New Age

Shifting our Perception with Meditation – Ram Dass

Though you can start meditation at any time, it’s harder if your life is chaotic, and if you’re feeling paranoid, if you’re overwhelmed with responsibilities, or if you’re sick. But even starting under these conditions, meditation will help you to clear things up a bit. Slowly you reorganize your life to support your spiritual journey, At each stage there will be something you can do to create a supportive space. It may mean changing your diet, who you’re with, how you spend your time, what’s on your walls, what books you read, what you fill your consciousness with, how you care for your body, or where and how you sit to meditate. All these factors contribute to the depth and freedom that you can know through meditation.

You are under no pressure to rush these changes. You need not fear that because of meditation you are going to lose control and get swept away by a new way of life. As you gradually develop a quiet and clear awareness, your living habits will naturally come into harmony with your total environment, with your past involvements, present interests, and future concerns. There need be no sudden ending of relationships in order to prove your holiness. Such frantic changes only show your own lack of faith. When you are one in truth, in the flow, the changes in your life will come naturally.

You start cleaning up your life when you feel that you can’t go on until you do. Cleaning up your life means extricating yourself from those things which are obstacles to your liberation. But keep in mind that nothing in and of itself is an obstacle; it’s your attachment to it or your motive for doing it that is the obstacle. It’s not an issue of eating meat or not eating meat; it’s who’s eating it and why.

If your senses can be caught and held by something, you are still chained to the world. It’s your attachment to the objects of your senses that imprisons you. Failing to break off the attachments of the senses ultimately holds you back. The minute you aren’t preoccupied with what’s out there, then that pull is lost. You are free to go deep in meditation.

It’s not easy. It’s a stinker to get to that level of purity. You start out with things like what you eat, who you sleep with, what you watch on TV, what you do with your time. Many people fool themselves and imitate someone else’s purity. They do it in an imitative way, one of fear of being unholy. Abstaining from something for the wrong reason is no better than doing it. You can’t pretend to be pure; you can only go at your own speed.

As changes occur through meditation you find yourself attracted to things that are inconsistent with your old model of who you are. Usually, for example, after having meditated in a rigorous (and somewhat righteous) fashion, I have then taken time off to wallow in television, go to movies, take baths and relax. Then, to my surprise, I found myself not being attracted as much as before to these diversions, but being pulled toward just sitting quietly. This new way of being didn’t fit with my model of who I was. It was as if I were living with somebody I didn’t know very well. My models of myself hadn’t changed fast enough to keep up with who I was becoming.

“Inside yourself or outside, you never have to change what you see, only the way you see it.” – Thaddeus Golas

– Ram Dass, excerpt from Journey of Awakening: A Meditator’s Guidebook

via Shifting our Perception with Meditation – Ram Dass.

Paper Installation: Meditation as Art at Ryan James Gallery in Bellevue until Wednesday

Wonderful discussion about Meditation as Art and Art as Meditation

Part of the Play and Creativity Series with Mary Alice Long of Play=Peace

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From The Ryan James Gallery Facebook Page:

Installation, discussion and play at Ryan James Gallery in Bellevue.
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Art + Meditation with Artist Karah Pino and in partnership with Play=Peace

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Meditation: “It’s Not New Age nonsense” | 360 Degrees of Mindful Living

Meditation: “It’s Not New Age nonsense”

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

In meditation research the news keeps getting better and better:

“Previous studies have reported changes to the brain while people practise [meditation, yoga and prayer] activities, but a new study shows for the first time that gene activity changes too. […] “It’s not New Age nonsense,” says Herbert Benson of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He and his colleagues analysed the gene profiles of 26 volunteers – none of whom regularly meditate – before teaching them a relaxation routine lasting 10 to 20 minutes. It included reciting words, breathing exercises and attempts to exclude everyday thought.”

An 8-week course of meditation of this kind resulted in a change of gene profile:

“The boosted genes had three main beneficial effects: improving the efficiency of mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells; boosting insulin production, which improves control of blood sugar; and preventing the depletion of telomeres, caps on chromosomes that help to keep DNA stable and so prevent cells wearing out and ageing.”

Plus there was a decrease in the activity of “a master gene called NF-kappaB, which triggers chronic inflammation leading to diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and some cancers.”

Furthermore: “by taking blood immediately after before and after performing the technique on a single day, researchers also showed that the gene changes happened within minutes.”

So, I ask you, why not sit down for a few minutes to settle down your mind? The news doesn’t get any better than this! With news like this, this whole business of meditation is now really a matter of mental hygiene. Indeed, what if we – as a culture, as a civilization, – framed the matter of meditation as a matter of hygiene? Chances are you brush your teeth every day. Why not scrub your mind of “everyday thoughts” every day too?!

Ref: Meditation Boosts Genes That Promote Good Health, Andy Coghlan, New Scientist, May 2, 2013

via Meditation: “It’s Not New Age nonsense” | 360 Degrees of Mindful Living.

 

Yes, even you can meditate – latimes.com

By Mary MacVean

March 30, 2013

If meditation sounds intriguing, you can try it out — in as few as 10 minutes a day — without leaving your office.

“I’d say there’s quite a range [of styles],” says Mark Coleman, a longtime teacher. “Sitting. Stillness. Movement. Yoga, tai chi, chi gong. Ones that cultivate the heart, mind and awareness and clarity. Concentration meditations — mantras. Various New Age meditations that focus on energy. Once you choose, you have to give it some period of time to evaluate.”

There are many free or low-cost downloads available and classes at meditation centers, universities and such sites as Kaiser Permanente, which offers meditation programs for members and employees.

Rachel Donaldson, senior behavioral health educator at Kaiser, says all sorts of people are attracted to the class, including those who get headaches, feel anxious or have insomnia. “We try to make it comfortable for people,” she says, by explaining it’s not a religion, telling people they don’t need to sit cross-legged and enabling them to “stick their toe in the water” with an easy entry such as mindful eating.

James Gimian, publisher of the new Mindful magazine, likens the status of meditation to that of yoga a couple of decades ago, moving from the margins of life to gaining an estimated 20 million U.S. practitioners.

Andy Puddicome, a former Buddhist monk and founder of the meditation nonprofit Headspace, says he wants people to integrate mindfulness into ordinary activities. “That’s ultimately where we need to bring it, in the midst of everyday life. It’s a great opportunity to learn to be mindful when you are chopping the vegetables or gardening. Eating, clearing up, making a cup of tea.”

In her memoir, “Blood, Bones and Butter,” the New York chef Gabrielle Hamilton describes a life busy beyond imagining. But when she prepares food, she says, her mind becomes “free to sort everything out. I have never once finished an eight-hour prep shift without something from my life — mundane or profound — sorted out.”

UCLA’s Diana Winston tries walking meditation on the way from the parking lot to her office in Westwood. “When I am harried or rushed, it’s trying to maintain an awareness and have compassion for myself when I screw up.”

Mary.macvean@latimes.com

via Yes, even you can meditate – latimes.com.

Free Guided Meditation Tool | Care2 Healthy Living

 

by Becky Stripe

Have you been wanting to get into meditation but didn’t know where to start? There’s an app for that!

Former monk-turned-meditation-guru Andy Puddicombe wants everyone to learn the power of meditation, and his Headspace project is all about helping people learn how to meditate. His Headspace app for iPhone or Android is a powerful tool for anyone looking to learn the basics of meditation and start a regular practice.

If you’re not familiar with Puddicombe, check out his inspiring TED Talk about the power of taking 10 minutes to meditate each day. Or, as he calls it “doing nothing.”

I just started using the app recently, and I’m already loving it! The basic program is a series of ten ten-minute meditation practices, which you go through in order. Each day builds on the previous day’s practice. After that, there are a couple hundred other meditations that you can try in any order that you like, though the additional programs are not free.

Before you do your first meditation, he also walks you through a short series of videos to help you get in the right headspace for your practice. He emphasizes that meditation is a skill, and that you shouldn’t force it. One of the things I’m digging most about this program is that he frequently reminds you that it’s OK if your mind wanders and it’s OK to have conscious thoughts while you’re meditating. The key is noticing when that happens and observing those things without letting them effect you.

I also love the tone of the program. There is no new-agey music, creepy whispering narrator, or strange sound- or voice-effects. He just calmly walks you through each day’s exercise. If you prefer more of a new-age spin on meditation, this app might not be for you.

To give you an idea of what you can expect, check out Day 1 of the ten-part series on page 2!

via Free Guided Meditation Tool | Care2 Healthy Living.