain When Sitting And Meditating


Do you suffer from back pain when sitting? As meditators, we spend a long time sitting. After all, seated meditation is one of the main meditation postures. But seated meditation can cause serious health problems—knee and back pain, for starters.  If, like me, you sometimes sit meditating for hours on […]

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31 Different Types Of Meditation Techniques—Find Your Best Method Of Meditating


Learn a variety of meditation and mindfulness techniques from Buddhism, yoga, Taoism. These mindfulness techniques are good for stress, anxiety, depression, and for promoting happiness, inner peace, and calmness. This is basically a free online meditation course and mindfulness course for you to enjoy.

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How To Do Breath Of Fire Meditation Like A Kundalini Yoga Guru


Everyone is doing Breath Of Fire, the Kundalini yoga meditation technique. It’s one of the fastest rising trends in the world of yoga and meditation, but many people are doing it incorrectly. We’ve researched and studied from all the masters to bring you this guide to Breath Of Fire Yoga […]

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Meditation For Beginners: Basically Everything You Need To Know


Here’s the first thing to know about meditation for beginners: You will get out of meditation what you put in. As a meditation teacher I’ve helped people change their lives with meditation. Beginners come to this site (THE DAILY MEDITATION) looking to learn how to meditate, and I regularly hear […]

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 Founder Of Calm Meditation App Aiming To Create “Mindful Island” – You’re Invited


You already know that meditation apps are selling like hot cakes. Mindfulness as an industry is basically going through the roof right now. But the founder of meditation app Calm has dreams so lofty they’ll make you gasp. Calm is one of the best meditation apps on the market.  It’s […]

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Should Your Diet Align With Your Spiritual Practice?


Spiritual practices are about walking a path from who you are now to a higher level of awareness, both within and outside of yourself. To do this, your actions and food choices should align closely with the beliefs and goals you’re working towards. This could be done by not drinking in excess if you are working on embracing consciousness or eating more fresh greens and veggies instead of meat and processed foods in order to live off the most natural foods.

SEE ALSO: How To Have ‘Heaven On Earth’: Purpose, Dreams, And Love

Spiritual Practice Goals

Everyone’s method for spiritual practice can vary as far as the type of path you choose to take towards spiritual awakening. Many use yoga and meditative exercise as an avenue to clear their thoughts and connect with themselves. However, most people don’t also take enough time to consider their own feelings or to think about how they can improve the areas of their lives that are unsatisfying.

With meditation and yoga, it’s important to set both physical and mental goals about what kind of clarity you want to find through your practice. Spiritual practice involves taking a holistic approach to an individual person from the mind, body, and soul. This approach to health can also be seen in medicine, in the form of integrative health care, a health practice that insists a person’s mental health must be treated along with their physical health to achieve good overall health.

The current medical workforce uses this approach to treat the mental health aspect of chronic health conditions like depression and anxiety, diabetes, cancer, and several other different types of serious health illnesses. The use of diet in tandem with meditation dates back thousands of years, with religions like Hinduism and Buddhism maintaining vegetarian diets as a key element to their approach to spirituality. These cultures value the lives of all living creatures and prioritize coexistence with animals and, as a result, their diets are focused on the healthiest vegetables and grains that do not weigh the body down, such as spinach, carrots, broccoli, garlic, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Influence of Diet

Although your diet is a personal decision, and it can be difficult to change your diet when you’re accustomed to eating a certain way, opening up your mind to new eating habits could help advance your spiritual health. This usually requires some critical thinking about what your spiritual practice means to you and what aspects of change in your life are going to make you feel more whole and balanced. There are many different diets to try in order to find what works best for you, such as an Ayurvedic diet, vegetarian or vegan diet, or another plant-based, whole-food option.

While the food you put in your body is the most important aspect of a diet, some people use the times at which they eat to control their diet. Intermittent fasting is a style of eating that some individuals use to change their metabolism, often in an attempt to achieve body goals.

With any diet, however, you must be careful to ensure the transition into new eating habits are still providing your body with the nutrition it needs to be strong and healthy, which can be difficult when you make dramatic changes to the foods you’re eating. Everyone’s spiritual practice is different, and yours should ultimately be focused around what makes you feel good as a person and brings you closer to your goals. Adjusting your diet to align with your spiritual beliefs can help you down a path towards growth and connection between your mind, body, and soul. By focusing on your holistic health and dedicating enough time to each aspect of yourself, your spiritual practice will strengthen and come closer to your aspirations.

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What You Seriously Need To Know About Meditation And Sleep


For many of us, sleep is an emotional and sometimes even contentious subject. Many of us feel like we don’t get enough sleep (whether that’s because of stress, insomnia or simply lack of time). Others find it difficult to drag themselves out of bed at all, living with issues such […]

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