Meditation, Close to Home and at a Distance

A close friend faced a snowy two-hour drive to a meditation retreat, over the holidays. Three days of silence. No talking or reading, no radio or TV, no phone or computer.

No eye contact either.

In my opinion, it takes guts to commit to three full days of meditation and silence, even for someone who meditates once a day if not twice.

We have mediated together many times. My longstanding interest in meditation was reawakened a few years ago through a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course, modeled on classes developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

The course introduces mindfulness through guided meditation, group dialogue, and home practice. In hospitals it has been used as a complement to conventional medical treatment of illnesses, chronic pain, anxiety and depression. For the rest of us, the course is a practical intro.

In my case, it made meditation part of my life.

As a coach, I introduce meditation in five-minute sessions to those clients who want to learn how to quiet their minds and avoid the distractions of too many crashing thoughts and feelings. I have also led longer meditation sessions over Skype. Yes, you can meditate together at a distance.

In my personal life, however, I have fallen off the daily meditation wagon in recent months and taken to meditating only when the mood strikes.

With the holidays coming up, I was looking forward to restarting daily meditations while away in the country.

Against this backdrop, and with my friend's first-ever meditation retreat in mind, I called while she was driving in the snow to the center:

“Would you like it if I meditate with you each day? I'll keep you company.”

She was facilitated so I said excitedly: “Should we set a time to 'connect' or just see what happens ?”

Not wanting to pin either or us down, I answered my own question: “How about I just find you in outer space each day?”

She loved the idea of ​​connecting at a distance, or, rather, in outer space.

So did I.

Mindfulness is an emotionally accepting and non-reactive state of mind. When one is mindful, we simply accept whatever arises, without judging it as good or bad. Mindful meditation calls for us to be concerned with whatever arises in the here and now, and having the self-awareness to return to port whenever thoughts reach to take us elsewhere.

Part 2 of a 4-day experiment: Learning how to connect in outer space

Late in my first afternoon in the country, as dusk fell, I realized my friend would at that time be filing into the first meditation session of her three-day retreat. So I decided to fit in a quick meditation session of my own and connect with her, to

keep my end of the bargain. I did make a promise.

To set the stage I made a fire and once it was blazing sat before the fireplace in an old wooden chair without a back. Slightly uncomfortable.

I set the meditation app on my phone for 20 minutes.

My front was warm and my back was cold.

I was uncomfortable and very aware of it. I sat straighter, to ease my sore back. My throat was tight and I kept swallowing.

The air was dry.

I looked for my friend by scanning the horizon of outer space – or was it inner space? – until I found her!

This settled my mind. My breathing, too. I was still not comfortable in my back or shoulders, but tried to be mindful about this, and not let it get in the way.

I was happy when the app's gong dinged to end the session.

Even happier that we had connected.

Part 3 of a 4-day experiment: The morning after

I had planned after my previous meditation to do it again first thing after my coffee, so when the time came I was ready, mentally, to sit calmly and meditate.

To ready myself physically, I chose a proper chair and stuffed a cushion behind my back, then put on an extra fleece top for warmth. My husband joined me, too.

My mind was quiet – the right mental state. No racing thoughts competed for attention. I focused on breathing: taking a breath in while rolling my eyes up, then lowering my eyes when I exhaled.

I noticed a dominant feeling around my left eye – like the shadow thrown by a cloud on a sunny summer day. This generated thoughts about left brain and right brain processes. I thought myself, dropped the brainy stuff, and concentrated instead on diffusing the feeling around my eye.

I then remembered I had to look for my meditating friend on her retreat, as planned.

I felt I was hovering 100 feet in the air, scanning the retreat center. I found her easily, without really trying, among the other meditators. My mind was quiet and I felt myself smiling.

Surprisingly, one of my old clients appeared and I said something to him. As soon as I realized I was lost in a coaching conversation, the app gong dinged and the 30-minute session was over.

My husband and I turned to one another and both said: “Meditation is a good thing, is not it?”

Early in this session I realized that, to document my process of meditation while also keeping the spirit of mindfulness, I had to stop trying to memorize what was going on in my mind. I had to trust I would be able to capture the essence of the meditation through stream of consciousness notes right after the session. This article is an edited version of those notes.

Part 4 of a 4-day experiment: Meditating with company in the house

I was looking forward to this meditation and, even though friends were visiting I had no difficulty getting to it, pulling up a chair, and setting my app timer.

I settled into my breathing almost immediately after closing my eyes.

I felt right away over my right eye the shadow that had hovered over my left eye in the previous meditation. For a moment I thought I'm either left or right brain dominant – as if this should be a point of pride.

I continued to observe my breathing. I noticed I was trying again to describe in words the meditation experience to help me remember interesting details for this article. (This was despite the commitment described above to drop the memorization and trust to post-meditation notes.)

I managed to stop converting the experience into words and went back to my breathing. (This repeated desire to wordify the meditation reflects my interest in talking things out)!

I then remembered – again – I was supposed to be looking for my friend. I scanned a large room filled with rows of meditators in the lotus position and rows of meditators separated in chairs. I found her in a chair and we sat together until the feeling of connection faded.

I lost any sense of time.

I had an overwhelming feeling that, on my deathbed, I would like a certain person to be there with me. Heat filled the space around my heart and radiated. My eyes filled with tears.

The gong dinged, I opened my eyes, and wiped away the tears.

Experimentally, Mindfully and Mindfully yours,


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Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts of Meditation Practice

Meditation and mindfulness to help with stress is one of the most commonly attempted self care techniques that usually fail to help people. Here are some tips and tricks on what to do and what to watch out for to ensure you have success and peace in your life.

Do # 1: Try different types of meditation, in Buddhism there are over 40 techniques, each prescribed to a specific problem or personality type. Some types of meditation that can help are; Single point, insight, Mindful breathing, Guided Meditation, Self hypnosis, Zen, and many more. You should attempt to try a couple at least, in person is best. Just take it as an experience at first. If you get a good result, go again …

Do # 2: Pick a time and a place to practice. Of course you are really trying to 'be here now so why choose a time? It is preferred, especially when beginning to start at a time when there are not any other things that need to be done. Start with some thing easy and do capable. Only do meditation for about 10 minutes to start and get the time set. Then gently expand the amount of time you practice.

Do # 3: Get an anchor! Anchors are one of the most important parts of a successful practice, at least in the beginning. Find a motivating or peaceful picture, statue, smell, or other sensory item that you only use during your time for meditation. This will anchor your mind to that as a peaceful and meditative 'thing' which you can later not need. Think of it as training wheels or floaters. You do not need them forever, right?

Do # 4: Set up your space. Do your meditation in the same place until you are feeling more confident. Sometimes you can do it anywhere.

Do # 5: Be patient with yourself. It is a practice, like medicine. You learn the basics then practice because it is a part of your daily existence. Imagine how nice it would be to be mindful of the wonderfulness of what 'is'.

So, there are some do's of meditation. I could go on for hours and answer a hundred questions on that alone. Now, here are some things to avoid.

Do not be discouraged at first you do not succeed. I know, your mind goes a million miles an hour, you can not stop thinking or you have ADD or something. Well, join the club. Meditation will work for you and will help, but only as you begin to add it to your daily life.

Do not # 2: Avoid the cult way of meditation. There is no 'master meditator', what do they do, sit longer or better than others? That is ridiculous. Go and try as many as possible, in person if possible. Just make sure you are clear you are doing this for yourself and not a guru or some teacher that wants you to sign up for a prolonged or set of classes.

Do not worry about doing it wrong. You can refine your technique later. You will find 'your' technique. Of course some say that their is the only one that 'really' works. But remember, what works for them might not be your thing. Stay open and curious.

Do not # 4: Slouch or lying on the floor. Although great sleeping meditations are out there, we are trying to develop the mind to be a little better, one breath at a time. Sit with a posture that is dignified and worthy of the work you are doing. You are going to have a better life, I promise, or your money back. But sit up and stay awake for it.

Do not # 5: Discouragement is a killer in this game. Keep at it. Were you an expert at anything the first few times? It takes time to see things as they are and to begin to not be so controlled by our thoughts. To stop reacting takes time, you have been an expert at worry and stress for long enough.

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Meditation of Frustration

Meditation used to aggravate me to no end because I struggled to focus or relax enough to find the threshold of Nirvana. However, thankfully this is no longer the case since it takes little to no effort for me to enter into a deepened meditative state (which is honestly how it should be – ie effortless). But how? Well that's what I wanted to discuss with ya!

You see, westerners generally have trouble telling their minds to calm down. This in turn can make it difficult for an individual to either enjoy the experience, or get something of value from what they envisioned. Now what do I mean by that? Well I constantly asked whether or not I was even meditating “properly.” Ie I was so worried and fixated upon the idea I may or may not have been dotting my I's and crossing my T's that I could not relax enough to even enjoy a practice session.

I would make an attempt but walk away restless, confused, agitated, and tense beyond belief! Now what usually happens when you attempt something and fail to meet any expectations you've laid out? Well you might push forward (spurred by your emotion to succeed), or you'll more than likely step away before you embarrass yourself anymore than you already have.

It did not matter how many books, articles, podcasts, etc. I exposed myself to in order to find that “missing” piece to a puzzle that was driving me up a wall – I still seemed to run into the same issues. That is until a friend directed me to binaural beats. A series of ton repetitions that cajole one's mind noodle into a serene and relaxed state. Ie one can not help but meditate while listening to those rhythms.

Couple that with some headphones, a blindfold, a comfortable position (lying down or sitting), some privacy, and you'll be off to the races before you know it. But why? Well one needs to remove themselves from their daily rituals (like attending a coffee shop filled with chattering people) in order to temporarily sever ties with this trend call reality.

But life is wonderful and beautiful, so why would I want to waste my time sitting around my head space when I could be dining on the latest Franken-food while watching my favorite NFL team crush their rivals? True, although meditating can actually increase your appreciation of life and all of its wonders by causing you to literally stop to smell the flowers.

Go inside for a bit and explore what you are made of. But I'm scared of the dark! Fear not because the shadow holds the keys to unlocking your inner potential. Beside, you can always flip the switch to your right if you want a little light to accompany you along the way. It is your body. It is your temple. It is your choice. So relax and enjoy the process for it need not be frustrating.

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The Advantages Of Mindful Meditation Techniques

A lot of individuals experience problems at work and at home which can drain their energy. Because of this, there are cases when individuals can not manage all the problems and can result in serious problems like being violent. Because of this, they can hurt their loved ones and even other individuals. Luckily, there are now ways to help individuals deal with their problems properly like mindful meditation techniques.

Mindful meditation techniques were created long ago. Mindful meditation is commonly done by sitting with eyes closed, cross-legged on a pillow, or on a chair, with the back straight. With this, individuals can obtain wonderful benefits that can improve their lifestyle. Below are some of the following.

Help over anger and depression

Anxiety and depression are only some of the most commonly experienced issues of individuals. These issues are caused by numerous reasons from stress at work, problems at home, and other personal issues. By opting for reliable meditation techniques, individuals can overcome anxiety and depression since they can relax and unwind. In addition, meditation allows individuals to have better peace of mind which can help them make better decisions.

Increase performance

Apart from helping you overcome anxiety and depression, meditation can also help individuals increase their performance. As mentioned above, meditation can help individuals make better decisions. As a result, they can easily accomplish their tasks. Other than that, meditation can also help increase the memory and even boost your focus.

Improve health

Another wonderful benefit of mindful meditation is it can help improve your health. A lot of researchers claim meditation can promote better health some teens up to adults. For one, it helps protect the brain. This is achieved since there are techniques that allow the brain to change, which can protect it from mental illnesses. Meditation can also help individuals achieve certain goals such as losing weight since it helps individuals to be focused. And, it also helps individuals to rest properly.

Makes you a better person

Finally, meditation can also help you become a better person. Of course, with the right mindset, you can easily make better decisions. Not to mention, you can also focus on your tasks efficiently without thinking about any problems. Individuals can also improve their health easily rest properly.

With all these amazing advantages, individuals can improve their lifestyle and strength their well-being that can help them create a better future for them. Click here for more.

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Can There Be Meditation Without the Meditator? A Matter of Inward Journey

Life on this planet is hard – difficulties come from many directions and take away the peace of mind. People take to religions in order to feel secure. Some adopted a system of meditation that appeals to them. Both those approaches have helped them reach some composition and stability in life. However, on careful observation, we find that they function more as palliatives rather than provide a cure to the malady. In other words, they act as escape routes instead of helping one understand the cause of the problem. Shields are developed against life, giving temporary solace without making one come to grips with the root of the malady. It is like trying to correct a malfunction in an automobile without properly locating the fault. Further, the religious and meditative systems are result oriented and so they create a hopeful future making the present merely a passage. As a result, fear sets in the deeper layers of the mind. It needs certain courage to face the Now without a shield. True living is a matter of being in the Now; while it respects the practical future, it does not develop dependence on a psychological future. As of now, only a small percentage of human animals is aware of this and so many fall prey to the habitual neurology of clinging to religious or meditative systems.

The Malady

The thought created 'I' is a result of the body-mind identification with oneself due to the habitual neurology. By the time the child grows into the age of three or so, this identification begins and continues to grow until it becomes a hardened psychological entity by the teenage years. Then the ego is well set in place and acts like the true self. The habitual neurology is handed down to the child genetically and in other ways. As a result of the hardened ego the human being behaves like a robot. That is how we can predict a person's behavior if we have known him or her for a few years. It is the robot that is afraid of being attacked or dissolved. It knows that it is thought created and so it is ephemeral; hence its fear of death. This apprehension causes it to be identified with a nation, religion, race etc and in that process, feel a sense of permanency through them. Consequently, it develops emotional attachment to them.

Through simple awareness it is possible to dissolve the robot once we see the above process of the robotic development in oneself and in others. That awareness starts an inward journey which gradually diffuses the robot. One becomes an affectionate bystander to oneself. It is a great relief to be freed from the robot because there would then be no need to depend on any system for mental peace. Every practice to reach a predetermined result – such as fulfillment of desires, being in the good books of God, entering heaven after death etc – is seen as a matter of self-imposed burden. The consequent inner relief and calmness lead to unqualified compassion towards all, irrespective of what nation or religion the other belongs to.

Meditation without the Meditator

Once we are freed from all self-imposed burdens, living itself, from morning till night, becomes a movement in meditation. The usual process of being driven by the ego with its self-interest would no longer govern the daily psychology. The readiness to meet life without a shield would characterize our mental state. It would also help us apply ourselves to the practical responsibilities with passionate involvement. We would love whatever we do. The associated self-awareness helps us be in a state of meditation without there being a meditator with his self-interest. That mindset has no emotional attachment to any system, and so has no enemies. It would hesitate even to hurt an ant; How can it hurt the other beasts? Obviously, only such a mind can have anything to do with true religiosity.


It is interesting to note that the aftermath of the near death experience engenders the above state of natural meditation in many of them but perhaps not in all. What the experience does to the individual greatly depends on the person's mindset before the experience. However, it is found that a good percentage of them is pushed away from conventional religious and meditative practices. They understand that true meditation is free of self-interest and so it accompanies one through the waking hours. Listening to their messages free from sectarian thought, we can understand this matter of meditation without the meditator.

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Meditation – Finding God in It?

For some people, there appears to be no presence of God in the world and in their lives. No God in religious ceremony. No God in sacred writing. No God in prayer. If you can not find God in these ways then you might wonder, 'Can I find God in meditation?'

Meditation practice

The various traditions teaching meditation meditation to emphasize one approach over others.

Asian forms of meditation tend to be technical, for example the voluntary focusing of attention on an object of no consequence, as a way of quieting the mind to all other attachments.

On the other hand, Western world religious forms of meditation typically concentrate on a religious image or scriptural text.

The risk in meditation is that the center of attention might be lost. Whatever technique is used it is generally agreed that without some sort of focus you might easily simply fall asleep, or wander aimlessly in inner subjectivity. This why it takes a lot of meditation practice to get good at it.

Essence of meditation

Meditation practice involves learning to neglect the roaming and undisciplined thoughts that reflect one's ordinary concerns. It is generally agreed that, by training the mind in this way, one is opening one's self up to something beyond worldly attachments.

Meditation has been described as putting “the thinking-ego-mind on slow”. In other words, the process is trying not to think, and not to identify with any thought that happens to occur. In this way, one begins to notice what else is present beyond ordinary consciousness. Meditation means giving attention to this inner perception. Through much practice in quietening the mind, one can begin to discover less tangible things.

“Meditation is to dive all the way within, beyond thought, to the source of thought and pure consciousness. It enlarges the container, every time you transcend. When you come out, you come out refreshed, filled with energy and enthusiasm for life. “ (David Lynch, film director)

It has been suggested that there is an internal wisdom guiding the process.

When (someone) is not taken up with worldly things but sees in light on a more internal level, what is right and fair is the basis of his thought; and if he sees in light on a still more internal level, what is naturally true and good is the basis of it. (Emanuel Swedenborg, spiritual philosopher)

Photism and meditation

Some people who practice meditation say they can experience an inner experience of a bright light. This phenomenon is known as photism.

According to a well-known text-book on the psychology of religion by David M.Wulff, those researching photism report that in the majority of cases, whatever the individual's usual world-view, photism wonders overwhelming feelings of awe and reverence.

Swedenborg – who used meditation a lot although did not always call it by this name – wrote that at these times he often inwardly experienced an orange flame. For him it appeared to affirm that the love of God was present within his life.

Interpreting experiences in meditation

What many people call 'God' comes in many guises. The term is not always part of everyone's language these days. Instead of using this noun, some people use one or more adjectives to describe their experience in deep meditation – adjectives like 'the One', 'the Sublime', 'the Infinite', 'the Creative', 'the Ultimate', and ' the Cosmic '- often using capitalization to indicate that they are referring to something that transcends and is beyond the self.

Historically, this usage of language appears to come from Eastern spirituality. For example, an author of an ancient Chinese text wrote of meditation in terms of maintaining a sense of oneness and having heavenly thoughts.

“When you enlarge your mind and let go of it, when you relax your vital breath and expand it, when your body is calm and unmoving: And you can maintain the One and discard the myriad disturbances … This is called” revolving the vital breath “: Your thoughts and deeds seem heavenly. ” (Guan Zhong)

Actually, my sense of English grammar is upset when I hear this. The 'One' what? And so I want to re-word what they say to add a noun – producing something like 'the sublime Spirit', 'the infinite Source', 'the creative Origin', 'the ultimate Being' or 'the cosmic force'.

Need for right religious teaching

The general stage of Western religion is to teach people about God as disclosed in sacred writings. You need to know about something before you can recognize it.

Whatever you find God in meditation may depend on what you mean by God. What words we use as adults seem to depend on what we understand by them. The term 'God' can signify for example a judging and vengeful figure, a hidden spirit of divine custody, or a glorious creator of everything

I would suggest that the individual who in a meditative state has a higher state of consciousness and has a clear intuition of what is good and true. However, the understanding will be limited in line with what he or she knows.

Swedenborg expresses this idea in terms of the Word of God which for him is what is divinely true:

The person in whom the internal level lies open is in possession of the inner sense of the Word, because he does not know he is, and as a consequence has enlightenment when he reads the Word. receive by means of the cognitions or knowledge residing with him. “

How do you answer the question about finding God in meditation that appears to depend on the framework of ideas with which you are familiar. Someone who is religious is more likely to speak of feeling God's presence in meditation.

“I deepen my experience of God through prayer, meditation, and forgiveness” (Marianne Williamson, writer about the Course in Miracles)

By turning your eyes on God in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with God.” (Francis de Sales, bishop)

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Top Five Benefits of Meditation

Our mind controls our lives. Our thoughts, actions, emotions are all byproducts of our mind. It's the most active part of our body, even when we are sleep our active mind is constantly working in the form of dreams. It is unsteady and keeps changing every moment.

The Main work of our mind is to send and receive information and store them in the form of memories. The information and experience further work as guidelines in our lives. They affect our thought process and attitude.

Our mind is full of positive and negative elements. Meditation purifications our mind and eliminates negative emotions. It promotes peace, harmony and happiness. Meditation is beneficial for our body and mind. It is a spiritual practice which connects us to a higher powers. Here are some of the benefits of meditation that will inspire you to adopt it in your life.

Stress Management – Meditation calms the mind and slows down the thought process. So even 5 minutes of short meditation practice makes you feel fresh and rejuvenated. During meditation, we concentrate on one thing in our body or outside body. It helps us divert our attention from the object of stress. people who practice meditation are less prone to stress, anxiety and other mental problems.

Better Concentration – In the beginning, your mind will resist the act of concentration. It is habitual to for your mind to wander. With the regular practice of meditation, you will learn the skill of concentration. Concentration is a state of mind where you focus on one thing with full attention. Meditation channelizes our energy to one single point resulting in a better focus on the task at hand.

It Develops Self-Awareness – Meditation is the discovery of self. It is a process to connect with your inner self. The outward appearance is only our physical identity, we are more than that. In today's noisy world we hardly listen to ourselves. We are running on the treadmill of life, for money, family, reputation and more. Meditation helps in realizing our goal and true happiness of life.

It Slows down Aging Process – These day people are getting old quite early. Unhealthy lifestyle, stress, junk food are some of the reasons of it. Meditation is the secret of a long and healthy life. It reduces stress, enhances our mental abilities and brings joy in our lives. People who do meditation benefit from a shiny skin and look younger

Brings Peace And Happiness – While most of the people are busy in the pursuit of earning money. They would also accept that the main goal of life is to get peace and happiness. Money is a medium to it but not the final end. Happiness is within us, we need to discover it and meditation is the best way of self-discovery.

Meditation is an ancient tradition that millions of people practice every day. People who do it regularly, experience a greater control over their mind.

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Meditation for Improved Sleep and Happier Holiday Time

Meditation is portable, substantial, and powerful. It improves your life in all sorts of ways, ranging from the spiritual to the physical.

Today I want to share about how you can take concrete and effective steps to improve your sleep and, by extension boost your energy, through meditation

Meditation is a practice that you build incrementally over time. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes for you. And right from the start, just a few moments of meditation can help you fall sleep faster, as well as improving the quality of your sleep. In fact, it's quite possible that meditation could help you feel more refreshed with fewer hours of sleep.

Here are 7 simple practices to encourage mindfulness and increase energy:

Meditation Practices to Do Anytime

  • Breathe deeply. Breathing fully from your abdomen gets more oxygen to your brain. You'll have more energy all day long and feel more relaxed when night falls.

  • Scan your body. Get in the habit of paying attention to your body. When you notice an ache or pain, try adjusting your position to address small discomforts before they build up and interfere with your energy and your sleep.

  • Let go of judgments. Meditation also helps develop a mind free from judgment. As you observe your thoughts you notice (and reduce) negative self-talk.

  • Identify obstacles. If some thoughts recur as you meditate, they could be trying to tell you something. They may be issues you need to resolve so you can sleep better.

  • Become more mindful. Focusing on the present moment helps you stay calm. Studies show that multi-tasking erodes concentration and creates stress that contributes to insomnia.

  • Try Yoga or Tai chi. Exercises like these are especially helpful when you approach them as a mental discipline as well as a physical workout. They encourage deep breathing, stress reduction and enhanced concentration.

  • Use meditation to complement sleep. People who go on prolonged retreats are sometimes surprised that meditating all day may dramatically reduce their need for sleep at night. Proceed at your own pace to find the right combination of sleep and meditation for you. You may someday find that your body requires less sleep as you meditate more.

Ready to explore meditation and the ways it can enhance your life – and especially the quality of your sleep? Let's get a bit more concrete, with these 5 specific tips, to use at night and in the morning. I think you'll find them very helpful!

Meditation Practices for Bedtime and On Waking

1. Limit your screen time. Meditation works wonders and stepping away from the TV or the internet will help you fall sleep. Studies show that many Americans are suffering from sleep problems because of the mental stimulation and looking at a bright lit screen just before retiring. Turn all your devices off at least an hour before bed.

2. Create a quiet setting. Silence is conducive to both meditation and sleep. Now that you've got the TV off, put your phone away too.

3. Take the pressure off. Getting angry about falling asleep is enough to keep you up at night. By shifting your attention to more constructive activities, you'll dispel these tensions.

4. Use guided imagery or phrases. You can adapt some of the concepts you use in your meditation when you're going to sleep. Select any soothing image or thought and allow your mind to become fully engaged with it. You might think about a still lake or a line of poetry. If you wake up after falling asleep, return your mind to your object of meditation.

5. Wake up more gently. Try going to bed and getting up at the same time each day so you can wake up naturally without using an alarm clock. Easing your mind awake gradually enables you to transition gently, reflecting on dreams and welcoming the new day.

Meditation is a safe and effective method for alleviating insomnia. These techniques will enhance your sleep time and boost your energy, no matter what else is going on in your life!

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5 Easy Steps to Initiate Meditation for Children

Meditation since ages has been considered to be the process of calming the mind and soul for adults as they are the ones who face a higher amount of stress and tensions. With the changing trends and the behavioral behaviors in children, they too are in need of mediation to release pressure and tension that they receive while competing with their peers to stay ahead in everything that they do. You may be pondering over the fact that children are immature to understand its depths but, in reality, it can be fun and beneficial. Just sit back and read along. You will be enlightened on the fact by the end of this article.

• Sit with them in a comfortable space – A quiet and comfortable space with a soothing ambience can be just the right thing to engage your child in meditation. Playing soft classical music can add to the mood but make sure that the arrangement does not let them fall sleep. Soft music is also known to relax the mind of an overly active child. Initially, they may not agree to sit with you but having a talk with them or luring them with a gift could help sort the issue.

• Let them be comfortable – It is not mandatory for children to sit crossed legged unlike adults and so you need to let them find a comfortable position. They may want to sit in a chair, sit with their legs stretched, etc. and then letting them find the right position for themselves will let them concentrate in a better way.

• Perform the art form along with them – Simply instructing them would not be the solution where they may not be able to forgive what you want to convey. Sitting along with them, performing the actions and asking them to replicate those can let them trap it in a better way.

• Put a light on their breathing process -Instructing them to breathe in and breathe out deeply and slowly and keeping a count on it would let them understand the reason you want them to breathe that way. With time, you can instruct them to keep a tab on their breathing themselves. Breathing is known to keep the mind calm, and so you would notice an improvement in their behavior.

• Start the process slowly – While you may sit for an hour or so alone, children may not have the patience to sit for an hour the first day you sit with them to meditate. Starting off with a lesser time span can help them adjust and gradually increasing the time can give them focus for a longer time.

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10 Ways to Create Your Own Meditation Space to Sit Relax Breathe

The clutter, piles of paperwork, bills, emails, text messages, social media posts, clothing, dishes, AHH! It's all overwhelming and you're on the verge of a panic attack if it all does not get organized! Whether it's at home or your office, things can just seem to pile up and feel like there is an uncontrollable chaos. We've all been there. We crave calmness and tranquility but there does not seem to be time to even create your own meditation space to Sit. Relax. Breathe. There are meditation classes, meditation CD's and even meditation books but sometimes all you need is a space of your own to meditate.

Although some people see meditation as weird it is simply because they do not understand that it is a practice that can recharge and heal your mind and your emotional well-being. While most of us are aware of the benefits of meditation we still do not practice it regularly if at all. We barely have time to fit in a workout to let alone time to actually stop and breathe. One way to start is to create your own meditation space to Sit. Relax. Breathe.

Your meditation space can be as simple as transforming a small corner of your bedroom that is peaceful. Whatever you have found meditation in your daily routine or not, creating a sacred space to de-stress and relax for some “me time” may start you on your practice to transform it into a more comfortable and tranquil experience.

There is not a specific set of rules to creating a mediation space but there are some key points to consider. What's most important is that you find elements that you love to create a personal feeling of peace.

Create Your Own Meditation Space to Sit. Relax. Breathe.

1. Quiet Space.

You'll want to find a room in the house that you can dedicate to your meditation practice or that has a space you can create your zen place, preferably a place where there is little traffic. A place where when you let out a fart or two, no one will be around to hear it.

2. Tushy Worthy Seating

Comfortable seating is an essential element of meditation. Depending on the space, a pillow, a comfy chair such as a rocking chair should suffice as long as it's something that you can plant your tush for a while.

3. Lights, Camera, Action

Natural light will enhance your mood. Find a room where you can moderate when the sun goes down or where the room faces the sun for the time of day you will meditate. If there is not such a room, maybe a space on your patio or even your garden may work. As long as this place is one that allows for you to not be distracted.

4. A Touch of Nature

Having plants, flowers or a tree in or near your meditation space can be relaxing and healing. If you do not have or can not have plants near you having a window to overlook the outdoors provides a calming aesthetic to your mind.

5. Aromatherapy

Using essential oils such as lavender and peppermint can be soothing and can increase alertness and focus. Before you start your meditation inhale an essential oil of your choice and use it regularly. You'll soon find that just getting a whiff will bring you to a state of calmness. You can also use incense and candles.

6. Personal Calming Objects

These objects can make you more mindful to relax when you see them. They can be spiritual or religious in nature. These objects can be affirmation stones, a Buddha statue, candles or rosary beads or statue of Jesus or Mary for instance. They can be a glass full of sand and seashells or a spirit animal (mine is an owl, Hoot, Hoot! But I love elephants with their trunk up, they are said to bring good luck.)

Keep in mind that you want a clear environment to keep your mind open so do not overcrowd the space. You may consider swapping out pieces now and then.

7. Writing Journal

Sometimes after meditating you have clarity on certain things and you're going to want to write them down. Have a nice notebook with a fun pen ready to jot down your thoughts and feelings. You can even write down your personal goals.

8. Tranquil Sounds

Your meditation space would ideally be tranquil but if it's not possible you'll need to find some things to mask the noises. A small indoor waterfall can offer soothing sounds and may help drown out, for instance, the city noises. You can also play music without lyrics, such as, classical music or even the sounds of the ocean or birds chirping. Make sure to put it on repeat. You may want to stay away from Real Turkeys Sounds For Wild Turkey Hunting CD.

9. Dress Comfy

Dressing in comfy clothing so you're not fussing around when you meditate. The last thing you want to do is worry about your panties creating a wedgy or having those skinny jeans you somehow got into cutting your circulation off.

10. Colors that Sooth

Choose colors that you like and bring you tranquility. Lighter colors open up a room and may be more soothing and relaxing but may not provide the warmth you seek while darker colors make a room feel cozy and intimate.

In the end, how you create your own meditation space to Sit. Relax. Breathe. is up to you. It's your space to be Zenspirational and put together a space where you can have a routine that will heighten your focus and perspective. Where you can have a space to calm your racing thoughts and become more mindful.

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Mindfulness Let’s You Let Go of Stress

Are you mindful? We do not mean being considerate to people, although that's great, we mean are you really aware of your experiences from moment to moment and how it feels to live in the present?

Mindfulness is a deliberate and disciplined set of practices that fosters awareness of each moment and how you are experiencing those moments. It's a kind of metacognitive technique, “thinking about thinking” that lets you take more control of your mental and emotional world.

On a practical level, mindfulness involves meditation, yoga and body awareness. In a clinical setting practicing these techniques can reduce stress and its deleterious physical and mental effect. Formally, this is known as Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR).

This system was popularized by Dr. Jon Zabat-Kim and has become ever more refined compared to its spiritual, cultural and religious roots. Mindfulness based stress reduction is a secular practice and clinical trials have shown that it has the potential to reduce stress in individuals who practice it. It should be clear that Mindfulness based stress reduction does not aim nor claim to cure any disease, but to help individuals manage the mental toll of everyday life as part of an overall approach to wellness.

What do I do?

The Mindfulness based stress reduction program can take a variety of forms. For some people it may involve a group setting over a number of weeks, accommodated by a series of homework assignments.

Another effective method is by learning at home via online training. Of course there are a great many advantages with this option, including convenience and flexibility as well as the major factor for most, being financial. Online training is often a fraction of the cost of attending group meetings, meaning that it can be available for everyone.

During your mindfulness based stress reduction training you will learn how to meditate, how to scan your body and simple Yoga poses. In fact, for near the first half of the program you'll only be learning body scanning as a foundation for the other methods.

Is it for me?

Although Mindfulness based stress reduction is not a treatment for any condition it can help to alleviate subjective symptoms for people suffering from depression, anxiety and stress. It also helps people with the management of pain, both physical and emotional.

It takes commitment on your part despite and results vary from person to person. If done right and with a receptive subject it can make a significant difference in your quality of life and there's nothing to lose but a little time and effort with no side effects.

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The Art of Doing Nothing With Our Endless Numbered Days

“There are things that drift away, like our endless numbered days …” – “Passing Afternoon” by Iron & Wine

That's a wonderful line from a song.

We're close to the end of another year. Time does seem to go quicker the older you get. Although time is an illusion, the fact that we expertly place books on our days with calendars and hours we're able to understand progress-or lack thereof.

This year, I've shared with friends and family condole calls, new jobs, engagements, lost pregnancies, life-threatening illnesses and everything in between. I've also shared new dreams and goals seasoned with measured life experience. And the more time passes, the more I know every day becomes infinitely more precious.

The Urgency of Life

I understand as we grow older, my friends and colleagues who are increasing stoking a roaring flame. I guess once someone gets to middle age it begins to put things into perspective. If you have not done things that are more aligned to your nature and who you are, well then, when do you presume to start? Time is passing by.

I see how some of my friends and people I know are going all in. They're actions become more important. I'm doing it as well. I have decided to keep on focusing more on my writing as opposed to any consulting work in the social sector. I've also been able to create a platform where I can write about what I know in the philanthropic sector. At the same time, I'm able to do what's always been my passion – writing.

But There Has to Be Quiet in that Whirling Storm

However, a great lesson I've learned since leaving behind my former life is that there has to be quiet. For the longest time, I've struggled with meditation. Despite the fact I've found it to be extremely helpful at challenging points in my life, it's never been terribly easy for me. My mind just does not “do quiet” too often.

But, it has to quiet. It has to be still, along with the soul. So, what I've learned to do is my own meditation. In fact, my life is a meditation to get to silent place on a daily basis in the middle of all the goal setting, urgency of life and chaos of simply existing in this world.

I've been on a personal journey with meditation since I was 17 years old. And today, I see it packaged and commoditized. Everyone is talking about meditation, mindfulness and then many are going against what it's supposed to mean from a Zen or Buddhist perspective. But that's a topic for another day …

So, along that journey, I've learned – at least for me – that I can practice my meditation in the way we traditionally think of it when I can. But, there's no reason I can be meditative all through each and every day.

On Being Meditative and Doing Nothing

Here are tips on how I've embarked on my meditative journey. Perhaps they can help you if you're at a point in your life where you need to consistently remain centered and focused:

  • I am purposeful about the first 5 minutes of every single day. I wake up quietly and remain in bed. I do not check my phone. I do not open the blinds. I just keep there with my eyes closed and try to keep my mind clear. What I mean by that is that I allow thoughts, but I do not judge them. I do not rush them. I do not get into dialogue with myself in my mind. I just let the day begin easily and slowly.

  • The next meditative moment for me is my coffee time. I love coffee. That's my time. I do whatever I want during a cup of coffee. I rarely speak to anyone. I do not watch television. I prefer to read. This helps because it's another “pause” in my regular routine that I use as I want.

  • At the end of the day, I always spend about 45 minutes to an hour on my own. Typically, this is the time when I transition from using my phone to reading a book. For me, as a writer, I like to end my day in the lives of interesting characters. Recently, I've started to fall sleep with the thoughts on the next scenes of a story I'm writing.

In short, what I've learned is that I do not need to have meditate to be meditative. I can create quiet spaces each and every day to be reflective and introspective. This, in turn, helps me remain focused and balanced. It provides the space to thoughtfully choose what I'm going to do each day with my endless number days.

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The 4 Major Effects of Meditation on Depression and Stress

Depression is a clinical disease that engulfs the normal self of a person when the stress levels are high, and one does not feel normal about their lives. There may be several reasons for depression like professional strain, problems in the family or a serious issue with an important aspect of one's life. It can be cured with the help of medicines, but the best way to get over it is meditation and Yoga. Meditation involves sitting in solidarity and thus reducing the levels of stress by performing relevant activities. There are ways that meditation can normalize a brain and get rid of depression. They may be categorized as follows –

• The deactivation of the depression areas in the brain – When a person mediates, the brain goes into a slumber. The areas that control the anxiety and stress levels in the brain gets deactivated automatically as people do not tend to think of their worries while meditating. The practice of such deactivation on a daily basis lets the depression reduce completely.

• Helping the mind to think about the present – There are people who tend to think about the past accidents of their lives which were disturbing. The disturbing memories sometimes increase the stress levels and making people depressed. There is a similar effect on those who think about their future and what it holds for them. This therapy calms the mind and thus letting people think of the present and not fret about what has happened or what will happen.

• Helps in reacting to situations – Different people have their perspectives to look at the world and the ways to react to each incident that takes place. There are people who tend to worry and get depressed about each and everything around them. As it helps in soothing the conditions of the mind and bringing about patience in their lives, people tend to react to different situations with ease depending on its seriousness and how it affects their lives. People no longer panic while handling serious situations and sort them out with ease.

• Brings about the feeling of being content – People at times feel the need for everything in their lives. They may not be able to afford it, and then the feeling of depression sets it. It helps in soothing the mind and being content with whatever they have. People tend to feel better about their lives and what they have when their minds are content. The stress levels that reduce naturally and bring about a change in one's body.

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How To Start Living Your Life With Meditation

Meditation is all about training your mind to concentrate and focus on your inner self. It is about sitting in a corner, at peace and closing your eyes and breathing in the correct condition so as to make sure your mind is at peace and rest. This is not an easy task for most of us, especially if you are a beginner and a new person to the whole phenomenon. Your mind will tend to wander around and you might even feel bored. But it is said that perseverance and patience will eventually pay off and you will get the “hang” of it.

Below are some tips and techniques for meditation:

1. Choose a proper place. It may not be the brightest idea to start the session in a crowded, noisy or a public place. You have to make sure it is a peaceful and quiet one where you can focus and try to concentrate. Usually, a corner in a personal room where you can keep the world shut away is the best place.

2. Another thing is persistence. You will not start “meditating” or reaping its benefits immediately. Have patience and be at it for some time – you will certainly benefit and it will absolutely prove to be an advantageous thing for you

3. Another technique to help you meditate is to create a nice and warm environment. A cold and uninviting room is a bad idea. How about putting some candles and cranking up the room temperature so that it is comfortable and full of positive vibes. This positivity in the air will help you calm your frayed nerves and will help you to sit down, focus and start training your mind to concentrate.

4. After creating the perfect space, now take a look at your posture. Make sure you are sitting down firmly on the ground, on a mat and make sure you are sitting in an upright, straight position.

5. Another great technique and a must for meditation is to concentrate on the proper way of breathing. Breathing is an important part and an integral technique of meditation. Make sure you are breathing correctly, from your nose and try to inhale maximum oxygen and also exhale it put completely. This will make you fall into a rhythm which is great for meditation. This will eventually help with blood circulation, nervous system, blood pressure and digestive system.

6. Lastly, what if you can not command your mind not to wander? No one, at least in the beginning, can just sit and start meditating. Your thoughts will run awry and your mind will be all over the place. Body scan is a unique technique which helps beginners to learn how to focus and concentrate. This means that keep your eyes closed but start from your head. Imagine your head and slowly start scanning body parts – head, eyes, nose, cheeks, ears, neck, abdomen and go all the way till your toes. This will bring back your focus and regulate your thoughts and also your breathing.

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Fitting Meditation Into Your Life

We can have productive thoughts that are beneficial to the mind (like coming up with a new idea and then conceptualizing the process of turning the idea into something tangible). We can also have counter-productive thoughts, like a list of tasks, something negative someone has said to you, or even negative thoughts you have created with no basis of facts. These are those negative thoughts that keep playing like a broken record over and over in your mind – you just can not let them go. The thing we are trying to accomplish with meditation is harnessing that energy of the mind, and utilizing it in a way that benefits us.

So, with meditation, we are trying to let go of our thoughts. When you hear that, it sounds difficult or challenging. And, it can be. Especially when you're just learning. It's really a process, because the mind is an active thing. The brain has energy surging through it constantly. And that's a good thing.

To begin, you need to carve-out at least 10 minutes every day. You can extend the time if and when you wish. But, if you can not do it every day, at least aim for most days of the week. Just make time to do it, maybe it's right before you go to bed, or upon awaking in the morning (preferably before coffee).

The second thing you need to do is find a comfortable position in a quit place, whether it's sitting up or lying down; the choice is yours. That choice may change depending on how you feel on any given day, or where you are located. One thing to keep in mind is that you do not want to fall sleep. Because when you're sleeping, your brain is on a break, so to speak. You want your brain “on the job”, so you (the witness) can become the “boss” and train it. You can sit with your back rested against a wall (for support), you can sit in a chair, you can lie on the floor (arms & legs lengthened and rested), you can lie on the floor with your legs raised up against a wall (this is very calming), you can even meditate lying in bed.

You'll want to gently close your eyes and relax your eye lids. Relax your face, your tongue, your shoulders, your hands. Relax your belly, your buttocks, legs, and feet, and just breathe normally. You do not have to worry about your breathing, do not think about it. However, the breath can bring you back from being caught up in a thought. A lot of yoga instructors tell their students to focus on the breath. It is up to you.

Now, with your eyes closed, take a moment to notice how you are feeling. When I first started to meditation, my instructor said to imagine you are in a movie theater. You are watching your thoughts on the movie screen, versus listening to or engaging in them. And as soon as you recognize that you are 'thinking' about the thoughts, remind yourself to “let it go”. Since the mind is an active thing, you will probably have to remind yourself over and over and over again. That's OK. You can even begin to just watch your thoughts play out like a movie. But again, the point of meditation is to not engage the thoughts, do not think about them, just watch. Become the witness. It might sound crazy at first, but once you do it a few times, you'll understand what it means to become the witness and just watch.

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