Mind

Meditation: Going beyond positive thinking

Meditation: Going beyond positive thinking

Beyond Positive thinking

There is an old adage in yoga psychology which is at the heart of the phenomenon of positive thinking.

‘The mind takes the shape of its object’.

When you pour water into a container, it will take the shape of the container. Our mind stuff, that most subtle of all substances, acts in a similar way. If you think of a camel then there is a portion of your mind that takes the shape of a camel, which is another way of saying that the mind forms an image of a camel. Now as we learned earlier, each and every expression of the universe is vibrational in character. A thought is a mental wave composed of psychic energy or mind-stuff. Because it is vibrational in character that mental wave has a particular wavelength. The wavelength of the thought-image of a camel will not be the same as the wavelength of the thought of a vast ocean or a feeling of compassion. Some thoughts are subtle in character and some are less so. Subtle or expansive thoughts, as you might suspect, have a long, steady wavelength while crude thoughts have a much shorter, erratic wavelength. Our mind as a whole has its own characteristic wavelength which is the composite of all the waves active in the mind at any one time. While our mind’s wavelength is constantly changing as different thought-waves rise and fall in our mental ocean, it never changes very much because we each have our own habitual style of thinking, our personality, which determines the nature of those recurring individual waves.

Now what happens in nature when two interact? There is a clash between the two waves and each is influenced to some extent by the other. The stronger the wave is, the greater the influence it exerts, and the less it is affected by the other wave. When two waves are similar in character then there is very little clash. They vibrate sympathetically. On the practical level we experience this as a natural affinity or dislike for the people and things we come into contact with. Our feeling of like or dislike depends on the degree of sympathetic or non-sympathetic vibration between our mental wavelength and that of the object we come in contact with. ‘Good vibes’ is exactly that, the good vibrations that come when we experience a parallelism between the wavelength of our mind and that of the person or object or environment we are in contact with.

As the mind stuff gathers to take the shape of the mental object the wavelength of that thought-form is going to affect the overall character of mind. To some small degree it will influence or alter the characteristic wavelength of that mind. If the thought object is very subtle then the mind will be benefited. If the wavelength of the thought is cruder than the mind is accustomed to then the mind will be affected for the worse. Over time the constant repetition of a thought of either a crude or subtle nature will either degrade or elevate the mind. It is for this reason that the yogis teach that excessive preoccupation with crude physical objects such as money gradually crudifies the mind. Our mental power diminishes, and our capacity for happiness, enjoyment of life, and Self-expression is decreased. But if we fill our minds with expansive, more subtle ideas, it will stretch and expand and grow to accommodate these new lofty ideas.

Changing the mind from crude to subtle is the task of meditation. In order to accomplish this we think about the subtlest object possible, consciousness, with the help of the mantra. By raising subtler and subtler waves in the mind through the constant and concentrated repetition of mantra, the mind gradually expands and becomes more subtle. It gains the capacity to transmit and perceive subtler vibrations. The regular practice of meditation opens the mind up the higher realms of experience — the awakening of intuition, a deep appreciation for art and aesthetics, profound emotions of love and compassion, feelings of sympathy and oneness with nature, and a yearning to realise the inner Self. The world around you changes from a world of fixed and immovable boundaries to one of infinite possibility.

Looking at it from this perspective underscores once again the importance of what we meditate on. History is full of examples of individuals who developed psychic powers through the practice of concentration techniques, but who eventually became degraded by that same practice because they allowed their minds to become crudified.

 

Source : Ananda Marga Ra’ja’dhira’ja Yoga

Characteristics of Mantra by Ananda Marga Founder Shrii Shrii Anandamurtijii

Characteristics of Mantra: Ananda Marga Founder Shrii Shrii Anandamurtijii

The third characteristic of a mantra is that it is rhythmic. What this means on the practical level is that it has to be able to align itself with our breathing and hence all mantras for meditation consist of two syllables.

Our breathing exerts a great influence over our thinking. The more rapid and irregular our breathing is, the more difficult it becomes to concentrate or to think deeply. When our breathing slows, our capacity to think deeply increases. For example, take a person who has just finished some hard physical exercise and is breathing very heavily. If you ask them a question that requires some concentration you are bound to get an answer like: Hang on a minute while I catch my breath. Conversely, whenever you are deeply concentrated on any subject you will notice that your breathing has become very slow and regular.

The alignment of the mantra with our breathing has two principle benefits. First of all, it helps to naturally regulate and slow our breathing, which in turn deepens our concentration. Secondly, we develop an association between our breathing and the repetition of mantra which helps us to remember the mantra. When a meditator becomes accomplished in the practice of mantra they start finding the mantra going on with their breath even when they are not formally meditating. Their mind remains in a meditative state even while performing its daily activities. When they sit for meditation they find it easy to remain concentrated because the mantra is rising and falling with the breath. Almost no effort is required.

Now that we have some theoretical understanding of why mantras are so effective as an object for meditation let us look at how the daily practice of mantra affects our day-to-day thinking.

Your Mental Object.

Thinking, as we normally understand it, is an activity which involves a subject and an object. We can take it one step further, however, and distinguish between one’s mental object, the image you have in your mind of something external to you, and the object itself (bear in mind that concepts, such as fame or good health, are also mental objects). The thing your mental object refers to (that new car, your name in all the fashionable magazines) may not exist yet in reality. It may never exist. But the thought exists. Your mental object is quite real. This is indicative of what we talked about earlier, that thoughts are real, significant events involving movements of powerful energy. When the human mind, the mind which has invented and which controls nuclear weapons and space shuttles, thinks something, it is a tangible expression of the most powerful machine in the universe.

Mental Objects tend to become a reality.

According to yoga psychology, mental objects tend to become expressed in the external world. What we think about tends to happen.

If you think you’ll succeed, you’ll succeed. If you think you    will fail, you will fail. Either way, you are right.                                                                         — Yogananda

Indeed, nowadays there are few people who will deny the significant effects on our lives of a positive Self-image and a positive mental attitude, or the crippling effects of negative thinking. By thinking we are happy, healthy and successful, we tend to become happy, healthy and successful, and the reverse is just as true.

Coincidence? Or incidence?

You were thinking of someone when the phone rang and guess who was on the other end. You want to go to a concert but can’t get a place; suddenly a friend tells you he or she has an extra ticket to the show and wonders if you would like it. Has anything like this ever happened to you? Were these coincidences or were they rather small examples of the powerful connection between thought and physical reality? Meditators everywhere notice a startling increase in the number of such ‘coincidences’ in their lives after they start meditating. Whether it so happens that meditation speeds up the process by which thoughts are translated into physical reality, or whether it just makes us more aware of our thoughts and how they shape our lives, this phenomena points directly to tendency of our mental objects to find expression in the external world.

Let us examine more closely the pathways a thought takes to find expression in the external world. Suppose a desire arises in your mind. That desire activates your imagination. Your mind paints a picture for you of the desired object and, consciously or unconsciously, you visualise yourself achieving it. Spurred on by that power of that thought-wave, you apply your will power and determination towards the materialisation of your desire. This is the driving force — desire, imagination and will — which enables you to translate a thought into reality, though often most or all of this process is unconscious to you and you are only aware of your sense of surprise when you find your desire materialised.

Our desires can fail to find material expression for many reasons, but perhaps the most common is that the negative side of our imagination gets in the way, sabotaging our fondest desires. Our imagination has tremendous power and when this power combines with fear, or its counterparts — doubt, anxiety, worry, insecurity, anger, resentment — it can quash all positive expressions of the will. It is somewhat like driving with the handbrake on. Part of you pushes you forward while another part restrains you, and the result is a trip to the mechanic.

Meditation teaches us a style of thinking which is conducive to the synchronisation of our imagination and our will. We raise a positive wave (or mental object) in our mind and then exercise our will to move towards it. Whenever negative thought-patterns arise and threaten to pull us in a different direction we redirect our mind back to that positive wave, thereby training it to overcome the distracting or inhibiting influence of such thought-patterns. Through regular practice this style of thinking becomes habituated and starts reflecting in other areas of our lives, hence the common experience of regular meditators that they start finding their desires quickly and easily materialised in the external world. Of course, this is not always a positive experience, as everyone soon discovers. Often what we desire is not what is best for our growth, and meditators soon learn that they must exercise control over their desires for the simple reason that they so often come true.

This aspect of meditative practice has much in common with traditional and more modern schools of positive thinking, but with several critical exceptions. Rather than utilising numerous mental objects (for example, different affirmations) and thereby diffusing the mind, we meditate on one object and one object alone, which enables us to develop the full power of the mind. And that object is the subtlest object available, consciousness itself, which leads us to the greatest possible growth and expansion of mind. By a dedicated program of positive thinking we may develop a strong, positive self-image and a sense of well-being. We may even become rich or influential, if that is what we tell ourselves we will be, but we may not realise our inner Self.

Running as Moving meditation

Vinluan: Moving meditation (Part 2)

By Bobby Vinluan

Sports Psychology

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

THERE are usually distinctive stages in running and the need to listen to your body is recommended.

If running doesn’t feel good in 30 minutes, you may want to stop or you may ask what am I doing here?

Mild feeling of euphoria may also start in 30 minutes of running, tensions may drain away, and the rhythm between your steps and breathing may lull you, and ideas flash in and out of your mind from the periphery of your consciousness.

There are many offbeat ways of relaxing and getting into a meditative mood for running. Joe Henderson, author of the Long-Run Solutions, suggests five steps, which are general rules for running as well as for reaching a meditative state.

“First,” he says, “start your run without an end in sight. It will take 20-30 minutes to pick up the flow, and by then you’ll know how much you can do, if the run goes badly stop and try again tomorrow. Any running is better than none at all. Even a tickle of running add to the pool of fitness. Third, let the pace find itself. You will usually run along the edge between comfort and discomfort. Fourth, run for yourself. Don’t look ahead or behind. And fifth, run for today, don’t compete with yesterday or tomorrow, take pleasure in less than being your best.”

However, even the best runners will miss occasionally a desired and expected outcome. That is because certain things inhibit to facilitate “penetration into one’s inner world” while running. By avoiding these circumstances, i.e. competition, or the obsession with running kilometers, surroundings which focus your attention outside your body, rather than within, or the yakketty-yakking in group runs, and conversation, with someone or yourself, will misdirect your concentration.

Avoiding these circumstances during a run, and by running steady, in a non-tiring pace, and letting your mind spin free, with ideas flowing like water in a stream can make you encourage the meditative state. If we are to understand more the relationship between running and meditation, believe that a sense of euphoria comes with three types of runs, the meditative high from running alone at a reflective pace; the competition high of running fast at the edge of our physical limits; and the “high” of running with friends and fellowship. Try it if running is part of your life.

What Mindfulness Isn’t … And What It Is – Wildmind

What Mindfulness Isn’t … And What It Is

woman_eating_thoughtfullyMindfulness is all the rage, but there are many misconceptions. It isn’t a form of relaxation, a technique, or even a meditation practice. It isn’t about doing things slowly or emptying your mind; it isn’t Buddhist, and it isn’t scientific. It isn’t easy … but, then again, it isn’t difficult. And it isn’t a fad. So what is it?

1.     It’s not about relaxing
A Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course is about reducing stress, and that means trying to relax, right? Well, not exactly. Mindfulness just means noticing what’s happening, including the things we find difficult. It doesn’t involve listening to panpipes to escape your worries.

2.     It isn’t a meditation practice
On a mindfulness course you’ll learn meditation, but mindfulness is a practice for the whole of life. It means finding a different way to respond to experience throughout the day.

 3.     It isn’t a technique
Mindfulness isn’t something you do. It’s a way of being. You could say it’s a faculty, or a quality of mind that we all have to some extent and can develop further through practice.

4.     It isn’t a way to fix your problems
Mindfulness can help you address stress, anxiety, depression or chronic pain, but not by fixing them. Mindfulness really means living with appreciation and curiousity. Then we can relate in a new way to the things that trouble us, rather than trying to make them go away.

 5.     It isn’t about doing things slowly
Mindfulness courses include things like eating a raisin very slowly. That helps you notice details that you otherwise miss, and shows up our tendency to rush or do one thing while thinking about something else. But that doesn’t mean that you should do everything slowly. Sometimes slower is worse – like when you’re driving. And some people, who have to do things really fast, like racing drivers and tennis players, are exceptionally mindful. With mindfulness, things can feel slower, even when you’re moving quickly.

6.     It isn’t about emptying your mind
Meditation doesn’t mean emptying your mind of thoughts, like a bucket. Minds produce thoughts – it’s what they’re built for – and keep producing them even when you’re meditating. But you can still become calm and settled by learning to let thoughts go. And exploring your thoughts lets you see what’s bugging you, and even how your mind really works.

7.     It Isn’t Buddhist
The mindfulness practices used in MBSR and MBCT are drawn from Buddhism, but no one owns mindfulness: it’s simply a capacity of the mind. That’s why mindfulness is being re-expressed in secular forms. However, Buddhism embeds mindfulness within its own, distinctive set of values and a wider path to liberation and if that’s what you’re looking for it’s worth finding out more.

8.     It isn’t scientific
Research into the effects of mindfulness and its impact on the brain is impressive. It’s a big part of what’s bringing mindfulness into the mainstream. But although you can measure what mindfulness does, you can’t measure what it is. That’s requires feeling, intuition and sensitivity. Measuring mindfulness is a science; practising it is an art.

9.     It isn’t difficult … or easy
Mindfulness is simple, but life is often complicated. So how does it work? The mindful approach is that you don’t have to work out everything all at once. You just have to be aware and manage what’s happening in this moment. So it isn’t difficult … but it also isn’t easy. What’s happening in this moment might be scary, so mindfulness requires patience and resolve as well as openness and gentleness.

10.  And it isn’t a fad
Mindfulness is certainly popular, but isn’t a fad? Mindfulness is a quality of the mind that has always been there and we’re now learning to harness. And mindfulness is more and more relevant because it counters the speed, distraction, superficiality and general mindlessness of so much modern culture and is causing an epidemic of mental strain and illness. Mindfulness is here to stay.

The Himalayan Times : Meditation in common motions – Detail News : Nepal News Portal

Added At: 2013-06-30 9:18 PM

RAMESHWAR BARAL

The dictionary meaning of meditation is a mind under control to escape from the outer world realities to be in short, strain-free moments. A meditating mind comes to the centre stage achieving a blank phase.

In the phrase of spiritual gurus, meditation is but a complex workout. They make it a difficult move although here I basically differ. Meditation is not an abstract management. It is not religion or holy war nor is it dhyana or yoga.

Meditation is the mind together with concentration on specific motions for a conscious goal. Concentration is the motion again to be single-minded which may be a flash or formal that an individual performs or completes at one sitting. Take a simple case of brushing your teeth in the morning. First take out your toothbrush from the brush holder, grasp evenly, wash with water, put a dab of paste, rub along the teeth-line above, below, side to side, and in and out with due care, and blah, blah. You are careful to spend as little water and toothpaste as possible.

Imagine contrarily a slight move of the rash fingers. Either you scratch your gum which bleeds profusely. “Now, this is a formal task,” you may say. But you know there’s always a risk of losing the attention. When the mind flies, i.e. loss of attention, for other imagined motions of the future or past, it proves hazards for the present.

Not under control for one long minute, you know the mind flies against a motion from tree to tree, branch to branch, and leaf to leaf, real or not, what meditation is not here. To bridle it, some sing in the bath and some tend to stand in front of the mirror. Singing or listening to music and viewing yourself on the mirror are just some instances of how

to hang on to conscious concentration. On the mirror, the value of one’s face and body comes to the viewer.

Meditation happens in common motions. Eating food with active mind bite by bite is delicacy and heavenly. The eater here just eats with focus on taste and thinks or makes no other interrupting moves. The past does not bury him nor does a future worry. The eating moments catch him in a grand breathing sans strain.Meditation is a going concern with interest and attention aimed at pleasure and mental deliverance. This is where the mind forgets other motions and attains relaxation during the small moments. Here one requires no guru or supervision or stunt categorically. Practice, patience and persistence are the uninterrupted parts of meditation. Be they students or white-collar workers, meditation puts any career strain-free with bliss of the mind in return.

rameshwarbaral@yahoo.com

via The Himalayan Times : TOPICS:Meditation in common motions – Detail News : Nepal News Portal.

Meditation for the business soul | Dynamic Business – Small Business Advice – Forums | Dynamic Business Australia

Marina Yang | April 26, 2013

Meditation is about understanding yourself and where you fit into the world. What better practice for the working person?

The trials of navigating the muddy waters of workplace relationships whilst trying to improve your own productivity are lifted when you understand who you are, and where you are. Meditation can also improve your self-perception by boosting self-esteem and confidence.

The clarity of a mind used to meditation is the result of refining your ability to focus and move from one concept to another, and can therefore assist with problem-solving.

Some simple tips for meditation beginners:

1. Find and allocate time for meditation at least once a day.

Meditation is an accumulative process. A single sitting might make you feel at peace for a while, but continuous meditation can improve your general wellbeing. Find time during your day for meditation, and sustain it. Ideally, work should not be a source of stress- meditation can help you overcome anxieties associated with work by bolstering your mental state. Soon you will fall into a rhythm and enjoy being able to wake up feeling energised, and going to sleep feeling at peace.

2. Position

Assume a comfortable position in a quiet space without distractions. The lotus position is a classic, but any upright seated position is good. Try not to lean against anything or lie down to avoid becoming drowsy. In this position, try to stop thinking consciously and let your mind sink down into a more abstract place. Feel rather than think. Focus on the physical feeling of your body- the weight of your limbs, the sensation of the floor or chair beneath you, the movement of the air, and your own pulse.

A popular technique is to concentrate on the sensation of the toes on your left foot, then the rest of the foot, then the ankle. Keep progressing around the body, thinking about the feeling of each part of your body. End at the top of your skull.

This will help you become more comfortable in your own body and aware of how you position yourself. Is your mind fully engaged with each part of your physical body at all times? Are you entirely aware of how you move? Sometimes, unfocused people will blatantly but unconsciously drift off and this will show in their body language. Avoid this by improving your concentration skills and closely establishing the link between mind and body.

3. Breathing

Focussing on breathing is one of the most basic meditative exercises. Count your breaths and establish a rhythm. Count ‘one’ as you breathe in, then ‘two’ as you exhale. Feel the air flowing into your expanding lungs, then flowing back out.

Alternately, imagine your worries being ‘breathed out’ and that you are breathing in positivity. Some people like to visualise- your worries might appear as a dark mass, whilst the positivity in the world could be a bright, warm light.

It is also recommended that before you start meditating, you write down all of your problems and the things associated with them on a piece of paper, which helps with the process of sweeping the negativity from your mind.

This should help you form a more optimistic mindset and more confidence in yourself, whilst reducing stress levels. The problems cannot be erased, but you can gain a better understanding of what they are, where they originate from, and how you can approach them. Your business and work will be where you left them, but you can return them as a rejuvenated person with a fresh outlook.

via Meditation for the business soul | Dynamic Business – Small Business Advice – Forums | Dynamic Business Australia.

 

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.

Ed and Deb Shapiro: Why Meditation Doesn’t Belong to Anyone

Yogis do it, Christians do it, Buddhists do it, Jews do it, Hindus do it, Muslims do it, and atheists do it. Kids, the elderly, CEOs, celebrities, housewives and politicians all do it. It can be done in schools, hospitals, boardrooms, town halls, or your own living room. Meditation is now written into TV dramas. Cross-legged yogis and monks can be seen in computer and credit card ads, while newspapers and magazines publish meditation tips from famous film stars. In our local post office, fliers advertising meditation and yoga classes hang next to overseas postal prices.

Meditation doesn’t belong to anyone, nor is it exclusive to any particular religion, belief, or doctrine. There are as many forms of meditation as there are people who practice, and it’s of value to all. It’s as simple and normal as breathing. The Dalai Lama, probably the world’s most famous meditator, says that meditation is like cookery: “You wouldn’t merely read recipes with approval, you’d try them out. Some you’d like and would use again. Like cookery, meditation only makes sense if you put it into practice.”

We have both been doing it, writing about it, and teaching it for more than 40 years and couldn’t image how we could survive without it. In that time, we’ve seen how easily people get confused or miss the point, believing meditation means having to stop their thinking (which is as pointless as trying to catch the wind) or do complicated techniques to reach an unrealistic place of perfect bliss. But remember, saints get headaches, the Buddha had a stomachache, Oprah has bad hair days. We’re all ordinary, and meditation is no big deal — it’s just being quiet with ourselves, as we are. It is more of an undoing than a doing. It enables us to witness how our mind jumps from one drama to another, it dissolves mental clutter, frees us of habitual patterns, helps release stress, and feels wonderfully peaceful.

The type or method of meditation is not the point, as it is simply an aide. It’s not the experience itself. Everyone is different, what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. A hammer can help build a house, but it is not the house. No one practice is better than another; they are simply methods that give our chattering minds something to do other than drive us crazy, thereby allowing us to be still.

Meditation is waking up from the misconception that the intellectual and rational mind is the whole picture. It is the realization of the brilliance of who we truly are. Someone once asked Ed if he had ever experienced another dimension. Ed replied: “Have you ever experienced this one?” As a result of meditation, our mind becomes clear of obscuration, our heart as big as the universe. We are awake, free, spontaneous, and in the moment. What a gift!

So what can you do for yourself this year? Meditate! It’s something that will change your life for the better, forever!

What does meditation mean to you? Do comment below. You can receive notice of our blogs every Tuesday by checking Become a Fan at the top.

via Ed and Deb Shapiro: Why Meditation Doesn’t Belong to Anyone.

 

Mack Paul: Meditation Is Medicine

I think my favorite Zen story is about an exchange between Hui Neng, the fifth Chinese patriarch who lived about 1,400 years ago, and Wo Lun, a monk who wants to demonstrate his spiritual attainment.

Wo Lun tells Hui Neng this:”Wo Lun has skillful meansEnabling him to cut off all thoughts.In the face of circumstanceshe is not aroused,and daily, monthly,wisdom grows.”

Hui Neng sees Wo Lun’s pride and his sense of spiritual superiority and offers a corrective, gently couched in the language of his own experience.

“Hui Neng has no skillful means.He does not cut off all thoughts.In the face of circumstances his mind is often aroused.  How can there be the growth of wisdom.”

Wo Lun expressed the misconception, apparently as common then as now, that meditation produces wisdom. Hui Neng tells him what he’s learned, that the human brain is a really sensitive and reactive organ that isn’t tamed. He doesn’t argue or try to impress Wo Lun with the righteousness of his own thinking. The contents of his mind are of little interest. Awareness has taught him that his mind makes him suffer, and he recognizes that thinking is, by its nature, delusional.

People begin meditating in the hope meditation will make them wise. The attentive learn how quickly clarity and ease dissolve into anger and stress under pressure. There’s a saying that a mindful act makes a Buddha of a common man as an unmindful one makes a common man of a Buddha. The awakened state is not necessarily steady or stable. We wake up, and then we fall back asleep. It is perfectly natural.

I’ve spent the last 30 years working with troubled kids in public schools. It has been instructive. If you want to observe the human mind in its purest, rawest form, kids are perfect. They just can’t hide the simplicity of their motives. A kid hurts, and when he hurts he has a tendency to hit somebody. The person he hits hurts and hits back, or he takes it out on somebody else. The consequence is an expanding cycle of psychic pain that is carried into adulthood. Those most affected don’t learn the cycle. They just delude themselves and others into thinking their mean attitudes are grand moral principles. We all experience this. When I pick up a newspaper or turn on the computer to catch the news, there is a high probability that I will see something that makes me mad. I read an opinion that threatens and hurts, and I want to hit back with my own opinion.

I began my meditation practice because I was overwhelmed with the constant conflict that is the nature of teaching in public school. Worn down and exhausted, I have awakened many an early morning with my mind on fire with upset. I get up and sit, because God knows I won’t be sleeping, and begin shifting my attention from my fevered thinking to my breath and my aching body.Sitting quietly is an invaluable practice in keeping the mouth shut. There is a river of mean thoughts and the hurt of wanting to hurt someone to make the hurt stop. There is the iron grip of angry, hurt thinking that just magically lets go. There is a relief that is like a fever breaking. I’ve been through this many times over the last two decades. It is kind of a miracle that makes it possible for me to go back to work with a clear mind and an open heart. One of the positives of working with kids is that the water flows quickly under the bridge.

With a kid, you can start each day with a clean slate. Every day, we try to do a bit better, and every day we do. The work has been very difficult, but it has also been a great joy.I’ve learned that thoughts are simply thoughts, and meditation is a medicine for infection that is crazy thinking. When you take your medicine, you don’t spread the infection any further. The act of turning attention to the breath to soothe the body is very simple. It is not easy. It is a basic human responsibility.For more by Mack Paul, click here.

For more on meditation, click here.

via Mack Paul: Meditation Is Medicine.

 

Introduction To Meditation For Actors (Part 1)

The ability to calm and focus the mind is essential to an actor’s success, especially in an audition. I see how neglected this discipline is when I’m teaching. I’ve found that problems arise for an actor not so much from lack of understanding, but from the lack of focus and concentration it takes to apply what is being taught and follow it all the way through the process.

It used to surprise me when I saw actors struggling to sustain concentration for a 90-second reading. But when you consider that we’re living in a time of chronic technological and social overload, it’s actually no surprise at all. We have so much information coming at us from all different directions and devices. Our ability to stay with a thought or a feeling for more than a nanosecond has been seriously compromised. Frankly, our minds are in chaos.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to move from chaos to clarity is through a meditation practice. Meditation is a very big part of my life, and I have had a dedicated daily practice for the past nine years. Recently I’ve become intrigued and inspired by all of the different ways mindfulness meditation is being used to improve people’s quality of life. In fact, some of the largest corporations in the world, as well as hospitals, universities, governments and even the army have implemented mindfulness programs to improve focus, concentration, and clarity.

With so many different individuals and groups reaping the benefits of mindfulness meditation, it only seemed fair that there should be a dedicated practice designed to meet the needs of the auditioning actor. So, with the help of two of my teachers, I did just that and The Meditation for Actors Class was born!

The practice we created helps actors regain control of their wild, distracted minds. It strengthens concentration and establishes a stable inner environment that allows the actor to explore their emotional life safely, deeply, and kindly. This practice also develops and refines the ability to focus and fully live in each moment and makes space in the mind, body, and heart to breathe, to listen, and to create. In fact, the applications of meditation to the acting process are seemingly endless.

I have been very inspired by the depth, clarity, specificity, and strength that meditation has brought to the work of the actors who have taken this class. Callbacks and bookings are on the rise, and rooms that used to intimidate are now being handled with control and presence. These actors are living proof that sometimes the most effective technologies aren’t the newest, but the ones that have been tried and true around for 2600 years or so!

In the next couple of weeks I will share some of the steps of the Meditation for Actors practice. I hope you’ll join me. It’s a beautiful and powerful journey.

Craig Wallace is the creator and award-winning teacher of The Wallace Audition Technique, an audition preparation system that he developed based on his years of experience as a studio executive, talent agent and casting consultant. In his 14 years of teaching, he has seen the careers of hundreds of his students take off. He is also the author of the best-selling book, “The Best of You – Winning Auditions Your Way.”

Craig is currently teaching his audition technique classes and his Meditation for Actors classes in Santa Monica, CA. For more information visit http://www.wallaceauditiontechnique.com.

You can follow Craig on Twitter @craigteach and like him on Facebook.

via Introduction To Meditation For Actors (Part 1).