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Is Mindfulness just another hype of the disconnectionist “artisanal crowd?” or is it as “a way to sabotage the addiction tactics of the acceleration-distraction complex that is Silicon Valley”

In yet another sign that the new age lingo of the 1960s is still very much with us, “mindfulness” has become the new “sustainability”: No one quite knows what it is, but everyone seems to be for it. It recently made the cover of Time magazine, while a long list of celebrities—Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Paolo Coelho—are all tirelessly preaching the virtues of curbing technology-induced stress and regulating the oppressiveness of constant connectivity, often at conferences with titles like “Wisdom 2.0.”

The embrace of the mindfulness agenda by the technology crowd is especially peculiar. Consider Huffington, whose eponymous publication has even launched a stress-tracking app with the poetic name of “GPS for the Soul”—a new app to fight the distraction caused by the old apps—and turned the business of mindfulness into a dedicated beat. Or take Google’s chairman, Eric Schmidt, who has warned that we need to define times when we are “on” and “off” and announced his commitment to make his meals gadget-free. There are also apps and firms that, at a fee, will help you enforce your own “digital sabbath,” undertake a “digital detox,” or join like-minded refuseniks in a dedicated camp that bars all devices. Never before has connectivity offered us so many ways to disconnect.

In essence, we are being urged to unplug—for an hour, a day, a week—so that we can resume our usual activities with even more vigor upon returning to the land of distraction. Here the quest for mindfulness plays the same role as Buddhism. In our maddeningly complex world, where everything is in flux and defies comprehension, the only reasonable attitude is to renounce any efforts at control and adopt a Zen-like attitude of non-domination. Accept the world as it is—and simply try to find a few moments of peace in it. The reactionary tendency of such an outlook is easy to grasp. As the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek once quipped, “If Max Weber were alive today, he would definitely write a second, supplementary, volume to his Protestant Ethic, entitled The Taoist Ethic and the Spirit of Global Capitalism.” And what a wonderful Kindle Single that would make!

CEOs embrace mindfulness for the same reason that they embrace all the other forms of the “new spirit of capitalism,” be it yoga in the workplace or flip-flops in the boardroom: Down with alienation, long live transgression and emancipation! No wonder Huffington hopes that the pursuit of mindfulness can finally reconcile spirituality and capitalism. “There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows that these two worlds are, in fact, very much aligned—or at least that they can, and should, be,” she wrote in a recent column. “So yes, I do want to talk about maximizing profits and beating expectations—by emphasizing the notion that what’s good for us as individuals is also good for corporate America’s bottom line.”



Illustration by Jessica Fortner

But couldn’t the “disconnectionists”—asone critic has recently dubbed this emerging social movement—pursue an agenda a tad more radical than “digital detoxification”? For one, the language of “detox” implies our incessant craving for permanent connectivity is a medical condition—as if the fault entirely resided with consumers. And that reflects a broader flaw in their thinking: The disconnectionists don’t seem to have a robust political plan for addressing their concerns; it’s all about small-scale individual action. “Individuals unplugging is not actually an answer to the biggest technological problems of our time just as any individual’s local, organic dietary habits don’t solve global agriculture’s issues,” complained the technology critic Alexis Madrigal in The Atlantic.

Note that it’s the act of disconnection—the unplugging—that becomes the target of criticism, as if there are no good reasons to be suspicious of the always-on mode championed by Silicon Valley, what is called “real-time.” Madrigal, for example, draws an intriguing parallel between our attitudes to processed foods (once celebrated for their contribution to social mobility but now widely condemned, at least by the upper classes) and processed communications (by which, he means all digital interactions). Like processed foods, social media and text messages are increasingly perceived as inferior, giving rise to an odd form of technophobic—but extremely artisanal—living. As Madrigal sardonically observes, “[T]he solution is to make local friends, hang out organically, and only communicate through means your Grandma would recognize. It’s so conservative it’s radical!”

There’s some truth to this, but in their efforts to reveal the upper-class biases of the “digital detox” crowd—by arguing, for example, that the act of unplugging falls somewhere between wearing vintage clothes and consuming artisanal cheese—critics like Madrigal risk absolving the very exploitative strategies of Twitter and Facebook.

So far, our debate about distraction has hinged on the assumption that the feelings of anxiety and personal insecurity that we experience when interacting with social media are the natural price we pay for living in what some technology pundits call “the attention economy.”

But what if this economy is not as autonomous and self-regulating as we are lead to believe? Twitter, for instance, nudges us to check how many people have interacted with our tweets. That nagging temptation to trace the destiny of our every tweet, in perpetuity and with the most comprehensive analytics, is anything but self-evident. The business agenda is obvious: The more data we can surrender—by endlessly clicking around—the more appealing Twitter looks to advertisers. But what is in Twitter’s business interest is not necessarily in our communicative interest.

We must subject social media to the kind of scrutiny that has been applied to the design of gambling machines in Las Vegas casinos. As Natasha Dow Schüll shows in her excellent book Addiction By Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, while casino operators want us to think that addiction is the result of our moral failings or some biological imbalance, they themselves are to blame for designing gambling machines in a way that feeds addiction. With social media—much like with gambling machines or fast food—our addiction is manufactured, not natural.

In other words, why we disconnect matters: We can continue in today’s mode of treating disconnection as a way to recharge and regain productivity, or we can view it as a way to sabotage the addiction tactics of the acceleration-distraction complex that is Silicon Valley. The former approach is reactionary but the latter can lead to emancipation, especially if such acts of refusal give rise to genuine social movements that will make problems of time and attention part of their political agendas—and not just the subject of hand-wringing by the Davos-based spirituality brigades. Hopefully, these movements will then articulate alternative practices, institutions, and designs. If it takes an act of unplugging to figure out how to do it, let’s disconnect indeed. But let us not do it for the sake of reconnecting on the very same terms as before. We must be mindful of all this mindfulness.

Evgeny Morozov is a senior editor at The New Republic.

Origami Design – Wine Tote

BUILT Origami Wine Tote

By TheCelebrityCafe.com, 10/7/2013

When you head out to your next party this holiday season give your hosts a gift they can appreciate over and over. The Origami Wine Tote from BUILT is a functional wine tote that features a unique design.

This unique wine tote compresses flat for easy storage. Expand it for use and the wine tote turns into a beautiful carrying case for your bottle of wine.

The tote holds a single 750ml-1 liter bottle of wine. Not only is this tote attractive and can be used to display your wine, it also protects your wine bottle from accidental bumps and drops. A carrying handle makes it easy to transport your bottle of wine so you don’t have to carry it awkwardly by the neck or the thick cylindrical body.

The Origami wine tote comes in black or red. Each tote comes with a gift tag so you can gift a bottle of wine without the need of wrapping.

Find the Origami wine tote at BuiltNY.com and at retailers nationwide.

 

Read more at http://thecelebritycafe.com/reviews/2013/10/built-origami-wine-tote#wjoL9vKRqk3siayD.99

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

Confession of a Fidgety Meditator: HuffPost

Confession of a Fidgety Meditator

Posted: 10/07/2013 1:11 pm

Author and fitness expert

In my childhood home, each person was assigned a specific task. My dad’s job was to wash dishes after dinner. In retrospect, it’s not surprising the memory remains so vivid to me. I remember watching him as he lovingly handled the job every night. He was so methodical, never varying his routine. First he put on an apron, next he filled the sink with soap and water. (This was before most kitchens had automatic dishwashers.) Making sure the temperature was just right, he gently lowered each dish into its soapy place. The last step was setting out a drying towel on the counter. The preliminary work done, it was time to get on with the task at hand.

From the moment he completed the pre-routine, dad went on automatic. Today I realize that in his own way, this was his meditation — a time when he could be fully present. Nothing to think about except the rhythmic movement of lifting each dish out of the water, making sure it was clean, rinsing it off and placing it on the drying towel. His mind didn’t ask, “Hmm what’s my purpose here? What’s my next step? Can I quiet my mind? What is it I have to do after the dishes are done?” The calm radiated from his eyes, but I knew it was birthed in his heart. He was at total peace.

How can washing dishes put someone at peace and how can it be a meditation? By definition, meditation is continued or extended reflection or a fixing of thought on something… the ability to maintain a single-pointed concentration that promotes a sense of well-being. This labor of love was something he could count on. He knew if he did the preparation, he’d be in the “zone.” Same time every night, same place, same preparation, same results. Everyone knew this was dad’s quiet time, so nobody bothered him. Dad was perfectly happy in his domain, focused on the task and nothing more.

I’m not suggesting you hand wash dishes. I’m suggesting that meditation is not mysterious, it’s not a woo-woo religious experience. It’s simply being able to still the “monkey mind” long enough to relax into a feeling of well-being, not concerned about the outside world. There is no new skill to learn. You already know how. Ask yourself where in life you get that incredible feeling of peace and well-being that comes from one pointed intention and total relaxation. Is it painting, cooking, soaking in a hot tub, riding a bike, singing? Once you determine your particular nirvana, create a pre-meditation routine that will transport you into the same space — the one my dad was in every night after dinner, and use it before you “officially” meditate — at the same time, same place, every day. Just as the soap and water washed away the debris of our dinners, your meditation time will wash away the cares of the day.

How easy is it to start or restart a meditation practice? No need to leave the house. No worries about bad hair days, no class fee and no pre-requisite training. You can meditate anytime, day or night. Just boot up your laptop. How easy it that? Don’t put off giving yourself the gift of meditation. It will change your life dramatically. Find a series that is about to begin, register online and embark on a wondrous journey to your real self.

Here’s how to connect with our vast global community.

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… :)

Geometric origami inspiration | Brooklyn Bride – Modern Wedding Blog

Geometric origami inspiration

teal-peach-geometric-wedding-54

I’ve been spotting geometric origami projects left and right and there’s no better place to use them than in a modern wedding reception. Try a bunch of them as centerpieces for a a table, or hanging overhead as lanterns. Or create a pattern out of paper and adhere them to a wall. There are so many ways to use them and they add a clean, fresh vibe to the event.

Top  centerpieces

Middle left 2D heart hanging  |  Middle right gold hanging 

bottom left hanging lanterns  |  Bottom right hangings

by Brittany Watson Jepsen of The House That Lars Built

Geometric origami inspiration | Brooklyn Bride – Modern Wedding Blog.

 

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.

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).

How Athletes Can Benefit From Meditation – Press Release – Digital Journal

PHILADELPHIA, PA, July 04, 2013

Anne Germain, a spiritual medium, philanthropist, and human resources expert, uses her talents to help cope with loss and regain confidence.

Confidence, for athletes, is everything. A recent article on the Huffington Post outlines a few key factors why meditation is more than beneficial for athletes. Basic meditation, according to Germain, allows people to cope with tragedy and loss. Loss, a big part of being an athlete, is no different. Loss obsession is common among athletes. A bad season, a few interceptions, or a couple bad putts can really affect an athlete’s performance in every sport imaginable.

Whether it’s running, swimming, climbing, wrestling, or spelunking, meditation helps athletes reduce obsessive thinking and “reset” their minds when it comes to overcoming a bad streak. Most of all, meditation helps athletes focus. Sports depend on focus and staying concentrated through quarters and miles. The article cites a study that shows increased focused via meditation — focus, of course, relates to all manner of activities and athletics alike. It also helps with fear. For instance, a big game or challenging team may cause hesitation in athletes and motivate them to dig deep into their minds. “Fear, focus, and pain are easily manageable with a strict meditation regime,” Anne Germain says. ”

A lot of injuries, for example, are partially mental. Whether it’s a golf swing or pitch, certain hitches in an athlete’s mental state can hinder performance. Mediation helps flush out mental barriers.” The article states that meditation also strengthens immune systems and makes athletes more resilient. Athletes are not able to perform sick or injured. Professional, guided meditation, according to Germain, helps mentally prepare them for anything. The fear/failure obstacle is constantly present for athletes, too, and meditation can help athletes detach from negative thoughts and focus on success. ”

Good mediation can put an athlete in the game at that moment,” Germain says. “There’s pre-mediation, like taking a few moments in a locker room to mentally prepare and cleanse your mind, then there’s on-field mediation. On-field meditation is as simple as taking a few deep breaths, closing your eyes, and picturing the task at hand.” Stress is a danger for everyone. Kids, work, field goals, bills — stress factors are omnipresent every day, but studies have shown mediation to reduce stress. It is also a factor with maintaining emotional stability. Moody people often lack self-control, which mediation actively helps. Sleep is a factor, as well, and relates directly to stress and mood swings. Meditation helps all three aspects of everyday life, allowing athletes and non-athletes alike to perform better at daily tasks. The article then goes on to talk about coaches.

“Having an outside source allows an athlete to deal with blind spots,” Anne Germain says. “Coaches are good for this, but meditation and active thinking can help athletes coach themselves through the hardest tasks.” Mediation, while not entirely accepted by athletes as a whole yet, is a viable approach when speed, power, and performance mean everything. Anne Germain sees the advantages, and encourages everyone to give it a try. ABOUT: Anne Germain is a spiritual medium and human resources professional. Currently living in the United Kingdom, she helps people find closure and peace in the face of tragedy. She has spent a lot of time with various police departments.

Anne Germain Looks At How Athletes Can Benefit From Meditation – Press Release – Digital Journal.

Michelle Noehren: What I Know About Motherhood Now That I Practice Meditation

Nine months ago a seed was planted. Ok people, not THAT kind of seed. I didn’t do any baby making, but I did start a journey that has changed my life for the better, similar to how becoming a mom made me see the world a bit differently.

Back in September of 2012 I took my first meditation class at a local center in my town. I’d always been intrigued by meditation but was nervous to take the first step and attend class. Turns out there was not a single thing to be nervous about considering every person I have met that practices meditation is incredibly welcoming and nice.

The type of meditation that I practice isn’t just breathing meditation, it’s contemplative too. Over the past nine months I’ve thought a lot about how my state of mind at any given point impacts how I see the world. I’ve meditated on how dangerous anger can be, how the most important thing I can do is to show others kindness (even those who provoke and challenge me) and I have increased the depth of my compassion for others.

I’ve experienced a dramatic drop in my anxiety level and I feel like I’ve healed some relationships in my life that were difficult, not because the other person changed anything, but because I now fully understand that I have the ability to change situations solely based upon the way I think. Powerful stuff peeps!

Naturally, practicing meditation has impacted how I parent my 2-year-old daughter. Here are a just a few of the revelations I’ve had since beginning my practice.

I have a lot more patience than I thought.

Mom, if you’re reading this, pick your jaw up off the floor. This has been a surprising revelation. I have not been known within my family as someone who has a lot of patience but I’ve found that meditation really helps me stay in the now (as cliché as that term is). Most of the time I’m able to resist getting agitated when my toddler doesn’t do what I ask, throws a tantrum or doesn’t want to eat dinner. Taking the time to breathe and remember that my goal is to be kind in all of my interactions, including with my little girl, helps me show more patience instead of just getting immediately upset. As a wonderful consequence, I don’t yell anymore.

I’m not perfect, and that’s ok.

And that brings me to this little revelation; it’s ok to not be perfect. I sometimes refer to myself as a recovering perfectionist. Before meditation, if I felt like something wasn’t done to my very high standards I had to fix it immediately (including craft projects with my kid) or I would have a high level of anxiety. What I now understand is that my thoughts create my world and as I am moving towards a more peaceful state of mind, I don’t really care if my daughter rips a hole in the project we’re working on — I’ll just tape it up and move on (as opposed to throwing it out and starting again!). I have a more relaxed attitude about some things but admit that it’s hard to shake my perfectionist tendencies. Just part of the journey, I suppose.

I am not my body

Ah yes! You know those stretch marks on my stomach and the baby weight I haven’t lost yet? Guess what? That doesn’t define me! Because I’m not my body, I’m more than my body and you are too. How liberating is that? Thank you meditation!

Pre-baby I was more judgmental than I ever imagined.

Before I became a mom I use to judge other parents (I hate to admit that but it’s true). I didn’t realize just how judgy I was until I had my own kid who doesn’t always act like a perfect little angel. Just the act of becoming a mom helped me reduce my judginess but meditation has opened my eyes to the importance of universal compassion. The truth is we don’t really know what’s in anyone else’s mind other than our own and judging others makes it hard to feel kindness and love for them. And as I stated above, showing kindness to people is one of the most important things in life.

Just like meditation, parenting takes perseverance.

With meditation, it takes time to fully reap the benefits. You have to (gently) keep at it, doing your best to put the meditations into practice in daily life. Motherhood is just like that. We just have to keep plugging along, doing our best each day with faith that our efforts will pay off in the long run.

From my meditation cushion to you, keep calm and mother on.

via Michelle Noehren: What I Know About Motherhood Now That I Practice Meditation.