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Meditation 101 March 3, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness.
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Beginning a meditation practice offers immediate benefits to those who take a few minutes each day to relax into the moment and just breathe. 

Mediation lowers blood pressure; reduces stress hormones (which cause weight gain); calms the mind; improves concentration; inspires creative solutions; increases mental clarity; decreases  sadness and depression by elevating serotonin levels; and the list goes on. 

If you’ve never meditated, it’s as easy as 1-2-3:

Silence the mind.  Just Be.  Focus on your breath. 

Want a few more pointers?

1.  There are many ways to meditate ~ play around until you find a technique that calms your thoughts and silences your mind: 

* Head to the beach and silently watch waves rolling to shore. 

* No beach?  No problem.  Close your eyes, and focus on the thought of crashing waves.

* Problems using visualization?  Create your own waves by dropping a pebble into a puddle.  Watch the ripples expanding ever outward. 

* Can’t find a pebble?  Repeat an affirmation, phrase, or word instead, while focusing on your breath:  Be Here Now . . .  Just Be . . .  Love . . .  Ommm. 

* To busy to sit down?  Observe yourself in motion: chopping wood, dusting furniture, waxing the car (“wax on, wax off”), or peeling carrots.  The aim: to stop thinking and silently observe your body in motion.

* Need to head to the gym, or walk the dog?  Try a walking meditation, using as many of your senses as you can to observe the world around you ~ the smells, the sights, the sounds.  Observe something, then let it go.  

* Tired?  Just sit and watch your breath coming and going.

2.  Whatever you choose to focus on, let everything else go. 

Every time you find yourself focused on anything other than what you’ve chosen as your focus, return to your focus.

3.  Start small.  Don’t sit down in a full lotus position for an hour spent berating yourself for your inability to get your mind to “Shut the *$@^ up!” 

Instead, aim for five minutes of just sitting still, and observing a candle flame, or listening to the ticking of a clock, or counting 99 bottles of beer on the wall, or enjoying a piece of classical music. 

* * *

Meditation, like playing the piano, gets easier the more you practice.  At first, try not to get attached to any extraneous thoughts for 5 minutes. 

Sit quietly, and comfortably, and just let your thoughts drift across your brain like clouds through the sky. 

Just watch them come and go. 

As you watch, you begin to realize that you are the observer of your thoughts ~ thoughts unbidden  stream across your mind, like a ticker tape. 

You can choose to let them go.  You do not need to hang onto them, or chase after them.   As the observer, you are in control.        

Eventually, if you remain focused on your focus, the stream of extraneous thought slows down ~ as if the clouds were parting with more and more blue sky showing.  In those patches of cloudless sky, the silence becomes profound, and you start to feel your connection with . . . well, everything.

* * *

It’s called practicing meditation for a reason.  There’s no right way or wrong way ~ there is only the way (the unfolding of life, moment by moment).  

Quote:  Just start . . . and the way will appear.

Related posts:  Your Brain On Bliss * Guided MeditationMindfulness Meditation: A Miracle Drug * Deepak Chopra: Mindfulness Meditation * How to Meditate: Eight Simple Steps (Always Well Within)

The Universal Internet March 3, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Magick & Mystery, Mindfulness.
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Have you ever read someone’s mind?  Known what they were going to say before they said it?   Intuitively known something that you could not possibly have known on an intellectual level?  

Perhaps you’ve reached for the phone . . . before it started ringing . . . knowing who would be on the other end . . . and/or why they were calling?

Some people call it the Sixth Sense.  Others refer to it as:  intuition, mother’s intuition, or ESP (Extra-Sensory Perception).

I call it the Universal (or Spiritual) Internet.

Spirit is energy.  

Spirit is universal. 

Spirit connects us all.

At the level of spirit, we are one ~ a huge cosmic web of spiritual energy connecting everyone with everyone else. 

Thoughts (and other impulses of energy, like laughter) travel at the speed of light across and through this web ~ transferring data and information faster than is possible through conventional means, even given the advanced state of  our current technology.

Before the phone rings, we know.  We already know.

So, how do we tap more easily into this great cosmic web?  By staying in the moment.  By reminding ourselves to “Be Here Now.”  By stilling our monkey minds (“racing, racing all the time”) through meditation, yoga, or T’ai Chi.

Silence the mind.  Just Be.  Focus on your breath.

One mind.  One muse.