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Inner truth: Meditation Unplugged

Inner truth: Meditation Unplugged

Thursday, Oct 10, 2013, 8:21 IST | Agency: DNA

Meditation is largely prevalent nowadays because it is seen as an antidote to stress. However it is much more than just that.  Meditation is a way of life. It is to be lived. We have a vast reservoir of energy in us, lying unused, untapped. Once we get in touch with this energy, our life changes from just being an ordinary to a Divine one. Meditation is being in tune with our inner energy source.
It is about moving into the inner zones of emptiness, where stress can never touch you. It is to explore the inner space where you remain absolutely untouched from the ill-effects of the mind. All that is needed is the right method to move into that space. Being there is like being in an ocean of joy. Releasing ourselves from the clutches of our mind is called meditation.

Interestingly, meditation is not about doing something, but rather it is about doing nothing. The life of today’s man or woman is so hectic and fast paced that there is no time when one does absolutely nothing at all. To begin with, find a comfortable and quiet place to sit for 10-15 minutes every day. Stop all movements of body and mind to simply be by yourself, be still. The transformation that comes from the regular practice of meditation is gradual but certain to happen.

The author is a guru, mystic, contemporary spiritual master. For details, visit http://www.gurumaa.com

5 Alternatives To Visualization And Meditation by Melody Fletcher

5 Alternatives To Visualization And Meditation

Post image for 5 Alternatives To Visualization And Meditationby Melody Fletcher on September 26, 2013

 

Awesome Sophie’s burning question: “Is there any way around visualizing and meditating to achieve what you want?  I can’t quite get myself to do it consistently.” 

Dear Awesome Sophie,

We have to always remember, and I’m happy to remind you over and over again, that both visualization and meditation are merely tools, to help us achieve certain vibrational states. While both are extremely helpful, neither one is required in order for us to consciously and deliberately receive what we want.

When you can’t visualize or meditate

Some people just aren’t visually inclined. They don’t “see” their dreams, fantasies or desires. They don’t create visual images of the things they want. Does this mean they can’t manifest anything? Well, considering that everything in our current reality was created for and drawn to us by us, and I do mean EVERYTHING, and considering that we probably didn’t visualize every single detail that showed up in our world today, it stands to reason that visualization isn’t necessary for manifestation.

In my article on What Visualization Really Is, I explain that the act of visualizing is simply a way for us to ferret out and release resistance. When we visualize, we are able to “see” what our vibration is in the process of creating before it actually becomes physical. By changing the visualization and practicing the new vision until it feels good (not discordant), we are actually able to change our vibration. As such, visualization is certainly a fantastic tool. But again, certainly not the only one in our metaphorical tool box, and not even necessarily the best one.

Likewise, meditation, while incredibly useful, is also merely a tool, which allows us to stop doing what it is we’re doing that’s keeping us from lining up with Who We Really Are (and everything we want). You see, our natural state is one of well-being, alignment, super-duper happiness and happy shiny puppies. If we are not currently living that reality, it’s not because we’re not doing enough to make that happen, it’s because we’re doing something that’s keeping that from happening. When we meditate, we stop thought, and by doing so, we automatically stop whatever thought is currently contradicting our highest selves. Meditation is an extraordinarily effective tool to help us practice the state of allowing, that state in which we’re not contradicting what we want. The more we practice that state, the easier it is for us to allow what we want to flow to us.

But what if you don’t like to meditate? What if you find it boring, can’t quiet your mind, fall asleep every time, or simply feel reluctant to do it? Does that mean you’re broken, too resistant to help yourself, or just not ready to join the enlightened crowd? No. Many of my clients have issues meditating. They just don’t like it. And you know what? That’s totally ok. There is no one way to do ANYTHING that works for everyone. We each get to find our own joyous path. Why would attuning ourselves to our higher selves be any different?

The tools we use aren’t important. What’s important is the state they help us to achieve. So, if you’ve always had trouble visualizing or meditating, here are 5 alternatives that will help you to achieve the exact same states of mind, and which you may find more effective for you:

#1 – Meditation Alternative: Music

You may not have ever thought of music as a tool, but it’s actually a great way to deliberately feel better. All pieces of music have their own vibration. Listening to a song LITERALLY helps to attune you to different frequencies. Are these wanted or unwanted frequencies? Well, if the music you’re listening to makes you feel better, then you’ve chosen wanted frequencies. As you can see, this is a very subjective thing, and will even change from day to day or moment to moment for the same person. Thank Gawd we have so many different kinds of music! Choose music that makes you feel really good, make a playlist of it and listen to it often. Make sure you update this playlist regularly, and switch out any songs that no longer give you that boost. As you acclimate and raise your vibration on a permanent level, the music that once uplifted you will just leave you feeling kind of blah. When that happens, you’ll have to upgrade.

Spending time listening to music that makes you feel really good and losing yourself in it, will be just as beneficial to you as formal meditation. In fact, that feeling of losing time signifies that you were fully present in the NOW, which is another way of describing what meditation helps us to do. When we are fully in the NOW, we no longer resist the NOW. The benefit of music is that it can also help to move you up the emotional scale, no matter where you are. If you’re stuck in powerlessness, then anger will feel good to you. Choosing songs that help you feel that anger so it can be released will help you to feel a lot better. Screaming profanities to the sounds of death metal may not seem to have anything in common with the calm of meditation, but if that’s what you need in order to shift your energy to a higher place, it will serve the same purpose (when a person in that state meditates regularly, it will increase the anger that comes up the rest of the day, therefore assisting that individual with having their necessary anger release.)

#2 – Meditation Alternative: Zoning Out

People who have trouble formally meditating are often overthinking it to the nth degree, putting stress on themselves to find time when the kids aren’t bugging them, sitting in the “correct” way, choosing the “right” time of day, and trying to get their minds to shut the hell up. Amidst all that judgment and restriction, meditation becomes next to impossible.

If this sounds like you, let me ask you the question I ask my clients in this situation: are there any activities such as housecleaning, gardening, doing the dishes, ironing, golfing, walking the dog, etc., during which you just “zone out”? Do you ever just go all spacey, while continuing to do some mundane activity? Do you ever just kind of lose yourself in the moment? If so, congratulations, you’ve achieved the meditative state. Will this be akin to the deepest possible states which practiced Yogis achieve? No. But unless that’s your passion, there’s no need for you to go that deep. Remember, it’s all about stopping those contradictory thoughts. When you go all blank and dreamy while watering your plants, you’re there. You’ve almost certainly “meditated” quite successfully many times in your life. And yes, it really is that simple. Everything that truly works, is. People often spend years and years doing very complicated things to learn just how simple the workings of the Universe really are.

Seek out the activities that help you zone out deliberately and on a consistent basis, as a way to help you get into a calm state, and you’ll be supporting your personal growth just as much as if you spent time in the lotus position every day.

#3 – Visualization Alternative: Positive “What If” Questions

This is a technique I explored on this blog fairly recently, but it’s so incredibly effective, it bears repeating. The whole purpose of visualization is to help you figure out where your current vibration is at, and then facilitate the shifting of it by changing the envisioned experience to one you prefer. Asking positive “What If” questions is a great way to accomplish the second part of that equation (asking yourself how you really feel and answering honestly, as well as looking at your current physical manifestations, allows you accomplish the first).

When you actively try to defy one of your beliefs by simply stating its opposite, your brain may well rebel. If the belief isn’t very strong, it might just crumble, but if it’s a pretty practiced one, you’ll have a fight on your hands. An affirmation such as “I love myself!”, will simply garner a “No, you don’t!”. You can’t just bombard your brain with messages it “knows” not to be true and expect it to simply roll over and surrender. Your brain is made of stronger stuff than that, and besides, it’s doing what it thinks is best for you, based on the rules you and those around you fed it. But, if you ask yourself “What if I loved myself?”, your brain has nothing to fight. This is not a statement, it’s a question and your brain wants to answer questions (your brain is actually very helpful). If you haven’t been positively focused in a while, you may not get an instant answer (let your mind shift gears first), but keep at it for just a few minutes and you’ll be able to affect some powerful shifts in a very small amount of time. It’s the fastest way I’ve ever found to stop negative momentum and turn someone’s energy around on a dime.

#4 – Visualization Alternative: Vision Boards

I know, I know, you’ve all heard about vision boards. Everyone and their mom has a blog post or video about doing vision boards. I promise not to bore you death with the same old details, but the process of making a vision board can be a powerful tool to help you align your vibration with what you want. Notice, I said “the process of making the vision board”. Once the vision board is done, it can actually lose a lot of its oomph. Just as a particular song can uplift you for weeks and then suddenly leave you flat, a particular vision board will often work for only a limited amount of time. Don’t worry, this is normal.

The basic idea of creating a vision board is to choose some images or even just words that represent the feeling of what you want. Remember: the goal is to achieve a certain state, so choose images and representations that actually give you a little charge, not ones that just seem like they should work because they basically represent the thing you want. Finding just the right images can take a considerable amount of time. But in doing so, you’re defining what you want in great detail (as opposed to what you don’t want) and actively looking for “evidence” or representations of those manifestations. You can then paste these images and words onto a poster board and put it someplace where you’ll look at it every day. For some people, looking at the board on a regular basis really helps them to reinforce the feelings they want to achieve. For others, the board itself does very little. I maintain that the real “work” is done in the creation of the board and in the finding and choosing of just the right images. Spending a couple of hours (or even a few days!) focusing in such a positive way, can create a lot of powerful, positive momentum.

#5 – Visualization Alternative: Play Acting

I’ve saved the best for last. This is my favorite technique. Consider it visualizing on steroids. And don’t worry, you don’t actually have to get on a stage or involve other people (although you can, if you want to…).

Essentially, this technique is all about playing pretend, just as you did when you were a kid: Imagine that you’re in a situation in the future, and you’re telling someone about this thing you want, from the perspective that it’s already happened. You can pretend that someone is interviewing you, or that you’re at a party and telling a friend about it. Instead of having to “see” yourself in these situations, you can actually act them out. The more you get into character, the more fun this will be. Smile, laugh, joke about how easy it all was in the end, how you see now that there was never any way it wouldn’t work out, how amazingly it all came together.

Now, just as with visualizations, watch for any evidence of resistance. For example, if you find yourself telling the story of how hard you worked, how many obstacles you overcame, or how you made it despite the odds being against you, you’re playing out a belief that struggle and suffering are components of success. If you catch yourself going down that road, make a deliberate effort to change the script and talk about how easy it was, how relieved you are and how you learned to let go and trust and enjoy the ride early on.

If you want to take this exercise to a whole different level, you can invite some like-minded friends over and have a “Future Party”, where you all agree to support one another in your manifestations. So, for example, I might declare at the beginning of the party that I’ve just published my 5th best seller, and instead of picking the story apart and challenging how I did it, the people at the party would simply congratulate me and ask questions that would allow me to bask in the glory of my “accomplished” goal (for example: “How does it feel to be a famous author?”, or “After so much success, what inspires you now?”). I once read Jack Canfield attended a party with other now very famous people, where they all pretended that their 5 year goals had all come true. They had actors playing paparazzi, wore evening gowns and had waiters. In other words, they went full out. The account went on to state that every single person who had attended this party went on to meet and/or exceed those goals.

Of course, in order to express to someone what it is that you’ve accomplished, you have to get clear on what it is you want. Don’t worry about filling in too many of the details. For example, I can pretend to have published my 5th book without knowing what the title or even subject of that book would be. Or, I can make up a temporary title which feels good to me, with the understanding that it could change to something even better. For example, people at Jack Canfield’s party apparently even went so far as to crate props, like actual mock ups of their books, etc., to make it even more real. Not only is this technique fun (SOOOO fun!), but it totally works. And really, what have you got to lose? Why not get “interviewed” today?

Bottom line

Visualization and meditation are amazing tools. This is why almost every spiritual teacher talks about them. But they’re by no means the only way to achieve the desired results – and that’s really the point. The tools themselves are kind of irrelevant. If one doesn’t work for you, find another one. The point of the whole exercise is what those tools do for you, what states they help you to achieve. Stubbornly forcing yourself to use techniques that don’t resonate with you, just because others have found them useful, is really missing the point. Remember: this is supposed to be fun. All of it. You don’t have to “suffer” through the process in order to get to the fun someday. The fun starts NOW. Right here. So relax and enjoy yourself. That’ll already get you half way there… :)

Motivational Video, Headspace: What Are The Benefits Of Meditation? (WATCH)

Why meditate? For one, to clear a cloudy mind. Find out other reasons to meditate from ‘Mind Man’ Andy Puddicombe in the video via Motivational Video, Headspace: What Are The Benefits Of Meditation? (WATCH).

Mary Pritchard: But I Don’t Have Time to Meditate

Yes, you do. Time isn’t the issue; it’s priority, and specifically prioritizing yourself. I learned this the hard way this past week.

For those of you on an academic schedule, you know that once spring break is over, crunch time begins. The first thing that usually goes for me during crunch time is any type of self-care. Keep in mind that I know I need my daily meditation and yoga to be able to do what I do effectively. Doesn’t matter. I think to myself, “It will free up so much time if I just give up ______.” In reality, it won’t.

Without my yoga and meditation, I become a tense, anxiety-prone mess. I get cranky. I don’t sleep as well because I spend more time at night worrying, which only perpetuates the problem. So all the time I “saved” turns into time burned, wasted doing something completely non-productive, like worrying and list making.

Ah yes, I am the queen of list making. You might think, “List making is good, right? It helps you prioritize what you need to do.” Sadly, no. List making, for me, only leads to more list making as I start putting stupid things down that really don’t need to be listed like “brush my teeth,” “check my email,” or “go to work.” Duh! Those are things I’d be doing anyway. And when I put something really important for my mental health on my list like “meditate,” I ignore it and keep on jotting things down that I should be doing that either aren’t important or I would do them anyway with or without the list reminder.

So let’s talk priorities. To make meditation and yoga part of my day, I have come to realize that I need to do three things:

1) Figure out why it’s so important that I meditate. (Hint: It can’t be “because I should.” That never works.) It should be a personal reason for you that you know without a doubt to be true. Something like, “I’m calmer,” “I make better decisions,” or “I sleep better.”

2) Put it in your schedule — pretend meditation/yoga/exercise/whatever your self-care thing is is a very important doctor’s appointment or meeting at work. Something you know you would never make an excuse to miss. Treat it like that appointment. Make it sacred. And be specific: When are you going to do it? For how long? Another tip: Start small. If you haven’t been taking care of yourself for a while, saying you are going to devote an hour a day to meditate is not realistic. Start with five minutes or one minute or six breaths. Once you can do that, start upping the time gradually. The last time I fell off the meditation wagon, I restarted at five minutes. I was up to 16.5 minutes when I fell off the wagon last week. Will I start back at five minutes? Probably not. As it’s only been a week, 10-15 min is feasible for me. But start where you are, and if where you are is nowhere then start with 30 seconds or one minute — whatever you think you actually can make time to do on a consistent basis.

3) Have a Plan B — I know exactly why I stopped meditating. I had figured out for myself that the very best time for me to meditate was first thing in the morning before anyone else in my house got up. Then one morning my husband was up before I was. There went my morning meditation. Then it happened again. Pretty soon an entire week had gone by and I only meditated once. Can I blame my husband for disrupting my schedule? No. That only happened on those two occasions anyway. Besides, it wasn’t his fault that he couldn’t sleep; it was my fault for not having a Plan B. So here’s the thing. Life happens. Sometimes Plan A will fail, and if you don’t have a Plan B, you will likely fall off the track. So my new Plan B: My Plan A still holds. My meditation will occur first thing in the morning while everyone else is still in bed, but if for some reason that does not happen, I will immediately reschedule my meditation — preferably for some time during that same day: at lunch, right before dinner, or at bedtime. I will allow myself to shorten the duration if need be. Five minutes is better than no minutes, but I will do it.

Okay, moral of the story: You’ve got to make time for yourself — preferably every day — to do something that refreshes you, centers you, and keeps you grounded. For me that something is meditation. It might be something else for you. That’s okay. The point is: You need to figure out what it is and why you’re doing it, and then schedule it in. Right now. That’s right, take your planner out and schedule it in just like you would a doctor’s appointment. Vow to honor that time you’ve set aside for yourself. If life happens (which it sometimes will), that’s okay, but immediately reschedule your self-care appointment. Otherwise we both know what will happen: It won’t.

For more by Mary Pritchard, Ph.D., click here.

For more on meditation, click here.

via Mary Pritchard: But I Don’t Have Time to Meditate.

“Unwinding the Mind” Meditation Technique: Responding creatively to stress by Karah Pino, MAcOM

Responding creatively to stress.

Instead of reacting to situations with our old  instincts, we can learn to respond thoughtfully and creatively. When we practice observing our own reactions, we can better understand the nature of our old instinctual patterns.  After allowing our initial, instinctive reaction to pass by,  we then have more time to choose how to respond with intention and care.

The experience of being in a meditative state is one of calmness, peacefulness and a sense of well-being.  After meditating, this sense of well-being will continue for a half a day (or until the next stressful event).  Research has shown that 20 minutes of meditation can lower cortisol stress hormone levels for 12 hours.  This helps us to understand why meditation traditions around the world encourage meditation twice a day!

After meditating regularly, you will find that you are able to regain your calm more and more easily after a stressful event.  You will also find that the feeling of peace gives your creative mind more space to find solutions to problems and this leads to less worry because you begin to trust in your abilities more and more.

Download this guided meditation for free:

20 minute Guided Meditation: Observation of the Breath MP3

Watching our thoughts and feelings as children on the playground of our imagination.

Unwind your Mind

Meditation Instruction and CD

Know as children know, that these thoughts and feelings are temporary.  Know that you are free to leave the playground game sat any time.  Watch as the spinning wheels and grinding gears slow to a stop.  Feel the peaceful stillness of a mind unwound.

Karah Pino, MAcOM is the creator and instructor of Unwind your Mind, a meditation course designed to help you discover for yourself the benefits of meditation and choose the style best suited to you.

 

Neuroscience Startup Launches Transcend, an App That Will Improve Your Meditation – Techvibes.com

Ottawa-based Personal Neuro Devices, a developer of mobile neuro applications, today launched Transcend, an app that gives users actual neuro-feedback about the quality of their meditation.

The Android app, combined with NeuroSky’s Bluetooth-enabled MindWave Mobile headset, allows users to track and improve their meditation practices over time by reporting the quality and duration of their meditation sessions, as well as other metrics. Using these metrics, Transcend can tell when a user is successfully achieving meditative states regularly, or whether a user may benefit from an alternative form of meditation. By measuring and recording meditative states, a user can track his or her progress and receive confirmation that their meditation has been effective, the Canadian company says.

Unlike other meditation apps available today, Transcend directly measures neural activity and takes into account the different ways that people meditate. It includes meditation guides for users new to the practice, or more experienced users looking to try a different style. Transcend’s ability to provide personalized feedback and suggest improvements for more effective meditation can benefit users of any experience level.

“This is the first mobile meditation app that gives constructive feedback based on actual neuro-imaging,” said Tony Gaitatzis, CTO and co-founder at Personal Neuro Devices. “Transcend incorporates proprietary brain-activity-analysis algorithms and is based on research studies with individuals who are new to the practice of mediation as well as experienced users.”

“We are very pleased to collaborate with Personal Neuro Devices to bring Transcend to market,” said Stanley Yang, CEO of NeuroSky. “Transcend will significantly extend and enhance the usefulness and benefits of the MindWave Mobile headset to many new users.”

via Neuroscience Startup Launches Transcend, an App That Will Improve Your Meditation – Techvibes.com.