Thought

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.

Walking Meditation: Mindfulness On the Move By ALICIA SPARKS

 

Walking Path Sign

I took my first meditation walka few weeks ago. I’ve since done some research aboutwalking meditation, and wow–there’s a ton of information out there!

My meditation walk was hosted by a licensed counselor who often offers group seminars and private sessions on mindfulness, so I feel confident I learned–definitely not everything–but a good solid foundation for planning my own mindfulness walks.

So, for simplicity’s sake–and to add to the wealth of information already available–I’ll focus on my own meditation walk.

 

Walking Meditation vs. Still Meditation

Probably, this goes without saying, but the main difference between walking meditation and still meditation is you’re not sitting still during walking meditation.

(Oh, and you’re eyes should be always are open!)

Walk at a comfortable, slow pace. Don’t rush–you’ve set this time aside for yourself. Intentionally step heel to toe, one foot at a time, paying attention to how the dirt, pavement, or gravel feels under your soles.

So, understand you won’t be sitting or lying still, but don’t be afraid that you won’t reap some of the same meditation and mindfulness benefits.

Understand Your Mindfulness Meditation Walk

Why are you taking a meditation walk? Why are you choosing to walk rather than sit or lie?

Maybe you want to sharpen your senses, or reconnect with your surroundings. Maybe there’s a specific issue in your life you want to meditate on and you feel moving rather than sitting still will help.

Prepare for Your Walking Meditation

As with any practice–yoga, meditation, running–there’s a little preparation involved before you get started.

Here are a few tips my mindfulness coach shared:

  • Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable walking shoes (or, for you beach bunnies, make sure the sand’s nice and soft!) and wear clothes cool or warm enough for the current temperatures.
  • Set aside enough time. Sure, “enough time” is relative, but walking is a bit different from sitting or lying still, so it’s okay to shoot for at least 30 minutes.
  • Choose your course. Choose a safe area, but feel free to choose among a variety of environments. You can be just as mindful in a park full of boisterous toddlers as you can on a quiet mountain path.
  • Plan your course *. Once you know where you’ll walk, where will you start? Where will you take a left, a right, or turn around to head home? Sure, you could wander, but we’re focusing on mindfulness here. Start out knowing where you’re headed and then focus on being mindful of that course.
  • Patience, not perfection. Whether it’s your first mindfulness walk or you’re a veteran at meditation walking, be prepared to get distracted–and be prepared to let those distractions pass on by. You might find yourself thinking about unrelated things–bills, your dishes, Sally’s dance recital. Once you become aware of those thoughts, don’t indulge them; just let them pass through. Do the same for any distracting environmental noises (beyond those senses of which you’re striving to be mindful).

* Remember all that “different information” I mentioned in the beginning? Well, here’s an example: Rather than choosing a proper “path,” some meditation walk instructions suggest finding a stretch of land, 30 or 40 feet long, and walking back and forth. Although this sounds beneficial in its own way, it wasn’t my experience this time.

Plan Your Mindfulness Walk

Aside from preparing for your walk–and knowing where you’ll walk–considering planning your mindfulness topics.

For example, my mindfulness walking class was a donation-based class to help raise money for an upcoming charity event, so our mindfulness coach divided our walk into three parts and instructed us to focus on something different during each section:

  • First Part: We focused on our breath. The goal was to shut out as much environmental elements as safely possible and pay attention to our breath. Were we breathing deeply? Was our breath shallow? Were we thinking too much about it, instead of letting it happen naturally? What could we do to relax ourselves and thus relax our breath?
  • Second Part: We focused on our five (or six, as my coach allowed for) senses. We smelled the air and listened to children’s laughter and occasional car horns. We felt the wind on our skin and watched the leaves blow in one direction or another. We even tasted the air, our last bite, our latest sip of water.
  • Third Part: During the third and final part of our mindfulness walk, we focused on our current purpose: the charity. Why was the cause important to us? What did we hope to achieve at the event? What were our own personal goals for bettering the situation?

Of course, you might mix up these parts, or take away or add a few. It’s entirely up to you. Your mindfulness walk must work for YOU.

Reflect On Your Meditation Walk

After your meditation walk, don’t immediately hop in your car or get started on dinner. Take some time to reflect on your meditation.

Did you learn anything? Did your mindfulness help you reach any realizations or conclusions?

Did you enjoy walking more than sitting, or was it just a different experience for you?

Was there anything you could “tweak” to make the experience more beneficial?

So, how about YOU, readers? Do you think you’ll try a mindful meditation walk this weekend? Or, have you already put a few meditation walk notches in your belt and have your own experiences to share with us?

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/your-mind/2013/10/walking-meditation-mindfulness-on-the-move/

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.

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… :)

Meditation: So Much More Than Watching and Letting Go – HuffPost

Meditation: So Much More Than Watching and Letting Go

Posted: 09/27/2013 1:22 pm

Most people are taught when sitting in meditation to watch their thoughts, feelings, everything which comes into awareness and let it go. Focus on your breath. Simply watch what arises and let it go. Focus on your breath.

The preoccupation with watching and letting go in meditation can easily continue the separation of our small mental stream from the great body of awareness of who we really are. The mental activity of watching and letting go can keep us entertained with the busyness of our ego while keeping us from deeper levels of meditation. It is in deeper meditation where we discover the love of our core self and a vast inner universe. In other words, meditation is much more than merely watching and letting go. No wonder many people give up on daily sitting. The endless thoughts, tiredness, boredom that seem to be waiting for us each time we sit are not much reward to continue a meditation practice.

Mindfully watching and letting go can lead to devaluing our thoughts, feelings, the story of our life. When we are told the life passing by our inner screen is only distraction, only clouds covering the large sky of awareness, we can downgrade important parts of who we are. The thoughts and feelings we are watching and hoping will disappear can lose their life force. We can forget there is purpose. In our detached observing and our desire to let everything go, we can be detaching and letting go instead of embracing life. The thoughts, feelings, and story filling our awareness are expressions of our life energy. These are our thoughts, our feelings which we are told are interrupting the clarity of meditation. If we are only watching and letting go we can be separating ourselves from the power, the life juice which our thoughts and feelings come from and are made of. Instead of feeling bigger, we can be left feeling small and unsuccessful. Many people try and quit meditation. They feel it maybe great for others but for me, thinking about not thinking seems like a waste of time and effort.

Watching and letting go of our mental activity by itself can be just an exercise of more mental activity. It can be an unending adventure of the ego watching and trying to let go of itself. Instead of trying to get our grasping ego to let go of itself, there is a loving presence, the love of our natural awareness, inviting us deeper within. The hope and power of meditation is to widen the river of our mental world to the ocean of being that is who we really are. Sitting and waiting for glimpses of clear viewing in the midst of a busy mental stream is not the same as clear being, experiencing awareness as a great body of peaceful presence.

The path to the great love of our core being begins with valuing and embracing the thought and feeling passing in our meditation. Instead of merely watching and letting go, we can embrace our mental stream. When we embrace the stream of thoughts, we are right away including our heart essence. Meditation is this embrace, feeling the presence of our heart in our awareness. This presence is underneath, in, and all around the inner voice, the stream of thought. As our awareness includes the greater presence we find inside, the engine of our mind slows down, the busy voice of our ego calms. Our experience of heart strengthens. We are no longer waiting for a break in the clouds, a clearing in our thoughts. Meditation is feeling the body of presence in our heart. Our meditation is bigger than the thought and feeling floating down our inner river. Meditation is the daily connection with the part of us that is much greater.

With practice, no matter what or how much thought and feeling come and go, we are identifying with something more, a brilliant stillness, the gentle vastness, the awe that is within us. Meditation is changing our identification from the narrow focus on thought and feeling. Meditation is sitting with something greater than today’s page in this chapter of our life story. Meditation is remembering the expansive peace in our heart which is so much more than the ups and downs on any page of our personal story. Meditation is directly receiving our heart essence. Our mental activity lessens as the inner well of our lightness of being is experienced. The strength of the busy mental activity decreases as the awareness of our inner silence grows. We are beginning to experience our core self, our no self with by its magnitude heals the unnecessary habit of always thinking. We can learn to be, heartfully present.

If we are going to take the time to meditate lets not just sit here watching and letting go.
More than needing to be mindful, lets be heart full. More than finding a few centering words, we can receive directly the quietude inside which carries us. There are realms of complete acceptance, an intimacy of soul and spirit to discover in deeper meditation.

As the culture of meditation grows and spreads it is important that we guide one another to the true garden, the real fruit which meditation offers. Sacred emptiness waits for us. This emptiness fulfills the part of us, our personality, that is seemingly always struggling. This sanctuary of emptiness heals the part of us that wants more, needs to be busy, that can’t have enough no matter how much we have. There is a home inside of each of us. Its walls, roof, and floor are a diamond light of unlimited emptiness. This home speaks directly to our materialism, greed, anger, and mistrust. Sacredness and holiness are words with meaning as we connect to the very real wordless encounter of a loving emptiness which is full of warm presence.

Meditation is so much more than watching and letting go. Life is much more than observing, letting go of grasping, and trying to control the events and characters of our story. Meditation takes down the veil, lightens the filter, uncovering our essence and true being. Meditation is devotion, understanding, humility, and joy. Meditation is true whenever our heart is involved. We are discovering consciousness. Meditation is washing away everything occupying the Divinity of awareness. This daily bath of our awareness is important if we are to stay in touch with our unworldly self, our true self, our innocence, and life’s beauty. Lets tell everyone hesitant to try or about to give up on meditation, the magical life of your heart and deep joy depend upon it. Meditation, absorbing the essence of our heart, frees our mind. Meditation brings forward the richness of consciousness, inner worlds beyond our imagination, and perhaps most important, the simplicity of this moment of love.

We invite you to join us in the exploration of meditation and consciousness at Silent Stay Retreat Home & Hermitage near Napa, California and Assisi, Italy.

College Prep: Meditation 30-Day Challenge

This first time meditation experience is common to many who try meditation without finding the right technique for them. After teaching meditation to college students the last 5 years, I have found that all techniques work equally well, so long as you find the one that is easiest to fit into your life.  See my comments at the bottom.

-Karah Pino

Meditation 30-Day Challenge

So my office is really obsessed with 30 and 100 day challenges. The 100 day challenges are definitely more on a more personal level, but we tend to group up for 30 day challenges.

The curl challenge was super fun and definitely an eye-opener. It also felt good to actually stick with it. I didn’t even use our one “It’s Okay to Straighten for New Year’s Eve” cheat day.

I was really looking forward to our latest 30 day challenge. Maxie and I planned to meditate every day for 30 days. We were inspired when a career coach gave us a quick and easy 10-minute guided meditation. I’ve done mediations from time to time in the past, especially during extreme periods of stress.

I thought that committing to spending a month getting in the habit of meditating that I would be much happier, more relaxed, and generally feel better.

via

We both failed.

I tried to carve out the ten minutes every day to meditate, but it ultimately started to feel like a chore. And I simply began dreading it. It was a chore and I was absolutely horrible at it. I would sit down in a comfortable position, close my eyes, and follow the meditation guide.

Then the thoughts would start…. and they were loud, clear, and oh-so-annoying. I would ask myself how long had I been meditating. When was the ten minutes up? What should I wear in the morning. The tape tells you that it’s okay to have wandering thoughts, but to try to pull them back in to be centered. And instead, I would start thinking how dumb I felt sitting in my room with my eyes closed.

Meditation certainly works for some people. I’m not going to write it off completely, but this 30 day challenge definitely didn’t work for me. Three weeks in, I sent a text message to Maxie asking when this whole ordeal would be over… even admitting that I’d skipped a few days. I felt so guilty to let her down, but it turns out that she was similarly struggling as well.

What I did learn though was that it’s important to figure out the best way to sit down and think or let go or be present.

For me, I find that true-zen-tuned-into-myself mode when I’m showering and when I’m working out. (SoulCycle was the best meditation I did this month, but even just walking through the park alone is wonderful.)

Have you ever meditated? What’s your method or trick? Do you have any great apps or podcasts to recommend?

xoxo

via College Prep: Meditation 30-Day Challenge.

Here’s My comment:

karahapinohoponoJuly 8, 2013 at 3:27 AM

I took my first meditation class in college for headaches. It worked so I kept at it until I forgot, then the headaches would return. Years later, I studied meditation as part of my masters degree in acupuncture. We learned four branches of meditation: Moving meditation (i.e.yoga/QiGong/dance), Visualization techniques (i.e.color/guided imagery/progressive relaxation), Sound techniques (i.e.chanting/clapping/singing) and Mindfulness (i.e.Zen/Dogchen/Vipassana) After teaching meditation to college students the last 5 years, I have found that all techniques work equally well, so long as you find the one that is easiest to fit into your life. For instance, I love Vipassana mindfulness technique when I have time to sit, but after having a baby, I needed something I could do quickly with child in arms, such as breathing techniques or chanting.

Cindy Griffith-Bennett: Turn 5 Things You Do Every Day Into Meditation Moments

For most of us, a typical day begins when we get out of bed, wash, and then start our activities. At some point, we get a bite to eat, walk somewhere, and talk to someone. Often, by the end of the day we find ourselves stressed out and physically exhausted. It doesn’t have to be that way!

By turning everyday activities into meditation moments, you can bring more mindfulness, clarity, and peace into your day while energizing yourself and reducing stress. A study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition found: “Brief meditation training reduced fatigue, anxiety, and increased mindfulness. Moreover, brief mindfulness training significantly improved visuo-spatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning.”

These brief mindfulness meditations don’t require sitting like a pretzel or sniffing incense, not that there is any thing wrong with a traditional meditation practice if you have the time. But if you are like me, life keeps getting in the way! Here are five opportunities to add meditation without taking time out of your hectic schedule.

  1. When you get up in the morning, you usually wash. Let’s use washing your face for our first meditation opportunity. Feel the temperature of the water on your hands. Focus on the temperature as you add a little soap. Notice how the suds feel on your hand. When a thought comes in, think of it as someone else’s phone ringing. You hear it, but you don’t have to answer it. Next, feel your soapy hands or the washcloth on your face. Focus on that sensation as you wash your face. Next, feel the rinse water on your face — how does it feel? Is it too cold? Too hot? Just right? If your mind wanders, there is no need to judge, just go back to focusing on the feeling of the water on your face. As you towel off, feel the sensation of the air on your face. It’s that simple, you just meditated!
  2. As you go about your day, you are most likely waiting in line or in traffic, so take a moment to breathe. Everyone has to breathe, and there is no way the person in front of you in the coffee line will know you are meditating! Sense the breath coming in and out of your nose or mouth. Don’t worry about thoughts; you know what to do, think of your thoughts as someone else’s cell phone ringing. Some people like to label their thoughts as “thought” and then let them go. The important thing is returning to sensing your breath coming in and out of your body. You will feel your shoulders relax and your patience returning.
  3. Now it is time to grab some lunch. We all eat, don’t we? Another mindfulness meditation can be done while eating. Take a small bite and really taste the food. What is the consistency? What are the different flavors? Can you tell if there is salt or pepper added? Do you like it? Try to eat a few bites without talking. You don’t have to spend the whole lunchtime on this, but even 30 seconds or a minute will have interesting results. For even more relaxation and satisfaction, try chewing each bite until it is totally done before you take a drink. You will most likely feel fuller, and psychologically you will feel more satisfied. I love to eat a Peppermint Pattie one tiny bite at a time. The cool mint and chocolate taste even better! I also take a moment to be grateful for the food, the food preparer and, in the case of the Peppermint Pattie, for the chocolate!
  4. It is always healthy to take a walk after you eat. But even if you don’t have time then, you will have to walk somewhere today, maybe from the kitchen to the living room or from your car to the house. Take this time to do a quick walking meditation. Feel your feet as they touch the ground and lift up. If you have thoughts, label them or decide to answer them later. You may walk a little funny at first. You probably haven’t paid attention to your feet in a while! We all have to walk somewhere, and this meditation can be used for short walks or long ones. It is important to pay attention to where you are going, but besides that, simply focus on the sensation of your feet as they touch and leave the ground. Once you get good at this, you can add focusing on your breath!
  5. Lastly, you will most likely speak to someone during your day. Before you speak, ask yourself, “Are my words kind, useful, necessary and true?” What a wonderful opportunity to empower others with our words! This may not sound like a meditation, yet this technique uses focused attention. You really need to pay attention to your thoughts for this one! You can also give yourself the gift of paying attention to how you speak to yourself. Are your words to yourself also kind, useful, necessary and true? Often we have such negative self-talk. This is a wonderful opportunity to empower yourself!

So you now have five different opportunities to add meditation into your day and start to reap the rewards! Not only can you reduce your stress, increase your mindfulness, strengthen cognitive ability, and energize your body, you can also empower yourself and others without stopping your busy day! It just takes washing, breathing, eating, walking and talking — all things you do every day anyway.

For more by Cindy Griffith-Bennett, click here.

via Cindy Griffith-Bennett: Turn 5 Things You Do Every Day Into Meditation Moments.

 

3 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Better Leader – Terra USA

3 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Better Leader

Nadia Goodman

Running a business can be an emotional roller coaster ride, and it’s easy to get caught up in worries about the future or frustrations with the past. Meditation helps to center you in the present moment, making the trials of entrepreneurship more manageable and the lifestyle more sustainable.

“It’s so easy to get swept up in thinking of your marathon as a series of sprints,” says Lodro Rinzler, a meditation instructor and author of Walk Like a Buddha (Shambhala, 2013). “You burn yourself out really quickly.”

Meditation can help counterbalance that anxiety. By training you to stay in the present moment, it helps you develop patience, approach problems calmly, and treat yourself kindly when things go wrong.

The process of meditating is simple: Sit upright in a comfortable position on a cushion or chair and set a timer for 10 minutes. Gaze at a spot on the ground 2-4 feet in front of you and focus on your breath. As thoughts arise, notice them, but try to just let them go.

The challenge comes in finding the discipline to do it every day, as well as the courage to work through your fears and acknowledge negative patterns or habits. “Be extremely gentle with yourself,” Rinzler says. “Obstacles and frustrations come up, but mentally yelling at yourself is antithetical to the whole process of getting to know yourself.”

The benefits may be subtle at first, but here are three ways that a regular meditation practice can help you in the workplace:

1. End habitual unproductive thoughts.

We tend to dwell on common issues, such as frustrations about a co-worker, worries about tomorrow’s presentation, or regrets about yesterday’s gaffe. Those thoughts become habitual distractions, often hurting our relationships and choices. “Meditation is a training tool to help us become familiar with thoughts or patterns that come up over and over,” Rinzler says. To break those patterns during your work day, Rinzler recommends taking a 30 to 60-second break once every hour. Look up from your computer and focus on your breath, noticing any thoughts and letting them go. “By doing that, you’re taking a fresh point of view every hour,” Rinzler says. “That helps you refocus and stay grounded.”

2. Focus on who you want to be.

Meditation is a process of learning who you are, who you want to be, and how to get there. Noticing the thought patterns that arise during meditation makes you aware of the habits you have, allowing you to choose which ones to let go, and which ones to keep. That awareness helps you set clear intentions about the impact you want to have in the world.

To add value to the world through your work, develop your business goals and practices based on qualities you hope to cultivate. For example, if you want to be generous, then ask, what does it mean to build a business based on generosity? What actions would you take on a daily basis if you were a generous leader? The values you choose will be evident in the products, companies, and cultures that you create.

3. Trust your innate wisdom.

Buddhists believe that each of us has innate wisdom, which is the essence of who you are when you act without habits or defenses to hide behind. It’s the root of gut instincts, creativity, and inspiration. “When an idea just occurs to you, that’s your innate wisdom,” Rinzler says.

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via 3 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Better Leader – Terra USA.